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Tuesday
Jan262016

THOUGHTS ON THE NEW YEAR

I am in a much better frame of mind since getting rid of my giant purple cast a few days ago and replacing it with an enormous grey boot.  If they need any extras for the next Iron Man movie I have it made!  All bets are off now; I kept my promise to my kids not to use the stairs without supervision but now I’m free to take the plunge.  That may not have been a good choice of words! 

The morning after my doctor’s appointment I approached the stairs, looking down one flight of steps, the front door, then, another flight of badly in need of paint wooden stairs outside that would get me onto the sidewalk.  I paused.  Once more I looked at the first flight to the landing in front of the door and then, leaning over a bit, I surveyed the second landing that would take me to my office.  Better to think about this over breakfast, I thought.  As the day wore on I found plenty of things to do in the house and spent way too much time walking and standing and getting accustomed to my new awkward gait.  Day Two I took my time and made it down into the office unscathed and ready to do six weeks worth of catch up. Now all I need is a little concentration and incentive although I guess I haven’t missed too much during my time of exile.

The year is starting pretty much like the last one ended.  There are a lot of people we don’t really like trying to convince us that they should be our country’s leader and that THEY know best how to take care of us.  So far I’m not impressed.  Race has become a bigger issue than quality of performance regarding the movie and television business.  We’re happy that gasoline prices are dropping at the pumps. We’re upset that the dropping gasoline prices are hurting the stock market and dragging down our 401Ks. The first female member of a NFL coaching staff has been hired,

 After basking in a warmer that usual fall and early winter, many of us got hit with a giant blizzard.  While the snowflakes fell, I stayed warm and cozy snuggled up with Shelby watching a Guns N Roses concert from 2002. I was indeed thankful to have a safe haven in which to escape the storm and appreciative of those whose jobs required them to be out in such nasty weather.

The start of a new year always brings a certain amount of uncertainty but 2016 may be a real humdinger.  Will the entire world be wrapped in a freeze this winter or will the alien invasion promised us by certain X File investigators get here first?  Who will fight their way to the top of the dung heap of both major political parties and become President of our country. You noticed I didn’t use the phrase “United States.”  Will former New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg throw himself into the race as an independent and add more chaos and drama to the mix?  Have you heard yet if your local Wal-Mart will be staying in your area or closing down?  Who will be the final winner of American Idol?  These questions will all be answered in 2016 along with many more!

Sharon

Wednesday
Dec302015

"YESTERDAY WHEN I WAS YOUNG"

As I look out the window on this wet winter’s day, my thoughts turn to a song written in 1964 by one of my favorite singers/composers, Charles Aznavour.   It laments the time we wasted in our younger years that we can never reclaim and how we will look back on our wasted youth with sadness.
 
  The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned
I always built, alas, on weak and shifting sand.

As 2015 lingers for just a few more days, there are many of us who feel that there is so much more to do, more promises to be kept and much more to accomplish before the year fades away making room for the start of yet another.  Regardless of whether we believe that our glass is half full or half empty, the fact remains that the glass is still only filled half way.  We agonize over the one bad grade our child got on an essay that we helped them with.  We could have helped a friend get past a bad situation more easily if we had shown more compassion.  We should have been able to erase a loved one’s pain.  
Like the rest of us, I have my regrets for the year.  I didn’t get nearly as far with some writing projects as I had hoped to.  Some home repairs and painting stalled out although I can still partially blame the cruddy weather we’ve had most of the year.  I counted on December to be my catch up and do it all month, to fill that glass to the top before the year’s end!
Unfortunately, my year end to do list didn’t include standing on a grassy embankment covered over with frost late at night, sliding and falling and breaking my leg.  It was one of life’s little surprises, I suppose.  As I sat there on the cold ground calling 911 with Shelby by my side I realized that my glass might end up a few drops short of my goal.
 
Luckily, I suffered two clean breaks which should heal without any difficulty except for my not being able to put any weight on that leg for a mandatory amount of time.  Unluckily, I live in a split level house that requires me to walk down two series of stairs to either get into my office or to get out of my house.  So, I can’t go to work and I can’t go out and about on my own.  I stare down at those steps many times each day knowing that I could make it down and back up without anyone being the wiser but, I promised some people that love me that I would stay put unless they were there to spot me.  So far I’ve kept that promise.
   
Life has slowed down for me since the fall.  It takes me longer to get ready in the morning and to get from point A to point B while still remembering why I wanted to go to point B. I’ve found creative ways to pick up items from the floor and to cook without setting myself on fire.  My patience hasn’t improved at all but I don’t think anything can change that.  With help from family and friends, I know I will get through this temporary setback and that my life will go back to semi-normalcy.  
Aznavour’s song ends with these words.
…The time has come for me to pay for yesterday
When I was young.
I’m sure we will all pay for our yesterdays but I would rather concentrate on my tomorrows.  2015 is coming to a close and a brand new year is fast approaching.  What we have or haven’t done is in our past, and 2016 is a clean slate. I will try to fill the entire year with projects and adventure. Before I’m ready to pay for my yesterdays I want to add a lot more of them to the list.  Remember yesterday but don’t think you’re too old for your tomorrows.
Sharon
Tuesday
Nov172015

THE SURVIVALIST CONTEST WINNERS

The SURVIVALIST AUDITION CONTEST is over, the winners chosen and notified of their dubious honor to appear in the next book in the series.  These winners will be characters working with the Rourkes to further combat bad guys of all sorts from around the globe and beyond, deadly engineered insects, and the most vile of all foes, politicians.  Using their unique skills, these characters will become involved in a storyline which changes the road taken by the Rourke family and, the entire world. 

            In no particular order, these are the real life characters that will appear in the upcoming Survivalist series.  Congratulations to you all!  Ryan Fleming, Patrick Haryett, Neal James, Steve Vaughn, Michael Spivey, Earl Burger, Jim Judy, Goemon Nozza, Fuji Nozza and James White.

            Bob and I want to thank you all for your participation in this contest and are looking forward to perhaps trying some more fun stuff in the future.  The one disappointment was that only one woman tried out for a role and unfortunately, only after the contest closed.  Where would John Rourke have been without Natalia standing by his side or later on his daughter Annie, who loved to cook and sew but who could handle herself in a fight just as well as the men around her? John’s wife Sarah and then former fighter pilot and future wife, Emma, were both strong women willing and able to fight to protect their loved ones.  If you remember back to the very first book in the Survivalist series, Total War, two of the bravest characters who died, trying to save the lives of others were women, Mrs. Richards and a stewardess named Sandy Benson.

            That said, we have been able to assemble a group of diverse individuals who will all lend their skills to help create a unique Survivalist story.  John Thomas Rourke has certainly gotten himself into a predicament this time. We are excited and can’t wait to see what happens next.

            We sincerely want to thank you, the readers, who have helped us keep the Survivalist series alive.

Sharon

Tuesday
Oct132015

SURVIVALIST CONTEST

For those of you who have been keeping up with the continuing exploits of the Rourke clan from The Survivalist series, you know that things are not going well for them.  Even in the future, bad guys keep crawling out from the muck, politicians want what’s good for themselves, not necessarily what’s good for their constituents, and aliens are still trying to control the planet.  If you think that sounds bad, wait until you catch up with #33, “Deep Star” which will be coming out any day now – teenagers!

                With all this bad stuff going on, the Rourkes certainly could use some reinforcements.  Bob and I are putting out a call to those of you out there in the reader world to pitch in and give the Rourkes/Rubensteins some much needed help.  Those of you with weaponry backgrounds and survival skills are welcome to audition for a role in an upcoming SURVIVALIST book as well as those of you with any other unique skills that you think would be helpful.  Remember that Paul Rubenstein started out with virtually nothing in the way of staying alive except a quick wit and the will to survive.   Natalia had special training while Sarah, Annie and Emma learned from the School of Hard Knocks. 

                Bob and I are would like you to send us an audition letter, telling us a little about yourself and what skills you have that could help the gang get out of some sticky situations, be it by firepower or brainpower.  The person with the most interesting or noteworthy skills will be featured in an upcoming SURVIVALIST novel.  The contest runs through the month of October.  Tell your survival oriented and talented friends!  The biggest and the baddest are not necessarily the winners; the most sincere and unique have an equal chance of winning the prize. 

                Email us at actor-survivalist@usa.net and tell us how your special skills can help the Rourke gang fight the bad guys.  No attachments, please.

Sharon

Thursday
Sep102015

 STORYTELLERS

As many of you know by now, we lost award winning book and screenplay author, Warren Murphy, last week.    Although he wrote over two hundred books, he was most famous for his Destroyer series featuring hero, Remo Williams, which he co-wrote with the late Richard Sapir.  His wit and humor, as well as his take on the current political scene, will be missed.   One may have forgotten that he also wrote the screenplays for both The Eiger Sanction and Lethal Weapon 2, as well as comics, mysteries, satire and short stories.  He was also a willing teacher, helping other writers to improve their skills and always ready to encourage them in their endeavors.

                Warren Murphy was a prolific writer of the ‘70s and ‘80s as were writers such as Mickey Spillane and John McDonald and Michael Avalon, who like many others, wrote under numerous pseudonyms.   I know there were many more such writers beyond those I just mentioned. It was almost like a club where they were producing a similar genre product, in this case, adventure stories, for the same group of manufacturers, AKA publishing houses. I happened to be married to one of these writers. Most of these guys were paid paltry sums to produce fast, page-turning action adventure involving evil bad guys and beautiful women, writing them rapidly enough to keep current with their rent and utilities.   Considering the numbers of books sold back then and the people who still collect and reread these books today, the writers succeeded in keeping up with demand.

                Their real success is not based on how many books were sold in those days but in the number of young people who became hooked on reading because of their fast paced stories.  Personally, Jerry and I received many letters from people who stated that they had had no interest in reading and that they were turned off by the books they were supposed to read in high school.  Somehow, they got their hands on a Survivalist or Mercenary book or a Destroyer or Nick Carter and found that reading could be a pleasurable experience and then they never stopped turning the pages.  Reading about good guys versus bad guys and the concept of good should triumph over evil, mixed with a little romance was and still is good for the soul and the spirit.  A good story is a good story and makes the reader stop to think of what they would have done in the same situation.  Some of these people tried their hands at writing their own stories and some succeeded and became the next generation of storytellers.

                Jerry’s dad had  to grow up quickly.  Being the only boy in the family with four sisters and a mother to support, he didn’t have the opportunity to spend much time in school; instead, he spent his time working at anything that would help bring home money.  He was smart and would spend any free time he had with his nose in a book that he had picked up somewhere.  If his father caught him reading, the book was taken away and usually thrown into the fireplace and Jack would be given a lecture about idle hands.  Fortunately, this didn’t stop Jerry’s dad from continuing to read.

                Jerry grew up seeing his father spending a good portion of his free time reading.  Many times I saw Jack with a paperback book protruding from his back pants pocket. His dad’s favorite authors were Harold Robbins, Mickey Spillane, and Zane Grey.  In fact, when he passed away, he was buried with a few books to read while waiting to pass through the pearly gates.  As Jerry grew older, his dad would read favorite passages to his son and, eventually, pass his favorites over for Jerry to read.  The two of them later became fans of the James Bond books and this became a special link that they shared.   Unfortunately, Jerry’s dad passed away before any of Jerry’s books were published.  John “Jack” Ahern would have been so proud of his son.

                Reading has been called “the window to the world.”  It can teach you about the world as it is, and can open your imagination to what it could be.  There is no end to the stories that can be told as long as we have great storytellers to tell them.

Sharon 

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