EVENT: Join Me At The “Love & Warfare Series Launch and Books, Books, Books” Event

Rachel Tsoumbakos

Love and Warfare Series Launch and Books, Books, Books, Vikings The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar

It is less than a month until Vikings: The Truth about Lagertha and Ragnar is released, can you believe it? In the midst of organising the launch day event, advertising and early reviews, I have even had time to start planning the next book in the Viking Secrets series, Vikings: The Truth About Aslaug and Ragnar.

Of course, considering November is NaNoWriMo, this is to be expected. With October just around the corner, it is nearly time to settle in and start researching absolutely everything I can find about Aslaug and the Viking Age.

Until then, however, I will be focusing on the launch of Vikings: The Truth about Lagertha and Ragnar. So, why not join me to help celebrate this and some other awesome historical fiction and historical romance books that are also being released around the same time.

Anne Evans is hosting the Love &…

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As For the Rest of the Travel–

I am home.

I finally flew into Harrisburg about midnight last night and made it home about twenty-five minutes later.  I finally made it to bed about about 1 AM so I could get up about four-and-a-half hours later.

Needless to say I’m kinda wrecked.

So what was up this weekend?  Most of you know I was doing something for Planned Parenthood, yeah?  I think this picture sort of gave that away:

What I'm up to this weekend. #IStandWithPP

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Here’s the complete lowdown:  I was in Oklahoma City, OK, attending a PP Organizing Summit, where people like me learned about the tools needed to put together a successful campaign needed to affect change, as well as learning how to use those tools to make your actions work.  While we could post pictures of ourselves at the summit, we were not allowed to tell anyone where we where or give out our location by tagging a picture.

This was the reason I could identify my position up to Atlanta, where we boarded our connecting flight to OKC, but once on the ground in the Sooner State we had to pretend we didn’t know where we were, even though we did.

Needless to say it was a lot of workshops and role playing and breakout groups working on getting our protesting know-how down pat.  Oh, and we had a rally just down the street on early Saturday–while a wind whipped up that made me think of a certain song from a certain musical about a certain state–and we were on the local news.  Below is a clip from the broadcast and at top center you might recognize a certain blond from the state of Pennsylvania…


So I was in a room way up at the top of a hotel:

A view from near my room.

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And we had elevators that looked out over the atrium:

Let's take a ride–

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And I had a roommate, a lovely woman from a nearby state:

My PP roomie. So long, Jordan. Hope to see you soon. @mojojojojohnson

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And we flew out of Oklahoma yesterday:

Drizle, Drazle, Drozle, Drone, time for this one to come home.

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And while in the Atlanta airport all the women with whom I was traveling and I stopped in Chicken + Beer in Terminal D, a place owned by Ludacris, and had a fantastic meal.  Also, the woman on my left, Sara, turned 21 that very day and we celebrated by having a drink with her.

Time for a drink in ATL. #ATL #StillNoZombies

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There you are:  I was out being a good little feminist, enjoying the company of other women and men who helped us learn how to make the world a better place.  And I know I’ll have people telling me I’m wrong, probably while mansplaning how I’m oh, so wrong (fun fact: do you know where mansplaniners get their fact?  From a Well, Actually…), but I don’t care.

I’m guessing this is just the start of another part of my life.

I don’t believe I’m guessing wrong…

The Road We’re Ending

Once again I come to you on the road, where I’m finishing up the reason for being out here this weekend. I know there’s been a lot of mystery about what I’m doing, but it’s been necessary. And you’re going to see why, because I’m going to show you what I’ve been doing this weekend. Once I do, you’ll see the reason for the secrecy.

So here you go, the big reveal:

I’ve been away at a weekend conference with Planned Parenthood learning how to be a better activist. Because we’re not exactly the most well-liked organization in the world, it’s been necessary for some time to keep quiet about what I was doing and to keep the location of our conference secret. In fact, I can’t reveal our location until I’m home tomorrow, because there’s always the possibility someone will read this post and figure out where we’re at.

I have about another 6 hours of conference to go and then people I came here with and I will head to the airport and fly back to Harrisburg, where will arrive home about midnight tonight. Yeah, it ain’t easy being an activist, doing all this flying around.

Tomorrow I’ll probably do one more post on what I’ve done this weekend and then I’ll get back to my normal routine. And I have to say, doing a blog post for my phone has not been that difficult. Now that I know how to do this, I might just try it some more.

Travel to Parts Unknown

It’s almost 2 in the morning where I’m at now. I’m sitting the lobby of my hotel, both shoulders stinging from, well, who knows? Probably a combination of travel and roller derby.

Whatever the reason, it’s keeping me from sleeping. Which is why I’m writing this now.

It was a long day yesterday. I spent most of it flying, stopping at two different airports along the way. I was traveling with a group of people and at my destination we met up with quite a few more.

Sounds mysterious, doesn’t it? There’s a reason for that: we have to maintain a bit of secrecy for what I’m presently doing. Some of you know the groups I work with, so you can probably figure out which organization I’m working with at the moment.

Don’t worry, I won’t leave you completely in the dark before the weekend’s out.

There was something particularly special about what I’m doing. And you can see it in this photo:

That’s me on the first leg of my journey, from Harrisburg International Airport to Atlanta. I’ve flown many times in the past, but this is the first time I’ve flown as Cassidy. Even though I set off the machine at the airport because I had an “abnormality” in my groin which required a pat down–one of the problems of traveling while trans– the experience has been a good one. And when I realized that it was my first real trip as my real self, it brought a tear to my eye. More than a couple of tears, actually.

 in time I’ll tell you more about what I’m doing: I’ll probably even have pictures. One thing I can tell you for sure: when I got to the Atlanta airport I expected to see zombies and I didn’t. What a disappointment. TVs been lying to me all these years about what I’d find in Atlanta.

I’ll give you more from the road when I get an opportunity. Who knows? I may even have another post later today.

While I’m Away…

Some of you may have noticed that it didn’t post anything originally yesterday. There’s a reason for that colon this last week I’ve been busy as hell in the weekend is about to get busier.

In about 90 minutes I’m going to head out on the road and be gone for a weekend. What am I doing? Fighting the good fight, as always. Actually, I’m going to be attending a workshop seminar for a certain group that some of you know I’ve done work with in the past. And since I won’t be taking my computer, my access to the internet will be limited.  I will try to post a couple of things, but mostly they’ll be reblogs. Although… believe it or not, I’m actually creating this post on my phone using voice recognition, so who knows whether or not I’ll be able to give you updates from the field.

And come Monday I should be able to start posting excerpts again. You may find this hard to believe, but I haven’t been able to do a lot of writing, either. I hope to get back into that next week.

So have fun, kids. And don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

Why I Told My Daughter to Kick Your Son in the Balls

Cellulite Looks Better Tan

There was an article that went around last year that my virtual writer friend Ashley Fuchs wrote called The Reason My Daughter May Punch Your Son. When I read the article, my daughter was in kindergarten. In my mind, she was years away from this kind of harassment, so I read it, and I shared it, but I didn’t internalize it the way some of my fellow parents did. Because I thought I had more time.

Turns out, my time is up.

“Mom, I got bullied today,” she said as we walked home from school.

“Bullied?” I questioned. I don’t like the word. I think it’s overused and thrown around, and I have a hard time thinking that my sassy, very independent little girl could possibly be bullied, so I questioned her a little. She tends to be dramatic, and by the time we got home, she said some boys…

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From the Other Side Now

30 May, 2017, was the day I went and did something crazy.  That was the day I decided to show up at a roller rink and attend the Harrisburg Area Roller Derby Recruitment Night.  At the time I didn’t know what would happen: in fact, I contacted a friend who was already a member of the team and told them I was worried I’d show up and make a complete fool of myself, and the likelihood was great I’d never be able to keep up with the rest of the team.  My friend’s comment was, “Come on out anyway. If you don’t like it, don’t come back.”

That was three and a half months ago.  And I’m still there, though I shouldn’t be.  I mean, look at this crazy bitch in hand-me-down gear:

So… Guess who tried out for roller derby? #Crazy #SkateOrDie

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Who expected me to last this long?

That was then, this is now–or I should say, last night.  Because 12 September we held our third, and likely last, Recruitment Night of 2017.  We’ve been advertising this one for about a month, so the word was out we were looking for people.  And I was looking forward to the evening as well, because…

Well, this would be my first Recruitment Night where I could greet the new freshies.

I won’t say I wasn’t a big worried.  The fear was there that only a couple of people would come out and make our team’s endeavors seem wasted.  But that faded quickly once I saw there were four women waiting for Ariel to show up and begin her presentation and more filtered in soon after she arrived.  In all either thirteen or fourteen women showed, with one of them bringing her two children along as she couldn’t get a sitter for them.

With gear ready to go and seven of us–myself included–ready to help out the freshest of the Fresh Meat, the new recruits were let out ready to gear up and get to skating.  I was given the task of helping one woman get skates, get her gear on, and help out where I could.

We did simple things like skating around the rink, something I could barely do my first night.  The woman with me was a good skater because she’d had a lot of experience on roller blades, so she picked up on quads fast.  I had to remind her a few times not to drag her foot to come to a stop because it was a good way to twist your foot and break your ankle–which is exactly how Arial broke hers.  We did plows and meatballs–or knee drops as I know them.  We even did T stops, and while I was explaining to my freshie why she shouldn’t drag the inner wheels of her back skate to stop, I spun around and skated backwards for about thirty feet while talking.  It wasn’t until later that I realized what I’d done…

We finally got a pace line together and nineteen of us skated around weaving in and out between the other skaters.  We had a few people fall, but that’s to be expected.  We stopped, let them get up, and got them back into line.  It took a while and one new recruit needed help from Ida getting through the pack, but all skaters made it through the line once.

After that we sat for some stretches–

And to let everyone process what they did last night.
Photo taken by Kiley Van Kirk.


And then we got everyone together for a group photo.  (If you’re looking for me, I’m on the outside left in the back.)

Every good get together deserves a group picture.
Photo taken by Laura Mowery.


Oh yeah, and after we finished we went out and had a couple of beers to celebrate the newest members of the HARD family.  It’s likely they won’t all stay:  of the ten or so women who showed up for my Recruitment Night, Jackie and I are the only ones who remain, so the possibility exists we could lose seventy-five to eighty percent of this group in the next few months.  But for those who remain and push to make themselves derby certified, they’ll realize how hard, difficult, and mind-bending this sport can be.  They’ll also realize just how much fun it as well and they’ll find when the next Recruitment Night rolls around, they’ll be the ones ready to help the newest of our Fresh Meat, just as I did–

We had an extremely good recruitment night tonight. #HARD #DerbyGirls

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Though I doubt they’ll break out the green wig as I did.