Monday, August 31, 2015

Amnesia Anyone?

I have a smallpox scar. I have a smallpox scar from having smallpox stuffed into me with a needle by the government. I was five when the government gave me smallpox. Okay, they gave me a teeny, tiny speck of smallpox, but the scar is still ugly.

Since then I’ve been inoculated, biopsied, C-sectioned, extracted, stapled, stitched, sliced and diced. And now I’m crazy. When I go to the doctor my CO2 levels go way up, because I hyperventilate, and when I go to the dentist my blood pressure sky rockets. Oddly enough, getting sharp objects jammed into body parts does not get easier with time.

Now, I have to be drugged out of my mind when I have to have sharp objects jammed into body parts.

I am a cancer-surviving pansy.

For my latest dental torture session on Thursday, my dentist and his gang gave me a sedative-hypnotic. It made me go to sleep for Thursday—the whole day—and I didn’t read the “medication guide” until AFTER the procedure.

 What a hoot. Those medicine-warning labels are the funniest reading on earth, in my opinion. Who writes those things?

Apparently, a side effect of taking a sedative-hypnotic can be something called “traveler’s amnesia.” This is side effect that can cause someone to be (and I quote) “NOT fully awake and do an activity that they will NOT remember doing. Reported activities include: driving a car (sleep driving), making and eating food, talking on the phone, having sex, and sleep-walking.” Since Thursday has disappeared from my memory, I have developed a vague sense of unease about the “travel amnesia” possibilities.

What if, at some point during my Thursday—all day—nap, I put on a gypsy outfit, drove to the lakefront, and played a tambourine for loose change? What if I went horseback riding—naked? What if I drove my John Deere lawn tractor to the Florida Mall, so I could buy a pretzel, with salt? What if I killed somebody?

Traveler’s amnesia. Yikes.

What if I joined a motorcycle gang, got a tattoo of a giant butterfly on my right butt cheek, and promised to be a drug mule?

What if . . . oh . . .wait a minute . . . there’s something here under the bedcovers. Hey . . . what the . . . it’s a tambourine, and there’s a buck twenty-three in it.

I can’t seem to find the gypsy outfit.

So, was I naked while playing the tambourine? Amnesia is so annoying.

Linda (No More Cavities) Zern

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Boys enjoy sticks. That’s my official unscientific, non-governmental grant approved conclusion. After years and years and years of observing boys in their natural habitat, just like that “Gorillas in the Mist” lady did with those mountain gorillas, I am prepared to report that boys and sticks go together like gorillas and mist.

From my field notes: Tried to mow the yard today. Had to stop every three and a half feet to pick up large, sharp tipped sticks approximately one foot long to twelve and half feet in length. I realized that these sticks did not arrive in the middle of the yard by themselves. The sticks were dragged, hurled, slung, and dropped by human boys as they roamed through the mists.

A boy will pick up a stick before he will bathe, wash, brush, or comb. 

A stick can never be sharp enough for boys.

Opening the microwave oven to discover a pile of random sticks inside is evidence that boys are near and possibly foraging for food.

My husband, who is a boy, cheerfully handed pocketknives to two junior members of our gorilla troop, Zac and Kip, showing them how to sharpen already pointy sticks to a state of hypodermic needle sharpness. Their faces were incandescent with stick whittling joy.

My husband, the Poppy, said, “Whittle, boys. Whittle.”

Conner, their older brother, a sensible boy who talks like a forty-five year old man, looked on—horrified—as his little brothers chopped and chipped away. Bits of stick exploded into sawdust. 

Looking at me, Conner said, “I see what you mean about Poppy. He is a fool and a clown.”

Surprised, I said, “I don’t remember ever calling him a clown.”

Whittling is not exclusive to juvenile members of the troop. Older, mature males of the troop will sit chopping at wood with sharp objects, showing off their tool making abilities. Unfortunately, the stick whittling never seems to result in anything resembling a tool, just naked sticks. Naked sticks that they leave at my house, inside, tucked away in corners and closets. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with a pile of naked, whittled on sticks. They don’t fit in the microwave. 

Boys also like stones. Florida is not known for its rocks or stones. There aren’t any. So, the boys in our family enjoy peeling up the concrete stepping stones of my garden walkway. It makes me want to hit them with sticks.

But I don’t, because I’m not a clown and a fool—well, not today.

Linda (Stick, Stick, Goose) Zern 


It's not your momma's vampire story.  The "vampires" in this story are human beings without mercy or conscience. What will you do when the evil becomes real?

Monday, August 24, 2015


“Remember one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” Daddy said when they got to the garage sale and handed her a one dollar bill. It’s what he always said.

Mia hated the way the wrinkled dollar smelled, but she loved the way it made her feel and what it meant—time with Daddy.

“Daddy, doesn’t it make you think of the beach?” Mia pointed at the sheets, stretched over the lawn and covered with candy dishes and yellowed Tupperware. The breeze tickled at the frayed edges of the material and tangled her ponytail.

His crooked smile made her think of a question mark.

She tried again.

“You know the beach . . . that raggedy seaweed after the water goes out?  That’s all mixed up with broken shells. It's all in a crazy line, but if you walk slow and look hard you can find a whole sand dollar that’s not all broken to bits—sometimes.  It’s like that to me here.”

He patted her head. "Like finding a great deal."

Daddy held her hand as they wandered through card tables piled with blouses and winter sweaters.  He always wore his work coveralls streaked with grease on the pockets when they went treasure hunting together, his name stitched in blue and black on his chest. 

“Like sea treasures,” she said.

“You’re a funny girl, Mia.” That's what he always said.

She felt itchy when grownups said that stuff to her, not sure if it was a good thing to be a funny girl who saw seaweed in the flutter of sheets on the grass at a yard sale.

He left her in front of a table with books and puzzles and games. Sometimes he looked at her like she was a sand dollar hidden under a pile of torn chip bags and barnacles.  She thought he looked tired and rumpled like the money.

He left to look for sensible treasures like torque wrenches and channel-lock pliers. She picked up a book and was disappointed to see that she’d read it and was rejecting the puzzles as too easy when the glitter of sun on glass caught her eye. Maybe it was glass or crystal or even diamonds?

Piled next to her were jars, dishes, mismatched pots and pans, and somewhere in all that jumble the tantalizing sparkle of magic. She felt it. Mia walked to the edge of a paisley blanket and saw it—a glowing face of crystal arching away into an elegant curve. A crystal ball. It was a crystal ball, a real one, half hidden and tipped on its edge against a chipped bowl.  She froze when the sun hit the crystal ball and splintered into a hundred shards of glittering fire.

The sign read, Everything One Dollar.

Mia could hardly breathe. She looked at her daddy and flipped a hand at him, not wanting to give it away, but tempted to yell at him to hurry. Hurry, hurry before someone else discovered her crystal ball and scooped it up. She waved harder and then went to get him.

“Daddy,” she said, tugging at his shirtsleeve. “Daddy, do you see it?” She didn’t want to take the chance and point, so she dipped her head towards the blanket, whispering, “Daddy, there. Look! Next to that broken bowl. Can you believe it? And it’s only a dollar. It’s magic for only one dollar.”

“Mia, what do you want me to see?” He squinted.

Dragging him to the edge of the blanket, she said, “There daddy.” She bent down, desperate enough now to pick the crystal ball up, to hold it in front of her like a chalice.  He looked at it and then looked at her, puzzled. 

“What do you think this is?” He pulled the magical globe out of her hands.

“Shhh, daddy, they’ll hear you.” How could he not know?  “Daddy," she whispered. "It’s a crystal ball! Look . . . just look!”

“But honey,” he said, turning the ball of glass in his chapped hands.  He shook it.  Tipping it over, he watched as a shower of dried up mosquitoes and flies fell out of its hollow center. “We have one just like it in the bathroom.”

He held up her crystal ball to the sun. It became a dusty glass covering for a bathroom light fixture.

“Oh,” she said, softer than a breath. “But I thought . . .”

She covered her mouth with her hand to hide the way she needed to bite her lip—hard. Her hand smelled like the money—sweaty skin and fingernail dirt.

He tossed the light fixture back into the heap and patted her on the head.

“Next time, funny Mia. Next time you’ll find treasure.”


Monday, August 17, 2015

Animal Kingdom

Her name is Ever Jane Zern. She is number twelve of our twelve grandchildren. She is freshly hatched and a girl. Her parents will dress her in pink and glue bows to her head. This will cause her to grow breasts and enjoy glitter. That’s the theory.

No. Seriously. I’ve paid good, good money to hear highly educated teacher-types tell me that gender is the arbitrary result of the Target’s toy aisle labeling system. 

Sure. Sure. Then I remember that I live on a farm, and that I’ve been chased by roosters with three-inch, razor sharp spurs—not hens, which are girl chickens—but roosters, which are boy chickens with spikes on their legs, called spurs. 

Nobody glues anything to those chicken’s heads. Trust me. And they’ve never been to Target—not even once. 

Animals. They’re animals. And aren’t we animals too. Right? I know because other wildly educated teacher-types have taught me that human beings are animals just like Bonobo monkeys. NOTE: They always pick Bonobo monkeys because Bonobos are notorious for greeting each other by getting freaky and by having sex with strange monkeys they’ve just met. It’s their way of saying, “Howdy.” And aren’t human-being-animals just like that? Or should be?

Sure. Sure. We’re animals like those sex fiend monkeys. Except when we’re not and then we’re super complicated animals—so says one young college educated man on Facebook. 

We’re exactly like Bonobo sex fiend monkeys except when that theory isn’t convenient . . . like when that Facebook guy finally gets a girlfriend, and he doesn’t want her saying, “Howdy,” like a monkey.

Bunk. It’s all bunk.

On the weekend, our grandchildren descend upon our home like a pile of monkeys. There are boys in the pile and there are girls in the pile. Games are played. Fights break out. Holes are dug. People are buried up to their necks and abandoned. 

No . . . no . . . no . . . that’s not true. I digress. Besides, it only happened once.

My husband plays the part of The Poppy on the weekends. As The Poppy he is often cast in the role of monster in the Monster game. The Monster game is simple. He pretends to be a kid-eating monster as he chases a gaggle of shrieking children around the yard.

The children are getting older and faster.

The monster is just getting older.

Recently, the monster game ended badly—for the monster—when he tripped and flew fifteen feet across the yard, rolling and bouncing and bruising as he flew. He wound up flat on his back, surrounded by a tribe of juvenile monster evaders.

The boys in the crowd stared down, accessing the situation. One poked the monster with a stick. Another said, “When he recovers he’s not going to catch me.”

Still another boy said, “Is he dead?” He did not sound overly worried.

“A little respect, gentlemen,” I said. “A little respect. A mighty foe has fallen.” 

The girls in the mob reacted very differently.

“Awwww, she hurt herself,” said a two-year old girl. 

Another of the little girls got busy brushing leaves and sticks off the downed monster and helping him retrieve his glasses while the boys watched, occasionally poking at the wounded creature with a stick.

The whole incident re-enforced for me the notion that girls are not boys, and that if we let them, boys will act like monkeys with sticks, but that doesn’t make them monkeys; it makes them barbarians.

Monster update: He’s on painkillers until his ribs heal.

Linda (Howdy Do) Zern

Sunday, August 16, 2015


Fifty-Nine Reviews - 88%Five Stars - Amazon - Kindle - Juvenile Dystopian Fiction

$2.99 Download Your's Today 

Thursday, August 13, 2015


BEYOND THE STRANDLINE: Not just a story for the
girls. . . A BIG THANKS TO THE BOYS: Tracy, David, Tom, Brad, Scott, Aric, Adam . . .

“To be honest, I had my doubts about what to expect. From the first pages, I was captured and could not stop reading until the end. This is no romance novel. While it does have fledgling romance between the two main characters, it is a combination of survival, commitment, apocalypse and all that goes with it. I, who grew up on a steady diet of science fiction, monster movies, adventure, Jack Reacher type novels and the like, was immediately drawn into this tale. A very satisfying read. I hope there will be sequels in the very near future! [Zern] is a great writer!”  (Tom B.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Number 1 on Prepper Romance Page, Average Customer Review with fifty, five star reviews and counting. Thank You, Fabulous Readers

Monday, August 10, 2015



Least favorite question of all time: 

“You know what you should do?”

It’s the question I am most often greeted with when my grown children and their growing children show up at my house. Sometimes there’s a list. With numbers.

They jump out of their various mini-vans and yelp, “You know what you should do first about that big mud hole in your driveway?”

Or . . .

“You know what you should do second after you fix that big mud hole in your driveway?”

Or it’s the same question with a technological twist . . . 

“You know what you should do? You should be on Instagram. Are you?”

And then I have to ask questions of my own. “What’s Instagram?” or “What mud hole?” or “Why do I feed you people constantly?”

My grown children are full of great advice on what I should do. I suppose it’s payback for all the years I stood at their grubby childish elbows telling them how they should live their lives. 

For example:

“You know what you should do?” I used to say. “You should shovel the garbage out of this bedroom of yours before I set it on fire or strip it down to a bare mattress on a bare floor and put you in solitary confinement. That’s what you should do.”

Recently, I’ve been working on marketing strategies to sell my latest book “Beyond the Strandline” which means that I’ve had to learn more about marketing than I care to know—now or ever. Slowly but surely, I’m learning the fine art of asking people for money. It’s not my favorite learning curve. 

And if I had my way, I’d stand on street corners with boxes of books, handing them out for free, strangely, my one and only investor objects to this business model. So, I struggle with the algorithm of “hand me some cash and I’ll tell you a story.”

“You know what you should do,” my daughter said. “You should be on Instagram. That’s the cool new way of ‘getting your stuff out there,’ Mom.”

I groaned, loudly. “I don’t want to.”

“Sure. It’s easy,” she grabbed my phone. “What’s your I-Tunes password?”

And so the agony began. An hour later, after re-setting seven to one-hundred passwords, losing all my credit cards (inside my own house) and wrestling with a dozen or more blank screens, I am on Instagram.

I still don’t know what it is.

You know what I should do?

Hire an admin. 

Unfortunately, administrative assistants want to be paid—with money.

Linda (Books 4-Sale) Zern 

Friday, August 7, 2015


My husband’s family was horrified when I decided to breastfeed our first baby. They insisted I remove myself from the public rooms, retreat to a bedroom, cover myself with a blanket, and nurse my baby in shame and private.

Which was rich coming from a family that regularly discussed—at the dinner table—the various uses of whipped cream in dating situations. Boobs covered in whipped cream, complete with a cherry on top, was considered wildly humorous. Breastfeeding was considered . . . well . . . icky.

It was confusing at best.

When I had our second baby, I said, “Nope. Not going to the bedroom of breastfeeding shame. If you want I’ll cover the baby’s head with whipped cream and call myself dessert. But that’s it. Now back down.”

They backed down. 

Over the years I’ve tried to figure out the mixed messages that society expresses when it comes to female breasts. Sorry, I got nothing. Society is nuts.

However, here are a couple of random observations on the subject:

God gave women boobs and then said, “When you can get a guy to look you in the eye, even if it’s for thirty seconds, marry him.” NOTE: It’s still good advice.

National Geographic magazine did more for modern underwear makers, than any advertising agency on Madison Avenue ever thought of—ever.

Women in the 1970’s burned their bras to protest the repressive 1950’s when Madison Avenue had decided women’s breasts should be shaped like nuclear missile silos.

Then something called “Cooper’s Droop” was discovered. Women put their bras back on in the 1980’s and invented Victoria’s Secret.

The secret was that Victoria was a hooker.

Breastfeeding threats are the best threats on earth to control older children. When my kids gave me a hard time about pulling the plug on leaving the park, the swimming pool, or the Little League Field, I would simply shout, “Come get in this van in three minutes, or I will tell everyone at this park/pool/field that I breastfed you and for how long.” Enough said.

When I got married I was still wearing a training bra. No joke. It was true love on my husband’s part.

Once you get them trained, they’re kind of fun, because being a girl is fun.

Nothing has changed. GQ magazine this month, a men’s magazine for men, has a picture of a topless girl wearing a flower lei over her boobs—sort of. Men are dopey.

Feminists would have us believe that there is no biological difference between boys and girls. No seriously, I had a college professor tell me that. “If girls were treated like boys they’d be big and strong too.” I noticed that Dr. Kooper was wearing a bra, and I was pretty sure I could take her in an arm wrestling contest.

Boys of all ages find girl stuff fascinating or as my grandson Conner asked me one fine day, “YaYa, why you got so many booby bras?” 

Or as my daughter (mother of four boys and one future bra wearer) said, “Oh no, I don’t go anywhere near the underwear aisle of the store, or all four of them will run through the bra section, fondling the merchandise, yelling, ‘Booby bras, booby bras,’ at the top of their lungs.”

Therefore we can conclude, who the heck knows? But as a friend of mine remarked, “Burn my bra? Bras are expensive.” 

I know, right?

Linda (Hang Ten) Zern

Thursday, August 6, 2015


It’s possible to choke to death. It’s possible to choke to death—on your own spit. It’s possible to choke to death on your own spit—at Target. I know. I almost did.

Right there in front of Brian, the checkout boy, who, by the way, was the only person even mildly concerned when I clutched my throat and made the international sign for, “Help! I’m choking to death on my own spit. Get help! Get help!”

Heather and Maren, my adult daughters, barely looked up from the magazine rack. Only Brian cared. I think he was worried he was going to have to clean up my spittle-racked remains, should I die right there in front of his register.

My fatal error was in trying to talk, breathe, swallow, and locate my debit card all at the same time. Cannot be done. But that’s me, performing without a net as usual.

As I struggled for life giving oxygen, acid tears melting the makeup from my “T” zone, Maren read a People magazine expressing concern over Gywneth’s alien looking hair. Heather fretted over whether or not her credit card was going to work in the new machines at Target.

I clawed at my neck wildly, flinging my head back and forth and side to side in a primal and elemental need to breathe.

“Boy, that marriage will never last,” Maren said, turning the slick magazine pages.

“Boy, I sure hope this card works this time. It never works in these new machines,” Heather said, digging through the black hole of a purse, hanging on her arm.

When I started smacking my head against the debit card machine, eyes bulging from their sockets, Heather FINALLY glanced up.

“Mom, you’re not doing it right. That’s not how you make the international signal for choking.”

“She’s right. You’re supposed to grab your throat with one hand and open and close your other hand in the air. Like this.”  Maren demonstrated.

“That’s it. That’s how you do it,” Heather said, pointing to her sister. “Hey, what do you think of this shade of lip-gloss? It isn’t the color I wanted; they’re out of all the good colors.  What is this Russia?” They began to discuss the deplorable state of lip-gloss availability. 

My left nostril collapsed.   

“Are you okay, lady?” Brian asked.

“Gurgle, gurgle, gick, nawn.” It was the best I could do at the time.

When I finally managed to clear my own airway by performing the Heimlich maneuver on myself by pulling the handle of the shopping cart sharply into my own sternum, I confronted my daughters.

“Would Brian have had to give me a tracheotomy with an ink pen and a box cutter to get your attention?”

The line of shoppers behind me broke into a rousing cheer.

One nice lady said, “Don’t worry. Someday they’ll have children of their own who will stand idly by while they choke to death on their own spit at Target.”

I raised my handbag in a triumphant, if weak, salute. The line cheered again. Brian grinned.

I paid for my lip-gloss and body shaper, congratulating myself on finding the perfect color of lip coverage—also for surviving—to shop another day. Heather’s card worked in the new machines. Maren did not purchase the magazine.

Linda (Mouth Breather) Zern

Monday, August 3, 2015


INTENSE, REALISTIC, COURAGE IN A TIME OF NIGHTMARES! Book launch day has turned into book launch week. Paperbacks available. Kindle versions coming soon. THANKS FOR ALL THE GREAT FIVE STAR REVIEWS!


Computers Be Dumb!

Not too many years ago, the very best scientists thought that scrambling the brain matter of mentally challenged folks with the equivalent of a knitting needle was a fine idea. Some of these “mentally challenged” folks were not challenged at all. They were just annoying. Didn’t matter. Scramble. Scramble. Scramble.

Having read a little bit about the lobotomy years, I remain somewhat skeptical of the “no problem-easy-peasy” claims of the scientific community. I’m also wary of knitting needles.

Computers are, quite possibly, the lobotomizing knitting needles of our time.

I write books—all kinds, all genres. I am a self-published author mainly because I did NOT have an affair with anyone of fame or fortune and then write a tell-all about it, thus guaranteeing me a fifty thousand minimum advanced sales number. After reading that last sentence I realize I should clarify. I’ve never had an affair—period, at all, ever. It’s the literary equivalent of having had a lobotomy.


Computers. They be dumb.

My new book BEYOND THE STRANDLINE went live last night on Amazon. A couple of people found out and started posting reviews (which is WAY COOL) and then one or two others saw the early reviews and wondered if they should post reviews even though I said that Wednesday is launch day, but now it’s NOT so I decided to send out reminder emails to my advanced copy readers a little early.

There are a lot of email reminders to send. 

“Easy. Peasy,” said my computer savvy family. “Any monkey with a lobotomy can do it.”

Sure. Sure. I thought.

Turns out . . . it’s a pain in the brain.

“Won’t there be too many?” I queried, as I tried to figure out emailing more than one cuddle bunny friend at a time. 

“Clop,” said my computer-loving husband. He may have said nope. Hard to tell when his head is covered with earphones, microphones, and wires.

Slowly, painfully I pasted, copied, clicked, closed, and opened. Nothing worked. He rolled toward me in his roller chair to demonstrate more pasting, coping, clicking, closing, and opening. 

Finally, he turned to me and stated flatly, “See?”

I didn’t. 

He said, “See?” again and louder, with a hint of impatient frustration.

I felt like a monkey with a lobotomy.

For two hours I stabbed and pounded at the keys, trying to do as he did.

I clicked SEND.


I wept.

My husband rolled at me in his roller chair again. He cut, pasted, shifted, farted, clicked, and Google searched and finally SENT.

If I had to repeat what he did . . . well . . . let’s just say that science be fine when it works, but when it doesn’t and you have to have a degree in Robot Vision to figure out what’s what you might as well take up knitting.

Linda (Stamp Licker) Zern 

Saturday, August 1, 2015


BOOK SIGNING AND READING for MOONCALF at the home of Phonenix, Payton, and Mason Hart!

It's Easy to Get Excited Over Words!

It's Easy to Get Excited Over Words . . . and Cake!

And Friends Make Everything Perfect.
Me Being Bossy as Usual . . .

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