Stories from my Grandfather – The Migration Legend

WHAT’S PLAYING: David Guetta feat. Sia “Titanium

In ancient times, the ancestors of the Choctaws and Chickasaws lived in a land far to the west under the rule of two brothers, Chahta and Chikasa.

There were many Choctaws and Chickasaws in those days. Their territory became overcrowded, making it difficult for the people to find food. A great prophet had a vision of a land far to east with fertile soil and abundant game where the people could live in peace and plenty. And so, the entire population resolved to make the journey eastward in search of that happy land.

The people split into two groups, marching a day’s journey apart. The prophet led them, bearing a sacred pole. Every night, he would plant this stick in the earth in front of the camp. And each morning, when the people rose, the pole would be leaning in the direction they were to travel that day.

They continued this way for several moons. One night, the people led by Chahta set up camp on the west bank of the Nanih Waiya Creek by the mound, while those led by his brother, Chikasa crossed the creek and camped on the eastern side. That night, a great rain fell, flooding the Creek and rendering it impassable for several days.

The next morning the pole was still standing erect, indicating that the people had at last found their new home.

After the waters had subsided, Chahta sent messengers across the creek to bid his brother’s party to return, as the oracular pole had proclaimed that the long sought-for land was found. Chikasa’s party, however had proceeded on their journey, and the rain had washed away all traces of them so that the messengers could not follow.

This is how the Choctaws and the Chickasaws became two distinct, though kindred nations.


Book Review – The Siren by Tiffany Reisz

WHAT’S PLAYING: Pussycat DollsTainted Love


This week’s book is The Siren by Tiffany Reisz.

Notorious Nora Sutherlin is famous for her delicious works of erotica, each one more popular with readers than the last. But her latest manuscript is different—more serious, more personal—and she’s sure it’ll be her breakout book…if it ever sees the light of day. Zachary Easton holds Nora’s fate in his well-manicured hands. The demanding British editor agrees to handle the book on one condition: he wants complete control. Nora must rewrite the entire novel to his exacting standards—in six weeks—or it’s no deal. Nora’s grueling writing sessions with Zach are draining…and shockingly arousing. And a dangerous former lover has her wondering which is more torturous—staying away from him…or returning to his bed? Nora thought she knew everything about being pushed to your limits. But in a world where passion is pain, nothing is ever that simple.

Let me be clear, I’m not a huge fan of erotica. I tried to read Fifty Shades of Grey, but gave up after twenty pages. I know there are plenty of people who love the book, but I found it painfully bad. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s the reason on of my kidneys recently decided to shut down. (That’s right, EL James! You killed my kidney!) I met Tiffany Reisz at the Chicago Spring Fling Writers Conference, and was so impressed by her speech that I just had to read The Siren despite my previous, kidney murdering experience.

This book is everything Fifty Shades wasn’t: funny, touching, sexy, and most importantly, well written.

Let’s start with what this book is not. It is not a romance. At least, not in the traditional sense of the word. There are no happily-ever-afters and the course of true love most certainly does not run smoothly. In fact, I would liken this book to the emotional equivalent of being hit in the back of the throat with a claw hammer. You will laugh. You will cry. You will most certainly flinch.

The Siren reminds me of an old sparring partner. Stepping into the ring with him was like stepping into a maelstrom of vicious kicks and punches that seemed to come from everywhere at once. More often than not, I found myself flat on the mat, wondering what the hell happened.

Despite the emotional turmoil, I couldn’t put this book down. Reisz’s raw, vivid prose, sardonic wit, complex characters, and intricate plotting held me captive until the very last page. I was so taken with this book that I commissioned a Choctaw/Braille copy for my mother, and plan to do the same with the next book in the series.

This book is not about sex, though there is plenty of sex in it. It’s about love, respect, and pushing boundaries.

Provocative and disturbing, with scorching hot BDSM scenes, The Siren is everything erotica is meant to be.


Favorite Line/Image: “Master Griffin Fiske, meet my editor, Zachary Easton,” she introduced them.

“A pleasure to meet you.” Zach reached forward to shake Griffin’s hand. But Griffin kissed the center of his palm instead. Zach yanked his hand back.

“He’s gorgeous, Nora. Hot accent, too. Fucked him yet?”

Nora shrugged. “Just a blow job.”

Zach had the sudden urge to throttle Nora.

“Blow job on a British guy?” Griffin asked with some concern. “You’re a braver bitch than I. No offense,” Griffin said, turning to Zach. “I have a foreskin phobia.”

“Zach’s Jewish.”

Griffin nodded his approval. “Mazel tov.”


Bottom Line: This book will haunt you long after you’ve put it down.


Coming up next: Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Andrew Shaffer

Stuff I Learned the Hard Way – It Helps if You’re a Little Crazy

WHAT’S PLAYING: Kings of LeonSex on Fire” (Is it me, or does this song sound like the world’s scariest STD?)

A month ago, I learned that I was sick. Not “break out the black clothes and white lilies” sick. More “your life is going to suck for a while, but you’ll get through it” sick. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, so I nodded, put on my big girl panties, and moved forward.

Many of my friends commented on my positive and upbeat attitude. I tell them the secret is simple:

It helps if you’re a little crazy.

In my head, I’m invincible. No disease or injury can do me serious harm. They can only slow me down for a little while. Part of me suspects that if I lost a limb, it would grow back in a couple of weeks. No, I’m not going to try it. I’m crazy, not stupid.

Being just a wee bit out of touch with reality keeps me moving forward. All those travel plans I had to cancel – including my trip to England and, most recently, a writer’s conference in Ohio that I very much wanted to attend – in my mind, they have simply been deferred.

I will admit to being a little scared, but mostly I’m just pissed off. I don’t smoke, do drugs, or engage in unprotected sex. In fact, aside from the occasional cocktail and bone deep laziness, I’m usually very healthy. I didn’t do anything wrong, and yet I feel like my body has betrayed me.

Still, I love my life and no disease is going to stop me from living it.

To my friends and family who have been so supportive, I love you all.

Don’t count me out just yet.