HomeReviewsInterviewsStoreABlogsOn Writing

Why Doesn’t Everybody Vote?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Posted in: You really should vote

I was just over at Bloggin’ In Black (or whatever it’s called these days) reading a post that was urging people to register to vote, and it really struck a cord with me.

I can’t tell you how mad I get when people tell me that they don’t vote.

My sister incurred my wrath at the last major election, because she didn’t want to vote. I preached at her for about a week, about the importance of having a say in how the country is run. She’s voted in every single local government election since.

TTG and I have a particular set of friends who never vote. Ever. It makes me crazy.

One of the things that my friend (the female half of the couple) and I, were most excited about when we turned eighteen, was that at last we’d be able to have our say. I remember us anxiously waiting for the polling stations to open, so that we could cast our votes. She voted for Lord Such’s Monster Raving Loony Party, and I voted for The Green Party. (Wasn’t that a tree-hugging left-wing thing to do? *g*)

Some would call them wasted votes, but at that time, my friend and I were vehemently opposed to the main political parties, (we were students after all) and this was a way for us to express our dissatisfaction with the political movement in the country.

I’ve never voted for the Green Party since that time, mostly because even their apparently brilliant transport policies were a total farce, and seemed to lack any kind of weight.

That friend, has never cast a vote in any of the elections since. And that fact annoys me to the nth degree.

Her and her husband have young kids, they have a mortgage, he owns his own business. All perfectly good reasons to take an interest in what’s going on in your country methinks.

So why don’t they? Why do some people choose not to vote?

One of the reasons our friends give, is that they don’t believe that there’s any real differences between the parties. I personally think that that’s a lame-assed excuse, because if they truly believed that, they’d simply go and spoil the paper. It may not count as a vote, but it is given as a statistic. Spoiling the ballot paper, tells people that you wanted to vote, but you just didn’t fancy any of the current political parties. Your opinion was heard, even though you ultimately didn’t select a candidate.

Whilst we were in the states, we were listening to a political radio show, where the DJ asserted that Democrats were the ones who were most likely not to vote, never mind keeping up with political news. His opinion was that people who had no real opinion about politics usually called themselves Democrats. The DJ suggested that these people were just lazy.

He made a point that all the Go Vote campaigns were usually conducted by Democrats, aimed at other Democrats. Apparently, a higher percentage of Republicans vote.

As much as I hated to agree with him, he probably had a point. I think the same goes for Labour Party supporters over here.

Anyway, there were a lot of sacrifices made on both sides of the Atlantic, so that our voices could be heard. Why would anybody look to diminish those endeavours, by choosing to not vote?

Like I said, it makes me crazy.

Having been in the US, and noted how many times we had to fill up our rental car, I couldn’t help but wonder why Americans don’t go for diesel. Especially with the current strains on the economy.

I drive a four cylinder two litre diesel car, and I can get 600 miles out of a full tank. The car that we had in America, barely managed three hundred miles.

Back in the eighties, diesel cars used to be hard to start, noisy, and generally deemed to be unsexy, but things are different now.

So why do Americans still insist on paying for fuel that is obviously less efficient?

Dear authors,

Could you change publishers?


I know it’s selfish of me, but see, here’s the thing.

I’ve been lucky enough to get to read some really cool stuff from some people who, unfortunately, are published with outfits I just… erm… how can I put this?

Well, I wouldn’t give my credit card information to them if they were face to face with me and I knew where they live—let alone over a (badly designed) website with only dog knows what kind of security software. Sorry, nope, not me, not in a million years.

Then there are the publishers with an apparently higher-than-their-share percentage of vocal-and-out-of-control authors who go on ranting all over the place. *coughnotnamingnamescough* Nothing will drive me away from a smaller epub quicker and more decidedly than the crazy.

And see, as selfish and self absorbed as I am—which is plenty, I’m sure—I would love for more people to read your stuff, because it’s really good. And the more people read your stuff, the more likely it is that you’ll keep writing. You win, I win, see?

And, since I know I’m not the only one who balks about forking over hard earned money to specific publishers *coughnotgivingnamesdon’twasteyour timeguessingcough* so, perhaps, branching out to as many other, bigger, better known epublishers as possible would be a good career move?

Pretty please?

With sugar on top?

Yours truly,

Little ole me.

(Eerie: I have had this post written and waiting in my hard drive for a couple of months, wondering whether it was even worth posting. Then I see this (TeddyPig’s comments through the thread) and this at Dear Author. Ergo, posting it)

Beyond Innocence, by Emma Holly

Emma Holly is well known in the online romance reading community for her erotic romances (such as All U Can Eat, review here). Beyond innocence is my second full length novel by Ms Holly, and it was a wonderful surprise, giving me a glimpse of a very different facet of her writing.

Set late in the nineteenth century, Beyond Innocence presents a different perspective on societal mores, their pressure on the individuals, and the contrast those make with familial obligations. Love is a powerful force, indeed, and doing something out of love doesn’t always make it the right thing to do.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

When her beloved father passes away, Florence Farleigh finds herself alone in the world. All she wants is a man who will treat her kindly and support her financially—and she’s come to London to find him.

Edward Burbrooke thinks marriage is the only way to save his brother Freddie—and their family—from scandalous ruin. As head of the family, Edward has vowed to find Freddie a bride—and fast…

Thrown together by Edward, Florence and Freddie make a perfect pair—until Edward realizes he has feelings for his brother’s betrothed. The sight of her nubile young body makes his blood burn with lust. The sound of her voice makes his heart warm with love. And the sweet taste of her kiss makes him wonder if he isn’t making a terrible mistake.


A lot of people have been harping on about what a bad idea it is for the US government to bail-out the likes of Freddie and Fannie, (officially the most ridiculous name for a serious company in the world), AIG (They were Manchester United’s official sponsors, boo-hoo) and Lehman Bros, but what do you guys think?

President Bush gave his scare-mongering address the other day, but do you buy it?

Personally, I’d like to see the greedy bastards in Wall Street lose everything, but as we know, the rich tend to only get richer, whilst those barely living above the poverty line will be the ones who suffer the most.

What A Difference A Month Makes…

Saturday, September 27, 2008
Posted in: American Politics

Dear God. What happened to the confident, likeable, sassy woman from a month ago? Shit, I am cringing so bad for her right now.

The most cringe-worthy bit, is when Katie Couric asks her to clarify her foreign policy experience:

Did she really say the following, in response to Couric’s question about her experience in foreign policy?

“Our next door neighbours are foreign countries, they’re in the state that I’m an executive of”

I mean, really?

Dear. Fucking. God. I take back all the positive things I ever said about her. I must have been smoking some strong shit at the time.

My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.

Maya Angelou

I always had a huge girl crush on Ms Angelou, and that was before I listened to her speak.

Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.

Maya Angelou

She’s one of those women, who’s books you just have to read, if for no other reason, than to recognise the difference between good writers, and those who are truly blessed with the ability to change people with their words.

Yesterday, it was reported that the Republic of Ireland had officially entered a recession after two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Then I caught a bit of President Bush’s address to the nation re the current financial crisis that has the potential to cripple the US economy.

Major lender, HBOS, lies in financial ruin, with the potential loss of thousands of jobs.

Today, it was also reported that another major lender, Bradford and Bingley, is closing its mortgage processing centre, to the tune of 370 job losses.

All this after the Northen Rock debacle, earlier this year.

The oil price surge has meant that utility companies in this country have increased their prices by 30%. Our personal food bill has risen by approximately 13% in the last three months, as supermarkets also increase their prices.

The state of the global economy is currently killing my book-reading buzz. I even opted to watch BBC World News the other day, over Smallville. WTF?

I can’t seem to help myself though. I’m worried that sooner or later, this crap is going to affect me more than it has already, and that’s a scary thought for me. I like my life, and I really don’t want it to change. I like buying shoes, bags, and books. I don’t want to have to tighten my belt. I don’t want to have to make the decision to buy three books rather than five, because of the cost. I don’t want to consider buying cheaper brand foods, because all the branded names have hiked up ridiculously in price.

I know these worries are nothing, and may be perceived as being quite shallow, in comparison to what other people may be currently going through, and truly I appreciate that, but I’m still fearful. I think it’s natural to worry about one’s self first isn’t it?

Looking at my business forecast for next year, I’m currently down by 23%, in comparison to the forecast the same time last year.

This means that I’m going to have to work harder. Like I don’t already. Sigh.

I know this blog has been littered with political talk of late, but it’s just hard to escape from the realities of what’s happeniing in our world right now.

TTG’s company has already taken steps to try to mitigate the effects of the crisis by making redundancies, luckily for us, his role is such that it would be foolhardy for his company to get rid of him. For the moment at least.

I can’t help but wonder how you guys are being affected? I hear the doom and gloom on the news, but what has changed in your household as a direct result of the current economic climate?

What are you worrying about?

AztecLady speaks: disrespect?

Friday, September 26, 2008
Posted in: Azteclady Speaks

I probably missed the point entirely, but when I read this, my brain zeroed in on this little bit: “editors and publishers, and some agents, don’t respect us and, I didn’t want to tell her, but I would add readers to that list,” followed a bit later by this one: “To some readers we’re only as good as our last book. Disappoint them once, and they’ll never buy you again.”

I confess, I’m confused. Extrapolating: is it disrespectful to the maker of a product that doesn’t meet your expectations to stop buying his products?

And yes, I do understand that writing is not just a job but an avocation, an art, a calling—I get that part, but I don’t get how does one get from writing being more than a job, to it being disrespectful if we readers don’t buy a writer whose work doesn’t resonate with us.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure I missed the point.

Claiming the Courtesan, by Anna Campbell

Set in 1825, Claiming the Courtesan transports the reader to a time when titled and powerful men were de facto above most laws, and when women with no family or from humble origins had few avenues to survive—and even fewer that were respectable.

Claiming the Courtesan is Ms Campbell’s debut novel. Frequently, first novels are less than stellar, as the writer is still finding her voice. That is most definitely not the case with this book. Ms Campbell’s writing is powerful, drawing the reader deeply into her characters’ world. It is not, however, an easy book to review.

First, the back cover blurb: (more…)

We** look at sexual content in books or movies or commercials on tv, and complain about the state of society, the lack of moral values, the decline of civilization as we know it.

We** blame the gays, the liberals, Hollywood, the government, the media, etc., for what many call the sexualization of children.

But violence in games, in movies—in the news?

That’s okay. It’s not like it’s “real”

Then we** wonder how this happens. Then, when this happens, we** wonder how both victims and perpetrators can laugh about it (yes, they are teens, but c’mon! laughter?)

(And after those two, one looks at this and wonders what the hell was this woman thinking.)

Agree or disagree: most people tend to become distracted by the “morality” of sex–which sells both products (i.e. entertainment, commercials) and news–and to pay less attention to underlying problems such as violence, including that which appears in movies, games, the news, etc.

** WE as in society in general, or at least the more vocal segments of it.

Betting on Santa, by Debra Salonen

Full disclosure: I got the book in a giveaway in a blog where Ms Salonen was a guest.

Betting on Santa, a Harlequin Superromance, is the second of five titles in the multi-author continuity Texas Hold ‘Em. The continuity follows the fates of a group of long time friends from a small town in Texas, known to their families as the Wild Bunch. This installment tells the story of Cole Lawry and Tessa Jamison.

It is a good idea to keep in mind that while in theory continuities function as mini series—in that main characters from one are secondary characters in another one, and vice versa—the writing voice and characterization are naturally different in each book, written as they are by different authors.

Here is the back cover blurb for Betting on Santa: (more…)

There is no such thing as balanced reporting in the US. Every damned channel seems to be biased towards one party or the other.

Fox News anchors taking sneaky hits at the Democrats, and CNN taking hits at the Republicans. And all of them operating under the illusion that they’re being fair and objective.

Whatever happened to balanced journalism?

And I thought the BBC were bad.


By the way, TTG and I are leaving the States today, it’s been a grand old break from reality.

I Think I’m In Love…

Saturday, September 20, 2008
Posted in: American Politics

With Bill Maher.

He is so freaking hilarious.

To the liberal part of my funnybone at least. I have a feeling the Republicans probably think he’s the devil incarnate.

By the way, if anybody watched his show last night, what was the point of Will I Am from the Black-Eyed Peas being on the panel? He hardly said a bloody word.

It’s so much easier to pray for a bore than to go and see one.

Very true that. *g*

The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.

He was a bit preachy, (and you guys know how much I hate organised religion) but The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, is still one of my favourite children’s books ever, so I can ignore the religious zealotry that seemed inherent in much of his work.

Over the Edge, by Suzanne Brockmann.

The third novel in Ms Brockmann’s successful Troubleshooters series, Over the Edge can be read end enjoyed without reading the previous two installments (The Unsung Hero and The Defiant Hero), because enough information is given about the recurring characters, their relationships and personalities, that a reader new to the series can follow along perfectly well. At the same time, Ms Brockmann avoids overloading readers with unnecessary details, keeping only to those storylines relevant to this book.

Of course, I will recommend starting with the first novel and following along, not only because I’m a bit compulsive about reading series in order, but because these are really good books. The series is most commonly considered contemporary military romance, heavy on the adventure/action elements. Here’s the back cover blurb for Over the Edge: (more…)

One Thing I’ve Learned This Week…

Friday, September 19, 2008
Posted in: Karen on hols

I effing hate restaurants that automatically add tips to your bill.

It really fucking annoys me. Especially when the service isn’t up to much.

Tips should not be a right, they should be bloody well earned. If you spend $120 on a meal for two, and not only was the meal only so-so, but the service wasn’t even outstanding, then I think it’s a damned cheek to add the 18% gratuity charge.

Of course we could have refused to pay it, but who wants to cause a scene?

Bah pissing humbug.

Guilty Needs, by Shiloh Walker

Should I admit upfront that I’m a fan of Ms Walker’s? Well, I am. And I think her writing gets better with each book.

At 150 pages, Guilty Needs is a longish novella rather than a full novel and despite its (lack of) length, it manages to be a very engaging read. How engaging, you ask? Well… My eyes are burning and I’m awake in the middle of the night after having read it in one sitting. One. At the stupid desktop. (Yes, I know I need a better way to read e-books, thank you.)

The usual warning: this erotic romance has graphic language and sexual content. If you are a minor, or bothered by either of the above, do yourself a favor and don’t read on. Thank you. (more…)

So Why Didn’t They Move?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Posted in: Uncategorized

I just watched a news segment that featured a victim of Ike in a car, crying that she has no electricity, no water and that she was hungry.

So why didn’t she leave when the government told her to? Why did so many people stay?

They knew four days before that Ike was going to hit them, so why ignore the warnings and the advice?

One family didn’t move because they didn’t want to leave their pets behind. I bet if it had been a fire, they wouldn’t have needed to be asked.

Fancy putting your family at risk like that.

The Desert Lord’s Baby, by Olivia Gates

First book in the Throne of Judar trilogy, The Desert Lord’s Baby tells the story of Farooq Aal Masood, heir to the throne of this small but rich Middle East kingdom, and Carmen McArthur, who specialises in organizing international events, both diplomatic and for businesses.

This short novel (shy of 200 pages, in fact) is chock full of many of the category romance elements that, usually, put me off: secret baby; incredibly attractive, arrogant, rich and powerful guy from exotic background; comparatively powerless and average (in every way from looks to fortune) woman with more emotional baggage than freighter container; villainous relative; political intrigue; the fate of the world as we know it hanging in the balance; and, to top the cake, the inevitable big misunderstanding.

It would seem like a recipe for disaster, would it not? Particularly when you read the blurb: (more…)