Monthly Archives: November 2013

YOU MADE THE CORRIDOR OF DARKNESS PARTY A SUCCESS!

Great launch party supporting both author, Patrick W. O’Bryon and Fat Kitty City.

Patrick W. O'Bryon

Thursday’s book launch  for Corridor of Darkness: a Novel of Nazi Germany was not only a great party (over 110 came to Mraz Brewing Company), but your generous contributions raised over $400 for Fat Kitty City non-profit animal sanctuary (http://www.fatkittycity.org). My heartfelt thanks to all of you gracious supporters who turned out for the gathering, or contributed even though you couldn’t attend.

As the next photo shows, some cats are already celebrating your generosity. (Sorry, couldn’t track down a source for this shot: these cats know how to keep their secrets!)

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And for all of you who are now reading Corridor of Darkness, don’t forget to post your rating of the novel and a word or two of comment on Amazon when you finish. Just go to Amazon.com and write in Corridor of Darkness in the search box, then click on the novel’s title.

Again, thanks for your support. The…

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It’s the Year 2040: What are you doing?

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This looks like an ordinary chess piece, and I would say that it is quite ordinary, except that it was made by 3D laser sintering, or a 3D copying machine.  Look closely and you will see that this rook/castle is complete with little tiny doors and a spiral staircase inside. My husband brought it home from work at Lockheed Martin and I am sure those guys/gals don’t sit around making chess pieces all day.  (Well, one day they did.) Whatever they do, it’s probably classified.  I have seen this machine and it takes up half a room.

This chess piece sits on my desk where I write and got me thinking about our future. I am working on a vague series outline of my WIP and I anticipate future books that will be written into the future.  So I decided to look up where this technology is going.

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Among others, I ran across this article on Strong Blogs posted by Michael Armstrong, May 24, 2013, and it really got me thinking about our future as humans, and where we will be in the next twenty-five to thirty years.  This is a brief excerpt explaining the “bionic ear”:

“Scientists at Princeton University have designed a bionic ear that can hear better than human ears. And get this: It was printed using an off-the-shelf 3D printer. ‘The result was a fully-functional organ that can hear radio frequencies a million times higher than our human ears,’ lead researcher Michael McAlpine says.”

“The way that our ear hears now is we pick up acoustic signals and then we convert those into electrical signals that go to our brain,” said McAlpine, who is an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton. “What this ear does is it has this electronic coil on it and it picks up electronic signals directly.”

Creating this bionic ear was not really intended for those who are deaf or don’t have ears, McAlpine said, but rather: “The idea of this was: can you take a normal, healthy, average human and give them superpower that they wouldn’t normally have?”

What I find so very interesting about this, is that the piece was not created on some $35,000.00 machine at some high tech prototype company. It was created on a small $1000.00 machine at a University laboratory. From what I understand in another article by Michael Armstrong, is that this technology might soon be available to the average Joe, as the laser sintering patents that keep these units unaffordable will be expiring in February 2014. Also interesting to me is the fact that the “bionic ear”  was exclusively created for the purpose of giving humans superpowers.

Back in the 80s, when I was nursing student, there was a TV show called The Six Million Dollar Man. The Six Million Dollar Man was an American television series about a former astronaut with bionic implants working for a fictional government office known as OSI. The series is based on the Martin Caidin novel Cyborg, which was the series’ proposed title during pre-production.6M$Mfront.MD Lee Majors played the part of a superhero super human in a realistic crime drama.  He had an eye that could see detail for miles, an arm with superhuman strength, and legs that made him capable of running at miraculous speeds.  If I recall correctly, his hearing was superb, also. He was a perfect crime fighter and gave the comic book hero superman an added dimension. So this is nothing new.  There are tons of other books, many written years ago, forecasting this very thing, so, not a new idea.

The new, to me, is that we are there.

When my former husband and kids watched this show, I felt it was silly and contrived, totally unrealistic. After all, I had passed five chemistry classes with flying colors, microbiology and human anatomy and physiology…anything like this would be light years down the road…wrong.  It is here.

More significantly, where are we going from here?

My 91 y o grandmother in the 80s nearly fell over the first time she saw a microwave oven thaw hamburger meat without cooking it.  A few years ago I gave my smartphone to a 100 y o woman who had lived in a Nursing Home for nearly 20 years, with Netflix playing.  I tried to explain and demonstrate what it was.  She thought it was a, “Cute toy.”  Now you can actually operate your microwave oven from miles away with your smartphone.zipel_1 Where will we be in 25-30 years?  Will we be driving electric cars with recharging stations set up in parking garages?  Will we have computer screens in our coffee tables or built into our eyeglasses?  Will our televisions truly project holographic 3-D images right into our living rooms that are capable of interacting with us? Will we be able to turn on, turn up, and turn off our senses?  Are we going to develop a whole class of wealthy bionic people? Instead of plastic surgery for vanity, we’ll get new, improved body parts.  Are we all going to be electronically “chipped” or tattooed like our pets, for safety and health, passports, credit cards purchases?article-2025102-0D65255300000578-461_468x360They already have these temporary tattoos for less invasive vital signs monitoring in hospitals. I am not speaking of science fiction that forecasts the future centuries away or millennia away. I recently ran across something that I wrote shortly after high school, and I forecast microwave ovens, smartphones, laptops, and iPads….but I had to laugh out loud at the names I had given such devices.  If you write into the future does it bother you that it might come off as rather silly to future readers?

Granted, in the year 2040 I’ll be 80 years old, but seriously what do you think?  Realistically, what are your expectations?  Also, what do you want for the future?

1954

Forbidden. Outlawed.

Unfortunate circumstance.

Yet, you made my heart dance.

Cloud brought down from heaven above

To touch my lips with your love.

Dark and lonely life filled with strife

That you, fair one, cannot begin to understand.

Daring to care and share the joy found in feeling.

“Vulgar,” they would say about the display of our affection.kiss-1

And still you turn to me, and call me your golden apple.

Dropped from a tree with sturdy roots deep in an

Earth you can only wander on with trepidation.

Wrap your ebony branches around my ivory limbs,

You beg, and cover me with your green leaves of envy.

Shield me from that which seeks to separate us.

Bring peace to the minds of those who fail to know

The sweetness of amour in any color of the rainbow.

The livid can die alone and bereft,

Taking their hatred with them.

Freedom forgotten.

Released. Allowed.

~S.K. Nicholls

image: phototbucket

Under Construction

A worthy read that will have you thinking about how far we have come and where we are going as writers. Take a look!

Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

 

“The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.”

Charles Dickens

 

 I’ve been thinking about construction, construction in its many guises. For the past few weeks, we’ve been in the process of having our bathroom remodeled. It’s the only bathroom in our house, so we’ve put it off and put it off for many years, but it was finally time—the tub was leaking, and the massive amounts of caulking that my husband and a contract applied was merely a Band-Aid, a temporary bandage covering a serious wound. We’ve lived in this house for about 26 years, and the bathroom was old then. Over the years, we (“we” meaning my husband) replaced bits and pieces—the toilet, the window—and painted, papered, and trimmed, but it was time…

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Trick or Treat, Smell my Feet, Give Me Something Good to Eat

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My pug is overweight. My husband is overweight. I am overweight.  We eat well. I am a good cook.  I hate denying myself of the pleasures in life, but I would love to live to see 60.  I am looking forward to growing old with my husband.

I am a nurse.  I have taken advanced nutrition classes. I know about healthy lifestyles and corrective behaviors, but it is all easier said than done.

Last year my doctor did the hgbA1C test.  That’s the one where they can see how your blood sugar has spiked over the past three months.  Unlike a simple blood sugar test where they see where you are at with your blood sugar at any one moment in time, this test is a long range predictor.

Mine, and my husband’s, showed that we were both pre-diabetic.  We had hit that 6.0 mark that indicates some major lifestyle changes or you are heading for oral antidiabetic agents, insulin, and major complications if you can’t keep it under control.  One of those complications being death.  This sort of adult onset diabetes is almost always preventable.  Sure, some are more genetically predisposed to it, but even they can take certain measures to get and keep things in check; like losing weight, eliminating or controlling carbs, avoiding refined sugar, exercising.

So, last year, I put us on a diet that involved the glycemic index.  The object is to eat only those foods which have a combined average glycemic index (GI) of 55 or less.  Meats and alcoholic beverages have a zero glycemic index, so I was okay there.  Green and yellow vegetables have a glycemic index of 25 or less (except sweet potatoes and white potatoes, sweet potatoes are as high as 85 but the nutritional value when combined with other foods is enormous, so not so bad, and white potatoes, except for the little red new ones, are pure carb trash for your system whether you bake it and eat with no butter or not, so those are out), so our veggies were fine. Most fruits are okay at around 60 but not juices as they are concentrated sugars whether sugar is added or not. Carbs have to be watched carefully.  I told you about potatoes, but breads, pasta, and rice can vary by both the type of grain and the method of cooking or preparation.  For example, that luscious, fragrant Jasmine rice you love so much with stir-fry, has a GI of 87, while brown rice and basmati have a GI of only 57-58.  Candy, cake, pie, ice cream, non-diet sodas, all the sweet stuff, a big no, no!   It’s a complex diet that requires much research, but once you learn what you can have, it is relatively easy to plan meals and even eat out without too much worry.  It is very similar to the Atkins diet, but a bit stricter, because there are so many foods that you must totally eliminate.

In addition to the diet, we got a treadmill and started walking daily.  We got an exercise bike and started peddling three times a week.  Last summer, I swam every single day, 7 days a week, for an hour to an hour and a half.   I stopped skipping breakfast (a practice that tricks your body into storing fat for survival). I was feeling better.  Are you ready?

I lost 48 pounds over the course of the year. My husband lost nearly that much.

We were so proud.

Then I plateaued. I stopped losing.  I wasn’t gaining, but I wasn’t losing, so I kicked up the exercise a notch.

Then I hurt my shoulder. Seriously, developed adhesive capsulitis and was in physical therapy for the entire 12 weeks of summer. No pool, no swimming. I would have drowned. Limited exercise. I could barely move my arm without severe pain. Sleepless nights. Steroid injections. Terrible pain.

Still, sticking strictly to the diet, I managed not to gain any weight all summer long.  My food portions were bird sized, but I was eating six times a day.  On rare occasions we would dine out and splurge…very rare. Pizza is actually on the diet plan, so I was okay there.  My weight, though still not at goal, was staying constant.

Halloween comes along.  We buy five huge bags of candy for trick or treaters. We pass out two.  We have three left.  With me being home all day, I have managed to nibble down every last bite of leftover candy in the past two weeks. Mama wouldn’t take it for the granddaughter; it’s all her fault, right? And this is just the beginning of the Holiday Season.

Where am I?  I stepped on the scales today. OMG! Twelve pounds! How does one gain 12 pounds eating Halloween candy?  Twelve pounds in two weeks.  Nearly a pound a day. Nothing else changed…nothing!  Halloween used to be my favorite holiday. I hate you, Halloween!  Next year, I am going to turn off the lights and pretend I am not home.

Blog Culture: Sunday Summations

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Yes, I know it is Monday. I missed my Sunday Summations post yesterday for two reasons:

1)      My weekend was really busy with birthday, company, and having family over, and

2)      I thought it was Saturday.

The first reasons might be acceptable, but the second reason is something that has been troubling me a lot lately.  My brain has been in a fog and I am not entirely sure why. I have been terribly forgetful and lost in my own thoughts when I really should be actively doing other things. I don’t speak of this often on my blog, but I have an anxiety disorder for which I take medication and I also have bipolar disorder for which I take mood stabilizers.  Because of Express Scripts mail order drug company (Don’t get me started.), my meds were late so I did without for about five days and I really think it did weird things to my otherwise fairly normal brain functioning. I know there are those who would argue that my brain is never fairly normal in functioning, but most of the time my thinking is pretty clear.

On to Organization: 

Structure:

  • I have become bored with my blog. I knew this would happen, because I tend to bore easily.  This is one reason I can’t read many books that aren’t action packed.
  • I am thinking of trying new themes, but I haven’t decided yet.  I like my header, and I like the way the menu is set up at the top. I don’t like how the writing space is so narrow and the widget space is so very broad.  The narrow writing space makes my posts appear longer than they are (and long reads can be a turn off).  The broad widget space wastes the writing space with items that make the blog appear very busy.
  • This is an “everything” blog and I am wondering if I should have a blog dedicated to my new genre writing, or just leave it here.  I would like a blog that is more “Crime Fiction” and writing/author focused, but I am wondering if changing the subtitle to my blog might accomplish that goal without getting too scattered all over the blogging map.
  • I would also like to update my about page, so that there are separate about me, and an about this blog sections…somehow.
  • Some of the categories that I don’t contribute to very often are coming out of the header to make room for what I feel are more worthy topics, like resources for writers, and other such things, so you will see some changes there.

People:

  • I met some very interesting people who live alternative lifestyles at the Parliament House and at Cypress Cove Nudist Resort. They would all like to be in my books, and have given me permission to utilize their characters without their names. I am sure that I can work some of these colorful people in somehow. So these contacts should add to the fun of writing.
  • If you are an author, a poet, or a reader and you have not yet met Papi Z at The Literary Syndicate, I highly recommend that you drop by and introduce yourself.  He is a strong supporter of all things literary.
  • If you want to begin your week with laughter you should go by on Mondays and visit with John Howell at Fiction Favorites or Marie Ann Bailey at 1WriteWay and see their collaborative weekly installments of “Ten Top Lists of What Not to Do”.  In fact, you could stop by and see them today!
  • If you, like me, love to travel via your blog (the airfare is more affordable) Anne Bell takes regular trips to India, a place filled with culture and beauty.  You can visit her at Tales Along the Way.  Be sure to look through her categories for the colorful and interesting articles on India.
  • I would also like to introduce you to someone local who is very new to me, Nancy Pate.  She is one third of the Caroline Cousins (three real southern cousins) who published three books, “Fiddle Dee Death”, “Marsh Madness”, and “Way Down Dead in Dixie” under John F. Blair Publisher.  She is another Orlando resident who is a reader, writer, recovering journalist, book critic for Orlando Sentinel 1985-2005, and has a wonderful book review blog at On a Clear Day I Can Read Forever. (Especially if you like crime fiction.)

Process:

  • I am ashamed to admit that I only got 500 words actually written in my WIP which comprised one small, but important scene.  As you can tell, it has been a busy week.
  • In other ways of progress I have made tremendous strides in research for the novel both online and in real life.  I have gotten out visiting some places in Melbourne (where the murder takes place), and here in the Orlando/Kissimmee/St. Cloud area where much of the sleuthing occurs. This included an airboat ride. What fun!  My husband’s first, and he enjoyed it.
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  • I am also joining up with some organizations which will offer me some opportunities and exposure in my writing/book selling efforts.  More about those later.
  • “Red Clay and Roses” has not been forgotten.  If you have had opportunity to read it PLEASE, yes, I am screaming, begging, pleading; write a review somewhere…your blog, Amazon, Goodreads, a personal email to me at sknicholls1@gmail.com , the sidewalk in chalk, graffiti on a wall…somewhere.
  • I recently had a surge in sales, but I have no real idea where those came from, all I know is that I greatly appreciate them and would love to know their opinions on the book.  And, yes, the paperback really is coming soon.

Ideas, thoughts, and suggestions are greatly appreciated!  What did you get accomplished last week?

The Illusions of Eventide Cover Reveal! Sarah M. Cradit

The cover for the third House of Crimson and Clover novel is here!

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The Illusions of Eventide will hit retailers on December 14th, 2013.

Add The Illusions of Eventide to your Goodreads TBR:

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Story Overview

Nicolas Deschanel was betrayed by the only two people who matter to him. Their disloyalty stung and an overwhelming sense of loss lingers. Nicolas has lived the high life professing to not have a care in the world, and now this illusion is calling his bluff.

Determined to take control of an existence now devoid of purpose, he sojourns to his family’s holiday home on the Gulf of Mexico. Resolved more than depressed, he plans to privately say goodbye to a world which no longer needs him. Of questionable fortune, he finds a woman, Mercy, sitting alone on the shore at eventide. Nicolas is conflicted between an obligation to help, and annoyance at her intrusion.

Mercy has many layers of secrets. Deepest of all, she cannot tell this Child of Man she is thousands of years old and very powerful. In her presence, Nicolas’ own dormant powers begin to surface, triggering a sequence of events that cause both of their lives to spiral further out of control. When old friends from both sides come to help, together they all learn a painful truth: new life can only begin once you’ve set free what means the most.

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Click on the image to read the most intriguing character details.

Connect with Author Sarah M. Cradit

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House of Crimson and Clover Series

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St. Charles at Dusk
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The Storm and the Darkness
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Beyond Dusk: Anne
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Also Coming Soon

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Happy Birthday Susan, Never get tired of saying that!

And a very fine poem! Now all I need are the fishnet hose.

readful things blog

So it is your special day

and you’ve got nothing to do

Here are a few ideas from

Charles and I for you…

You could go to the zoo

and pet a giraffe

or you could flash some younger gals

then run away and laugh

You could go to the mall

and make faces in the glass

or you could wear a mini skirt

and tell age to kiss your ass

You could hit up the bars

Get free drinks  all night long

And hanging with the stars

Then break out into song

You could go on a cruise

Head out for a day

Go wherever you choose

And let your worries drift away

You could visit sleep until night

When inhibitions are gone

Party until daylight

Where only the youngsters yawn

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