Thursday, April 29, 2010


When I was a kid, I lived in the city. In the city, everyone had a ‘hustle’ or something they did other than a real job to make money. Even as a kid, I owned my own business. I’d use my allowance money to buy all the candy the kids at school liked, then I’d sell the candy for a higher price at school. I had a distribution service – my three cousins who went to school with me. I had security – my two cousins who were in the 7th and 8th grades, and I had payoffs – the teacher’s that I gave candy to in order to keep them quiet. I ran the operation for about two years before a new principle came to town and shut me and the other school pan-handlers away.

Fast forward to the present, I’m teaching my kids how to get their ‘hustle’ on. Start businesses. Why? Because in any career you may choose to go into – you always have to sell something. You have to sell yourself to get a job, sell a book, a skill you have or the love of your life on why to marry you.

My son followed in his dear old mom’s footsteps. He sold candy at school also – but got shut down by the powers that be (his teachers – lol!). Then he mowed lawns, cleaned garages, painted and worked for his dad’s real estate company to make his own money.


Now as an adult, I know there is not much I can’t accomplish if I put my mind to it. Starting businesses at a young age gives you the confidence to take risk, to think outside the box, not take ‘No’ for an answer, and to pave your own way when doors close. Who would have known that starting that entrepreneur spirit as a kid would lead me into writing. Selling myself as an author is just the beginning – I’ve got a lot more adventures to tackle and being able to get my ‘hustle’ on has allowed me to multi-task my goals and accomplishment.

So kids – start now! Figure out a business; work at honing that spirit and you’ll accomplish more than you ever dreamed possible.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


This past weekend my stint as a volunteer for the MWA writer’s conference ended. I’d volunteered to help out with the recruitment of agents, and it morphed into becoming the only person recruiting and organizing both agents and editors for the conference. At first I was overwhelmed, but as time went on, I gained an awesome intern. The experience was rewarding and educational.


They are the nicest people. Yeah writers you heard me, they rock. They work extremely hard, put in tons of overtime, and still have to be personable all of the time. Most of them that I’ve met personally during my recruitment process are natural sales people. You know how people that do well in sales are personable, adventurous, and passionate about what they sell – well Literary Agents are just that.

These wonderful people read over 100 submissions a week – ON THEIR OWN TIME. During their workday they manage the author’s they’ve signed, have sell meetings where they pitch an author to editors, call publishing contacts and do tons of paperwork.

Oh, and they don’t get paid to do the conferences that run over the weekend – that’s their own time. You know what else – each and every author that these agents came in contact with, they encouraged them, answered their questions, and appreciated the contact.

They have specific guidelines of which to pursue a piece of work and they don’t get to decide what their specialty is. It’s more than a job to them, they love books, they love authors, and they love their job – that’s why they stick with it and give over 200% efforts towards it. Lastly, some burnout quick, and leave the field for an easier, more appreciated career. Wouldn’t you if you were thought to be the bad guy to the very customer you seek to help?


These wonderful people are the ‘inside man/woman’ that pushes for work that an agent sends them. They have to come up with valid support for the publisher to add this manuscript to their list. They also spend their own time reading, editing and working with authors to get the manuscript in the format that will be acceptable to the publisher. You know what else….they work just as hard as Lit Agents, and burn out just as quickly. Lately, they’ve taken on double the workload due to layoffs and cut backs at the larger publishing houses.

*Another nugget: They love authors who are willing to pull up their sleeves and get excited about marketing their product. Wouldn’t you want to hire someone that would work just as hard as you are for the success of the product they created?


Well, if I can toot my own horn here – I will. Strictly by accident, I’d requested that all authors that were scheduled for the MWA pitch sessions submit a query letter and the first five pages of their manuscript. Both the agents and editors told me that they appreciated this read ahead opportunity. They told me that at other conferences THEY DON”T GET TO PREVIEW the query letters or manuscripts of those who come to pitch their novels. What?! Yep, you heard me. So the authors that attended the MWA conference this year, got special attention.

Gosh, was I glad that I didn’t know the protocol for pitch session, lol!


I know what you’re thinking – why should I pay for this when I can just mail them my submission. Trust me – these are sooooooo worth the money. The agents and editors I worked with, admit to reading over 100 submissions on their free time a week. Wouldn’t it be nice to get one-on-one time with an agent and know that they read your stuff before they met with you? I believe because the agents read a sample of the author’s writing prior to the event, several people from our conference were asked to send a partial in. Wow! Many other authors got their questions answered, got quick critiques of their manuscripts and the complete and utter attention of a possible champion for their work.

You know what else – some people were even advised to set up a platform for their book, self – publish first, and to seek out someone to clean up their manuscript for submission.


Conferences are a definite must do, pitch sessions are too – but BE PREPARED, PRACTICE FIRST, and if at all possible, send your submission to the conference organizer and request to send your stuff ahead of time. Also bring hardcopies of your submission to the event. You never know what opportunity may knock at your door.

Lastly, agents and editors are hardworking people who go the extra mile to find a gold nugget in a mass of submissions. Figure out a way to bring your gold to the top.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


As an engineer who has built large applications and databases, I sometimes laugh at the naïveté of travelers on the world ‘wild’ web. It’s not a safe place out there. Every site or ‘street’ you turn down has the ability to haunt you for life.


With all of the advances of socializing, writing, chatting and traveling on the web there is the temptation to drop your manners and be wild. Well remember, ANYTHING you put out there on the World ‘Wild’ Web – NEVER EVER gets destroyed.

That means that twenty years after you blasted out your parents, took naked pictures for your boyfriend, cursed out your boss on a rant site – it can be found.

When you delete content from a site, it does not get deleted from the many replicated data sites that google and other search engines or crawlers have. That means that meta-data or subset of information about whatever you posted is held or copied in the many different search engine databases.

For example: Let’s say you uploaded a picture on photobucket. You named that picture um ‘naughty name’ then after about a year, you delete it from your photobucket website. Now if anyone searched for that item in a year, and the search engine grabbed it – the picture and description may have been copied and saved. So years later when you put in a search – you have an 80% chance that it will pop back up.


I know, I know…you’ve heard this before. Well I am here to tell you that predators are still out there. So set up your social networking accounts with proper privacy settings, and check those private settings continuously. Also, DON’T ever post your personal information (even though someone can plop in your name and find out anything they want about you on peoplesearch – scary thought huh?)


When you are surfing the web, speaking your opinion, or having a wild time at Spring Break – remember you have a future. If something questionable is placed on the web about you – your prospective employer, spouse – even kid may see it. So just for grins and giggles – search yourself on the web. You may be surprised at what you find.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Death At A Funeral - Movie Review

This movie was funny – crack you up, fall over hilarious. I didn’t select this movie for my weekly date night with my husband. He got to pick and I gave him a high five for this one. Of course you’ve seen the previews of the short gay dude that tries to blackmail the sons of the dearly departed, but that is just a scratch on the surface of the boundaries they pushed to get a laugh in this movie. This is funny like the Hangover. The comedians in this movie didn’t hold back with the jokes. They pushed every boundary possible; from bi-racial relationships, father hating the boyfriend, gross care of the sick and elderly, drugged out suicidal boyfriend, jilted lover stalking x-girlfriend to mother-in-law calling out the daughter-in-laws lack to produce an heir.

Trust me, what I mentioned before didn’t even cover half of the laughable circumstances in this movie. I left the theatre still chuckling to myself. If you want to see a movie that will make you laugh, cry, and laugh some more - check this one out. I give it 4 out of 5 stars, only because there was really no storyline to it. The movie was Just a conglomeration of laughs that poured into one another.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Having teenagers in the house is fun. It makes me realize that not much has changed since I was a kid. Some things are more out in the open, but we all know that history repeats itself. Unfortunately, when it repeats – it’s usually worse the second time around.

Designer Only

When I was in High School, if you didn’t wear designer jeans, shoes or clothes – you were definitely not in the ‘in’ crowd. Usually, your day would start off with an inspection of your clothes by your peers and if you didn’t have on the right digs you were teased all day. Matter of fact, every day you’d pay for that one infraction of dressing different from the crowd.

Today is no different. My son insists that his tennis shoes be designer. That means I’m paying about $100 plus per pair. I have four kids and just can’t afford it. So, what’s a mom to do? Well, I go to the flea market where they sell new shoes but at a price I can haggle over. It saves me about $30 or so bucks to purchase them this way, but it allows me to buy him those designer jeans, t-shirts and hats he desires. Now my kid is no slouch, he works and saves his money for these coveted items. His insatiable desire to look cool didn’t hit him until High School, but in the inner city where I grew up – babies wore designer wear. Huh? Yep, you heard me, in certain communities people will spend their money on designer clothes for their kid and not even have a car of their own.

Cool Cars Only

The other thing required by a cool teen, seems to be a nice car. Now that doesn’t mean it has to be new or even a sports car. It means it has to have a decent paint job and be comfortable for friends to ride in. However, when I grew up – if you had a dang car you were cool. Considering I spent tons of my travel time on buses and metro trains.

My first car was a bright yellow, Chevette. You couldn’t tell me nothing about my baby. I got it when I was 17yr old. I’d saved $400 and paid half of the sticker price towards it. My mom came up with the other half.

Now my kid wants a newer car. Well, I’m mom and want to get him everything he desires, but for a bargain. So I’m going to the car auctions to pick him up a stick shift (my evil plan is that he won’t be able to talk on the cell phone or text if he has to shift gears to drive).


Many of times while I was growing up, I realized that kid’s that desired these expensive totem’s of coolness were forced to steal, barter, borrow or work in order to get these things that helped them to fit in. My cousin had even gotten beat up over his shoes. Hopefully, in time being cool will mean being different. Creating your own style and setting trends. Unfortunately though, history just has a way of repeating.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Unique Paths to Publication

I attended the Annapolis Book Festival as a guest author and got a little star struck at the wonderful authors present. I was on the YA Author Panel. Check out thier books in the photo.

Here's the YA Author Panel List:

Paula Chase-Hyman—That’s What’s Up
Caroline Hickey—Isabelle’s Boyfriend
Maggie Mei Lewis—Moonlight Memoirs - Remembering That Family and Friends are Forever
Diana Peterfreund— Tap & Gown: An Ivy League Novel; Rampant
Fish Stark - Our Budding new author on the road to publication
L.M. Preston—Explorer X—Alpha (your's truly)

So many of the different author's I met at the conference and networking at author events had different roads to publication, some had unconventional ways to publication that only impressed the readership and myself even more.

I’m a staunch proponent of figuring out your plan A, B and C to your goals. Some of the authors I’ve met there and as a member of Maryland Writer's Association, had creative ways mixed with luck and tenacity that I’d like to share. Maybe, just maybe it can be an avenue that others can use.

Pick up a Lit Agent At a Conference:

Several authors I met had networked to find their agent at Writer’s Conferences. Some had even set up appointments/pitch sessions with agents in search of their type of work. Even though I’m coordinating the Editor/Agent sessions at the MWA Writer’s Conference, I didn’t realize what a powerful tool/opportunity this could be for writers.

Hire a Writing Coach:

One author I met had approached her writing career as an investment in herself. She’d never written a book before and knew that she wanted hands on help throughout the process. She hired a Writing Coach that helped her through the writing process, critiqued her work as she went, and gave her tips on getting a Lit Agent. After she landed her agent at a conference, she also hired her own publicist to get the word out for her and set up her events. I was so impressed with her that I had to write about her unconventional journey to publication.

Form your own publishing company:

One sixteen year old children's book author, Maggie, researched the road to publication and decided that she wanted to keep control of her book. She wrote the book, Moonlight Memoirs, found her own illustrator and helped her mother form a publishing company for her first book. She’s done an awesome job at promoting and I was tremendously impressed with her book and efforts. Moonlight Memoirs Remembering That Family and Friends Are Forever, is a children’s book that’s beautifully illustrated. She’ll be signing books at Borders as well as kicking off her virtual tour soon.

Serialized Novel:

I met another inventive author that snagged a lit agent with their serialized diary for a novel that they submitted in book form. They did follow the conventional path of querying agents, but invited the agent to peek at the diary of the main character of their novel. They posted their character’s serialized diary on their blog. The book however was different, but the character’s diary piqued the interest of the agent and resulted in them snagging a contract.

All of these wonderful, yet unique, roads to publication affirm my belief that doing things your own way is quite alright. Changing a “no” from a road block to a detour can pave your way to publication.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Many writers begin writing for the joy of the writing experience. They have no true idea of where the end of the road leads. It is believed that getting published is the answer to it all. Then the cold hard reality of going from writer, to salesperson hits them when they have to write their first Query Letter. After they snag an agent with the query letter, then they have to write a synopsis of their book. After the synopsis has been requested, the agent may ask for a partial then a copy of the full manuscript for review. During this process, the author’s submission may be rejected.

From Finishing that first Novel to getting an agent

After you get the agent, there may be more changes requested. The agent will shop your book and the sordid process of rejection continues. Publishers have their own tastes and your agent is competing against others to get your work considered. With acceptance by the publisher, you may have to do a rewrite of your synopsis and parts of your book to meet their criteria

Whoop! Your published – now what?

This is where it all truly begins. You are no longer just a writer who creates stories; you now are responsible for helping in any way to sell your book. This means, if you are not a people person, you will have to make adjustments or in the end – you may lose it all. At this point you have to tweak and repair your manuscript for the editor and work on a marketing plan. You have to prove yourself worthy to continue through the process if you want to stay on with the publisher. This is where you go from writer to marketing person, to speaker, to promoter, to cold caller, to beggar.

What a writer does after getting published

- Work on Marketing Plan

o You have to give viable input and put work into creation of your own marketing plan and the marketing plan of your publisher. Why? Because if you don’t sell books, they’ll drop you and move on.

- Get out there and network

o You have to set up your own platform and grow your list of possible book buyers. Why? So you can solidify yourself as not just a writer, but a part of the publishing team that is putting out big bucks to promote your stuff. If you don’t grow this then, they’ll drop you and move on.

- Agree to do book signings, virtual tours, promote yourself

o If you are not a people person, then take a toast master’s class. Learn to reach out to people. You also have to be willing to support your publisher in these events.

o Book signings are not just a sit there and the book sells itself event. You have to work to sell as many books as possible for each bookstore – otherwise, they won’t invite you back or purchase more of your books. Why? Because it’s about sales – profits for your publisher and profits for the bookstore.

o Virtual Tours are about more networking and writing. Yep, writing – a lot – to support the bloggers that you visit during your virtual tours. It requires follow-up and organization while you write to support the audience of that bloggers site. These bloggers do this for free, so you want to always be gracious – even when they give you a bad book review.

Keep writing great books

In order to keep your products on the shelves and keep your publisher buying your work, you have to keep writing great stuff. Otherwise, you’ll be dropped just short of a year and would’ve only earned your advance.

The myth that you get paid a lot as an author

Many authors think that they will be millionaires. If they write that one great book, they’ll be able to quit their day job. That is so not the norm. Most writers only earn out their advance. When they do get royalties, they aren’t that big. Also, don’t forget, that as a writer you spend time and money promoting yourself. Most writers use up their advance to better promote their book so that their sales numbers go up to the point where the publisher wants to keep them on board.

The nutshell

Writing the book is just the beginning. If you don’t see yourself as a salesperson trying to sell a product, then your fantasy dream of the life of a writer will be burst. The reality of it is that a published author is their biggest promoter and investor. If you don’t have the inclination to forge your own success in your career of an author, then you won’t gain the success you seek.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Interview with Mike Angley, Award-Winning Author of the Child Finder Trilogy

As a retired Air Force officer, what made you decide to write novels following your first career?

“I’ve always loved to write, but I postponed my long-term goals while I pursued my Air Force career. In hindsight, I think that was a good thing because it allowed me to focus on my writing with the precision it needed. I retired as a Colonel having spent 25 years as a Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, or OSI for short. The OSI is the Air Force version of NCIS, so I had plenty of rich experiences to inspire my writing, from running felony-level criminal investigations, as well as counterintelligence and counterterrorism operations around the world. In my last assignment, I was the Commander of OSI Region 8, at Air Force Space Command. I like to tell people, ‘If it entered or exited Earth’s atmosphere, then I had a dog in the fight!’”

What is the Child Finder Trilogy about?

“The trilogy is a mystery/suspense series with paranormal and religious edges. It features a protagonist, Air Force Special Agent Patrick S. O’Donnell, who is as tough as 24’s Jack Bauer, but with the endearing, family-values heart of 7th Heaven’s Eric Camden. He’s an early-thirties Air Force Major assigned to the Pentagon when the 9/11 terrorist attacks take place.

In the debut novel, Child Finder, Agent O’Donnell’s haunting dreams about missing children reveal a hidden psychic gift which the government eagerly exploits, drawing him into a Top Secret program to find missing kids. But to make matters complicated, Uncle Sam has other ideas in mind for his unique paranormal talents…after all, there is a War on Terror underway. One thing’s for sure—ever since joining this new, secret community, he is surrounded by murder, and the very real threat of harm to his own family!”

And the second book?

“Child Finder: Resurrection launched in November 2009. It has been a year and a half since Agent O’Donnell left the secret child rescue program after it went horribly off-track, resulting in murder and endangering his own family. And just when he thinks he’s comfortably put this painful past behind him, he receives a call from his mentor. The murky, shadowy Top Secret community where he once was center-stage has been revised, revamped, resurrected!

The government needs his psychic skills more than ever. A sick, twisted, menacing child killer is on the loose, and no one but Pat can stop him. But Agent O’Donnell soon discovers this new nemesis is more than he bargained for. Nothing can prepare him for the psychotic genius he must fight…and the life and death cat-and-mouse game that entraps him! Once again, Pat must call upon his faith and strong spiritual connection with God to sustain and guide him, especially during his darkest hours as he battles…pure evil.”

When will the third and final story publish, and what happens in it?

“Child Finder: Revelation (to publish circa December 2010), is the grand finale, so to speak. Many people believe the saying, ‘The truth is out there.’ But as my website says, ‘The truth is in here, and it’s not what you think!’ Patrick O’Donnell is dispatched to Korea on a sensitive mission to crack the disturbing abduction of a high ranking U.S. official’s children. What he discovers about their sudden disappearance — especially where they have been taken — shocks the foundation of international relations. But more intriguing is what makes these particular children so special. What O’Donnell learns about them, and himself, involves sensitive government secrets he regrets ever knowing. These new revelations will rock his faith, his concept of life, and his understanding of his place in the universe.”

How did you develop the character of your protagonist?

“I took a chance. I realized that most protagonists in this genre are rough and tough, and rarely show a soft side. I wanted both! Pat is a family man (has two small children), a deeply-faithful Christian, happily-married, and has an incredibly strong moral/ethical compass. At the same time, he is a ‘kick-ass’ investigator and counterterrorism operator. These contrasts come into play as he enters this Top Secret program – he finds himself pulled in many directions where he must make tough moral/ethical decisions (is everything he is asked to do actually legal?). He wants to save kids, but at what price? I also used his faith for contrast as well. He is a man who grew up with an unfulfilled sense of calling – is it the psychic gift and rescue of children? He’s not sure, so he grapples with what it all means.”

Please talk more about your military career.

“I retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2007 at the rank of Colonel. I was a career OSI Special Agent, and served on thirteen different assignments throughout the world. Among these were five tours as a Commander of different units, to include two squadrons and a wing.

I enjoyed an exciting and dangerous career, experiencing all things imaginable as a criminal investigator and a counterintelligence and counterterrorism operator. Following the 1996 Khobar Towers terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia, I was dispatched to command all OSI units throughout the Middle East, with responsibility for 23 countries. During my tenure my teams and I effectively neutralized numerous terrorist threats to U.S. forces in the region, to include an imminent threat to senior Department of Defense officials. In 2004, I commanded all OSI units in South Korea where we countered a classified target in Seoul. I was honored when the President of South Korea presented me with a Presidential Citation and medal, and the Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) Commissioner decorated me with the KNPA Medal of Cooperation.

Earlier in my career, while commanding an OSI unit in northern Japan, I conducted an operation that effectively blocked a KGB agent’s efforts to steal critical U.S. technology, and thereby stymied Soviet military advances for years. In 1999, I was the Chief of Counterintelligence within the Directorate of Intelligence, U.S. Strategic Command. My office competed for the prestigious Killian Award, a White House level honor that annually recognizes the very best intelligence unit in the entire U.S. government. We came in as first runner-up for this significant honor!

Did any of your experiences in law enforcement factor in to the Trilogy plot at all?

“Generically, yes. The main reason I decided on this concept for the series was because of the number of crimes against children I worked in the Air Force. Every one of them literally broke my heart, and as a dad myself, it made it even tougher on me. In some respects, Child Finder is a kind of catharsis, enabling me to save some kids even if fictional.”

Obviously Pat O’Donnell stars in all three books, but what about other characters? Will any of them migrate over to the other two books?

“Pat would be nowhere without his team! His career mentor, Colonel John Helmsley, accompanies him on his journeys, as well as the team psychiatrist, Dr. Woodrow ‘Woody’ Davis.”

When Child Finder debuted it received a glowing review from the Library Journal, and earned placement on its Summer Reads List. Were you nervous about the review process?

“VERY nervous! As a debut author, I had zero experience with reviews until then. While everyone involved in my writing projects has been supportive and positive, getting my first impartial review flooded my gut with butterflies.”

What about the award your debut novel received?

“I am thrilled that Child Finder won the Silver Medal for fiction in the 2009 Military Writers Society of America’s Annual Awards program. This was such a huge honor for me, and from what I have been told by the MWSA community, competition was tough this year with the largest number of fiction submissions in the society’s history.”

What do you want readers of your books to walk away with?

“Inspiration. Plain and simple, I want them to be inspired by my protagonist and his exceptional moral grounding. I want them inspired by his love of wife and children, his love of God, his dedication and devotion to his country. I want readers to believe again in the goodness of people. And with regard to Child Finder: Revelation, I want them to challenge everything they have come so comfortably to believe about life.”

Mike Angley, Special Agent, USAF (ret), Colonel, USAF (ret)
Award-Winning Author of the Child Finder Trilogy

Friday, April 9, 2010

Clash of the Titans - Movie Review

What can I say? The dude that played Perseus (Sam Worthington) was hot. I think that added some points to my overall rating. The story starts off with a fisherman finding a baby. That kid, Perseus is taught to be a fisherman like his adopted father. After the death of his family due to a mishap of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, he's on a mission to kill or destroy Hades. Now, okay, I can see why he would want to go against this underworld god. But it's just not super realistic. He's a fisherman that was never taught or trained as a warrior - and he decides he has what it takes to destroy the Kraken and a god? Anyway, he goes to the town that ends up having to sacrifice their innocent princess to the kraken only to be named as a demigod and be blamed for the towns misfortune. He teams up with the warriors who go to find a way to stop the Kraken and Hades. The overall story was rather weak. Okay, very weak. The special effects, fight sequences and action was great! I actually believe the story in the older version of this movie was a lot better, but hey I stayed in the theatre because of the awesome effects. By the way, I love the way they did Medusa. I really like that character and would love for them to do a movie about her. My rating for this movie is a 3 out of 5. I'll definately buy it because sometimes you just want an awesome ride, not a thought provoking film. This is a great ride.

Diary of A Wimpy Kid - Movie Review

Let's just say my kids dragged me to this one. All but three of the four actually read the book. The movie was most enjoyed by my 13yr old who gave it the highest ranking. Poor Greg never, ever seems to get a break. The movie is comprised of let down after let down for him and his group of friends. The one aspect of the movie that all of my kids stated made it less enjoyable than the book was the fact that the kid never seemed to get a true victory from his brother's abuse, the abuse of the kids at school, or any of his mishaps - and when he did, it didn't add up to the amount of let downs he had. I asked them if they liked the book better and why. They all agreed that the book was better due to the quirky drawings created by the illustrator. Those drawings took away the depressing nature of the overall story. Now at the end he does get a small break or two, but after the many let downs my kids said they left the movie still on a sad note. My kids scored the movie 2 out of 5. So, if you are dying to go see it, just go with an open mind. It's kinda dry if your kids are action seekers like mine.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Being a Young Adult Writer, I often times have to ponder over my childhood. Sometimes I like the memories, and sometimes I want to forget them. However, I chose not to because I believe other kids can learn from my dumb mistakes.


I know the answer to this personally. Why? Because I spent two days in a hospital program that evaluated teens that decided to try their hand at suicide. Boy, was I surprised.

Many of the teenagers there did it just for the attention that their parents or friends gave them because of it. Others attempted it because they truly wanted to give up – they thought that life was just too hard to keep fighting away at it. Lastly, there were the other few kids, like myself, that just threatened to do it. Just to make a point to their parents.

I personally never tried to commit suicide. Although, when I was 15yrs old, I threatened to do it when I got into a fight with my mother. Oh, she got me good. She checked my tail into the hospital and refused to take me out until I realized just what it was, I was threatening to do.


I remember sitting there with these other teens. The teens who desperately argued that whenever they got the chance they would finish the deed; I felt great sadness for them. Why, because those kids were extremely depressed, had horrible home lives, or were so tormented by their peers that they felt defeated. Even at that age, it broke my heart. I usually had some great advice to give to my friends, but for these kids I could say nothing to change their minds. Also, with what they were going through, I truly felt ashamed to put my family through my little tantrum.

One question I asked them was, “Well, if you are going to commit suicide to teach someone else a lesson... They’ll live on, able to forget you, improve their lives, and have everything you wanted but gave up too easily to attain.”

Suicide is giving up. It’s taking away any chance you have at happiness, recovery, and victory over your problems.

Everyone else that is left alive, heals. The poor kid that died never gets the chance to heal or to enjoy all the things life had to offer. It’s like they squandered there blessing before they had a chance to collect it.


After my mother finally allowed me to come home, I learned that throwing around threats like that only hurt myself. Also, it proved to others that I wasn’t as strong as I believed myself to be. Lastly, I resolved that giving up, only hurt me, because for everyone else – LIFE GOES ON.


I hope that any teen or person that feels that life is just too hard to continue on fighting through it. Dig deep, and realize, that tomorrow will be better. That you’ll grow stronger, and that you are never alone.

Call: 1-800-273-TALK (8255): for help.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Movie Reviews by Movie Diva - Monique

Check out her site:

Warner Brothers has added the early ‘90s film Arizona Dream to their Archive Collection and downloadable DVD selection. The film, which was highly rated when it first came out, stands up against the test of time.

The film, starring Johnny Depp and Faye Dunaway, is about a young man named Axel who is taken by his cousin Paul (Vincent Gallo) from New York City to Arizona to be Best Man at his uncle Leo (Jerry Lewis)’s wedding. However, his uncle wants him to work in the family car business. While in Arizona, Axel becomes entangled with the aptly named Elaine and Grace Stalker (Lili Taylor), a mother and daughter duo that don’t see eye to eye and are both trapped in their lives. In fact, all of the characters are trapped, and Axel’s recurring dream of an Inuit fishing family only highlights the characters’ sadness. Through the haunting events that occur through the film, Axel comes to terms with the differences between his imagination and his reality and realizes how to find freedom in life.

This movie was made early in Depp’s career, but his performance shows his depth and range as an actor, not to mention that he hasn’t aged since the early 90s! (How does he still look the same today!?) Dunaway also gives a stellar performance as an older woman who seems caught in her childhood dreams and Taylor is convincing as a depressed woman who can only find solace in death.

Gallo and Lewis are great supporting actors, also playing characters who have issues to deal with-Paul is stuck in the imaginary world of movies, constantly reciting lines and monologues, and Leo is not only trapped in his car business, but also by his own guilt due to the deaths of Axel’s parents.

The movie is very surreal, illustrating how Axel and the others long for freedom and happiness. For some, it might take two viewings to understand how the surreal pieces fit with the narrative of the movie. Overall, this is a great movie for any Johnny Depp or Faye Dunaway fan.

Arizona Dream will be officially released on the Warner Archive starting March 16, but if you can’t wait until then, the film is also available for pre-order and on sale (pre-order only) at 20% Off. Click here to start downloading!