Thursday, July 30, 2015


OFFICIAL TAG LINE:  After the power grid burns to ashes, seventeen-year-old Tessla must forsake the safety of her family ranch to rescue her younger sister from the dark savagery that rules the land.  

“Okay, seriously, I devoured your book . . .”  (Lacy S.)

“I could not stop thinking about your book.” (Nicole B.)

“I couldn’t put it down.”

“Super job of describing the realities of societal break down.” (Carol S.)

“My heart beat faster and faster . . .” (Stephanie H.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her weirdness. They wanted her to change back into what she always had been. But she had wings.” 


Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Yankee women are tough, according to one of my dear friends from the frozen intrepid north.

“We women of New England can give birth on an iceberg, swim back to the mainland across the North Sea, while carrying our newborns in our teeth—naked.”

“The mother is naked or the baby’s naked?”


New England women are tough. Right up until they come to semi-tropical Florida, that is. Give me one Yankee woman from Connecticut for a weekend, and I’ll show you a former Navy Lieutenant rolling around in someone’s St. Augustine grass shrieking “Is it on me? Is it on me?”

Two words. Tree frogs.

Tree frogs are sucker footed, car hopping, slime flinging, gooey-tongued attack animals. They are notorious stowaways and lurkers. It’s common knowledge here in the semi-tropics.

Tree frogs lurk in car doors and automobile air conditioning vents; they cling to windshield wiper blades and plot ways to leap through car windows so they can plaster themselves to northerners—also everybody else. Tree frogs are not Florida’s greatest ambassadors of good will, in my opinion.

“Let’s head over to the beach and experience the glory of a Florida horizon line,” I said to my Yankee friend, anxious that she had a positive semi-tropical visit. She’d already excreted enough sweat to fill a kid’s wading pool in the 150% humidity.

She was game—also gamey.

My son, Adam, decided to go along for the ride.

When Adam jumped into the backseat of the Grand Am, a tree frog followed. It jumped into the car in an elegant curving arc of slimy tree frog goop, landing with a plop on Adam’s leg. It’s little sucker feet attaching with efficient amphibian sucking action.

Let me be clear.

Adam jumped into the car. The frog jumped in. Adam jumped out—screaming. The tree frog stayed in—clinging wetly.

Panic spread like mildew. My friend was out of that car and sprinting for Maine before you could say “Kermit.”

I tried to appeal to my friend’s Puritan heritage and “can-do” Yankee spirit. 

“It’s just a little tree frog. The whole thing could fit on a nickel.” She continued to panic. “You’re too big to swallow. Come back. What’s a little frog toe glue?”

I watched as she stopped, dropped, and rolled her way across a neatly manicured lawn in suburbia. Just in case, the attack frog had secreted itself about her person, I suppose. Adam shuddered and brushed at imaginary suction cup glue on his leg.

My head started to hurt from excessive snorting, howling, and guffawing—all glazed over with a dash of nasal drip.

I kept right on laughing until out of the corner of my sharply trained eye, I caught sight of the tree frog making another grand leap. It jumped over my car seat like a thoroughbred riding to the hounds and landed on my right anklebone. There was a wet sound when it hit and sucked on.

I was out of that car and screaming, “Find it. Find it. Find it,” before you could say sucker feet.

There in a quiet Florida cul de sac, two middle-aged women stood weeping and shuddering. We yelled—okay—I yelled at Adam to begin a perimeter search. My formerly intrepid friend didn’t yell. She just faded away into “no-can-do” whimpering.

“Adam, you have to find it, or I will not hesitate to wreck this car should it jump on me while I’m busy exceeding the speed limit.”

“No-can-do, Mom, I’m still in recovery.”

We looked toward the car. Nothing moved. We looked at each other; no one moved. Time passed. Still nothing. 

Without warning or explanation, the nickel sized tree frog jumped out and disappeared into the green, green grass of home. We had been the victims of a drive by frogging . . .

. . . and survived—not gracefully, or well, or even with our self respect in tact—but we had survived.

Bring on the icebergs.

Linda (Two Words) Zern

Friday, July 24, 2015


I am a southern woman of a certain age, born in a decade known for its stability, modesty, conservatism, and success—even hippies were pro-America. It was a different time. The greatest generation was still alive and bringing Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner on the weekends to the grandkids.

We had a black and white television and Jiffy Pop was the first product that Madison Avenue seduced us to buy over the airwaves. Marketing was in its infancy. 

Now, several way-out decades later, I’m a self-published author in a sex tape kind of world, and I’m having a hard time with self-promotion.

Self-promotion feels like bragging and bragging is bad and when you brag people will tell you that, “children are seen and not heard.”

Oh wait! That’s what my mother used to tell me when I was kid—twenty-four, seven. 

So anyway . . . I’m a self-published author, publishing my fifth book, and I’m trying that marketing/self promotion thing for the first time, and it’s confusing. How do I toot my horn louder than the ten-hundred-million other people tooting their horns, many of them without their clothes on, especially when tooting my horn feels vaguely creepy?

Oh well . . . here’s the news. I’ve written my fifth book. BEYOND the STRANDLINE. It’s my first full-length novel. It’s an action, adventure, dystopian, grid-collapse, romance, survival, young adult story set in Central Florida, in the tradition of Pat Frank’s “Alas Babylon.” It’s been edited by a champ and re-edited and then re-checked. 

And the advanced reader’s reviews are GLOWING:

“Okay, seriously, I devoured your book.”

“It was awesome.”

“This book has it all.”

“My heart beat faster and faster . . .”


And here’s the best part: I’m not the one saying it without my clothes on!!!

When I was little and I would ask my mother if I was pretty, she would say, “I’m not going to tell you that. I don’t want you to get a big head.”

I don’t want a big head or to make a sex tape or to have to set myself on fire to get attention. I want to write great stories that people enjoy and want to read—and maybe even break even. That would be pretty cool.

Linda (Toot My Own Horn) Zern

Friday, July 17, 2015


Amazon ~ August 5th
Beyond The Strandline
Author Linda L. Zern has done it again!
Her writing is riveting. Her latest book *Beyond The Strandline* is proof!
I have seen people living off the grid and Linda L. Zern does an amazing job describing what it is like.
It is not pretty, it is not fun, it is work and it is scary.
The characters are everyone we know, love and care about.
What would you do if one of your people breaks the rule, the ONE rule and goes, BEYOND THE STRANDLINE!
Sweet innocent Tess, put in a self imposed position of authority. I saw them coming for her and it felt like I was running right beside her yelling, hurry Tess hurry!
I wasn't able to put this book down!
August 5th ~ Amazon  (Facebook Post by Stephanie Hankins, ARC Reader)

LINDA!!! Your book! It is a "can't-put-down-lose-sleep-and-time" page turner! Wow I am so impressed and proud of you! Well, done my friend! I am on page 290...don't want it to end! But alas, I will finish tonight! (Jacqueline B; Advanced Copy Reader)

Okay, seriously, I devoured your book! I started it during Carter's nap yesterday and finished this morning. I couldn't put it down (and stayed up way too late!). It was awesome! I'll write a more eloquent review for Amazon, promise. But I just wanted you to know that I think it's so great. (Lacy Tindall Smith) 

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Occasionally, and under the advisement of my lawyer, I like to share with my readers a disclaimer of sorts, disavowing responsibility for anything I say, type, write, express, indicate, or declare. That’s right. This is my categorical denial. If you were confused or offended by anything I may have written, I’m sorry . . . that you felt that way.

When I was a girl I would have said, “I’m sorry. I was wrong. I wish I could take it back.”

But fashions change and evolve and get a little squishy around the edges.

Now, it’s acceptable to say, “Gee. I’m sorry that you misunderstood the words coming out of my brain. That’s rough . . . for you.”

I’m fifty plus years old, and I’ve seen a lot of changes and so I disclaim:

When I was a girl, female types were burning their bras, freeing their girl bits from the enslavement of elastic and masculine demands for perkier parts. Women literally set their brassieres on FIRE and celebrated droopy boobs. 

Now that I’m a grownup, women are building perkier boobs out of plastic, ripping hair out of their follicles with hot wax, and men are getting their own boobs. Perky and bald are IN. 

When I was a girl, getting married was considered the old-fashioned, repressive, uptight demand of a morally square society. Being cool and groovy meant NEVER getting married. Shacking up was the hip way. It was the way hip couples gave society the hippy finger. Out of wedlock was IN style.

Now that I’m a grownup EVERYONE wants to get married, order a cake, throw a reception, and get new sheets as gifts from other people. I remain skeptical. 

When I was a girl and the president lied he got fired.

Now that I’m a grownup . . . well . . . not so much.

When I was a girl, my grandparents considered collecting social security a moral, ethical, and societal failure. Being dependent on the government was a hideous reminder of The Great Depression and the bread lines that epitomized hitting bottom and it was OUT. 

Now that I’m a grownup, figuring out how to get to the front of the bread line is a full time job. Especially for that guy in line at Walmart who declared loudly, “The only work I want to do is walk to the end of my driveway and collect my check.”

Now I’m not saying that the changes I’ve seen are good or bad or gray or nothing. That would be offensive and judgmental. I’m just saying that I’ve seen fifty plus years of stuff, and I’ve read a book or two, and most of the social evolution I have witnessed over time is hilarious—except when it’s not. 

Lately, I’m waiting to be impressed by the tens of thousands of Americans who are going to be able to rise up and shout, “Hip. Hip. Hooray. I sure am happy. All my dreams have come true.” We’ll see.

When I was a girl, my mother used to tell me that I’d attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. Gross. Who wants flies? I sure didn’t.

I poured imaginary vinegar over myself in the form of a sharp tongue and a razor edged laugh and sarcasm, let’s not forget sarcasm. 

Want to catch flies? Go pour honey over yourself. Want to laugh at the world as it figures out if it wants its boobs droopy or pointy? Hang around. I’m your girl.

Linda (Quick Witness) Zern 

Monday, July 13, 2015

BUTTER: It's What's for the Apocalypse!

Linda L. Zern
Class Project/Demonstration Proposal 
Major English Writings I 
October - A Long Time Ago

Butter: A Bigger Deal You Might Think

The Beginning: “After the zombie apocalypse, when the Walmart burns down, falls over, and sinks into the swamp, what food would you miss the most?” I asked.

This is typical of the kind of question posed at my house during Sunday family dinner. I looked at my grandson, Conner, and he looked at me, and together we said, “Butter!” Since that moment, I have been on a vision quest in search of a way to make butter, using home grown sources in spite of zombies, cataclysm, and grid collapse.

The Search for Facts: Butter is easy. Any nomad with an animal hide, a bouncy donkey, and time on their hands can jiggle enough raw milk (goat, sheep, cow) to produce a lumpy emulsification of fat. Animal skin bags strapped to the back of a bouncy beast of burden, barrels on a bumpy cart, churns with a dasher, or a jar with a marble can produce yummy fat called butter.

The History: Without refrigeration, butter lasts longer than a glass of milk. Without refrigeration, cheese lasts longer than a glass of milk. Butter and cheese are tasty and a method of food preservation, more common in colder climates anciently than in southern climates.  Vikings became the scourge of the medieval world by eating butter.

The Ultimate Goal: To be able to produce the raw materials at our hobby farm to make our own butter because Conner and I will die without it. I’ve contemplating Nubian milk goats as a source for the raw milk.

Although cow’s milk has larger fat molecules and separates more easily than goat’s milk, cows are gi-normous and can tip over automobiles when annoyed. Goats are smaller, smarter, and rarely snap people’s spines. I already grow the herbs (garlic, etc.) for flavoring. Note: Milking goats for butter and cheese is a twice a day, time consuming process that requires planning and forethought—a lot. I’m making a schedule.

The Class Project: A brief, hands-on demonstration of butter churning (with baby food jars, a marble, and heavy cream,) clashing, and the sampling of homemade butters traditionally enjoyed in the days before the Kraft Corporation, while discussing the strange tale of butter as a tool of social and religious oppression.

The Crazy Truth About Butter in History: I have discovered that butter was one of the points of contention for Martin Luther in his break with the Catholic Church. Butter was produced and used extensively in the northern, colder climates (England, Scandinavia, Germany.) Oil was commonly used in the southern countries (Italy, the Mediterranean, Spain.) Rome and the Vatican (in warm sunny Italy) prohibited the use of butter during Lent. No worries. Businessmen and the church offered to sell oil to the north. No worries. The church offered a pay-for-play-scheme to allow the northern countries to use butter during lent if they paid a butter tax—nice fundraiser for the butter tower of Rouen. 

Weird Problems I’ve Encountered, And Of Which I Was Completely Ignorant: I wanted to bring in an example of “raw” or unprocessed milk to show the class how unprocessed milk naturally separates. Shock. It is illegal to sell raw milk in Florida. It is not illegal to drink it—just sell it. Anyone selling raw milk must mark it “for animal consumption only.” The government regulations have therefore driven raw milk sources underground and jacked the price of raw milk up to $15.00/gallon in Florida. Whole Foods just pulled raw milk from its shelves. 

Like Lisa Ling, I’ll be forced to go undercover and underground to investigate the sordid underbelly of the black market of the organic/raw food movement. I’m actively seeking a raw milk pusher.

The Chemistry: Any number of factors can keep milk from becoming butter: too cold, too hot, too little fat, poor diet of the producing animal, too slow of churning, a curse, the witches next door. Bog butter is butter buried in bogs by forgetful butter makers in Ireland. It can last up to three hundred years.  

Things I’ve Found Fascinating So Far: 

The amount of physical energy and know-how required to be able to feed a family in days gone by. How recently our modern conveniences were invented and how completely dependent the developed world is on them, and how much knowledge is always being lost and how quickly. 

Goat’s milk butter is harder to make than cow’s milk butter but better for you. Goats are browsers not grazers and will eat my weeds. 

How much of the world still lives like it’s the 13th century (I learned this from my son, a combat soldier, who recently returned from a yearlong deployment on the Afghan/Pakistan boarder.) Goats and donkeys, that’s how the world still lives. 

I also find fascinating how many thousands of years worth of human beings managed to drink non-government-regulated-not-FDA-approved milk and still survived long enough to make babies. 


Can I dress up as a butter churning peasant woman in the middle ages, for my demonstration, in lieu of bringing a live goat to class? It would have been my neighbor’s goat; I don’t have goats yet. I do have an outfit. DON’T MAKE ME BRING IN 300 YEAR OLD BOG BUTTER! I’M KIDDING. IT’S ALL GONE. WE ATE IT. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


My husband is the world traveler. I am the woman that goes with him but not too often. Mostly, I’m the woman who stays at home in my easy chair, staring at a vintage atlas . . . happy . . . that I am not being yelled at by TSA agents.

I know that traveling is the goal of all smarty types. Ask a college student what’s on their future agenda and you’ll hear, “Graduate. Work for a non-profit. Travel.” Apparently, non-profits pay more than they used to pay.

Wishing them well, I say, “Bon voyage” and “Don’t over pack because you’ll be mocked by strangers.”

Seriously, not only is traveling the new standard of “all things meaningful,” it’s traveling while carrying a single pair of underwear and a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer in a worn backpack slung over one languid shoulder. Anything else is considered over packing. 

As an older traveler, packing that light can be challenging. I need stuff: shoes that work with a variety of outfits and foot stiffness; a variety of outfits; gummy fiber and other assorted supplements; lotions and potions designed to relieve stiffness, dryness, soreness, hairiness, and rumpledness; enough makeup to cover the ravages of life out in the open, and, of course, a makeup mirror with enough magnification to see craters on the moon.

On a recent trip to North Carolina, I forget the mirror and my face disappeared. It was distressing.

I literally had to stab at where I thought my eyelashes might be when I put on mascara, hoping that I wouldn’t wind up looking like that lady I saw coming out of Home Depot one day. She looked like she’d forgotten her makeup mirror and had used crayons to sketch in the missing bits. 

So I travel, once in a while and with way too much luggage. Better that, then wondering where my face went off to without me, and wishing for my vintage atlas and an easy chair.

Linda (Blink Twice) Zern
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