Never underestimate your experience when it comes to writing a novel. I’m not talking about writing a fictional account of your life in semi-autobiographical fashion, rather using what you’ve learned to create a fascinating story. Some of the best novels have characters not so much copied completely from real life, but pieced together with certain traits that made the people interesting. Building on brief encounters along your journey can also bring interesting results. Continue reading
Phantom Owl Press
Gerald William Shaw has worked as a writer and editor for books, newspapers, magazines and online sites. His latest edited books include The Blood Feud, The Blood Tie and the soon-to-be-released The Blood Trail by Shelley Young, and Vibrations: A Psychic Journey by Tammie Whalen Buckler. He is also an author and ghostwriter.
The Louisiana Purchase and the Apollo Program were two major U.S. policies, a century-and-a-half apart, which eliminated fierce competitors in our quest for the freedom to expand our horizons. They provided voyages into new frontiers with the promise of prosperity. In one case, it worked. In the other, it looked really good until recently. Continue reading
Do you wake up thinking you’re in a Groundhog decade? That’s kinda like a Groundhog Day feeling; only the decade keeps repeating itself over and over. Money is tight, the future looks bleak and you don’t know who’s spying on you while reading this. OK, so you took a big hit from the market in the last few years and swore off risky investing. Or maybe you’re a beginner looking for easy ways to get started. Continue reading
Sometimes I feel at one with John Galt, even if it isn’t on purpose. The hero of Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, stopped the motor of the world by convincing the men and women of the mind to go on strike, thus rendering society dysfunctional and rebuilding it from the ashes. Although going on strike sounds somewhat impractical, and unproductive, you can always turn off the rest of the world by continuing to go your own way Continue reading
It never ceases to amaze me how people don’t understand that Mort Sahl remains an equal opportunity political satirist. Let him lampoon a Democratic President and even fans of his will question his negativity. How dare he bash a sitting occupant of the White House (especially one who severely deserves it)! I notice this reaction from Sahl’s Twitter and Facebook remarks. “Move the clock forward four years so you can miss Barack Obama,” he recently tweeted. Or, “Will Obama improve? He hasn’t got the Constitution for it.”
And liberals just don’t have the stomach for it. In comedy world, it seems you’re only allowed to insult the other side. That’s not satire. It’s boot licking. Sahl reminds people that if the boot fits, wear it with his compliments.
He’s going amazingly strong long after first rousing audiences with his unique brand of wit at the Hungry i and the Purple Onion clubs in San Francisco in the 1950s, sometimes substituting for Lenny Bruce while the controversial comic served stints in jail. Unlike Bruce, Sahl never used profanity to get his point across. His points were well made as America’s most popular satirist in TV and movies. He appeared on the cover of Time magazine flanked by Kennedy and Nixon during the 1960 Presidential campaign. He wrote jokes for Kennedy and later took him on as President.
“You can be sure whoever is elected President, I will attack him,” he often said during campaign season. Today’s comics, who should last so long, could take many lessons from Sahl. Continue reading
I’ve had my share of highs and lows. I make right decisions and wrong decisions as I try, sometimes in vain, to get back up. But progress seems to occur out of the blue — with those little miracles that keep helping me feel positive about what the next day brings. I learn to look forward to those small steps that take me higher. There’s only so much you can do. Things just work out, even if a little bit at a time, when you learn to turn it over and understand there is more order in the world than we will ever know.
Work-related issues or financial difficulties can seem like enormous barriers to happiness at times. Stress and anxiety trigger a cycle that results in damage to your mental, emotional and physical well-being. The worry that surrounds you during these times can produce a negative impact on your health. Research shows that stress not only hinders your body’s immune system, but also contributes to heart disease risks. Mental stress may increase harmful cholesterol levels, according to a study reported in the November 2005 issue of the American Psychological Association’s “Health Psychology.”
A healthy diet and regular physical activity help avoid those unwanted effects of stress — but so do turning it over, letting it go or putting God in the driver’s seat, however you wish to describe it. It might all come down to accepting change and following the current, instead of fighting it.
“If we can learn to tap into our innate wisdom and intuition we will gradually become able to discern the difference between our fears based on insecurities versus our soul trying to steer us into the flow of least resistance,” notes Sandra Carrington-Smith in Housekeeping for the Soul: A Practical Guide to Restoring Your Inner Sanctuary. Change might produce fears, but accepting change provides opportunities for new discoveries about your abilities and strengths. Turn it over, and don’t be surprised by the little miracles.
The health of your dog, cat or other domestic pet probably plays a key role in your daily life. The attention you pay to your devoted companion tells a lot about yourself. Indeed, some of us spend more time on our pets than we do for our own needs! Don’t know how many times I’ve thought how my beagle, Yogi, eats better than I do.
The doggies and kitties aren’t complaining about their special treatment, but make sure you give attention to your health as well. In most cases, people who keep their pets in shape also lead a healthy lifestyle. We care about the friends we depend on and the creatures around us. Some animals aren’t so fortunate. It can get downright sad and depressing reading or hearing about an abandoned or mistreated animal.
It’s easy to take care of the problem yourself if a pet in need happens to be in your neighborhood. We sometimes realize, however, how many other dogs, cats and furry friends are in trouble in areas everywhere. We wish we could instantly help, but it’s just not possible. That’s when outstanding animal charities come to the rescue. These charities are run by people who love animals and do everything possible to save and bring them back to health.
You probably know about some of these great people in your community through your local veterinarians or pet-friendly groups. There are also animal charities that provide life-saving services for pets throughout the country and all over the world. Local organizations can steer you toward the most reputable charities. You can also read about some of the most respected animal charities. Or join in making your own recommendations and suggestions here.
Stress and anxiety often create tension, which can tense the muscles throughout your body. This compounds the irritability you already have and results in physical symptoms or ailments. The vicious cycle may cause ongoing anxiety. Some people suffer from anxiety disorders, mental health issues that exaggerate or emphasize everyday stress.
A certain amount of stress and anxiety can’t be avoided. Sometimes it helps you to overcome daily obstacles. However, when your anxiety starts to feel overwhelming, simple exercises can help relieve stress and return normal functioning. Just a few minutes a day with these exercises helps prevent the stress and anxiety that affect your daily activities. Set aside time for deep breathing, visualization or progressive muscle relaxation. I wrote about these and other easy exercises for Livestrong . . . read more.
Life should always be a celebration, especially when you look and feel good. Unsightly and undeserved marks or spots on your skin hinder those wonderful feelings you should be experiencing. No matter what age you are, blemishes or sudden breakouts can really ruin a day. Super charge your self-confidence by not only eating fresh, whole foods, but also by treating your skin to gifts from Mother Nature.
The products you put on your face and body are no different than the substances you eat. You wouldn’t enjoy munching on hazardous chemicals, so why soak your skin with synthetic ingredients that trigger those breakouts! Promises of clear skin from medication formulas or skin care preparations aren’t fulfilled when those commercial brands contain harmful additives, preservatives and fragrances. Yes, even many acne medications include chemicals that only temporarily relieve your skin problems. They dry your skin tissue excessively, so your skin cells can’t regenerate properly or naturally. Hence, the unexpected blemishes pop up.
Healthy, organic food goes hand in hand with genuine organic skin care. Enhance your appearance naturally, boost your self-confidence and celebrate the day . . . Read more