SAIHM Feature: Alex Powell

Hello my dears! Today we have a really thought provoking post from Alex Powell, who is another first time guest to ALBTALBS! I really hope you’ll read it and think about what she says.

Rangers Over RegulusHello, my name is Alex, and I’m Limecello’s guest for Smithonian American Indian Heritage Month.

I’ll start off by saying that I’m First Nations, which is what we call Native American in Canada. My people live in the Cariboo Central Interior of British Columbia. My birth mother is from the Saik’uz band of the Carrier nation, also called the Stoney Creek band.

You might have heard of it, perhaps not. There was a biographical book written about one of the people from my band called Stoney Creek Woman: The Story of Mary John that was quite famous in Canada for a few years, when I was young.

I only recently found this out, because I was adopted at birth by the people I now know as my parents, both of whom have British backgrounds.

It’s not uncommon for First Nations people to be disconnected from their culture here. The marks left on the collective psyche of my people by the Indian Residential Schools are still affecting us. Many people tell us that we should simply “get over” it, as if it were a high school break-up instead of over 100 years of my people’s culture being systematically destroyed.

And it wasn’t destroyed by burning our books, for we had none. And it wasn’t destroyed by burning down our villages either. It was done by taking our children from us and abusing them until they didn’t remember how to speak their own language or the stories passed down that existed only in memory.

“Get over it,” as if it’s ancient history, and we should just move on.

The last Indian Residential School in Canada closed in 1996. I was seven.

Across BordersMy birth mother, whoever she was, was an alcoholic, trying to drown out the memories of physcial and sexual abuse, of her classmates dying from tuberculosis, of being forced to forget her own culture and assimilate.

I worked at a law office for a while, when I was younger. The lawyer I worked for was working for First Nations people who had been at those schools, to try and get some restitution from the government for what was done to them. Most of them couldn’t get through their statements without crying, leaving the office with red eyes and tear-stained faces.

All the money in the world could not fix this, could not make them forget the abuse and torture they were put through, the culture and language lost to them.

I myself speak English perfectly. I also speak French and Japanese. I don’t speak any of the Carrier language, which is considered endangered, as so few people speak it now.

I’m telling you all this because history would like to forget the things that Canada has done, just as it likes to forget the Chinese head tax and the Japanese internment camps. It remembers the Underground railroad well enough, as if this will make up for the hurt their country has caused.

Currently, there is an inquest going on in Canada, trying to discover why so many First Nations women go missing and turn up murdered. There are also camps up all over Wet’suwet’en nation to combat companies that want to put oil pipelines through their land.

Rocking HardI’m telling you this because people like to call us dirty, and lazy, and stereotype us with drug and alcohol abuse and prostitution. They call us “Native Americans” as if we are all one people, rather than an extremely diverse group of nations. I am not the same as the Ojibwe in the east, or the Apache in the south. I’m not Blackfoot or Cree from the plains, and I’m not Inuit from the north.

I’m Carrier. My people built pit-houses to survive the harsh Canadian winter, and food caches to keep away wild animals from our food. We didn’t wear war bonnets like the tribes from the plains, or build longhouses like the coastal tribes.

I’m telling you this because when people write about us, I want them to know the truth, as harsh as it is.

I also want you to know, that we’re not lazy or dirty, and we’re not all substance abusers, and our women are not all prostitutes.

I’m a published author, I have a degree in English, and I’m applying for an MFA at UBC.

I have friends from all over the country that are doing just fine, apart from having to deal with micro-aggressions and racism. We’re going to university, we have jobs, and we are still fighting to be recognized when most people would rather forget us and put us in museums, as if we were ancient history. We’re rediscovering our own culture like outsiders.

Not all our stories are tragic, but you have to remember our history.

I’m a writer, and many of my peers want to write about Native American characters. They always ask me what they should be careful of, because there is a huge different between a well-rounded character with a developed backstory and a stereotype.

The noble savage is a stereotype.

The sexy savage is also a stereotype.

No one should let ignorance stop them from writing a well-rounded character with a First Nation’s background. All one has to do is ask. Ask about our history, and what our culture is currently like. Do research and interviews with people who are First Nations.

There are not very many First Nations characters in mainstream media today. The ones that do appear follow the well-known stereotypes or are played by white people.

I want to change that. It’s the reason I became a writer to begin with, to bring characters to life that are from different walks of life than most characters in the spotlight of mainstream media. And I’ll start off by telling you a story. My story.

I am Alex, and I’m Carrier.

That’s my story. Not all the story, of course, but it’s a start.

Thank you so much for sharing, Alex. My heart breaks for all the wrongs and indignities that have been put on so many innocent people.

SAIHM Feature: Sharon Sala

You guys!!! I am beyond pleased to welcome Sharon Sala to ALBTALBS!!! American Indian/Native American Heritage Month is still ongoing, and I’m really excited about this post. Probably you should have a few tissues handy. I’m just warning you.

 

WALKING THE PATH OF THE PEOPLE

White MountainMy paternal great-grandmother, Francis Walker Smith, was three-quarter Cherokee. My maternal great-grandmother, Elizabeth Cooper, was part Cree, and yet all of their children grew up without much attention to their ethnicity, mostly because of the white men they married.

 

Sylvester (Vester), one of Francis’ sons, married Kathryn (Katie), one of Elizabeth’s daughters. My daddy was next to the oldest of six sons born to Vester and Katie. Nearly all of the babies in that family were born with a head full of black hair so thick it stuck up like grass. They had pretty skin that turned a warm brown in the summer, although most of them had Katie’s sky-blue eyes. And so they grew, six fine young men living off the land, becoming fine hunters and fishermen, as was the way of their ancestors.

 

The grandmothers who had been raised in the ways of their people died without passing down much in the way of tribal culture, so when grandchildren began arriving, which is where I come in, being one of The People was hardly ever mentioned. Even worse, although the thick black hair was still prevalent among the babies being born, I was not blessed with that genetic trait. Instead, I inherited the white, pale skin of my mother, and my grandmother, Katie’s blue eyes. And I was bald until after my first birthday, at which time little white baby curls came in like cotton tufts. And the bloodline had thinned so much that my generation did not have enough to ever be entered on tribal roles.

 

Chase the MoonWhen I grew old enough to know my heritage, I felt like I’d missed out on something important. Not only did I not qualify to be counted as “Indian”, I didn’t look like one either, but the older I grew, the more aware I became that my soul was one hundred percent pure in tune with The People. I identified with them. I thought the people with the warm brown skin, the black hair and dark eyes had the most beautiful of faces. I ran barefoot through the hot Oklahoma sand and played barefoot in the rain while the red earth squished between my toes, and at night I dreamed of leaving my body and flying anywhere I chose. I flew among the stars and flew low among the treetops. I walked the woods in my dreams and heard the animals’ voices. I can plan what I want to dream and when I go to sleep, I dream it. For years, I thought everyone could do that. And so that was my life. On the outside the little white girl by day, on the inside, the little Native girl by night.

 

The year I began first grade, we lived in a rent house in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma that was six long red dirt miles outside of a tiny little town, population about 500 people. The house was within walking distance to the South Canadian River. The half-mile path from our house to the road where I would catch the bus was barely wide enough for my daddy’s old black pickup. One side of the road was a heavily wooded hill that rose high above the path on the north, and on the south side was a pasture full of native grasses that grew higher than my head. The path seemed endless for a small girl going to meet a long yellow bus that would take her away from everything familiar, and so my old yellow dog, Laddie, walked it with me every morning and was waiting at the stop to walk me home every evening.

 

TallchiefSo in the fall of my first semester of first grade, when the leaves had just begun to turn and the morning air was chill enough that I could see my breath, and sometimes little wisps of fog still lingered knee-high above the ground, something happened that marked me as a child of The People. 

 

On that morning I am walking with my hand dug deep into the fur on old Laddie’s back, taking comfort from the warmth coming off of his body when I sense another presence. Almost at the same time, Laddie began to growl, a low deep grumble that never wavered. I caught a glimpse of movement up on the ridge and turned to see a wolf walking the ridge parallel to us, weaving in and out among the trees but keeping pace with Laddie and me down on the path. I saw it for the very large, very wild animal that it was, and yet for some reason, I was not scared. I just kept walking and made it to the bus stop, got on the bus and promptly forgot about it. It wasn’t there when I came home that evening, but when Laddie and I began our walk to the bus the next morning, it was on the ridge again and Laddie was growling and I was holding on to him and we were walking, walking, with the wolf keeping pace with our every step. Every morning through that entire season and up until the first snow, it was our uninvited companion.

 

Storm WarningI never mentioned it to my daddy. He was quite the hunter and I was afraid that he would shoot it. It wasn’t hurting me and if Laddie didn’t mind him being up there, then I didn’t either. Once the snow came, I never saw it again, and I never spoke of it until many years later and I was a young woman, almost grown. When I told the tale, an old Indian man who’d been sitting quietly throughout most of the visiting suddenly grabbed my arm and asked me if I knew what that meant? Never having been raised in the culture, I told him no. His dark eyes widened. I felt his gaze rake my body from head to toe and back again, and then he told me in a quiet, private tone that the wolf was my totem, and that I’d been marked for something special. My life was so ordinary, I couldn’t imagine, and I asked him what it would be. He shrugged, then said it was for me to discover, and that I just had to pay attention.

 

So the story stayed with me through my first marriage, during which time I survived two car wrecks that should have killed me. I remembered thinking, maybe I lived because I have not fulfilled my purpose. So I had my first child and then divorced. Later remarried and had my second child and I’m thinking, maybe it’s not me, but one of my children who has this special thing that they must do. And as they grew up, my second marriage grew worse, and I began searching my heart for something to do that would mentally take me out of my sadness.

 

WindwalkerNow remember, I said I always planned what I wanted to dream? Well, those dreams had become vivid daydreams as well, and one day after a particularly hard day, I pulled a typewriter out of a closet and began writing the story that was in my head.

 

All of a sudden my days were better. I had something to look forward to that was positive, something that took me ‘out of the place in which I lived’. My family thought I was silly. It made my husband mad because I had an interest in something that he couldn’t control. I wrote in cursive on yellow legal pads and then typed it at night. It took a year for me to finish, but I will never forget the satisfaction I felt at typing THE END.

 

I reread the story, realized how awful it was, because I didn’t know HOW to put on paper what I saw in my head, and stuck it under the bed. But the writing bug had bitten me hard, and I wrote another that also took another year to finish, and wasn’t any better. It, too, went under the bed and I let life and growing children overwhelm me again.

 

Sara's AngelIt wasn’t until 1985, when my sister and my dad died within two months of each other, that I re-evaluated my life. I didn’t want to be on my death bed sometime in the future wondering what would have happened if I’d just written another book. So I joined a writer’s group and figured out how to put on paper what I saw in my head, and after another year, I wrote the third book.

 

In the way of the People, I was a storyteller and just didn’t know it because the third book was the charm. The first place I sent it, bought it. That was 1991 and the book was called Sara’s Angel. It was a romance with a little bit of mystery/suspense and the hero in the book was Native American, because in my heart, all my heroes have pretty brown skin with black hair and dark eyes.

 

But it wasn’t until I received my first fan letter that I realized what I’d been chosen to do. The letter was from a woman who’s first language was obviously not English, and she wrote a line in that letter that I never forgot. She said, “For a little space of time, you show me a better world than the one that is mine.”

 

The DoveIt was my first step onto the path for which I was marked. I was doing what I was supposed to do…telling my stories… and when I could, showing Native American people in a positive and heroic light. More than half of my books have Native American characters, yet throughout the twenty-three years I’ve been published, I have fought a losing battle with traditional publishing houses to put real Native American models on the covers of the books with those characters. Every time I’d ask, I’d get another male model with long hair, but never one of the People.

 

And so it continued until self-publishing became possible. For years I’d been writing under two names – Sharon Sala, and my pen name, Dinah McCall and I wrote under both names until the year my fiancé died. His name was Bobby and he was from the Muscokee/Creek tribe. He was my childhood sweetheart and I’d lost touch with him until he came back into my life after a divorce. I had eight wonderful years with him before he died in our house, in my arms. I thought I would die with him. I wanted to, but my spirit wasn’t done here. I had stories yet to tell.

 

I was writing a McCall story when he died, and for some reason, after I finally finished that book, Dinah died with him. I never wrote under Dinah McCall book after The Survivors, which was dedicated to him, until my Bobby came to me one night years later in a dream. I woke up the next morning knowing I had another story to tell, and began writing the Windwalker trilogy under the Dinah McCall name.

 

The SurvivorsI knew I was going to self-publish because I was going to tell these stories about the People the right way – my way. It wasn’t just the fact that both hero and heroine in these stories were going to be Native Americans, but I had a dream I was going to make come true. For the first time in twenty-three years of writing, I was going to have real Native American people on the covers for the Windwalker trilogy, and one of them who became the female model was my own granddaughter, Logan Sala, who through her mother, is a member of the Muscokee tribe. Rick Mora, an actor/model from Hollywood who is Yaqui/Apache became the male model. The covers for Windwalker and The Dove are strikingly beautiful and I am as proud of those covers as I am the stories they represent. There is one more book in that trilogy called The Gathering, which will be out sometime next Spring and their beautiful faces will grace that cover, as well.

 

I have won many awards and received many accolades during my career, but none mean as much to me as being able to tell my stories my way, and see them published in the manner most befitting the heroes and heroines within those pages.

 

So twenty-three years and nearly one hundred books later, I am still the little white child with the Native heart, following a path marked by the wolf, who became her totem.

 

What a beautiful, amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us, Sharon.

SAIHM: Some Obscure History on Native Americans

I think this is something we all know … but not really. As in if you really think about it, you’ll be like “oh, well, duh.” And then you’ll feel sad … because it’s horrible. What am I talking about? Slavery. I know, it’s ugly and horrible … but it’s important to remember. After all, it’s American Indian/Native American Heritage Month … and a big part of history – for the States, and I’d say for the world.

In South Carolina, and to a lesser extent in North Carolina, Virginia, and Louisiana, Indian slavery was a central means by which early colonists funded economic expansion.

Earlier in the article, it says this

The African “role” encompasses the transportation, exploitation, and suffering of many millions in New World slavery, while Indians are described in terms of their succumbing in large numbers to disease, with the survivors facing dispossession of their land. This paradigm—a basic one in the history of colonialism—omits a crucial aspect of the story: the indigenous peoples of the Americas were enslaved in large numbers. This exclusion distorts not only what happened to American Indians under colonialism, but also points to the need for a reassessment of the foundation and nature of European overseas expansion.

So yeah.

Many other Indians were moved hundreds or thousands of miles within the Americas. Sioux Indians from the Minnesota region could be found enslaved in Quebec, and Choctaws from Mississippi in New England. A longstanding line of transportation of Indian slaves led from modern-day Utah and Colorado south into Mexico.

Lastly, this.

The paradigm of “what happened” to American Indians under European colonialism must be revised. Instead of viewing victimization of Africans and Indians as two entirely separate processes, they should be compared and contrasted. This will shed more light on the consequences of colonialism in the Americas, and how racism became one of the dominant ideologies of the modern world. It is time to assess the impact of slave trading and slavery on American Indian peoples, slave and free.

All those quotes were taken from Indian Slavery in the Americas by Alan Gallay. Which of course I understand is just one article, but I think it’s really thought provoking. You can also read the “About” article but I found that one really basic. Or even the Wikipedia article which… you know. Mixed bag there.

And of course if you want more general knowledge, The History Channel appears to have a great page on Native American Cultures.

I wanted to write this post because, well, social justice is important to me, but also, I heard a blip on NPR this week, that really made me think. How something so huge and so important in history just … isn’t talked about. It matters. It matters as to how we think about our history, and it matters because there is so much going on with the various tribes that are still ["relatively intact"] today. I don’t want to discuss that now because I haven’t done enough research but … it’s important. And if you feel so inclined as to do more research or have other questions, I’d love to hear it and help with what I can.

SAIHM Feature: T. J. Michaels

Well, we’re trucking along into November, and we’ve got another Heritage Month post :) I hope you guys are enjoying these! As you see we have T. J. Michaels today, so I hope you give her a warm welcome!

Growing up in the South while NOT growing up in the South

Seeker's SolaceWhen I was growing up, I heard my mom occasionally talk about Native (North) American and Mexican relatives…but we never met any of them. Why? Because my entire immediate family had moved to California from Louisiana and other states loooonnngggg before I was ever born.

Many of you know that I proudly claim my Native American heritage. In fact, my kids have been powwow’ing and celebrating our ancestors since my oldest child was five. But there’s a whole lot more going on beneath the skin and I’d like to share some of it with you.

One day I spoke to my great-grandmother while I was at work. She passed away at 94 years of age in 2000. I said, “Grandma, tell me about your mom.” She said, “Well, she spoke that parlez-vous mess.” Okay, that clearly said, ‘French’ to me, and not in a happy way. But when I asked my great-grand about her mother’s race, she said, “She was black.” Well, that didn’t make much sense, but then a light bulb went on in my head — my great grandmother’s mother was born about 1870, barely five years after the Civil War. According to my mom, they used to attend powwow’s when my mom was little. Then suddenly, everything changed. The majority of the family left the south. No one would ever say why.

So I thought on it a little more. Great great grandma was married to a black man…and she was obviously not black. It was bad enough to be black in the South at that time, but to be Native American AND black? That was a no-no. It wasn’t okay to be a “nigger lover” either, regardless of race. Hell, people were still being shunned for marrying outside their race a hundred years later.

JuicyThough the reason my grandmother, grandfather, aunts, uncles and mom left Louisiana remains a mystery, I’m grateful that my family moved to San Francisco where my sisters and I were born. It gave all of us who came in the later generation a chance to see a truly diverse city. And I must say, growing up in that particular metropolitan city was amazing.

It gave us the chance to experience the old mixed with the new. For example, during the holidays everyone, and I mean EVERYONE gathered at Grandma Susie’s house. That meant the entire family, plus extended family (ex-wives and husbands who had children by current family members were always welcome), plus whoever they wanted to bring along.

For the old: We had, without fail, creole dishes that my grandmother had grown up enjoying. Now, keep in mind that my grandma’s grandmother’s name shows up on the 14th census of the U.S. with a birthday of ‘abt 1870’, so “poor man’s food” like certain bottom feeder seafoods, like shrimp and crab, were staples. Later, they stuck around as tradition after they got popular with the rest of the masses. So that meant gumbo, shrimp creole, crawfish bisque, hot water cornbread, black-eyed peas, collard or mustard greens with smoked or salted pork, cornbread stuffing with sage and chicken stock, plus the typical turkey, ham, and mac-n-cheese. And for dessert, there was peach cobbler, butter pound cake, pecan pie and the like.

For the new: My dad would occasionally throw down a mean lasagna. My mom would do up a shrimp and broccoli quiche. Aunts, uncles and cousins would bust out the fruit and whipped cream ambrosia. Someone would even bring bottled softdrinks to go up against the traditional fruit punch.

Everything was made from scratch. Grandma didn’t use boxed anything, ever. After all, she didn’t grow up eating food that came in a box or a can. So when she taught my mom and my aunts how to cook, they learned from scratch. When Grandma Susie taught me, I learned how to make all kinds of food without even measuring! And when I taught my kids, they learned the same way.

And at the holidays, while we don’t have much family where we live right now, we still gather and do the traditional fabulous grub. Just like grandma used to make.

Thanks for sharing with us, T. J.! And totally fitting for November, especially with Thanksgiving coming up on us in the States. <3

So Cute Saturday!

I know I have a lot to do. I’d like to say I’m trying. But I kinda feel like this is … just as important? :D

The first video you need to have the sound on if at all possible. It becomes 1000 times cuter! (And yeah, it’s a week after Halloween… but I feel like pumpkins are apt for fall overall.)

And … this. [This one I'm indifferent about sound, and in fact >.> I may have muted it.]

Enjoy! And please remember to send people to SMSG14 to comment please! >.> Maybe I’ll send a big box of books to someone who gets the most people to comment… Or you know, a lot. OR WHATEVER.

Reading and Native American Romances/Characters

What’re you reading? Any recommendations for me?

>.> Although … if you know me at all you know I’m extremely picky.

I’m also curious as to whether or not you’ve read romances with Native American characters?

I know Sheri Whitefeather has written a few. She has her single title, and category romances. And there are random ones but I’d like to know if you have any suggestions? After all it is American Indian Heritage Month.

Or in general! Like Into the West remember that?

Into the West

It was a while ago but I want to say a lot of it was based on historical fact. Broke my heart. So anyway, have you ever read or noticed books/TV/movies with Native American [romances]? :)

SAIHM Feature + Guest Author & A Giveaway: Yasmine Galenorn

My darlings it is November! How did that happen?! Also, it’s the first Tuesday! >.> Yes. *koffs* So – it’s time for our Guest Author & A Giveaway feature! Today we have Yasmine Galenorn, she’s a first time guest at ALBTALBS so everyone give her a warm welcome! I also loved her answers, and I hope you do too.

So without further ado … your typical ALBTALBS Author Interview with Yasmine Galenorn! \o/

Courting DarknessWhich would you most like to go to? A​ncient Greece, ​Rome, Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, Africa, or South America? Why?
Um…can I pick Finland? Because I have a special connection there—not by blood but by spirit. If not, then Mesopotamia, because I love the B52’s song. *grins*

Which fairy tale would you most like to be in? ​Least? Why (for both)?
Most: I’m picking Where the Wild Things Are. YES—I maintain it’s a modern fairy tale! I want to travel with Max to the island and meet the Wild Things. And some times, I want to stay there, because the concept of living on a magical island full of wild creatures who were also malleable sounds like a lot of fun.

Least: Cinderella. I don’t believe in Happily Ever After (though I do believe in Happy For Now), I don’t like housework, and I want my man to be an equal partner, not my rescuer. ;)

What’s the best book you read as a school assignment?
Watership Down. It’s still my favorite book. I absolutely love it, and see it as modern myth. I had to contrast/compare it to the Odyssey in 9th grade. I still cry over the end, no matter how many times I’ve read it, and my favorite character is Fiver.

What do you think about clowns?
Do we even have to go there? *shudders* Have NEVER liked clowns. They freak me out. They invade your boundaries and space and then victim-blame you for being a poor sport when you tell them to back off. I can’t imagine being married to a clown. That would be a deal breaker.

Night SeekerCelebrity/Author death match – who would you most want to take on? [you don't have to say why ;) ]
Oh hell, I dunno. Alyssa Day. Because I love the woman and no matter how it came out, I’d be happy . *laughing*

What did you do with the money from your first royalty check?
Bought a new desk and chair and got my first tattoo! WAY back in 1998.

What items have to be close by when writing & not just the sensible stuff like research notes, but the other perhaps slightly goofy stuff (bowl of m&ms, stuffed animal, stress ball, pot of coffee).
Other than my notebooks, research, Daytimer, dozens of pens and other office supplies…there are a number of trinkets I love but the ONE constant throughout my writing life has been Miss Kitty, the porcelain kitty I’ve had since I was 7 years old (and that is…a little over four decades). I traded a necklace for her at school. She’s been my writing mascot ever since. I have a lot of other baubles and things, but Miss Kitty? She has to be there.

If you had to become a bear, which type would you choose? Why?
I LOVE BEARS I LOVE THIS QUESTION…*calms down* Okay…Brown bear. I love brown bears. The goddess I’m a priestess of created the bear in the Finnish traditions/mythos and names him Otso. Bear is tattooed on my arm. I have three cave bear teeth that are 20,000 years old. I have statues of bears—including a very large one in my yard. I have pictures of bears. I have stuffed bears—I love the Gund Snuffles bears and collect them. Oh, you wanted to know why? Because brown bears are…bears. Isn’t that enough reason?

Shadow RisingA twisted fairy offers you perfect health. You’ll never be sick or get a migraine again. The catch is you’ll break a bone every three years until your 75th birthday. Nothing crippling, but still a break. (Anything from a femur to your pinky.) Do you take the offer? why or why not?
Um, sure. Considering that at most, I’d maybe, possibly, live 15 years after 75 years old, that’s five bones and none of them crippling? Okay. Fine. I won’t be going wind surfing or sky diving at that point. That’s fine. Even at my age, if all health concerns magically vanished until I was 75—sure.

If you were to become a spammer, what product would you peddle? And what would your message be? Come up with the most attention getting, creative, crazy thing. Yes, that’s a challenge.
YOU YES YOU CAN NOW HAVE INCREDIBLE HEALTH WITH WONDER WATER!

Water is vital for health but how often have you looked at the water from your tap or your water bottles and thought, Could this be healthier? Could I be getting more out of my water?

Well now, you can have the incredible ENHANCED experience of WATER CONCENTRATE THERAPY! Yes, water concentrate! By learning how to concentrate water, we’ve been able to strengthen its healing powers. But how is this possible?

We concentrate only the finest of waters, straight from the mountain glaciers! This adds extra minerals and nutrients to all your drinking experience.

ToHaunted Moon use WONDER WATER, simply pour one vial of WONDER WATER CONCENTRATE into a glass of tap water and stir. Drink and you’ll have all the concentrated benefits of over THREE GLASSES of regular water!!! You’ll feel better, your skin will glow, you’ll reduce that pre-period bloat, and revitalize your entire body. Sign up now and we’ll send you your first month’s supply for only $29.95! Every month thereafter, we will send you another month’s worth of concentrate and bill your credit card for only $29.95. That’s less than a dollar a day for incredible health!!!

​T​ell us two truths and a lie. (The catch is you have to tell us what the lie is later in the comments)

  1. I lived in a converted school bus and slept with a hatchet by my head.
  2. I firmly believe I was an Egyptian Pharaoh in an earlier life.
  3. I never went on a date with any of my boyfriends/girlfriends/husband (and former husband) before I got involved with them romantically.

If you could be a super hero what would your super hero name be? And what would your nemesis be named? What would both of your super powers be?
The Empress of Dark Sparklies. My powers would be the ability to enchant and delight, with the darkest of sparkly magic. And my nemesis would be Grumpy Conservo-Dude, who has the power to drain the magic out of any gathering, and the fun out of any situation.

Night VisionIf you could switch places with someone for 72 hours, whose life would you want to live?
Honestly? Nobody. If I loved it more than my own, I’d regret coming back. If I hated it, I’d never be able to talk to that person again without thinking, “I know too much about what their life is like.”

What five other authors do you think more people need to be reading? (You can assume you’re already on the list ;) )

  1. Shawntelle Madison.
  2. Kerry Schafer
  3. Karen Mahoney
  4. Holly Black (The Coldest Girl in Cold Town is one of my favorites as of late)
  5. Chloe Neill

Who are you choosing for your zombie apocalypse team? [Real, then fictional?]
Real:

  1. My friend Andrew. He’d be my choice for leader of the pack. If anybody can survive the zombie apocalypse, he can.
  2. I’d be the brains.
  3. Samwise—my husband—to run the underground communications/computer network.
  4. Marc and Andria, my assistants—both strong and handy.
  5. Carol, one of my best friends.
  6. Gary Numan—my favorite singer because we’re going to need entertainment. *koffs*celebritycrush*koffs*

Autumn WhispersFictional:

  1. Leonard McCoy from Star Trek: He can cure anything with that tricorder.
  2. Buffy: because she’s…Buffy.
  3. Daryl from the Walking Dead: Because besides being eye candy, you have to love a guy who can shoot a good cross bow and have no remorse.
  4. MacGyver: because he can create ANYTHING.
  5. Han Solo: because HAN SHOT FIRST!
  6. Thor: because he’s Thor, any other reason needed?

(Hey, you said ‘team’…to me a team means numbers!)

What a fun interview! But now I want to talk a little about Native American Indian Heritage month, and about how that relates to me. You might not know, but I’m (a significant) part Cherokee. I don’t talk about it much because honestly, I see it as just part of who I am. It doesn’t make me any more special or less special than someone who’s part Norwegian or part African American.

I’m one of those people who are kind of adrift about my family heritage. Most of the rest of my origin is Irish, but the honest truth is this: I don’t know much about a lot of my ancestors. I tried to investigate my Cherokee ancestry but my ancestors weren’t on the government rolls and that makes it difficult to pursue information.

Night's EndThe genealogy of my family wasn’t documented very well and with a great-grandma who outlived eight husbands, nobody really even knows what her original last name was, as far as I know. Our family? Not so close. Add to that, my blood father was my mother’s cousin (a long and involved story there. My mother left my stepfather for very good reasons, got pregnant with me, and then unfortunately went back to him)…and you begin to understand the complicated dynamics involved in my background.

However, I do know this: I grew up in a town where ethnicities weren’t accepted very well. I grew up hearing my stepfather refer to Native Americans as ‘warhoops’ (right in front of my mother and me), and Hispanics as ‘wetbacks.’ It didn’t make me ashamed of my background. In fact, his prejudice only served to make me leave that town and my family as soon as I could.

I also know that when my mother first married my stepfather, Grandma wouldn’t allow Mom to walk through the front door for a couple of years because she was part Cherokee. (Yes, I called—her Grandma. Blood related or not, she actually treated me pretty nicely though everybody knew I wasn’t actually H’s daughter. She didn’t take it out on me like he did—he abused me for just existing.)

Priestess DreamingMom was forced to go through the back door or the ‘servant’s entrance.’ After my stepfather finally spoke up—two years later—and his brother and sister argued with Grandma, she relented. But two years of being relegated to ‘servant’ status affected my mother’s already low self-esteem and I don’t think she ever recovered. When I heard the story, it made me that much more determined that I’d never let anybody stop me from what I wanted to do, just because of who I was.

Once I left home, I don’t believe I’ve ever suffered discrimination because of my ethnic background. I’ve been discriminated against because of my weight, being tattooed, and to some degree—being bisexual—more than anything else.

But yes, that, and the whole dynamic of knowing what happened to my mother, did affect my writing. In my books, there are hate groups and racism, even though it’s within an urban fantasy setting.

While some things in my world are idealized, others are not. In Otherworld, same-sex marriage? Legal and no problem to most people. Alternative lifestyles and sexualities? Maybe not the norm but just a matter-of-fact presence. But discrimination exists, and not only among the humans. My D’Artigo Sisters’ father hates one of Camille’s husbands simply because of his heritage. He’s prejudiced. And it causes a rift and he pays a price in losing his daughters’ respect.

Panther ProwlingI approach the themes of ‘other-ness’ and discrimination from a world-centric POV rather than taking it down to one ethnicity. Because I see racism and discrimination in every group, in every country, every continent, every religion, every gathering of like-individuals. There will always be a few who browbeat those who aren’t part of the ‘us’ in the us-and-them. So my writing focuses on oddballs and misfits, and those who live—like I do—a little bit on the fringe. In fact, I truly don’t know if I believe in ‘normal’ as truly existing.

I’ve always been on the outside, always been a ‘misfit’ in the norms of society. And that has made me realize how important subculture becomes. It’s also made me think about how important it is that those of us in the subculture not become exclusive. We cannot allow ourselves to take on the characteristics of those who would make us feel less-than-human, less-than-acceptable—whether it be for our ethnic heritage, or our weight, or the way we choose to portray ourselves.

So, next time you see a heavily tattooed fat chick wearing retro-pinup clothing, before making quick assumptions about her, remember: that could easily be me. ~grins~

So tell me, how do you see yourself against what is thought of as ‘normal’ in society? I’m giving a mini-book basket to one commenter (must be USA, I’m sorry), including the first three books in the Otherworld Series, the first book in the Indigo Court Series, and the first book in my Chintz ‘n China series.

You all know how this goes! Guess – which one is the lie that she told? What crazy question do you want to ask Yasmine? (Or you know, a reasonable one. Or something about her books.) And go go GO!