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Have to disagree with Yogi on that one.  For diehard fans of the Red Sox, Cardinals, Rockies, and Twins, the baseball season is over and done.  Not to belittle the Yankees, Dodgers, Phillies, or Angels, but I just don’t care who goes to the World Series or who wins, for that matter.  Every single team I had an interest in seeing in the series has been eliminated.

I wish good luck to all the players and their managers who are still in the running.  As for the umpires who seem to be getting it wrong at every turn, open your eyes and pay attention!  You’ve reached your quota of questionable calls for the year and a lot of people are starting to wonder if you’re supplementing your income with ill-gotten gains while doing your best to see that certain teams win.  I don’t know about that, but I would like to caution you to remember the NBA ref, what was his name?  Donaghy?  Something like that.  Anyway, you need to remember what happened to him.  Is one post-season bonus worth a lifetime of guilt and finger-pointing, not to mention never being able to work in your chosen field again?

As for my pick to win the series?  The Yankees and that’s the main reason I’m not going to be paying attention to the games and/or reading any of the sports blogs.  But it’s not because I hate the Yankees, I just don’t feel like reading the comments of all the people who are going to belittle the victory by saying the Yankees bought the championship–if they win, that is.  You just know you’re going to be hearing an awful lot about the fact that the Yankees spent almost a quarter billion dollars in the off season just to make sure they got back to the play-offs.  I can’t argue that, but I can say to all the complainers, get over it.  Every single team in the league would do the same thing if they could and whining because your team doesn’t have the money to buy a championship is getting old.

Anyway, good luck to the remaining teams and oh yeah, wait till next year!

One last time until spring training:

fenway-park--boston-red-sox

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First, there was the unfurling of the World Series Champion banner–yippee and yahoo!–then came the presentation of the rings–was it just me, or did the picture of Big Papi showing off his two rings along with the one of Paps admiring his one, say it all?–and then we had…Buckner.  Buckner?  Yeah, that’s right, Bill Buckner back at Fenway and I have to say, I’m proud of the way the Boston fans greeted him.  And that press conference afterward?  Well, emotional is putting it mildly.

The thing is…I never really considered how the whole 1986 um, Buckner bauble and the treatment he received from the fans and press affected his family.  And okay, I admit it, not so much him, either.  I think it would be safe to say most Red Sox fans didn’t think about him or his feelings, but I’m so glad they didn’t boo him when he returned to Fenway last night.  Maybe now, he can put that part of his life behind him, or at least accept that Red Sox Nation is willing to forgive and forget.  Okay, maybe not forget, but with two World Series championships in our pockets, we’ve put it behind us.  So, I offer my formal apology to Buckner for all the nasty things I ever thought or said about him and I hope he feels better about the whole thing.

After all the ceremony, it was time to play some ball–and play some ball is exactly what my boys did.  From Dice-K going 6 2/3 scoreless innings–is it possible he’s going to surpass Josh Beckett this season and become our ace in the hole?–to the outstanding offense and their five runs–of which my man, Manny was responsible for one.  Yay, Manny!–it was an opening night to remember, not to mention a big relief for me–and I’m sure most of the rest of Red Sox Nation! 

Tonight, we have Jon Lester going against the Tigers’ Bonderman and…who knows what will happen?  That’s one of the best things about baseball–or any sport for that matter–you just never know.  So, beyond the penchant of most professional athletes to utter those infamous words, “you know”, every ten seconds when they’re talking or being interviewed–and don’t even get me started on that personal pet peeve–the thing is…we don’t know. 

The only thing I do know, is I’ll keep watching and cheering for my favorite teams and players, and I’ll occassionally write about what’s happening with my boys–but not too often, because, well, you know how superstitious I am.  Wouldn’t want to jinx the chance for a repeat!

Speaking of repeats, congratulations to Pat Summitt and the Lady Vols–you did us proud again, ladies! 

Rocky Top, you’ll always be,
Home sweet home to me;
Good ol’ Rocky Top,
Rocky Top, Tennessee!

Okay, in between talking baseball with my fellow Red Sox fans–of which there aren’t many down here in NC–and watching the World Series games–Go Sox!  Three down, only one more to go!–I’ve been spending my time immersed in Cherokee legends and myths while I research the second book in my Eternal Shadows series–the first book, Snow Shadows, is now under contract with L&L Dreamspell and is scheduled to come out in print and ebook next year!  Woo-hoo!

Sorry, it’s difficult to curb my enthusiasm over that one!

So anyway, amid all the sites on the Internet which deal with the history of the Cherokee, I’ve found one that originates from Indiana.  Indiana?  Yep, there’s a branch of Cherokee Indians in Indiana called the Lone Wolf Band, and they have an interesting history of their own.  Here’s the link if you want to check it out: 

http://www.skyenet.net/~myersdk/toc.html

I clicked on the site originally because it came up when I searched for “Cherokee Religious Beliefs.”  That page on their site was interesting so I clicked over to their main page.  And well, wow!  There are a number of pages, dealing with everything from history to spiritual beliefs, and I took the time to read them all.  As a result, I’m even more enthralled with my ancestors than I was before. 

As I was reading my way through the many different pages, the one titled “Are you Cherokee?” kept catching my eye, but I resisted clicking on it.  Why?  Well, my great aunt always said, “one drop of Cherokee blood is enough to make you Cherokee,” but there are many who don’t feel that way.  A lot of tribe members today consider only those who can prove their heritage with documentation true members of the Cherokee tribe.  My family can’t do that, we have no legal documentation that my great-great-great grandmother was full-blooded Cherokee.  So I avoid pages like that.  I know I’m Cherokee and I don’t want–or need–anybody telling me I’m not.

But the rest of the site was so engrossing that I overcame my deep-seated resistance, braced myself and clicked on that dreaded page anyway.  And I hate to repeat myself, but well, wow!  The page begins with a prophecy from our ancestors that the new century  (my first thought was the 20th, but on another page this site says it’s the 21st) “would bring forth many people of Cherokee blood that want to rejoin the heritage that had been hidden from them.”  The prophecy is told in detail on the “Return of the Buffalo” page and it’s fascinating reading.  A little like the predicitons of Nostradamus, far-seeing and eerily accurate.

The thing is, it goes on to offer an explanation as to why my family doesn’t have the “legal documentation” so many say we need if we want to claim to be a part of the Cherokee tribe.  The page says:    

“During and after the removal of the people, times became very hard. So the government devised yet another way to assist in the extermination of the Indians. The government offered those Indian people their own plots of land and also gave them up to $5000.00 in cash so that they could live and farm their own lands. They even offered them slaves. But this was not without a catch. To do this the government required these families to denounce their Indian heritage and to never speak of it again. The government wanted these Indians to live as whites and because times were so hard for these people, many accepted.”

That little historical tidbit is something my great aunt never told me and I never found in all my research, and I’ll be honest, it feels incredible to know that Aunt Bessie was right; even with that one drop of Cherokee blood that flows through my veins, I am Cherokee.

That speaks to my soul and warms my heart.  Enough so that when I read the part about the so-called Cherokee “experts” who refer to people like me as a “Wannabe,” or even more derogatory,  a “Twinkie,” I laughed. 

Me, a Twinkie.  Who’d’ve thought?  I just might have a t-shirt printed up!

So thanks to the Lone Wolf Band of Cherokee Indians in Indiana.  You’ve confirmed–in my mind and heart!–my heritage, given me a few ideas to be included in my next book, and lifted my spirits all at the same time!

Wa-do!  (Thank you in Cherokee)

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the legend of Tessie and asked all of Red Sox Nation to start singing the song again in an effort to help our boys win.  Well, I don’t have a clue if that’s the reason they won the ALCS and are playing in the World Series, but something definitely happened.

And while that mysterious “something” was happening, I was singing Tessie at the top of my lungs…every chance I got.  To the point I think my husband–a Yankees fan (my secret shame!)–is ready to either duct-tape my mouth shut or consult a lawyer about divorcing me due to irreconcilable differences or maybe even cruel and unusual punishment.

The thing is, I can’t stop singing it now.  No matter what.  Not even if I tried!  I’ve been a Red Sox fan for a long time–longer than I’ve been married–and singing Tessie seems to be working so I’ll continue to sing.  I’m not willing to take any chances when it comes to my boys and winning.  Besides, I like that song, and I love to sing–though I’m the original “can’t carry a tune in a bucket” gal.

So, I sing it during the games–actually, this may be a form of self-defense against those awful Fox sports announcers.  Just a little aside here, can you people please drop the verbal love affair with Troy Tulowitzki?  It’s sickening and I really don’t want to hear it any more!

Okay, back to what I was saying, I’ve got Tessie in my CD player in my car, in my CD player at home, and “Fever Pitch” in my DVD player.  I sing Tessie in the shower, I even wake up at night with it going through my head.  And it seems to be working!

<crossing fingers and knocking on wood to negate the jinx>

Not to take anything away from my boys, they’ve been playing their hearts out and I freely admit I may have misjudged the level of their drive and determination.  In my defense, I never put down their abilities–well, okay, I jumped on Gagne a time or two, but not without reason–just their heart, their desire to win, their cohesiveness as a team.  And they proved me wrong!  Thank goodness!

So, to all of you who are members of Red Sox Nation, keep singing and keep believing!

I have a lot of things going on in my mind right now, so this may get a little…um, shall we say disconnected?  Arbitrary?  Jumbled?  Disorganized?  Rambling?  Garbled?

Okay, I like to look words up in the dictionary and/or thesaurus.  So sue me, a fascination with words is a part of who I am and part of being a writer.

So, first order of the day; the Colorado Rockies.  Do you believe in miracles?–indeed.  Major kudos to the team, the coaching staff, and to their ownership for having the foresight and conviction to build a team from the ground up, so to speak, and give them a chance to show the world what they could do.  These guys know and believe that old adage about there being no “I” in team, and I don’t care what anybody says, it takes a team to win the World Series.  And I do believe they have a very good chance of doing exactly that, all you have to do is look in their eyes and you can see it.

Which brings me to the second thing on my mind today; the Cleveland Indians.  Yes, I’m a Red Sox fan, and I’m still rooting for them, but I have to say, I think the Indians are going to win the ALCS.  They seem to have the same drive and determination that has carried the Rockies so far.  Don’t get me wrong, I think the Red Sox have it too, but it doesn’t look to be as strong in them as it is in the Indians.  That being said, if the Indians do go to the Series, I’ll be pulling for the Rockies all the way.  Not just because the Indians will have beaten my team, but because it’s thrilling to see a team that most people–including myself–wrote off at the beginning of the season as no more than a bump on the radar, pulling themselves up and going all the way to the championship. 

However, it would be even more thrilling to see my boys pull out of this little slump they seem to have fallen into and win it all.

A little side note here, if Terry Francona even makes a move toward Eric Gagne for however many games we have left this year, I’m taking a road trip up to Boston, hunting Gagne down, and stuffing him down Francona’s throat.

Okay, so the third thing that’s on my mind today is, of course, all these problems I’m having with my publisher.  Some of the authors who’ve pulled their rights have gotten together and started a private group where we can voice our concerns and complaints without fear of being labeled “problem authors”–something that was implied in one of the emails I received from the publisher.

In short, we’ve started a “bitch and moan” group.  I’ve posted there several times about things that bother me with this publisher.  This morning I posted about the fact that neither of the owners has bothered to address the problem with the web site being down this weekend.  No apology, no explanation, just dead silence.  One of the authors, who also happens to be an editor, followed my post with a message that wondered if any of us who’d pulled our rights had thought about the fact that when we did, whoever edited our book would not get paid for their work.  I hadn’t realized that, and okay, I admit it, hadn’t even thought about it.  I mean, I knew editors were paid a royalty–have no idea if that’s the correct term here, maybe I should say a percentage–for each time a book they edited is sold, but I had no idea they didn’t at least get paid…something for the time they put in during the editing process.  So, the editor who worked on my book will not get paid.  That sucks.  Then again, I won’t get paid either.  Still, it isn’t fair and I’m sorry her hard work will earn her nothing because she definitely improved on my work.

The thing is…(you knew it was coming, didn’t you?) the fact that she won’t ever get paid isn’t my fault, just as it isn’t hers.  As I told her when I responded to her post, the fault rests squarely on the shoulders of the publisher.  And since the publisher has gone into hiding again and isn’t responding to their authors, there’s not a whole lot any of us can do about it.  We can only hope we’ll hear something sooner rather than later and when we do, it will satisfy all of us.  Meanwhile, I’d hate to see this whole thing turn into a finger-pointing contest, or to borrow the words of this editor, an “us” versus “them” scenario.  The authors did what they felt they had to do in light of the publishers breach of contract and we’re sorry if the editors or cover artists are not being paid.  Beyond that, there’s nothing we can do.

It’s all in the publisher’s hands now.    

Yes, I have another song lodged in my brain.  Difference is, this song I actually like–who doesn’t like John Fogerty?  I’m one of his biggest fans, and “Deja Vu” is one of my favorite songs.  Like they used to say on “American Bandstand,” it has a good beat and you can dance to it.  That’s true, but what makes it one of my favorites are the words.  Fogerty took a Yogi-ism, something that most people would chuckle over, and built a powerful anti-war song around it…and it works.  You have to admire a man who can do that. 

So, why am I singing that particular song?  No, I’m not at war…well, maybe I am.  I just spent all day composing an email to my publisher telling them I was taking back the rights to my book.  It was a very hard thing to do and my hands are still shaking, but I know in my heart it was the right thing.  Now, if I can only convince my head and my nerves of that.  

The thing is, this publisher is in breach of contract in not just one, but several ways.  I blogged about this a few weeks ago, back when I first started thinking about asking for my rights back.  I decided at that time to give them the two weeks they asked for to straighten this whole thing out.  I was hoping for the best, but deep down I expected the worse–or maybe I was just burying my head in the sand.  Who knows?  

In the end, I got what I expected, the worse.  And now, I’ve been advised by another author who’s already filed suit against them and pulled her rights that I shouldn’t ask for my rights back, I should demand them–which is what I did–in a long email complete with an attached file which detailed all my reasons.  I’m pretty sure that’s what has my hands doing the jitterbug, I hate confrontations, even when they happen in cyber-space!

Okay, so the email’s been sent and truthfully, I’ll be very surprised if they respond.  God knows a lot of their authors have been trying to get a response out of them recently, but they seem to be ignoring all of us.  So, I’m following up the email with a certified letter and then I’m going to keep sending the email every day until I get a response.

Wish me luck.  Who knows, maybe I’ll be the writer that finally makes them sit up and take notice.  And hopefully, do what they have to do to fix this godawful mess before more authors get hurt. 

On the plus side in my life while all this has been going on, the Red Sox swept the Angels and  moved one step closer to the World Series!  Now all they have to do is win the ALCS against the Indians–whoops!  Strike that, you know how superstitious I am!  Instead, I’ll just offer my deepest gratitude to the Cleveland Indians for taking out New York.  Now I can sit back and relax while I watch Boston and Cleveland battle it out for the prize.  I won’t go so far as to say I’ll be rooting for the Indians, but if they beat us and move on to the World Series, I don’t think I’ll mind as much simply because it wasn’t the Yankees.

Also, I submitted a query to a print publisher for my paranormal romance, Snow Shadows, and they asked to see the entire manuscript–okay, strike that one too.  Arrgh!  I really need to work on ridding myself of these stupid superstitions.

Maybe that would be a good self-improvement project for taking my mind off this war I’m fighting with my publisher.   

No post yesterday, because Unwilling Angel was released and I was busy with all the hoopla that goes with having a book released.  I tell you, it’s an aweome thing when you submit a manuscript then hear from a publisher that they would like to offer you a contract, but when it finally hits the cyber-space bookshelf–after weeks, or even months, of edits, countless hours spent working with a cover artist to find just the right cover, and days of pre-promotions, it’s a relief.  You get–or I do–a feeling of whew, at last it’s done!  Now I can move on,

The thing is, what do I do next?

I have plenty of options to choose from–five, count ’em, five works-in-progress, seven completed books which need a home, more promotions for my new release, web site to be updated, etc., etc., etc.–none of which appeal to me at the moment.  You see, after yesterday’s whirlwind, I need a break and I can feel my Procrastination Slut persona coming to the fore.

I’ve written about her before in my LJ blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned her here, so I’ll give you a bit of explanation.  I have this tendency to shut down, especially when I have a lot of things I need to do.  It’s irritating, but there it is.  I’ve learned not to fight it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream of what it would be like if I banished her for good.

Hmmm…I’d have numerous books either out on the market or awaiting release, I’d finish off those WIPs and get them out to publishers in the blink of an eye, I’d compose query letters and synopses with little or no painful frustration, I’d be a computer-savvy wiz at promotions, and I’d know how to upload a picture to this blog–

 –and that’s another thing, why is it when you click on the “insert image” icon on WordPress, you don’t get a “browse” option like you do on almost every other site in the cyber-world?  Instead, you get seven fields which have to be filled out and most days, my brain is way too tired for that.  Maybe while the Procrastination Slut is ruling, I should present this to her as a puzzle to be solved.  She doesn’t like to work, but she has no objection to sitting on her butt and playing around with the computer.  So, maybe if I don’t classify it as work, but dress it up as an…enigma (she likes fancy words), I can fool her into figuring it out, because I know there’s a way to do it, I just haven’t found it yet!

Anyway, the Procrastination Slut is back–hey, do you think that’s what’s wrong with the Red Sox, they’re putting off till tomorrow what should be done today, or more correctly, what should have been done weeks ago?  I’ve been trying not to think about this, but I have to say it, Boston is through for the season, they may as well pack up their equipment and slink off the field with their tails between their legs.  And I do mean slink.  They have no reason to hold their heads up and I have no desire to give them a standing O.  Come to think of it, they’d better keep their heads down, ’cause I’m sure there are a lot of fans in closer proximity than I am, who’d love nothing more than to toss a few balls and bats at them.  A word of advice, boys; keep your batting helmets handy this winter, it may save you from a hospital visit.  Oh, and during the post-season when you’re not playing, in between watching the New York Yankees win the AL and probably go on to win the World Series, maybe you should hit the Patriots up for some shoulder pads and a lesson or two on how to band together when times are tough–you obviously don’t have a clue.  To put it in lingo you’ll understand…you suck wicked bad!

Okay, that helped a little bit.  Now, back to our regularly scheduled program…the Procrastination Slut reigns supreme in my world and there’s no telling how long she’ll hang around.  So, while she’s reclining on her chaise lounge (her version of a throne), popping bite-size Heath bars in her mouth (her version of chocolate truffles), and being entertained by her sister’s latest romantic thriller (her version of a court jester), I’m going to present her with a conundrum (I think she’ll like that word):  How many cyber-space imbeciles does it take to post an image on WordPress?

Her answer (I’d bet money on this one):  Ask me later, I’m too busy wasting time right now.

Okay, the Red Sox lost to the Yankees last night–again!  The season is rolling to a close and those damned Yankees are making us look like fools.  If we don’t do something, Boston’s going to replace the Yankees as the biggest chokers in baseball, topping their 2004 downfall in the ALCS when they were ahead three games and lost the next four to our beloved Sox.

That’s just wrong and I have two words to say to all of Red Sox Nation: Tessie Up!

This takes a bit if explaining–especially if you’re not a Sox fan–so I hope you’ll stick with me.  It has to do with superstitions.  If you’re a baseball fan, you gotta have ’em.  I’ve got a gazillion where the Red Sox are concerned.  Given last night’s game, I’d have to say mine aren’t working, so I’m calling out to Red Sox Nation to Tessie Up!  Because our boys need it.  Desperately.  

Where is this coming from?  Well, this morning, I was following one of my own personal superstitions and reading the comments written by some of the Yankee fans to an article on AOL Sports about last night’s game.  One of them said–and I’m paraphrasing here–“The ghost of Babe Ruth is back!”

Meaning, of course, that the Curse of the Bambino is alive and well and living in Red Sox Nation.

Can’t argue with that, especially since the Yankees have hacked away at our lead in the AL East until it’s down to a measly 4 1/2 games–and I’m afraid it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.  If it ever does get better.  So, we’ve got to do something to stop the Babe.  We’ve got to counter-attack with Tessie.

What’s Tessie?  Well, roughly, “Tessie” is a song from the early 20th century that was adopted by the “Royal Rooters,” a group of Red Sox supporters as their rally cry.  Some people believe the singing of “Tessie” is the reason Boston was going to and winning the World Series pretty regularly back in the early 1900’s, back before 1918 when Ruth was sold to the Yankees.  I’ve even seen it posited that the Curse of the Bambino is nothing compared to the Curse of Tessie.  “Tessie” is also credited with the 86 year drought because they stopped singing it after 1918.  Then, in 2004, the Dropkick Murphy’s released an updated version of the song and when people started singing it at the games, Boston won the World Series again.

So, have they stopped playing “Tessie” at Fenway?  Or, could it be that Tessie is a jealous ghost and we’re not giving her enough attention?  If the fans at Fenway–and oh, how I wish I could join you–start singing Tessie’s accolades again, not just after the game but during it, will we salvage this season that’s slipping through our fingers?

Or, are they already singing it and Tessie’s ghost is getting her butt kicked by Babe Ruth’s ghost the same way we’re getting ours kicked by the Yankees?  (I really can’t say because I’m down here in NC and I have to rely on ESPN’s pretty worthless coverage of the Red Sox.)

Thing is, we have to do something to give our boys a boost.  So, to all the Fenway Faithful, Tessie Up!  Don’t just smile when you hear it played after the game and think, “oh, what a catchy tune,” but open your mouths and sing.  And not just when the game is over.  Belt it out at the top of the second, the bottom of the sixth, whenever, and get all the people around you singing too.

Don’t know the words?  You can find them here (along with a better explanation than mine):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tessie

And let’s see if we can’t stop this humiliating downward spiral before it’s too late.

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams