Sunday, May 24, 2020

Coronavirus and Individual Rights

Watching a TV news segment on Wednesday’s 'Operation Haircut' in front of the Michigan Capitol building in Lansing, one hairdresser said "no one can deny me my God-given rights." At first, I found it funny that someone would say such a thing, especially a woman. Men and women claimed their rights, many dying in the process, but they also made laws governing their usage. Has our education system not taught history? 

I know historical information is not always correct and can be misinterpreted, but some of the events such as the wars that took place and the laws written into code happened. I understand, too, that religion has been a part of the process of gaining human rights. It helped bring law and order to civilizations. Yet humans are fickle. We have had many religious wars trying to discover the right religion. It was one of the reasons early American colonists traveled to the newly discovered continent—the right to follow their religious beliefs. At that time, many European governments were in the hands of a king who held the divine right to rule. Also, at that time, women were the property of their husbands. Anything they earned or inherited became their husband's upon marriage. Before marriage, it belonged to the woman’s father.  

It wasn’t until the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, that rights and government changed. Even then, God was mentioned: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

The Declaration does not mention anything about women, but it implies one person’s rights will not impinge on another person’s rights. In Michigan, over 5,000 people have died from Covid19. Do those protesting have the right to possibly further spread the infection to others? Are there better solutions than isolation? Better prevention techniques? Even the selected solutions are being ignored by some individuals.

As to women's God-given rights, it wasn’t until the Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848, that women began demanding rights. England’s Parliament in The Women’s Property Act of 1870 gave English women the right to own the money they earned and to keep what they inherited. In the United States, it wasn’t until the 19th Amendment passed in 1920 that women could vote. Only 100 years ago!

I have no problem with protests or the idea of protesting, or anyone's right to say what they think, and I believe hairdressers are talented, hardworking individuals practicing their art. Right now, this pandemic is affecting many individuals and their families, affecting their livelihood and their freedoms. I understand the frustration and associated panic. We all still need to be aware of all sides of an argument, any argument, and the effects of every solution suggested. We also need to be aware of anyone pushing certain agendas, especially political ones, or we might lose the rights we have come to expect.

Saturday, May 16, 2020


This month's topic is: All books go through multiple edits. What have you learned are your problems, and what irks you about editing?

Editing is very important. No writer writes without making mistakes in wording, structure, or punctuation. Even though my books have been edited multiple times, I still find errors in read-throughs. I hate that when the story is already published!

My common mistakes include:

1. Using the wrong name or misspelling the name for a specific character.

2. Misspelled words. I'm a terrible speller, always have been. I am better than I used to be, but spellings change with time too. I really like online dictionaries with a thesaurus, because I can change out some of the words listed in #4.

3. Misplaced commas, periods, and apostrophes. Since I've started writing, I've become better but when I discover them in published books I am frustrated.

4. Repetition of my unconsciously used favorite words. I keep a list now and try to run through the list to see how many of my over-used words show up. Words like remained, just, like, that, there, before, suddenly, however, although, and through, and also 'and then.'

5. Another mistake I've made is misplaced modifiers, like: I found my dog driving my car.

I make other mistakes, those are just my common ones. If you have a critique partner who is very good with grammar, you are lucky, but if not, a good way to discover mistakes is to read the writing aloud.

The digital world is changing this. Many writing programs like MS Word now have grammar help. Word also allows you to keep a separate dictionary for certain writings, which helps. The Grammarly site is also a great new readily available help source. While this free program catches many mistakes in wording and punctuation, it is not always correct, so users have to be careful. It even works on online-writing like this blog.

Visit these blogs for more takes on this subject!

Diane Bator
Connie Vines
Skye Taylor
Victoria Chatham
Beverley Bateman
Anne Stenhouse 
Margaret Fieland
Dr. Bob Rich 

Saturday, May 9, 2020

4th Excerpt from Constantine's Legacy

Travel in the Dark Ages, now called the Early Middle Ages, was difficult whether by land or water.

Radulf noticed his veltres’ (greyhounds) ears perked up, and their heads turned in the direction of the forest. One stopped, whined, and then caught up with his horse. He noticed Leonard observed the canines also.

“But everyone’s lands are so spread out, even the king’s. Will not such unity become too hard to protect?

“We protect wide-spread villae now. Do you think I would let my steward steal from me?” Ogivia would not. Radulf kept watch through the forest. Something was wrong. He sensed it. With a simple hand motion, he warned his men to remain alert and have their weapons ready.

“What is wrong?” Leonard asked.

“Look about you. Hear and sense as well as see.”

Puzzled, Leonard searched the trees.

“What is different?” Radulf asked.

“The normal forest noises...”

“Exactly.” Radulf lowered his voice and he made some signals with his right hand to the men behind him as he spoke to Leonard. “There are rōbon out there, every ready to kill and steal. Be prepared for an attack.”

Radulf drew his blade, heard Leonard and his men slide their weapons from their scabbards. They rode swords in hand surrounded by silence except for their own horses’ hooves

Screams erupted from among the trees, their numbers indicating a force much larger than his small group. Men in leather battle gear ran forward flinging axes in the ancient Frankish manner of battle. Several loud strikes of ax against wooden shields filled the air, alerting Radulf these were no common road bandits but trained soldiers. They threw with devastating accuracy.

His horse tensed beneath him, upset under the tight reign he held. He knew the animal sensed his tension. An ax hit his shield, the thrust throwing him backwards and off-balance. Even prepared, the added weight briefly caused him to lower his shield while he regained his position.

Many years of battle experience took over. “Ride at all speed! Forward! Forward! Run them down.” Radulf yelled, indicating the soldiers standing in the road ahead of his troop, even as he spurred his horse forward and raised his spatha toward the enemy. The men before them also pulled swords, some already holding their weapons. Others ran to the road’s sides. It took courage to stand before charging horses.

Screams followed and surrounded Radulf. His men’s war bellows followed him and clashed with those of their attackers. Cries of the stricken followed him, both those of his own men and those of their foes. The screams added another note to the dissonance of pounding horse hooves, the thuds and crashes of weapons, and the squeal of injured horses.

His horse’s stride quickened. His troop’s mounts barreled through the men in the road. Thrown axes missed him, but the marauders held no shields, no protection from his spatha and he used it dispassionately. Most ducked and rolled to the side before hooves trampled them. By then, his sword often found some part of the foe’s body. His horse, even if cut, galloped on. He swung a last time, killing a man before passing through the line. Blood sprayed in a long arc, trailing his blade.

Radulf spurred his horse. The animal raced from the ambush. Continuing to press his horse hard in its flight, he followed the old Roman road toward Paris. The blood angered and gratified him, brought memories he needed to quash. Riding at full out gallop helped empty his mind. Two markers down the road, he slowed Morlin to a trot. Sweat lathered the horse’s coat. Once he felt it safe, he slowed his thoughts and reined in his emotions.

Morin’s sides heaved between his legs. The scent of his mount’s sweat and his own ran free and filled his nose. He huffed nearly as hard as his horse.

A glance behind him showed fifteen riders followed, and Leonard, thank God, was one of them, riding close on his gray’s left flank. Leonard’s shield was missing, his spatha’s blade darkened with blood.

Leonard pulled up next to him, but from his son’s stricken look, he knew a first killing already haunted the boy. “It is part of saving your own and your men’s lives.”

“Thou shalt not kill.” The biblical Commandment was all Leonard said.

It struck Radulf, until he realized the comment not aimed at him, but something Leonard tried to work out in his own mind. He snorted and looked away. The world was a vile, murderous place, filled with treachery and evil. Leonard had yet to learn this lesson.

He heard Leonard mutter in Latin, “The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.” More learning from Ogivia. He trusted his sister implicitly. He trusted her with his daughter, but more importantly, he had trusted her with Leonard, his heir. He loved his son, but the boy was more monkish than warrior like. His serving Pepin caused his frequent absence from Albrecht. Serving the new Francorum rex was now his duty. Ogivia had raised the boy, loved him, educated him, and kept him safe. Jocelin had seen to his basic training. Last year, Leonard became old enough for him to take over and begin his son’s tutelage as an heir. Since then Radulf had learned that for everything the boy had learned, his faith often outweighed his logic.

He turned his horse to see who still traveled with him and thought it too bad God had not preserved those lost on the road behind, too. Now, however, was not the time to talk with Leonard about the difference of thanking God through prayer and acting to save one’s self from harm. He glanced at the bloody spatha hanging from Leonard’s hand. Obvious Leonard already knew something of this. He urged his horse forward, and they rode a few more makers down the road before he pulled up and dismounted. As Leonard dismounted next to him he asked, “Are you all right?”