Summer days are quickly slipping by me. I sit and write, and write, and write, and I see no end in sight. I believe this is how every writer feels at some moment. The story line is slippery. The loose ends are mocking me to try to do something that will make sense. My characters seem to be perpetually in a foul mood. My computer thinks it’s funny to reboot when I am on a writing frenzy.

To make things a bit more difficult for me, I decided to take the semester off from teaching. There are many reasons I choose to do this. But the number one priority was in finishing book five by the end of the year. I want to concentrate and it is difficult to do this when teaching fulltime. I am writing now, writing nonstop as I pick up side jobs. Freelance writing has its perks. I am able to write in my pajama’s, drink pot after pot of coffee and never have to wait to use the restroom. The downside of this is ... I am constantly writing.

What can I say? I am never happy.

One of the best stress releasers for me is chatting. I love chatting with new, interesting people. They keep my imagination flowing with new ideas. They make me smile despite my foul mood (this is for you HB). They make me think about my story, how it should flow. And the best part is when they ask questions that I never thought of (Thanks Lynn, absolute lifesaver). Yup, chatting away as I write, drink coffee, and smoke a pack a day is how my life is currently flowing. If you would like to help me out, feel free to hit me up on Twitter and/or Facebook. I always welcome the next riveting distraction in my so called life.

 
 
I put a lot of time in choosing my character names. A name says something about the person. At times, it denotes personality traits without it having to be explicitly stated. Many people take months to choose their child’s name for the same reasons. A parent wishes for nothing but the best for their child and it all starts with their name.

Jaleesa Martin was in a Tennessee court concerning her chil’d surname. It seems the parents couldn’t agree on it. Well, Judge Lu Ann Ballew decided for them in a most unsusal way. After eharing that the little bundle of joy was named Messiah DeShawn Martin, she went ahead and changed it to Martin DeShawn McCullough. Why? According to Judge Ballew, “The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ.”

Let’s take a moment to reflect. Messiah, first of all, is a noun. Its roots are Aramaic and Hebrew. Literally translated, it means the anointed one or anointed. When the word was first used, it was applied to kings who were thought to be divinely appointed (think King David and Alexander the Great). The most famous ‘messiah’ was, of course, Jesus of Nazareth, the leader of a Jewish sect who was crucified for his belief’s.

I, personally, wouldn’t name my child Messiah. That being said, as an American, I would never think a person couldn’t name their child Messiah. What is wrong with the name? Why would this judge impose her religious beliefs on this family? And the most troubling aspect of this incident, in my mind, is the fact that this was court ordered, by a judge appointed to uphold the law, not deliver her religious beliefs.

The mother has appealed the verdict, and will appear before the Cocke Country chancellor on September 17th. I, for one, am supporting the mother. I strongly believe that she will win, after all, this is America. 

 “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech.”

Bill of Rights, 1st amendment

 
 
I do a lot of reading and research throughout my day. I surf the web, double check facts, keep up with world events, and loose countless hours on YouTube (that place is like crack). Today, I came upon an article and I absolutely had to share.

Fiction is often a reflection of reality in different tones and shades. My novels are based in a fantasy world which closely resembles our current society (barring the elves and stuff) Why did I do this? Well, I find it absurd how American society has progressed over the last few generations. Historically, America is a capitalist society. Nothing matters more than the mighty dollar in many people’s eyes. No longer are students driven to excel academically, dreaming of becoming a doctor or lawyer or the President of the free world. No, what matters now is becoming a football player earning millions of dollars or a reality show sensation.

Who needs to learn how to add long columns of numbers or read pages of flowery prose or write in complete sentences with ( brace yourself) punctuation?

Our young generation is dazzled by the life of the rich and famous. And the rich and famous do their best to entertain them, not necessarily bestowing words of wisdom to the impressionable, ADD generation. It’s common knowledge that Kim Kardashian and her new victim, erm ... I mean husband, recently named their precious (and money generating) bundle of joy a point on a compass. Poor Justin Beiber is going through a rough patch (his poor monkey) of adolescence. I wish I could emphasize more with the teenagers’ angst, in his private jet seems like a perfect setting. Taylor Swift and her never-ending, song inspiring, heartache. Aaron Hernandez (boy, did he keep it real dumb) and his bevy of legal woes. Chris Brown and Rihanna’s on-again, off-again, toxic relationship.

The point is that it matters not what these ‘celebrities’ do, what matters in the long run is how much they are worth. What cars do they drive? What name brand clothes do they wear? How many pairs of shoes do they have? How many houses do they own? What do they eat? What phone do they use? In sum, they are a selling an image that you are what you own.

A posh establishment by the name of Ray’s and Stark Bar , located in trend setting LA, is offering a ‘tasting water menu’. The innovative entrepreneurs have collected water from ten different countries, bottled the liquid according to their strict purity guidelines, and are now selling the beverage that reflects the excellence of their product. I perused the menu while drinking a cup of Joe, giggling uncontrollably at some points.

First off, the water is rated on two different scales, gauging its taste (sweet to salty) and its texture (smooth to complex). They also disclose the amount of sodium, magnesium, and calcium in each drink. This, apparently, is extremely important information. The most aesthetic pleasing to me was Voss from Norway. At $10 per 0.8 of a liter, I could see myself using the container as a vase. It’s cute.

America is represented with a chic beverage named Beverly Hills 90H2O. This brand goes as far as producing limited edition bottles (10,000 per batch) with unique numbers on their diamond-like glass bottles. The cost of being chic: $16 per liter.

By far the most expensive beverage on the menu comes from our Canadian friends. Berg is ultra smooth and sweet with little or no trace of minerals. Virtually untouched by man (machines must harvest the pieces of icebergs floating off the coast of Greenland, melt the chunks under strict purity laws, and bottle the results into the cute frosted bottles) The price tag of $20 per 0.75 liters seems reasonable.

Maybe it’s me, I don’t know, but I find this kind of merchandise... ridiculous. It’s water. I swear, its only water. In a world where so many of our brothers and sisters have to travel long distances( by foot, carrying a bucket full of hope in most cases) in order to find a source of clean drinking water, some people with too much money and not much sense feel a need to pay exorbitant prices for a basic, human , necessity. Water.

If I’m paying $20 for a liter of clear liquid, I expect the label to read Absolut. But hey, that’s just me.

For more information on Ray’s and Stark Bar, click HERE.

For the Tasting Water Menu, click HERE


 
 
As a teacher, I cherish summer days. This is the time of year I get most of my writing done. My 9 - 5 criteria switches from teaching, lesson plans and paperwork to brainstorming, writing and editing. It’s a welcomed change for the first few weeks, the ability to simply create with nothing more on the mind.

This summer, I took a trip to the UK. What a welcomed distraction. Apart from the fact that I have some close friends on the other side of the pond, I enjoyed touring various locations. The change of scenery, accents, food, and culture gave me some wonderful ideas for my own works. I love touring ancient structures and it’s not something we have a lot of here in good old USA. The quaint churches surrounded by cemeteries were cute. Though, living in Orleans, cemeteries aren’t all that inspiring.

So I’m back in the states, writing, ticking down the days until the start of the 2013-2014 school year. Writing is going slow, as always, but I am enjoying myself. I am enjoying writing the end of the Beth’s story and penning down notes for other tales to tell from the Realm. With any luck, I just might make my deadline.


 
 
Sooam Biotech Research Foundation has been performing special services for those of us who have more money than brains for the last seven years. The South Korean research facility specializes in cloning beloved pooches of heart broken families.

Typically, I would scoff and walk away from this kind of news, wondering who in their right mind would want to clone Fido for about $100,000. I love my various furry companions, but not enough to give that kind of cash away. Grieving is good, in my book. the circle of life and all that.

Sooam Biotech is currently holding their first ever Dog Cloning Competition for UK residents in an attempt to widen their market. Apparently, their biggest market share is the US, go figure. They know not everyone has the kind of capital required to bring Fido back to life, so for the competition, they are ready to give a 10% discount to the winner, which translates to about £20K.

Applicant will need to submit an essay of no more than 500 words along with pictures, audio, artwork and/or video. The video is interesting, for once they cull the stack of applications, they shall upload the videos on their YouTube channel, DogCloningUK, for the world to see. I must say, I am looking forward to viewing the entries.

I don’t understand the draw and would never do it myself, no matter the price tag, but hey, to each his own.


Interested in applying? -- Go HERE


For more information on Sooam Biotech -- Go HERE

 
 
With the rise in popularity of the eReader and mobile apps, readers have an unheard of amount of works available to them across multiple platforms. New authors arrive daily, offering their blood, sweat, and tears to an increasingly discerning audience.

I’m a reader myself, and I have to pare down what I am willing to read with the precious free time I have. This is where labels and genres come in. I am as eclectic in my reading as I am in my music, but most often, I have an inkling of what I want to read.

New Adult encompasses the years after high school. Despite what teenagers think, you do not become an adult at the magical age of 18. The only thing that happens is that in the eyes of the law, you shall be treated as an adult. The characters are usually aged between 19 - 26 years old. They are often newly independent and furthering their self-discovery by questionable means. Navigating those first years of adulthood is just as interesting as surviving the teenage years.

Did we need a specific category for these stories? Likely not, but genres and labels make taking a chance on an unknown book and author a little easier. If I want to read about a twenty-something year old who moved across the country to start a new job, well by golly, I know exactly where to start.

For a list of New Adult books, click HERE.

 

Tragedy

04/19/2013

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I tuned into the news station after reading a tweet, of all things, about the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Until that moment, I had no idea what was going on for I do not watch TV, as a rule. TV, for the most part, bores me to tears. But the bombing, the lack of any motivate that I could piece together, has kept the news station streaming softly in the background as I worked through the week.

This is how I found out about the explosion in the small town of West, Texas. Amidst the constant news about everything and anything related to Boston, a short clip was shown about the industrial accident which occurred Wednesday night. 



As of today, the death toll in Texas has risen to 14 with numerous people remaining in the hospital under critical or intensive care. All told, over 200 people were injured in the blast. The small town of 2,700 lost three fire trucks and an ambulance, 50 homes were destroyed, and a 50-unit apartment building was leveled.

The Texas story has taken a back seat to the massive, on air, manhunt for the Boston bomber. Likely because of all the media associated with Boston. There are videos, dozens of them, showing the explosions. There are  photos and personal testimonies and interviews and audio files ... just tons of things to sift through.


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While there is a social media whirlwind surrounding the Boston incident, Texas is left relatively alone to pick up the pieces. The Texas explosion happened at night, in a small town just outside of Waco. ( remember Waco? ) It will be a rather long time before blame is cast on anyone or anything in the Texas explosions because it is not as clear-cut as the Boston incident. But, I have faith, that justice will be served in Texas just as it is served in Boston.





Texas Explosion: Too close for Comfort

 
 
I love technology. Without technology, I would be unable to do a quarter of the things I do in the same amount of time. Today’s technology is what science fiction novels of yore prophesied  Smart phones, video calls, interactive TV’s, GPS, electronic books, digital media streamed into one’s brain at dizzying speeds.

I have been following the production of some of Google’s technological endeavors in awe. The talking shoe is simply hilarious. I feel no threat yet with that one. Now Google Glass is another story. 


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Google Glass is a headset computer with a mounted display screen. It is voice controlled and can do all sorts of wonderful things. It can record what you see, and transmit it to World Wide Web. It can tell you were you are and how to reach your destination, all the important information a serious stalker would dearly love to know. It can help you record sensitive conversations ... for future perusal. It can help find you, when you don’t particularly want to be found.

Utterly fascinating, how so many people cannot wait for this device to hit the streets. I see the pretty future they paint, and then my paranoid, cynical mind rears its head. This thing records pictures, video and audio of the wearer’s surroundings. No way shall one be able to wear these at a casino, a movie theatre, a doctor’s office, a lawyer’s office *snort*, the local watering hole where peeps go to get lost, the park where kiddies play, the airport where thousands of people place their lives on the line as part of a normal commute . Honestly, how is this a good idea?



For a demonstration of Google Glass -- click HERE.

For a cynical demonstration of Google Glass -- click HERE

If you actually want to see the talking shoes -- click HERE

 
 
It always seems like I am doing more than is possible in a 24 hour period. As an Indie writer, I maintain a full time job to supplement my income. After all, dreams do not pay the bills.

A working person with a dream is a busy one. It matters not what the pursuit is: musician, singer, painter, athlete, actor, actress, model, photographer, director, artist, designer, writer, chef...

There is never enough time in the day to juggle the different facets of one’s life. Screaming characters, and kids, and pets, and partners, and friends wondering where you’ve been, and professional duties requiring attention, and attention to personal goals and food - often forgotten let me tell you -

I thank the heavens some days for the fact that there is not enough time in my day. For if there was, I would wonder how I managed to pen 4 books in less than two years while maintaining a semblance of sanity.

I create because I must. There is no other way to explain the driving force behind my single-minded obsession to write. It is an utter joy to write and create and bring to life characters; it matters not how much time they take to tell their stories.

*chuckle*

At the end of the day, and artists creates for themselves, and is always surprised when others enjoy their creations. Off I go to the Realm, to settle some disputes between belligerent elves and fairies. 

 
 
Book four of the DeDe series is finished. *phew* -- It has been read and reread and edited and tossed about and scrutinized and questioned and edited a bit more and discussed and ... well, ya’ll get the gist I’m sure. It is finished. It has been available through Amazon since January 21, 2013. I didn’t want to advertise its availability until I was certain everything was as it should be.

Yet, some my observant readers found Lord Malachi anyway, *thank you guys*, and have not only read it, but have contacted me as to the eventual release of book 5, titled thus far -- Lords of the Realm. Well... it’s a bit hard to pinpoint an exact date. I am a superstitious kind of gal, guys. The best I can do today is say it shall be finished by the end of 2013.

Writing is something I do because I love to write. I love to share my world with others. Writing is akin to an addiction for me, something I must do in order to be happy. Yet, I have a 9 - 5 that requires my attendance more often than I care to acknowledge. Don’t get me wrong; I love my students, I love teaching and frankly, it pays my bills. But writing, although my first love and true passion, must be scheduled around my reality for now. I hope that one day, one of these days, I shall be able to devote every waking hour to writing. But until then, I am caught in a never-ending juggling act between real life and my dreams.

Once again, thank you all for your encouragement and emails. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or random thoughts you may have. I love receiving correspondence from my readers, keeps me focused on the end.

Sharon 

Click here for Lord Malachi on Amazon