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GOP Moves to Defund Planned Parenthood: Hello Unplanned Parenthood

If the GOP favors defunding Planned Parenthood, does that mean that really, they will fund “Un-Planned Parenthood”?  I would think it does.  If you disfavor Planned Parenthood, that would indicate that you favor what Planned Parenthood is not, which would be, Unplanned Parenthood.  And what a great idea!  The foreskin, I mean foresight (ha! ha!) of the “Trump-eters” of social progress strikes again!

Think about it. With funding of Unplanned Parenthood, we can take a swipe at cutting off the hand that is reaching out for yet another government handout.  Since Planned Parenthood serves, in many instances, low-income patients for reproductive health and things like cancer screenings and sexually transmitted diseases screenings and treatment, it keeps those poor people from being so greedy!  I’m sorry folks, but you have to have a billion dollars to have the right to be greedy.

My goodness, what do they want, these poor people—affordable health care? Come on.  Way to go Paul Ryan.  Way to sock it to the low-income folks.  Their greed is nauseating as is their reliance on such wasteful organizations like Planned Parenthood that exist only to help those who may not be able to afford a normal, privatized, well-funded clinic in the suburbs.

To fund Unplanned Parenthood also helps to reverse this whole trend toward handing out contraceptives free to people.  Two things here:

One, to be given contraceptives, like rubbers (I’ve seen them, they even have them in multi-colors down there—what is it, a sex shop?) for free is un-American.  We don’t do free here in America.  If we are going to stay a free country we are not about to actually give things away for free.  You are not free if you get things for free.  It is very important that the poor people understand this.  If you want to be free in this country you have to buy it like everyone else.

Two, to give out free contraception and free advice about sex does exactly the opposite of what Planned Parenthood brags that it does: it promotes unplanned babies because it is like saying, here’s a rubber (a purple one even), now go out and have some sex. This is why Paul Ryan is so smart.  He sees right through the deception of Planned Parenthood and sees it for what it really is: a nest of nasty feminists who want to fertilize the young people so that they breed more feminists.

And let’s not tip-toe around the abortion issue.  If an abortion is going to happen, I don’t want to hear about it; I don’t want to know about it.  Funding for Un-planned parenthood would certainly put abortion back where it is supposed to be: out of sight and out of mind.  I mean, if you have money, you’d always be able to get one done discretely anyway.  If you’re poor, you shouldn’t be planning on being a parent anyway.

What we want to promote at Unplanned Parenthood is that unwanted people in the country shouldn’t be planning on having children at all.  All that Planned Parenthood does is give low income people the impression that they too have the right for low-cost health care, which is ridiculous because if you make health care affordable for low-income people then all those incredibly great insurance companies won’t make half as much money and they will have to lay off a bunch of workers.  Thank God someone like Trump will be able to save 150 or so insurance company jobs by persuading one of them, like the Ford or Carrier Insurance Company, not to send their insurance agents to Mexico.

And lastly, let us fund Unplanned Parenthood, because, really, Planned Parenthood just takes all the fun out of having babies in the first place. And besides, planning families is something God should do, not the US government. I hate it when government is responsible. That’s not its place, for crying out loud.

So thank you Paul Ryan and other GOP members for being so fore-skinned, I mean, foresighted (ha! ha! again) for defunding Planned Parenthood.  It’s got to go.  I mean, what do you do if you have a hornet’s nest? You spray it with insecticide.  Defunding Planned Parenthood is like applying insecticide to that nest of nasty feminist women and all those crazy doctors and nurses who believe in something as Canadian as socialized medicine.  That is so not the American way.

In conclusion, so as not to be un-American, let’s fund “Un-Planned Parenthood” to add one more way to make America great again, back to a time when a man was a man and a woman was a woman, marriage was between the two of them, and “planned parenthood” meant, “Another martini, my darling?”  Thank you.

Studio Lounge Reading Flyer: Great reads, great cocktails and music afterwards

Our press flyer for the Studio Lounge reading with myself (Tom), Doug Rose, Robert Vaughan, and Ken Walker.


Studio Lounge Reading with Local Milwaukee Writers

Very excited to be part of the foursome (Doug Rose, Robert Vaughan, Ken Walker, and myself, Tom Biel) reading group who will read at the Studio Lounge in Bay View in Milwaukee, on Wednesday, September 24th.  The FB invite is linked below. Hope you can join us.  It will be fun.  We’ll be quick, but entertaining.  Following the reading, Studio Lounge hosts a musical open mic.  Great cocktails too.  Yes, it’s a Wednesday night and we have to work the next day–but hey, we won’t keep you out late, and if by chance you don’t work, I promise a nice, relaxing evening with some good words.  Hope we will see you there.

US Review of Books Gives Badlands a Recommended Rating

“Some writers have mastered the art of spinning fantastic tales, trotting out lies of mystery, romance, and high adventure that while barely believable still manage to entertain us. Others choose to cut closer to the bone of truth, making us turn to the author’s blurb at the back of the book to see whether or not what we are reading is fiction or fact. Biel falls into this latter camp with his debut collection of linked stories . . .”  Read more

Upon being placed on the “short list” for the Eric Hoffer Book Award Grand Prize last spring, US Review of Books automatically writes a kind of pre-review of the book.  Thereafter, the book is sent to a reviewer and the official review is published, which you can read by clicking on that link.

Badlands received a “Recommended” status, which according to US Review, goes to about 10% of books reviewed by them, whether self, independent, or major publisher.  

Please feel free to share this link any way you can.  Also, go to Badlands FB page and give it a Like!

Book Recommedation: Larry Watson’s Let Him Go

images.mobilism.orgLet Him Go, Larry Watson’s latest novel, packs a punch.  I highly recommend reading this novel, or any of Larry Watson’s novels, including Montana 1948 and American Boy, but this one is a great, tense, entertaining read. It is, as they say, a slow burn.  But burn it does.

For you Milwaukee folks, Larry is one of our own.  He is a professor of creative writing at Marquette University.  I was drawn to him as an author primarily due to Montana 1948 which is set in north eastern Montana, and since I’m a native Montanan, the connection is simple.

Here’s an interesting coincidence:  My book Badlands and Larry Watson’s Let Him Go, both published in the same year, are set in the same town in eastern Montana, though the town is fictionalized differently.  In reality, the actual geographic setting of both novels is Glendive, Montana.

In  Badlands, Glendive is hardly disguised as a town called Riverside.  In Let Him Go Glendive is renamed Gladstone.  While in Badlands the setting is a realistic image of Glendive in the late 1960s and early ’70s, in Let Him Go Gladstone is a much more fictionalized  Glendive set in the early 1950s, but it is unmistakenly Glendive because the town is located between Wibaux and Miles City, Montana.

I wonder if Glendivians know this–not that Glendive is situated between Wibaux and Miles City–but that its city is the setting of two recent works of fiction.  I would highly recommend Larry Watson’s novel, and while you’re at it, mine too!  Thanks.

Got Travel Plans? Head to the Badlands

Thinking of where to go on vacation?  The badlands of the western plains would be an awesome adventure.  What might seem like a bunch of dry hills are really rich with beauty and incredible geology and paleontology.  Do not underestimate the land of dinosaurs.



Badlands Reviewed in Montana’s State of the Arts

Montana native Thomas Biel’s collection of short stories, all set in the fictional town of Riverside, are infused with the urgency and unpredictability of adolescence. Matthew, the teenage narrator and son of a Presbyterian minister struggling with his faith, recounts coming of age in a town “that sits on the edge of the vast apron of badlands,” where he discovers that life “is lived between the smooth bones of death.”  From Montana Arts Council’s State of the Arts Newspaper, July-August

Montana has a long and proud literature and arts tradition.  The state has prided itself for its abundance of writers, which appears to be ever growing and expanding if one looks at the Montana’s State of the Arts Newspaper and its “About Books” page.

I am pleased to present this review included in this bi-monthly edition of State of the Arts.  Even though I am becoming a Wisconsinite, I will always first identify with Montana, my birth state and the place that imprinted upon me more than any other place in which I’ve landed over my lifetime.

Follow the link to read the review.  You will notice if you peruse the other reviews that Kristi Niemeyer and Judy Schafter write all the reviews.  Wow!  My hats off and sincere appreciation for their work and dedication to giving coverage and critiques to all of these writers and their books.

Here’s the link to the page in the July-August edition of Montana State of the Arts Newspaper:

A review! A review! (Is a review if it’s a good review)

Mark Twain?  I am not going to argue with the overreach here, but really? I’ll take it.  I think I’ll go build a raft and float down the Milwaukee River.

This is a review from US Review of Books that came by grace of the Eric Hoffer Book Awards.  Please feel free to share this, liberally.

Badlands, Thomas Biel, Three Towers Press – The author is a master storyteller in the tradition of Mark Twain and Garrison Keillor, creating characters that readers care about through the unexpected twists and turns of events. His stories stretch playfully like a rubber band, then unexpectedly snap with new understanding, emotion or consequences. Narrator Matthew Davis relates boyhood hijinks with his best friend, Idaho Wells in a small town near the Montana Badlands. Beneath the situational humor, there’s truth—sometimes painful, sometimes awkward or uncomfortable, but always reaching into the guts of humanity. Davis’ father is a Presbyterian minister who’s lost his faith; his brother is a draft dodger; another friend, “Mona Lisa,” is suspected of being gay, but his reality is a bigger secret. Each chapter stands alone, but are also part of the larger fabric of the book. The book is funny, dramatic, tender, and sad, with characters so real you forget that they are fictional.

To view the review page, link:


Not a Glitch in Our Stars

Outside the BEA with free pizza.  Looks like I ate the whole pizza!

Outside the BEA with free pizza. Looks like I ate the whole pizza!

Yesterday while perusing the Journal Sentinel I found an article on John Green, author of the phenomenally popular YA novel The Fault in Our Stars, that included a description of the reception he received at the Book Expo America (BEA) in New York City last week.

Evidently, when Green showed up for his autograph slot, he was greeted by hundreds of screaming fans, as delirious for his attention and giddy with excitement as they would be for One Dimension or Beyonce.

Well, I was at the BEA last week too. And we had some similar authorial experiences, John Green and I.  I too had screaming fans, well, I had one screaming fan. That was my wife. And she was screaming all right. “Wipe that pizza sauce off your face, now!  My god!  You can’t go in there looking like that!”  Having a fan so concerned is unique and very endearing, not to mention motivating.

The thing with being an author of an immensely popular book is that this clamoring for your attention by fans doesn’t stop.  My fan for example was screaming at me the night before too!  This time we were heading out to a couple Indie book awards banquets in NYC.  She was screaming for my attention: “Are you really wearing that shirt! That’s it?  You didn’t bring a tie!”  Now how many authors get that kind of fan support?

The attention is almost overwhelming.  Fans of John Green probably want to touch him too, maybe even get a lock of his hair or something.  I totally empathize.  My fan can’t get a lock of my hair because I don’t have any, but she did scream out in delirium (or horror, I’m not sure which), “My god!  I could braid those eyebrows! You want me to braid those eyebrows?  Jesus, Mr. Author, look at your ears!  Are those spider webs in there!”

It is really wonderful to be so close to your fans.  I’m sure that not one of John’s fans felt so at ease with him that he or she could suggest that he trim his ear and nose hair.

You see, guys like John Green don’t get all the attention.  Oh yeah, sure, he had a time slotted at the BEA for autographing and a stage all to himself.  Okay. That’s just slightly more than I had.  I only paid to get in the door, went in as an Educator (because it was cheaper than to go in as an author, plus, I am one when not being besieged with attention from my fan), and went around to all the industry booths telling people I was on break from my own booth and in the meantime, I have a book I’m promoting. Now, that is some industry recognition.

As for the books themselves, sure John Green’s is moving and touching and heart wrenching and being made into what will undoubtedly be a blockbuster movie, but my book, Badlands, which also has been hailed as a Young Adult phenom (runner up for Young Adult literature in the Midwest Independent Publisher Book Awards) has all kinds of wholesome drug use and mild swearing of all types. And it also has some great lines about stars.

So there you have it.  Two fine books.  One which received incredible attention and has become an industry in itself, called The Fault in our Stars, and the other, Badlands, with the undying support of the best fan, who will keep the author’s eyebrow and ear hair under control—and the pizza sauce off his face!




Good News for Bad Lands

Well, there’s good news here and not-so-good-news, but that not-so-good-news-ain’t half bad news.

Good news first:  Badlands has been named a finalist for two categories in the Midwest Publishers Book Awards: for Short Story/Anthology and for Young Adult Fiction.  The finalist lists are short lists of just three books, so regardless of any further recognition, to make those short lists is something I feel good about.  The link to that website is here:

Another Milwaukee writer also published by Three Towers Press (HenschelHausBooks) Doug Rose is also a finalist for his novel Bolt which is nominated for literary fiction. So, congratulations to Doug and check out his book (at Amazon).  It’s a great read, different, and compelling.  We will wait until May 14 for the Awards announcements.

The Not-so-good-news-that-ain’t-really-bad-news:  Last week or so we found out that Badlands is a finalist for the Eric Hoffer First Horizon Book Award [] and was included  on the first finalist list for the overall Eric Hoffer Book Award.  I know that Lena posted something on FB about it, and I put it on the Badlands FB page.  The First Horizon winners have been posted and unfortunately, Badlands did not win that award, but again, the good news here is that it made the finalist list,  a distinction of its own.