Saturday, October 28, 2017


Once upon an innocent time children dressed as pirates for Halloween. I remember well. We didn't spend money on the latest costume hanging in the stores. We created.

Tear a shirt, hike up the long pants, smear some of mama's make up on our faces, find a stick that looks like a sword, fashion an eye patch and we're good to go. We even used brown paper grocery bags to collect our goodies.

Today's rant is not about the commercialization of Halloween, although that would make a great topic. Today I'm talking about pirates. More exact, the verb, to pirate.

Yes, sad to say, "I've been pirated." Not me. My books. My intellectual property, as the legal term goes. Hard earned, time spent in front of the computer screen, butt in chair sweat equity kind of property.

I belong to an excellent facebook group of soulmate writers that shares the joys and woes of being an author. A recent thread of discussion has been pirating. Different authors related experiences of finding their books at various sites on the internet...for free...without their permission. Several people offered solutions.

Being the curious one I am, I decided that perhaps I should check out this phenomena. 

Alas, I almost wish I hadn't. Ignorance is truly bliss and I'm no longer blissful. I'm mad. I'm angry that some "business" has taken upon themselves to offer my materials without my permission to anyone who dares. I won't dignify them by giving names, but there are many, in my case, fourteen. Doesn't the word copyright mean anything anymore?

Okay, so for $9.99 per month I can pay a different company to monitor my book and blast the titles off any unauthorized site. I'm considering my options here on this, because it almost seems like paying a ransom but to a third party. Go figure. 

When children play pirates and board the monkey bars of another child and sword fight until one walks the plank, it's all make believe. It wasn't make believe or even high seas romantic adventure when a grungy, filthy pirate full of malice boarded a ship in the middle of the vast ocean and took what didn't belong to him. Let's not fool ourselves into thinking it is anything but dishonesty for a "publisher" to pilfer through my books and offer them to the public on a legitimate looking website without my permission. Buyer beware! 

Being pirated is not for the faint of heart.

Rant over.

Catch of the day,


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Musings on an Abandoned Cotton Mill

There's something sad and depressing about abandoned buildings. They are unfulfilled dreams. They are plans interrupted.

And yet there's a certain beauty in nature reclaiming its rightful place, creeping vine by vine through that which could have been.
There once was a thriving cotton mill where dreams of wealth and prosperity should have brought jobs to the mountain people. In the days before air conditioning, locating a mill away from the fields that produced the cotton did make sense. The humidity and heat so important to the growing plants turned out to be damaging to the equipment and the workers confined to the inside of the factory during the heat of the day. Why not use the railroad system already in existence from earlier logging ventures on the sides of the Blue Ridge Mountains? The dream seemed foolproof enough.

Then came a hurricane and wiped away those dreams along with the railroads that supplied the raw materials. King Cotton didn't reign in the mountains. Mother Nature did.

Rumor has it that for many years after the flood, the locals didn't have to buy socks. They picked them from the bushes along the creek banks.

Just something to think about on this Saturday morning.

Catch of the day,