Get Your #LinkYourLife, Four Paws for Noah, and THQ Blog Buttons!

Do you regularly #LinkYourLife? Feel free to add this button to your site so your readers can join the movement!

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Do you want to help publicize the Four Paws for Noah writing competitions? Here are two buttons, one big, one small. Both lead directly to the Submittable page. These competitions run through March 31st, so there is plenty of time to support (and submit!).

Four Paws for Noah small button code (125×125):

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Four Paws for Noah big button code (250×250):

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Have you been published on The Honeyed Quill? Here is the code for a badge you can use to let readers know.

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Now I just need a button that says “I’ve been busy.”

Not sure how to add a button in WordPress? Go to Site Admin–>Appearance–>Widgets and choose a “Text” widget. Copy and paste your button code in the box. Save and check to see if it looks like the images I’ve included. If not, delete and retype quotation marks making sure there are no doubles (i.e. “” vs “). Keep everything else just the same and try again!

The Legend of Appa

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I can’t think of a better post to help me announce that the Four Paws for Noah writing competitions have an extended deadline to give more writers the opportunity to submit. Two of our competitions also have a $10 optional submission fee. We want to read your work just as much as we want this fundraiser to succeed.

Submit now through March 31, 2016!

Here is a personal essay from my child Gabriel about what it’s like to have Noah as a big brother and why Appa is soooo! necessary for all of us. Think that was a typo? Nope. Click through. You’ll understand.

On The Verge

Written by Gabriel Ainslie, age 7

One fine morning there was this boy/brother named Noah and he… he had autism. Noah is my brother. It’s kinda different having a brother with autism. By kinda different I mean really different than lots of my friends; Noah just can’t control his feelings, and he never mostly never gets/finds peace. 

My brother gets overwhelmed a lot because of him getting anxious. I get anxious about the same things but my brother gets way more anxious than me. Like how he is afraid to leave the house because he thinks something bad might happen. So we bought him a service dog. and he named his service dog Appa.

IMG_2040 Appa at 16 weeks.

So a few days—about 2 days—later, we brought Appa home. And he is a white poodle soooo!!! 

A few weeks—about 2 weeks—later… We sent him to Illinois  to his trainer Rex, and…

View original post 175 more words

Welcome to the Indiana Bigotry Parade!


Not in Indiana.

For those of you following this year’s Indiana Bigotry Parade, SB35 – the “bathroom bill” which sought to criminalize transgender and intersex people using the bathroom that is safest for them – has been replaced by another bill: HB1079. This happened with SB100 and SB344 which are religious freedom bills wrapped in the wording of LGB(now absent T) protections. It’s a shell game.

Tens of thousands of Hoosiers are being singled out for this treatment specifically by fanatics who use disinformation and fear-mongering to advance their effort to erase people like me from their reality. They’re playing an overall losing game, but while the decades drag on toward a more just society, the human toll of this culture war mounts. Despite Chicken Little cries of queer recruiting in schools, storms of G-d’s retribution, traditional marriage’s ruination, and the cast of Bosom Buddies’ state-sanctioned raping of girls and women in bathrooms, these things are wholly delusional fictions. However, it does create a social condition that is ever more hostile to LGBT people. Our attempted suicide rates are over 40%, about half of all homeless youth are LGBT, and rampant discrimination in employment and housing make for intolerable conditions for many. This isn’t about bathrooms, it’s about understanding or the lack thereof.


Enshrining special protections for some people to use the guise of “deeply held religious beliefs” to further marginalize, bully, discriminate, and even criminalize people cannot be accepted by a civilized society. And yet, here we are. Everyone still in my life is in agreement, and I’m grateful, but we all have people in our lives who are swayed by the rhetoric of exclusion, and deceived by pious lies. They just don’t know any better.

We have to educate them, and most want to learn.

As an example: I had foot surgery this past week. As distressing as the possible outcomes were, my greatest anxiety came from knowing how people like me have been treated by healthcare professionals and hospital staff. Refusal of treatment and ridicule are not uncommon experiences. Before the Anesthesiologist came in, the intake nurse stood at the foot of my gurney to go over medical history and current condition questions and I waited for it. “Are you, or is there any chance that you could be, pregnant?” she asked. My sex and gender had never come up, but this is the point when benign situations can change. I replied that I was not nor could I be pregnant. “How can you be sure? Have you had a hysterectomy or is there some other condition?”

Let me say now that for a trans woman to be asked these questions can be simultaneously affirming, scary, and sad. The nurse had assumed that I was no different from the next woman, but I was going to have to out myself if I wanted to be honest. So I explained to her confused stare what I am. “Well, what does that mean?” came her honest, curious, and thankfully non-hostile question. She then sat with me, grilling me in the best way about intersex and transgender definitions and issues. She said that she’d been a nurse for 20-some years, and though she had patients who were trans and gender non-conforming and had heard about people “with both parts,” she really didn’t know anything about it.

You might find it hard to believe that a nurse with decades in a hospital setting would have not had any real medically sound knowledge of intersex or trans folks. Unfortunately, it’s still the norm. I’ve had GPs and Endocrinologists who thought that intersex people were only those with chromosomal anomalies and that transgender people just decide to make the change one day like it was switching from Coke to Pepsi, which is no more sophisticated an understanding than that of the average person. If doctors responsible for treating people don’t have a clue, how can we expect our colleagues and neighbors and families to know?

Sure, the universe of information is a Google search from them, but if that really worked as an avenue to enlightenment, we’d all be walking encyclopedias on every issue. There is a thirst for knowledge that we need to quench before someone else delivers the poisoned draught, and they’ve already bought the first couple of rounds. Clearing the fog of ignorance won’t be easy, it’s painful and tedious and requires us to have done our homework. We’re going to have to counter old, discredited, and simply bizarre arguments and face uncomfortable invasions of our privacy that would never happen to anyone else. I’d like to thank all of the allies who do this education work, as it’s possibly even better received from your mouths.


Melanie Davis is a mother and LGBTIQ activist in Bloomington, IN. 

Tomato Salad

Sometimes I need a bit of Summer in Winter. A splash of red in my meal can do the trick, especially when it’s not a sauce. Tomato salad is easily my favorite. It’s easy to dress up with fresh herbs and cheeses or lemon juice and/or vinegar, but I like it best at its simplest.



4-5 medium tomatoes cut into wedges or large dice
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
few grinds black pepper


Mix together gently and allow to sit for at least fifteen minutes. Serve cold or at room temperature.


Read Me on Straight White Man Seeks Knowledge

Friday kicked off the beginning of a series of guest posts on The Honeyed Quill. Drew Sheldon shared his story of abuse and survival in an intimate essay titled “The Beast Within.” If you haven’t read it, please go here. It’s not an essay you want to miss.

Drew and me on January 16, 2016 at my Writing Your Sacred Self retreat in Bloomington, IN. 

As part of the exchange, I provided an essay for Drew. It took us awhile to come up with a theme. In email, I told Drew I am afraid of white men, but not him. He chewed on that for awhile before asking me why. Thus the post was born. I hope you’ll wander over to Straight White Man Seeks Knowledge and find out why for yourself.

I also hope you’ll return here to read my guests many Fridays to come. I’m still astounded not only that these writers are willing to share their work here, but that they are happy to have my work on their amazing sites.

If you are interested in a blog exchange, please contact me. One benefit of working with me is the option of free coaching for the piece you develop for my site. You may not need it. Drew certainly didn’t, but if there is a story you want to tell but can’t seem to write, email me.

Big Things Are Afoot #WeekendCoffeeShare

Welcome! It’s been awhile since you stopped in for coffee and tea. I’m thrilled to have you here today. Big things are afoot at The Honeyed Quill. Like yesterday’s guest post from veteran, feminist and survivor Drew Sheldon. And several more guest posts I have lined up for you.

What’s biggest on my mind today is the looming end of the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Competition. This contest falls under the Four Paws for Noah banner and is a fundraiser for the service dog my son needs. I hope you’ll enter! You have until Jan. 31st to flash us. You didn’t expect to read it here, but please, please flash us.


Need more motivation than setting a child up for success? I’ve got that covered. All Four Paws for Noah contests have cash prizes and publication opportunities attached, not to mention a chance at the grand prize #Write2TheEnd workshop valued at $495. You don’t have to win to win, ya ken?

Other news to share at my table is my writing retreat was wonderful. I wish you’d been there. I hope you’ll join for the next one. I’m looking into dates for Spring. Workshops, retreats, coaching and ghost writing are my soul work. Nothing gives me greater joy than helping individuals release trauma on the page.

I’ve got Vanna Diana back. She’s still struggling a bit. It appears the new door installed has a faulty motor, and the mechanic who installed it has some faulty thinking when it comes to gender equality. My eldest son got to witness sexism in action. It was highly educational. He also got to see my claws come out and learn the ways words can be wielded as very considerate weapons. He fears for Sexist Mechanic as his superior will receive a carefully worded letter from me if this matter isn’t resolved this week. Toyota’s corporate office will as well.

But there is much positive news. Namely, the repairs in our office and laundry room are complete. Interim homeschooling is going well. We have a new-to-us couch that is enormously comfortable. I finally resolved my issue with Pfaltzgraff and received a new set of dishes that have yet to chip. Hooray! Dishes that don’t cut you as you eat off of them!

Back to the writing competitions–when they come to a close I will be shifting full force into my achieving my career goals, hopefully finding a way to raise whatever is left of the $13,000 on my own. Item One on my career list is the completion of my Writing Through Trauma workbook. I also have some delightful surprises in store that are currently being co-created with other artists. I love giving gifts!

Thank you for joining me. Next time we will have Arabic coffee, yes? Let’s plan to get together soon.

#WeekendCoffeeShare is hosted by Diana at Part-Time Monster. Diana is also a judge for the (De)Caffeinated Confessions Writing Competition. Click here for more information.