Linkin Park, music, Uncategorized

A Goodbye to Chester Bennington

Let’s get real for a minute. By now, we’ve all heard the news: Chester Bennington, lead singer of Linkin Park, has died (especially considering the bulk of this post has been sitting in my notebook since the morning after the news broke.) Maybe he wasn’t an Elvis, or a Prince, but his passing was enough to rock a generation- my generation.

I’ll be honest, there’s not a lot of celebrities I will mourn over in my life. I’m not the girl who follows the gossip columns, the fan that can tell you the who-what-when of an artist’s private life. I haven’t been since I was a tween obsessing over the latest teen beat magazine.

I grew up.

Linkin Park was a crucial part of that growing up.

It was during my most formative years when Hybrid Theory dropped. I was a girl who was struggling and these incredible songs spoke to me in a way nothing else had, a way that nothing else could.

How many of you know who Reggie Dabbs is? I’ll go ahead and assume not many. For reference, he’s a motivational speaker. I was lucky enough to go to an event he was holding during my high school years. During this event, he used current hits to get his point across for the youth that was his audience. I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with Linkin Park and the passing of an amazing vocalist. I’m getting there.

“In The End” was one of the songs that was used during this motivational event. I’d loved the song since I’d first heard it. I probably couldn’t name more than two songs that played during this event, but the skit that accompanied this tune was so powerful. It was like everything I was feeling in the deepest most secret parts of my soul was being acted out right in front of me. I seriously had chills. This song meant something to me before, but seeing it right out in the open, resonating with so many was incredible.

People’s lives were touched by the music created by this band.

Their struggles became my hope.

When Meteora was released, the music once again resonated with me on an intimate level. Still struggling, still trying to maintain, still seeking that hope that I knew was out there that I just couldn’t grasp. I felt every chord, every lyric. It was my own, personal brand of therapy and I’m sure many would agree. In fact, seeing so many memorial posts after this tragedy, I know the above statement is true, and many were struggling with completely unrelated issues. With tracks like “Somewhere I Belong” and “Numb” topping the charts, it’s no wonder these songs resonated with teenagers across the board. It was “Easier to Run” that topped the CD’s track list for me, though, and listening to Chester with such emotion in his voice as he sang each word… Nothing could compare.

Minutes to Midnight marked a change in the band’s sound. They had grown, the substance of their art became more mature. I, too, was maturing. With politically motivated tracks like “No More Sorrow” and “Hands Held High” they were showing that they stood for something, and that something they stood for was something I had been increasingly passionate about. They sparked into the conversation of current events with “The Little Things Give You Away.” They were broadening their horizons, taking all that angst and putting into something that mattered. With tracks from this album also gracing soundtracks for Transformers and the Twilight Saga, they continued to stay on top. Even with their maturing subject matter and hits finding a new outlet, tracks like “Bleed It Out” could have been found on any of their albums. It was a throwback for me with the way the lyrics resonated. It seemed a throwback for them as well “F- this hurts, I won’t lie, It doesn’t matter how hard I try.” Ring a bell, anyone?

Over the years, admittedly, I haven’t followed any bands like I did back in the day. I heard a few singles on the radio, after a time had passed. I had become a mom. My focused had shifted. Following bands, even the ones that had helped shape me, became something that was so low on the totem pole. I still felt the same awe when I would hear a new song, I still connected with the music.

By the time their last album dropped, I was in a place where I not only had the time to listen to music of my choice, but also the need. I sought out the band that had been there for me in my adolescence. What I heard wasn’t as hardcore as their first couple of albums, but the woman I am now, was once again touched by the words and melodies I heard. The passion they felt was still there and I felt it. I was moved until my eyes were glossed over with tears.

I was changed.

I read an article the other day, talking about life long fans who had booed this incredible band off the stage because they didn’t like the new direction the band was taking. This broke my heart more than it already was. There was a video included of the aforementioned event taking place. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it. How could people who claimed to be fans be so cruel? I only wish I had been lucky enough to have seen them live.

Linkin Park took us all on a journey. They evolved as people, a fact that can be seen through the evolution of their music. They played what they were passionate about. They poured out their souls for the masses. The first time I heard “Heavy” I literally felt my heart shattering in my chest and mending itself back together.

To those who feel like they drifted too far from the hybrid sound they started their journey with, I pity you. “One More Light” was never about selling out. The lyrics speak for themselves, and they speak directly to my soul. It’s an incredibly heavy album. I’ve been changed once again by these incredible musicians. They’ve always been there, just a few clicks a way.

In the end, they should know, IT DID MATTER. Linkin Park saved me. They continue to save me.

R.I.P. Chester. Your memory will live on within your powerful vocals and all the lives you touched.

author advice, authors, erotic romance, erotica, fiction, interviews, romance

In the Words of An Author: An Interview With Melissa Bender

Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

Not really. As much as I love to read, there hasn’t really been anyone who’s stuck out influenced me. I think many writers are talented, but I have always followed my own writing style.

 

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

This is the hardest question ever! All of them have some crazy hold over me. There isn’t just one who is my favorite, but if I had to choose then maybe Oliver.. His wife was absolutely insane and he came out stronger on the other side!

 

Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

Work scenes! Why do they need to have jobs? It’s fun to a part, but studying different careers to make sure you have it written correct is a bit time consuming, although, you learn something along the way.

 

What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

Hearing feedback. I love to hear what people think of my stories, and if they love them and tell me, then that’s just amazing. If they feel the emotion I put into the book, then I am very happy.

 

What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

Keep writing. Don’t give up. Just write! Write! Write! I wish someone would have told me I wasn’t wasting my time when I first began to write novels. That’s why I kept it a secret!

 

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

Oh yes! I have an outline of what my story will be about and then I character plan. I search the internet for photos and information regarding my story, then plot out each chapter, writing next to each what will happen in each chapter. It’s the one thing I do with each story

 

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

I wanted to be a beauty therapist… Then I wanted to be a forensic investigator like on Bones and Criminal Minds! I worked in retail for around 10 years before I had kids and then focused on writing and having a novel published as my first goal.

 

If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

I don’t really know who I would want to speak to. It would probably be my grandma who passed away a year ago. I’d like to tell her all about the exciting things that have been happening to me since she’s been gone.

Want more from Melissa Bender? Check out these links!

Facebook: http://bit.ly/MelissaBenderFB
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/MelissaBenderGR
Grab goodies on her website: http://bit.ly/MelissaBenderWEB

Depression, Mental Health, TV, young adult fiction

The Importance of 13 Reasons Why

When I started this blog, I had three goals in mind:

  1. To share my work, to offer excerpts, sneak peeks, share short stories, poetry, whatever.
  2. To share other authors in hopes of bringing them a bit of new exposure, to partake in the community that I have come to love.
  3. To connect with readers and share issues that I am passionate about.

In fact, my first post was dealing with #3. It’s a hard one, though. Where do you draw the line? What thoughts do you choose to share and what thoughts should you keep private? The general dinner table rule is to avoid politics and religion, and in my professional world I try to keep those thoughts to myself, but this new issue that has come to the spotlight is not one I will choose to keep quiet on. A dialogue has been started and I want to continue it.

Many of you, by now, have probably watched the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why. Many of you have probably read the book. I have not had the pleasure of reading the book as of now, but I will tell you it is very high on my TBR list.

There’s a lot of controversy over the subject matter and how it was handled. There are people that have said the show portrays Hannah Baker as a seeker of revenge, that her tapes were meant to inflict pain and guilt onto those who survived her, those who she felt contributed to her ultimate suicide.

I don’t agree that it was about revenge at all. In fact, early on in the binging I remember saying, “talk about taking a suicide note to a whole new level.” A note is something we expect to accompany a suicide, is it not? Those left behind have questions, they want to know why. Hannah simply explained why.

Each person on her tape she had an intimate connection with. Each person let her down. In many instances, it wasn’t any of their faults alone. That’s why it was important every person listened to every tape. It wasn’t Alex or Jessica or even Bryce that singularly contributed to her decision to take her life. It was a culmination of all those events, twisting in her mind, reminding her that happiness was always just out of reach. Each person on her tapes effectively destroyed a part of her. Sure a lot of people go through similar situations and they don’t kill themselves, but there are a lot that do.

It’s been said, even by the creators, that Hannah could have cared more, could have tried harder. While I don’t disagree, it is a tragic reality in our society. People slip through the cracks. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Let me make one thing clear, I DO NOT CONDONE HANNAH’S DECISION TO END HER LIFE. But it happens. We shouldn’t be sugar coating this issue, or dancing around it. 13 Reasons Why calls the issue out, demands a conversation. So, let’s have a conversation, why don’t we?

I know depression. I’ve seen it in those I love, have seen it in myself. I have lived with it, battled it, struggled with it even when things are going my way. I’m a big supporter of the “fake it until you make it” strategy. Honestly, what else are you going to do?

I remember I wrote an article about combating depression a few years ago. There were a lot of suggestions on my list that often offend those who are in the midst of their own battle, but as someone who has been there, you know what I say? You have to have something. Hannah, at the end, had nothing. She’d been broken down on so many levels, each person effectively destroying a part of her until there was nothing left. She had no safety zone, each place that could have been a sanctuary for her was taken from her, including her own mind.

Hannah Baker deserved better. A lot of people deserve better.

Not only does a conversation need to be had about suicide and finding help, but a conversation needs to be started on the butterfly effect, which was mentioned in the show. We need to be talking about how to be kind to our fellow humans, how to take responsibility for our actions. We need to rediscover what it means to be a community. It’s that human connection that will help when all else fails. That knowledge that someone is there, that someone would care, that someone’s life would not be improved by one’s lack of existence. Like Alex said, “Why not put up posters telling people not to be an *******”.

The next issue I’ve had with some articles I’ve read on the show deals with Hannah’s final act. Why show the suicide? People are saying that now people who are contemplating suicide know how to do it. Are you freaking kidding me? If someone is really seriously considering that option, they have plenty of resources to find out HOW to get the job done. If anyone thinks this information isn’t readily available to someone seeking the information, hop on over to google and see for yourself. It’s my opinion that this was an important scene. People contemplating the idea need to see what they are going to be leaving behind. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem that can’t be reversed. It’s messy. It’s heartbreaking. Sure, it was a difficult thing to see, but shouldn’t it be? If we’re going for a real, truthful dialogue, shouldn’t the whole ugly truth be laid out?

We’ve become a society of safe zones and trigger warnings. You know what I say to that? Life is messy. Life is hard. If we can’t start a dialogue that focuses on the hard, ugly truth, then we will forever be a society that hides behind the light and fluffy and more and more people will continue to fall through the cracks.

books, New Release, nonfiction

New From Katja Omlor

MarketingBullshitCover

SYNOPSIS

Marketing Bullshit is bursting with practical tips, geared to a single objective: to make you think about your actions and optimize your business from a marketing perspective. By showing you the huge potential of freebies, available online, you will be able to test many low-budget solutions and achieve high end results.

Starting with personal motivation, the author (Katja Omlor) invites us into the mesmerizing world of marketing by always staying away from bullshit of any kind. By covering aspects like new marketing, Corporate Identity and just how lazy customers might be, the book offers a non-conventional approach to this omnipotent subject.

Have you ever dealt with Customer Relationship Management? Intranet? Organising events? Internal communication and public relations? Your own website and Online Marketing?

Well, you will now. The book is different, fresh and will make you rethink many actions and processes you might have been taking for granted.

And – if everything fails, it even offers a segment on getting a job. Try it!

MarketingBullshitTeaser

Excerpt

4.6. Are there any special tools or treats the world has to offer?
Well, as a designer, this might be (personally speaking) sort of counterproductive. The internet has many things to offer, we have already discussed several special websites with free photos, banner creators, etc. There is also one very important site worth mentioning: Envato, so humbly described as “top digital assets and services.” I can tell you, they ain’t lyin’!

My favourite part is the Envato market. Here is a little secret: although I am a graphic designer, I often use this website simply as a source of inspiration. Once you discover what they have to offer, you, on the other hand, may be soon happily applying thousands of resources and saving loads of money. The website provides you with:
• Themes and templates (ThemeForest)
• Graphics and vectors (GraphicRiver)
• Photos and images (PhotoDune)
• Footage and animated graphics (VideoHive)
• Scripts and plugins (CodeCanyon)
• Music and sounds (AudioJungle)
• 3D models and textures (3DOcean)

Basically, what you will be getting here is anything your heart desires at an incredible price (e.g., templates starting at around $4). I know, sometimes it seems too good to be true. The only limitation you may face will often be buying graphic design software to edit the files.

Envato isn’t the only option for getting free resources. You know the basic rule: just Google it. One premise, however, remains constant. Nothing beats a good designer that gets to know you and your company. If you are planning on becoming a Champions League Player, you will need to kick it up a notch and personalize.

Want more information? Check out the video teaser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvK94aZwOjY

Buy It Now!

authors, books, nonfiction

In the Words of an Author: An Interview With Christy Day

Photo_by_Gail_El_Camino_Presentation_Hancock_Library__03_02_2017_2

Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

I am a huge fan of
Ivan Doig (description of landscape and kindness to characters)
John McPhee (ability to write about almost any topic and make it comprehensible)
David Whyte (for his poetic insight and his metaphors)
E.B. White (for everything – humor, wit, delight in life)

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

It will be my grandfather on my father’s side, who died when my dad was 18. It will be interesting to develop his character.

Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

The challenge for me, when I write my first novel, will be to make the dialogue believable and moving.

What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

The most rewarding part of being an author is the connection to the reader/listener. That something I said makes a difference to readers means the world to me. I want to inspire people and move them to hope.

What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

My students really liked 5-minute free-writes. I extend that for myself to twenty minutes. It is a way to limber up the mind, get the creative juices flowing, and feel ready to settle down to writing.

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

I write immediately after breakfast and my 6 a.m. walk. I take the weekends off. I tend to edit as I go along and make notes about what I want to research. I write thoughts down as they occur and keep them in a notebook for use later. I always have water and coffee at my side and I often stop to snack on something homemade as a reward for sticking to it.

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

In a way, yes, in a way, no. I did always want to write a book and when I walked El Camino de Santiago de Compostela, I knew the book inside me was ready to be written. My mother was a beautiful writer and she never did write the short stories (her favorite medium) she threatened to. I thought that was a shame.

If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

I would love to have a conversation with Eleanor Roosevelt. What a powerhouse. In a man’s world, she made all the difference, and she connected to the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor in equal measure. How did she keep her courage and compassion together?

Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?

Day_cover

There will be times when you are walking that your spirit is awakened and the universe pauses to let you be in that moment. Such was that hour that I sat in utter solitude and damp silence in the quiet dark church, Vilar de Donas, and I felt the monumental meaning of the Pilgrimage. The best you can do is be as fully in the moment as possible and keep good records – journaling, notes, photos, so that when you return and process your experience – a lifetime endeavor for sure – you can deepen your memory and be able to share it meaningfully with others. It would be impossible to see it all, understand it all, and appreciate every detail. You barely scratch the surface. When you get back, you will wish there had been more hours in each day, more energy in your tired body, and more awareness in the moment of just how extraordinary each place was. In some amazing way, we truly do become ourselves more deeply as we walk this Pilgrimage. (pp 72-73)

http://www.walkingelcamino.com/

authors, books, christian literature, nonfiction

In the Words of an Author: An Interview with Carolyn Denise Owens

Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

I started writing short stories, etc. when I was around 7 years old, so I can’t really say if my writing was influenced by other writers, writing is my passion and I started writing at a very young age, because of my love for it.

Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

I write from my heart and since my writing is primarily non-fiction I can’t say that one person is any more difficult to write about than another.

What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

For me, the most rewarding part is to inspire a young person who wants to be a writer. I met a 6-year-old girl a couple of years back and she was so excited to meet a “real live author” in person as she stated. I was excited that she was excited and I just hope that the fact that I’d accomplished my goal of writing would inspire her to do the same.

What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

I want them to know that writing is something that you do because you love it and not to seek, fame or fortune. If fame and fortune comes, then that’s the icing on the cake, but don’t look for it. Writing is a hard business and you have to be very persistent and even more patient to make it, but more than that you have to love what you do and have a genuine interest in the subjects you choose to write about.

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

Many of my writing ideas or inspirations will come to me in a dream. I still jot down ideas and write them in a notebook as opposed to a computer. I keep a notepad next to my bed so that if I dream about something that I need to write about, the pad is right there so that I can start writing as much of the information that I can remember. Also, I will set aside time to meditate on my writing and brainstorm to come up with different titles,subjects and so forth.

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

Indeed, I started writing at a very young age. I was around 7 years old when I started writing short stories and poems.

If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

If I could speak to anyone person, I think that it would be Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the reason why is that even though great strides have been made due to his efforts and the efforts of others like him, sometimes I wonder and wish that I could ask him if the sacrifice was worth the benefit. It seems that people of all colors, religions, and races take his sacrifices for granted and don’t value his love for humanity to the extent that they have chosen not to build on the legacy and foundation that he laid. Sometimes, I wonder if he would have rather worked at a school or a factory and just live his life in obscurity and raised his family, instead of laying his life down for humanity because of the thanklessness of the people who benefited from his efforts.

Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?

From “Timeless Wisdom”

front

You Have to Execute!

“Gathering up a bunch of ideas and doing nothing with them is just like collecting garbage in garbage bags in your house, if you never make it to the curb with the garbage bags, all you are is an organized hoarder. Sure, the garbage isn’t all over the floor and the counter, it might be bagged up, but you need to get it to the curb for the garbage collector in order to have accomplished anything. You’ve got to execute. That’s the same way it is with an idea. Collecting ideas and doing nothing with them is useless.” (Vincent Owens)
I’ve heard it said many times some of the greatest books that weren’t written, and some of the greatest songs that weren’t put to melodies, are in the graveyard. If you have a goal that you want to accomplish, go for it! It may be a book that needs writing, a poem that you want to recite, or a song that you want to sing. There is no such thing as waiting for the right time, because the right time is now. Waiting is sort of like a runner preparing for the Olympics all of his life, and on the day before the big event he breaks his leg. You have to enter some smaller races before you get ready for the big one.

If you have a goal, start small and build on each success little by little.
Look at three areas of your life:  Spiritual, Financial, Health and set goals that are attainable. See what you can accomplish in the next three months.  Set down write the goals and make them plain and make sure they are not pipe dreams, but realistic, attainable goals. Once one set of goals is obtained, set other goals and build on them.
“Yard by yard it’s hard; inch by inch it’s a cinch.”

Follow the link below to get your copy!

authors, books, horror, interviews

In the Words of an Author: An Interview With Ellie Douglas

Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

Stephen King is my biggest influence, having grown up reading his books and being inspired by horror.

 

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

Dr Felix Bloom from my latest novel just released Fear Inducer. Why? Because he is pure evil, exactly how I imagined him to be. He’ll be hated by everyone, which is what I wanted.
twitter1.jpg

Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

The in-between scenes. I find that the most difficult. Not really sure why, perhaps since the character is between murdering it’s difficult for me to give them something interesting. So I work a lot harder on those scenes to perfect them 🙂

What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

Great question, the most rewarding part of being an author is finishing the book.

What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

Research. It is so important to research whatever topic you are writing about, even if you think you know all there is to know about it. Learn more. Be the master of that topic so you can write better about it. Professionally better.

 

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

Not really, I don’t have any kind of writing ritual. Some days I feel like writing and other days I don’t. I go with the flow 🙂

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

Yes, as early as the age of five. I have always wanted to be an author 🙂

 

If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Michael Landon, why because I grew up watching him on the telly and he instantly become the father figure I didn’t have. He was the dad I wanted, he inspired me, he was so wholesome and delightfully amazingly talented. He would be the one person I’d love to chat with if I could bring him back to life I totally would 🙂

michaellandon3255067vtgvv

 

Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?

Ethan could feel hot, then cold venomous liquid shooting inside his leg. He bit his bottom lip and kicked the cobra in the face, but it refused to let go. Using the bat, he bashed it hard on the top of its head twice, before it finally let go. Holding the bat tightly, so tight that his knuckles turn white, he raised it high and slammed it across the cobra’s head. Then he quickly swung it into the side of its face. The cobra’s face jutted sideways and Ethan heard the wet crackling sound, as it made contact with the bat.
He hit it again and again. Each time he made contact, Ethan’s ears wished he could drown out the chilling, blood-curdling, cringing sound of each bone breaking, like snapping chicken legs with pliers, echoing in the pit. The cobra’s face was pulverised. Its blood spurted like a fountain, hitting Ethan in the chest and neck. The flesh on the cobra’s face had split, exposing its smashed in skull. The mouth had separated from its jaw. Its two fangs just dangled outward, bent at an awkward angle.

NO_Words_FB_Ad.jpg

Like what you’ve seen here? Find more information and connect with Ellie Douglas:

www.authorellie.com
http://bit.ly/LinkedIn-Ellie
http://bit.ly/Ellie-Pin
http://bit.ly/Ellie-Instagram
https://twitter.com/AuthorEllie
http://bit.ly/FB-ELLIE
amazon.com/author/ellie