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Winter 2002

Are Women's Rights The New Fad?
copyright westwords 2002

        Originally, I had planned to write about women's rights or the  lack of rights
all around the world.   I was going to focus on the Afghan women and the
Taliban.  That was before I realized Afghan women's rights had become a
political pawn in the war of propaganda.   If you believe what is seen on the
television, the pain of the middle Eastern women has only recently began.  Yet
they have been severely oppressed since Russia was run out of the country.  
Now it seems to serve another purpose.    A self serving purpose to assure we
see no humanity in the enemy.
     Women across the globe endure countless unthinkable acts.  Honor
killings, acid attacks, mutilations slavery and  forced prostitution to name a few.
Even in the US and Europe, women die at the hands of their significant other
at a rate of 3:1 in comparison to men.
       I was talking to a friend last week and she said, "I'm glad to be an
American.  I don't have to deal with all that barbaric treatment."
Barbaric treatment is all relative.  American women and children have a higher
incidence of living  in poverty than men.   Women every where are hitting the
glass ceiling that allegedly does not exist.  Our laws fail to protect women as
citizens and as mothers, in favor of the needs of men.  Eighty percent of crime
victims are women.  This is our burqua.  This is the United States.
       I would hate to see global women's rights, which by the way are simply
human rights, go the way of the last fad, domestic violence.  For a short while
task forces formed daily to discuss decreasing the incidence of abuse.  Now
who's talking about it?  Don't let this be just another political fad.  This is not a
call to arms for women to rise up against men.  The Women's rights movement
have enemies of both sexes.  The most damaging being the women who work
 against it in an effort to appear different, progressive or strong.
      We can continue to feel superior and pity women around the world and
 the US or we can learn what is happening and become involved.
       If any woman suffers purely because of her sex, we are all in danger of the
 same fate.

The sites below can help you understand the enormity of the situation:   
Equality Now
Women for Women

America's New Patriotism
copyright westwords 2002

An air of defiance swept through the US after September 11th.  Patriotism rose

like a phoenix from the ashes.  Our flag came out of storage in homes across

America.  Citizens rushed to buy anything with our flag blazoned on it and

displayed it proudly, defying the terrorists' attempt to break our spirit.

      The Taliban represented all that could go wrong when humans began to

 interpret religion to benefit their own evil goals.  The Taliban is an

embarrassment to Islam just as Jones town and Waco was an embarrassment

to Christianity.

       There has been an unsettling by product of our new found patriotism.   At a

time when you would think Americans would be celebrating the Constitution

and the beauty of democracy, the belief in freedom of speech and other

personal freedoms have gone by the waist side.   Our country has gone

through  trials and tribulations and yes tragedies much worst than 9/11, yet the

constitution held strong.  Yes we must remain vigilant and find those people

responsible for the attacks.   We must find the visitors who took unfair

advantage of our open door policies on immigration an attempted to cause

irreparable harm to our nation and it's people.   However to herd people into

police stations and federal offices simply because they share the same

heritage as the terrorists is wrong  and definitely not the American way.  Our

government quickly condemns other countries for their casual attitude

regarding civil liberties yet turn around and do the same .  The only thing that

changed was the tragedy wasn't at a distance. I guess if it's on our soil all bets

are off.  We can turn our heads and pretend that we don't see this because it

doesn't involve American citizens.  I caution anyone who thinks that once a law

in written that somehow it will never apply to us.  More importantly to ignore the

very principles this country was founded on in favor of revenge is to become a

military state and thus we concede defeat to terrorism.

       Politics, treachery and power lust did not cease to exist on September

 11th.  Fear is being use against the American people not only by the Al-Queda

 and the Taliban, but by our own citizens and politicians.   Hate groups across

the country seized the opportunity to increase their recruitment.

      We hear that these are extraordinary times and we need extraordinary

 measures.  Fear has become power.  A power to force Americans to agree

with all policies.  Any suggestion that there is a crack in US solidarity and it will

be our undoing, or at least that's what we hear on television.      

     If nothing else September 11th jolted Americans into the present and forced

us to realize that we can no longer arrogantly ignore the pain that exists around

the world.   In the 21st century  a leaf falling in a distant forest can make

 a huge ripple in our peaceful little pond.

Summer 2001

Beating Writer's Block

copyright westwords 2001

         It can be debilitating, formidable and downright terrifying when you put

pen to paper and those words, that usually flow so eloquently, sputter to a

trickle.   If and when writer's block occurs it is particularly shocking for the new

novelist,  who expect her words to infinitely come at a snap of her finger.   The

block is for  old, burned-out writer's, who no longer love with their craft, right?  

Nothing could be more wrong. Often it's the new writer who have yet to develop

a pattern of working and keep them working that are effected the most.   The

flood of ideas that assail the new writer can be maddening often stunning them

into catatonia.  They are so afraid of making the wrong move they do nothing at

all.    Below are just a few exercises to try if and when your creative stream

goes dry.

Read the newspaper or a magazine:  Your local paper can be a variable buffet of stories idea.  The articles can spark your creative flames.

Surf the Internet:  Type in random words in your favorite search engine and  peruse through the results.

Take a solitary walk of drive:  The rhythm of your foot steps  and the swing of your arms will soon soothe your troubled mind and allow ideas to flow.  Be sure to take a tape recorder to capture every nugget of literary genius.

Phone a friend:  The way your cousin Trudy handled her back stabbing coworker may give you hints how your character could proceed.

Take a nap:   As your body relaxes, you mind flows with ideas.  Keep a note book close.

Listen to music:  Simple lyrics can jump-start your brain.  What happened to make Toni want him to unbreak her heart?

Visit the local library:  Sifting through all that printed material should get something started.

Go to the mall:  Grab some fries or a side salad.  Watch, listen and learn eaves drop on conversations around you. Be careful not to get arrested.
Ask yourself a question:  What does your lead character want right now?  And finally.

 Began at the end:  There are times we may know how we want a chapter to end.  Write what you know and try to work backwards.  What brought your people to this point?

     Keep Writing!

A Note from the Editors
copyright westwords 2001

    We, the editors of Romance Haven Magazine, would like to clarify an issue that has come to our attention this past month.   
There have recently received email regarding the magazine's heavy ethnic influence.   Here at Romance Haven, we do not seek to exclude.  As we state in the side bar on our opening page, all are welcome.    However we, the editors, are all romance writers of ethnic backgrounds, so the content of this magazine will be skewed towards issues that we encounter in our daily lives.   Sometimes these issues will reflect color but the over all themes of the articles are universal.   Romance, writing and the protection of women and children.  If you are a writer we want to hear from you.   We will never apologize for our use of color because color is our normal.  If this site did not reflect its authors it would be a sham.   
Our links and articles concerning women and children all cross the color line as well as our founders' passion for Denzel and Keanu.   We choose to single out certain races, because, as members, we are aware of the challenges that are unique to their culture in writing world.   
     This isn't a statement of bias but of fact.  We can't wish racism away by ignoring that differences occur in our world solely based on race.  The way to transcend racism is to acknowledge that we all don't have to think, look and act alike to be able to live together as one culture one unit.  If our words are deemed invalid simply because they are known to be delivered by people of color, then it is the reader that must examine themselves and move past their own ideas of race and prejudice.   
  Everything must have a face.  Our face is various shades of brown, from ivory to mahogany, but our message is crystal clear, choose to live and write with passion.
Once you get past the issue of color we are sure you will see there is a place for every one here at Romance Haven.

Submit Your Work   
This summer's excerpt was submitted by Idelia Phillips
Dr. Phillips is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and is the daughter of Mrs. Ruth Proctor and the late Joseph A. Proctor and the sister of Coach Joe Proctor, Alabama State University. She presently lives in Florida with her husband, Andrew. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a doctorate in public health. You can contact Dr. Phillips via e-mail - Visit her web site - - and read excerpts from

Excerpts from Idelia Phillips newly published novel

Star light, StarBright


      "Hurry. Please hurry. They're shooting at me!" Connor cried. "They're

trying to  kill me!"

        Franklin would wait until Connor was safe before he had his well-served

nervous breakdown. Right now he needed to maintain all of his wits to save his


         He held onto the PCD (Personal Communication Device) as he and

Mansour rushed out of the building. Hopefully, they would arrive at the

abandoned building at the same time as the police. Otherwise, he couldn't be

responsible for his actions.

          Mansour drove like a madman. Connor could be wounded or worse yet,

dead by now. Sensing the tension and fear in Franklin, he punched down on

the accelerator another notch.  With the heels missing from her shoes, Connor

ran as fast as she could. Her leg muscles ached and her chest burned. Just a

few more feet and she would be safe.

         She heard footsteps behind her. The ogres were gaining on her. She had

to put some distance between her and her pursuers. Her very life depended on

        Connor felt her energy waning. Total collapse was but a few seconds

away.    Out of breath and out of her mind with fear, she didn't think she would

last much longer. The footsteps were getting closer.  

         Tears welled in Connor's eyes. She had lost the race against time. Just

before everything faded to black,  all of the events leading up to this moment

flashed through her mind.

Aiken, South Carolina .................

Monday morning

         As soon as Connor walked into Burkart's office, she smelled cow manure.

 She took one look at Brian Ferraro seated at the conference table, and the

fetid smell increased.

         "Come in, Connor. Please sit down," Burkart said, his eyes not focused

on anything in particular.

         Connor snorted under her breath. Burkart was a short, `leaning toward  

obesity,' balding excuse for a man. His beet red face and sweaty brow spelled

trouble. Fidgety and nervous. Something was up.

         "Ah...Connor," Burkart stammered. "I know of no other way to say this

except to say it. As you know, the Chief Legal Counsel position is vacant. You

have served in that position as the acting chief for the past two months."

          "After careful consideration, and with the concurrence of the president of

Ellenton River Company, I am pleased to announce that Brian Ferraro has

been named as the new Chief Legal Counsel."

         Connor heard it, but didn't believe it. Could not believe it. Those thieves

had robbed her. Robbed her of her promotion. If that wasn't bad enough, they

had given it to Brian Ferraro. That despicable Brian Ferraro was now her boss.

 A man who hadn't given Ellenton a day's worth of work since he arrived.

          Connor struggled to keep a bland expression on her face. She'd rather

 die than to show any reaction to Burkart's treachery.

        Seconds later, Burkart added more fecal material to the pile at Connor's

feet. She was slowly, but surely sinking as the pile grew higher and higher.
         "Connor, I'm sure that I can count on you to properly orient Brian in terms

of his duties as Chief Legal Counsel. Also, I know that you will continue to

perform as excellently as you have as the Acting Chief. I am confident that you

will continue to give this office your loyalty and support."

       Burkart's jaw twitched slightly as he iterated those last words. Obviously,

his lying mouth had caused his palms to sweat because he nervously wiped

them on his trousers.  
         Connor couldn't move. She wanted to lash out at  Burkart, both verbally

and physically, but professionalism and pride won out.   She would remain her

namesake, the Ice Princess.

         Brian Ferraro smirked while waiting for a reaction from Connor. Burkart

was nailing the coffin shut on Connor's future at Ellenton, and she wasn't doing

anything about it. Why didn't she throw a tantrum or something? He would have.

He had to admit, the Ice Girl was taking it all in stride. The humiliation of not

getting the coveted promotion should have shattered her frosty facade. He had

lived for this see the Ice Girl crushed to the ground. He would be

disappointed, though. Frosty the snow girl all the way.

         No matter, he thought. She was his now. His servant. He had waited

anxiously for this day. Now that their roles were reversed, he would enjoy being

master to that uppity Connor Phillips.

          Connor, the brain. Brilliant scientist.   Outstanding lawyer. Yeah, yeah,

yeah. Not anymore. Nothing but a house slave  now. Locked into servitude. If

she played her cards right, and played them with  him, she might reap some

 small token for her efforts. Maybe.

           Burkart looked at Brian. He knew that Brian couldn't handle this job.

Damn arrogant son-of-a-bitch. What could Burkart do? His hands were tied.

Politics in the workplace. He had to go with the flow. He was too close to

retirement to rock the boat. Surely Connor understood.

        Burkart chanced a glance at Connor. He knew that she was steaming

under that icy veneer. And by all rights, she should be. For seven years she had

worked her tail off. And for what? A hard bounce against the glass ceiling.

         Lord, his head hurt. If his guilty conscience didn't kill him, Brian's antics

 surely would. As long as he could keep Connor on board, everything would be

 okay.  He had to believe that. Two more years; that's all he needed and

everything would work out fine. Surely, Connor knew the score. Her kind never

gets beyond a certain point. She'll be a good girl and take everything in stride.

          Connor walked over to Brian, shook his hand and offered an indifferent,


       To Burkart she uttered, "If you need me, I'll be in my office." She turned on

her heel and walked out without another word to either of them.

        Inside her office, she sank down resignedly in her executive chair and

sighed.  "Well, it's been real, but it's time to move on."

          No more Ellenton River Company for her. If this were how the company

repaid loyalty and hard work, then she would be a fool to stay. Burkart didn't

fool her.   He knew how this scenario would play. Connor would do all of the

work and Brian would get the credit. As of a few minutes ago, she had become

 totally invisible in the eyes of upper management. They would bring her out of

the closet only when the situation warranted it-like on `Happy Diversity Day.'

         Connor had other ideas. She reached for her electronic organizer, found

the number she wanted and placed a call to her friend, John Snoe. The owner

and CEO of Techno-Executives, John was a major player in the headhunting

business. She had met him in Atlanta several years ago. He had tried then to

persuade her to make a move, warning her about the glass ceiling at Ellenton.

She hadn't listened, but she was all-ears now.

         While waiting for John to come on the line, Connor thought again about

the first time she had met Brian.

         Brian had been transferred into her  technology unit and had immediately

 begun to make sexual advances toward her. Because she wouldn't play along,

 he had called her a cold fish. One day he  had held a mock ceremony in the

break room, pretending that it was her coronation as the Ice Queen of Ellenton

 River Company. Connor recalled vividly how he had tried to humiliate her by

presenting her with a cardboard tiara and a bouquet of paper flowers. He and

his cronies had a big laugh that day. To Brian's dismay, Connor had taken the

ugly little tiara and the paper flowers, curtsied and had thanked him with

feigned grace. The laugh was on Brian and he cooled it after that.

          Unfortunately, today, with Burkart's help, Brian  had had the last laugh.

        Connor's recollections were interrupted when she heard John Snoe's

voice on the line.

        "Connor Phillips. It's been a while. How in the world are you? What can I

do for you?" John Snoe greeted Connor warmly.

         "You can get me the heck away from Ellenton. That's what you can do for

me," Connor replied.

        "So, you've finally hit the glass ceiling, huh kid?" John asked


       "Yes, I'm afraid so," Connor admitted reluctantly. "The sooner you can get

 me away from here, the better."

         Connor told John what had happened to her earlier that morning.

         "Well, Connor, you won't have to wait long. As a matter of fact, a law firm

in Tyler Cove, Texas, has contacted me. They need someone to provide expert

legal representation in some sensitive negotiations with Ellenton River

Company and the Department of Energy (DOE)."

         "What kind of negotiations with Ellenton?" Connor was curious.

         "The CRADA (Cooperative Research and Development Agreement)

kind," John said jokingly.

         "Cool. I can handle that."

         "Then they'll want you badly."

         "When can you set up an interview?"

         "Give me a couple of days. In the meantime, fax a resume to me

 immediately.   These guys are in a hurry. They have a new client that's in the

 bioremediation business and could use your expertise right away."

         John continued. "I'll try to set up the interview next week some time. Can

you get away from Ellenton for a few days?"

       "You bet I can. You just set it up and I'll be there. If this opportunity doesn't

pan out, keep trying. I am determined to leave Ellenton before the month is

out," Connor declared.

       "What kind of notice do you have to give the company? You're pretty high

up on the totem pole, kid. Won't your boss expect at least a month's notice?"

John inquired pointedly.

        "You let me worry about that."

        "All right feisty lady. Handle your business."

        "John, one more thing," Connor said quietly. "Please don't call me at my

office.  If you absolutely must speak with me during the day, call and leave a

message with my secretary. Leave your name. No company name and no

number. I'll return your call at my earliest convenience. I don't want anyone,

particularly my boss to know what I'm planning."

       "Connor, you know that I'll do everything I can to help you and I'll do it in a

highly confidential manner."

        She ended the call and turned to her computer screen. Her e-mail prompt

was blinking. She read the message slowly.

        "Well, well. Burkart didn't waste any time in announcing Brian's big

promotion."  Connor cogitated. She finished reading the message. "At least

Burkart  didn't try to tout Brian's qualifications for the job. He's already told too

many lies as it is."

        Connor's phone rang. It was one of her staff attorneys, Megan.

        "How dare Burkart do this?" Megan said vehemently. "Everyone knows

 that you should have gotten that promotion. Brian is nowhere near as qualified

as you are. As a matter of fact, he isn't qualified at all. It's not fair."

         "Megan, don't worry about it. Life goes on. I'm sure that top management

had their reasons for promoting Brian." Connor winced as she said those last

words. Had she actually said that? Megan had a tendency to repeat things out

of context and Connor didn't want to give her anything to misconstrue.

        "Megan, I appreciate the confidence you have in my abilities. Can I take a

rain check on our commiserating? I have some files I need to review. Thanks

so much for calling."

        Knowing that she would not remain at Ellenton much longer, Connor began

packing some of her things in boxes, shredded some documents, and erased

some items from her computer's hard drive.  

        Up to now, Connor had enjoyed her career at Ellenton. It was all she had. It

 had become her family, her lover, her everything. Now, she had nothing. After

 today, she would go no further than  where she was now...somebody's

assistant. The chief's position was out of her reach.

        Connor left Ellenton earlier than usual.  She wouldn't put in her customary

extended hours any longer.  What was the point?   Besides, she had a

 lot on her mind and needed her privacy to think things through.

        As soon as Connor walked into her house and on into the den, she saw

the blinking red light on the answering machine. She pushed the play button

and listened to the only message. It was from John Snoe.

       "Martin and Dubois have reviewed your resume. They've even done a

quick reference and background check. And, as I expected, they want to meet

with you at your earliest convenience. Can you make it as early as Thursday of

this week? Call me."

        "Yes!" Connor shouted.

       If John Snoe's prediction was on target, in less than a week she might have

 a new job.

         Connor walked into her bedroom and examined her body from

head to toe.  She saw a fairly attractive face. No makeup except a little lip-

gloss. Hair pulled back into a nondescript bun at the nape of her neck. White

oxford shirt underneath a drab navy gabardine blazer with gold buttons. In a

word, dull. It was time for a change.

       After two very important phone calls, one to Saks and the other to

B'Elegant Salon, Connor grabbed her keys and rushed out of the door.

      By the time Connor had gotten to the department store, the shopper had

selected several pieces and then added more once she saw Connor in

person. A zealous Connor had bought all of the selections plus the suggested


         Next stop-B'Elegant Salon. Connor recalled the receptionist's greeting

when she had called about an appointment. "B'Elegant Salon. Be all you can


      At the salon, Connor was greeted by Antoine, the proprietor and head

stylist. He critiqued Connor in one quick glance.
        "Tsk, tsk, girlfriend. Why did you wait so long?"

       With a snap of his finger, salon staff started coming out of the woodwork,

swarmed all around Connor and began to work their magic. When they

finished, she looked in the mirror and could not believe her eyes. Antoine gave

two snaps up and gloated enthusiastically over his latest masterpiece.

       Connor left the salon feeling the first effects of her liberation. The old, staid,

corporate clone Connor was literally and figuratively fading fast.

         She drove home looking good and feeling the same.

          Later that evening as she was admiring her purchases, John Snoe


        "Hey lady. Just as I told you, Martin and Dubois are anxious to meet you.

Soon. The interview is just a formality. You've got the job."

         "John, I am pleased that you're so confident. But, you and I both know that

Martin and Dubois will have the last word on the matter."
        "I'm never wrong. That's why Techno-Executives is so successful. I match

the right executives with the right firm. I put a lot of time and energy into finding

the type of person that my client wants."
          "And you're so modest, too," Connor said jokingly.
         "You are so-o-o right. What can I say? I know I'm good at what I do. You,

on the other hand, should give yourself more credit. Toot your horn once in a

while, kiddo. A talented lady like you deserves to work for a company that will

appreciate you. And I can get that for you." John said confidently.

          "Enough of the accolades already. So, when is the interview?" Connor


          "On Thursday of this week, just as I promised. From the excitement in

your voice I guess I can confirm everything with Martin and Dubois. As of

earlier today," he chuckled, "you are scheduled to depart late Wednesday

afternoon from Augusta on Delta Flight..."

       John finished giving Connor the rest of the details. She especially liked the

part that John had said about the `wining and dining'.

           "Martin and Dubois will probably make an offer before you return to

Aiken. Call me as soon as they do so I can gloat."

            Connor laughed. She was almost beginning to believe him.

           "The only thing you need to do when you return to Ellenton is to tell them

adios and pack your bags."

          "I'm starting to believe you, John. You sound so sure."

          "Trust me. You're what Martin and Dubois have been looking for."


Tyler Cove, Texas.................

          The first thing Connor noticed after walking into the airport terminal from

 the plane, was a woman holding a sign with "Dr. Connor Phillips" written on it

in large gold-colored letters.   

         Connor walked over to the woman, and introduced herself.   

         The woman did not immediately return the greeting. She simply stared at


          Connor stared back.  

The woman blinked and then found her voice.   "Ah...welcome to Tyler Cove,

Dr. Phillips. Uh...My name is Martha Hillcrest, Attorney Martin's executive

assistant. I'm here to escort you to your hotel."    What was that weird look

about? Surely I was expected.

          The Secret Killer
copyright westwords 2001   

         There is a secret killer in our midst.  A murderer that steals the lives of our

women , young and old.  It mercilessly take the lives of our children.   This killer

is Post partum Depression.
      This past June the horrifying effects of ignoring post partum depression ,

slapped all of America in the face, when a Texas woman drowned her five

children one by one.   Immediately the misogynists among us, both men and

women, called for her execution.  How could she commit such an unthinkable

act and how her poor husband had to endure such a tragedy.  A month later yet

another woman leaped to her death in the throes of post partum depression.  

This after her mother pleaded her doctors to  treat her daughter's illness at a

local hospital.
           In both of these cases the woman's illness began or was mitigated by

the birth of a new child.  One might think it strange that such a happy event like

the birth of a baby could push a woman to the depths of despair.  

        The Texas mother, a stay at home mom, had a history of depression and

had given birth to five children  in seven years with each birth her illness

worsened.  She  was also home schooling her  children.  This would have been

a monumental task for even the healthiest woman.   A deadly combination for a

woman at risk.  Where was her husband and her family?  Why did they

continue to allow her to care for these children even though her illness had

taken a turn for the worst?

        Millions of women each year struggle with post partum depression.  It

occurs in 1 in 4 new mothers.    After giving birth , there are various hormonal

and chemical changes  occurring in the woman's body.  New mothers may

become anxious, weepy and generally discouraged.  They are afraid they are

not competent to care for the new child.  Since women still shoulder the

majority of the responsibilities in home keeping, care of the new baby and any

other children, as well as, demands of work, stress plays a major role in the

development of their depression.

        The cure, I like to say I have one but I do not.   A support system is

indispensable to these women.  People who understand  the lack of sleep,

increased anxiety and feelings of inadequacy can lead to a  serious problem

and is not just a  rite of passage all women go through.  The support system

must have the courage to give of their time, allow the mother to rest and they

need to step in if they see the mother is overwhelmed and desperate.    

Normally these task would fall upon the father of the baby but we know in the

real world that rarely happens.  

       Women across America can profoundly effect many aspects of post

partum depression, by supporting their friends, sisters and daughters.  By

sharing their experiences and letting them know they are not alone.

Sites of Interest

      Myria's Magazine for Moms

     Wings of Madness

 Spring 2001

Black Inventors

Through out American history African American

inventors have developed ingenious and useful

products that impact our everyday life. Here are a

just a few of them

Folding bed
L.C. Bailey
Rotary engine
Andrew Beard
Letter box
Home security system
Marie Brown
Burridge and Marshman
Radiation detector
George Carruthers
Automatic fishing reel
George Cook
Door knob/door stop
O. Dorsey
Blood Plasma
Dr. Charles Drew
T. Elkins
Robert Flemming Jr.
Golf tee
George Grant
Micheal Harney
Programmable remote control
Joseph N. Jackson
Fountain pen
W.B. Purvis
Baby buggy
W.H. Richardson
Clothes dryer
G.T. Sampson
Cellular phone
Henry Sampson
Curtain rod
S. Scottron
Lawn sprinkler
J.W. Smith
Automatic gear shift
R.B. Spikes
J. Standard
Paul E. Williams
Fire escape ladder
J.B. Winters
Fire extinguisher
Alexander Miles
Gas Mask
Garrett Morgan
Hair Brush
Lydia Newman
Horse shoe
J. Ricks
Ice cream scoop
A.L. Cralle
Lawn mower
L.A. Burr
W.A. Martin
Lunch box
James Robinson
Thomas Stewart
Pencil Sharpener
J.L. Love
Rolling Pin
John Reed
Spark Plug
Edmond Berger
T.A. Carrington
Phone transmitter
Grandville T. Woods
M. Cherry

Creating Conflict

copyright 2001  WestWords publications

What is conflict?  Conflict is the problem that must

be solved before your hero and heroine's can come

together and realize their love.  A solid conflict

between your lead characters can pump your story full

of energy and intrigue that will keep readers'

interests peaked.  Here are a few tips to help you get


1.  Keep the problems between your main characters clear cut and simple.  This doesn't mean it should be devoid of plot twists and turns.  On the contrary, the increased intensity will cause your lead characters to make decisions that will
    further complicate their lives.

2.  Conflict can be internal or external.  External conflict could be the a drought that threatens the heroines crops or the banker that threatens to foreclose on her land.  
    Internal conflict usually involves the heroine wrestling with her deepest fears or secrete desires.  Delving into these feelings and insecurities can bring you to the core of your story and answer important questions.
    Why doesn't the heroine want to be with the hero?  Is he the son of the banker that is foreclosing on her land?  Is she afraid to open herself to love?  Manipulating internal, external conflict or both can increase your readers emotional involvement in your story.

3.  Create a believable no escape situation for your characters.  Then position them to block each other from achieving their goals.  She needs to save her ranch he's the only banker in town.
4.  Balance your lead character's    strengths and weaknesses.  If your heroine is all sugar with no spice readers will find her dull and uninteresting. If your hero is one dimensional no reader will desire to read more about him.

Ultimately your goal in creating conflict is to have

your readers cheering for the good guys and booing the

bad guys. If you can get your readers to make an

emotional investment in the outcome of your story, they

will be hungry for chapter after chapter.

The Truth About the Resilience of Children   
copyright 2001  WestWords publications
  Once again the fallacy that children are relentlessly resilient and can recover
from any and every crisis has exploded in the face of American society.   Yet
another child has taken a gun and killed his class mates.  In true US fashion the
press looked for a scapegoat.  Which in this case turned out to be his mother
and those hateful bullies at his school.    This boy lived with his father, the gun
belonged to his father but some how he killed because his mother didn't love
him enough.   This blows a hole in the long held theory that the simple presence
of the father improves a child's life 100%.
   In the midst of all of this tragedy I will admit for a moment I thanked god for
racism in America.  Why?  When my nieces, nephews as well as our sons go
to school.  They are subjected to illegal searches, seizures, metal detectors
and the school itself is a variable fortress.  It is totally irrelevant to society if
Black , Latino or poor White children's rights and liberties are violated but in
being racist and classist , the powers that be have actually save our children
from these school atrocities.   In suburban areas the opposite is true.  Touch
one back pack and parents are suing the school district.  Hence the reason
these massacres occur predominately in upper and upper middle class
suburban schools.
      Having said that, it doesn't matter where these murders occur the important
point is why they occur.  Teenagers across the country are dying at alarming
rates as a result of shootings.  Not all get the attention of these massacres but
they all carry the same weight.  We as adults have lost touch with our children
and now its my turn to point the finger.
Parents, plain and simple, have dropped the ball.  They seem to be more
focused on their own lives to realize that their children need them.  Not money,
not possessions, the children need their parents time and attention.
      We have all been faced with bullies, drugs/alcohol and other bad
influences.   What was the difference then and now?  Why are our children
killing?  It lies in a stable , solid foundation at home and the love and support of
our parent.  My mom raised her eight children alone.  She worked 8 - 10 hours
a day.  Not only did we have rules to govern ourselves by but I always knew if I
wanted or needed to talk to her I would have her ear.  I truly believe that this is
the difference in our society today.  Many parents expect children to raise
themselves.  Our society will perish if we do not pledge serious energy to solve
this problem.  Enough of the studies that make greedy parents feel better for
leaving their kids in daycare from sun up to sun down.  Simply tell the truth.  If
you ignore and alienate your children or their emotional well being, you run the
risk of creating a child that could commit a crime more heinous than you'd ever
imagined.  That's a tip they forget to mention in those baby books.

Submit and Be Free?
copyright 2001  WestWords publications  

     There is a movement afoot to encourage women to submit completely and

utterly to their husbands.  These ladies say in order for a marriage and family to

be successful the woman must give up her need to control or change people

around her.  This will allow her husband to take his rightful place in the family.  

The wife must keep her mouth shut and never criticize her husband.    She

needs to hand over all control of  the family finances and decisions to her

husband.  They also assert that feminism taught women to advance in the work

place but set them up to fail at home.   These points alone would be enough for

me to denounce this movement but there's more.  The true surrendered wife

should always say yes to her husband and always be available for sex.   Saying

no to sex because you are not in the mood is not allowed.  You are to simply

think good thoughts until you are in the mood.
      Have you heard enough?  The thought of turning  over my very existence to

another human being is unthinkable and quite scary, unfortunately many women

are doing just that.   It seems the world is filled with extremes.  I know it sells

book but what about the emotional fall out that will occur when these ladies

wake up and realize they've been taken.
     I believe the true goal of marriage should be mutual respect.  This would be

impossible if one partner is subjugated.   These women should strive to

develop a relationship with their husbands that nurture both partners and

utilizes the strengths of both people.  Saying yes and " What ever you think

dear." to everything anyone says is foolish at best.
        There are too many women with an innate need to be Daddy's little girl,

without a care  or responsibility in the world.  This ,however, is not reality for any

adult I know.   Do we want to send this kind of message to our daughters?  Be

dependent and defer to your spouse's every whim.  Deny your own thoughts

and feelings for his.   No.  

         Ladies if we must negate ourselves in order to maintain a relationship do

we want that relationship?  

      I didn't think so.

 Winter 2001

"Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is

both impractical and immoral.  It is impractical

because it is a descending spiral ending in

destruction for all.  It is immoral because it seeks

to humiliate the opponent rather than win his

understanding. It seeks to annihilate rather

than to

convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on


Martin Luther King

Writing Your First Query
copyright 2001  WestWords publications

           The moment when a new author sits down to write their first query letter  

is a monumental one indeed.   Not only has she finished her novel but she has

mustered enough courage to send her baby to editors.

           The purpose of the query is to peak the editors interest so they will ask

to see your manuscript.   Although it may seem quite simple there are a few

aspects that must be included in a successful letter.  Below we have a few do's

and don'ts to help make your letter a success.

-After you have determined which publisher best fit your manuscript.  Find out which specific editor handles your genre.  Direct all correspondence to her.  Make sure your information is up to date.  

-In constructing your letter, include full contact information i.e. e-mail, fax and phone along with your name and street address.  Some people find if helpful to have letterhead stationary made to make this a simple step.

And now for the body of the letter:

-Introduce your self

-describe the type of book your have written, including the genre.  Here is where you give a general overview of your book.

-cite why this particular publishers reader would be interested in your novel.

-Add information about your background including any short stories or books you've written.  New writers can add any courses or workshops they have attended.

- Request permission to send sample chapters along with a synopsis of your manuscript and thank the editor for her time.


-discussion of fees, rights or ownership do not belong in the query.  Wait until the editor expresses interest before compensation is discussed.

-Unless requested to do so do not send unsolicited manuscripts.  

-Never leave the burden of contact on the editor enclose a SASE or post card.  
This will allow the editor to contact you with least effort.

The Other Woman
copyright 2001  WestWords publications
       Most of the times when we think of the other woman we think of a mistress.  
But I want to talk about a different other woman.  The woman that is married to
your ex husband.     Why talk about her?  Well because she will probably be
taking care of your children when it their turn to visit their father.  
There are two kinds of other women. One, encourages the children's
relationship with their mother and other seek to replace the children's mother.  
Unfortunately it's been my experience that not many of the former exits.   
Usually the other woman feels an overwhelming need to show how much better
a mother and wife she can be than her predecessor, the infamous hateful first
wife/girlfriend.  Almost instantly after signing the marriage license, the new wife
issues mandate.  Often these ladies have only been privy to one side of the
issues, his.  Yet they take as law.   s of behavior and decorum for her new
stepchildren.   She believes she standing up for and protecting her vulnerable
new husband from his wicked ex and his children that only want what they can
get out of him.  She entrenches her self in the middle of all activities involving
the ex and the children, demanding accountability for all child support funds
and vetoing any additional moneys the wicked ex requests.  Single handed,
she lords over their new kingdom protecting their king and all his possessions.  
Of course I am being a little melodramatic but in essentials my statements are
     It seems the desperate need for a woman to be married superseded all
logic and common sense.  Everyone over the age of sixteen knows no adult is
without faults.  Yes, there are a small number of cases where relationships fall
apart solely because of the actions of one of it's members.  Every second wife
is convinced her new husband is in that minority.
  The second wives are convinced the ex wife deep down in her sole regrets
leaving her hew gem of a man and wants him back desperately.  Of course
more than likely nothing could be further from the truth.  The ex wife is an ex for
a reason.
  I suggest the new wife pays close attention to why the first relationship fell
apart and how he treats his ex-wife.  In a few years the ex wife could be you.
A second wife should encourage the kids relationship with their mother.  This
seems to be the hardest task for number two, but the pay off will be great.  
Once you criticize or demean the children's mother in front of them your have
erected and almost insurmountable wall.   
Try to understand the ex 's point of view.  How would you feel if someone tried
to replace your child's life?   Try to remain neutral.  Allow the father and ex wife
to work out problems concerning the children amongst themselves. Above all
never mount an attack to take another woman's children.   Unless she is a drug
addict, murder or seriously neglecting her children the animosity that this would
create is not worth what it will cost you in your new relationship with these
Starting a new relationship is hard under normal circumstances but when
blended families are involved it can be over -whelming.   I know this from
personal experience because I have been a step mom for 13 years.  It has
been maddening but I kept my focus true. My every action was guided by the
desire to promote our boys mental and physical well being at all times.

Women for Women
copyright 2001  WestWords publications

     For the past six years my sister has been embroiled in a visitation battle

with her ex.  Maybe battle is  not correct term, essentially she has been running

an offense in an attempt to protect herself from this man's wrath.
  Year after year, he was able to use the court system in Ohio to essentially

harass her and her child.   Angry because of all of this, I wrote my

congresswoman Debra Pryce.  
      To be honest I really didn't expect a response from her or her office.  It is my

firm belief that our opinion only matters to senator and congresspersons in

election years, but I did get a call.  At first I was ashamed that I had lost faith in

our lawmakers.  They truly were concerned about the everyday citizen.  My

mirth was short lived, essentially I received the phone version of the polite form

letter.    The Honorable Ms. Pryce's aide said in a nut shell, "We would really

like to help but that is out of our jurisdiction."
       This simply confirmed my previous suspicions. Unless it profits them

personally or politically, lawmakers could care less about the average citizen.

   This alarmed me on another level.  Here before her was a woman who

obviously needed help and they turned a blind eye to her.  Some along the road

in America it has become acceptable to ignore the plight of it's women.

     For a split second the Simpson murders made it all the vogue to help

women in need, but the  American woman's need for equal protection under

the law is more than a fad it's a matter of necessity.   Even women in top

political positions cave under the pressure and ignore the plight of their fellow

women.  Going as far as to back men's group in their quest for equal rights.  

Men are afforded any and every alienable right.
      This isn't an us against them proposition.  Every man on this planet has a

mother.  Most have sisters and aunts.   Not until their love one experiences an

injustice are they out raged.  Problem is, as long as one woman's rights are

being denied or trampled upon, we are all in jeopardy.  The strange thing about

predators is that once they've conquered on type of prey, they inevitably move

on to the next victim.


"Beloved, be still and know. When you listen with

your heart and soul , you will hear ME and feel

My presence as a sacred union with you.

You are My child, My creation. Because I love

 and care for you, I will

Always be with you - in times of need and

throughout all eternity.

Listen, for I will speak to your soul in many ways -

 as the power surging down a waterfall, as a song

that lifts your spirits, as the gentle whisper of

wind that blows through the trees.

You may not see Me, but if you listen, you will

hear Me, beloved, for I am with you."


Giving Your Characters a Voice
copyright 2000  WestWords publications

     Even the newest of writers quickly learn how difficult constructing good

dialogue can be.  It must match the framework of you character's personality.  

Dialogue should reveal tidbits of your story to your readers.

      He are a few tips to help breath life into your characters.

Listen to conversations around you.  How do real people speak?  Now subtract the mundane repetitious words.   What is left is the essence and the beat to beat patterns of how they speak.  This is your frame work for dialogue.

Be certain each character's voice is unique.  The hero  and the heroine's voices should not be indistinguishable from one another.

Align the dialogue with the motivations and objectives of your characters.  Get into their heads let their desire for needs drive the conversation.
Don't feel you must tell your reader everything the character is thinking. Incorporate body language and actions to help tell their story.  Your heroine's words may be calm and reserved, but her hand nervously twists her pearl bracelet.

Be creative with your dialogue but don't opt for strange spellings of words or dialect.  Often pages of oddly spelled words will make a reader skip through the story.  Instead choose your words and word placement carefully.

Use dialogue to move your story forward avoid the bland redundant words of everyday conversations.  Be direct.

Use simple tags for your characters for example:  He said, she said.
      Avoid restating the obvious.  
"What a surprise," she said astonished.    The readers already know she is astonished.

        Finally, attempt to strike a balance with your narrative and dialogue.  Read  your character's words aloud.  Often if her is a problem, it will be
apparent.  Follow the flow of emotion and let your story people speak for themselves.   Your can also tape yourself reading the dialogue.

      Hopefully these tips will help open the flood gates so your characters can be heard.

Words of Description

copyright 2000  WestWords publications

Describing your ethnic characters can be difficult at beat.  I've compiled a list of descriptive words, as well as, sensual ones I've found helpful to jog my memory and stir my creative juices.


Nut brown






Shapes and Sizes


Love and Passion


Welfare or Bust
copyright 2000  WestWords publications

         In Ohio the first group of welfare recipients will reach the three year on
monetary benefits.   I do agree with reforming the welfare system and
decreasing the number of people using the system as a career.
 Having said that, I also believe we must put training programs in place so the
families will be able to function with in reason after the government money has
ended.  I know to many this means more money "out of their pockets" but the
over all long term saving to the country and society are immeasurable.
     By requiring person receiving assistance to enroll in  college of a training
programs, we help end the revolving door of generations of people on welfare.  
Children will understand and see they have more options for their won futures.  
Ultimately crating a stronger America.  Many middle and upper-middle class
people cringe at the thought of supporting other Americans that they see as
"lazy". People they feel should pull themselves up by their bootstraps and help
themselves.   There is only on problem with this theory, often these people have
no "bootstraps" to pull.  We are talking about families who are poor and
undereducated for generations.  If the system requires higher education or enroll-
ment in a training program it will help break this vicious cycle.
     I would like to pretend that my suggestion comes from a noble unselfish
heart willing to give my last dime to my fellow man but it doesn't.  It purely
selfish in origin and design.  Without some form of assistance for these adults
thousands of children will surely suffer.  Adults always seem to manage to
survive but poverty kill more and more children of all races daily.    Maybe if we
can get the adults in a positive state of mind and in a position that they are
forced to take responsibility for themselves, the children of the United States
will finally feel as if they live in the riches country in the world.  

Child Support:  A Choice or a Duty?
copyright 2000  WestWords publications

       I Often see stories about alienated parents, usually fathers.    The

movement for men to be counted as more important than women in all aspects

of life in America is well under way.   If these groups are so concerned about

the welfare of their children then why are they all so looking to decrease the

amount of child support they pay if they are the non custodial parent?  

   Just last week a coworker of mine was afraid to confront her ex husband

because  the way he retaliates is to disrupt payments for his children.  Now that

 sounds like a man who really loves his children.

     Everyday in this country women live intimidated by their ex's, often with the

help of lawyers and the court.   In a misguided effort to correct perceived wrong

actions committed against men over the years.   Ladies we are under siege.

Every aspect of motherhood is discounted and any aspect of fatherly behavior

taunted as the one and only thing the child needs.  This is all a very well thought

out plan to negate any rights the mother may have.   

        Monetary support is a right of the child.  They should be supported in the

manner that both of their parents can afford them.   Children across the country

grow up living with mothers that must work long hours or two jobs to support her

children while, their father has started a new family and is living in middle class

splendor.  Is this the legacy we want to leave for our children.   This tells them

kids just do not count.
      Child support isn't a gift or favor but an inherent right of the child not to be

given or taken away indiscriminately.

Here are a few links that may be helpful:

Child Support Guidelines

National Child Support

All Law


What Color is Democracy?
copyright 2000  WestWords publications

     I hate to admit it but I was one of those people plastered to the television

set  during the marathon coverage of the aftermath of the Presidential election.

I was quite thrilled to watch our  constitutional process in motion.  No one was

 being run over by tanks or shot.  I was a proud citizen of the most wonderful

country in the world riding on a high that only true democracy can bring.  

Then my bubble burst , as I watched the Fox News Network,  racism in

America reared it's ugly head.

        The Rev. Jesse Jackson arrived in Palm Beach to speak out about the

now infamous "Butterfly ballot".  He simply said, as many Democrats before

him had, that the ballots were invalid and unlawful.  To his left stood a black

man and 90% of the others where white.  But apparently he had played the

"race card" what ever that is, because being African American in the US is

anything but a game.  That's a different article.

          It boggles my mind how it is seems to the media that a Black man can

only speak for Black people but an Anglo speak for all.  I fear the browner your

race is  the more they are perceived as being less apt to  speak for others

outside their particular group.

       How is that?  As Americans we experience many of the same things and

feelings.  Can Asians only speak for Asians?  Latinos for Latinos?  Where will

if end?  On certain issues unique to a specific culture must come from a

member of that culture or race. But the last time I checked the American

governmental process included us all.

  The legacy of racism seems to always rear its ugly head when my beloved

country is under stress.

I must admit I am not for Rev. Jackson showing up and marching where ever

there is a crowd gathering but  he stated articulately that the bad ballot was not

about race but about democracy.   Some this statement didn't seep through the
filter of racism.

       This left me feeling disenfranchised.  Even in the 21st century, my beautiful

African American people are seen as trouble making wieners who's

arguments, no matter what they are, are seen as invalid.

Does this make me want to participate less in the system?  Of course not if

something so simple could shut  me down I would be disrespecting the

memory of all my ancestors they fought hard and gave their lives so I could live

as I do today.  There will always those people who can not see.  But for each

one  there are also people who can.  I chose to celebrate them.

Indecision 2000
copyright 2000  WestWords publications

      As we are all painful aware The united states citizens attempted to elect
a president this month.   To all of our shock and dismay, a process that we took
 for granted as seamless broke wide open.  The news net works, in their ever
 present need to be first, botched call after call.  First Gore wins, then Bush, I
tell you in the midst of all their confusion I half expected someone to scream out
 " Dewey beats Truman." Now the quandary of should there be a revote or
should the  now infamous dimpled chads be counted or any of the hand
recounts for that matter.
      Immediately after the election  all this should have been done but now I
feel it is moot.  Any revote of the citizens of Palm Beach county now will be
littered with accusations of fraud and more litigation.  It seems both these fellas
are thinking they can't be the first one to blink.   I must say it does bother me
 that all of the controversy rest in the state of Florida where Jeb Bush is
governor.  If only for appearances sake he should have called for a state wide
revote for only those people who had voted election day .  But there was too
much at stake.  The President of the United States is the most powerful seat in
the world, or so I hear.    
         Seems to me campaigning for President is a lot like dating. The
candidates put their best face forward.  They promised integrity, honesty and
decency.  Each said he would bring the country together  in a non partisan
manner, none of which we have gotten to date.   They wined and dined us until
the big pay off, when we give up our vote, then we never see them again.


Play Tetris!

Play Snake

The three paintings below are the beautiful work of
WAKART  artist  Kevin Williams. Want to get it?
Got praise for a talented man?  E-mail him
Kevin A. Williams

or click on the pho to order

I've learned....
that the best classroom in the world
is at the feet of an elderly person.

I've learned....
that when you're in love, it shows.

I've learned....
that just one person saying to me,
"You've made my day!" makes my day.

I've learned....
that having a child fall asleep in your
arms is one of the most peaceful
feelings in the world.

I've learned....
that being kind is more important than
being right.

I've learned....
that you should never say no to a
gift from a child.

I've learned....
that I can always pray for someone when
I don't have the strength to help him
in some other way.

I've learned....
that no matter how serious your life
requires you to be, everyone needs a
friend to act goofy with.

I've learned....
that sometimes all a person needs is a
hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I've learned....
that life is like a roll of toilet paper.
The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I've learned....
that we should be glad God doesn't
give us everything we ask for.

I've learned....
that money doesn't buy class.

I've learned....
that it's those small daily happenings
that make life so spectacular.

I've learned....
that under everyone's hard shell is
someone who wants to be appreciated
and loved.

I've learned....
that God didn't do it all in one
day. What makes me think I can?

I've learned....
that to ignore the facts does not
change the facts.

I've learned....
that when you plan to get even with
someone, you are only letting that
person continue to hurt you.

I've learned....
that love, not time, heals all wounds.

I've learned....
that the easiest way for me to grow as
a person is to surround myself with
people smarter than I am.

I've learned....
that everyone you meet deserves to
be greeted with a smile.

I've learned....
that there's nothing sweeter than sleeping
with your babies and feeling their
breath on your cheeks.

I've learned....
that no one is perfect until you fall
in love with them.

I've learned....
that life is tough, but I'm tougher.

I've learned....
that opportunities are never lost;
someone will take the ones you miss.

I've learned....
that when you harbor bitterness,
happiness will dock elsewhere.

I've learned....
that one should keep his words both
soft and tender, because tomorrow
he may have to eat them.

I've learned....
that a smile is an inexpensive way to
improve your looks.

I've learned....
that I can't choose how I feel, but
can choose what I do about it.

I've learned....
that when your newly born grandchild
holds your little finger in his little
fist, that you're hooked for life.

I've learned....
that everyone wants to live on top of
the mountain, but all the happiness
and growth occurs while you're climbing it.

I've learned....
that it is best to give advice in only
two circumstances; when it is requested
and when it is a life-threatening situation.

I've learned....
that the less time I have to work with,
the more things I get done.

Tackling the Dreaded Synopsis

copyright 2000  WestWords publications

          As new writers we all understand how important it is to master writing a

synopsis.  To be honest I have tried and failed at many methods.  Finally, when

was writing the synopsis  for my novel "A Warrior's Passion", I realized  I had a

habit of defeating myself before I had even began.   

         A synopsis is merely a summary, a selling tool to convey your story line's  

the most vital  information to  the editor.
   Here are a few pointers that may help the next time your faced with the task:

1.    A synopsis maybe written before or after you novel.  

2.    If your pose any questions in your synopsis they must be answered.  Don't     
       keep the editor in suspense.  She must know all of the major aspects of the
       plot and their resolutions.  All obstacles must be conquered and goals

3.     Use strong verbs and nouns getting the maximum mileage from your      
        words.   Compress your chapters into fact packed sentences.

4.      Weed out unnecessary facts about secondary characters, unless it is                                                
          absolutely critical to the plot.

5.       Include cause and effect actions but, only include those actions with
          major consequences.

6.       Remove all passive words and statements.

7.       Introduce your story with an overview of the plot.  You've seen those two
          two line blurbs describing movies in the theater section in the local paper.

8.       These elements must be included:

- the motivation for your character
-crisis (when all seems lost)
-resolution ( answer all questions and tie up all loose ends)

9.     The opening paragraph should include setting (location,time), background
of the main character and the premise of the novel.   You can also outline  your

story to keep track of the major plot points as you address each of them.    

Good Luck!  Remember we can be successful if we keep writing.

Check out the Writer's Digest site for more on publisher requirements:

Writers Digest Guidelines

  Sylvia Hubbard is a resident of Detroit, Michigan.  Although this is her first novel, she promises many more to come.  She is a member of Detroit's Black Writer's Guild and the Motown Writer's Network.   Despite her full schedule as an entrepreneur, wife and mother, Sylvia volunteers at a local community center teaching young writers.    Want to read more?   Check out  the link below.

Dreams of Reality

For the Record
copyright 2000  WestWords publications

           A few weeks ago I was riding in  the car with my husband, telling him
about the sad news of one  a coworkers.  I talked on and on about how her
husband mentally assaulted his wife in front of their children. In the midst of my
lamenting my husband said,  in a low voice, "You hate men."  He sat seemingly
stunned at his epiphany he had married a woman that hates men.  His reaction
shocked me and for a split second I understood for the first time.  This is why
some women find it so hard to stand up against men.
           Some how, to confront a man means to lose their femininity or
desirability.    They are seen as the" B" word and anti male.    If my husband,
who has known me for twenty five years, can react  in this way I can only
imagine what women all over the country are going through.  Yep, for an instant
I understood but  then I came to my senses.
     What did I say to my husband?  I plead guilty.  I dislike men.  Men who beat
women, disrespect them and men who purposefully skew laws to benefit their
maleness.  But then I added, I also dislike women who have no self respect, or
disrespect other women  and any one that abuses children mentally or
physically are on my list too.   Get the picture?   The  issues I am against have
little to do with the sex of the person committing them, it the fact that they are
committing them that I must speak out against.
          I'm against human cruelty and disrespect for the common citizen, social
inequities that can be corrected but go ignored  in lieu  of profits, politicians
who choose sound bites and image consultants over innovation and truth.  If the
culprit is male or female is irrelevant to my need to voice my disgust for their
deeds, besides some of my best friends are males.

  Reveling in Our Uniqueness
copyright 2000  WestWords publications

         Look around.   In nature there is so much variety.  Doves, eagles and

sparrows  all birds;   Lions, cheetahs, tigers all big cats.
    Now tell me what's so different about human beings?   Imagine a world

without variety.  Only red apples, no color in the world but green, pigeons the

only birds, not a parrot or robin in site.   It sounds silly and implausible doesn't

it?  There people who believe that in order for our country to be racially unified,

we must first become color blind.   The last thing I want is for anyone to ignore  

my brown skin.   Sounds strange doesn't it?  Even with all the negative

connotations connected to my race I refuse to forfeit my uniqueness to please

the masses.  Just as a redhead should not feel she must be a brunette , I love

being brown.  But my zealousness doesn't stop there.  Personally I enjoy the

wondrous variety of our world from plants to animals.  The array of species is

astounding.  I enjoy seeing people of different colors as sure as I like seeing

the blend of the marigolds , zinnias and petunias in my garden.   The pressure

to conform to in great for everyone but it is monumental for non Anglos.   Think

about it.  It is usually people without vision  that are threatened by difference or


           I submit this for your consideration.  To erase racism we must first

acknowledge not ignore, our differences.   We must learn to understand and

celebrate our differences not ridicule them.   We are born originals, custom

made to contribute to society in a way only we can.  Often, with our first breath,

we  sadly fight to fit into the crowd not standout in it.  

           We are all part of one race, the Human Race, a beautiful treasure we must learn to cherish.



The Awakening


Virginia Marie Swift
 learn more about Ms. Swift

 A time comes in your life when you finally get it...

When in the midst of

 all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your

tracks and somewhere the

 voice inside your head cries out - ENOUGH!

fighting and crying or
 struggling to hold on.

 And, like a child quieting down after a blind
your sobs begin to
 subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink
 back your
tears and through

 mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the
through new eyes.

 This is your awakening. You realize that it's time to

stop hoping and
 waiting for something to change or for happiness,
safety and security to

 come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms

with the fact that
 he is not Prince Charming and you are not Cinderella

and that in the real
 world there aren't always fairy tale endings (or
beginnings for that

 and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must
begin with you and in
 the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

 You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and
that not everyone will
 always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you
are ... and that's

 OK. (They are entitled to their own views and
opinions.) You learn that

 people don't always say what they mean or mean what
they say and that not

 everyone will always be there for you and that it's not
always about you.

 And you begin to sift through all the crap you've been
fed about how you

 should behave; how you should look and how much you
should weigh; what you
 should wear and where you should shop; and what you

should drive how and
 where you should live; and what you should do for a
living; who you should
 sleep with, who you should marry, and what you should
expect of a

 the importance of having and raising children; or what
you owe your


 You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive.
And that there is

 power and glory in creating and contributing and you
stop maneuvering
 through life merely as a "consumer" looking for your
next fix.

 You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity
are not the
 outdated ideals of a by gone era but the mortar that
holds together the
 foundation upon which you must build a life. You learn
that you don't know
 everything, it's not your job to save the world and
that you can't teach a
 pig to sing. You learn to distinguish between guilt and
responsibility and
 importance of setting boundaries and learning to say

 You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you
choose to carry and
 that martyrs get burned at the stake. Then you learn
about love. Romantic
 love and familial love. How to love, how much to give
in love, when to
 stop giving and when to walk away. You learn not to
project your needs or
 your feelings onto a relationship. You learn that you
will not be more
 beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important
because of the man
 on your arm or the child that bears your name.

 You learn to look at relationships as they really are
and not as you would
 have them be. You stop trying to control people,
situations and outcomes.
 You learn that just as people grow and change so it is
with love.... and
 you learn that you don't have the right to demand love
on your terms ...
 just to make you happy.

 And, you learn that alone does not mean lonely... And
you look in the
 mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will
never be a size 5 or
 perfect 10 and you stop trying to compete with the
image inside your head
 agonizing over how you "stack up."

 You come to the realization that you deserve to be
treated with love,
 kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won't settle
for less. And, you
 allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you to
glorify you with his
 touch ... and in the process you internalize the
meaning of self-respect.
 And you learn that your body really is your temple. And
you begin to care
 for it and treat it with respect. You begin eating a
balanced diet,
 drinking more water and taking more time to exercise.

 You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can
create doubt and
 So you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels
the body, laughter
 fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to
play. You learn,
 that for the most part, in life you get what you
believe you deserve ...
 and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling

 You learn that anything worth achieving is worth
working for and that
 wishing for something to happen is different from
working toward making it
 happen. More importantly, you learn that in order to
achieve success you
 direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn
that no one can do
 it all alone and that it's OK to risk asking for
help.  You learn to fight
 for your life and not to squander it living under a
cloud of impending
 doom. You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't
always get what
 you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things
happen to
 unsuspecting, good people.

 On these occasions you learn not to personalize things.
You learn that God
 isn't punishing you or failing to answer your prayers.

It's just life

 And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal
state-the ego. You

 that negative feelings such as anger, envy and
resentment must be

 understood and redirected or they will suffocate the
life out of you and
 poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn

admit when you are
 wrong and to building bridges instead of walls.

 You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of
the simple things

 we take for granted, things that millions of people
upon the earth can
 dream about; a full refrigerator, clean running water,
a soft warm bed, a
> long hot shower. Slowly, you begin to take
responsibility for yourself by
 yourself and to make yourself a promise to never betray
yourself and to
 never ever settle for less than your heart's desire.

 And you hang a wind chime outside your window so you
can listen to the
 wind. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep

trusting, and to
 stay open to every wonderful possibility. Finally, with

courage in your
 heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you

take a deep breath
 and you begin to design the life you want to live as
best as you can

Set Goals and Stay on Track
AM West copyright 2000

         The discipline to write is on of the hardest things for a new author to

master.  Since most writers also hold full time jobs.  Prioritizing often becomes

an issue.  The kids need a ride, it's time to cook dinner or the phone rings,

again.  Interruptions are both frequent, bothersome and inevitable.  The key is

to not allow  them to deter you from your ultimate purpose, to finish that novel.
        Setting long term and short term goals have been invaluable to me and my

sanity.  Here are a list of goals I think are important.

Establish your long range goals.  What do you want to get out of your writing?  Fame and fortune; or just a steady paycheck?  What changes are you willing to make to achieve your goals?  Print your goals on a card and place it where you can see it daily, this will keep your ultimate goal foremost in your mind.

Set short term goals.  How many pages per day can you realistically write?   Set a schedule.  What time of day  you are at your writing best?  When do you have the fewest interruptions?  I have always found it helpful to use a small calendar to plan my goals.

Tailor your writing schedule to your life.  Maybe you can't write every day at 3 p.m.  be flexible the important thing is that you are consistent with meeting your weekly quota.  This is where discipline comes in to play.

Update your goals on a regular basis.  Are you in the zone and can easily  write you daily pages?  Then  it's time to up the ante and readjust your goal and your skill and confidence increases.

Never gauge your progress with some one else's.  There will be times your day- to- day life will derail your writing, but if you have your goals clearly in focus it will be easy to get back on track.

Developing Your Characters:
getting to know your Hero and Heroine
copyright 2000  WestWords publications

     The hero and the heroine are the focal point of your novel.  You'll need to

know what history brought your characters to the point when  your story begins

and learn more about them than your readers will ever want to know.  One

method of fleshing out your characters is to list all of their attributes, both

physical and mental.   Here are a few examples:






body build (athletic, slender, zoftig...)

hair color

hair type:  Curly, wavy, straight.   How does it feel/smell?

facial features: Shape of her face (is it like mom's or dad's)
                         eyes (small? large?) Does she wear glasses?
                          teeth (crooked,straight...)
                          mouth (full, thin...)

How does she carry herself? Gracefully or does she tend to slouch?

What does her voice / laugh sound like? How do others react to it hearing it?

What are her mannerisms or peculiarities?


What  does she want right now?

What can't she have and why?  How does she react when she can't have what she wants?

What are her goals?

What does she fear the most?

What does she wan most of all?

Does she have any regrets about past decisions or deeds?

How does she see her self?

What one thing does want no one to find out about her? What lengths will she go to keep her secret hidden?

Social factors

List her family members and how she relates to each of them.

Is she educated? When? Where? How long? If not, why

What do people who know her think of her?

What is a strangers first impression of her?  Does this change after knowing her?

How does she interact with strangers?

How does she react when she's nervous or under pressure?

What are her habits? Good or bad

What is her finical status.

What does she do for fun?

How does she react when she is: Happy, sad, angry?

What is her marital status?

How does she relate to men?

What is her opinion on marriage?

     If your answer these questions in detail and add a few or your own,  you

will have a clear picture of your characters.  Keep your finished biography close

at hand when you write for easy access.

     As all ways, Keep Writing  

For more on developing your characters and other great articles visit:

The Eclectic Writer


A.M. West
      Joy shivered at the thought of how close she had

come. It hadn't always been this way. Walter, her

fiancé, showered her with  gifts and attention, things

she thought she wanted and needed.  Like he had always

old her, he was an eligible brother any woman would

love to have.  All of this was probably a huge mistake

on her part.  She should not have run away like she

had.  She should have stayed, explained her doubts and

worked them out.  If she had, she would not be here

hiding in the islands like a fugitive.

     She shook her head as if to clear it and stood

under the warm spray of the shower and wishing the

water would wash the memories away.  The phone rang,

jarring her back to the present.  Maybe it was Darien.  

Her heart jumped at the thought of him.
  She scrambled from the shower, grabbing her terry

cloth robe from the door as she passed and dove onto

the bed hoping to get to the phone before it stopped


     "Hello,"  Joy said, out of breath from running.  
     "Joy?  Baby, is that you?"  It was her mother.
     "I didn't interrupt anything did I?  Girl, you

don't have one of them island boys there with you do

     "No, Ma."  Joy laughed.  Her mother was never one

to mince words.
     "Good, 'cause Pat Nelson's daughter Trine went on

one of those island trips and got mixed up with one of

them boys.  The next thing we knew, she was married

with five kids.  She has been supporting' him ever

     Joy smiled.  Her mom was strange and she loved

her for it.
     "Mom is that why you called; to talk about my

social life?"
     "No, Bean.  Your dad and I were worried about

you. You haven't been yourself lately.  You are still

our baby, grown or not.  We wanted to make sure you

were O.K."
      Joy could hear the concern in her mother's

voice.  Her mom was right.  For the past two weeks,

she had taken her family through hell without

explanation.  She really did not feel up to explaining

now .
     "Mom, I'm fine, but I really have to go.  I'm

meeting someone."  Joy regretted saying this the

moment it left her lips.
     "Is it a guy?"  Her mom's voice perked up.
     "No, it's a woman, I met at the gym."  She lied.

     "Hey listen mom, I'll call you back later."
     "All right, I'll stop being nosey.  Take care of

your self Bean.  We're here for you."
     "I know, mom."  Joy hung up the phone and rose to

continue her shower.
     Bean, only her mom and sisters called her that.  

Her father called her Joy Ann.  Joy had been Isaac

Coleman's last chance for a son.  His disappointment

was compounded when she decided to become a Russian

translator and not an obstetrician like he was.  A son

would have joined him in his practice, his precious

practice.  Instead, he had Joy; first a girl, then a

translator; nothing.  Her mother tried to compensate

for her father's disinterest , but this only made it

more obvious and more painful.
      Joy walked across the room, her image caught her

eye as she passed the mirror.  Damn, her hair had

drawn up.  It was times like these she regretted going

natural.  Joy pulled at her hair.  She would have to

start over.  If she hurried, she could be ready before

     Joy stepped up to the bar and ordered another

margarita.  She had gotten to the lobby a little early

so she could slip over to the casino and play the

slots.  That's how she'd met Darien, playing slots and

drinking margaritas.  He was tall, handsome

and the color of semisweet chocolate; perfectly

edible.  His silky smooth voice had lulled her into

forgetting the problems that at home.  She didn't want

to get tangled up with him when she hadn't solved her

Walter problem.  She walked through the entrance of

the casino.  The sounds of the slots made her heart

race.  She scanned the room, found a machine and began

to play .

The Disenfranchised Woman in America
copyright 2000  WestWords publications

   September 2000, Columbus Ohio. -  a man despondent over his wife plan to file for divorce shoots his five children,  her and sets fire to the house.  One week later another man calmly follows his wife to work at a local elementary school and shoots her to death in the parking lot.   
            The American woman is under attack daily. Misogyny  has become the   
norm.  It is common place to here lyrics to songs spewing hatred of women.   
Children are encouraged to resent their mothers as they grow older and year
after year legislators chip away a laws that are in place to protect women.  
         The US has a history of discounting the female as a viable citizen.  In the
18th and 19th centuries it was nothing for a man to beat his wife simply
because she "questioned his authority."  I'm sure people will say that was then
and this is now, women have just as many rights as men.  Really?    Let's look
at a few examples:

              AIDS  a disease that kills mostly males has exorbitant amounts or funding for research. This is also the case with heart disease.  Breast Cancer a disease striking mostly females is still poorly funded.
            There are constant battles in the Senate and Congress concerning whether or not a woman has the capacity to decide if she will carry a child.   I must say I am not personally an advocate for abortion but I am an advocate for a woman's right to have to final say in all matters concerning her reproductive organs and her body as a whole.  Would we be having this discussion if this were an issue that  only effected men?  The answer is a resounding NO.
         Men rally to get laws through the legislature to stop favoring women for government loans, to do away with quotas for grants etc., because now the men have decided they are being discriminated against.  Doesn't this make you wonder?  When ever the playing field is getting close to being level men up the ante to keep it  just out of reach.  
           A murder has more rights and more avenues for justice than a woman that  has  proof of physical assault by her husband or boyfriend.

           This brings me back to were my article began, domestic violence.  For a
while, in the wake of the Simpson murder, this was the hot trendy topic.  But
now people seemed to have moved on.  But the problem is getting worse. Just
last week a coworker of mine was assaulted by her husband in front of her
children.  Is he some low life?  No, he is an intelligent and "nice" gentleman.   
The face of abusers are not ugly.  They are your brothers, sons and fathers
"regular" men who feel in order to assert themselves, feel like a man or what
every the excuse is, they must attack the very person that loves them.  Their
behavior is more than "he was just a little stressed" or "what did she do to
him?".   It is simply unacceptable.   Still we live in a climate were there is little
help or empathy for victims.    Even women turn their backs  on fellow women
as if it's catchy like the flu.   As if it could never happen to them.   Here's a
bulletin abuse  knows no boundaries of age or economic brackets.   If you are
a woman and you have a significant other that you are in love with, it can
happen to you.  This includes same sex couples too.
           What's my point?  My point is not to win men over with this article it is to
speak to women.  Wake up.  Get involved with the decisions that will govern not
only your life but the lives of your children. Be aware of what is happening  to
women in your community because one day that could be you or your daughter.

The Myth of the broken home
copyright 2000  WestWords publications

     Before I began I must admit one thing.  I am
the product of a "broken home".  My mother and father
split when I was very young.  I was raised, along with
my brother and five sisters, by a single woman with
little formal education. Yes I blame my mother and
hold her responsible for the person I am today.  An
intelligent, well grounded, independent, college
educated woman, happily married to my best friend and
dedicated mother to our twin teenage boys.  Yes, it
is all my mother's fault.  Because if she hadn't
instilled in me her values, morals, an appreciation
for learning continuously, her perseverance, love
and support imagine where I would be today.
    I suggest we redefine the phrase "broken
home" not to mean a home with one parent but a home
without structure, without rules or guidance and most
of all a home without love and mutual respect.  When
people are discussing broken homes usually what they
are describing are the broken relationships in the
home.  Parents do not want to stand up to their
children and set firm limits.  We all know families
where the children are clearly running the household.  
The focus of the American family must go beyond
political rhetoric and physical lineup i.e. mom, dad,
kids, to the emotional structure of the family and
their ability to access resources when necessary.  In
the era of enacting new laws daily to incarcerate our
children at a younger age we must stop over
simplifying the solution to a dire problem. The key to
making more homes successful is for parents to be
available and unafraid to provide the structure, love
and boundaries that their children so desperately want
and need.



The truth of the matter is

 There is nothing more beautiful

 Than a black man.
 Whether five-two or six-seven

 Yellow fabulous or chocolate heaven,

There is nothing more beautiful

 Than a black man.

 Long and lean

 With deep brown eyes

 Wavy hair or dreads

 With strong thick thighs

 There is nothing more beautiful

 Than a black man.

 Bald head with goatee,

 Cornrows or a fade

 A little thick, a little thin

 Oh, the choices to be made

 There is nothing more beautiful

 Than a black man.

 Scholarly or not

 Wall Street or hip hop

 I'll sing your praises

 To the mountain top.

 Head of the home

 Provider and lover

 Obedient son and loving brother.

 There is nothing more beautiful

 Than a black man.

 A mighty protector you've proven to


 Sacrificing your life to keep me free

 Working for crumbs when the table is


 Praising the Lord, leading the family

in prayer

 There is nothing more beautiful

 Than a black man.

 Holding my hand when fear emerges

 Remaining faithful, suppressing your


 Proving your strength by turning the

other cheek

 Having high hopes when the situation

is bleak

 There is nothing more beautiful

 Than a black man.

 Treating me like the queen I was born

to be

 Never disrespecting, dishonoring, or

disgracing me

 Giving me credit when it is due

 Oh, black man, how I honor you.

 There is nothing more beautiful

 Than a black man.

Facets of Character:  Ethnicity.
copyright 2000  WestWords publications

As romance writers, we must defend our craft more often than any other genre.  Gaining respect from the literati has been a long fought battle.  Within this battle lies another; the ethnic romance writer's struggle to maintain control over how her particular cultural group is portrayed in her novels.  
If an African American heroine is well spoken, educated and has no traits of "traditional Blackness", does that make her any less an African American?  Will the editors view her as unrealistic?  Or will the writer be quizzed on what makes this particular character ethnic?
 Ethnicity is not clichés of behavior or speech but a reflection of culture and of personal knowledge of what makes an Asian American Asian, a Latino American Latin or African Americans identify with each other.  The bottom line is Ethnicity is more than skin color, hair texture or rhythm of speech. It is the common bond developed among a group of people through shared experiences.
So what's the big deal and why is this important?  If an editor reading a submission has not had experiences interacting with various groups, they may only respond to obvious stereotypes of a particular group.  Ethnicity is merely one facet in a hero or heroine's character.  They simply represent one type in a broad spectrum of people.
As Americans there is one obvious truth:  We are more alike than we are different.
What makes ethnic ethnic?  It's the common bonds, shared traditions and experiences each person has tucked away in her psyche.

Contests are they worth the effort?
copyright 2000  WestWords publications

One Saturday morning early last May I sprang out of bed desperate to finish the collating I had began the day before.  You see , this was the last possible day I could submit my entries in the latest contest.
Carefully I reread the strict submission guidelines, stuffed the first thirty-five pages of my novel in to the Tyvek envelope and submitted my work of art, my labor of love, to the enemy, the critiques.
Each passing day I pretended not to think about where my pages were and who was reading them to no avail.  Then finally, after five excruciating weeks my SASE fell through my door, announcing that I was not a finalist.  After the initial sting of rejection passed, I opened the packet and began to read the critiques of my story.  Judge #1  trashes it mercilessly and states, "the prologue  was long and useless......the story line unbelievable.  Judge #2 states  "The story line is both interesting and relevant aside from a few mechanical errors, this manuscript is ready to publish. The last judge and I must say my favorite was #3  she was completely enthralled by the story and wanted to fix the few mechanical errors she had also noticed and submit it immediately.  
The point to this drawn out yarn is, it is best to view contest as a tool.  Enter them at your own risk.  Some editors/critiquers will like your work and just as many may wonder why you bother to take pen to paper and dare write one word.   I find it is helpful if you view contest as a way to get feed back, good or bad.   Ignore the extremes and focus on the critiques that are productive not destrutructive.   Here are a few hints when dealing with contests:

Know why you are entering the contest.  Are simply looking to get an opinion on your work?  Looking for writing credits? Trying to experience meeting a deadline?  If you remain focused on your objective no matter what the out come of the contest you will benefit.
Set a budget when it comes to entering contests.  You can easily spend $300 in one year on contests alone with minimal return investment.
Don't allow inconsistent reviews cloud your belief in your abilities as a writer.  What one editor thinks is trash and be another's treasure.
Most of all keep writing, practice makes perfect.

exerts from

"A Warrior's Passion"
Copyright   A.M. West

         Kamiya took a deep breath and opened the door.  She
managed to tolerate Maria Jennings superior attitude from a distance.
Maria had insisted on coming to the ball with her brother George.  It was a day's carriage ride from the southern most parishes.  Which meant Maria would be their guest for at least a week.  Kamiya smiled  and stepped up to the carriage door.
     "Maria, I'm glad you made it."  
     "Oh, my dear, I wouldn't have missed this for world.  You give
parties here so infrequently now.  It's such a shame too,  denying us  the beauty of Addison Ridge."   
The smile on Maria's face never touched her cold gray eyes.  At
twenty-four she had been married and divorce twice.  Her delicate beauty drew rich men to her easily.  Her hardened heart drove them away just as quickly.  Kamiya speculated Maria's visit could only have two motives.  To get George a rich wife and a third husband for  herself, her father, Victor Burgess.

"Maria."  Victor joined them at the carriage.  Instantly Maria's stormy gray eyes brightened.  She brushed pass Kamiya.  
     "Mr. Burgess, how good it is to see you."  She smiled as he kissed her on both cheeks.  "I was just telling Kamiya how thrilled we are to be invited to your lovely home."  She hooked her arm into Victor's and walked into the large white house that Kamiya knew Maria hoped would soon be hers.  

Father's Right's
copyright 2000  WestWords publications

Every day I read  a new article concerning father's rights.   
I began to realize I was watching a movement grow.  What exactly are father's rights and why do men feel they must pursue them now?
It seems to me their position is they want to be considered equal to the woman as a parent in the eyes of the law.  Well they are succeeding immensely.  Every day a woman loses custody of a child to its father.  
     Now lets examine this parenting situation.  I know still today women are often eager and sometimes desperate to marry.  I am not quite sure why this desperation still exits but I would be lying to myself and to you if I did not acknowledge it.   For example, if the mother  is a working mom (outside the home or stay at home) we all know that her day begins before the children awake in the morning (so she can get a shower without interruption) and it ends after the kids are in bed.  Meantime she had fixed two meals, bandaged  numerous bumps and bruise sand plays mediator for all disputes.  Now let's look at the average father's day .  He gets up takes his shower eats breakfast and goes to work.  When he returns home for work everyone must wait until he is ready to interact with the family before a word is said.  Although it is a nice ideal, the fact is that mothers never have an off day or time to themselves.  This is a fact of life.  More often than not the mother and father are not equal in how they care for the children.   It is true that it is important for a child to be brought up in a stable home to increase their chances for survival.   Stable is not synonymous with mother and father.  Often homes with both parent are more turbulent than some single parent homes.
 It seem the most recent propaganda is that a father can raise children without a mother but it is no way possible a mother can raise a family without a man.  This is pure and simple propaganda put forth by men.  If they are indispensable  they can determine the future of our country through it's children.
Father's Rights is purely a drive to get  tax deductions and no child support payments.  It is purely economical not emotional attachment to the children.  
Legislation is in place in many states to make shared parenting the norm.  Legislation to deny alimony to women but allowing men to get alimony from women.  The US government has a history of over correcting a perceived wrong.  But this time it involves our children.   A week with daddy here and a week with mommy there is not stability.  Stability is a permanent place with one parent and easy visitation for the noncustodial one.  This isn't about finance, it isn't  about revenge it's about protecting our children at all cost even if it is from their own fathers.  

Links of interest:
National organization for women
Help for child support
Help For single mothers
Speak up send a letter to your Congressman

 About Ms. Swift

Hello everyone. My name is Virginia Marie Swift. I have been scribbling
most of my life. However, in the past 5 years I have gotten more serious and
determined. Some people have said driven. I write children's stories,
poems, and short articles. I am in the process of writing a study manual
for wounded people. It is tentatively called Wounded Warriors.

I have had a lot of experience with being wounded. I was sexually abused by
my stepfather from age 9 to 13. I was married to an emotionally and
verbally abusive man for 29 years, until he died in 1991. I then became
engaged to another abusive man for 4 years. Thankfully, I had grown enough
to recognize how unhealthy he was for me and ended that.

I had 2 children. My son, born in 1965 in Massachusetts, was killed by a
drunk driver in the same state in 1981. My daughter, born in Spain in 1969,
lives 20 miles from me. She has an 11 year old girl, gramma's darling!

I have lived in many places. My husband was in the US Air Force. We lived
in Delaware, Massachusetts, Texas, Colorado, Germany, Spain, and retired in
Maryland, our home state.

I consider myself a wounded warrior. I am not just a survivor, but an
over comer! I am what I call a liberal Christian. I believe God is much
bigger than most give credit for, and that God meets each of us where we are,
and walks with us where we are going.

I live on the beautiful Eastern Shore of Maryland, half- way between the
Ocean, and the Chesapeake Bay. It is a wonderfully beautiful area.
I live alone, happily. My life has been rough in many ways. However, I
believe that the things and people we have in our lives shapes and molds us
to become what we are intended to become. Therefore, I wouldn't change
anything. I am what I am because I was what I was.

Virginia Marie Swift

 An Aunt's Plight
copyright westwords 2002

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