Perils of an Echo Chamber (Not Actually About the Election)

So in case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last 12-18 months, I’ll explain that here in the US, we’re coming to the end of a long, painful election process. (Not that the US is the center of the universe, but I do know people are watching. I’ve heard opinions on the candidates from friends around the world, thus the hiding under a rock assumption.)

As far as I’m aware, all my friends hold the same strong opinion as I do on which candidate will make a better president. Everyone in my Twitter feed, everyone whose blog I follow on Tumblr–we’re all agreed.

But obviously someone out there thinks the other nominee is a better option. That’s how one becomes the nominee, after all–people vote. Lots of people voted for the other candidate to be nominated, and a whole lot of someones are planning to vote for that other candidate in the general election, according to the polls that have me checking in several times a day. (Just after typing that, in fact, I ran off to fivethirtyeight.com to check in.)

Only one of those other-candidate voter-someones wanders through my Facebook timeline sometimes. That one person is family. If we were not related through my daughter, we never would have met, let alone become Facebook friends.

echo chamber: any forum for communication in which all members agree with everyone else. See also preach to the choir. ~online slang dictionary

In some ways, social media being an …

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10 Reasons Why I Have the Best Husband in the World — Possibly the Whole Universe

Today is my husband’s birthday, so I thought I’d put pen to paper (figuratively speaking) and tell you 10 reasons why I have the very best hubby in the world. Of course, I’m biased, but let me know what you think after reading this! We’ve been together for 10 years (one reason for every year!) and married for seven. And loving him — and being loved by him — has completely changed my life, and for the better.

#1 He is always there for me. Always — after a crappy day at work, when I feel lousy, when bad things happen, when my health sucks, when I need a hug…Always. He has never, ever ever let me down. He has unending patience and kind words to say no matter what’s going on. Especially when it comes to my health. I don’t have the best health, and sometimes I feel just plain crappy, or I’m in pain. He’s always there. I have a stomachache, he’s there with Vernors. I injured my knee recently and he offered to spread Biofreeze on it, even though I could do it myself — that’s just the guy he is. He puts my oatmeal out in a bowl in the morning so I don’t have to run downstairs to get it. In the fall, he’ll surprise me with hot chocolate, because he knows I love it. He’s gotten me to wherever I needed to go without complaint (I don’t drive). I need my meds picked up, we’re there. …

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We’re Going to MileHiCon!

Howdy, Turtleduck friends! It’s my birthday! ::twirls around a little flag::

But beyond that, I’m pleased to announce that if you are in the Colorado or generally Colorado area, you can come and see me at MileHiCon the last weekend of October. I shall be there with the full complement of Turtleduck titles, including new ones such as City of Hope and Ruin, and I will also have bookmarks for our anthology coming out mid-November, which is titled To Rule the Stars.

(It’s awesome.)

I’m excited for the convention! I learned a lot at the first one we did two years ago, and I’ve got some new displays and stuff that I’m itching to try out. Plus it’s always fun to network with other authors and publishers and see all the neat stuff that goes on at the con.

(Here’s a funny story, though. If you buy a three-day pass in advance, it’s $44, but there’s a $3 service fee. If you wait until the door, it’s only $46. Someone did not think this through.)

I put in my name to be put on panels if there’s a need, so there’s a chance that I could do some of that. That will be a new–and nervewracking–experience. Still, I’ve seen some really terrible panelists at various times (ones who had no clue about the topic at hand, or who were too busy revisiting things with their friends to bother to pay attention), so I will probably not be the worst.

Ah, …

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Mental Health Breaks and Mini-Staycations

Have you ever come back from a vacation and immediately felt like you needed another one? Or has it been a while since you’ve had one?

If you’re anything like me, you fall into habit during your non-vacationing life. Maybe you have a favourite coffee shop, or a park or a restaurant you love. Returning over and over again to places you enjoy is comforting, for sure. I do it a lot. But don’t underestimate the power of novelty for R&R.

Last weekend was my wedding anniversary. We took the opportunity to go on a mini-staycation, just the two of us. It was a lot of fun, and it wasn’t particularly expensive. We had dinner at a new-to-us steakhouse chain, went home instead of staying at a hotel, then the next morning, ventured into a trendy neighbourhood we don’t usually frequent, and wandered down the street and picked a restaurant for brunch at random (why yes, we are slightly addicted to Yelp, why do you ask?). Good choice, too – they had delicious house-smoked bacon!

That particular street was full of fancy/trendy furniture stores, so we poked around a few and drooled at all the gorgeous reclaimed wood and designer tables. We’re not even in the market for new furniture, and a lot of what we saw wouldn’t fit in our tiny rooms anyway (giant harvest table? uh, no), but window-shopping was fun! On our way back we picked up some bright yellow potted chrysanthemums to decorate our front steps …

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Spiritus Viri

by Erin Zarro

After our wedding, Jerry carried me over the threshold of our home: a small ranch that was cozy and practically ancient. We’d repainted most of the walls and removed the carpets, as we liked hardwood floors.

It was our first night in it after the renovations.

I laughed as Jerry fumbled with skirts just to put me down again. “Maybe I’ll just stay in this dress,” I said. I was a bit tipsy from the champagne and dancing. I twirled, watching my skirts flare, then stopped. Except the room didn’t stop spinning.

“You’ll freeze, my lovely wife,” Jerry said, coming up behind me and pulling me against him. “The sheerness of the top…”

“But my bottom half will be warm,” I said with a giggle. I wiggled free and headed toward the bedroom, which sat at the end of the hall. A very long hallway, unlit, in high heels.

“Be careful, Lizzy. I should probably help – ” Whatever he was about to say was lost as he fell, his head hitting the floor with a crack.

I picked up my skirts and went to him. Kneeling, I put my hand gently on a red, large bump that had formed on his head. “Jerry, are you okay? How bad is the pain? Are you dizzy, nauseous – “

“I’m fine. I just tripped on something, that’s all.” He tried to stand, and didn’t seem to have a problem doing that, although he was the type …

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