Legal Meets Practical: Accessible Solutions

I’d Rather Discuss Monsters

To be perfectly honest, my blog posts depress even me. Over the last few months, there’s been almost nothing positive to cover. It’s all VA scandal this, and VA fraud that.

Accordingly, to set a more positive tone, I’m using this blog in part to make an announcement: my debut middle grade novel, Monsterville: A Lissa Black Production, will hit shelves in September of 2016. It’s Goonies meets Jumanji with monsters, and it was great fun to write.

The point of this announcement is this: even though right now, most news is negative, it’s important to not let that turn toxic. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does do good things sometimes, but if we focus only on the bad and stew about it, no good can come from it. That’s why I try to only focus on constructive “negative” news. It’s also why having a creative outlet helps. If you’re a veterans advocate or veteran, don’t let the bad news bog you down.

As I do still want to cover news items relating to the VA, here is a quick snapshot of items in the news this last week:

  • The VA disciplined two judges and proposed action against three staff attorneys at the VA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals (which hears many appeals of disability compensation claims decisions) after an internal investigation revealed email exchanges that allegedly carried discriminatory remarks (“racist and sexist in tone”). Learn more here.
  • An internal watchdog for the VA found patients faced delays accessing care at a suburban Chicago veterans’ hospital, but its report uncovered no evidence supporting a whistleblower’s claim of a scheme to hide the long wait times. Learn more here.
  • VA officials are standing by the removal of Albany medical center director Linda Weiss despite an oversight board’s 30-page ruling that terminating her was too severe a punishment. As stated by VA Deputy Director, Sloan Gibson: “In my judgment, a medical center director who fails to proactively address patient safety concerns or fails to be an advocate for vulnerable veteran patients has no place in the VA.” Learn more here.

As for the book, if you want to check it out, it’s on Goodreads. It’s also quasi-educational, as it teaches kids film terms and includes a film glossary. The official site for the book is, a work in progress where you can take one of many film-related quizzes.

There you have it, folks. Next week, my mission is to find something positive and substantive to blog about! And stay tuned for my quarterly newsletter, which will be coming your way to commemorate spring. Here’s to hoping for a changing season for the VA, as well.

*Did you find this article informative? If so, sign up for Sarah Schauerte’s weekly blog on veterans issues at:

Monsterville: A Lissa Black Production

Monsterville: A Lissa Black Production

One Response to “I’d Rather Discuss Monsters”

  1. Can’t wait to buy your book!!!! 🙂

    Good job focusing on the good as well, there needs to be some of that too!! 🙂

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