Dear Hollywood Producers…

I see a lot of reboots going on in Hollywood.  So what’s the dang deal?  Seriously, what’s going on? 

I can only assume that Hollywood big wigs have been locked against their will in a cellar. And as an added punishment they’re forced to read books that are generic, overdone,  and have watered down plots. To remedy this, they come up with the brilliant idea to reboot movies. 

This is like taking a nice big bite of your chip, spitting it into the bowl of salsa, only to look down in delighted surprise and say,  “Oh look! A chip!”

I don’t want to see another 7 Harry Potter (definitely not a snub to Harry Potter, it’s just done..let’s keep moving). I don’t want to see Transformers 99. I don’t want to see Not-So-Fast and the Geritol  (sorry Vin, I love you).

I want a movie that’s original, gripping, truly cerebral in its twists and turns, and sends me tumbling down a path I try to claw out from.  I want to watch a movie with a plot so unique, I sit with jaw open and eyes glazed over from the shock.  I want to see,  AND PAY, for a movie I haven’t seen before.  Sometimes a reboot is necessary.  But not every damn movie.  And keep your hands off iconic movies like Rocky Horror Picture Show,  and any Hughes movie. And just because it’s my soap box and I can say what I want, stop “adding to back story” or “picking up from” because you’re doing it wrong. So wrong. 

I tell you what.  Call me.  I read.  A lot.  You want original? How about this…scope the indie scene and make someone’s dreams come true.  Make a movie from some of these talented authors who get @$$ bent by snobs and corporations who say,  “Indie authors aren’t real authors”. Break the rules.  I dare you.  Sign an author that isn’t writing shite just to fulfill a contract. Sign an author that hits the keys every day to entertain their readers.  Take your nose out of each others rectums and put it in a book that has a storyline you’ve never seen before. 

Need help?  Troll Facebook and twitter.  They’re saturated with them. 

Have a favorite indie book you’d love to see made into a movie?  Comment below!

When do we take responsibility?

Yesterday/Last Night, Typhoon Texas was admonished for an event that got out of control. This is a brand new business that has landed here in Katy, Texas, and the event was for a Christian Teen “Lock-In” party.

From Channel 2 News, Houston

Although many parents have complained, Typhoon Texas says attendees did not follow policy and therefore were forced to leave.

“Individuals or groups who violate our code of conduct are subject to removal. These policies are posted on the property,” a spokesperson for Typhoon Texas said.

From Covering Katy:
“This business should be shut down till they figure out how to run it safely. They had the nerve to tell us no refunds, just come back another day and we can reuse our tickets. I will never go back,” Miller said.

I think the most important thing to note is that parents dropped their kids off and left them there. I don’t care how old my teenager is, if there’s a lock-in I want to know all details and if my child will in fact be “locked in”, what happens if there’s an emergency, and who will be in charge of ensuring their safety. I’d probably go so far as to chaperon the event because A.) there’s water (where the heck do they rest, sleep if tired, etc) and B.) uhh, they’re teenagers being locked up together. The equivalent of herding rabid raccoon.

Parents — I cannot stress this enough: Take accountability. If your child is part of a rowdy crowd, cussing (at a Christian event) at lifeguards (did you catch that word lifeguard..you know, the person in charge of your child’s life if they get into trouble in the water because they are drowning. Not “babysitter”), and splashing water around sound equipment and putting peoples’ lives in danger… Please own up to it and stop blaming the business. Having a party means you have proper adult supervision. Shame on you for attacking a company that’s brand new because you have misbehaving spawn.

This is Katy, Texas. Quite, suburbia. Teens have turned to drugs because there’s nothing to do that doesn’t cost a parent a small fortune. $700 for “tumbling” or “gymnastics”, don’t even ask how much football camp is. This is Texas. It’s a religion, here. The best free/cheap thing to do is Alamo Draft House, who puts out inexpensive showtimes for kids/family during the summer, but it’s geared mostly for younger kids.

Let me tell you what the teens have in Katy, Texas.
1. The Mall
2. The Park (in 1 million degree weather, fire ants, flooding)
3. Neighborhood Swimming Pools

That’s pretty much the extent of it. How do I know? I have lived here with four (4) teenage boys. I try to keep them busy with allowing them to play music. You know what we’re met with? Police calls! At 3pm, in daylight, by neighbors opposed to hearing drums. Apparently, they’d rather hear nothing. Or maybe gunfire? The kids are bored, and restless and you give them something positive like a Splash Park and what do parents do? Spit in their face.

I’m in no way employed or affiliated with the Splash Park. I don’t know if the slides are death traps. I don’t know if the staff is rude. I have no idea who owns this park. What I do know is it is shameful when you can’t even take responsibility for not properly planning and executing your own event, and watching over your own children, because you feel a sense of entitlement or lack of accountability.

Spend time with your own kids.

I’m sure I’ll get a lot of negative feedback for this. You know what? I don’t care. I’ve been a chaperon to many field trips where there weren’t enough parents and I’ve had to discipline children who thought it was OK to run amok in a museum.

My own children have misbehaved, I’m not perfect. However, I do try to be there to help and not expect teachers to be babysitters. People wonder why there’s no more field trips? I wouldn’t take some of these kids in public either. I’ve been cussed out by kids 10 and up because I asked them to line up and get ready to board the bus. I’ve seen kids sneaking off to hop fences. When my group was supposed to be 5-10 children, I’ve had to double up because the parent that promised to be there, didn’t show up.

By the way, if you’re looking for something to do with your kids other than teaching them that shopping and eating is all there is to do: Visit Typhoon Texas who has brought a family splash park and commerce to Katy, Texas.

http://www.typhoontexas.com

Trying to Keep it Up

fb_img_1458961349994.jpgAs you all know, the past month (at least, I lost track) has been filled with storms, rain, flooding, rinse and repeat, here in Texas. It has been gloom, to say the very least. I suffer from severe migraines and have, up until now, had them under control until this weather began. The entire month is a blur and I have to refer to my notes to figure out where I am and where I left off. I’ve been trying to truck through and keep my head up, but then I got some weird cold or plague, whichever. (laughing) My head is pounding and I’d like to rip my own tonsils out. This blog has suffered a little for it, so I apologize. I was doing so well in keeping up with it.

Regardless of how I feel, life still goes on around us. I’m grateful for that because it keeps me from slipping into the dark abyss that is my bed, where it’s nice and warm and gives me a reason to emerge every day. It may only be an hour or two at a time, but it’s progress!

One thing that I look forward to is writing. I promised myself I would write a little everyday. Even if its ideas for other books. I set a little time aside for me to  be creative and purge the ideas that were backlogged in my head.

La Plaga is creeping up on me again, so I will bid you all a good day until I emerge from the lair again. Until then, keep writing.

Post the first line of chapter one in the comments below, let’s inspire one another!

The Immortal Sols: A work in progress

When Darkness is infiltrated by a light it is up to Ladon, the Lord of the Dragons to seek out the source and destroy it. He soon learns that any attempt to damage the source becomes an attack on himself. The King tries to keep it a secret as the law states that any sovereign in a weakened state may be challenged in a match to the death.

Will Ladon learn how to destroy the source?
Or will his brethren learn of his secret and destroy him first?

Welcome to the Reign of the De Sols

Family Tree
https://www.wattpad.com/story/74573941-the-immortal-sols

The Unhowling: A Work in Progress

793 A.D. Northumberland, England
Lindisfarne Monastery

Alkuin is a banished priest who struggles to maintain a secret held far from the reach of the people of England when an attack by a Viking ship forces him to unleash a beast so dangerous it could change mankind forever. The Catholic Church called it an abomination but will it save them from a fate much worse?

Follow me here to get teasers and glimpses into my WIPs (Works in Progress): https://www.wattpad.com/story/74576047-the-unhowling

The Unhowling

Just a little sick of it…

I’m going to rant today. I really need it. I’m sick of keeping things bottled up and fearing the repercussions of what might occur if I spoke up about my own feelings. But not anymore. Because my feelings are right. They are feelings of anger for the violence that is committed against innocent lives. It’s anger directed at people that commit these acts and it has nothing to do with race, creed, religion, or any other of the protected classes. Just want to make that infinitely clear before I begin. Although the words will be wasted on those that will see nothing but those things regardless of how much you, or I, or anyone try to avoid being misconstrued.

It’s time that our people. And when I say “our people” I’m talking to you. The Person reading this, regardless of what color your skin is. I am talking about our People, the Humans on this earth. It is time for us to stand up, link hands and form a barrier around our children. Crimes against our children are the most heinous of all crimes.They didn’t ask to be here. They didn’t have a choice in being born.

What infuriates me the most is when I post an article about one of these innocents and the first thing I see is a comment about the article being racially skewed.

Hello? A child was murdered.

The second thing that happens is a heated conversation repeatedly going back to “but the article is trying to point out their race and the writers are racist!”

Wake up. A child has died.

The third thing I see is, “why are oppressors surprised when the oppressed raise up”

What is wrong with you? A. Child. Has. Died.

This has nothing to do with me, you, our agenda, our crisis, our thoughts. Your thoughts and my thoughts should be for the lost soul ripped from the world in a brutal, sadistic way at the hands of another human being.

I say, “I’m not getting into a racial debate, a child was lost” and my commentors say, “It’s still exits even if it makes you uncomfortable.”

I’m uncomfortable that a child has died and you want to point out the reason that child has died being a race thing. I grew up in a neighborhood where 40% made it out. Blood is red, folks. I lost friends that I grew up with my whole life to violence. Do I feel vengeful? Damn right I do. But not to their children who had nothing to do with the violence their parents perpetrated upon my loved ones. Do I feel an all consuming desire to do harm to some of them. Oh, yes. It festers deep inside me like a chronic, end stage disease. It worms its way into my organs and blackens my heart…but not for their children.

You see, I believe we are all responsible for our own actions. Some actions may have been inspired by another, but they do not decide our fate.

If a person dropped to the ground before me, I wouldn’t stop to check what skin color they were or if they were really a naturally born male or female. I wouldn’t ask, “What is your religion?” I would get down on my knees and breathe life back into them.

Now, I’ve been accused of making things “about me”. Well yeah. Who else is it about? If I don’t do something or speak up, who else will? If I don’t keep my heart from shutting off in eternal apathy, who will do that for me? And when I post to my own (censored) Facebook page, it really is about me and how I feel. It’s the experience that I go through reading about sick crimes committed by sick people. Because Death is as indiscriminate as your God is.

And what if this was a woman who was raped? Would you find some justification for that, too? Or would it depend on what color she was?

My skin has many colors.

I’m Greek. I’m Puerto Rican. I’m Native American. I’m African American.

None of that matters. My blood is RED.

And right now it’s boiling. Where were my brothers and sisters of these “races” when I was growing up? None of them embraced this half breed. None of them believed me when I told them my last name really is Vasquez. It’s not by marriage or adoption. Or the snide looks when I say, “I don’t speak Greek, I’m sorry.”

I had no control over this. But I do have control over what I do with how I was treated. I feel sadness for those that identify with a heritage they had no control over and let it define them in everything. When they let the past dictate their future. When they make excuses for what was done to their race in the past and don’t face the opportunities given to them today.

Here’s a (not so) brief history lesson: 

  1. Slavery was very common in ancient Greece. Some estimate that in Athens, around the fifth century, there was the equivalent of one slave to every free person in the city. Anyone with even a modest income typically owned a slave or two to help in the household or family business.
  2. African slaves were very expensive during the late 1600s (50 Sterling). Irish slaves came cheap (no more than 5 Sterling). If a planter whipped or branded or beat an Irish slave to death, it was never a crime. A death was a monetary setback, but far cheaper than killing a more expensive African. The English masters quickly began breeding the Irish women for both their own personal pleasure and for greater profit. Children of slaves were themselves slaves, which increased the size of the master’s free workforce. Even if an Irish woman somehow obtained her freedom, her kids would remain slaves of her master. Thus, Irish moms, even with this new found emancipation, would seldom abandon their kids and would remain in servitude.
  3. In time, the English thought of a better way to use these women (in many cases, girls as young as 12) to increase their market share: The settlers began to breed Irish women and girls with African men to produce slaves with a distinct complexion. These new “mulatto” slaves brought a higher price than Irish livestock and, likewise, enabled the settlers to save money rather than purchase new African slaves. This practice of interbreeding Irish females with African men went on for several decades and was so widespread that, in 1681, legislation was passed “forbidding the practice of mating Irish slave women to African slave men for the purpose of producing slaves for sale.” In short, it was stopped only because it interfered with the profits of a large slave transport company.
  4. A reductive view of the American past might note two major, centuries-long historical sins: the enslavement of stolen Africans and the displacement of Native Americans. In recent years, a new wave of historians of American slavery has been directing attention to the ways these sins overlapped. The stories they have uncovered throw African slavery—still the narrative that dominates our national memory—into a different light, revealing that the seeds of that system were sown in earlier attempts to exploit Native labor. The record of Native enslavement also shows how the white desire to put workers in bondage intensified the chaos of contact, disrupting intertribal politics and creating uncertainty and instability among people already struggling to adapt to a radically new balance of power.

And if you’re thoroughly pissed off? Please direct your anger to this and do something about it:

People think they know everything about slavery in the United States, but they don’t. They think the majority of African slaves came to the American colonies, but they didn’t. They talk about 400 hundred years of slavery, but it wasn’t. They claim all Southerners owned slaves, but they didn’t. Some argue it was a long time ago, but it wasn’t. ( Daina Ramey Berry, University of Texas)

  • Globally, the average cost of a slave is $90.
  • Trafficking primarily involves exploitation which comes in many forms, including: forcing victims into prostitution, subjecting victims to slavery or involuntary servitude and compelling victims to commit sex acts for the purpose of creating pornography.
  • According to some estimates, approximately 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19% involves labor exploitation.
  • There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today.
  • According to the U.S. State Department, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, of which 80% are female and half are children.

WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PREJUDICE NOW?
Mine is RED.

Getting personal with Sitched Smiles Publications and Lisa Vasquez

From the Roadie Notes! This interview was a pleasure to do. Thank you, Becky and Jeff!

Roadie Notes

Written by: A.J. Brown and Becky Narron

I have met many authors, bloggers and publishers in my journey in the publishing and writing business, but none of them quite like Lisa Vasquez and Stitched Smiles Publications. Lisa has a fire burning in her for this business that you can see a million miles away. She demands the best from her staff and authors and they are all happy to oblige her. She refuses to put out crap and will not bend the rules on that. She is a force to be reckoned with and will happily slay any demons that come her way. She has a great team of editors that work tirelessly, and a marketing manager that will make your head spin with her amazing skills, as well as a video department working on incredible things.

It isn’t about the publisher for her. It is about the authors…

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