Chaos in Lisa Shea Publishing

Amazon Again Links Sex Book to My Author Page

For the second time in just four months, Amazon has caused a complete stranger’s book containing stepdaughter-with-stepfather sex smut to be shown on my Lisa Shea Amazon Author Central Page. This stranger decided to write their erotica under the pen name of “Lisa Shea”. Both times, completely without my permission, Amazon connected this smut book with my teen-friendly 500-plus-books account on Amazon.

The last time this happened, in March 2022, Amazon even sent a DIRECT EMAIL to all of my followers telling them I had just written a BDSM sex book. When I asked Amazon to send a retraction, Amazon refused.

I then wrote a book entitled: AMAZON MADE A MISTAKE – I DID NOT WRITE A PORN EROTIC BOOK!

Amazon did not promote my “Amazon made a mistake” book for me. So Amazon was fine promoting a sex book I **didn’t even write** to my fans, but they would not promote a book which clarified the situation to my fans.

Amazon swore this situation would never happen again.

Well, here we are, July 18 2022, and it has happed again. The fake author used nearly the exact same name for their new sex smut book about a teen stepdaughter lusting after her stepfather while her mother goes out drinking all night. And this book says it is SUITABLE FOR SIXTH GRADERS. What?? How did this smut even get through the normal Amazon KDP quality checks with this age range listed, never mind get loaded live with my name on it?

I of course immediately contacted Amazon to lodge a complaint about this situation.

At this point Amazon has removed the photo of my face from the book and the link to my Author Central page. But the book is still live and looks, to all my readers, as if “Lisa Shea” has written it. And it still says it is good for 6th graders. An erotic book about stepfather-stepdaughter sex!!

It is stunning to me that this happened once, but for it to happen twice in four months is just beyond belief. Something is viscerally wrong with the Amazon Author Central system and it needs to be fixed. Only books I personally approve should ever be appearing on my Author Central page and mailed out to my fan base.

Some people have said I should contact a lawyer, but you can probably imagine that Amazon is ENORMOUS and has an entire team of lawyers on call. The chance of any smaller author like me, even with my 500+ books, making any headway against Amazon is slim to none.

Charter/Spectrum email addresses

BestBuy Citibank Credit Card Cannot Export to Quicken / Quickbooks

I am absolutely stunned that this is still a problem in 2022. I use my BestBuy card quite regularly for a variety of purchases. I then have to HAND ENTER every single row of data into QuickBooks, because BestBuy Citibank does not have a Quicken or QuickBooks export option from their system.

The only options they support for export are:

PDF – not useful for anything at all

Spreadsheet / XLS – would need substantial conversion

CSV – a comma separated value file, even worse

Tab Delimited – are we in the 1990s?

Custom Delimited – not really any better than tab delimited

It is pretty jaw-dropping that any credit card in modern times still cannot export to any normal financial software format. Every other credit card that I use provides at least one standard financial software export option.

It’s even worse than that, though. If you look back more than six months, the ONLY export option available is a PDF file. So even if you created an import system that worked with the XLS or CSV types of files, it would only work for your last six months of data. The information before that would have to be hand typed in line by line. And the online system only shows 2 years worth of data.

Best Buy / Citibank absolutely needs to update their systems to provide modern functionality.

QuickBooks 2022 is Atrocious

QuickBooks 2022 is Atrocious – Move to an Alternative

I have used QuickBooks for over a decade, and all my historical data is in the QuickBooks system. Despite the immense hassle involved with changing systems I am absolutely going transition away from QuickBooks. This latest 2022 iteration is absolutely atrocious.

First, the customer service at QuickBooks is mind-bogglingly bad. One time with this new 2022 version I called with issues with logging in. They told me it was because my email address (associated with my company URL) was “non-standard” and I should use a “normal” one like Gmail or Hotmail. What?? Another time I called, he couldn’t answer my questions, said no manager was available to help, and then asked to put me on hold for a half hour in essence to ‘run out his shift’. He promised to call me back with a manager the next morning. I never got a call.

Next, the QuickBooks system is FULL of errors, and then when you try to hunt down help to fix them, the QuickBooks help is bafflingly bad. Every ten minutes or so I’d get a new error which I’d then have to google to find solutions for. Their help would not provide information on their own errors. Out of my two bank accounts, two PayPal accounts, and eight credit cards, nearly every single one had import or connection errors. I mention again that I’ve been using this software for over ten years. These aren’t new accounts. For some I had to custom-write code to convert their files into something usable by QuickBooks. This should not be happening in 2022. When you look through the QuickBooks forums these issues have been thoroughly documented for YEARS by users and are still not fixed.

There are just so many issues with navigating through an account, reconciling accounts, and more, which are either tedious or user-hostile. I am baffled how this software is in this state.

And then of course there is the pricing issue. It was bad enough when they used to force you to upgrade every three years to have functional software. Now in 2022 they have a high price which you are required to pay YEARLY to use them. If the software and customer service were top-notch I might say it’s worth that price. But with all the errors in the software and the atrocious customer service? There is no way it is worth this kind of money.

I will absolutely be changing off of QuickBooks. I will thoroughly document the process to make it easy for others to do the same. Managing finances is stressful enough – financial software should make this process EASIER, not HARDER.

Amazon Kindle Vella SciFi

Do Antibiotics Prevent You from Getting Lyme Disease?

I live in a Lyme-tick-rich place – central Massachusetts. I know many people who have gotten Lyme disease from a tick. I recently had a tick bite me and, on testing the tick, the tick did have Lyme disease in it.

I was on antibiotics – Doxycycline – within three days.

Do antibiotics prevent you from getting Lyme Disease?

What Is Lyme Disease?

First, a quick summary. It was only 1975 when doctors near Lyme, Connecticut finally realized that their patients weren’t “crazy” but really did have serious real symptoms from a tick-borne disease. The problem is a bacterium inside the tick -Lyme borreliosis – which the tick gets by sucking on infected deer etc. The bacterium is then inside the tick, so when they bite a human, now the saliva from the tick gets into the bite wound and the human gets Lyme borreliosis inside them. That then causes Lyme Disease.

Does Everyone Infected with Lyme Disease Get a Bullseye Rash?

I’ve had doctors say “You don’t have a rash so you’re all set”. THAT IS NOT TRUE. Many Lyme-infected people do NOT get a bullseye rash. Always take precautions if you’ve been bitten by a tick in a Lyme-active area.

Does The Tick Only Transfer Lyme if Attached for 36+ Hours?

This is an old wives’ tale. What we know is that most attached ticks tend to be nymphs (the tiny stage) simply because we are able to see the adults (larger stage) more easily. With an attached tiny nymph, most known infections come from those ticks which have been attached for around 36 hours (a day and a half).

HOWEVER. This does NOT mean that a person is magically immune if they get the tick off in 24 hours. It’s not like the saliva isn’t flowing for the first 24 hours. A tick that’s attached for 24 hours already has quite a lot of blood in it.

ALSO – many people get bitten by adult ticks and don’t find it for various reasons. I was bitten by an adult tick on my back and only happened to notice it because my shirt rubbed against it, making it hurt. I easily could have not known it was there. An adult tick has a much larger stomach / mouth / etc. and much more saliva in it. So those of us unlucky enough to get bitten by an adult somewhere we don’t notice, it could easily spread the Lyme borreliosis much more quickly than 36 hours.

It’s also worth noting that bacteria multiply. That’s how they work. So doctors assume that if you only got one bacteria into you that your immune system would spot it and kill it. If you got thousands of bacterium into you, your immune system might get overwhelmed.

But what if your immune system wasn’t healthy for whatever reason? It could be that even a small amount of Lyme borreliosis could cause your body problems. So even a few hours of tick contact could get enough Lyme borreliosis into you to start an issue.

Single-Dose of Antibiotics / Doxycycline

It used to be recommended, if you found a tick instantly and the Lyme borreliosis were only starting to multiply inside you, that you could take one mega-dose of Doxycycline antibiotics and wipe out all of the Lyme borreliosis. This is no longer recommended by most physicians. It’s better to take the standard 10-day regimen to ensure all the bacteria are slain, while you wait for the tick test to come back.

Test Your Tick for Lyme Disease!

All of this discussion so far assumes that the tick DOES have Lyme Disease / Lyme borreliosis in it – but the only way to know for sure is to test it. There are many testing centers to do this for you. Send in the remnants of the tick, even if it’s in pieces. Within 2-3 days you’ll get a message back letting you know if the tick even had Lyme disease. You can test for other diseases, too, while you’re at it. If the tick did NOT have Lyme, you can breathe easy and know you’re set.

If the tick DID have Lyme, it’s now a question of how many of the actual Lyme borreliosis got from the tick digestive system into your blood system. If it was attached under 36 hours, it’s going to be a smaller volume of bacteria that got in. If it was attached longer, there is more chance of a transfer. An adult tick will transfer more than a tiny nymph. Different skin areas will have different blood flow. Your immune system might be robust and have instantly slain every single bacteria – or it might be weaker and be struggling.

Do Antibiotics Completely Wipe Out Every Lyme borreliosis Bacterium?

The way Lyme (and many diseases) work is that the bacterium start out ‘living’ where they entered the system – i.e. at the tick bite. That’s why you often (but not always!) see a rash near the tick bite area. That’s the body having trouble with those Lyme borreliosis bacterium.

Then, as the Lyme borreliosis multiply, they spread out and get into other body parts. The joints. The organs. The brain. Etc.

So if the tick bites you in your back, and the Lyme borreliosis are hanging out near that spot in your back, and you take antibiotics quickly, it could be that the antibiotics destroy every single little Lyme borreliosis bacteria that exists before they get any further.

But let’s keep in mind how antibiotics work.

The antibiotic – let’s say Doxycycline – is put in your mouth. It dissolves in your stomach, and then goes through your blood system. But do the particles of Doxycycline really go down EVERY SINGLE CAPPILARY? Does it really get into every single cell? Or is it reaching maybe 95% of your body and figuring it’ll be good enough?

Keep in mind some capillaries are so tiny that red blood cells have to ‘line up’ to get through them. As high a dose of Doxycycline they give you, there are still chances that some sections of your body will end up with no particles down a given route.

Then there’s the issue that some bacteria can manage to evade antibiotics by ‘hiding’ / disguising themselves so the antibiotic can’t see it. And then other bacteria have evolved to be resistant to antibiotics.

So do not necessarily think that once you get antibiotics – even for the recommended 20 days – that you are 100% absolutely guaranteed to be wholly free of the Lyme borreliosis bacteria. Always watch for symptoms.

Once Bitten by a Lyme Tick, Are You Immune to Lyme Going Forward?

Your white blood cells are helping out as best they can. So in addition to the antibiotics you will ALSO have your white blood cells building their knowledge to Lyme borreliosis. White blood cells have a memory system where they remember things they have fought off before. That’s how humans can build immunity to some illnesses.

A challenge with Lyme is that it’s not just one bacteria. There’s at least 18 different syb-types of Lyme. So while you might now become immune to type #1, that still leaves you vulnerable to types #2 to #18.

How Do You Know if you Have Lyme?

There’s no easy way to test for the presence of Lyme borreliosis bacteria inside you. Instead, what doctors test for is the ability of your white blood cells to know about Lyme. Your white blood cells don’t instantly build up this knowledge. It takes about six weeks before your body fully builds its knowledge about a new invader. So you would have to wait six weeks before doing a blood test to determine if your body has interacted with Lyme in the past.

Note that the test will have no idea WHEN you encountered Lyme borreliosis. It might have been ten years ago. But the test will be able to tell you that your white blood cells are sensitive to at least one of the Lyme varieties.

It could be that this invasion of Lyme was caught very early and every single bacteria was wiped out. It could also be that a few copies of Lyme bacteria managed to stay in your body and cause issues. The blood test can’t tell that. It only knows that at one point in time there was indeed Lyme borreliosis inside you.

If Lyme Gets Into You – Do Antibiotics “Cure” You?

So with everything we’ve covered, the question comes again: If a Lyme-positive tick bites you, and the Lyme borreliosis bacteria then get into your body, do antibiotics wholly keep you from “getting Lyme”?

Technically, the moment those bacteria are in you, you have Lyme in you. The question is how it impacts your body.

If you are able to wholly stamp it out quickly through a combination of white blood cells and antibiotics / Doxycycline, then the damage done to your body could be minimal. Your experience with Lyme could be short and uneventful.

If instead some Lyme borreliosis are able to survive for whatever reason, and nestle into somewhere vulnerable, then you could still have symptoms even years later.

That’s why it’s always good to know your Lyme exposure status – and to track all symptoms. It will help you be a good caretaker of your body. After all, we only get this one body to last our entire life.

Watercolor Girl in Moon - Support Ukraine

What Do Constellations Look Like from Other Planets?

What do constellations look like from other planets? That’s an intriguing question that has inspired many sky-watchers.

We have two probes – Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 – which are past the furthest planets.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/18/world/nasa-voyager-1-issue-scn/index.html

Neptune is 2.9 billion miles away. The probe is 12.1 billion miles away – so much, much further. Even so, signals **only** take 20 hours to go from us to them. In general, an observer needs to be several **light years** away to see some interesting constellation changes.

Our amazingly long distance probes aren’t even a single “light day” away from us. Never mind a light month or a light year. So the constellations look nearly identical even that far away.

Constellations look the same from other planets in our solar system –

https://usm.maine.edu/planet/do-constellations-look-same-other-planets

So how far away do you need to go before the constellations start to look different?

You can easily “travel” much further with Celestia and see what the sky would look like from many other places in our universe –

https://celestia.space/

You would have to go REALLY far away from Earth before the sky began to change.

Rome Airport Sculpture

Oceania Riviera Cruise Day 16 – Flying Home

It was the last day of our trip. Day 16. Tuesday, April 19th, 2022. Today was the day of our flights home.

My mother, my sister, and I all had valid plane tickets. We all had negative COVID tests in hand.

Mom and Jenn were flying Delta from Fiumicino (Rome) Italy direct to Atlanta, to connect there, departing at 1:15pm. I was flying Lufthansa from Fiumicino to Munich at 12:55pm. We were leaving out of the same airport, nearly at the same time, but from different terminals.

We spent the morning cleaning the apartment, finishing the packing, and so on. I took the trash and recyclables to the bins on the street.

Soon enough the van was at the door. We locked up the apartment and brought down our luggage. We tucked ourselves in to the van. We always masked up in every cab throughout this trip, if I hadn’t mentioned that. He drove us over to the airport.

I was dropped off first. I said my goodbyes to Mom and Jenn. Now I was on my own! I felt my “aloneness” very strongly. I imagine part of it was being surrounded by Italian-speaking people and Italian-language signs.

I found my way in to the Lufthansa check-in spot. There were only a few people in line. The clerk spoke English. My main luggage bag checked in without a problem. I was wearing a cloth mask. She pointed at my mask and said I needed to wear an official N95 one on the flight. I had some in my carry-on and said OK. She pointed me off toward the gate.

There was a long security line, so I snaked my way through that. People were not social distancing, but everyone had a mask of some type on. Many were NOT N95 masks – many were blue surgical style masks.

I went through the xray machine.

Next, there was a small shopping area, and then the room opened up into a big waiting area. There were banks of monitors with flight details. My flight was on the fifth screen, in time order, and an actual gate hadn’t been assigned yet.

I found a seat with nobody around it and waited. It had a Euro-style plug outlet and a USB outlet right by the chair.

Time passed slowly but surely. I texted Jenn to keep track of how she and Mom were doing. There was a public use piano near me that would randomly be played by people – sometimes well, sometimes not-so-well.

Jenn texted me that she and Mom had a bit of an adventure. They were sitting in a row of seats with two empty ones alongside Jenn. The seat immediately next to Jenn had a sign on it in essence saying “do not sit here / do not move this sign” – i.e. for COVID reasons. The airport was trying to maintain social distancing.

A woman and man came over and eyed the seats. The woman plunked down in the two-away seat and indicated the man should sit next to her, i.e. next to Jenn, in the “do not sit here” seat. He pointed at the sign. The woman grabbed the sign and tossed it onto a ledge.

Jenn looked at the man. The man asked Jenn if Jenn minded if he sat next to her. Keep in mind that Jenn is PROBABLY COVID POSITIVE. Jenn showed great restraint and simply said to him “the signs are there for a reason”. The woman grumpily stood up and muttered “Unfriendly people!” Mom snapped back, “not getting SICK people!”

I bet that woman would have sung a different tune if she’d gotten COVID and ended up in the hospital …

My own experience was quiet. Nobody came anywhere near me. Another twenty minutes passed. Eventually the monitor assigned a gate for my flight. I headed down the hallway.

It turns out the gate area was quite a ways away from this initial ‘holding area’ and that there were lots of shops / restaurants / etc. in the gate area. I could have come to this deeper area and waited in more comfort. That’s all right.

There were very strange sculptures along the way … just what is this?

There were more public pianos and things like public foozball tables …

Eventually I got to my gate area. It was a hole-in-the-wall corner gate area with only about half as many seats as they needed. Lots of people were standing, jammed together. It’s just as well I only got here near the loading time. The people getting off the previous flight had to wiggle their way through us.

Finally the crew started loading us by group number. Occasionally they’d point at someone’s mask, say it wasn’t a N95, and tell them to go to the local shops and buy themselves a proper mask. You’d think after the first person or two was sent away that the rest of the passengers would check their masks. But no, even deeper into loading, passengers were still being sent off to buy a new one.

I was probably in the last group to load. I was very happy to have a paper boarding pass from the Lufthansa desk person. Paper boarding passes make me happy. I just don’t trust an electronic one. What if your phone dies?? I know, I’m a dinosaur.

On board, we all had N95 masks on and wore them the entire flight. This was a short hop just from Rome to Munich. I texted Jenn until they had us switch our phones to airplane mode. We were barely in the air (reasonably speaking, 1:15 flight time) before it seemed as if we were coming down again.

The connection time between this plane landing and the next plane taking off was fairly tight – and the gates were seemingly at the opposite ends of a large terminal. So the moment we were able to leave our seats, I grabbed my carry-on and started a fast walk.

It turns out even though we were staying within the EU, from Italy to Germany, that Germany still wanted us to go through a customs-type check. They had two main lines – one for EU people and one for the rest of the world. A US couple stood at the junction point staring baffled at the options, wholly unsure of what to do. I had to explain to them what the EU line was about.

Apparently many people around me also had very tight connections because there was a lot of grumbling around me in line about why this was happening. Fortunately, the customs people seemed to understand this. They were very quick and efficient in getting us through. Then we were off at our fast walk again.

But wait, up ahead there was yet another bank of security people. This one was split into lanes by flight. There was a particular lane for my Munich-to-Boston flight.

A middle-aged woman from behind us went barging up through our Munich-to-Boston line, going past everyone else on our flight, panicked that she’d miss her flight (i.e. the flight all the rest of us were on). We let her past. The security person wearily told her to take a deep breath, that she wasn’t going to miss her flight. The woman got processed through. Then the rest of us in line got processed.

I continued my fast walk to get to the actual gate. When I got there, it was empty of passengers. I guess our straggling group from Rome was the last set of passengers due on board. The crewperson quickly processed me. With great relief, I stepped onto the plane. I was in the near-very-back of my section, on the right-side aisle (window seat) with a young man also in my row. The crew closed the doors very soon after that. An attendant told the young man that the row behind us was wholly empty, and he moved back a row. I dramatically said goodbye to him :). He responded in kind. Both of us had an empty row for ourselves for the long flight which, all things considered, was of course a good thing.

I could at last settle in. This was the last leg, quite a long flight. I had a solo row. Maybe I could even sleep.

It turns out the man who had been in my row was a vegan. Because I was now the only person in “his” row, and he no longer was, I kept getting vegan meals. That was quite fine. They were tasty. Vegan lasagna, vegan salad, etc. He got vegan food, too, so I wasn’t “stealing” his food.

It turns out I wasn’t sleepy – maybe too much adrenaline – so I ended up watching Gladiator :). The Roman Colosseum and so on. And then the Russell Crowe Robin Hood, to keep the theme going.

The woman in the row in front of me kept trying to leave her mask off after eating (i.e. while watching a movie), and the airline attendant would come by and gently remind her to put her mask back on. I’ll note that in the US on this very day, Tuesday, a ruling decided that US flights no longer required masks. Apparently on my mom and sister’s Delta flight the passengers were happily taking off their masks and deeply breathing in the communal air.

Lufthansa was having none of that.

Finally we landed in Boston. I was in no rush on this end so I let other people race and scramble to get off the plane in case they had connecting flights. Then I got off. The security line was fairly quick, to process us. And then it was down to the luggage area to get my bag.

There was no set customs process. Random people would be chosen out of the stream to go to a side area and talk about their baggage. I saw an officer stop a young man with a duffel bag. I walked right through without anyone stopping me. Then it was out to the pick-up area, where I was picked up by Bob. And then in the blink of an eye we were home! Home home home! :).

I tested myself for COVID with my home kit. It came out negative. I tested myself three days later, just in case I picked COVID up somewhere along the travel path. I was still negative. I had no symptoms of anything. So I was 100% clear from start to finish. I’m very grateful for that.

My mom wasn’t feeling well the next day, and she then gave her cold to Len, but thankfully they both tested negative for COVID. It seems she got some sort of a generic illness from someone in her travels, but it wasn’t COVID. I call that a win. They healed up soon.

Jenn, of course, tested STRONGLY POSITIVE for COVID once she got home. Not even mildly positive. A bright strong line showed up instantly. So it really seems as if she was positive when she was evicted by the Golden Tulip on Saturday and she was positive when she got her ‘cleared for flying’ test Monday at the Golden Tulip.

Jenn self-quarantined at home, and after a few days the COVID test was only weakly positive, and then a few days later, negative. She made it through the end of her illness in comfort.

I’m amazed I never got COVID throughout the days of Jenn and me sharing a room both on the Oceania Riviera as well as in the Rome apartment. Our twin beds were right next to each other, and we shared a bathroom. We were only apart the one night she was at the Golden Tulip.

All in all, the Spain-Italy cruise and vacation was a lot of fun. I loved seeing the architecture at the Alhambra, the volcanic landscape on Lanzarote, the raptors, the churches of Rome, the opera dinner, and much more.

The Oceania Riviera definitely had “COVID issues” in a number of areas. They had new staff who didn’t quite know what they were doing. Our cabin person had to be gently reminded to bring us the breakfast form, when to do room maintenance, and so on. Oceania had in place poor procedures for handling health situations, for example how food delivery should be handled to a COVID-positive room.

There were a number of passengers who were quite cavalier about safety protocols, which undoubtedly led to COVID spreading easily amongst people. That is hard for the staff to deal with. At the same time, Oceania’s crew actively didn’t tell passengers that COVID was loose on the ship. People might have paid a bit more attention to their actions if they didn’t feel completely safe in a “COVID-free bubble”.

It will be interesting to see how travel changes in the coming months, as COVID continues to mutate and become even easier to catch – but hopefully at the same time becomes less dangerous to its victims. I think one of the key lessons in here is to absolutely have travel insurance, because you never know which day might bring an abrupt change to your plans.

In any case – spending two full weeks of fascinating travel with my mom and sister – priceless!!

Ask with any questions!