Sunday, March 31, 2013



One time, a friend of mine asked me if I was ashamed to tell the world that I used to be loose. As much as it is something to be ashamed of, I realized that I'm no longer ashamed of anything that I've done. Here's why and how you can free yourself from social stigma:

When I participated in certain lifestyles, I did so for whatever reason, hating myself the whole while. And in all my self-loathing, my conditions in life only grew worse. The more I dabbled in unacceptable behavior, the less hope I had of ever coming out of this life with any level of success. Finally, I was introduced fully into Christianity and learned one immutable truth- no one, NOBODY, not a soul is perfect and sinless! (Nope, not the Bradys down the street, or the McCoys up the road, not judges, probation officers, cops, not doctors and attorneys, not even the best pastors with the deepest revelations.) Can you imagine how freeing that was?

Finally, I was able to understand that God loves me regardless and always did, even in my lowest points. I was also able to see that the people I was most ashamed in front of were in no better shape as it pertains to flaws, and were in no position to judge the mistakes I'd made. I was able to embrace the love and forgiveness of God and eventually able to forgive myself. After that, the forgiveness and acceptance of others is like an optional feature on a luxury car... it isn't necessary though it is nice when you have it. Do you yet understand what I'm trying to say?

Don't hold your head down and mope around feeling like the scum of the earth or ashamed because you've done dumb things, made foolish decisions and hurt others. WE ALL HAVE. Don't give up on yourself based upon the life you previously lived. Everyone deserves as many chances as it takes to get it right, not just second chances. Give yourself that room to change and don't dare forget or be ashamed of where you come from, whether it is homosexuality, promiscuous living, prostitution, drug use, drug dealing, violence, sexual abuse or mental illness. Honey, that is where your testimony and power lie!
Lacresha Hayes
For more information about me, visit my website at or connect with me on FB at And of course, I'm tweeting at @lacreshahayes

Friday, March 29, 2013

Movin' Stuff Around


 Do you know what people are about?
I'll tell you what people about
They're all about movin' stuff around
Underneath all that complicated
        technology, psychology, sociology, and civilization
Up close, they're just about
        movin' stuff around

Now, I'm not talking about ants, and bees and termites
        that have exact reasons for movin' things around
Or squirrels 'n pack rats storing stuff to eat
Not even talking about those big oscar fish in tanks
        that move rocks around to claim territory
Nope, people are even worse than crows
        picking up shiny stuff to horde in their nests
        for no earthly reason

Now, people will go out and purchase stuff they can't afford
        can't eat, don't need, and won't use
They will spend weeks shopping for stuff, searching for stuff
         new stuff, old stuff, valuable stuff
        and chasing the thrill of buying bargain stuff
They’ll put all that out on layaway
        or pay with cash and credit cards
        or coupons and debit cards
Then they’ll bag it up, cart it home, open it up, try it on, plug it in     

        and see if it works
They will arrange it, rearrange it, and arrange it again
They’ll push it over here and drag it over there
        or try to find some other place
Any other place
Then they’ll stack it up, hang it up, pile it up, put it up
        store it in a nook or hang it on a hook
Just so they can collect even more valuable stuff!
Of course, they'll see more, find more, and buy more
They’ll work another job so they can get more
And they'll even buy bigger homes than they can afford
Just so they can have all that stuff

Hey, whatcha’ got there?  Well, that there’s a genuine 1956

       Chevy four barrel carburetor
You bet,  like new
That there’s a real keeper
Never know when you’re gonna’ need something like that

Now don’t touch that little red propeller hat there on the coffee table 

That’s part of my Beany and Cecil collection
Oh, I just loved Beany and Cecil when I was growing up   Didn’t you?

Look here
I’ve just got to show you my great grandmother Edna’s wonderful 1920’s button collection
It’s worth some real money nowadays

Well, finally they'll try to organize all that stuff
 They’ll count and catalog, match and improve
        try to keep it up to date
       restore it
       take it apart, fix it, modify it
       redesign it, follow the trends
 And after that, they're forever cleaning it, washing it, dusting it off
       shining it, and, in the end
       spending hard earned money to insure it to just keep it
At last, they'll stand back and admire it, tire of it, retire it
       and then downright just  forget it
Because they’re off to the store to buy new stuff!

Well, pretty soon it gets to be too much for everybody
They'll have to take all that old stuff out
        and just get rid of it
So they'll box it up, wrap it up, tuck it away
        put it in the closet, throw it in a corner, shelve it, hoard it
        stuff it under the bed, store it in the laundry room
       move it to the garage, or hide it in the shed
Next, they'll just get busy and move all that old stuff out for 

They'll try to sell it, give it away, hand it down, throw it away
        drop it off, pitch it in the trash
        burn it, bury it, leave it on the roadside
And sometimes, they’ll just plain pick themselves up, and move away

Well now, don't let 'em tell you that life is all about
        culture, technology, science and civilization
It's just about people moving stuff around

c  10/07   Sandy Hartman
Even in the most hackneyed, mundane things we do, there are profound surprises and lessons.   To hear the audio reading of this poem and see 
the slide shows, go to    

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

One Shade of Red launch blog tour

Thank you, Writers Get Together, for taking part in the One Shade of Red launch blog tour.
One Shade of Red is my sexy spoof of the best-selling book you either love or hate,  Fifty Shades of Grey.
I decided to turn it on its head: instead of a naive young woman who finds the perfect man, One Shade is about a believably naive young man who gets his sexual education from a slightly older woman: beautiful, independently rich, smart, sophisticated and sexually voracious.
One Shade of Red hits the e-book retailers on April 2. For links, check out the author’s blog,
This second stop on the blog tour is from Chapter 2: The Re-Do, which establishes the main characters’ relationship.
The tour began on March 26 at Alan McDermott’s Jambalian blog, and continues on March 28 at Charity Parkerson’s blog, The SinnerAuthor. 
Follow on for more of One Shade of Red!

Chapter 2: The Re-Do

I actually had my hand on the door to the beer store when my cell phone chirped. The screen showed “Private number.” I took a couple of steps away from the store as I put the phone to my ear. “Hello?” I fully expected it to be Kristen; she was paranoid about cell phone stalkers.
“Damian, it’s Mrs. Rosse.” I nearly dropped the phone—a customer calling you out of the blue probably wouldn’t be good news.
It wasn’t.
“I want you to come over here right away and finish what you started,” she said.
So many ideas went through my head all at the same time, but none of them were right. “I’m sorry?” were the only words that made it out of my mouth, however.
“You left yesterday before I came back, and I know that we had agreed to that, but on the understanding that you would do a complete job of cleaning the pool, first.” Did her voice have a really bitchy edge to it, or was that just the way the cell phone made her sound?
“But I thought I had finished. I cleaned out all the leaves and grass and finished up with the pool vacuum.”
“Well, if it had been the very first time that you had ever cleaned a swimming pool, I could understand it,” she said. Yep, that’s definitely a bitchy, pissed-off edge. “You cleaned out the easy debris, but you didn’t clean off the green slime around the side.”
“Yes I did!” Don’t get mad, some small, wise part of my brain warned. And don’t tell her it was the first pool you’ve ever cleaned. She’s your only customer.
When did I start caring about this stupid job?
“Well, it’s not as bad as it was, but there’s still a lot of slime there. Now I’ve already paid you in full for the job, and it has not been done to my satisfaction. Quite frankly, it’s not to anyone’s satisfaction. I would have been mortified for any of my friends to see it.”
“I’m sorry,” I repeated. God, I sounded so lame.
“Well, it’s fine to be sorry, but that doesn’t do me much good, now, does it? No, I want you to get down here and finish the job properly.”
“Ooo-kay,” I said, holding back a lot of swear words. “When would you like me to come?”
“Right now!” She sounded genuinely surprised at my question.
“Uhh, well, it will take me some time,” I started to say. “I’m at the other end of town, and with traffic ...”
“Fine. I’ll leave the side gate unlocked for you. Just make sure you’re finished before two o’clock.”
“Two?” I would have to scramble to get my cleaning stuff together and drive over there and get the job done — if my crappy car didn’t break down. “I’ll try my best, Mrs. Rosse, but is there a reason it has to be done by two? Mrs. Rosse?”
Cell phones don’t click or anything when you hang up, I realized.

So there I was, back at the pool under the mid-afternoon sun, scraping and scrubbing disgusting, smelly slime off the tiles. I had taken my shirt off and put it back on again when I felt my skin begin to burn, and now the cotton was saturated with sweat. Every so often, I reached into the pool and splashed my face. I thought about getting into the pool and staying cool while I cleaned, but I didn’t dare the risk of making Mrs. Rosse any bitchier.
“Now even the fussiest bitch has to be happy with this,” I muttered as I wiped off the very last of the gunk.
“That’s much better,” made me jump and I dropped the debris net into the pool.
I turned to see Mrs. Rosse in her jogging suit: tight blue-and-white top stretched across her breasts, matching tight shorts, expensive Nike running shoes with the top edge of pink half-socks peeking above the ankles. I made an effort to raise my eyes to hers, away from the outline of her nipples pushing against her top. I dropped the bucket and slimy water slopped onto my feet.
“Sorry to scare you,” she laughed and stepped to the edge of the pool. “I just wanted to say that the edge looks great. Nice and clean, now. I guess it’s my fault, really, letting it get as dirty as I did before having someone in to clean it.”
“I didn’t hear you come in,” was all I could think to say. I wondered if she had heard my out-loud thought about fussy bitches.
She laughed, but carefully inspected all around the edge of the pool. I got down on my knees, face burning, to try to fish the net out without getting all wet. When I straightened up again, she was standing right in front of me.
“You’re awfully cute,” she said. My mouth opened, but nothing came out. What do you say? I tried to smile and tried even harder not to look at her nipples. “I think you deserve a tip for your hard work,” she added.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Linda Rae Blair's Blog & Author Interviews

I'm pleased as Punch to be featured on Linda Rae Blair's  blog today. She is an author of the highest caliber with almost two dozen books in her name. Just look at her impressive list of novels! Here's an excerpt. I'm sure you can contact her too !


Welcome to Siggy Buckley!


Tell us about yourself—you know, all that stuff that makes you interesting!

 I was a college adjunct professor for teaching English (being a German native speaker) for years. Then my life took an unexpected turn. My then husband had opted out of the rat race for health and environmental reasons. He was a CPA, and made us emigrate to Ireland from a professional German background to become organic farmers in the sticks of Ireland: for THE GOOD LIFE. It was a challenge and a culture shock for me. This created a crop of misgivings and, unfortunately, our marriage broke up over it.

Where and how to find a new partner in a country where divorce wasn’t even legal yet? I started my own dating agency ‘to skim off the cream’ ─ as a journalist put it in an interview. I became the “Dating Guru” or “Chief Cupid” of Ireland. Enough to write a book about! When the Internet took over the dating scene even in backward little Ireland, I jumped on the cyber highway myself to find that elusive soul-mate. The book is called “Next Time Lucky: How to Find Your Mr. Right”. It is a sassy, sometimes naughty read. Its new edition has an additional chapter with practical dating advice.

 I’m now happily married and live in the USA. Unfortunately, due to chronic pain, I no longer have a day job but a loving husband who brings home the bacon.

 I love getting sucked into a gripping book. I used to golf and garden. Now I prefer to have a nice garden and sit and enjoy it. Dancing has also been one of my passions: Disco music, Bee Gees, Motown—I’m giving away my age here! So instead of sweating in the gym, I prefer to have music take me back to the best times in my life- in my own house dancing!

I wrote extensively for American Chronicles and Opednews on political and environmental topics. Having several blogs and books going in addition at the same time, my writing now concentrates on our travels – home swapping- as well as maintaining a writer’s blog. It gives writers a platform to get noticed.

 I’m a proud International member of the National League of American Pen Women

What is your genre?

 Creative non-fiction. I figure if I called it memoirs, I’d be in trouble. Not being a celebrity, who knows Siggy Buckley and would be interested in her memories? And I lived through enough material for another book!

What other writer inspires you? Your work?  

 I met an elderly lady on the oncology ward of the Mayo Clinic, where I volunteered at the time. We quickly connected over the writing, and she was very influential in my approach, learning process and she also edited my book. Thanks to her I’m now a member of the National League of American Pen Women –though I’m not even American but still German.

I like a strong female voice. After a long love affair with Joanne Harris’ books (author of “Chocolat”), I now favor Tana French, an Irish whodunit writer.  I know the Irish settings of her so far 4 books well and love the Irishisms she uses. They make me feel like being back home.......

My hub called Siggy’s Omnibus comprises 5 other sites. Unfortunately, it’s not supported by Apple products because it contains flash links.

My new book trailer is fun! .....For more, please go to Linda Rae Blair's website!







Sunday, March 24, 2013

Are you Enjoying the Journey?

What are your thoughts on embracing the notion of True Responsibility, as set forth in the commentary below (i.e., the third/last excerpt from Chapter X/The True Responsibility of Supporting Others - from my book, A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health)?
Certainly, a lot of us commonly do not embrace and/or 'enjoy the journey.' We are afraid of changing how we look at things, how we view the world - we intrinsically fear the effort and repercussions of looking objectively at our internal and external environments. We become in-effect, addicted to our world view, and any deviation from our false sense of comfort and security prompts a seemingly innate uneasiness. We allow ourselves to focus our attention almost exclusively on our destination… ignoring the sights along the way - in fear of looking at things in an unblemished fashion. We gather an unhealthful sense of contentment and false security in believing that we know everything, and/or everything we think we need to know about the drive down the same street we have driven hundreds or thousands of times, literally…or analogous of life in general. We reach for, and faithfully clutch onto a perceived-to-be safe and comfortable plateau - a living death while alive. This is not to sound or be harsh: This sad commentary is just that…sad, truly so, when contrasted with wonderfully healthful possibilities of realizing levels of mastery in our lives which are within our reach…higher and higher levels…never ending until the last day, the last moment of our existence here…and maybe in the beyond.

Embracing the notion of taking True Responsibility for ourselves and supporting others' abilities to do the same, enables us to realize greater levels of clarity. It is a bit of heaven which we can glimpse. This level of insight necessitates a healthful philosophical and practical way-of-life in which we can foster ongoing growth - inclusive of a level of mastery over the skill of exercising effort: in these traditions, coined True Effort.
Through True Effort we can learn to gather a True Appreciation of Mastery. In this outlook, being masterful does not include absolute perfection. It means we can gather valuable ever-evolving skills which are congruent with truly deep awareness and appreciation thereof. This practice is requisite of a formidable exercise of free will and self-discipline - true love of, and appreciation for, the miracle of this endless opportunity. Most importantly, it can only be accomplished when we are regularly and selflessly supported in our ability to succeed - AND we do the same for others. It is truly healthful diplomacy, whether between individuals, groups, societies, or countries. It is an appreciative acknowledgement that we are all in the Same Boat. This is True Health…it is the art of life - living it as such…on this Earth together.
Some may say that it sounds as if 'it doesn't get better than that'…but accordingly it does…impeccably so…on-and-on, e.g., Heaven/Perfection - if it exists - a 'place,' so-to-speak, where there is no time, no space, no distance - nothing to hide behind - more than a glimpse of heaven - more than True Health.
None of us can do it alone, but individually, we can take responsibility for ourselves by exercising necessary levels of 'true effort' which empower us to continuously improve - while supporting others' ability to succeed - better insuring that the 'boat' remains more stable/sustainable: As reflected in earlier chapters, "The primary fault of mankind is the notion that you are there and I am here." Accordingly, we are not just in the Same Boat together - we are intrinsically connected in ways which we cannot rationally understand - ways we can only witness.
If all of this is true, it requires True Faith to put it into practice - inclusive of faith in ourselves and others - devoid of the Three Portents/harbingers of all bad tidings: hate, greed, and ignorance. Faith such as this IS True Health. Let it shine.
Bestow a string of faith,
For faith we might have,
Unto the jester of light
In the comedy of reflections,
As we stand upon this stage,
In awe of

Dr. Glen Hepker 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Apology

Only once in a writer’s lifetime does she have the chance to say “My first novel is being published.”

Welcome to “The Complete Tales from the Edge of the Woods”  by prize winning writer, Rachael Z. Ikins. (Icarus Aloft: YA Imprint SLM Bookworks, Selkirk, NY) 2013.
 Enter the woodland of the wizard and come away from it changed for life.



The Apology
I will tame the dragon

for you and call her tumble,
from the sky. All purple-bronze
steaming skin and violet violet eyes.
I will whistle to her
as she soars over,
beckon her onto the roof-
peak; perch and gleam-tooth
and smiling claw. Peering down at me,
she creaks.
--and lie with you on her chest,
Wrapped in a fold of heated leather wing.
Listen to her rumble! warm and deep,
So far inside you almost cannot
hear her voice. We keep.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cover reveal: One Shade of Red

A stunning cover by David C. Cassidy graces the new book by Scott Bury, author of The Bones of the Earth. Available April 2 on Amazon, iBooks, Smashwords and other e-book retailers, this  sexy spoof will turn Fifty Shades on its head.
Women want the perfect man, so they can change him. But when university student Damian Serr discovers a rich, beautiful woman who’s voracious about sex, he doesn’t try to improve on perfection. It’s all that he can do to hold on for the ride.

Damian has always followed the rules, always tried to please others. At 20, he still dates the girl next door because his parents like her parents. When Nick, his university roommate, asks Damian to take over his pool-cleaning business so he can take an internship in London, Damian can’t say no — especially to Nick’s first and only client, a rich widow.

But widow Alexis Rosse is far from helpless or lonely. This beautiful financial genius is busy turning the markets upside-down, and she revels in sex wherever, whenever and with whomever she wants.

Over the summer, Alexis gives Damian an intense education. Day after day, she pushes him to his sexual limits. The only question he has is: will she break them? 

Monday, March 18, 2013



Contrary to misguided opinion, Sicilian nicknames did not originate with mafiosi like  "Scarface" Capone,  "Lucky" Luciano,  Joe "Bananas," and a long list of other gangsters with flashy aliases.  Nicknames, or what the Sicilians call "nnomi nciuria" or "suprannomi" or "nnumiceddi," came about out of necessity. To understand that, we need to talk about the Sicilian custom of naming birth names.

Though the majority of the island's nearly five million inhabitants live in the major cities of Palermo, Catania, and Messina,  the rest reside in hundreds of small villages  in the mountains and along the coastal perimeter. These small towners regard city Sicilians with the same wary eye as they do the Italians up north, whom they consider as foreign as any European or American. These villagers still somehow manage to conduct their day-to-day provincial lives some years behind on the time line. The rest of the world is moving too fast for them. The same customs practiced centuries ago are still practiced today, including how the villagers name their newborn.

The first son is named after the baby's paternal grandfather, the second son after the maternal grandfather. The same is   true of the first and second daughters: the first is named after the paternal grandmother, the second after the maternal grandmother. All children born after the fourth child are usually named after paternal and maternal uncles and aunts. Add to this the fact that surnames are common in these villages where families are related to one another and usually do not move away. Obviously this doesn't allow for much name variety. Needless to say,  the situation can be confusing.

Walking down the streets of Acquaviva Platani, one can hear a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend all calling "Sarbaturi! Sarbaturi!" and each of them calling a different Sarbaturi.  It's not unusual that in one family there could easily be ten Caliddu Frangiamores. 

I remember when I was a boy,  my parents would write letters to Grandpa Salvatore Amico and under his name on the envelope they'd write "Fu Francesco,"  "son of the deceased Francesco Amico," my great-grandfather, so the letter would not be delivered to my first cousin Salvatore Amico who lived in the same house. Under Cousin Salvatore's name they'd write "Di Francesco,"  "son of the living Francesco Amico, who was my mother's brother, my Uncle Francesco.  Addressing the envelope this way also prevented a letter meant for Grandpa to be opened by Salvatore Amico fu Antonio or di  Paolo, a Salvatore Amico from a different family altogether!
So it makes good sense to attach nicknames to keep the people and the families straight.  For example, my mother's first cousin Maria Orlando Siracusa was called Maria "the Knife." Don't ask me how that name came to be.  Everyone called her Maria Cuteddu so as not to confuse her with another Maria Orlando in town who also had a mother named Giuseppina but was of another Orlando family. No doubt Cuteddu was the nickname of  Fullippu Siracusa, Maria's husband. This would explain why Maria's brother Giuseppi was not called Peppi Cuteddu, but instead Peppi Gaddu-- Peppi "the Rooster." Why "rooster"? Who knows! The meaning behind a nickname disappears with time, while the nickname endures from generation to generation.

It was always fun to hear my parents reminisce about paisani back in Acquaviva.  Everybody had a nickname! There was So-and-So "the Sacristan," who was never a sacristan. He and his family lived near "la straduna"  [the little street]. "The Sacristan" was the brother of This-One or That-One, who married Mama's first cousin after her first husband, a second cousin of Papa's, passed away. And then Papa would say, "Do you remember when Munichiddu  [who was really Monichello, not "little Monichello'] got kicked by his donkey?" Mama would laugh and say, "No, that was Scibetta, the one who was married to the daughter of Sebastianu Vario!" Papa would say, "Not Munichiddu?  You're right! It was Scibetta!" because Mama always remembered them all so well, having lived there longer than my father had. And when Aunt Laura was with them, then it was a three-way reminiscing with Aunt Laura remembering more than both of them! If either of my parents had a question about someone from Acquaviva, they had only to ask Aunt Laura.
I recall asking my mother once what Grandpa Salvatore Amico's nickname was. My mother smiled. "He didn't have one. The name Amico means 'friend.' That's what he was to everybody!" As a young girl my mother wanted  to try out for a part in a professional theater group that had come to town, but Grandpa forbade her. They would give her a nickname-- a stage name-- and who would remember Giuseppina Amico?

Years later when I first visited Acquaviva in 1965, even I got a nickname: "Lu Spertu,"  "The clever one." When the people in Acquaviva tried to make a fool of me, since I didn't know the language that well, I would write their words down, check them later in my huge English-Italian dictionary, and come back the next day with an appropriate response!

I felt  proud of my new name. 

“Whatever Happened to Maria “the Knife” first appeared in Salvatore Buttaci’s book A Family of Sicilians: Stories and Poems. Published in 1998, the book is still selling copies because it tells what Sicilians and Sicilian Americans are really about. Copies can be ordered at

The Secretary-Treasurer of the largest Italian American newspaper America Oggi, Dr.Antonio Ciaooina wrote, “You really have the soul of Sicily in the book. I’ve never read anything so forceful About Sicily.” 

Sal Buttaci is also the author of two flash collections Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts, both published by All Things That Matter Press, and available at