Living in Paradise


The Oscars Award for Pettiness

I just read a story on my newsfeed about how upset people were that Jamie Lee Curtis won the Oscar for best supporting actress. They thought it should have gone to Angela Bassett. I don’t have an opinion because I haven’t seen either of the movies in which these women had significant roles. I’m too cheap to pay $19.99 to rent them.

There’s always plenty to say about the Oscars. Here are some of this year’s key complaints from the Oscar online commentators, whoever they are:

Hugh Grant gave a terrible red carpet interview. What was wrong with him?

Lady Gaga took off her make-up and changed from an Oscar gown into holey jeans to sing the Oscar-nominated song from Top Gun: Maverick. How could she?

The Oscars left out names of some recently deceased actors in the memoriam segment. Shameful.

Tom Cruise didn’t attend even though his movie was among those nominated for best picture. How could he not be there?

The make-up crew that won an award for their work on The Whale should have insisted that a fat person be hired to play the role instead of creating a fat suit for the actor to wear. Disgusting.

Many actresses wore ugly dresses. At the after-parties, many wore next to nothing.

Petty stuff, except perhaps for some key deceased actors being left off the tribute list. But doesn’t that happen every year?

Here are my responses for what they are worth.

Did anyone think Hugh Grant would be witty, charming and full of funny quips in response to the lightweight questions he was asked? Or as Grant said 28 years ago when arrested for committing a lewd act in public with a prostitute: “At the moment, I’m groping my way around a bit. But once I’ve found my bearings, you’ll be able to judge me better.”

Lady Gaga removing her make-up to sing shouldn’t surprise anyone. At the 2011 Grammy Awards she arrived concealed in an egg. “She is in an embryonic state and won’t be born until the performance,” a member of her entourage told an interviewer. I always thought she sang better without false eyelashes.

Tom Cruise didn’t attend because he is busy making another Mission Impossible movie. It feels like that man has his priorities right.

I don’t know what to say about fat people complaining when someone receives an award for making an actor appear to be obese. With all the actors and actresses taking Ozempic to lose weight and thus keeping supplies short for people who need the drug for diabetes, what is there to say about Hollywood and fat-shaming.

As far as wearing see-through outfits at the after parties to garner attention: Those that can’t act can always undress.

And the Jamie Lee Curtis win? It sounds like Angela Bassett needed to do a better job of acting like a gracious loser.

So, without the slap of comedian Chris Rock by actor Will Smith and the presence of Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep and what’s-her-name mouthy singer to complain about Donald Trump, the show has come to this after-Oscar pettiness.

And the Oscar for the person who tuned into the awards show for 30 minutes and then went to bed at 10:30 goes to: Me.

Surely Not More Oil To China?

A knowledgeable friend of mine was complaining mightily after learning from his reliable sources that more of the U. S.’s oil reserves would be sold to China. He was talking about the 26 million barrels of crude oil, which were released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve earlier this month. Final bids on this oil are due next Tuesday.

“The ships from China are on their way now,” he said. We all nodded in disbelief that such a thing could be happening, and I came home to do some research.

Even though it’s not a done deal, my friend is probably correct that it will be China, whose need for energy has grown significantly with the end of its unsuccessful Covid lockdown strategy.

According to Reuters, the U. S. Department of Energy considered cancelling the 2023 sale after the Biden Administration last year sold a record 180 million barrels from the reserve, including 5.9 million barrels to Unipec, the trading division of the Chinese state-owned Sinopec. The energy department also sold four million barrels to Unipec in the fall of 2021.

Cancelling the 2023 sale would have required Congress to act. (I pause here to reflect on that unlikely scenario.)

On January 12, the House of Representatives did pass a bill that would ban releases of oil from the strategic reserve from being exported to China. The bill passed 331-97 in the House with all the no votes coming from Democrats. What happened to the bill is unknown (to me) but reports said it would face “an uncertain future in the Senate.” And that was the last I could find on its fate.

I’m scratching my head as to why the Senate would think this was an unreasonable action to take. Doesn’t it feel as though we are nuts – totally crazy – for allowing one drop of oil from our “strategic reserves” to get into the hands of people who send spy balloons our direction? Or who hang out with Russia and Iran and continue to make threatening noises about invading Taiwan?

Through October of last year, U. S oil companies exported nearly 67 million barrels of oil to China. In 2020, when Donald Trump was president, the U. S. exported 176 million barrels to China, Reuters says.

Turns out we don’t control who buys our oil.

When we decide for whatever reason to sell our strategic reserves they go up for auction and then the oil is shipped around the globe to the buyers. Under federal law, the government cannot dictate where oil gets shipped once companies purchase it. That’s how the international oil market works.

When the supply of global crude oil is increased, this eventually helps lower gas prices in the U. S. At least, that’s the theory. I get it, but that doesn’t mean we have to like the fact that we have no control over our precious oil once we decide to sell it.

Then there’s the whole connection between the oil purchaser Sinopec and Hunter Biden, the president’s son, who used to be a member of an equity firm that once purchased a stake in Sinopec. At the time of the oil sale, Hunter was no longer a member of the equity firm and some media outlets reported that “there was no evidence that Sinopec received the oil for any other reason than it submitted one of the highest bids.”

Okay, but it still feels like it’s time to look deep into the black goo and see if we can find answers to some of these sticky questions floating around.





Kirkus Review for Leslie’s Voice

Bear with me while I toot my own horn for the next several paragraphs.

I hesitantly sent my first novel to Kirkus Reviews several months ago. Kirkus is a highly regarded review organization that charges to provide you with an unbiased opinion about your book. Sometimes they love it. Other times not so much.

A best-selling author I know has described Kirkus as “mean.” I agreed with her when the review came through on my latest book, Deadly Winds. The reviewer didn’t care for my treatment of a millennial, saying he was put in the novel so that the old folks would have someone to pick on.

That’s all history now. I have received the review of Leslie’s Voice, published about eight years ago as Six Weeks From Tuesday and rewritten during the Pandemic with the name change. They liked it. A lot.

The story is about public relations expert Leslie Elliott and is the “prequel” to the mystery series set in Florida. In this first novel, set in the midwest, Leslie is trying to adapt to her new CEO, Brad Stewart, when he tells her of his plans to take over the neighboring electric utility and make himself the state’s energy kingpin. When she agrees to join the battle, Leslie finds herself dealing with the twists and turns of corporate intrigue while struggling to handle the men in her life, including her boss, whose sexual aggression matches his business ambition.

Kirkus said the novel is: “A rousing corporate melodrama full of twists, turns and vivid characters.” And called it “an auspicious start for an adventurous, creative author.”

Suddenly they don’t seem so mean anymore. Right?

Skipping their commentary on the storyline, which can be seen on my Kirkus Reviews page at, here is what they wrote:

“As the situation unspools, it becomes clear that the crux of Hanafee’s novel lies in power dynamics, as the narrative cleverly addresses hot-button issues of sexual harassment on the job. Leslie becomes uncomfortable around her new boss, allowing his inappropriate behavior to intimidate her while neglecting to report it. She needs her job and initially finds Brad alluring, so she makes excuses and allowances that, in turn, proliferate the abuse.

“Leslie’s inner monologue reveals that she is tiring of the terse treatment from the men in her life and the double standards in the corporate arena and that she has been working to ‘find the voice to respond’ to the treatment she’s had to endure.

“A minor weakness of the novel is the unevenly portrayed peripheral characters, such as Leslie’s college-age daughter, Meredith, who is enticingly drawn but sparsely appears in a narrowly focused narrative that could use some opening up. Readers may also want more of Leslie’s charismatic best friend, Karen Chanders, who adds some feisty spice to the melodrama.

“Despite this, the lead characters are memorable and provide the needed grounding this busy plot requires. With Leslie as an anchoring, empowering element, former Indianapolis Star reporter Hanafee’s novel is a fast-paced, intense depiction of corporate America and the perennial struggle of women seeking equal treatment in the boardroom. This is an auspicious start for an adventurous, creative author.”

Grab a copy and have some fun.

The Literary Phone Scammers

For the last three years or so a pleasant-voiced woman, with an accent, has been calling to tell me that she wants to market my books. I stopped counting after call 100.

A couple of weeks ago, I answered to hear what I knew would be a familiar sales pitch.

“Why don’t you send me some material that I can review about your company,” I said, knowing full well what her answer would be.

As expected, she dodged my request. “We really don’t have time to do that,” she said.

“Well, if you don’t have time to do that, I certainly don’t have time to send you money to market my books,” I said.

The woman hung up.

But it didn’t stop there. It never does. Yesterday, they called my man, as they often do. He doesn’t answer, and then they call me.

“What do I have to do to get off your list?” I answered the phone. “I’m fully aware that this is a scam. This is harassment. Please stop calling”

She fired back. “This is not a scam. We are a legitimate company.”

“If you were legitimate, you wouldn’t call me three or four times a week. You would take no for an answer.”

The next few minutes were not pleasant as we exchanged barbs. Apparently, she was used to dealing with annoyed authors. When I finally hung up on her, a barrage of phone calls from different area codes began.

“Hello,” I answered, fully prepared to tell her off again.

It was a man with an accent. “Hello.”

“You called me,” I said.

“No, you called me,” he responded.

I hung up. The phone kept ringing until I was able to block the number.

Then my man received a call about “his medicine.” He was waiting to hear from the doctor, but I could tell by his response that it wasn’t a nurse he was speaking with. I grabbed the phone.

“What do you want?”

“I am calling about your husband’s order of Viagra and Cialis,” she said, with her sweet little accent.

I hung up and sent her to the blocked number list. In total, I have blocked 173 calls in the last couple of years. Almost all have been from these so-called publishing/marketing scammers.

I’m hoping Stephen King has also been receiving calls and has decided to put these horrible scam artists through the literary tortures of the damned. If we could do it in person, I’m sure all harassed writers would be happy to participate.

If you have nothing to do in the next couple of days, please feel free to call 619-202-8200 and tell them to cease and desist what they are doing and suggest they get legitimate work. They probably won’t answer. They’ll be too busy calling me.

Meeting Scott Turow

The best-selling author Scott Turow visited our little island yesterday to help raise money for the library, talk about his new book Suspect and regale us with stories of how he came to be a celebrity. He was not boastful, just honest and entertaining and giving us what we wanted to hear.

A handful of non-readers may not know Scott Turow, but there is no doubt he is famous in many circles, including Hollywood and literary. His status was reinforced last night as he threw around the names of other glamorous folks like TV Producer David E. Kelly and fellow writer Steve King.

It was odd hearing the great author referred to as “Steve.” King, along with Turow, is a member of the Rock Bottom Remainders, a band that includes other best-selling writers like Amy Tan and Dave Barry.

Turow told the story of how he and Steve were sitting next to each other on a band bus when another bus passed them, and Steve turned to Scott and said …

Wait, I thought. I know what he said. “What if we looked over and saw ourselves on that bus?”

And then Turow said, quoting Steve. “What if we looked over and saw ourselves on that bus … and all of us were dead.”

The audience laughed. I thought no, not dead. Alive and going someplace to create mischief as our other selves. And then each of us would have to track down and kill that other me. But who am I to second-guess Stephen King.

Following Turow’s remarks, we headed for a cocktail party at a fabulous new home just off the waterfront. After exchanging small talk with a lot of the island people I knew, I ended up standing next to Scott Turow, wondering what the hell I was going to say. I was suddenly uncomfortable, which is unusual for me.

The problem was that I felt the need to be witty, charming and erudite instead of just myself. I wanted to toss off some memorable line that captured his fancy and possibly lingered as he sat at his desk the next morning preparing to work on his latest novel.

“I’m a writer and I could really relate to what you said about getting lost …. Blah, blah, blah.”

I could read the subtle expression on his face. How many times had he heard those same banal comments. He looked at his phone and turned it on. I was sympathetic.

“I wonder where my driver is. He’s supposed to be calling me.”

There was a pool nearby, but I decided against jumping in. Instead, I smiled and turned to a conversation between an older man, who had earlier introduced himself as Sam, and Mike, the husband of another best-selling crime author, Linda Fairstein. An amazing woman.

The evening was coming to a close, but I could have listened forever to Sam Skinner, former chief of staff for President George H. W. Bush, attorney and financial wizard Michael Goldberg and his wife.

They were talking about law and Chicago and suddenly I was no longer feeling like an idiot. I was doing what I do best as a former reporter, listening and enjoying the banter.

Tonight, I’m off to hear Martin Walker, former reporter for The Guardian, expert on European affairs and mystery writer. I’m not worried. I have met this interesting man many times and won’t be saying anything dumb … I hope.

No, No Miss L.

A friend of mine who used to be the garden editor at the newspaper where I worked posted a nasty cartoon about Governor Ron DeSantis on Facebook the other day. It showed a little girl being led away by four burly men – one the governor and the other three with GOP armbands. The little girl is saying “…but I don’t wanna be protected from black history.”

Response was swift from people who hate Florida’s popular governor for a myriad of reasons; all connected to their fear that he might be the next Republican candidate for president – and a possible winner.

A commenter I am calling Miss L., also a plant aficionado, had this to say: “Florida’s little Nazi of a governor is busy convincing the gullible he’s protecting their freedom—WHILE HE WORKS TO DESTROY IT. Florida, where truth and freedom go to die.”

I bit my tongue and moved on to the next Facebook posting. But it’s been bugging me, so I returned to it today.

Miss L.’s Facebook page includes a photo of a palm tree but no real reference to where she lives. I’m guessing it’s not our beloved state where many of us think our governor is doing a fine job. Sorry to burst your balloon, Miss L. We aren’t perfect, but truth and freedom are flourishing in Florida.

To help you understand, Florida’s academic standards specifically require teaching “the history of African peoples,” including “the passage to America,” “the enslavement experience” and “how the individual freedoms of persons have been infringed by slavery, racial oppression, racial segregation and racial discrimination.”

What Florida law proscribes (or forbids by law), however, is any curriculum designed to “indoctrinate” students into thinking any person “is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex” or that any person “by virtue of his or her race or sex” bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.”

In unflowery terms, it appears that Florida’s position is that many blacks have suffered mightily in the past during a sad time in our country’s history and that racism exists today in many forms. You should know about it, learn from it and be watchful, but no one can tell you that it is your fault … especially when you’re a child.

It’s easy to cast aspersions on someone when you don’t know or can’t be bothered to find out the facts. Social media is full of critical rants like the one from Miss L. But you never hear people like her talking about how the governor swung into action after Hurricane Ian to get things done – for example, completing emergency repairs to the Sanibel Island causeway in 15 days and a week ahead of schedule.

Or about the article I saw today in the Herald-Tribune about how Florida has 84 full-time employees per 10,000 population, compared to the national average of 208. The article said that Florida continues to have the smallest state government workforce per capita among the 50 states and continues to get a better bargain from its 166,609 office workers, park rangers, public health workers and college professors than other states do.

Sounds like the people in charge know something about productivity and being frugal with tax dollars.

Perhaps Miss L. doesn’t care about those things because her goal is to make a potential presidential candidate look like a bad guy.

I have more positive things to say about Florida’s governor. I’m sure, given the state of disinformation on social media today, there will be plenty of opportunities to share them in the future.



Ill Winds Brought the Scammers

It wasn’t long after the winds from Hurricane Ian settled down that the scammers arrived. They came into the horrific aftermath from the East Coast and Midwest with dollar signs in their eyes. And we – victims of this second ill wind – were helpless to stop them.

They worked quickly to slap a covering over broken windows and damaged soffits. Then they begin ripping out wet drywall and insulation before the mold could set in. Or so they said.

The one group leader, Mike, was directing the placement of a dumpster when I approached him to see how things were going. As you may recall, I used to be a reporter and asking questions is what I do.

He said he was from Connecticut and brought his crew down the minute the storm was over. Now was the time to make money he said. “Look at this dumpster,” he said motioning to the substantial metal tub into which trash was being dumped. “Those guys are charging an arm and a leg because they can.”

And, you, Mike?

Mike and his crew did the four units that make up the neighbor’s condo building quickly and efficiently. Time is money, he mentioned to me in our conversation. If the association didn’t hire him to do the whole complex, then he would have to move on to some other disaster area.

They didn’t and he did. Move on, that is. Following him was another company that brought with them a crew of cheerful workers who didn’t speak English but seemed happy for the work – whatever it might be. They were here for about a month, ripping out more drywall – much more than was necessary in my view and in the opinion of others.

Cabinets went, mattresses, furniture. Nothing was spared unless you were on-site and protesting against their reckless actions. After all, they had keys to every condo in our complex. And authority to do what they thought was needed. Hang the cost.

Like I said, they were here for a month and then fired. Replacing them was another group with a similar workforce and led by an annoying man who drove a noisy gasoline-powered golf cart. He seemed to think he was quite the cutie, winking and waving whenever he saw me. That was after I confronted him about running into the little tree by my condo entrance not once but several times with his cart.

His group finally got around to doing the drywall in my poor neighbor’s condo on the second of our two stories. That condo lost part of its ceiling and was infested with mold by the time the crew got there. A good, well-trained drywall crew could have finished the place in two weeks. This group has been on the job for at least three weeks. That includes working Sundays, for which they are paid overtime.

I approached one of the young women who is part of the group the other day to ask how things were going. I am tired of the drywall particles and dust everywhere, the cigarette butts and trash – and, yes, the same golf cart with a different driver running into my little tree and knocking off branches.

“Do you speak English?”

“Yes,” she responded.

“Are you almost finished?” I asked, pointing toward the dismantled condo.

She laughed. “Oh no,” she said, then added. “I don’t speak English very well.”

In fairness to her, she was hired to do a job. Whether or not she and her fellow workers are qualified to do the work quickly and efficiently is not up to her. She’s a body who will learn eventually – or not.

When our part of the condo association had a Zoom meeting recently, it was revealed that $600,000 had already been spent on our three buildings. Such associations being the epitome of one-for-all living, everyone would be assessed the same amount for the repairs regardless of the damage to your personal living space, my man was told.

“I can’t figure out what they’ve done for that money,” my next-door neighbor said afterward. He and his wife just recently arrived and, fortunately, had minor damage.

I can, I thought. The scam artists have taken us to the cleaners and aren’t finished with us yet.

Does Anyone Really Like Rice Pudding?

We went to a dinner party the other night where a delicious Caesar salad and a main course of Chicken Divan were served. I was looking forward to dessert, hoping it would be the yummy chocolate cake my hostess has fixed before, when she announced: “We’re having rice pudding. My mother’s recipe.”

Others around the table oohed and aahed. I groaned. But not so that anyone else could hear.

I didn’t eat rice pudding as a child, which tells me one thing. My mother must have hated it, too. We also didn’t eat tapioca or Flan. I’m guessing it was a texture thing.

Rice pudding smacks of Depression food when rice (a starch not a sweet) and heavy cream were likely in abundance and relatively cheap. I don’t know that to be the case, but I’m picturing a mother back then saying to her child: “Never mind that you just had rice with your meal, it is now part of your dessert, it’s a pudding and what we can afford. So eat it.”

If I had tried to serve something like rice pudding to my three children when they were young, they would have given Oscar worthy performances to express their disgust. (They actually did that the first time I served cauliflower with cheese sauce.)

Back at the dinner party and hoping to find a version of the pudding that had something delightful in it, I asked: “Is this nutmeg sprinkled on top?”

“Cinnamon,” the hostess’s spouse enthused.

Usually anything that lacks vibrant flavor can be jazzed up with nutmeg. Not in this case.

Instead, the hostess had put cream that she whipped on the spot on top of the so-called pudding. It helped the first couple of bites. But after consuming about a fourth of the dessert and all of the homemade whipped cream, I announced. “This is delicious, but I’m so full,” and passed what was left to my man who had already cleaned his plate.

His Scottish mother made rice pudding often, he reminisced to the others as he scraped the second plate clean.

I sat there wondering how this so-called dessert gained international fame.

All-in-all, it was a great evening with good friends. But when we climbed into the car, I shared my distaste for rice pudding with my man. “That is my least favorite dessert of all time. How can you call something that should be limited to chicken dishes and beans a dessert? I’ve never heard of zucchini or potato pudding. My taste buds don’t get it.”

“I thought it was great,” my man said, paying tribute to the skills of the hostess, who is a fabulous cook.

As he drove, I ruminated on the last time I had rice pudding. It was about two years ago and was the dessert served following a meal of fish soup, complete with tentacles. I can’t do calamari either, so imagine how I felt with tentacles and rice pudding on the same menu.

Coincidentally, we are having dinner at that same household next week, and when that hostess saw me in church today, she announced that we were having paella and asked if I liked Spanish wine.

As I nodded, I breathed a sigh of relief that we must surely not be having rice pudding. It couldn’t possibly be Spanish.

Au contraire. I learned from Siri a couple of hours later that Arroz con Leche is a classic Spanish dessert made with rice and milk that is studded with musky-sweet golden raisins and fragrant cinnamon.  No nutmeg there either.

Two rice puddings in one week? What torture. Maybe I’ll take along a batch of Mexican wedding cookies as a hostess gift. Delicious cookies covered with sweet, powdered sugar. That’s a dessert.

Classified Documents and Gooses

There’s an old saying: What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

That message should be embroidered and placed on the wall of every politician everywhere.

I’m specifically referring to Joe Biden and the discovery of classified documents from his days as vice president. Hmm. Let’s see. Wasn’t that, uh, five years ago? And now it seems today more such documents have been found in another office.

Today’s breaking news reported: “The classification level, number and precise location of the additional documents was not immediately clear. It also was not immediately clear when the additional documents were discovered and if the search for any other classified materials Biden may have from the Obama administration is complete.

“Biden aides have been sifting through documents stored at locations beyond his former Washington office to determine if there are any other classified documents that need to be turned over to the National Archives and reviewed by the Justice Department, the person familiar with the matter said.”

I bet they have been searching. Frantically, in fact.

When your Justice Department – at the urging of the (acting) national archivist – launches a full-scale attack on a former president’s residence and drags his name through the mud about his handling of confidential material, you’d better make sure your hands are clean, Mr. President Biden.

And, of course, they aren’t. Whose are?

I wrote about this earlier when Donald Trump was vilified for the discovery of classified materials at Mar -a-Lago after a raid by the FBI. Not a group of smarmy college boys sifting through the papers President Trump took with him, but a full-scale onslaught by weaponized men who were probably fighting over who would be the first to check Melania’s closet.

Sorry for the cynicism. But what was good for Trump should be good for Biden. Although my real belief is that it should not happen to either man.

I personally don’t care about these classified documents, and I’m guessing no one else does. Except the acting national archivist Debra Steidel Wall. I can’t be sure, but I believe it was Ms. Wall who first raised concerns about what President Trump took with him when he left D.C. for Florida. All those boxes being carried to the waiting helicopter, you know.

By the way, she is still the acting director, despite being appointed to the archival position in May last year. Maybe that’s why we haven’t heard a hue and cry from her about the Biden discovery.

It’s starting to feel like the closets of all living past presidents and vice presidents need to be opened and investigated. Who knows what will be found there? In fact, Ms. Wall should be demanding it.

I’m guessing the truth about these documents, which haven’t been of that much concern in the past, is that they were packed in a hurry by people who didn’t know or care what was in them. All they knew is they had to get them out of the White House quickly. No time to sift through for sensitive material.

Isn’t that how life often works? Don’t ask too many questions. Just get the job done.

Allow me to jumble my metaphors and say that it feels like there are too many mountains being made of too many molehills when it comes to these so-called classified documents. But when that happens to one goose, it should happen to all ganders in the same manner.

Listen to Lizzo

I discovered the popular singer Lizzo about a week ago – after my man had gone to bed at 9 p.m., better known as Florida’s midnight.

Her concert was headlining HBO Max, and I was looking for a break from our marathon watching of Yellowstone and the incredibly sexy character Rip. Also, my man would be upset if I watched an episode without him. We were late to the Yellowstone game but are big fans. Big fans.

Back to Lizzo. I have to admit I liked her from the start. What glam. What guts. And her female dancers – awesome!

I wasn’t crazy about some of the language. Forty years ago, when I was a reporter on deadline, I used the F-word with abandon. When my three stepchildren, ages 8, 5 and 3 moved in with us, I cleaned up my act.

My adult stepchildren have been known to – as we used to say — swear like sailors. But I have tried to remain demur in my use of language. Especially since my man, who is delightfully old-fashioned, gets offended when I toss around four-letter words.

But Lizzo’s language that night didn’t bother me that much, because I liked her comments about strong women and her take-charge attitude.

The next day I checked. My granddaughter and her mother also like Lizzo. Oh my gosh, I was back with the “in” crowd. Though probably not for long.

Today, when I read an article about Lizzo, I had to chuckle. She was complaining about how cancel culture has been appropriated from people who have a right to complain by people who don’t.

Ain’t that the truth, sister.

The number of whiners out there has grown exponentially over the last several years. It feels like you can’t say anything without offending someone. People who have serious gripes don’t stand a chance among all the self-righteous chatter.

Recently, I submitted my latest book, Deadly Winds, to a well-known review company who charges you to have a stranger critique your baby. Obviously, I thought my book was good but wasn’t particularly counting on a favorable or unfavorable review. I honestly wanted to know what a non-biased reviewer thought.

I’m feeling now that non-biased might be a problem in this review company where everyone lists their pronouns in their emails. I’m okay with them listing and sharing their pronouns; it just tells me something about how they think. In this case, not like me.

In my book, one of the central characters is an older millennial, who professes to be a vegan but eats chicken, lives off his daddy’s resources and is on the lam from Panama after two people involved in an ayahuasca ceremony he conducted are found dead.

Apparently, my characterization struck a nerve with the reviewer. He or she, not sure which, said my younger characters must have been included “so that the older characters can criticize ‘needy’ vegan millennials who don’t go to church.” Ouch!

Trust me, there are plenty of grumpy older folks, including church-goers, in Deadly Winds who can be criticized for all sorts of reasons. They were largely ignored by what appears to be an offended vegan millennial reviewer. Hey, it’s just a book.

Should I mention that the reviewer referred to my attractive 65-year-old murder victim as “elderly.” Never ever did I call her elderly. In fact, before her untimely death she was involved in a sexual relationship with a construction worker 10 years her junior. You go girl.

I thought about being offended for being “cancelled.” Instead, I’m going to view this review thing as a learning experience and listen to Lizzo.