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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Please help to save a beloved family pet!

Charlie is a puppy, less than two years old.  He felt threatened when an officer on horseback entered the off-leash dog park where horses are NOT allowed.  Yes, he bit the aggressive intruder, probably in defense of his human family.  Now the city of San Francisco wants to murder Charlie.  They are holding this puppy in solitary confinement, with no walks and no visitors.  His family can't see him, and the expert that they hired to examine Charlie can't even see him!  This is an outrage perpetrated by officials on a power trip! 
Please help to save Charlie! 
Charlie's life is in limbo: 
Read current facts, evidence, and no hearsay:
We have made every effort to save Charlie and return him home and out of this nightmare.
Charlie's life is being held over our heads as we are forced to negotiate and plead with the City of San Francisco and Deputy City Attorney, Margaret Baumgartner.
The photos show our 2nd offer ...
Please forward to people you know in the San Francisco Bay Area.
If you live in San Francisco or county, you are encouraged to use the resources below.
Our committed fight to overturn the decision to kill Charlie and declare him vicious and dangerous continues ...
Help Save Charlie hopes to wish you a happy new year. Charlie loves you. He does not deserve to die.
With love,
David Gizzarelli
--- Timeline ---
Office of the City Attorney
City Hall, Room 234
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102-4682
By Telephone
(415) 554-4700
phone By Fax
(415) 554-4745
fax By TTY
(415) 554-6770
Margaret W. Baumgartner
C/O Charlie Gizzarelli #CPF 12 512445 #A319601
Deputy City Attorney
1390 Market St., 6th Fl.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Naomi Kelly
of the City Administrator
C/O Charlie Gizzarelli #CPF 12 512445 #A319601
City Hall, Room 362
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
Rebecca Katz
C/O Charlie Gizzarelli #CPF 12 512445 #A319601
Animal Care & Control
1200 15th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
You may also continue to share and gather support, contact the media. Here is a link to help Charlie get more exposure on CNN:
... go to the comment section and click on THIS BELONGS ON CNN.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Self-publishing made easy

Are you tired of the waiting game?  Are you tired of publishers turning down your manuscript after holding on to it for months?  Or maybe you got a traditional contract, but you will never receive another penny beyond the little advance that they gave you.

Vanity publishers can cost thousands, but wait:  You do not have to pay to publish your work.

I can publish my own books without spending a penny, unless I choose to purchase special services such as proofreading or cover art.  My publisher provides cover templates that I can use to easily make my own covers, and they even provide some clip art if I don't have an image of my own that I want to use.

My books get listed on Amazon, and I can choose whether to offer them on Kindle.  I set the price of each book, so I control how much money I make on each sale.

Instead of waiting months or even years to hear from traditional publishers, and gettinga "no" inmost cases, I can see my books in print as soon as they are ready for my readers.

I'm talking about Create Space.

Try it, you'll like it!

Authors, Share Your Book with Millions of Readers


Monday, December 10, 2012

Book and book bag, great pair of stocking stuffers!

The purrfect bag fur the purrfect book fur fans of science fiction
(my cat helped me write this).

Get your stocking stuffers here

You still have time to get those stocking stuffers.

coffee mugs

pet dishes


book bags / shopping bags

greeting cards


and more!

Have a cup of coffee with PKD!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Holiday hundreds from Swagbucks

If you are not a member of Swagbucks, then you are missing out on a cool way to earn a few bucks, which is something that every writer needs.

I like the Amazon gift cards, but they have a variety of other options, from gift cards for internet or brick-and-mortar stores to Paypal, virtual gifts and more.

I also like the cool promotions that Swagbucks offers, like this new "Holiday Hundreds".

Here is how it works:

Swagbucks is working to make the holidays even more rewarding with their Swagbucks Holiday Hundreds Giveaway. Starting at 12pm Pacific Time on November 14th every transaction you make through the Swagbucks Shop & Earn will get you an entry to win the $100 Gift Card of your choice from the Swag Store! As soon as the Swag Bucks show up as pending in your ledger, your entry has been earned! The first drawing will take place on the 19th and will run every day through the 14th of December - if you're the winner, Swagbucks will contact you at whatever email address you have on your account. Entries are cumulative, so the more transactions you make, the more entries you'll get. Travel Category is excluded.    Haven't joined Swagbucks yet? Sign up today and enter the code HOLIDAY100s to start with 100 Swag Bucks of your own!


Join here, please:


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mega Swabucks Day

Want to make a couple bucks or get a gift card for your favorite store? I usually go for the Amazon gift codes.

 I've been a member of Swagbucks for a couple years, and they do pay. Also, I have a lot of fun, especially when watching short videos about cooking, sports, news, pets and more. Their search engine is pretty good, and you can earn a lot of points when you have a lot of searches to do. Swagbucks is a site where you can take quick polls or longer surveys, watch videos and search the internet to earn points. You can trade those points for all kinds of stuff, including cash through Paypal.

 Even better, Friday is Mega Swagbucks Day, when you can earn even more points than on other days. Please check it out through my referral link below:


 Here's a quote from the Swagbucks blog:

 Every Friday is Mega Swag Bucks Day (MSBD), which means better odds of winning big just for searching on With a little luck, you can win large bills starting at 20 SBs and up. Once in a while, a MSBD may sneak up on you on a day other than Friday.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The myth that the poor don't pay taxes

In the course of political debate, it is often said that the poor do not pay taxes. That simply is not true. Perhaps 47 percent of Americans do not pay income taxes, or get refunds at the end of the year, but everybody pays taxes. Every time you buy something, you pay taxes. Even when you buy food items that do not have sales tax added, the price includes the taxes paid by the store, the farmer and the distributor. And if you drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, you pay huge taxes. Every time you buy a car or register a vehicle or put gas in the tank, you pay taxes. Whenever you pay rent or make a house payment, you pay property taxes for yourself or the landlord. Even if you have enough deductions to bring your income taxes to zero, you still pay for Social Security, Medicare and Disability. Those are taxes. If you have a private retirement plan, that money will be taxed, sooner or later. Taxes hurt everybody, especially the poor. Raising taxes on the "wealthy", which seems to mean an income of $250 thousand a year, hurts everybody because the costs of those taxes are passed down as surely as rain falls from the sky. Let's talk about what an income of $250 thousand means. It means that you are not a millionaire, that maybe you can send your kids to college, that you can make your house payments unless you foolishly bought too much of a house, that you don't have the wolf at the door every month. It does not make you wealthy. And in this economy, you could lose your job any day, so you had better have some savings. Let's talk about savings. The banks pay less than one percent on savings, which doesn't even come near to meeting inflation. Other investments are risky, and they don't pay that much more. Most mortgages and automobile loans are nowhere near the lowest rate, and many are around ten percent or more. Credit cards can charge as much as 35 percent interest. No, maybe poor people do not pay income taxes, but they do pay somebody else's income taxes every time they buy something or pay their rent. And God save people who have debt! Everybody pays taxes, and everybody is hurt by taxes. ~~~

Friday, September 14, 2012

Get Origins while you can; it's about to go out of print

Origins Part One: Thor’s Hammer is about to go out of print, to make way for the expanded epic tale, Fallen Angels. The story follows the survivors of interplanetary war as they struggle to rebuild civilization on a hostile planet where giant beasts roam through mountains, jungles and deserts. The prison planet Gaea, having survived the planet-destroying doomsday weapon, offers meager refuge for the people who fled their shattered home world. In the midst of their efforts to survive, a new religion is born. Get it while you can, under $10 on Amazon! "Origins is good stuff, real science fiction, unlike most of the bogus SF on the current market. . . . I would say you not only have an alternate universe good for a sequel or two, but for a long series of novels and short stories. Many a Grand Master has based a whole career on one or two private universes.” ~~ Ray Nelson (co-author of Philip K. Dick’s The Ganymede Takeover)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

McCormick Grill Mates sent me this great kit of tasty things

Last Saturday the Crestline Lioness hosted a barbecue for our sponsoring club Big Bear Lions, and a good time was had by all. This is our annual reward to all our members for the volunteer work that we do all year. It’s always a welcome treat and a chance to get together and socialize for an afternoon. Our barbecue was made especially flavorful this year because McCormick sent us a free package of grill spices and seasonings. I requested the kit through Crowdtap, a social web site where you can earn points and trade them in for cash. I was thrilled when McCormick selected me as one of the lucky few who received the kit. The kit includes an envelope of Spiced Brandy and Herb Marinade, which made our chicken tender, moist and tasty. We also received an envelope of Memphis PIT BBQ Rub, which our chef Ray used on the short ribs. We got a shaker of Grill Mates Molasses Bacon and a shaker of Montreal Steak spices, which Ray used on the steaks after asking people which flavor they wanted. The bottle of Brown Sugar Bourbon BBQ Sauce got passed around among all the tables, and it was quite empty when we were finished eating. Ray insisted upon cooking the meat, and he owns the grill, so there was no argument. He refused to wear the apron that McCormick provided in the kit, so I’ll have to model it for a photo. We also got a little booklet with some recipes and the url for the web site where we could get more recipes. I’ve been a member of Crestline Lioness since 2005, and I’ve been a board member for the past five years. Lioness is part of Lions International, the world’s largest service organization. We conduct a variety of fundraising activities throughout the year, including yard sales, opportunity drawings, White Cane Days and much more. We support a variety of local and national charities, including City of Hope and Guide Dogs for the blind, and our main focus is on preserving sight. We are especially proud of our annual project of building a float and entering it in the Rose Parade in Pasadena on New Year’s Day. So when we finally get a chance to relax and have a day without work, we really enjoy the barbecue. Everybody brings some kind of side dish, but the centerpiece is always Ray’s grill with burgers, hot dogs, ribs, steak and chicken sending delicious aromas our way. Between the Lions and Lioness, we had about 50 people. McCormick made our party even tastier than ever this year. ~~~

Monday, September 10, 2012

Coming soon, another science fiction novel

Coming soon, and with great cover art by Nick Buchanan! ~~~

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Kitty Cornered: How Frannie and Five Other Incorrigible Cats Seized Control of Our House and Made It Their HomeKitty Cornered: How Frannie and Five Other Incorrigible Cats Seized Control of Our House and Made It Their Home by Bob Tarte
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While pawing out treats to my furry friends, I quote the oft-repeated line in Kitty Cornered (after telling a cat no to the demand for treats), "while wiping the cat treat dust off my hands".

It's always difficult, and often impawssible to refuse a cat anything. They're purrsistent.

Cats rule my life, but at least I can point to Bob Tarte as a total cat slave, while I still manage to resist some of the more unreasonable demands from my furry task-masters.

This book is hilarious most of the time, sad at times and a great read.

It's easy to read, so I could have plowed through it in one evening, but I want to savor every delicious word.


View all my reviews

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Lobster Report (just for fun)

My fellow crustaceans, We face one of the most serious problems in the history of civilization, and our government is covering it up. I speak about alien invasion by creatures from the sky. You may laugh, but this invasion is real. We find almost daily evidence of lobster mutilation and crab abduction, yet the government continues to insist that aliens do not exist, and besides, it would take them millions of years to get here, even if they did exist.  They are simply burying their heads in the sand and ignoring the vast mountains of evidence for alien invasion.

 Hundreds of sightings of strange metal craft hovering above come into my hotline every month. Nobody knows what kind of propulsion system these craft employ, but they do perform amazing hydrodynamic maneuvers before our very eyes. We could never achieve such stunts, and even if we did, our pilots would surely die from being tossed around inside the ship.

 We even have some photographs of these strange aerial craft, admittedly out of focus, but clearly showing metallic craft of roughly ovoid shape, one end being flat with fan-shaped thrusters and the other end being more narrow and pointed.

 Those who have encountered the inhabitants of these craft and managed to return report that the aliens have pink skin, or sometimes brown skin, and that they lack any sort of exoskeleton. Instead their bodies are covered with soft, flowing substances which must be the vestigial remnants of ancestral exoskeletons. These substances come in a variety of colors and patterns, suggesting that the aliens belong to separate communities, if not separate species. They must have evolved to carry their skeletons inside their soft bodies, although our scientists can see no evolutionary advantage to s uch a mutation.

 These evil aliens invade our world on a daily basis, abducting our citizens and the fish who share these waters with us. In some cases, a citizen loses a claw or a bit of skin but otherwise escapes the predation engaged in by these evil invaders.

 We must demand that the government release all information about this phenomenon, and that our defensive forces put a stop to the abduction of fish and crustaceans. ~~~

Friday, August 31, 2012

Kipple - all my stuff is turning into kipple

Phil used to describe the process of entropy in terms of kipple. All your stuff, no matter how shiny, new and cool it might be, eventually turns into kipple. Like my stuf

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Make a few bucks the easy way, on Swagbucks

One of the ways I try to make ends meet, or at least get a little pocket change, is on Swagbucks.  Anybody can join, and it's free.  Swagbucks offers polls, surveys, games and other ways to earn points that you can convert to cash, gift cards and other great offers.

My favorite way to earn on Swagbucks is to watch videos.  Please check it out,


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Interview on "Mystical Cruise" at Blog Talk Radio Friday July 27

I'm scheduled for an interview this Friday July 27, starting 7 p.m. Eastern time, 4 p.m. Pacific time. The show is called "Mystical Cruise", and it's on Blog Talk Radio. 
The show will be archived. 

The host is Robert Sharpe. 

The number for callers to both listen live and/or to call and ask questions is 619-789-4359.

You can check them out here:


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Life on one leg

Yes, I still have both of my legs.  However, one of them is badly broken.  I'm in a brace and on crutches.  Thank God, they didn't put a cast on it, so I can take off the brace to scratch the itchies.

Getting around is problematic at best, even inside the house.  I've learned to hobble into the kitchen on one crutch, so I have a hand free to stir the pot and carry my bowl of soup back to my desk in the living room.

The two hardest things are sitting down and, even worse, getting up from a chair (or from the toilet).

I'm learning ways to bathe without the benefit of the bathroom fixtures that were designed for that purpose.  You see, sitting in a tub is out of the question, unless I want to spend the rest of my life in there.  Standing up in the shower is too painful.  Even my good leg begins to hurt after a few minutes because it has to carry all my weight with no aid from my left leg.

Every day I thank God that this is temporary.  My leg will heal, eventually.  It makes me feel even more sympathetic toward those who have lost one or both legs permanently.

Meanwhile, since I can't do much of anything involving physical activity, I've been experimenting with make-up.  Now, Granny always told me that if you paint your face when you're young, you'll have to paint your face when you're old.  At age 58, I still consider myself young, but my face seems to disagree.  I feel about 26 on the inside, but I'm beginning to look like 76 on the outside. 

I would appreciate any tips you might have about moisturizing (I have very dry skin), wrinkle reduction, choosing the right shades for fair skin with freckles, color coordinating, etc.  I have so little experience with make-up! 

Thank you so much for reading my post!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Philip K.Dick Festival 2012

Want to learn more about Philip K. Dick?  Meet others who read his work?  

Sept 22-23, 2012 will be a weekend of celebration and examination of Phillip K. Dick’s life and work, hosted by San Francisco State University.

The Guest of Honor is Jonathan Lethem, who edited the Library of America editions of Phil's work.  

Not everything is set in stone, but some speakers, mostly academics, have been lined up.  They plan to charge $35 a day or $50 for the entire weekend of the festival, but that could change.  

The web site says, "Speakers and presenters will have their entrance fee waived, but at this point we cannot promise presenters either travel or lodging expenses."  However, when I offered to speak, they said that they will not waive my entrance fee. 

I was really hoping to attend, but I can't afford it..  

I would have to take a train or airline to get from Southern California to the Bay Area, and although friends have offered me a place to stay, and they said they would feed me, I cannot pay the fare to get there.  I can't drive due to a recent head injury, and I don't have a car, anyway.  

If I can manage it, I will attend, but I will not be a speaker or sit on a panel.  They made me feel most unwelcome.  Besides, why should I pay them to let me work for them?  

I'm hoping to scrape up the money to attend, but I will be there as a private person. 


Monday, June 25, 2012

NativeImagesPG's California Indian Blog: Forest's tribal relations program manager honored ...

Here's an interesting blog about preserving our national forests.

Did you know that I live in a forest?

NativeImagesPG's California Indian Blog: Forest's tribal relations program manager honored ...: CONGRATULATIONS DAN! We know how valuable you are to "Us", Glad to see other's do as well! INLAND: Forest's tribal relations program manag...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My book got one star on Amazon, five stars on Library Thing

Terry Allen gave my companion book, Firebright and the Edge of Reality, a five-star rating (5 out of 5!). 

See it on Library Thing. 

Buy the book on Amazon.

And plese note that it has only one Amazon review, and it gives my book one measly star!

Also see my memoir TessaB. Dick: My Life on the Edge of Reality.

and the original memoir, the one that started this chain of events,

Philip K, Dick:  Remembering  Firebright


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Snacking for writers

Despite all the warnings about keeping liquids away from the precious and fragile keyboard, I always keep a cup of coffee and a glass of water at hand while I'm using the computer.  I figure that, if it's going to happen, there is nothing that I can do to stop it.  After all, I once tripped on an electrical cord a full ten feet away from the computer, and the coffee flew out of the cup then landed in a belly flop all over the keyboard.  I'm talented that way.

So I have my liquids, and I have my snacks.  At least once a day, I turn the keyboard upside down and shake out the crumbs of donuts, cookies and potato chips.  Yes, I'm probably ruining my health, such as it is, with all that junk food.

In an attempt to improve my health, and to continue avoiding the need to step away from the computer for an actual meal, I have taken to surrounding the computer with better snacks.

Cheese, I love cheese. Shredded cheese is a great topper for a bowl of soup, especially if you first toss in some croutons for the cheese to hug.  Cheese is also good on crackers, of course, but that strategy lacks imagination.  I like to pan fry a tortilla in butter, adding shredded cheese on top so that it melts into a gooey, delicious mess.  You can add tomato chunks or salsa for extra flavor.

Celery is great, after I strip off most of the strings.  Those strings are too hard to chew, and sometimes they roll up into a ball and choke me.  Celery is good dipped in peanut butter or cream cheese.  I've given up on carrots, unless I have the time and inclination to cut them into thin slices.  My dentures just can't handle the biting and chewing any more.

Oh, and then there's fresh fruit in season.  August is my favorite month because the fruit on my wild blackberry vine ripens in August.  At about the same time, the tomatoes in my garden start producing enough fruit to share with friends and neighbors.

The apples on my ancient tree usually ripen by Halloween.

And then there's the frozen fruit off the Schwan's truck.  Since I can't drive, it's a blessing to have food delivered, and their prices are competitive with the grocery store -- sometimes lower.  (No, they did not pay me to say that.)  Schwan's has a variety of snacks, meals and ingredients for meals, plus the most delicious ice cream I ever ate.

But I digress.  Surrounding myself with snacks enables me to spend more time writing and less time fussing around the kitchen for something to eat.

Living alone -- unless you count the cats -- makes it possible for me to ignore the habits and rituals of family life.  In fact, even when I had a husband and child, I often ignored them until dinner time.  Writing is my life, and other people just have to get used to it.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Drones might be watching you

Drones on U.S. soil?  Apparently yes.

This story from CBS news is scary:

“We’ve seen in some records that were released by the Air Force just recently, that under their rules, they are allowed to fly drones in public areas and record information on domestic situations,” says Jennifer Lynch, an attorney with the San Francisco based Electronic Frontier Association, who is looking into various government surveillance techniques.

The Age Of Drones: Military May Be Using Drones In US To Help Police

Critics fear invasion of privacy

CBS Local (Los Angeles) 



Diamond Candles blogger oportunity

Have you heard of Diamond Candles?  Well, here's your chance ot get one - free! 
These candles are special because every candle contains a ring, and you reveal the ring by burning down the candle.  The rings are valued between $10 and $5,000, and nobody knows which one has the diamond ring! 

Bloggers can sign up for a chance to get a free candle from Diamond Candles in their giveaway opportunity! 

If you love candles and diamonds, then this is the opportunity you have been looking for! Diamond Candles has a review and giveaway opportunity for bloggers! They will be giving this opportunity to the first 100 bloggers to sign-up. Diamond Candles are all-natural soy candles, made in the U.S.A., and contain a ring inside valued between $10 and $5,000!

To sign up for your chance, click here!


Friday, May 25, 2012

The Darkening of the Light, cover art

Nick Buchanan's wonderful art work is always awesome.  Here's his cover my my latest novel, The Darkening of the Light.



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Abandoned owls, revelation and insanity

An interesting post on Word and Film urges Harry Potter fans to stop abandoning their pet owls now that the movies have come to an end.

The same post goes on to point us to a "three-part Opinion piece in the New York Times (here's part one) exploring the difference between spiritual revelation and mental illness."

What, exactly is the difference between revelation and insanity?  Are children mentally ill when they see monsters in the closet or under the bed?  Are religious people insane when they talk to an invisible God?  Are creative artists crazy, or perhaps childlike?

Was Philip K. Dick mentally ill when he encountered information from a parallel universe?

I don't understand why the New York Times piece refers to the "golden fish".  Phil always called it the "pink light".  In any case, it is interesting that a university professor finds the subject worthy of exploration.

Here's a snippet:

Skimming through and across multiple encyclopedia entries, Dick found links and correspondences of ideas everywhere. He also stumbled into the primary texts of a number of philosophers and theologians — notably the pre-Socratics, Plato, Meister Eckhart, Spinoza, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Marx, Whitehead, Heidegger and Hans Jonas. His interpretations are sometimes quite bizarre but often compelling.

Professor Simon Critchley seems blissfully unaware of the fact that Phil studied philosophy at the University of California, or that he continued studying philosophy on his own after leaving the university.

A word of advice:  If you click the links, read at your own peril.  These things might expand your mind.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Win a grant for your favorite animal rescue group

One of Philip K. Dick's most endearing personal qualities was his love for animals.  This love shows up quite clearly in his novel Bladerunner (originally titled Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), as well as in many of his stories and novels.

One way to honor him is to help homeless pets and wild animals that need help.

The Animal Rescue Site has set up a challenge on Causes dot com to help animal rescue groups.

All you need to do is enter your favorite pet photo.

Spring is in full swing, and so is Round 2 of The Animal Rescue Site $300,000 Shelter+ Challenge of 2012 with Petfinder! Enter your winsome pet photo in the Spring Fling Photo Contest and you could win a $2,000 or $1,500 grant for the rescue group of your choice. 

Click here to learn more:


Friday, May 18, 2012

My books are now available in Europe and the UK on Amazon!

My books are now available On Amazon Europe and Amazon UK!

That includes my latest novel, The Darkening of the Light, in which we follow Edna Stax down the rabbit hole of alternate worlds. 



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Swagbucks - make a little pocket money - it's easy

One of the ways I make a few extra bucks is with Swagbucks.  I usually cash out for an Amazon gift card, but you can also get Paypal or other gift cards.  Right now, there's a great promotion going on at Swagbucks. 

It's called "The Swagbucks Carnival".  This promotion gives you an opportunity to earn bonus Swag Bucks each day just for earning the way you normally would. 

Once you have joined Swagbucks, check the meter on your homepage and you'll see a daily goal and how close you are to hitting it.  

When you reach the daily goal, you add to your bonus!  You'll get additional bonuses based on how many days of the Carnival you're able to hit your goal.  

And Swagbucks is having a Swag Code extravaganza on Monday - that means lots of codes, lots of Swag Bucks and lots of fun! 

Oh, and if you haven't joined Swagbucks yet, here's my referral link:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Excerpt, The Darkening of the Light

If you like my other books, you're sure to love my latest novel, The Darkening of the Light.

Here's an excerpt: 

“Clear!” the doctor shouted, and then came the shock.  Again he shouted, “Clear!” and again the shock came.  And yet a third time, the charm, “Clear!” and then the shock, as if Dr. Frankenstein were bringing the monster to life.  The dead parts began to live, and the sinus rhythm settled into a regular pattern on the monitor, and the beeping became more regular and less frantic. 

Clearly the light had begun to darken, yet she lived.  Unable to move, but seeing and hearing all those around her, she lay in the hospital bed while her faithful suitor sat in the chair and talked to her, or Mother sat reading aloud from the newspaper, even reading the want ads, but never the obituaries, for the thought of death must never enter this room.  


Available on Amazon HERE 

or on Kindle HERE


Cover art by Nick Buchanan 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Allegro's Mushroom now available in paperback

now available in paperback!

My analysis of a book that fascinated my husband Philip K. Dick.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Allegro's Mushroom -- book excerpt

From my work in progress:

My husband Philip K. Dick became obsessed with John M. Allegro’s book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, which was first published in 1970, then disappeared amid a storm of controversy and was finally reissued in 2009, more than 20 years after Allegro’s death at age 65 in 1988. The thesis of Allegro’s book is that Christianity had its origin in a cult of mushroom eaters who told the fictional story of Jesus to disguise their recipes for vision-inducing drugs. He goes on to assert that early Christianity was simply one of many fertility cults.

Allegro was part of the original team that worked on the Dead Sea scrolls, until his refusal to fall in line with the orthodox interpretation of the scrolls led the team leader to publicly attack his work and eventually replace him. Any scholar who disagreed with the official “truth” was ridiculed or ignored by the small team of scholars (usually numbering half a dozen) who jealously guarded their treasure. For example, the team agreed that the scrolls had been written, and then hidden in caves, by a small Jewish sect known as Essenes, even though more recent scholarship tends to support the idea that the scrolls belonged to observant Jews. The scrolls might even have been secretly removed from Jerusalem shortly before the Romans captured Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple (Golb, pages 143 and 145-146).

Since only a handful of scholars had access to the scrolls, and they refused to allow other scholars to see them – or even to look at photographs of them – the orthodox interpretation faced few serious challenges until the Huntington Library began making microfilm copies of the scrolls available to all qualified scholars in 1991.

Norman Golb asserts that Allegro wrote The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross as a reaction to, and revenge for, being pushed out of the scrolls team (page 126, footnote). It certainly does attack Christianity, as Golb noted, and the primary members of the team were Catholic priests.

When Allegro published his book in 1970, he was immediately attacked by traditional scholars – not only the Dead Sea scrolls team – for his startling thesis that Christianity had its origins in a fertility cult that used hallucinogenic mushrooms. However, more recent scholarship and a number of primary texts and images from early Christianity tend to support Allegro’s theory about Amanita muscaria. However, his book contains errors and wild speculations that make it easy to find fault with his thesis. He seems to find what he is looking for, regardless of whether it actually exists.

The Amanita muscaria is a mushroom with white spots on the bright red cap, sitting atop a white stem. Numerous scholars have pointed out its resemblance to the red-and-white costume worn by Santa Claus. Like most red fruits, this mushroom is poisonous. It also causes hallucinations, plus wild frenzy followed by lethargy. It is also a purge, causing severe diarrhea. Allegro speculated that fertility cults used this mushroom to produce enthusiasm, in the sense of being filled with the divine spirit. He further speculated that Jesus Christ was simply a symbolic character who personified the mushroom. This proposition, of course, ignores the biblical prohibition against sorcery, which at the time meant pharmacy, the use of psychoactive drugs. Yet Allegro insists upon finding secret codes in the Bible that boil down to recipes for hallucinogenic potions.

I am going to be very tough on Allegro’s thesis, but The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross does have a great deal of value as an exploration of ancient religious ideas. I simply cannot agree that every snake is a penis and every womb is the volva (immature mushroom), or that a mushroom is a hermaphroditic creature consisting of a penis to be worshipped as God the Father while penetrating its own womb.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Walgreens helps you with the Express Scripts program problem

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

The rising costs of medical care affect us all.  In particular, the cost of prescription drugs can make it difficult for us to pay for our health care needs.  Walgreens has always been a great place to get quality prescriptions at an affordable price.  So I'm glad to see that they are taking steps to help people who are suffering from the problems with Express Scripts.  

Despite their best efforts, Walgreens was unable to negotiate a mutually beneficial contract with the Express Scripts provider network, after a year of negotiations.  As a result, the contract expired on December 31, 2011, and Walgreens is no longer part of Express Scripts’ pharmacy provider network as of Jan. 1, 2012. This includes all Walgreens pharmacies nationwide and Duane Reade pharmacies in the New York City area.  Express Scripts have put America in the middle, while pharmacy profits remain flat and Express Scripts profits increase.  As a middleman type of operation, Express Scripts does not provide the services of a pharmacist, while skimming off the profits that should go to the pharmacies, 

Walgreens and Express Script

Only patients with certain prescription insurance plans managed by Express Scripts are impacted. It is best to check with your local Walgreens pharmacist to find out for sure if you’re impacted. Patients also can check the back of their prescription insurance card – if it has Express Scripts’ name there, then they may be affected. If it doesn’t say Express Scripts, then they are not affected.
In particular, the military and employers are suffering because Express Scripts requires them to go through pharmacies in the Express Scripts plan.  Those who have depended upon Walgreens over the years often have no choice but to resort to the Express Scripts mail-order [plan, which can be expensive and time-consuming.  
Patients covered by the Express Scripts program are being forced to change pharmacists and, in many cases to drive long distances to fill their prescriptions.  They are gaining no benefits in terms of their costs going down, and they are experiencing a lot of hassle.  It is pain with no gain.  This was unnecessary, and Walgreens is taking steps to help all those customers who have been affected by the situation. 
Walgreens is offering meaningful help to those affected by the situation.  Among the steps Walgreens is taking to minimize the disruption is offering a special discount on annual membership for its Prescription Savings Club. An individual can join during a special January promotion for only $5, or $10 for a family membership, and receive savings on more than 8,000 brand name and all generic medications. More than 400 generics are available with a three-month supply for less than $1 a week. Regular annual membership is $20 for an individual and $35 for a family.
What a great deal!  Sign me up! 

Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, January 12, 2012

and all I got was this lousy post card

Well, it's actually a letter, but the sentiment is the same.

I never saw a penny of the consultant fee that Jason Koornick promised me for my participation in his PKD biopic, even though the movie has been out for ten years.

That money could pay my bills for two or three months, but when I ask Jason about it, he ignores me.

So all I got was this lousy letter:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Magic mushrooms? John Allegro's book examined

My next book will be an exploration of John Allegro's book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, a work that fascinated my husband.

Allegro, a member of the Dead Sea scrolls team, developed a shocking thesis about early Christianity. He asserted that it was just one of many fertility cults, and that the early Christians achieved visionary experiences by eating a poisonous mushroom.

Watch for my book and Allegro's book, coming soon.


Friday, January 6, 2012

The Postmistress - book review

I read Sarah Blake's novel The Postmistress because it was this month's selection for the local book club.

I have mixed feelings about it, since the story is so important but the author is somewhat lacking in skill to tell it. Here's the beginning of my review:

Sarah Blake used a wealth of actual and imaginary history to craft a tale about ordinary people living through the horrors of Nazi Germany’s march across Europe, the London Blitzkrieg and the pogrom against European Jews. Based partly on research and mostly on imagination, she takes us into the lives of a menagerie – and there lies the problem. She gives us too many main characters, none of whom is the postmistress of the novel’s title. The story of Iris James, Postmistress of Franklin, Massachusetts, turns out to be peripheral to the central story. Moreover, so many stories are told that the central story gets lost in the tangle of smaller stories.

Please follow the link and read my full review. It will increase the pittance that Epinions pays me.