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Poet, scribbler, actor, and all around great gal. Available for freelance assignments. Visit me at


Fascinating Females from History

Weird History


Rhyming Poetry

(Please note: This index is under construction. Check back as I will be…

The best advice I ever got: “Don’t dream it, Be it.”

Detail of signed poster of Tim Curry in drag as Dr. Frank-N-Furter
Detail of signed poster of Tim Curry in drag as Dr. Frank-N-Furter
Detail of a signed poster of Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Source:

“In the velvet darkness
Of the blackest night
Burning bright
There’s a guiding star
No matter what or who you are” — from The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The alarm would ring, waking me out of the sound sleep I clung to like a baby’s binky. Eyes shut, brain screaming, “No, no, no! I don’t want to.” Getting out of bed demands a herculean effort when you hate your job. Although I hated mine with a raging passion, I didn’t see how I could quit.

The problem was, it was a good job with a great salary and benefits. For…

How I played pallbearer to the demise of several once viable concerns

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

Let me start by saying that none of this was my fault. I just happened to be there. But, after a lifetime of working for doomed companies, I really have to wonder. Am I some latter-day Flying Dutchman, my arrival portending doom to all who get within spitting distance?

I’ve been in the workforce a long time, but with at least a dozen former employers consigned to the landfill of broken dreams, I have to wonder. Of course, some of my old human bosses are dead, too, but, happily, not on my watch.

I don’t want to stray into listicle…

The Medium Writers Challenge won’t be pretty, but there is an alternative.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

When I heard about the Medium Writers Challenge, my heart sank. I’ve been here before. Well, not here: on Vocal and with other writing contests. Pitting writers against each other for prizes is a little crazy. It’s like the Academy Awards or the Grammys, except that those “contestants” have already been paid rather well.

Some of us will ignore the Challenge entirely. The four prompts: space, death, work, and reentry, don’t grease everybody’s monkey. When I think of space, I’m reminded of an old Carol Burnett joke. …

The only good thing to come out of Lord Byron’s disastrous marriage to Anne Milbanke was the incomparable Ada Lovelace

Portrait of Ada Lovelace as a child by Alfred, Comte d’Orsay, 1822 (Source:

The specter of her father’s genius dominated her life, while her mother, a genius of a different sort, was determined to eradicate any tendency she had to emulate him. But Ada Lovelace, daughter of poet Lord Byron and mathematician Anne Milbanke charted her own course between the rocky shoals of her turbulent heredity. She didn’t see poetry and mathematics as the enemies her parents were to each other but as collaborators in something new and altogether different.

A history of mental illness

“In the case of Lord Byron, the clinical hallmark of manic-depressive illness is its recurrent, episodic nature, which Byron had in an almost…


The irrepressible Edward “In-You-Go” Jones was caught in the palace three times. The Queen was not amused.

Portrait of Queen Victoria by Edmund Thomas Parris, 1837 (Source: The Cooper Gallery)

Queen Victoria was a newlywed the first time an outsider penetrated palace security. Dressed as a chimney sweep, a young teenager found his way into her bedroom in 1838. His name was Edward (aka Thomas) Jones, and he was obsessed with Her Majesty. Luckily, the Queen was not in residence at the time and was spared the encounter.

Who’s been sleeping in HM’s bed?

María Félix didn’t need Hollywood’s help to become a star

María Félix in a scene from the film Enamorada, 1946

It’s a rare occurrence when an actor turns down not just one but three plum roles in major motion pictures and goes on to unparalleled screen stardom, but that is exactly what María Félix, whom the New York Times called “the goddess of Spanish-language cinema,” did.

Félix passed on lead roles in Duel in the Sun, The Barefoot Contessa, and The Legend of Lylah Clare, which subsequently went to Jennifer Jones, Ava Gardner, and Kim Novak. Instead, she focused on Spanish-speaking roles, starred in 47 films, and died at 88, leaving a multi-million dollar fortune. Maria did it her way.

Early life and suspicions of incest

Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In). The word “condition” has several meanings. One of these is “an illness or health problem that lasts a long time and affects the way you live.” Do you have a condition? A lot of us do.

Conditions? I’ve got a few. Most of the conditions I have aren’t terribly serious, at least not at this point, but at one time in my life, I did have one that was. It lasted for years and dominated my life, but it shouldn’t have. It wouldn’t have if I hadn’t embraced it…


And why I had to stop

Photo by Morten Jakob Pedersen on Unsplash

Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 30 percent of what we throw away and could be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. — Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website

I have a long and checkered history with composting. When I was young, my parents’ family business was a flower shop and nursery. Any leftover clippings or dead plants, along with food waste from our home, went…

Denise Shelton

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