And, looking at my title this week, I hope some men.

Everything I am going to say has been said before. I just hope I can add my voice to the throng. I am one of the many. May the many be strong.

Proceed with rant.

The attack on Planned Parenthood is about one thing and one thing only. It is about CONTROL. Always has been, always will be.

For the party that espouses small government, the Republicans have made government huge in an Orwellian way. They would have government in my bedroom, in my doctor’s exam room, even in my uterus. Your TEA Party has had enough (remember, Taxed Enough Already)? Yea, right, if only it just taxes. This is far more personal.

It is well documented that Planned Parenthood provides invaluable services in terms of women’s health: pap smears, pelvic exams, breast exams, birth control services, and these idiot male congressional members who think that a woman’s need for an OB-GYN ends at 50- pardon my French- Who the DO you think you are??? My reproductive health is still an issue as I face menopause, possible cancer scares, and STD concerns. So, if at fifty our sex lives are over then do we surgically castrate all the men??? I mean, after fifty, do they really need their reproductive parts? Please. That is the level of lunacy we face here.

No, I have had enough. My sex life is NONE of anyone’s business. I don’t have a cool acronym for my opinion and I don’t wave signs in front of people’s faces. Because I am busy having a life, one that does include sex without procreation in mind and does NOT include focus groups. In the past extremist groups have used abortion as their lever to sway mainstream opinion.

First of all, let me just say, I think the pro-choice movement missed the boat. We should all be pro-abortion. Not because it’s a course I would wish on anyone, but because by hiding behind the nomenclature “pro-choice” we somehow add validity to right-wing opponents. I believe abortion is a valid, ethical surgical procedure. One that I want my daughters and my son’s girlfriend/significant other/one night stand to have safe access to. I am pro-abortion in the same way that I am pro-triple bypass, and pro-organ transplant. It’s not ideal, but sometimes that is how life rolls. It’s messy. Deal with it.

In recent weeks new comments have surfaced. Apparently, abortion isn’t what matters to the Right-wing movement and they DO know how rare abortions are these days. No, their problem is, according to Monica Miller of The Citizens For A Pro-Life Society:

Planned Parenthood from the top to the bottom is a corrupt organization… corrupt in its view of the sanctity of life and corrupt in its view of human sexuality. I say even if Planned Parenthood didn’t perform one single abortion, just the mere fact that its sexual ethic is corrupted means right there, should be the reason right there, that they should not receive any federal money. The kind of sexual ethic that Planned Parenthood promotes is sex for recreation, sex for mere pleasure.”

So, just to be clear. You hate that somewhere in America there’s a woman having sex with her husband, her boyfriend, or even her love of the evening for the sheer delight of it? It offends YOUR morality??? Threatens it? My friend, then your morality is pretty damn fragile.

Honey, here’s the thing. Sex feels good. It IS good. It brings couples together, renews their intimacy, connects them to a deeper, richer communication, reassures fragile egos, you name it. In the messy, bittersweet communion of flesh- something magical happens. It’s called the pursuit of happiness. You mess with that bit of the Constitution and you better well mother-loving believe it– I will come for your stupid, asinine, ridiculous guns.

This week’s song is by a true pioneer. There are far too few women in metal, but by anyone’s standards Doro Pesch has paid her dues and sharpened her metal chops. I flipping love her. So, in the words of Warlock, “Now we’re stronger. We no longer want you pushin’ us.”


Here are the lyrics:

All we are
All we are, we are
We are all, all we need
All we are
All we are, we are
We are all, all we need
There’s beauty in the heart of the beast
Fear behind the eyes of the thief
I know you know we’re all incomplete
Let’s get together and let’s get some relief [CHORUS]
Stronger than a mountain of steel
Faster than hell on wheels
We’ve got we’ve got all the power we need
Let’s build a playground on this old battlefield [CHORUS] Now we’re stronger
We no longer want you bringin’ us down
We’ve got the magic
So we’re gonna spread the magic around yeah! Now we’re stronger
We no longer want you pushin’ us [CHORUS] All we are
We are all, all we need
Doro on stage in Germany

Doro on stage in Germany


This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.


Looking around at life, love means an awful lot of things to an awful lot of people. I watch people and I see what is in my own life. As with so many things, the disparities are striking.

The greatest art, the most beautiful ballads, those incredibly moving moments that touch the heart and cause the soul to fly come from love, the best bits of the purest joy. There lies the magic of a baby’s belly laugh, a little girl’s infectious giggle, and the peals of laughter on a playground. Sadness also has its place: one spouse holding another in their final moments, crooning a last lingering good-bye, the tightness in one’s throat as tears catch us unawares at the notes of love song, and the unexpected pain of running into someone whom we thought we had forgotten ages ago, but in one instant every shared moment comes rushing back.

There are those effervescent moments of sheer bliss, lying in the arms of the one you love– sweaty, disheveled, and for one perfect instant- utterly content. The heart never empties. One does not dole out love like welfare rations. Love is continuous and replenishing. Loving more people does not that mean we love anyone else less. I always say in running, the more you push, the more you can push. Likewise, the more you love, the more you can love.

The bonds of family can sustain, empower, and lift us up in the ways unimaginable. In love we find our most essential selves, those versions of us that become everything we ever wanted to be. In our lover’s eyes, in our Eros found confidence we create an avatar of ourselves as the best of us emerges. One hopes that when we find a perfect match we evolve into a better, kinder, and smarter kind of self.

One hopes.

But love has another side. Like the comedy and tragedy in theater, love comes with pain. For most of us, the pain associated with devotion is simply that of love lost, whether to another, perhaps to distance, or even to death. For the majority of souls, the pain of love is that of separation from the object of our desires. For others, the pain is an expression of love. In a hundred twisted ways love and pain become entwined, often with results of quiet desperation, other times with rants of broken rage.

In this scenario, if I take the trouble to hurt you it’s because I care, otherwise you wouldn’t be worth my time. If you let me hurt you, if you let me cut you asunder, reducing you to ribbons then you’ve proved your love for me. It’s the old negative, even poisoned, attention is better than being ignored. There are hideous degrees. parents withholding approval until the child hits an imaginary, arbitrary set of objectives. There’s the twisted desire for justice, that somehow you deserve this pain. You deserve to be punished.

Oh, I’ve heard the arguments, that the pain inflicted in sex acts brings a greater intimacy, a shared trust. Whatever, it’s not my thing. All I know is that love doesn’t hurt. It shouldn’t hurt and I don’t deserve to be hurt. It’s not in my particular mental makeup. Not that I am shallow or smug enough to speak for anyone working out their emotions. I would say that for me martyrdom, sadism, masochism, and passive aggressive crap– these are not love. They may very well stem from deep-seated emotions, but love got lost somewhere upon the emotional landscape. You deserve better, friends, you bloody well deserve better.

This week’s song is a favorite from a workout point of view. It has a great beat and gets me moving faster, but it’s truly troubling from the view point of a lover. Love and pain linked, and not in a good way. I cannot save you. No one can. A friend can offer a temporary refuge, succor, but genuine change comes from within. It’s a crappy cliché, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. You want love to stop hurting? Walk in the sunlight, the moonlight, or the starlight, whatever, but walk in the light. Find your joy. Leave the darkness, the monsters behind. It starts with you, no one else can save the drowning one, not really.

And honestly, when all else breaks down? Thank God for Iron Maiden, and running, but mostly Iron Maiden. those guys can fix anything.


“Every You Every Me”

Sucker love is heaven sent.
You pucker up, our passion’s spent.
My hearts a tart, your body’s rent.
My body’s broken, yours is bent.Carve your name into my arm.
Instead of stressed, I lie here charmed.
Cuz there’s nothing else to do,
Every me and every you.Sucker love, a box I choose.
No other box I choose to use.
Another love I would abuse,
No circumstances could excuse.In the shape of things to come.
Too much poison come undone.
Cuz there’s nothing else to do,
Every me and every you.
Every me and every you,
Every Me…heSucker love is known to swing.
Prone to cling and waste these things.
Pucker up for heavens sake.
There’s never been so much at stake.I serve my head up on a plate.
It’s only comfort, calling late.
Cuz there’s nothing else to do,
Every me and every you.
Every me and every you,
Every Me…heEvery me and every you,
Every Me…he

Like the naked leads the blind.
I know I’m selfish, I’m unkind.
Sucker love I always find,
Someone to bruise and leave behind.

All alone in space and time.
There’s nothing here but what here’s mine.
Something borrowed, something blue.
Every me and every you.
Every me and every you,
Every Me…he

Every me and every you,
Every Me…he [x4]

Erika Gardner

Erika Gardner

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

Someone asked me a very on point question the other day. We always hear of writing in first person point of view ie Once upon a time I took the subway to Olympus and the third person point of view Once upon a time Suzie took an Uzi and shot all the zombies to bits. See the difference? So the question was, if we know first person and we know third person point of view… What is second person point of view.

Well, it’s tricky. As anyone who has studied a foreign language can tell you upon reflection, the second person point of view is the “You” point of view. Once upon a time you sailed a ship to the edge of the world. See?

It’s not used often. It’s not often used well. It lends itself to present tense more so than past tense, which is the reverse of the other story telling veins. However, when it is done well it can be a powerful voice, the kind of story telling vehicle that haunts the reader and is difficult to shake off the next day. No matter how you try.

Leo Tolstoy used it, Margaret Atwood, Jay McInerney, and Nathaniel Haythorn. Sometimes they used it in combination with the first person POV. That works well. As it does in this week’s song. I love Bob Seger’s Turn The Page. I loved Metallica’s cover of it, too, but there is something so effortlessly poignant in the saxophone of Seger’s version- plays at the heart strings and lets loose the emotions. Forget alcohol to loosen the inhibitions, Seger does it in three minutes.

So, check out how he uses second person to set the stage, build the world, introduce you to the main character (himself) but from a distance, through the lens of the second person POV. Then when he hits you with the first person chorus, the emotional punch is all the greater.

And see, you’ve learned something and have a great seventies classic to go download- c’mon, you know you want to.

Enjoy :-) Make it a great week, my friends.


“Turn The Page”

On a long and lonesome highway, east of Omaha
You can listen to the engine moanin’ out its one note song
You can think about the woman, or the girl you knew the night before
But your thoughts will soon be wandering, the way they always do
When you’re riding sixteen hours and there’s nothing there to do
And you don’t feel much like riding, you just wish the trip was through
Here I am, on a road again
There I am, on the stage
Here I go, playing star again
There I go, turn the page
Well, you walk into a restaurant all strung out from the road
And you feel the eyes upon you as you’re shaking off the cold
You pretend it doesn’t bother you, but you just want to explode
Most times you can’t hear ’em talk, other times you can
All the same old clichés, is it woman, is it man?
And you always seem outnumbered, so you don’t dare make a standHere I am, on a road again
There I am, on the stage
Here I go, playing star again
There I go, turn the page

Out there in the spotlight you’re a million miles away
Every ounce of energy, you try to give away
As the sweat pours out your body like the music that you play

Later in the evening as you lie awake in bed
With the echoes from the amplifiers ringin’ in your head
You smoke the day’s last cigarette, remembering what she said

Here I am, on a road again
There I am, up on the stage
Here I go, playing star again
There I go, turn the page

Here I am, on a road again
There I am, on the stage, yeah
Here I go, playing star again
There I go, there I go

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

Erika Gardner

Erika Gardner

So, if you follow the wine blogs, magazines, or just plain wine speak in general you’ll know that one of California’s greatest gifts is simultaneously our bane. Yep, in a word? Zinfindels.

I mean, come on! Our weather, our terroir, naturally we would produce class-A Zins, magical, yummy, jammy, get-this-party-started-pieces-of-heaven-in-a-bottle. Or so I hear that’s the technical term. Our Zinfindels helped put California on the map wine-wise back in the day. That said, they are a double-edged sword. In recent years we have seen a great of flack, much of it deserved, for serving up gratuitous fruit-bombs.

OZV- proving California right

OZV- proving California right

A good Zin is jammy. It explodes on the palette, refusing to be ignored. It demands attention and rightly so because it is so, so, so delish. On the other hand a fruit bomb, which has become a sad pattern in recent years with young wineries jumping on the big Zin band wagon, is a wine so jammy you almost need a fork. It’s syrupy, no nuances, sicky sweet. God forbid you wait a year or two to drink it. The fruit bombs do NOT age well.

Okay, so that’s what you DON’T want. easy enough. You get the picture. OZV is like that, only completely opposite in the most delightful Alice in Wonderland kind of way. It’s big. It commands attention with its berry loveliness and its faint trace of spice. It’s full with a smooth finish. It warrants sharing with friends… but only the cool ones, not those wimpy ones who show up at a party with cheap Chardonnay.

No bueno.

Gretchen & Janine- good friends, good wine!

Gretchen & Janine- good friends, good wine!

Now mind you, OZV is a blend, mostly Zin, but with a mix of Petite Syrah as well. And a well done blend indeed. Also, they’ve avoided the fruit bomb curse of high-alcohol California wines (15%, even 16% alcohol). It’s 13% and can be purchased at Cost Plus for about ten dollars per bottle. Sigh. Contentment. Lack of stress. Yea.

My husband and I had a barbecue last weekend. We entertained about forty people in our backyard. Super fun, great guests, the best, most interesting and adorable friends- the kind of people who remind you how great life truly is, even with death and taxes. One of them brought OZV- bless her. Bless Trader Joe’s where YOU can purchase said wine at an affordable price. That’s the best kind of price. Enjoy!


This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.  Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.


Erika Gardner

Erika Gardner




This week’s Musical Monday springs from a personal source. I am thrilled to be able to showcase the debut novel, Nor-Cal, by my friend, Sean Finnegan. Sean and I are both Bay Area natives. We went to the same junior high school in Santa Rosa, but to be honest I don’t think we ever spoke. I always knew who he was though. How could this Irish girl miss a cute Irish boy named Sean Patrick Finnegan? We went to different high schools. Eventually, I attended a college in Northern California and he headed south. Years later, as so often seems to be the case, we ran across one another on Facebook through mutual friends. Once we realized we both had become writers we began to compare notes on our professional journeys.

Last spring Sean launched his first novel, Nor-Cal, on Amazon. Finnegan writes with a kind of stream of consciousness, but with more shades of Jack Kerouac than Faulkner. Real and raw, the author doesn’t pull any punches so while the age of the protagonist and the coming of age theme might lead one to include this in Young Adult, parents might want to take a look at it first. I can say that this read will spark some very necessary and honest conversations between loved ones on life & death, sex, drugs, and the gaps between generations, not to mention the clash of value systems. Call it the male perspective on coming of age, a boy’s Some Girls Are and potentially as controversial.

Nor-cal by Sean Finnegan

Nor-cal by Sean Finnegan

Click Here to Buy This Book!!!

Thanks so much, Sean, for agreeing to do this interview on my site. Because I am not up to the magic of podcasts and Finnegan lives a state away- we went old school:

1.) Nor-cal is clearly a very personal story for you. How much is memoir and how much is fiction? Where does Pavel O’Shea leave off and Sean Finnegan begin? 

  • I’d say that the character of Pavel is a composite divided into thirds; one third me and my experiences/ one third my sister’s perspective and disciplined nature/ and one third based on the life of a guy I worked with in a restaurant. I have a strange writing style which utilizes a Cuisinart to puree’ true events with complete fiction.

2.) Pavel seemed to have more positive relationships with many of the women in his life than the men, even those men closest to him. Was this on purpose? What did you mean to say about your main character with this dynamic?

  • I grew up in a family almost entirely comprised of women. My father left when I was young. My grandfather left before I was even born. A lot of guys I knew growing up in the 80’s not only had divorced parents, but fathers that were almost entirely absent from their lives. James Hetfield is in this documentary called “Absent Dads” and it blew me away to learn he had a similar story to mine and that of a lot of my friends. I’m just reporting on this phenomenon more than trying to say anything about it. But I read this quote by Lemmy from Motorhead who said: “Not only do I lust after women, but I actually like women, like talking with them.” And I’d whole-heartedly agree with that. I’ve always had a few women in my life who weren’t relatives or girlfriends, but just damn good friends. And I don’t read about those relationships too often in most “young man/coming of age stories.” My friendships with men are awesome, crucial, instinctive, hysterical and vital. But rarely are they jam packed with moments of tenderness. So, when those moments occur they carry a lot of weight.

3.) Nor-cal is billed as a book centered around the SF music scene, thrash metal and punk rock in particular, but it could be argued that the book truly centers around the SF drug scene. Is that a fair statement? How deep do you think the classic link between rock-n-roll and drugs really lies?

  • Let’s face it, rock and roll and drugs have ALWAYS gone hand in hand. Not that drugs are required for good rock music, but the influence is definitely there. Jimmy Page and heroin, Bob Marley and pot, The Grateful Dead and LSD, there was a lot of coke and speed in the Bay Area thrash metal scene, that’s for sure. But see, I don’t think all drug use is bad; matter of fact when used in a safe manner I think there can be extremely positive benefits to moderate drug use. Damn near everyone drinks in this country and nobody’s too upset about booze even though it kills more people each year than ALL the illicit drugs combined. That being said, I think some drugs are completely worthless, I’m talking methamphetamine, cocaine and cigarettes. Although I’ve never shot heroin, I’d like to include that one in the “worthless” category as well except for the fact that most of the musical geniuses of the 20th century were all smack addicts. But the problem with heroin is you never really hear of a casual heroin user, most people destroy their lives behind that one. Anytime a person crosses into unmanageable addiction, it’s always terrible. And because this story is set in the mid-80’s, I focused on the extremely rapid and negative affects crack and freebase cocaine had on the drug culture at that time. It was a complete game changer which took down a lot of good people.

4.) The book describes iconic California scenery and landmarks. Do you think most of America has a clear picture of Northern California? Do you think Nor-cal paints one? What aspects of California in the 1980’s did you especially want to play up? Why?

  • I know people from all over the country, all over the world and nobody knows a goddamn thing about Northern California. Okay, maybe the wine country and the Golden Gate? But the vision most people have of California is of Southern California, a big sandy beach. I dig So-Cal, lived there for ten years and still love to visit the place, see my friends down there. I’m certainly not an L.A. hater by any means. But I just wanted to share everything I could about the locale where we both grew up, Erika. I think there’s a good taste of it in the book. San Francisco and Humboldt County seem to epitomize the extremes of Nor-Cal to me. And I really wanted to reference the tone of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, a more conservative era people hardly remember anymore, when the Soviet Union was our sworn enemy and pot was totally illegal under threat of a severe jail sentence, ten years before medical marijuana.

5.)  One of the challenges Pavel must over come is grief and loss. Do you think the young are better or less equipped to deal with these emotions? What about Pavel allows him to soldier through his bereavement?

  • I don’t know if anyone is well equipped to deal with grief or loss. Personally, I’m terrible at it. I lost nine very close family members and friends during the writing of this book from forty-one yrs old to forty-five yrs old and these losses obviously affected the course of the story. Writing the novel was my saving grace, a life preserver nobody could take from me. My girlfriend dumped me 3 weeks before John Lucanic (film school best friend/ multiple Key Arts award-winning editor/ Santa Rosa High School graduate) died at thirty-eight. The pain was intolerable after losing my 1st cousin, father, grandmother, and a few other extremely close friends only months before. Having this self-appointed job of writing and finishing a novel kept me going. For Pavel, I think the combination of his running habit and the candle flickering in his heart, this quest to find his place in the world keeps him moving forward. I think when a person is truly devastated any positive routine, habit, or ritual is essential to navigating the bereavement.

6.) In Nor-cal Pavel O’Shea is a very intelligent guy who occasionally does pretty dumb things. For much of the novel education is not a priority, although it’s talked about a lot. Do you think by the end Pavel has changed his mind on that score? Why?

  • I love that you asked this question. I think people mainly run on their emotional make-up as opposed to their level of intelligence. I think intelligence is great for learning a new app, tying your shoelace, speaking in a foreign language, curing cancer, or mapping the route to Yellowstone. But I don’t think it dominates our base level decision making. Occasionally, I guess intelligence can override one’s autonomic programming, but I think that rarely happens.

6.) We authors tend to refine and rewrite endlessly. Sometimes it’s hard to walk away from a book, even after it’s done. Now that Nor-cal is out, is there anything about it you wish you could rewrite just one more time?

  • Well, my Mac kept “freezing” two weeks before my launch date. About 5% of my Spellchecks were lost and a few errors snuck through. I’ve had six readers check for mistakes and luckily most of their notes overlapped. I’m relaunching this more “perfect” version in September. But as far as content….I spent three years writing, a year re-writing, and another year editing and proofreading. The story I wanted to tell is all there. I’ve already moved on to my next novel.

7.) What’s next for you as far as literary aspirations? Will we see more of Pavel? What can fans expect?

  • I never really thought about Pavel’s story continuing. But now you’ve got me considering it.  Hopefully, the reader envisions his life beyond the last page of “Nor-Cal”. My next book will be out early next year, it follows a thirty year-old surfer in Venice Beach. But after that I’ll depart from the coming-of-age story. My third book is a woman’s story. It’s been outlined on index cards for many years. I also have a couple of Sci-Fi stories outlined.

8.) There’s a lot of great music mentioned in the book: Armored Saint, Metallica, Marley, Motown, and Cash just to name a few. Who are you listening to these days? Who are your go-to classic favorites?

  • I try listening to as much modern music as possible but it rarely takes hold. I’ve become that cranky fuck who mainly likes music from his own era. And as much as I love thrash metal and punk, I also listen to a ton of jazz, old-school country, reggae, Motown, funk, soul and folk. I love classic rock and 90’s alternative and probably every band from Seattle. But my mainstays are Sabbath, Pat Metheny Group, Nirvana, Miles Davis, Tammy Wynette, Fleetwood Mac, Van Halen, Motown, Suicidal Tendencies, Steely Dan, Metallica, Zeppelin, Ani DiFranco, Hendrix, D.R.I., Pantera, Curtis Mayfield and Joni Mitchell.  Thanks for reading the book, Erika. I really appreciate it!


Sean Finnegan, author of "Nor-Cal"Sean Finnegan, author of "Nor-Cal"

Sean Finnegan, author of “Nor-Cal”


Sean Finnegan was born in San Francisco and raised in Sonoma County. Finnegan studied screenwriting at CSU Long Beach. After working ten years in television, Nor-Cal is his first novel. When not writing, the Portland-based author spends his time fishing throughout the Pacific Northwest. To keep up with all things Finnegan, you can follow him on his Amazon author page. To purchase Nor-Cal click on the following Amazon link to buy Nor-Cal on

Okay, so we’ve learned about an awesome book, talked to a stellar author, and told you how to get your mitts on said awesome book. Only one thing remains… C’mon, Erika, what’s our Musical Monday tune going to be?

Well, let me tell you,my one beef with Nor-Cal… some bastard character called my beloved Scorpions “80’s Glam Rock.” Ummm, NO! Scorps’ pedigree extends a decade before that and they do completely rock. The quality of the music deserves more than such dismissive categorization. I can’t have my Scorpions placed on the same shelf as Poison and Warrant. Hell to the no. That said, this week’s song is… Coming Home by the Scorpions since Nor-Cal has a lot of home in it for me.




Erika Gardner

Erika Gardner

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.  Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.



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