Monday, June 11, 2018

New Work at Eyedrum Periodically

Not sure when it will go live, and not certain if part of the anthology or only online—or both. The editor said June 15. I’ll be gone on my bike ride so will post this now.

It is a piece called Missed Connections, inspired by missed connections at Craigslist. A few years ago I got into the habit of reading missed connections. Some of the posts could be raunchy, some were lonely and pathetic, but most seemed like people just trying to reach out to the universe. There is a sense of possibility, a hope that there is logic behind randomness. The piece gathers up a lot of things: desire for connection, grief in the midst of unexplained loss, making sense of the world. A tall order. So glad Eyedrum Periodically, an arts and culture magazine out of Atlanta, GA, liked it enough to publish it.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Scanlandia: Flying with your bicycle

I’ve had experience traveling with my bicycle. The hard part is not packing the bike (taking off pedals, turning the handlebars, taking care to wrap forks and derailleur) but cutting the red tape surrounding extra fees.

In 2015 I paid $70 to fly with my bike to Jacksonville, FL using Southwest who have generous baggage policy. The last two times I’ve used Air Canada, who though involving passing through either Montreal and Toronto for connecting flights has been very good in regards to my bike showing up at the same time as me and in good condition. I’ve checked the bike as my one piece of check-in luggage and paid $50 for special handling.

Click here for a larger version of the picture
This time it is a bit more convoluted. I booked the ticket through a third party (what most people do) who conglomerates tickets getting customers the cheapest rate. It seemed at first like I would be using a single carrier but with all the mergers and airline alliances it was . . . Delta going out and KLM upon return. They are part of the same “group” but unfortunately have separate baggage guidelines and fees. Delta, outbound, is more generous with weight, the bike box can be up to 70 pounds. They charge $150 (ouch) for the bike handling. KLM, the Dutch airlines which should understand cycling enthusiasts and someone flying with a bicycle, are much more of sticklers about bike box dimensions and weight, allowing only 50.5 pounds. AND, you have to phone them 48 hours ahead of flying to tell them EXACTLY how much the box weighs and dimensions. The extra fee is $125.

As you can see this adds up.

Now for the part I’m appealing. I’ve already emailed a complaint to both airlines. I checked all this out before pressing buy. I always do. I do not buy a ticket and then wonder what bike policy is. So none of this came as a surprise. Keeping it all straight is hard, and it is annoying all the extra fees, but not a surprise. What I did learn after phoning Delta to inform them I would be flying out next week with a bike is that there is NO checked luggage. “Your ticket is basic.” I told them this was news to me. No where on my ticket were the words basic or economy. I would not know this except for them telling me at that moment. So they plan to DOUBLE CHARGE me. I need to pay $60 for a check-in item plus $150. I am, of course, appealing this. It seems in the extreme to penalize a flyer who is already paying the excessive handling fee of $150 another fee on top of that. Basically what I’m saying is that as a customer I should have been made aware at the time of purchase that my ticket was basic/economy. I see disclaimers galore especially the words baggage fees extra, see guidelines. That’s where I read that an overseas flight in coach was one personal, one carry-on, and one checked piece.

My contention with KLM was that I booked a connecting flight from Stavanger, Norway using KLM to Amsterdam separately but at the time asked the agent if because the two flights were less than 12 hours apart if my bike could be “checked through”, therefore not necessitating that I take it for the few hours between. In deed the KLM website stated that flights no more than 24 hours apart, luggage can be checked through. Now they are saying no. For sure I will not pay twice for the bike.

I’m feeling anxious, which is never a good thing, about what I’ll encounter at the counter. Sticker shock. I will report how these situations are resolved.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

365 Affirmations for the Writer

Writing is a journey. Every time we sit down to begin a piece or write the first chapter or the first line we are venturing into uncharted territory. We never know how it is going to turn out. Oh, we have a certain idea, like most pioneers or explorers. But, these journeys can take detours; we have to react to circumstances and often go with our gut.

365 Affirmations for the Writer is about listening to those who have gone before us and letting them guide us with their insight, their own trials. They know the terrain, how harsh it can be; they know where we can find water, shade, and rest along the way. By reading what others have said, we can survey the path before us, count the cost, and plunge ahead.

My motivation for compiling 365 Affirmations for the Writer is to offer light along the way. From day to day, week to week, we are getting further inside our writing, further down the path.

The book is 365 days of inspiration—quotes from writers and writing prompts. Here is a what you might expect, from the first week in January:

365 Affirmations for the Writer is an eBook I wrote to inspire us to write and keep us writing. If you’re looking for inspiration for you or a fellow writer, then order today. Available from Amazon as well as ALL other outlets.
Every morning I read 365 Affirmations for the Writer by Jane Hertenstein. It's a daily shot of encouragement in the arm.—Sue Shanahan

November 3
Taking Risks
Writing is finally a series of permissions you give yourself to be expressive in certain ways. To invent. To leap. To fly. To fall.
― Susan Sontag, New York Times, “Writers on Writing”

November 4
Crazy or Insane
One must be capable of allowing the darkest, most ancient and shrewd parts of one’s being to take over the work from time to time. . . Strangeness is the one quality in fiction that cannot be faked.
― John Gardner, from On Becoming a Novelist

Memoir writing. When did you realize you were a writer? Was there a time when words jumped off a page at you? When did you decide you wanted to tell a story?

November 5
Keep Going
The only way you can write is by the light of the bridges burning behind you.
― Richard Peck, Newbery-award winning author of A Long Way from Chicago
Check out 365 Affirmations for the Writer, an eBook that will inspire you and keep you writing.
*The link takes you to Amazon, but also available through

Baker & Taylor Blio

Baker-Taylor Axis360

Barnes & Noble



Gardners Extended Retail

Gardners Library

Inktera (formerly Page Foundry)


Library Direct









Monday, June 4, 2018

The Memory of Snails

We all have heard about the memory of elephants—they can retain info for a long, long time. But lately there have been experiments on:

“Memory transfer has been at the heart of science fiction for decades, but it's becoming more like science fact.

A team successfully transplanted memories by transferring a form of genetic information called RNA from one snail into another.

The snails were trained to develop a defensive reaction.

When the RNA was inserted into snails that had not undergone this process, they behaved just as if they had been sensitised.

The research, published in the journal eNeuro, could provide new clues in the search for the physical basis of memory.

RNA stands for ribonucleic acid; it's a large molecule involved in various essential roles within biological organisms - including the assembly of proteins and the way that genes are expressed more generally.

The scientists gave mild electric shocks to the tails of a species of marine snail called Aplysia californica. After these shocks were administered, the snails' defensive withdrawal reflex - where the snails contract in order to protect themselves from harm - became more pronounced.

When the researchers subsequently tapped the snails, they found those that had been given the shocks displayed a defensive contraction lasting about 50 seconds, while those that had not received the shocks contracted for only about one second.

The shocked snails had been "sensitised" to the stimulus.”

For more:

Friday, June 1, 2018

Cloud of Witnesses available for pre-order

Cloud of Witnesses
By Jane Hertenstein

“The stars and black sky closed over me. I was not Pip with the hope of great expectations, just an eighth grader looking for a lucky break.”
Book cover Clouds of Witnesses by author Jane HertensteinRoland Tanner is looking for a benefactor, someone to rescue him from his family, the sorriest characters he’s ever met: a sister who works at the Curl Up and Dye salon, a brother who takes motors apart in their front yard, a grandmother who flashes him the evil eye from her ragged vinyl armchair, and a father who keeps him at arm’s length. Tested as gifted, Roland gets bused from his poor, rural home to the middle school in town, where his new classmates only see him as a hillbilly.

He is desperate to reach out beyond the power lines that crisscross the hills surrounding the family’s trailer in southeastern Ohio. Yet he’s afraid to step outside of himself to ask Patty to the dance, to stand up for his friend Hassan, to see that his father loves him. It’s only when he realizes he’s in charge of his destiny that Roland accepts the cloud of witnesses, the saints and sinners all around him—that his future is whatever he makes it.

Age range: 10-13
Grade level: 5-8
234 pages
Fall 2018 publication | $8.99
ISBN 978-1-7320276-2-6 print
ISBN 978-1-7320276-3-3 ebook

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Cloud of Witnesses!
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