A visual on mysogyny alive and well

Thursday, July 31, 2014
First, watch this video. It cuts (literally) women into their parts. On the same level as trucks and beer. Just another object. Don't believe this is the only album that does this to women. Here's conglomeration of others: And then watch this clever response:

{Authors} Swag donations/cross promotion opportunity

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Humana is staffed by the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz

Thursday, July 10, 2014
You heard it here first. I suppose it started as a humanitarian effort. I mean, those monkeys had to work somewhere. They were far too domesticated to release into the wild, and Humana liked their mean streak--if an animal can tear apart a straw man, certainly they can heap piles of stress onto families too overwhelmed to fight them.

But they picked a fight with me. Which is a bad idea.

I actually got in a Twitter fight with their customer care (ha!) today. And I'm pretty sure I won. But then, I'm fighting against flying monkeys. I have the distinct advantage in intelligence. And proof. And morals.

I'll make this short. Humana's monkeys are experts in runaround, rigamorale, deception, and switcharoos (Before they went to work for the Wicked Witch, they were in a circus). Add to that Humana's expert employee training in subterfuge, and you have a recipe for a winning team.

I have been told 3 times that Humana doesn't cover certain proceedures (my birth control, my instacare visit, and our preferred doctor for our son). The first two were completely covered by Humana, AND THEY KNEW IT. But they refused coverage in hopes that we wouldn't have the energy to fight (which we didn't, but did anyway. Cause you don't mess with me).

Humana fought us tooth and nail to pay for a decent wheelchair for my son. They're almost impossible to reach via email or phone. But if you tag them, they'll respond most cheerfully that they will respond. But then they lose your email. Which I still have a copy of.

In fact, here, you can read it:

 I called earlier this week and talked to Joan. She was supposed to find out if Dr. Steven Scott in SLC, Utah, takes Humana. According to Humana, he does. According to Dr. Scott, he does not. She wasn't sure if she could figure it out because she couldn't find an outside line (don't believe that) to call the Dr in order to find out his tax id #s. Then she might have to look up his contract, which could take a whole week. Pulling up a contract on a computer should take SECONDS. Scanning it for contract dates should take SECONDS. 

Second, my son has a disease in his femur which makes it incredibly fragile. We were sent home from the hospital without a walker or wheelchair, and had to find one through a charity organization. Neither the walker nor the wheelchair were small enough. Consequently, he's fallen out of his wheelchair 3 times, which is incredibly dangerous for him--as rebreaking his femur is very high risk. It's also hard for him to wheel it around because the wheels are too big for his small arms to reach around properly. We also bought him crutches out of our own pocket. 

Lastly, I went to my gynecologist last week to be preapproved for an IUD. Humana responded that they would cover it 80/20. Birth control should be completely covered by the Affordable Care Act. 

I'm also annoyed that I had to schedule two appointments for what could have been covered in one. I had to have one appointment for my well visit. And another to insert the IUD. I figure this will take an extra 2 hours out of my day, not to mention the humiliation of having another exam.  

Also, it shouldn't take 10 minutes to talk to an actual person on the phone when I call Humana.

They also only covered two places to get a wheelchair in the valley. One company proved impossible to get a hold of, so I went to the other. And was given a wheelchair with unusable breaks. It was old and falling apart. 

I could go on, but why? I've proven my point. And I've been funny about it. Which takes talent. 

So here's what you can do, let's let them know that there are more people than flying monkeys. And they should treat people with respect. 

. refuses to cover procedures it actually covers.  in         RT

. is staffed by the flying monkeys from Wizard of Oz.  in         RT

How do you say "Witch Song & Witch Born" in French?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Because foreign rights for both books have sold to Lumen Publishing in Paris! I'm so excited! They've already been great to work with, very accommodating and helpful. And just look at the font they chose for the cover!!! I actually like it better than the font we're currently using. Might have to rethink that a little.

They will publish both Witch Song and Witch Born, and they have plans to acquire Witch Rising and Witch Fall in the future.

That means Witch Song will be published in 3 languages (Indonesian, English, and French!). It brings me so much joy to know that something I created can be shared with so many people, whom I could never touch any other way.

Also, does anyone know what the phrase below says?

Update on my son's noncancerous bone tumor

Tuesday, July 8, 2014
After over a year, Connor's leg has finally started to heal! The 3 inch hole on the outside of his bone has closed and the toothpick sized bone on the other side has thickened. The cavity is obviously still there--the doc said it would take 2 years for it to completely fill in.

But for a leg that showed no measurable healing in 16 months, this is a major improvement. He is allowed to walk and run with a leg brace, but his knee and ankle were locked in place for 13 weeks, so they're very stiff and his muscles atrophied. 

It's been very painful getting that knee to bend, and he walks with a major limp. He hurt himself yesterday so now he's back to refusing to use his leg again. 

Emotionally, he's still struggling. He still can't keep up with the other kids, and he gets very frustrated when he can't do the things he wants to do. We put him back in swimming lessons. 

All in all, we've left that horrible place we were in two months ago (since January, my husband had mono, I had whooping cough, Connor had two major surgeries and was in a wheelchair, we had 10,000 in medical bills, we put our house up for sale, my husband got a new job and is now only home on weekends, and my heart started having palpiations to the point I was getting dizzy and tired). Yes. We've left that horrible place (for the most part), but we still have a long climb ahead of us (I hate moving).

I want to thank all of you who supported my family during this difficult time. I don't think you will ever realize how much it meant to us. So many of you sent gifts and letters to brighten his day--we made them into a scrapbook and when he struggles, we pull it up to show him how much he's loved. 

Thank you.

*update 7-10-14*

Looks like a spoke too soon. Connor broke his ankle on Monday and he'll be in another cast for 6 weeks. He was just walking in the living room and his ankle rolled when he stepped on a blanket. That was all it took. Apparently not using your bones makes them weak.

*update 7-13-14*

And now I've broken my ankle. I need surgery because I've discolated it and ripped out all the ligaments and a tendon, plus they need to clean out the chips of bone. It's going to have to wait until we've moved. I can't be down for 6 months with a kid in a cast, my husband in another state, and trying to move. God help us. 

{Guest Post} Lee Strauss

Monday, July 7, 2014


Heart & Soul

Heart & Soul is the third book in The Minstrel Series 

(This is a connected book series - while each book can stand alone, they are best enjoyed in sequence.)


She's heartbroken. He's heartless.

Gabriele Baumann-Smith is deliriously in love with her young husband Lennon.
Except, it turns out that Lennon Smith isn't his real name. In fact, he's full of secrets: a cottage on the southern British coast, an old girlfriend and... an identical twin brother.

Callum Jones—not his real name—can't believe his brother's widow came to England. He'd warned Mick—Lennon—that an inheritance could put the girl's life in danger, and he was right.

“Mrs. Smith” is the last thing Callum needs to worry about right now. She's beautiful, sure, takes his breath away at times. But when she looks at him, who does she see?

Gabriele's heart is battered and bruised. Can one brother fix what the other left behind? And will they live long enough to find out?

BUZZ for Heart & Soul

"...this took a turn for the spy/thriller genre, which surprised me, but still carried the strong romantic flavor and wonderful accompanying music, like the first two books. I think this is a great series and would recommend it to contemporary romance fans." Denise Jaden, author of Foreign Exchange

"Another great book by Lee! This one had action, wit and a forbidden love! Love the characters and their interaction with each other! Can't wait to see what she has in store for us next!" Tressa Sager, Amazon reviewer

"I don't want to give away what the danger is, but suffice it to say, it's a real and plausible threat. Gabrielle is a good leading lady. She doesn't back down from anything or anyone in this book, but she's still vulnerable, making her well-rounded and likable." J Harrell, Amazon reviewer

AMAZON | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | itunes | Google Play

Heart & Soul in Print

The Music fromThe Minstrel Series Volume 3 Heart & Soul

Featuring the author's daughter, Tasia Strauss!

Lee Strauss' thoughts on The Minstrel Series and Heart & Soul:

"My musician husband and I just randomly started talking about the idea of working on a project together - wouldn't it be great if we could collaborate and merge our two artistic worlds? Writing and Music? That was the seed that started the muse talking, and soon afterward The Minstrel Series was born!

For Heart & Soul, I knew I wanted to move the series from Germany to England (next to Ireland and Boston!) and that I needed a small coastal town not far from London. I used Google Earth to examine the British coastline to search for the perfect town and found it in Emsworth. Living in Germany part-time has its advantages and one of them is its proximity to England. My husband and I did a quick five day research trip. (It also came in handy for the next book, a Christmas novella set in London - stay tuned!)

Because of the musical aspect of this series, I'm always on the prowl for songs and singers. My connection to the singer-songwriter world via my musical husband has been a big advantage. My husband's musical genes have also been down to our kids, so it's exciting to involve my daughter Tasia in the project to be the singing voice of Gabriele."

Click HERE to read the first chapter of Heart & Soul. 

**One of the entry options will ask a question from the above chapter.

About The Minstrel Series:

The Minstrel Series is a collection of contemporary romance novels set in the singer/songwriter world. The books are companion novels, with shared settings and characters, but each is a complete stand-alone story with a HEA (happily ever after) and no cliffhangers!

The books include MP3 links to original music by talented Indie Artists, so you can hear the characters sing!

#1     Sun & Moon
#2     Flesh & Bone 
#3     Heart & Soul 
#3.5  Peace & Goodwill (Christmas Novella coming Fall 2014)

It also has its own FACEBOOK (link) page and its own BANDCAMP (link) page where you can listen to the original music associated with the books. Albums are also available on AMAZON.

About Lee Strauss:

Lee Strauss is the author of The Minstrel Series (contemporary romance), The Perception Series (young adult dystopian) and young adult historical fiction. She is the married mother of four grown children, three boys and a girl, and divides her time between British Columbia, Canada and Dresden, Germany. When she's not writing or reading she likes to cycle, hike and do yoga. She enjoys traveling (but not jet lag >:0), soy lattes, red wine and dark chocolate.


New Release! HEART & SOUL, bk3 in a connected series by @leestrauss #Romance #Thriller #suspense #music #musicians http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Soul-contemporary-romance-Minstrel-ebook/dp/B00LBFETFU/ref=as_sl_pc_ss_til?tag=ellestra-20&linkCode=w01&linkId=3D6K75PVF2Y62FBT&creativeASIN=B00LBFETFU

Love #Romance and #Suspense? #Music? HEART & SOUL, bk3 in a connected series by @leestraussbooks 

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