Sunday, August 9, 2015

Are You Nyah Garza

Someone recently asked me, “Are you Nyah Garza?” 

Nyah Garza is the main character in The Pull series. She's a tough no-nonsense, take it or leave it type of woman.

At first I wasn’t certain how to respond (and believe me when I say, this girl is hardly ever at a loss of words!) How can Nyah NOT be Marissa Pedroza? I created her. Her character came alive as I lay in bed one night (another bout of insomnia) and all I could think was, “Would you risk your life for someone else’s child?” I mean really risk it. Not just, hey there’s a child playing in the street kind of thing, but when you have to get dirty, completely involved, when you have to sacrifice every part of who you are as a human being… would you still put yourself and maybe even your loved ones in harms way to save a stranger’s child? If the answer is yes, why? Why would you risk so much for a stranger, with no promise of a payoff?

That was Nyah’s birth. I got up and simply began writing. I discovered that Nyah Garza was not me at all. She was hard where I was soft. She was decisive where I’d contemplate for days. She knew what she wanted and did not question her lack of abilities. And yet, there were characteristics that we shared: We both held the same code of honor, the same belief that the world is more "good" than it is bad, that we all have a part to play in something much larger than what is currently known - and we both had rough beginnings in life, and used those rough beginnings as a motivator to change the world around us.

So, to sum it up. I am not Nyah Garza, but I am her most ardent supporter.

Purchase The Pull:

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


It always kills me a little inside when I see posts about people on food assistance. The posts generally make fun of these people and plays into the stereotype that people participating in the food assistance program are taking advantage of “free money”. They are lazy, unemployed nobodies taking from all of us; living high off the hog on the taxes we pay.

Well, let me tell you why these posts kill me. 
  1. If you’re going to make fun of “food stamps” then get with the times. There is  no such thing as food stamps. It’s SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). If you’re going to insult a whole group of people, then at least get the name of program right.
  2. There is nothing funny about poverty. I have yet to meet someone in poverty, and you have to be impoverished to be eligible for food assistance, who wouldn’t immediately trade places with those of us who are employed and make enough money to pay taxes. BTW, those exact numbers are: you have to be at or BELOW 130% of the Federal poverty level.
  3. Over 70% of SNAP benefits go to households with children. Let me say that again, these are children. They didn’t ask to be born to impoverished parents. They didn’t ask to be the butt of jokes, but they get to attempt to come up from that.

These Facebook post probably wouldn’t bother me as much if I had never been a Foster parent. I know first-hand the stories these children tell of missing meals. Of eating crackers and ketchup for supper when the benefits ran out. I’m not saying there aren’t people who find a way to take advantage of any situation. I’m just saying, if you’re going to be upset at where your tax dollars are going, here is a few situations we should be outraged about:

  1. How does 2.3 Trillion unaccounted dollars sound? That is not a typo. $2,300,000,000,000.00 lost by the Pentagon, announced by Donald Rumsfeld, forgotten after September 11th. What… crickets? $2.3 Trillion, I’m sure those poor kids eat that in a month. Let’s make another post about how awful they are.
  2. $2.21 billion hit from Energy Department Loans (2015). Green energy is supposed to save us money, but so far we are $2.21 billion in the hole. Yes, that’s our tax dollars.

There is so much waste, I could fill an epic tome, but I won’t. If it makes you feel better to mock the poor, then so be it, just don’t pretend it's because you really care about how your government spends your tax dollars. If that were the case, I'd see posts about governmental fiscal waste instead of a meme about poor people.

We all know that poor children and their families hold all the power in the world… which is why we blame all our woes on people on “food stamps”.

No racist slant here, right?
These poor kids are used for every tacky point ever made