Book Trailer for BLOOD SKY
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Book Trailer for BLOOD SKY

So BLOOD SKY will soon be out… Here’s the Book Trailer.

This is the book trailer for BLOOD SKY, Book 4 in the award-winning After Series, by Traci L. Slatton

In a time of apocalyptic despair, love is put to the test… Deep in the badlands of Outpost City, in the Dark Horse saloon, a poker game is being played. The stakes are life and death—for the world. What can Emma afford to lose? Will she gamble on herself, or on Arthur? Will love find a way when the apocalypse closes in? A mystical odyssey, a haunting love…


Book Trailer Blood Sky

The Last Ship: A review
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The Last Ship: A review

Review of THE LAST SHIP on TNT.

I am a Navy brat, let me get that out of the way immediately. My father was career Navy. He served on several submarines: the George Washington, the Benjamin Franklin. He served on one of the old pig boats, too–and anyone who knows what that means can email me directly and ask which one. When my dad was done with subs, he served on a destroyer. My dad was career Navy and I am a Navy brat, got that?

I am also a red-blooded woman. Yep, I appreciate eye candy, aka HOT GUYS. And isn’t Eric Dane just SMOKIN’ HOT?! Ohmigod. Eric Dane in a uniform is like…oh, skip the first two bases and go directly to a home run. Ok? I mean, Wow.  The man is hot. Have I mentioned that Eric Dane in a uniform is hot? Hot like, wore out my vibrator, wore out my right hand, started in on my left….

So this series started out with two features strongly in its favor, concerning me: it revolves around a US Navy ship, and it stars Eric Dane, ohmigod. This show couldn’t have hit more of my buttons IF IT TRIED. Oh please. Somewhere, Sigmund Freud, that old misogynist, is chortling in his grave.

But it wasn’t Eric Dane’s hotness that got me to buy a season pass to Season 2 on my Apple TV. Nope, it was the fact that this TV show is very well written, with intriguing 3 dimensional characters and plot lines that grab you by the throat and keep you hooked. The action is AMAZING and exciting and I can’t WAIT to see what happens in the next episode. I care about all the characters and about the US Nathan James.

The Apocalypse has happened and one lone US Navy ship is fighting to save the world. What stronger premise could there be?

“Mom, this sounds like something you wrote,” said the Munchkin.

Yeah ok, I am post-apocalyptic, as an author.

So, watch this show, OK? Buy a season pass on iTunes. It’s GREAT!

The Last Ship






Citizenfour: The Most Important Movie You Will Ever See
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Citizenfour: The Most Important Movie You Will Ever See

I recently finished a WWII novel, and I’m still researching the era for another, very different novel set during the same time period. Since one of my closest friends is a Bavarian woman whom I know to be a person of integrity, heart, courage, compassion, and grace, I was curious: how did the NSDAP come to control Germany so completely that its citizens would commit atrocities? So that atrocities would be legalized?

Part of the answer lies in the fact that the NSDAP under Adolf Hitler legalized the illegal. They made laws to force their citizens to participate in the killing of Jews, Poles, the Romany, Socialists, Communists, and anyone who disagreed with the Nazi party. They made laws to enforce the killing and sterilization of children and adults with physical “imperfections” such as mental retardation.

So the Nazi party in Germany created a legal system based on hatred and killing. To enforce this legal system, they instituted a series of Party overseers, one in every community, to make sure that people remained “Loyal” to the party. This was the state police, the Gestapo. The Gestapo surveilled every German citizen, collecting vast files of information about German individuals. There was no “privacy” because the German State was everything.

Every dictatorship surveilles its population as a method of controlling its subjects. This is pointed out in CITIZENFOUR, Laura Poitras’ film about Ed Snowden.

Admittedly, from the beginning, I have considered Snowden a hero. There is no justification for the massive, George-Orwell-1984-Big-Brother spying on citizens in which the United States intelligence services participate. It is an outright breach and invasion of privacy, ethics, and all things good and true.

Our government, the United States government under Barack Obama, is participating in–perhaps perfecting–the exact same tactics employed by Hitler and the Nazi party: Watch every citizen. Scrutinize every private individual. Know what every single person in the State is thinking, saying, and doing. It’s all about information linking, you see.

I know this because I have been researching the Gestapo.

I happened to be at a showing of Citizenfour at Lincoln Plaza after which Poitras appeared for a Q & A. No, she doesn’t know if she’s been followed, but she expects that the US Government would use skilled personnel to follow her. She has been told that all her electronic communication “lights up like a Christmas tree” in the offices where electronic communication is collected and followed.

Poitras was composed, articulate, and expressive. She said that Snowden was exactly as portrayed in the movie: articulate and collected, trying to teach her, Glenn, and Ewan what was most important in the information he gave them.

Some people consider Snowden a traitor. Consider the White Rose in Germany, which consisted of students at the University of Munich and their professor. They had an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign to inform the German public of what was actually being done to Jews and to call the Nazi government to question.

Here is what Wikipedia says of them:

White Rose survivor Jürgen Wittenstein described what it was like to live in Hitler’s Germany: “The government – or rather, the party – controlled everything: the news media, arms, police, the armed forces, the judiciary system, communications, travel, all levels of education from kindergarten to universities, all cultural and religious institutions. Political indoctrination started at a very early age, and continued by means of the Hitler Youth with the ultimate goal of complete mind control. Children were exhorted in school to denounce even their own parents for derogatory remarks about Hitler or Nazi ideology.”

The White Rose was considered traitorous, too. So they were executed.

And “Ultimate goal of mind control” can only be the reason for the NSA’s total surveillance of the American population, including hundreds of millions of completely loyal American citizens.

How long before the US government insists on the same kind of control? All in the name of “protecting” American citizens from terrorists?

Just as the Gestapo was protecting German citizens from Judeo-Bolshevik enemies.

The most important concept in the movie was one that Snowden articulated: that the NSA’s actions change the balance of power so that it’s not elected-officials and electorate, it’s now rulers and those who are ruled.

See the movie. Think about the United States government, which is acting like a bully and a dictatorship.




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Open Letter to Senator Schumer: Remove Me From Your List and Stop Asking Me For Money

Dear Mr. Schumer,

I am a registered Democrat, so I understand why I keep getting emails from your office.

However, while I voted for Obama the first time, I did not vote for him in the last election. With regret, I tell you that I am hoping the Republicans take control of the Senate in the upcoming elections.

I am a disillusioned Democrat who is disgusted with the Obama presidency. Please remove me from your mailing list.

In case you wonder why I am disillusioned, I will explain. I voted for Obama the first time because I believe in women’s rights, reproductive freedom, gay rights, social justice, and gun control. So far, OK.

But I also believe in citizen privacy, supporting and encouraging small American businesses (not Wall Street and not Socialism), supporting Israel, accountability and oversight for multi-national corporations that function as sovereign nation-states, and getting the Health Insurance companies to pay for universal Health care (not the states).

I am appalled at Obama’s foreign policy, which is a joke and a shambles. “Don’t do stupid sh*t” is adolescent drivel not suited to the gravitas of the office of the President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the United States military.

I also find it extraordinarily hypocritical that Obama’s tactic is to rally people against “the Have’s” when he has taken more vacations, and more expensive vacations, and played more golf, than any president in history. So many of his supporters are the Limousine liberals of Wall Street, which may be why he bailed them out.

My family is losing our expensive, bad PPO Health Insurance that we purchase through Freelancers, and we are being forced into a more expensive, worse HMO. My doctor of many years who manages my low thyroid medication is not in the HMO. Frankly, I feel screwed.

In New York state, we don’t have many options—just one outrageously expensive, covering-almost-nothing HMO after another. Our choices are limited to bad and worse, and we are losing our trusted doctors of many years, despite Obama’s “promises” to the contrary.

Mr. Schumer, you have failed the state of New York in this way.

The Obamacare plan gives money to rich, greedy Health Insurance companies, funds a ghastly bad, buggy, confusing website to the tune of over $2.1 billion, places people’s life-or-death medical decisions in the hands of medically untrained Obamacare supervisors rather than in the hands of physicians who have undergone years of medical school (more than one doctor has expressed their horror at this!), and strips people of their right to choose their health care plan—while costing them an arm and a leg. This is just the beginning of what is wrong with Obamacare.

We need a universal healthcare plan, but not this frighteningly awful one. When Democrats go on the campaign trail and state “Obamacare is working,” they are either 1, lying through their teeth, or 2, experiencing a psychotic break from reality and should be institutionalized.

I have voted Democratic since I was old enough to vote—until now. So I hope you will understand why I am asking you to remove me from your list, and to stop asking me for money.

Thank you.
Traci L. Slatton

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Italy: Blocked by socialism, corruption, and a no-can-do attitude

Last year when we came to Italy, we went first to Venice and then to Florence and then to Rome.

We rented an apartment in Rome near the Vatican, and one evening went out for ice cream with our landlords. They had two bambini and we have one. In the course of the conversation, we discussed a large factory complex on an island outside of Venice that lies empty and unused. Marghera, I think it’s called.

“Some entrepreneur should come along and re-purpose the space,” I said. “Turn it into a nightclub or a mall or a skating rink.”

“That is not possible,” exclaimed our landlady, a lawyer, with total certainty.

“Sure it’s possible,” I shrugged. “Some bright person will come along and think of a way to re-use the space and make it productive. It doesn’t have to sit there and be empty. It could be an auction space, a market, or an art gallery. It could be anything.”

She insisted vigorously and with a rigid refusal to consider any other possibility that such a thing was not possible. The only possibility was that the factory would continue to lie fallow–forever.

She was a smart and educated woman, but I ended up looking at her and thinking that she was quite backwards. That’s my cultural bias, of course. In the US, some hotshot entrepreneur would come along and do something clever with the space and turn it into the next hot spot. If the first entrepreneur failed, the second would succeed. If the second didn’t, the fifth would.

The US–despite Obama’s best efforts to destroy the middle class and create a totalitarian state where every citizen’s most picayune communications are watched over by the NSA–is still all about reinvention. We still get second and third chances. Note to literary readers: we have long sense superseded Gatsby’s assumptions.

But in Italy, there is only one option: that the unused factory space, which was expensive to build, will remain empty and useless.

It’s an attitude that Sabin and I have encountered over and over again in our travels through Italy: “No can do.”

It’s not the fault of ordinary Italians. We meet people who work really hard. Over and over again, we hear the same thing: the bureaucracy in Italy is set up to thwart citizens, to deny fledging businesses any hope of success, and to create the conditions for business failure.

This year, our friend Paolo who owns rental apartments shared with us some of his woes. The government is constantly changing regulations, hoping to trip up rental businesses and thus fine them outrageously before shutting them down. This belligerence is in part sponsored by hotels, who don’t want tourists to have the option of renting apartments. But it is also the government trying to squeeze ever more taxes, fees, financial obligations, and huge fines out of a middle-class that is already wrung dry.

Other friends of ours here recounted how the government abruptly raised certain taxes from 20% to 22%, and consequently, over half of the small mom-and-pop shops went out of business. That 2% was everything for them. Businesses here have to pay for production, and they don’t get tax credits for it. Out of 1 euro, our friend said, he gets 40 euro cents, if he’s lucky. Sixty euro cents goes to the government, taxes, fees, tariffs, etc.

Plus, in Italy, the government can simply take funds out of a citizen’s bank account whenever it wants, like when it suddenly changes the rules on permits. A small business owner can go to the bank one morning and find there is substantially less than he or she expected–because of overnight changes.

Speaking of apartments, in Venice, there is a glut of unoccupied, closed up apartments. Families who have owned apartments forever have stopped offering vacation rentals because the government keeps changing the rules, and they don’t want to pay capricious and punitive fines. Owners are afraid to rent to students because they run the risk of the students destroying the property, and they’re even more afraid to rent to regular folks. If the renters stop paying, it’s almost impossible to evict them–especially if they have children.

So the smart thing to do is not to rent out apartments, but to board them up and let them be empty. And that is exactly what many Venetians do.

Our friends who run a small establishment won’t hire anyone to help them, because the laws governing labor are oppressively burdensome. So the husband and wife do everything themselves, and sometimes his mother pitches in.

Socialism destroys opportunities.

Then there is the corruption factor.

People still mention the Mafia. It’s a problem, more in the south than in the north, but people are aware that the Mafia influences the government and the passage of laws, that there is a criminal factor in the running of their country. In fact, in many places in the south, the Mafia is the government. What a shame.

One thing I always ask Italians, after everyone has had a little wine: “Perche Berlusconi?” I am thinking, How the hell could you have elected someone as mind-bogglingly corrupt, stupid, and bad for Italy as Berlusconi, and kept him in office for twenty years? If I am feeling particularly controversial, I mention the Bunga Bunga parties.

Over the last few years, many answers have erupted. Berlusconi owns much of the media is a favorite excuse. Someone from my Italian publisher told me that people voted for Berlusconi because they hoped that they, too, like him, would get away with corrupt behavior. “I am embarrassed about him,” one Italian woman, an educated professional, confessed the other day.

So here is a country with one of the great artistic, cultural, and historical patrimonies on Earth, and it is stuck in the mud and sinking. Italy is mired in failure, backward-thinking, socialism, and corruption. Che peccato.

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Bluehost rocks hosting

As an author, I want information about my books to be freely available on the internet. I’ve also seen firsthand how internet presence, especially in the form of reviews, can drive book sales.

I started with a sweet little site through the Author’s guild. Worked good. Then I wanted something snazzier. So I learned iWeb and built a more elaborate author website.

Then, well, iWeb was decommissioned. So I bought Rapidweaver and educated myself in that, and at the same time figured out that I needed web hosting. My first foray into that was with a service that was badly organized, expensive, and not user-friendly. Then a friend told me about Bluehost.

From the word “Go,” Bluehost offered tremendous customer service. Switching from the old hosts to Bluehost was easier than I dreamt possible, and help was available by phone, live chat, and email 24 hours a day.

A few months ago, I got a little miffed because it seemed like my server kept going down. Whatever that was, the issue seems to have resolved itself, and the techs couldn’t have been kinder and more apologetic.

Recently I have again had reason to appreciate Bluehost. After appalling email harassment by someone who was also ordering gifts online and sending them with my name and personal email, I decided to beef up my internet security as best I could. Bluehost technicians walked me through adding filters to my email accounts and blocking IP’s.

I decided to retire my old Blogger blog that I’ve had for years in favor of a blog on Bluehost. I installed a wordpress blog on my bluehost account, imported the old Blogger posts, and redirected to the new one. Once again, Bluehost techs were available at all times of the night and day to offer support and advice.

Today a technician got a little too eager to help, spied an open ticket that should have been closed, and rearranged the settings for this new blog page. For a few hours, there was a chaos of “404 Website unavailable” pages, until I got on the phone with a different tech and straightened it out.

It hasn’t been quick to get things back the way they’re supposed to be, but the problem did arise from commendable zeal on a technician’s part. It shows how much Bluehost wants its customers to be happy. And the tech who helped repair the issue was absolutely lovely and polite and a pleasure to work with. I was really grateful for his patience and skill.

I recommend Bluehost to anyone.