Category Archives: Reblogged

West of the Pecos by Zane Grey

As some of you know, I have a blog dedicated to Zane Grey. He published action romance novels in the early 1900’s.

West of the Pecos; New York, The American Magazine, 1931

18Feb

Illustrated by Frank Hoffman

West of the Pecos

was first published as a 7-episode serial in The American Magazine from August of 1931 to February of 1932. In 1937 Harper & Brothers published the story as an action romance. The Zane Grey’s Western Magazine published West of the Pecos in 1947 and again in 1954. The main characters are Pecos Smith and Terrill (Rill) Lambeth with Sambo as supporting character. As usual, nature plays an important role displaying Pecos River, Horsehead Crossing and Langtry around 1865-1871 (ZGWS). A free copy is available in Roy Glashan‘s library.

“When Templeton Lambeth’s wife informed him that if God was good they might in due time expect the heir he had so passionately longed for, he grasped at this with the joy of a man whose fortunes were failing, and who believed that a son might revive his once cherished dream of a new and adventurous life on the wild Texas ranges west of the Pecos River.

That very momentous day he named the expected boy Terrill Lambeth, for a beloved brother. Their father had bequeathed to each a plantation; one in Louisiana, and the other in eastern Texas. Terrill had done well with his talents, while Templeton had failed.

The baby came and it was a girl. This disappointment was the second of Lambeth’s life, and the greater. Lambeth never reconciled himself to what he considered a scurvy trick of fate. He decided to regard the child as he would a son, and to bring her up accordingly. He never changed the name Terrill. And though he could not help loving Terrill as a daughter, he exulted in her tomboy tendencies and her apparently natural preferences for the rougher and more virile pleasures and occupations. Of these he took full advantage.”

Zane Grey was known for thorough research for his stories and appropriately portrayed characters according to each storyline’s class, gender and color. In West of the Pecos we find ourselves in Texas before and after the war between Southern and Northern states. Texas never experienced the major invasions that other Southern states did. Shortages of essentials like food, medication and paper was extensive because essentials went to the army. To support the war, new property-, poll-, income- and distilling taxes were imposed. Refugees started arriving and wounded men returned. Crime rose and sometimes these were answered with lynchings. Since most white men, like Lambeth, joined the army, women took over the running of most facets of life. Many cotton plantations were not as affected as other industries (TSLAC). However, the Lambeth women experienced hardship, and their slaves probably felt the increasing lack of ready income the most. When the war ended, Lambeth returned a widower with a fifteen year old daughter (Rill) to provide for and a plantation he no longer wants to run.

West of the Pecos is about gender differences, how Texans viewed African-Americans, crime as a consequence of the war, poverty and not giving up. It’s probably one of my favourite Zane Grey action romances. The action is excellent. As usual nature plays a vital part……………………………….

The rest of the review is on zanegreyandme.wordpress.com

An Aspie’s method of reviewing books

I was surprised when Ms. Sofras asked me if I wanted to say something about my review process – from the point of view of an ASD person. This is what reviewing looks like in my version of an Aspie brain.

How I Read ~ A Guest Reviewer Writes ~ #ASD #Asperger’s

I came across Lise Lotte when looking for bloggers to read and review my latest book, Cocktails and Lies.  I became so fascinated by Lise’s story, that we struck up a kind of correspondence which resulted in me inviting her to write a guest post on her reading experiences for my blog.  As a former English teacher, I’m always fascinated to hear about readers’ perspectives, and because Lise’s autistic spectrum disorder, I thought her story might be of interest to authors and readers everywhere.  Over to Lise.

(Pic not included)

My name is Lise Almenningen and I am the owner of the blog humanitysdarkerside.com. Along with that I run a few other blogs on various topics. I also happen to be ASD/Asperger’s/Autistic.

I did not know I had Asperger’s until about the same time I started my first blog, 2012. Until then, I just figured I had some unusual quirks that I tried very hard to suppress. When I realized all of that strangeness was normal for me, I stopped fighting it so hard. Surprise. Surprise. Life got simpler.

I believe the greatest commonality in Aspies, is how different we perceive what we see/observe/feel to non-ASDs (or neurotypicals/normals as you like to call yourselves). That is both our best friend and our worst enemy depending on what we are doing and who we are with. As a reviewer (once I let myself out of my preconceived idea of a reviewer), I believe being Asperger has shed new light on texts.

I am addicted to reading and will try to read anything. That does not mean I will finish, because not all writing is worth finishing. Whether a text is worth finishing has nothing to do with the author’s level of education, expertise or category. I have read academic texts whose authors cannot have been beta-ed and “trashy” authors whose writing is so poignant, I am incapable of putting the text down. Sometimes a text is so technical, I am incapable of ever understanding it. I would not know if the author is good or not in such cases. But I will give them a try.

The rest of the article can be read on ManicScribbler

Identifying with characters in stories

As a young girl and woman (and even now) it was difficult to find female characters that I could identify with. I am white, nerdy, Asperger (although I did not know this at that time) and Norwegian. As time passed more female characters entered the scene, but their roles were often romantic seconds. Not until the last few years have great female characters become more common. Finding characters that you can identify with if you belong to any female minority must be extremely difficult. Perhaps especially in a society as misogynistic as the US.

Along comes Marley Dias who is 11 years old. This amazing girl manages to launch a book-collection campaign focusing on books with black girls as main characters. I would never have dared, or even come up with, such a thing when I was 11. How can I do anything but look up to such a wonderful person?

Marley Dias, 11, Launches Social Action Campaign to Collect #1000BlackGirlBooks

Marley Dias Book Drive 1,000 Black Girl Books
11 year-old Marley Dias at Lingelbach Elementary School in Germantown, collecting books as part of her #1000BlackGirlBooks social action project. (JANICE DIAS/FOR PHILLYVOICE)

In the past year, Philadelphia native Marley Dias has successfully written a proposal for (and received) a Disney Friends for Change grant, served food to orphans in Ghana and recently launched a book club.

Dias is 11 years old.

“I’m hoping to show that other girls can do this as well,” Dias told PhillyVoice. “I used the resources I was given, and I want people to pass that down and use the things they’re given to create more social action projects — and do it just for fun, and not make it feel like a chore.”

Dias’ latest social action project is the #1000BlackGirlBooks book drive. Frustrated with many of the books she’s assigned in school, she confessed to her mother during dinner one night that she was unhappy with how monochromatic so many stories felt.

“I told her I was sick of reading about white boys and dogs,” Dias said, pointing specifically to “Where the Red Fern Grows” and the “Shiloh” series. “‘What are you going to do about it?’ [my mom] asked. And I told her I was going to start a book drive, and a specific book drive, where black girls are the main characters in the book and not background characters or minor characters.” ………….

The rest of the article may be read on Good Black News

“Ass” – US English intensifier

Back in the olden-not-so-golden-days I used to know a bit of Latin. I would translate swear-words into Latin and use them on people who were particularly annoying. At home, our mouths would be washed with soap if we were caught swearing or one of us told on the other. All four of us were awful tattletales, especially if revenge was the goal. Some of these usages of “ass” were new to me.

| JUNE 1, 2016

IN WHICH WE GET TO THE BOTTOM OF SOME CRAZY-ASS LANGUAGE

This is one crazy-ass ass. | via Flickr

Let’s face it, there is no depth to which linguists will not sink in their hunt for the oddities of language. And that includes getting to the bottom of some of the weirdly versatile uses of strong, coarse, foul, no good, very bad language.Now you may think that strong language is useful only when practicing to be a longshoreman in the comfort of your own home (or so I assume), but no. As it turns out not only is strong language a powerful invective that you may not wish to use in front of a policeman, in casual speech it’s often used in innovative and productive ways that have changed colloquial American English grammar—rather unexpectedly.

We saw, for instance, how abso-bloody-lutely fan-freaking-tastic it could be to add a swear word infix to a humble polysyllabic like “Minne-fucking-sota,” in a process called “expletive infixation.” But while expletive infixation may be used for emphasis in casual speech, its usage is still fairly marked. It hasn’t made as insidious an infiltration into mainstream language as one other surprisingly popular curse word:ass. If you’re unconvinced about the grammatical versatility of “ass,” worry not, the linguists are on it!

Just to emphasize, yes, there are actual serious-ass, um, analyses about the word “ass.” (Well, perhaps not that serious). The Annals of Improbable Research recently popularized one such study—a short paper in Snippets Journal by linguist Daniel Siddiqi on the subject of “ass” as a modern intensifier, which gained some mainstream attention. I say “modern,” but in fact fancy-ass examples of the phenomenon have been noted as far back as the 1920s. Even before Siddiqi, there’s been abundant scholarship on the subject, including Diana Elgersma’s elegantly titled 1998 paper “Serious-ass morphology: The anal emphatic in English.”

So what is the so-called “ass” intensifier?

Once, we were all happy enough using rather dull words like “very” and “really” as intensifiers, as in “a very big car” or “a really crazy idea.” They’ve often become so (another intensifier) overused and diluted in effect that many complain bitterly about their use at all. In casual speech, using “-ass” as an intensifier suffix attached to an adjective, we might express the same ideas as the more colorful “a big-ass car” and “a crazy-ass idea.” Obviously, we’re not talking about actual posteriors being big or crazy, so the curse word has developed into a kind of functional linguistic morpheme, carrying a more effective and emphatic weight. Although this is still a marked form that you mostly find in colloquial contexts, it’s getting increasingly common for the “-ass” intensifier to make appearances in mainstream media, as the linguistic register of record becomes ever more casual, perhaps in an effort to become more approachable.

You would never think that the word “ass” could give us so much in the way of grammatical delights…….

The rest of the article may be read at JSTOR

Asperger’s Syndrome – Could the concept of Superpowers be causing more harm than good?

You couldn’t find a super-power in me even if you tried looking for one with a microscope. I am average in most areas, terrible in others and a little above average in a few. Why would people want a super-power anyways? Do we (the asperger/autism community) want to become THEM to such a degree?

Seventh Voice

316

There’s been a lot of talk about the increasingly popular idea that people with Asperger’s Syndrome possess some kind of superpower.

Indeed, many people seem to genuinely believe it.

Search any website on the topic and you’re sure to find groups of people who freely name their superpower and then describe in minute detail the extraordinary things that whatever their particular superpower of choice may be, enables them to do.

To me, such talk of there being any form of an Asperger type superpower is ultimately harmful as it reflects the misbegotten and much argued against concept that those with Asperger’s Syndrome view themselves as being, in many ways, superior to everyone who does not have Asperger’s.

It wasn’t all that long ago that we were fighting against the claim that all people with Asperger’s Syndrome were arrogant, detached, cold, sub-human, robot type intellectual beings, who were capable of memorizing…

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15 words you should eliminate from your vocabulary to sound smarter

Guilty as charged. Perhaps you are too?

Censored-paper

Image: Masterfile/Corbis
Newsprint is on life support,emoji are multiplying faster than hungry Gremlins, and 300 million people worldwide strive to make their point in 140 or fewer characters.People don’t have the time or the attention span to read any more words than necessary. You want your readers to hear you out, understand your message, and perhaps be entertained, right? Here’s a list of words toeliminate to help you write more succinctly.

1. That

It’s superfluous most of the time. Open any document you’ve got drafted on your desktop, and find a sentence with “that” in it. Read it out loud. Now read it again without “that.” If the sentence works without it, delete it. Also? Don’t use “that” when you refer to people. “I have several friends that live in the neighborhood.” No. No, you don’t. You have friends who. Not friends that.

2. Went

I went to school. Or the store, or to church, or to a conference, to Vegas, wherever it is you’re inclined to go. Instead of “went,” consider drove, skated, walked, ran, flew. There are any number of ways to move from here to there. Pick one. Don’t be lazy and miss the chance to add to your story.

3. Honestly

People use “honestly” to add emphasis. The problem is, the minute you tell your reader this particular statement is honest, you’ve implied the rest of your words were not. #Awkward

4. Absolutely

Adding this word to most sentences is redundant. Something is either necessary, or it isn’t. Absolutely necessary doesn’t make it more necessary. If you recommend an essential course to your new employees, it’s essential. Coincidentally, the definition of essential is absolutely necessary. Chicken or egg, eh? ………..

The rest of the article can be read at The Muse

hawkgrrrl: My So-Called Post

March 31, 2015

I’m a word nerd, so I always find it interesting when a simple change to grammar alters the meaning of a word or sentence.  Time magazine recently pointed out one grammatical faux pas:  using “actually” can be a red flag. From this article (reprinted from Inc.):

Extra words used in a sales presentation or investor pitch are unnecessary. They subconsciously point listeners to question if there’s more unspoken information. The word “actually” serves as a spoken pause, giving the presenter’s brain time to catch up and decide how to resolve the conflict in their mind between the question asked and reality.

Actually can point to something in contrast to what is expected; for example, (per the article) if you ask someone “Did you get milk at the store?” and they respond, “Actually, I went to the gas station,” they are pointing out that you expected them to get milk at the store, but ha-ha, there is justification to get milk at the gas station, which is what they did, thwarting your heteronormative patriarchal expectations.  Or something like that.

If you ask your son, “Did you finish all your homework?” and he starts with “Actually . . . ” well, as parents, we are immediately suspicious. [1]  He may be deciding how to answer while he’s stringing out the “actually.” ….

The rest of the article can be found at Wheat and Tares

Pollard, Belinda: What is a beta reader and why do I need one?

You might have seen the term ‘beta reader’ as you’re browsing writing websites, or maybe this is the first time you’ve heard of it.

Basically, a beta reader gives you feedback on your finished manuscript, so you can adjust it before you set it loose on the world. I consider them the superheroes of self-publishing (and great for traditional publishing, too).

What a weird term!

“Beta reader” has apparently been adapted from the software industry, where programmers release a ‘beta’ version of a new program to people who will test it. The beta version comes after the alpha version (which to a writer might be the first draft). I would have thought the alpha version was the one that goes on sale, but apparently not. Confusing, huh?

Don’t worry, just remember: Beta Reader means someone who evaluates a manuscript.

Beta testers find the bugs and improve the software’s usability before the final “release” version goes on sale. A beta reader tests your manuscript (by reading it), and tells you about the ‘bugs’ so you can improve its readability, its usefulness and even its saleability.

It’s an especially valuable step if you are planning to self-publish, but can also help you in the quest to get an agent or publisher if you are planning on going the traditional route with your book.

How to say it

Unfortunately, it’s one of those tomayto-tomahto kinda words. I say it “beeta”, like most Australians and quite a few Brits. In the US, it often seems to be “bayta”. And apparently in some parts of the world, it’s more like “betta”!

I think the take-home message is: Say “beta readers” however you like, just get some! :-)

Why do I need a beta reader?

The fact is, we spend so much time on our own manuscripts that we can’t see them objectively — no matter how diligently we self-edit. These can be some of the outcomes (there are plenty more):

  • We create anticipation or an expectation early in the book, but forget to deliver on it.
  • We describe events in a way that is clear to us but not clear to a reader who can’t see the pictures in our head. (At least, we hope they can’t see them. Are you looking inside my head??? Eek!)
  • We leave out vital steps in an explanation and don’t realise it, because we know what we mean.
  • The characters in our books (whether fictional, or real as in a memoir or non-fiction anecdote) are not convincing, because we know them so well we don’t realise we haven’t developed them thoroughly on paper………………………….

You can read the rest of this article and other articles regarding Beta-readers on Small Blue Dog Publishing

The Gas-lighting of Women and Girls on the Autism Spectrum

Seventh Voice

Artwork by Mirella Santana

Of all the traits attributed to Women on the Autism Spectrum, there remains one that not only continues to go unrecognized as a valid trait but has also suffered the fate of being reconstructed by professionals as a rationale for denying Women a diagnosis.

The trait I’m referring to is that of developing a strong sense of self-awareness.

In almost every description pertaining to the experiences of Women with Asperger’s Syndrome there is evidence of the development of an early, inexplicable sense of ‘otherness,’ to be found.

This sense of ‘otherness’ expands exponentially as girls grow older and develops into a keen sense of self-awareness.

Their strong sense of self-awareness in turn, increases their sensitivity toward any and all experiences that suggest or confirm their perceptions of themselves as different.

Undoubtedly, whilst at school, undiagnosed spectrum girls will find themselves showered, almost daily, with an endless array of situations that…

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At the Intersection of Gender and Autism – Part 3

“Yea I was always baffled at how the women who had post partum like me or raising kids or depression always seemed to do a little better. It was confusing because it always seemed a little harder for me and I felt so alone when they’d say, “Ive been there too” but I saw that really- they hadn’t in the way I had and I could not figure it out. It hurt and felt like a failing tender point. Now that I know I am Autistic, I expect that result and it makes the world of difference to just know that fact. Now I know it will always be a little different, perhaps harder, than my non autistic peers…but at least I have words for it and reasons now. It’s still a baffling struggle at times but most of the confusion has cleared.:) (Kmarle)”

Musings of an Aspie

The final post of a three part series (read Part 2)

While many of the intersections of autistic and female in my life have been social, there are undeniable physical intersections too.

The arrival of adolescence brought with it hints of what it would mean to be an autistic adult. My first real meltdowns. My first experience with depression. My first confusing encounters with physical intimacy.

With nothing to compare those experiences to, I assumed they were a normal part of being a teenager. Everyone said that being a teenager was hard. I couldn’t dispute that. It didn’t seem necessary to look beyond the explanation of “this is hard for everyone.”

That would become a theme. Pregnancy. Breastfeeding. Postpartum depression. My body’s reaction to birth control pills. Countless books and magazine articles assured me that these things were no walk in the park. Not knowing that I was autistic…

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A WRITER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL

Wonderful description of the addiction of writing.

Cowboys & Irishmen

Please Say Goodnight by Gifford MacShane
Sung to the tune of “All Through the Night”

Midnight now, my head is hanging,
Time to say goodnight.
Voices in my head, stop clanging,
It’s time to say goodnight.
I know there are chapters waiting,
Characters anticipating.
I don’t need your conversating,
Please say goodnight.

Heroes have good deeds to do,
But please say goodnight.
Villains will do evil, too,
But please say goodnight.
Demoiselle is left in peril,
Terrified of all things feral,
I don’t really mean to querul,
But please say goodnight.

Night is gone, the dawn is breaking,
PLEASE say goodnight.
My eyes are fried, my hands are shaking,
PLEASE say goodnight.
If I don’t sleep I will perish,
And your story none will cherish.
Voices, please, it may sound churlish
But PLEASE SAY GOODNIGHT!!!

Not familiar with this Welsh carol? Here’s the Kingston Trio’s version of the original. Obviously…

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The problem with the Mask Analogy for Women with Autism

“Given all of this, one could ask; just whose perception of ‘normal’ are we applying here and whose definition of ‘pretending’ or ‘masking’ are we using?”

Seventh Voice

Digital art by Rik Oostenbroek

A mask is a false external covering.

It can be worn to conceal a person’s true identity for better or for worse.

The idea that Women with High Functioning Autism are not being adequately diagnosed, simply because they wear masks, also carries within it the ideation that all women with Autism intentionally try to conceal their true selves in order to ‘pass as normal’.

This in turn implies that all women with Autism willingly engage in the act of perpetrating some form of female deception which, in turn, somehow creates the inability of professionals to recognize them for who they are.

The idea that women are fiendish creatures, capable of deceiving men, is not a new one.

In fact, that particular idea is as old as humanity and has been used successfully over the course of history to deny women the same basic human rights and considerations as men.

Which…

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an Gorta Mor (or The Great Irish Famine, 1845-1852)

“Hundreds of thousands throughout the Isle were dispossessed, and they trudged in weary lines to the port cities, hoping to find passage to America. With no food and little to no money, inestimable thousands died along the way and were buried in mass graves.”

Cowboys & Irishmen

Most of the time I find history boring. But every once in awhile, I stumble over something fascinating. And usually, that something makes me cry.

I’d heard quite a bit about the Irish Famine at different places along the way, like in English class in high school when we read Jonathan Swift’s essay A Modest Proposal (if you haven’t already read it, I highly recommend it. It gives an incredible satiric look at the British government’s feelings on “the Irish problem.” The problem, in short, was that there was such a thing as “the Irish”.)

At any rate, the subject cropped up now and again. But it wasn’t until I started writing my Donovan series that I realized how closely related I was to it. My father’s family emigrated from Ireland in the early 20th century, chased out by the British Army (or so the story goes). As I started…

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Echolalia and Scripting: Straddling the Border of Functional Language

Musings of an Aspie

The Scientist and I went out to dinner last Friday night. It was the day after I’d taped my radio interview and I was feeling wiped out, so we decided to treat ourselves.

During the course of dinner, the waitress made many visits to our table, asking the questions that waitresses do.

How are you tonight?

Would you like me to bring any ketchup or hot sauce?

Is there anything else I can get you?

Would you like more water?

Do you want to see the dessert menu?

To every one of those questions (and perhaps others I don’t remember) I replied, “I’m good.”

“I’m good” made sense the first time and is an okay answer for the others, assuming I didn’t actually want more water or a dessert or need anything else. Except that I did want more water. I was just too tired to override the default script…

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