Posted in Guest Author, Personal

Interview with Author Robert Hookey

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today I have a special treat for you! I’ve interviewed my great friend Robert Hookey. He’s the author of “Into the Dark.” A Sci-Fi story that’s on my TBR pile! So read on and learn about the author and check out his book!

  • What inspired you to write your story?

My lovely bride could see I was bored and frustrated (brustrated) almost immediately after being laid off from my job as a Niagara Falls bellman (thanks for that, Covid-19) and she asked, “Why don’t you get off Twitter and go back and write another book before you drive me totally insane?

And so I finally indulged my lifelong dream of creating my own superhero universe while simultaneously working through some personal trauma that has been haunting me for years. Writing is wonderfully affordable therapy.

  • What is your writing process like? Do you have a favorite time and place you like to write?

I try to get up at 7:30 each morning and write as much as I can get out of my addled head as I can before I get too distracted and start surfing the web. Lately I’ve been trying to stop writing around noon so I can spend time with my family before I get back to work full-time. Incidentally, as much as I love my family, I’m hoping the world gets back on track soon so I can go to sleep at night knowing I have a full-time job to pay the bills that writing can’t – which is pretty much all of them.

  • How many books do you have planned for this series?

Into The Grey and Into The Light will bring my characters and their world to a satisfying conclusion – I hope. Though I’m not against continuing to explore the world of the Infinite Crossover Crisis in the future.

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

I walk away and watch a television show or read a book or comic for inspiration. Sometimes a walk or spending time with my daughter or wife or even playing with the dog can free my mind up and get me back on track.

It’s important to remember that a self-published author doesn’t have to worry about deadlines, so writer’s block has no real sway over us. We can take a month off and it may actually help make the eventual finished product even better.

  • I love the fact that your daughter designed your cover. What a great way for you two to strengthen your bond. Has she given you any insight into your current characters, and can you envision a project where she’ll help with the writing as well?

My daughter is incredibly “woke” as the kids say, and she constantly inspires me to consider inclusion when crafting my tales of superheroes in the real world. I’ve tried to include characters from all over the world who live their truths and love who they want to love regardless of what society thinks.

In fact, my daughter is the reason my heroes are facing more than just supernatural beings and supervillains. I want to build a world where heroes face down killer cops, corrupt politician and despicable media moguls – and I want to show my daughter a world where there is a reason people are so tempted to indulge their darkest impulses beyond just human weakness.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors who may want to self-publish?

Don’t do it! It’s a lot of hard work that rarely yields immediate results and leaves you doubting your own artistic abilities.

That said, if you do decide to go the indie author route, remember to hold nothing back. Indulge your every impulse and infuse as much of yourself – good and bad – as you can. Brilliant writing comes from the author’s heart and soul.

So as loathe as I am to refer to a sports metaphor… leaving it all on the field is the only way you’ll ever be happy as a self-published author.

And don’t ever underestimate the power of social media in a writer’s success. After all, it brought us into each other’s orbit, right, Lisa?

That”s right, Robert! Where would we be without social media? Thanks for allowing me to interview you and here’s wishing you many sales on your book!

Into The Dark: Book One of the Infinite Crossover Crisis by [Robert Hookey]

Watchmen meets The Good Place in this (relatively) original, (kind of) groundbreaking, and reasonably-priced novel of good, evil, and everything in-between, overloaded with enough pop culture references to make your grandmother’s head explode.

In an all-too-familiar world controlled by ancient beings known as The Dark, heroes of every origin must assemble (yeah, I said it, sue me) to pull humanity back from the edge of annihilation – if they don’t kill each other first.They may not be the Avengers, the Suicide Squad, hell, they may not even be the Great Lakes Avengers… but they’ve been brought together by a hero in a Green Hornet mask and leather jacket to match named Nemesis to face every form of evil imaginable. From seemingly-invincible masked killers who stalk teen camp counselors to clones of Nazi super soldiers to monsters of the human variety, Nemesis and his team of unlikely heroes will traverse the globe to dismantle The Dark’s vast power structure once and for all.If you took The Umbrella AcademyThe Boys and The Cabin In The Woods and gave them a hearty stir you’d get Into The Dark: Book One of the Infinite Crossover Crisis, a clever, electrifying, genre-busting adventure that pits the most unconventional superheroes in the Multiverse against the embodiment of mankind’s capacity for evil itself.Into The Dark is the inaugural novel by indie author The Hook. He hopes you like it. (But if you don’t, feel free to keep it to yourself.)

You can find Robert’s Book on Amazon. The link is below

https://amzn.to/3wabbd6

Thanks for stopping by and reading Robert’s Interview. Leave a comment for him, he’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, vacatioin

Vacations: A Great Stress Reliever

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve been busy with work and writing this week. I’ve got one more scene to add to my story then I’ll have to do some more editing to take out some words…then it will be done, and I’ll be moving on to the next project.

But enough about that, today is supposed to be warm and sunny. My tulips are blooming. Finally! We are about two weeks behind everyone else. But that’s okay, they are beautiful. I want to spend as much time outside as I can today and soak up some of that sun.

But before I do that, I’m writing today’s post. Today, I’d like to talk about the importance of vacations. I’m sure it’s because it’s so nice outside that I’m thinking about our vacation this year.

We’re planning a trip this year. We haven’t taken the boys out of state yet, and they’re itching to go. So, we must decide where we want to go. We’re trying to accommodate everyone. My oldest wants to go to the beach and maybe see the ocean. My youngest isn’t sure. I know hubby would like to go fishing, and me, I want to see the giant redwoods at least one time in my life.

A friend suggested Crater Lake or Diamond Lake in Oregon. I’ve done some preliminary research and it is a possibility. However, we may just bite the bullet and go all the way to California, too.

Vacations are important for families. It’s a great way to create lasting memories and bonds. It opens the world to your kids. It opens their lens wider when they view the world. Vacations are a great way to reconnect and solidify those bonds.

It’s also a great way to relieve stress, and this year has been especially stressful with the pandemic, working from home, and virtual learning. We just need to go someplace and have some fun.  So, if you can afford it, take some time off and recharge those batteries. You’ve earned it and You deserve it.

A vacation also improves your mental health. Getting away and getting out of that rut of constantly doing the same thing is a great way to boost your moral. A vacation gives you something to look forward to. So, when you’re having a bad day, you can look ahead and know that this moment is temporary. When your vacation is over, you have something to remind you that life isn’t always drudgery. There are fun moments to look forward to and reflect on.

So, there you have it. Why vacations are important for your health. Are you going on any vacations this year? Do you have any recommendations for me on where we should go? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Earth, environment, Health, Personal

There is No Planet B

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work and rewriting one of the first scenes in my story. I like it much better, but I’m going to have to go through and tweak a few more scenes, but that’s okay. It’ll be worth it in the end.

May be an image of map and text that says 'FRIENDLY REMINDER: THERE IS NO PLANET B.'

But enough about that. In honor of Earth Day, I’d like to talk about humans and their effect on the earth. After watching shows like “Erin Brockovich,” “Dark Waters,” “The Big Short,” and “Seaspiracy,” I’ve concluded that humans aren’t good for the Earth. There, I’ve said it.

We’re all connected. The trees speak with each other through their roots and release oxygen into the atmosphere while soaking up carbon dioxide. The ocean produces over fifty percent of the air we breathe while also regulating the climate.

We need the oceans and the trees to stay alive. Yet, we’re so busy cutting down the forests and overfishing our seas that we’re slowly but surely killing our planet.  We manufacture things that poison our drinking water and kill people all to make money. Who is behind these atrocities? Man.

We are the most intelligent species on the planet. We can think critically and invent amazing things, but we do so recklessly. In the movies “Erin Brockovich” and “Dark Waters,” huge corporations were making products that poisoned the surrounding town’s water supply. Each company knew about the damage, but instead of halting production and cleaning it up, they covered it up and pretended it wasn’t there because it would eat away their profits.

In “Dark Waters,” Dupont invented Teflon, but found that working with the chemicals caused birth defects. They didn’t tell their employees and continued to allow them to work while pregnant which resulted in deformed children. Now we’re finding that our own government officials have made decisions that adversely affected their constituents. Look at what happened in Flint, MI.

We need to make some drastic changes. It makes me sick what we’re doing to the planet and to each other just to make some bank. We need better regulatory agencies and we need to hold corporations accountable for what they’re doing. It’s the only way future generations will have a place to live.

We also need to start cleaning up the mess we’ve created in the oceans. I’m holding the commercial fishing industry responsible for that one. I think each company should pay a tax each year and that money goes toward cleaning up the sea, and if they’re caught dumping waste into the ocean, they lose their fishing license for a certain amount of time. They must also pay a fine, and they must help in cleaning up the ocean while their fishing license is revoked.

I know it sounds harsh, but drastic changes are needed. What are your thoughts? What changes would you make to save our Earth?

Posted in Family, Personal

Are you Following your Passion?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and unfortunately, I didn’t get a lot of writing done. I went back into the editing cave to do some work after getting some feedback from a beta reader. So, I’m making some more changes to my story. Cross your fingers for me.

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about doing something that feeds your soul. As my boys grow and develop, I’m always trying to tell them to follow your passion, find something that makes you feel alive and do it. It’s hard for our kids to find this right now because it is the age of computers, social media, and video games. None of these things help kids find their calling, unless they’re doing a google search, but that even leaves them wanting more.

Since video games and social media are interested in engagement, they do anything they can to entice our young people to stay engaged. This leaves little time for pursuing other interests. That’s the way social media gurus and game manufacturers want it. Did you know that Facebook is starting to take over virtual reality? For more information about this click here: https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2020/11/14/dont-look-now-but-social-media-is-taking-control-of-virtual-reality/

This means kids are spending less time finding something that feeds their souls. This trend is dangerous. I feel that this might be one of the reasons teen suicide and depression are on the rise. Social media cannot replace the true connection of finding your life purpose. It takes a long time to find out what your life purpose is, you have to go through many things to grow and change before you truly connect with what sets your soul on fire.

The pandemic makes it harder, too. Because we’ve shut everything down, my youngest isn’t playing tennis and he’s lost interest in school. His grades are still good, but he’s not as interested as he used to be. The only thing he can do at this time is play video games and shoot baskets. These are challenging times to say the least.

We need to get our young people creating things. Starting from scratch and making something. Be it a story, or pottery, or even creating a video game. That’s how we learn when we build something from scratch. That’s how kids find their passions.  

It doesn’t have to be a way to make money. Their passion will sustain them when they get bored with their job or during times of stress. It will help them build their resilience, so when life knocks them down, they’ll be able to pick themselves back up.

So, what’s your passion and how did you find it? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Staying in the Present Moment

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of writing and working. I’m so excited because spring is finally here. I’ve been able to run outside a couple of times this week and it was wonderful. My tulips are starting to come up and I am so ready for summer it isn’t funny.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about staying in the present moment and appreciating it. We’re so busy trying to achieve our goals that we keep our eyes on the prize and don’t always appreciate the moment we’re in.

I find that when I focus on the outcome I’m trying to achieve; I get frustrated when things don’t go quite as planned or I run into obstacles. I have to remind myself that I need to focus on my goals for the day only. I know what the big goal is, but I have to focus on the steps I need to take to get there. That way I won’t get frustrated because I haven’t gotten to the big goal yet.

By doing this, I’m going to be happier with my present moment and I’ll appreciate it more. That way I won’t be missing any moments with my family and friends.

It’s hard to change the habit of always striving and focusing on the outcome of my actions. So, when I catch myself growing frustrated because I haven’t reached my goal yet, I take a moment and slow myself down. It’s going to happen just not yet. Then if I can, I practice some self-care. I drink some water or take a few minutes and just breathe. This is the way I reset my thinking and change my emotions from being frustrated to peaceful.

How about you? What do you do to change your mindset? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in environment, Personal

What Kind of World are We Leaving Our Kids?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back after a week of work and writing. I spent last night hanging with the hubby, we got a pizza and settled down to watch a movie. This one was titled, “Dark Waters,” and it’s a must see. It’s based on a true story. One of my favorite types of movies.

It’s the story of Robert Bilott a corporate lawyer who took on the company DuPont. The company had been poisoning the water supply for at least forty years and one farmer figured it out when his livestock started getting sick and dying. (Sorry this is a spoiler alert)

Robert Bilott took the case and was not only able to get a settlement for him, but for quite a few members of the community when it was determined that the water supply of the town was contaminated. Mr. Bilott was able to prove the company knew the drug they had created had contaminated the water and was dangerous to humans. I won’t go into more detail. I don’t want to ruin the whole movie for you.

In my opinion, this is what’s wrong with America today. Too many corporations are worried about making profits at the expense of society. If that farmer hadn’t stood up to Dupont, who knows how long that company would have knowingly continued to contaminate the water supply. They didn’t care about their employees or the community who happened to also be their customers.

This trend isn’t new. Look what happened in the true story ‘Erin Brockovich,’ when a woman with no legal expertise took on Pacific Gas and Electric when they contaminated the water supply of Brinkley, a small California town.  I know the legal system worked, but not before these companies did horrific damage to many lives and our planet.

This has to stop. Greed is ruining our planet. Look at what commercial fishing is doing to our oceans. Not only are they overfishing it, but they’re trashing it by dumping their damaged nets and other garbage into it. Have you heard of the great garbage patch? It’s a big floating pile of garbage in the Pacific. Why doesn’t someone clean it up?

This upsets me. What kind of world are we leaving for our future generations? I don’t want to leave a mess my kids will have to clean up. We need to start taking care of our planet today, and the corporations have the money to do it. I think they should all ban together and contribute a ton of money to cleaning up our oceans. Then maybe we should all stop eating seafood until the oceans rebuild themselves. Then regulate the heck out of the fishing industry. Let’s bring everything back into balance.

I feel we need to go into conservation mode. Let’s do what’s best for the earth and future generations. I’m not sure what that is, but I’m open to suggestions. Any ideas? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Balance and Perspective

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of working and working on my craft. I took some time off to read a craft book this week and I’m glad I did. It was a good book. It’s titled “The Secrets of Story.” If you’re looking for a book to help you with your writing, this book is for you.

The Secrets of Story: Innovative Tools for Perfecting Your Fiction and Captivating Readers by [Matt Bird]

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about finding balance and perspective. I struggle with these issues daily because my passion is my writing, but I have a passion for my family, a passion for my work, and I also need to take care of my health by exercising and eating right.

Sometimes, I get frustrated because I can’t write. I have to take care of my kids, fix a meal, or work my day job. Then I have to fit in time for exercise. This is what I struggle with. Many times, I have to choose between exercising and writing. Sometimes I choose writing and feel guilty because I know I should be exercising for my health. It’s a constant battle. Sometimes I do exercise and wish I were writing instead. These negative emotions I experience detract from the enjoyment of my exercising or my writing.

Since I don’t want to have deal with negative emotions, I’ve got to change my attitude, because with my hectic schedule, I’m always going to have to choose between the two. So, when I choose to exercise, I tell myself I’m doing something that’s good for my body, my soul, and my brain. Exercise is a great way to fight depression, burn calories, and get your blood flowing so your brain gets the oxygen it needs. Instead of telling myself I must do this because I want to keep my weight under control or because I ate pizza for dinner, I tell myself my writing will be better if I exercise. This one little change in my perspective allows me to enjoy my exercise and my writing. After I exercise, I have the rest of the evening to write. Therefore, I don’t feel guilty when I’m writing because I know I already exercised.

I’ve also gotten better at defining exercise. I used to feel like I had to run four to six miles at a time before I could call it a workout. That’s not entirely true. I can do strength training and that’s exercise. I can do Pilates and that’s exercise. So is yoga. I’ve been adding these activities to my exercise routine to help build the muscle I’m losing as I age. By adding Pilates and Yoga to my regime, I’ve eliminated my sciatica pain. The difference is amazing, and my writing has improved.

So, there you have it. By changing my perspective about exercise and writing, I’ve been able to enjoy my exercise more. I don’t enjoy it in the beginning. It’s always hard to get started, but by the end, I’m always glad I did it.

I also enjoy my writing more. I don’t feel guilty when I sit down and take some time for my stories. How about you? How do you balance it all? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal

Two of my Favorite Things

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I thought I’d do something fun. I thought I’d share two of my favorite things with all of you today. I like to do these two things to relieve stress. The first one, is reading. I love to read and it’s a great way to unwind after a hectic day at work.

I just finished a great story by an incredible author.  That story is: “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult. The cover and blurb are below.

Small Great Things: A Novel by [Jodi Picoult]

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • With richly layered characters and a gripping moral dilemma that will lead readers to question everything they know about privilege, power, and race, Small Great Things is the stunning new page-turner from Jodi Picoult.

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

“[Picoult] offers a thought-provoking examination of racism in America today, both overt and subtle. Her many readers will find much to discuss in the pages of this topical, moving book.”—Booklist (starred review)

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

My Thoughts:

This was a thought-provoking and timely story. It’s about an Afro-American nurse and a skinhead. Ruth Jefferson is the nurse who helps in the care of Turk’s newborn son. Turk is a white supremist and he insists he does not want Ruth to touch his son.

When his son has complications after a routine circumcision and Ruth is the only nurse available to administer to him, all hell breaks loose when he dies. Ruth is sued by Turk and his family and the story goes on from there. I don’t want to ruin it for you, so I won’t tell you what happens, but it is definitely worth the read. It will have you looking into your own heart to see where your prejudices lie.

This story was amazing just like most of Ms. Picoult’s stories are. It’s definitely worth the read.

The next favorite thing I like to do is hike. I’ve been taking some time this winter to get out of the house more. I usually hibernate during the winter, but since I’ve been working from home, I’ve needed to get out of the house. I’ve been hiking with either some gal pals or my hubby. It’s great to get outside and get some fresh air and the sunsets are amazing this time of year. I’ve witnessed some amazing colors and it’s so peaceful.

Amazing Sunset from A Hike
Amazing Sunset in Grand Haven

Hiking is another great way to relieve stress and get some exercise. It’s good for your mind and body.

So, there you have it! Two of my favorite things, reading and hiking. How about you? What are two of your favorite things? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Ageism, Health, Personal

Ageism in Our Society

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of writing and working. The weather is turning warmer and the sun has been shining brightly which makes me hopeful for spring. I’m ready for some warm weather where I can get back to running outside. I like that much better than running on a treadmill.

I have been able to hike a little more this winter. Spurred on by my need to get fresh air, I’ve hiked with the hubby a couple of times and with a friend a couple of times. Which is about four or five more times than I hiked last winter. I’ve needed to get out of the house because I’ve been working from home, and those hikes by the beach have been a wonderful way to get some exercise and get some time with a gal pal or my hubby.

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about ageism in today’s world. Almost 35 million Americans are over the age of 65 and this number keeps growing. In fact, studies have been conducted and that age group is supposed to reach over 20 percent of the population by 2030. I would think companies that manufacture products would heed these findings, but I don’t find evidence of this today.

In fact, I see evidence of the opposite. I find manufacturer’s targeting the younger generations. Especially clothing and makeup companies. They’re spouting the rhetoric that you need to look younger and feel younger to stay in the game.

This just isn’t true, but many older people are buying into this philosophy. Plastic surgeries have been on the rise for the last five years. This saddens me. We should be celebrating the fact we can grow old. It is a privilege denied to many. We should be honoring our elderly and respecting their wisdom. Just like many indigenous tribes did back in the day.

Instead of focusing on looking young, we should be focusing on staying healthy. We should be focusing on the internal and not the external. Experts say the best way to stay healthy is to get as much sunshine, fresh air, exercise, water, healthy foods, and sleep as we can. I agree. It really is that simple.

This would be a great time for a vitamin company to create a product that helps your body and brain stay resilient to the ravages of time. If I had the know-how, that’s what I’d be doing. I would take the focus off of staying younger, and focus on improving the quality of my life as I get older.

How about you? How do you feel about ageism in our society? Has it affected your life? If so, how? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!