Bloomberg to ban sales of sugary drinks over 16 ounces? Seriously?

Our economy is in such a crappy state, and Mayor Bloomberg is worried about sugar intake? I’m sorry, but I laughed when I heard this on the news.  Now, before I continue, you all know that I don’t like to talk politics on my blogs and websites.  But THIS I have to say something about.  Isn’t NYC/NY in general in a state of finanical termoil?  Instead of focusing on waisting money we don’t have on passing ridiculous laws, why not focus on the more important issues like housing or unemployment…something like that.

Don’t get me wrong…fighting obesity is an important issue. BUT it is not one that the Mayor of NYC needs to be focusing on right now.  He wants to ban the sales of sugary drinks that are more than 16 ounces.  You can find out more about this by going to this blog post here.

This is just…ugh. This is why I don’t like to talk about politics…it’s just so stupid at times!

Book Review: 50 Shades of Grey

Title: 50 Shades of Grey
Author: E.L. James
Publisher: Vintage Books

Rating: I honestly can not give a rating at this time.

Review

I’ll be perfectly honest, I had no idea what to expect when I sat down to read the first installment of the 50 Shades trilogy.  I half expected there to be vampires and werewolves, and was actually a little bit disappointed that there weren’t. I had heard that 50 Shades originally started out as a Twilight fanfiction.  What I was NOT expecting was all the sex, smut and BDSM.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I had heard that there was sex and BDSM in it.  BUT what I did not know was just how much there actually was.  It seemed to me like it was in almost every single chapter.  In my personal opinion, that’s too much sex and not enough plot. 

I like a book that has all the elements that make a great story: action, romance, and well-developed characters.  The author has to make me want to care about their characters in order for me to truly like their work.  And I hate to say it, but it wasn’t until the very end did I start to even remotely care about Christian Grey.

Anastasia Steele, the leading female, annoyed the heck out of me.  She annoyed me even more than Bella Swan from Twilight.  That whole “inner goddess” and “subconcsious” thing really got on my nerves.  My biggest issue with Ana, is that she had no real self respect for herself.  If she had, she wouldn’t have done half the things that Christian wanted her to do.  I would NEVER let a guy touch me in the ways that Christian touched Ana. I mean, she let him hit her with a freaking flogger! There is something seriously wrong with that girl!

I’ll admit, this book made me cry a couple of times, especially toward the end, which was unexpected.  However, I had an issue with E.L. James’ writing style.  She used the same descriptions over, and over, and I often felt that some of the scenes were redundant. 

I had a brief conversation with a friend about the book earlier, and I labeled it as a “trashy novel.” And honestly, I am sure that I’m not the only one who feels this way about 50 Shades.  Will I read the rest of the Trilogy? Possibly, but, truthfully, there is a better chance of me reading The Hunger Games or Hell freezing over before that happens any time soon.

 

Tell Me Something Tuesday #6: 50 Shades of Grey

Hello! And welcome to another week of Tell Me Something Tuesday, a meme hosted by the lovely Cambria Hebert.  This is a meme where Cambria asks us a question, and we tell her our answers. Some weeks, her questions are really easy, but others they can be really challenging; like this weeks for example.

This weeks question is:

If you could spend a day with a book character who would it be and what would you do?

This question took a lot of thought because so many characters came to mind.  Finally, I settled on just one; Christian Grey from the 50 Shades trilogy.

I know I know what you’re thinking…Beth, you said you hate this book…WHY ON EARTH would you want to spend a day with Christian Grey? Let alone an afternoon with him?

You really want to know why? I’ll tell you why!

As much as I hate the book 50 Shades of Grey (I’ll have an official review over the next few days), I find Christian’s character to be fascinating.  I think that if 50 Shades was re-written by someone else, that this book has some serious potential to be really good.  Honestly, I get the impression that EL James, the author of the trilogy, woke up one morning and just decided that she wanted to be published.  So, she did. But, this isn’t about how much I despise EL James and her trashy novel.  No…this is about how much I like Christian Grey.

Why do I like him?

I like him because he’s a complex character, and there are so many different sides or “shades” to Mr. Grey. Yes, he’s a control freak, and if he thinks that for one minute I am going to let him control me, he’s got another thing or two coming! LOL.

Anywho, what would I do with him?

I think a better question would be: what would I NOT do with him?  That answer is simple: I WOULD NOT have sex with him. His sick and sadistic ways are just not for me.

Then what WOULD we do?  I’d make him take me up in his helicopter (after getting me drunk because I’m terrified of heights), and I would grill him (ask him questions, not actually bar-b-q him sicko! lol).  EL James leaves so many un-answered questions and opens the door to so many un-asked questions, that I will ask him the ones that Anastasia Steele wouldn’t dare to ask him.  And, if he dares to give me lip, my drink just might find itself on top of Mr. Grey’s head LOL.

So, there you have it folks! My tell me something Tuesday post.  Hope you enjoyed it!

Writerly Wednesday #7

 

Welcome to another week of Writerly Wednesday, a meme that was started by the lovely Erin Danzer.  IN this meme, I talk about all things related to writing.

As most of you know, I run a magazine called Literary Lunes.  It’s been around for about a year and a half now, and I’ve started publishing the magazine in paperback.  I was using Lulu to do so, but I found out yesterday that they never published the paperbacks!  WTF? I was wondering why I wasn’t making any sales off of it.  Sighs.  Everything had been saved as a draft, and they never notified me! So now I had to take everything down from them, and am in the process of re-publishing through createspace. It’s such a waste of time, but at least I now know that it wasn’t because of something I did per say…it was Lulu not telling me I needed to make changes or that they couldn’t convert it to a pdf.  It’s so frustraiting!

Speaking of Literary Lunes, you guys should hop on over to the newly rennovated website and check out all of the changes and updates I made over the weekend. I still have a lot of work to do, but it is getting there! I commissioned Dafeenah over at Indie Designz for a new banner and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with!  For those of you who don’t know this, but she designed the banner and buttons for two other of my websites. You can find samples of her awesomeness here and here.  To view the newly updated Literary Lunes website, please go to www.literarylunes.com

I am currently organizing a blog tour for the Writings From the Heart anthology that I am releasing on June 6. I still have plenty of spaces available, so if you would like to hop on the tour please let me know!

 

Tell Me Something Tuesday #5

Welcome to Tell Me Something Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Cambria Hebert.  In this meme, she asks us a question, and we answer it.  Some of the questions can be serious, while others are fun and a little wacky.  The point of the meme is just to have fun 🙂

This week, Cambria asked us:

If we could be any animal, what would we be and why?

This was a no-brainer for me.  Why? Because it’s a fun and a fairly simple question (in my opinion anyway.).  My answer, is a cat, well, more specifically, a panther.

Why a panther?

I just think that they are one of the most beautiful felines ever, and they are so fierce. Yes, a cheetah is super fast, but I’ll take strong and fierce over that. I was originally going to say a cat, because they are so cute and cuddly, but I am sure that is going to be over used lol. Plus, it is so cliche lol.

I also chose the felines, because I tend to have feline-like reflexes at times.  I have a tendancy to be quiet and sneak up on people. Plus, I can fit into really small places like most felines can lol.

Well, there you have it folks! My Tell Me Something Tuesday.

Are they the next boyband?

GUESS WHAT EVERYONE? My cousin Ryan and some of his friends from Salesianum School in Dover, Delaware put together this video of them lip syncing to “Gotta Be You” by One Direction.  I happen to think they did a fabulous job! Please help my cousin and his friends go viral! Or, at least share the video, and click “like” on their youtube page. Pretty please? For me. 🙂

My cousin is the one in the pink tie and white shirt. Isn’t he handsome?

Writerly Wednesday #6: cover reveal and BIG NEWS!

Hello everyone! And welcome to this weeks version of Writerly Wednesday. WW for short, was started by the lovely Erin Danzer at http://www.erindanzer.blogspot.com.

Today, I am VERY excited to reveal the cover and book trailer for an anthology that I single handedly coordinated and put together. But first, let me tell you a little bit about it.

About a year ago, I put out a call for submissions for YA short stories and poetry to be put into an anthology, where all proceeds would benefit a charity. This charity is called the pediatric cardiology department of the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of NY. Why this particular place?

Because 28 years ago I was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease and operated on successfully. This book is my way of showing my thanks to a community of excellent doctors who have treated me and cared for me over the years.

I am happy to announce, that I received an overwhelming response to my call for submissions. This group of authors is a wonderfully talented bunch. It is an international and eclectic group of writers who have come together for one thing…to support our children.

As someone who does a lot of work with the youth in my own community, I have been truly touched and humbled by everyone’s passion to help the young ones in today’s world.

The anthology is called Writings From the Heart: Stories and Poetry From Around the World, and will be released in both paperback and ebook format.

I hope you all will join me on Erin Danzer’s blog http://www.erindanzer.blogspot.com for the cover and trailer reveal. The book will be $15 in paperback and $1.99 USD. Please help us climb the bookstore charts on release day! Release day is June 6.

Thanks for reading, and remember to hop on over to Erin’s blog and look at the pretty picture and trailer 🙂

You will also be able view these at http://www.indiesupporter.com and http://www.closeencounterswiththenightkind.blogspot.com

Thanks for reading!

Tour stop and guest post: Author, Dr. George H. Elder

 I am happy to have on the blog today author, Dr. George H. Elder.  He is here to talk about his latest release, The Last Hope of a Dying Universe.  I am going to turn over the blog to him!  Please read all the way through to the end, for there will be an excerpt from his latest novel.

About the Author

Dr. George H. Elder has a Ph.D. from Penn State in Speech
Communication and a Masters Degree in nonfiction Writing
from UNH. He also has a very eclectic work and personal
history. He has been a college teacher, custodian, upper-level
scholar, drug addict, weight lifting coach, bouncer, and much
more. He has authored numerous articles in the popular press
and even a scientific text book that examines the
neuropsychological basis of human communication. He has
also addressed subjects such as philosophy, free speech,
weight training, drug use, nutrient effects, street life, and a
wide range of other issues.

His varied life experiences and education give him a unique and interesting perspective,
and he often weaves philosophical insights and pathos into his texts. His books are
action-oriented, but they do not have simplistic plots wherein good vs. evil or some other
hackneyed approach is used. Instead, Elder employs plot shifts that allow the characters
and readers to question the relationships we often take for granted. For example, a hero
may do great wrongs while a species once perceived as malicious can be revealed to be
honorable and wise. This offers refreshing and exciting perspectives for readers as they
delve into Elder’s texts, for one never knows what to expect.

A Little More Personal….

I have a very eclectic work and personal history—from college teacher, custodian, upper-level scholar, drug addict, weight lifting coach, bouncer, and much more.  My lifestyle included hedonistic excesses and reckless physicality, the costs of which have come home to roost. My eating, drinking, and drug use were the stuff of local legend, and as a result I suffer from heart trouble, diabetes, high blood pressure, and arteriosclerosis. Heavy weight lifting and other extreme activities led to several collapsed discs, lots of torn up joints, broken bones, and advanced arthritis.

On top of all that, I developed Multisystem Atrophy (MSA), a primary degenerative neurological order that has no known treatment or cure. However, I doubt MSA will kill me.  Indeed, I was VERY lucky to have survived my last heart attack and am acutely aware that every day is precious. Hey, it’s all borrowed time from here on end. That’s why I’m writing like crazy, having completed six books in less than a year. There is no time like the present when one doesn’t have much of a future! Ho, ho, ho! Ah, life is a hoot! Indeed, I’ve never felt more alive than now, and my only regret is all the time I wasted getting high.

I was a successful writer and scholar before embarking on a retail sales venture that devoured eight years of my life in mind-numbing tedium–and very long work hours. I had published numerous articles, some in magazines with over a million readers. My previous writing addressed nonfiction health-related issues for the most part, and I wanted to embark on something more meaningful. Granted, it’s late in the game to take on a new career, but the challenge doesn’t worry me. I’m free of most concerns, and am highly motivated to do what I can while I can. How long I can be active is an open question!

Sci-Fi offers me the possibility to explore subjects I could never undertake before. Indeed, the adventures within Child of Destiny allowed me to subtly explore philosophical issues that I find compelling. For example, we all develop ideas about who and what we are, as in what defines us as an Italian or Scott, Christian or Jew, scholar or warrior, and so it goes. But what happens when nearly ALL our notions of who and what we are evaporates? What happens when we are reduced to a realization that nearly everything we once held as being true is shown to be a lie? How does one climb out of the valley that ensues? That is Kara’s essential conflict, for at its nadir her despair become nihilistic–as are the forces she is supposed to be fighting against.

Currently, I am completing a spirituality oriented text that reads like a Sci-Fi novel in many places. This is only natural because the book is about dreams, a few of which have found places in the Genesis series and the prequel Deep Thought. However, the dreams actually happened, and the messages they left me with should be shared while I can still write. The subject matter ranges from violence and greed to searching for God—and it places the experiences will certainly grab the reader’s interest. The writing is very difficult because it is 1st person active voice, a present tense flow that brings the reader into the text as an active participant. I will turn it over to the text editor in eight days or so, and then start on the next work.

I have managed to do a lot of writing in a short time because my personal situation demands it. We are only at life’s table for a short while, and I have spent all too much of my time engaged in self indulgent behaviors. Hell, I still eat too damn much. But the point is, time is best spent when it is shared with others. These books give a disabled man a means of sharing time, to go out-and-about as it were. I’ve picked up some insights along the way that may help a person or two find some meaning. Perhaps others will be entertained, and it is time for me to be generous of spirit. Spirit is nearly all I have left to give, but I’m more at peace now than ever. There is no fear, no worry, just the vexation of finding the right words and the joy of sharing dreams and stories with new friends. What could be better than that?

SYNOPSIS

Child of Destiny (The Genesis Continuum trilogy #1) by Dr. George H. Elder

The universe is nearing its inevitable end, everything is being rapidly devoured. The last hope of a dying universe is to awaken the Seeker, a legendary metaphysical being known only through ancient tales. The Seeker has the capacity to link the entire universe; they alone may be able to spark the rebirth of the universe.

Many of those that remain desperately want existence to continue. As the remaining races struggle to survive and fight over saving existence, lofty ideals give way to brutal pragmatism. Missions are sent out in search of the Seeker. One such mission encounters Kara an outcast noblewoman of the Labateen, a Stone-Age warrior culture. Kara is well versed in the Seeker’s litany, beyond what would be considered coincidence –to Kara the litany is simply the ways of God. Will Kara be able to help locate the Seeker?

 

Those who wish the universe to end in disorder, with no more than a whimper are not willing to sit by as others race to alter the end universe. As these opposing forces mount their defenses, racing to see their goals are achieved one question stands out…

 

Is Kara the key?

 

 

EXCERPT

Child of Destiny (The Genesis Continuum trilogy #1) by Dr. George H. Elder

Edited by Julie Tryboski & Illustrated by Randall Drew

 

THE ANCIENTS BELIEVED THE PURPOSE OF LIFE IS TO EVOLVE SPECIES THAT CAN PERPETUATE THE POSSIBILITY OF CONTINUED EXISTANCE THROUGH THEIR THOUGHTS AND DEEDS — WITH THOUGHT BEING A SEMINAL POWER THAT CAN OVERCOME THE DARK FORCES THAT DRIVE ALL THAT IS TOWARD NOTHINGNESS (“NOTLOH THE OLDER” OF HARKAD PRIME).

CHAPTER 1: ISHTAR’S CHILD

 

Kara had worked tirelessly piling heavy boulders around her hillside cave’s entrance, leaving a thistle-covered opening on the mound’s top that was barely wide enough for her to squeeze through. Over the years, successive layers of soil and jagged rocks were heaped on the boulders, and the humble shelter could now resist the fiercest storm and harshest winter. Long razor grass, thorny briars, and shrubs flourished on the stout construction, providing Kara’s home with a camouflaged barrier that served well against both four- and two-legged predators. The only drawbacks were meager lighting, invading spiders and centipedes, and the poor ventilation provided by the narrow entrance. Yet these were relatively small prices to pay for security. Moreover, the shelter was adjacent to a spring-fed stream that froze for only part of the winter. Of course, there was a constant need to collect firewood, gather fruits, nuts, and berries, and hunt, but Kara was proficient in these arts. She had to be, for such is an outcast’s lot.

She sat cross-legged on the cave’s floor, bathed in a shaft of sunlight that poured through the entrance. The flint tip of her spear needed sharpening, and she deftly chipped away tiny flecks of stone with a hard rock. Kara’s father had taught her the ancient art of blade-making, not that Torok ever envisioned his daughter would depend on such a skill to sustain a solitary existence. No, he had felt she was destined for great things within the tribe, which was only appropriate for the child of a Labateen chieftain such as Torok. And Kara grew to be a most unusual girl, a precocious child who tagged along behind hunting parties and played violent war games with the tribe’s boys.

By her fifth season Kara’s deftly thrown spear was regularly taking down prey that was nearly as large as she, all of which were proudly dragged back to the great cave. She even learned the old storyteller’s sacred litanies, repeating without error the lengthy and complex tales to the delight of family and friends. Torok was proud of Kara’s intelligence, strength, and courage, and considered her an ideal daughter. Never a man of many words, he once told her, “Blood of my blood, you are a very special child. God has blessed you in many ways and you make my heart proud.” Kara basked in the warmth of his approving smile, and found confidence in the tribe’s universal acknowledgment of her rare talents.

Yet neither Torok nor Kara knew about the awful mark she bore high on her scalp, the one her mother had worked tirelessly to conceal since Kara’s birth. The Labateen were the true Children of God, and only the most perfect in form could be accepted into the tribe. And to all appearances Kara’s long, thick, red hair, green eyes, hazel skin, and lithe athletic body were ideal, the quintessential elements of a Labateen woman. Indeed, all was perfect, except for a dark brown birthmark that hid underneath a luxurious mane of hair.

Leah, her mother, was horrified when she first saw the blight, although there was no one to share her shock in the isolated birthing cave. Her labor was long and difficult, and there were times Leah thought death would be a welcome reprieve. And a lonely, painful demise for mother and child was the inevitable penalty for a failed childbirth. This most sacred process was overseen only by God –- and God alone would dictate if both mother and child survived. But survival was only the first step, for then came the mother’s responsibility of ensuring that the child’s body was perfect in all ways. This was God’s test of a mother’s will to abide by the sacred laws that guided the Labateen for countless generations. These were the same laws Torok was sworn to uphold as the tribe’s Dorma, and thus Leah felt particularly driven to follow the ancient codes.

The birthmark’s grotesquery compelled Leah to contemplate bashing Kara’s tiny head against the jagged walls of the birthing cave, the floor of which was richly littered with tiny bony reminders of Labateen mother who had done their duty. Every Labateen woman knew that allowing an unfit or marked child to live would introduce impurity into what were God’s chosen people. The only right and merciful thing was to end such a star-crossed life swiftly. Leah roughly grabbed her writhing daughter, who still wore the blood and slippery wetness of a new life. She stared into the infant’s eyes, and suddenly her will to follow the old ways evaporated. Perhaps it was the long torment of giving birth, or maybe it was the blood loss, but Leah felt that God was guiding her thoughts and deeds. ‘Yes, God must want this infant to live,’ she thought, ‘And to live for a divine purpose.’

Leah deftly severed the umbilical cord with an obsidian blade and suckled the crying infant. With every passing moment the bond between mother and child grew stronger, as did Leah’s conviction that she was doing God’s work. But Leah’s convictions were the stuff of sacrilege, and that would lead to a dreadful fate for any Labateen. However, it was customary for a new mother to remain away from the tribe for ten suns after giving birth, which was yet another trial to help ensure that only the most able would walk amongst the Labateen. Leah took the time to make dyes from nearby plants and berries, being well versed in the art of marking. Indeed, as the daughter of an Elder and wife of the tribe’s Dorma, Leah was expected to be an exemplary marker and healer.

She carefully dyed her infant’s head, hands, and feet deep black, all signs that the child was one with God’s earth by thought and deed. She repeated the procedure over the coming days until the rich dyes were absorbed by Kara’s skin, hiding any sign of the blemish. When the day came to rejoin the tribe, friends and relatives saw the baby’s markings and she was quickly dubbed “Kara,” meaning, “Companion of God.” Many in the tribe thought it odd that Leah didn’t change Kara’s markings as the child matured, but few dared question a Labateen aristocrat. The query might be seen as an insult, and only blood could assuage such folly. The ploy served well in giving Leah’s daughter time to grow a thick and luxurious mane of dark red locks that hid the sin, at least until the age of ascension.

The spear’s tip was nearly ready, and Kara examined it in detail. A good spear and sharp knife were as essential as stealth, speed, and strength when hunting. Yet the hunt had gone poorly for seven suns, and Kara did not know why. Normally, late spring provided ample game, although one had to be ever watchful for the swift grenlobs that followed the migratory herds. The large, bipedal reptiles were armed with sickle-shaped claws and serrated teeth that turned many hunters into prey. However, a hunting party of Labateen was more than a match for any animal. Even a small party could bring down a tork, a hulking, wooly, four-legged brute with a nasal horn taller than a man. Yet tribal lore aptly described a lone hunter as the personification of a “sad thing,” and Kara was reduced to stalking relatively small rodents and marsupials, with an occasional fish supplementing a meager vegetarian diet.

She preferred hunting in the nude. But it was a chilly morning, so Kara donned a pair of well-worn moccasins and the long rawhide tunic her mother once wore. Although much-patched, the tunic was one of Kara’s prized keepsakes, and as she put it on thoughts of that terrible day wafted anew. The Right of Ascension takes place during the 14th springtime of every Labateen’s life, and the ritual is overseen by the tribe’s Elders. For women, Ascension entails having the head shaved with dull blades, being tattooed with sacred symbols, and silently enduring purification via the excruciatingly slow application of steaming hot water to the clitoris. The unremitting pain often caused visions, and these were a blessing from God if their meaning could be divined.

New title suggestions for Luney Writers anthology

As most of you know, I have been putting together an anthology where I am going to be donating all the proceeds to the pediatric cardiology office in the Cohen Children’s Medical Center of NY (formerly LIJ).

Presently, the anthology is called Luney Writers. However, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and have come to realize that this title just does not flow well with what the anthology is about.  It contains 30 poems and short stories, and should be available in ebook and paperback come the beginning of June.

I have created a poll after discussing the potential title changes with the participating members.  Now it is up to you to help us decide which title you like better!  Remember to say the title with “An Anthology” at the end of it.

Thanks for your help!