Okay, I've decided to abandon my idea of having each of the characters from Lazarus Rising pipe in on the 2016 election. It dawned on me that I could sum up what these guys and gals would do in a sentence. Last week's guest, Forrest Vance, the antagonist of my novel, would want nobody other than himself to be the leader of this great nation, and in the book he takes it. Lazarus Parker, the protagonist, in 2016 would've blindly followed Mr. Vance only later to give up on life once Vance's true character was revealed. Abigail, my personal favorite and the main character of future e-books, as a young woman had zero interest in the political system only later to learn how important that duty of participating in a republic really is. Of course, by then the country has so radically changed that it would be a disservice to her own patriotism to seriously discuss this particular election cycle. Jack Payne, Abigail's father and the main character in my e-book, "Eyes of Payne," was an obvious Republican due to his personal connection to President Bush and the events of 9/11.
However, one thing did occur to me as I gave serious thought to what each of these fictional characters would think about our current collection of presidential candidates. It's 2016! I realize many of you are thinking, 'boy, he's a slow one,' but this is the year Lazarus Rising begins in. Forrest Vance loses his bid for reelection to the House only to make an unprecedented comeback later on. I struggled for years on how to get my antagonist to the White House. I realize in the past dictators have been elected, but for the most part I have always had faith that the American people would stand up before it got to that point. That our military would never fire shots at the people on any one person's command. That makes the silly argument that we should get rid of guns because none of us are going to fight against nuclear bombs moot. And so Lazarus Rising became more of a good versus evil story rather than a conservative versus liberal one. Although I get into those issues as well.
The problem now is I see two things that scare me: a growing amount of people convinced the system is rigged against them, and a lack of understanding of what really is at stake in our republic. FYI for those of you out there that claim we are a democracy... we didn't even use that term for the United States until after the Civil War! Our founders feared a democratic style of government more than any other... of course, the idea of socialism or communism had not reared its ugly head yet. My favorite remark from those who favor socialism is that this time we will perfect it. You see, it only works if it is perfect, and I've been to enough services on Sunday to learn that man is simply not capable of being perfect. Side note: Thank God for grace and forgiveness.
The beauty of capitalism? It doesn't have to be perfect to lift people out of poverty, to create more rich people than any other economic system ever did, and it allows for the true equality our founders yearned for in the Declaration of Independence. If we are not careful and get back to letting hard work and ingenuity payoff we are in danger of making sure no one has the opportunity to do what we are so good at: creating wealth. You see, government creates nothing, people in the private sector do. As a nation shall we never forget the scariest nine words in the English language, "I'm here from the government; I'm here to help."
So now onto the election of 2016. Although I have to admit it has been entertaining to watch, never did I think I would see the day in America where we would have a socialist and businessman/reality star get serious consideration. I'm not really going to spend any time in the democratic race since they have bigger problems than just this election. The dems have lost so many elections lately I'm surprised how arrogant they are simply because they have a two-term president in office. On the local levels it has been nothing but ugly for the democrats. The fight has really come down to how left of Obama the two candidates are willing to go. I venture to guess many Kennedy democrats are wondering what happened to their party. They have a man who calls himself a socialist winning primaries and a former Secretary of State that at best made some real boneheaded decisions. And then there's Donald Trump who... oh wait, I'm sorry I forgot, he's running as a Republican? It must have slipped my mind after hearing him use Democratic talking points from the 2008 election in the debate the other night.
So I guess that's a great lead in to what is going on in the Republican Party. Unlike the talking heads I'm not really that upset about the myriad of candidates that started this process. What does scare me is the aforementioned Donald Trump. And Ted Cruz for that matter. Not because of the old adage those same talking heads claim that, 'they cannot win,' but what their presidency might look like. Abraham Lincoln wasn't even on the ballot in eleven states! Yet his political brilliance of being everyone's second choice propelled him to the highest office in the country. Even the beloved Thomas Jefferson had to go to the 36th ballot in the House of Representatives to win the White House. Which, by the way, led to a change in our Constitution that gave us the system of electing a president and vice-president we have today.
Anyway, back to this century. Trump is more suited for the other side. The only saving grace: his lead is stuck at thirty-five percent. As others exit the race his support doesn't get significantly bigger. As for Ted Cruz, he is just like Barack Obama. No compromise. A my way or the highway type. Both of them are incapable of working with the other side of the aisle, and in Cruz's case his own side! I haven't made it a secret that my guy was Carson. Other than the idea of a medical doctor required to send troops in harms way I had no reservations about him as a leader. His quiet demeanor and sense of humility was attractive. But I'm also a realist, and it appears that his chances are just about zero at this point.
So as I began to look around and listen to what the other candidates had to say I realized two big problem that need to be addressed: Cruz and Trump. Certainly they would be better than anything the democrats are suggesting thus far, but both come with personal liabilities that concern me. You see, this isn't an us versus them problem, if the dems ever put up a man or woman I could mostly agree with and trusted, I would have no problem checking the box, or impregnating a chad if you will. You see, I always walk into the voting booth with the idea of what would be best for our country. I have to admit even after my guy lost in the 2008 election that I had a sense of pride for what had been accomplished with the people choosing Obama. But I digress. That is a story for another day.
Although I would vote for Trump or Cruz over the former Secretary of State (she probably has the nomination unless she gets arrested), I am not convinced that they are what is best for us as a nation. I would, in a sense, be voting for the lesser of two evils. Trump seems to be one that would make too many 'deals' and Cruz wouldn't make any. We are a country that needs to comprise. Ronald Reagan said, "I'll take 80% of what I want now and come back later for the other twenty." If both sides thought in this way our government would once again function and get things done. Maybe that illusive illegal immigration problem would be solved; although I have a feeling both sides like using this issue as a political football.
So here is my call to all my fellow conservatives that see the danger with these two men. It's time to stop getting behind the "anyone but Trump" or "anyone but Cruz" camp and start putting our energy behind one candidate. I have two friends that both don't want Trump. But the three of us all support three different candidates. That is what Trump is counting on, a long enough split by the rest of us to keep that lead. If the three of us were for the same guy, and you multiply that out with the rest of the "Please God, not Trump!" crowd, we could really get somewhere. I say we let things play out in South Carolina. Once we see that non-Trump/Cruz guy that has garnered most of the support, lets get behind him. The track we are on waiting for Trump to do something that stops him (maybe he finally did it last Saturday night) has not been working. It is time to end the nightmare of a candidate that does not present realistic ideas, talks as if he can simply do as he pleases as president (we already have one of those), and two men that are simply just not very nice, period. We can end political correctness without being crass.
To the supporters of these two men: ask yourself if the kind of divisiveness these men provide is any better than what we've seen over the last ten years. Cruz appears to be using some underhanded campaign tactics. Go back and watch last weeks debate; listen to what Trump says about President Bush and 9/11; then ask, who does that really sound like? Not even mainstream democrats made these claims. Trump merely blows with the wind, and with the future of the Supreme Court in the hands of the next president, that could have disastrous consequences.
For now I'm backing Marco Rubio. I still have a glimmer of hope that Carson makes a comeback; yet with almost 20 trillion dollars of debt, a country divided more now than ever, and the future makeup of our third branch of government, just having someone win the presidency with an R behind their name is not enough. Winning the election does not solve our problems. First, a president is the leader of all the people, not just those in his party. Those that get things done usually have a knack for not disparaging the other side, or their own for that matter! They have a way of reaching across the aisle and finding common ground. After watching the continuous attacks by Trump and Cruz, this does not seem possible by either one of these guys. I realize politics is a blood sport; that it gets messy, but these two seem to have that narcissistic personality trait that has damaged Obama's image to many of his detractors as well as his supporters.
A hard-lined conservative like Cruz will do as much damage to the conservative movement as Obama did to the liberal agenda. We cannot just sit claiming to stand on principle as the country crashes and burns. Compromise has been a big part of what has made this country tick for over 200 years. I have no idea what a Trump presidency will mean. I do know that he appears to be someone unable to handle the criticism that comes with the job. A man that doesn't even have the common decency to allow another to finish talking.
I realize many are just plain mad. I'm mad too! No matter which side you root for those we send to Washington never seem to follow through with what they promise. Our Nation's Capitol is looking more and more like the Capitol from The Hunger Games. I get it. But lets not allow our emotions to get us swept up in a message that doesn't even start out with hope and change. The decision We The People make in this upcoming presidential election will affected the next two generations. We can't afford to get it wrong.
I want a president interested in uniting us. Cruz and Trump simply don't fit that bill.
The election of 2016 is underway. I know it's hard to believe, but tomorrow will actually be the first time votes will cast. Being inundated by possible email scams, the battle for who's the "most" conservative, the Oval Office possibly turning into a reality show, a socialist, a reactionary, and another Bush each night on our televisions you might have started to think that this election cycle is all but done. Hilary on one side and Trump on the other. And yet, still, not a vote has been cast. So, given that my novel, Lazarus Rising, begins in the year 2016 I thought, before you even think about which candidate to vote for, that you should hear from the characters of my book. As the creator I thought it would be appropriate to allow Lazarus Parker to go first, however, Forrest Vance refused to be interviewed unless he started off the conversation. I tried to tell him it was the equivalent to being the "opening act," but, you mention Lazarus around this guy and you sort of hit a nerve.
Here we go:
Q: Mr. Vance, as a Democrat, what do you think of the candidates running for your party's nomination?
A: Well, I am quite certain that we should not nominate that Sanders character. He is a true believer, always dangerous.
Q: Yeah, but, wouldn't he make it easier for you to take over since he wants more government control?
A: Sure, but true believers muck it up. They energize the other side as well as their own side. That's not good, it causes people to start to care. If enough of them care government control becomes harder and harder. I need the people lethargic, uninformed, only concerned with what they want and their concerns. Sanders might wake up all those who preach that personal responsibility crap.
Q: What about Secretary Clinton?
A: She's perfect. Yeah the other side will complain and moan and continue to hound her on the email scandal, but that in itself is what makes her perfect. You see, she has no regard for the truth, only what's best for her career. I love the whole war on women thing. I think I use it once I take over. Nothing better than having your way with 'em and convincing everyone you're "on their side." I'm a fan, quite frankly. Her election would lead to more divisiveness, more people bowing out of the political process, more people feeling disenfranchised. Perfect. Plus, she's always touting about my favorite issue, gun control. I'd kill to get all the guns away from the people (Insert evil grin here).
Q: On the Republican side is there anyone you would vote for?
A: No. It is wrong to ever consider any side but your own, no matter who the candidate is. Remember that folks, you must mindlessly vote for your party and your party only. We can't have citizens going around actually thinking about the character, the ideas, the possibilities that each of the candidates bring. I love ideologies. Those who spit back only their party's talking points. They are without a doubt the "useful idiots" Stalin and Lenin so depended on to grab control of Russia. To all of you out there, regardless of party, keep blindly checking the box with an R or D next to it, please. That will all but assure my rise to power.
Q: What do you think about those running for the Republican ticket?
A: The front runner, Trump, has been entertaining. If he won the general I would worry that he might actually do something good and get America back on the wrong track. Back to prosperity, caring for each other, paying attention from time to time to the Constitution, you know, bad ideas like that. However, his narcissism probably won't allow for that. I'm scared he might beat me to the punch when it comes to a complete takeover! My Master would be pleased, but would no longer have any use for me. So, I'm torn. I love the anger behind his rise; I hate the idea of now knowing what he might actually accomplish.
That Cruz guy is a bit crazy. He sticks to his principles. I have a feeling he would keep the country divided as a result, maybe I'm wrong.
Marco Rubio is well received by the ladies. He is willing to compromise which could lead to the country getting on that wrong track again. The United States has always done well when the two party's actually talk to each other. I can't have that possibility happening. The divide plays right into my hands.
Dr. Carson is quiet. That scares me. Those quiet types that act humble and bring the Enemy (God) into the conversation and actually mean it worries me. The Master would not be pleased. Usually it's hard to take down a man who has really served mankind in a profound way. I mean, they used a 25 year old book to tear him down, it worked perhaps good enough to keep him from winning, which is why I so love this country. I love the media, questioning him for lying about his faults! Classic. The media will be the real reason for my rise to power.
Poor Jeb Bush. Just can't get any traction. Plus, you want to talk about arrogance. His play basically is that out of 330 million Americans we need yet another Bush to run this country. Hard sell, don't see it happening.
The others are interesting, Christie, Huckabee, Santorum, Fiorina, and more. But this election looks as if it has been hijacked by a celebrity. Could be good for me, could be good for "the people."
I do have to say, I love the fact that the media has helped us get out the idea that all Republicans are racist and hate women. I mean, even though they have a woman, black man, two Hispanics, and a guy from New Jersey running we can still sell it to the American people. Again, classic. Thank you media.
My favorite scenario? Trump versus Sanders. Two old white guys battling it out. Maybe, just maybe, we can get Al Shapton and Spike Lee to come out and boycott the election! Now there's an idea I can get behind.
Next interview? Abigail (Payne) Parker
It was Easter break 2013 when we had to say goodbye to our little Sadie. The obvious pain she was experiencing coupled with the drastic weight loss was difficult to watch. We still had our schnauzer, Baxter, but it took some time to get over our grief over our little Sadie. However, once we walked through the pain we noticed Baxter was still missing his sister. It was February of 2014; it was time to find a new puppy... if only for Baxter's sake.
Malia and I had already made a few trips to the Humane Society of the Black Hills. Sending pictures and spending time with a few dogs up for adoption we started to put the idea in Tammy's head. Although Malia and I just wanted to go ahead and take all the dogs home, we decided to wait and take our time. We don't have the type of home that would allow herds of animals, nor is it permitted where we live. And so tears were shed as we left each day praying each and every one of them would find a loving home.
Finally, the time had come. We found "the one." Tammy and I sat at the Humane Society with a little puppy that was named Pren. He had long, golden hair and reminded us of Lassie. Our new pup had come from the Pine Ridge Reservation and was just over four months old. He was beautiful, but there was one problem... he needed a new name.
After rifling through a number of names... even Martha, after our first first lady... we all came to an agreement on Dusty. Our little (not really) Dust Buster has brought joy to our lives. Of course, in the beginning there were a few casualties, clothing, my stuffed animals... I mean, no, Malia's stuffed animals, treatment for his bone a day habit, a few electric cords and more, but he would just look up with those eyes and all was forgiven. There is something special about adopting an animal from the shelter, and when I look at Dusty sometimes I feel like he knows what it means to now have a home. And he knows how blessed we feel for finding him.
So all this leads to what I have decided to do for the month of September. I will be donating 20% of all proceeds to our local shelter, the Humane Society of the Black Hills. "Eyes of Payne," available exclusively on Amazon for 99 cents, and Lazarus Rising, my debut novel, available in both print and digital format... will both be a part of this promotion. Please, spread the word; get a copy and help this wonderful organization continue to help animals from all over our area. The Humane Society never turns an animal away, a dog's day is never numbered, and each year they care for over 4600 strays and unwanted animals.
Okay, it may not be changing the world, but it certainly is changing the world for that pet. So adopt a dog or cat, send money, or just simply buy one of my published works. Either way you will be supporting the Humane Society of the Black Hills; helping dogs like Dusty find a permanent home. I can't even begin to explain what a blessing Dusty has been in our lives, but I can give back. Finally, in the words of Dusty, "Arf, arf... arf, arf, arf... arf." Loosely translated it means: "If you love animals; you will buy my daddy's book." Or... something like that.
Until next time... God Bless!
It is with a heavy heart that I write this blog. When I first watched the videos from Center for Medical Progress my first thought was, I can't believe there are people defending Planned Parenthood. And then it went further than that... I started to wonder how doctors and companies actually can be sitting around, drinking wine, discussing the price on body parts from an abortion. For over a decade we discussed the morality and ethics behind stem cell research... but somehow this is a conversation were not supposed to have as many wave the banner of women's reproductive rights? I won't even attempt to get into what 'reproductive rights' means.
Those who are defending Planned Parenthood from the angle of 'it's legal,' or based on the scientific research should probably do some brushing up on history and read about how Hitler and his so-called doctors used all their experiments for medical research.
Their defense reminds me of how democrats defended slavery back before the Civil War. "Well," one slaveholder would say, "our rights are being stripped away from us." It didn't matter that those rights were the right to literally own another human being. It's the same thing here, "You are taking away our right to decide whether or not a human being can come into this world." Isn't that really what it is? In both situations, it is the right to selfishly do what is the best interest of ME! Perhaps that is the type of country we have become. They were on the wrong side of the issue then, and they are on the wrong side of the issue now.
Maybe the morality question is no longer one we should ask ourselves. I mean, even the slaveholders tried to use the moral argument, however twisted, to make it okay to own a person based on their skin color. Where is the moral argument from those on the side of Planned Parenthood? I don't really care if it's legal or not... the real question is should we be doing it? Slavery was legal at one point in our history. Interracial marriage was illegal. Is receiving any monetary compensation for body parts or tissue from an abortion, no matter whos "okay" we have, something any of us want to answer for regardless of whether you believe in karma or a Creator?
I know I'm a man and supposedly 'not allowed' to voice my opinion on the issue of abortion. Well, to those Secular Progressive that make such a claim I will tell you one thing from personal experience: the father can be affected too. I know we live in a time where father's are depicted on television as Homer Simpson. Sometimes the father is completely absent which is true in too many cases around the country as well. That's a major issue Americans need to address as well... and soon. But I digress... I was telling my own story. I'm not coming from the self-righteous 'boy I can't believe you did that' stand. At one time in my life I was not only pro-choice, but played a major role in exercising those rights. There is not a day that goes by I don't think about it; especially when I hug my daughter or see her do something magical... it can be as simple as an act of kindness. And she does that often.
For a long time I couldn't be as close to my daughter as I longed to be. There was something that held me back from loving her completely. After spending some time in prayer and talking with others it dawned on me that my past actions were blocking the true Sunlight of the Spirit. I had to do something about it, and I did. It was a difficult walk, but I found God's grace and forgiveness on the other side... I have a relationship with my daughter today closer and stronger than I could have ever hoped for. I realize she's about to become a teenager and there are bumpy roads ahead; however, I won't be carrying baggage that prevents me from being the father she needs.
One thing I realized as my own view changed to Pro-Life: I could no longer defend the idea that it wasn't at the very least potential life. As Americans our own founding document demands that we defend life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We have always done our best to protect and fight for those who are helpless, unable to defend themselves, and treated as unequal. And yet we have those today attacking the unborn. From a man who is broken at best, guilty as charged, it is time to stand up for those who are being treated as unequal; they are helpless; unable to defend themselves. And now that I have seen the horrific videos from Center for Medical Progress, we know they are babies... with all the organs and limbs and parts that make up a human being.
It's time to stop kidding ourselves.
One final warning... if you plan to watch the videos they are disturbing. I did become physically ill. But I also feel it's important to see reality for those who can stomach it. Here is a another link to the website... Click Here
Until next time... God Bless!
The dinosaur in the picture above is made out of Legos. The artist name is, Nathan Sawaya, and he is now Malia's favorite. Tammy is holding our grandson, Sea, who struggled to keep his hands to himself during our visit to , "Art of the Bricks." I can't blame him - I wanted to join in and build something myself!
As with my last trip this one was not without its challenges. Our Toyota died (may she rest in peace) in Fort Collins where we purchased a new vehicle... well, new to use anyway. Hopefully the memories of spending way too much on our kids and grandkids will outlast the credit card and car payment. I suspect we won't have any regrets.
I have an announcement! Tomorrow my short story, "Eyes of Payne," goes on sale for 99 cents. It is a prequel to Lazarus Rising and takes place on 9/11. It is only available on Amazon in digital format, but anyone can download (for free I might add) the Kindle app and read it from their computer, tablet, or phone. The sale begins at 7 am.
I will also begin my blog tour for "Eyes of Payne." I don't know what to expect, but I'm excited. I will be letting you know where you can find me online for the next two weeks via social media. Down below I have links to my social media if you haven't already friended me or follow me. Of course, I will follow back! I will be a guest blogger on a couple of sites (I write one blog about why I choose to write about 9/11), I will be interviewed on another, and more that I have not yet been told about. Please join in and celebrate with me if you can.
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ADFlores.Author
Twitter - https://twitter.com/FloresFreedom
Instagram - https://instagram.com/anthonydflores1776/
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=103197647&trk=hp-identity-name
Look for upcoming events from the comforts of Home or Office! God Bless...
Many of you already know that I take a group of 8th graders to Washington DC. This year we had thirty-seven students and nine adults. Although we ran into many obstacles we had a great time. Other than dealing with a larger-than-usual block of negative Nancy's keeping a good attitude was vital to the sanity of those over the age of sixteen.
The trip started out with our flights being on time and getting us to our destination (Baltimore) without so much as a hiccup. We met our tour director then loaded on the bus. Away we went to imagining a trip filled with Memorials and tours and wonderful historical sites. It was like being in a candy story for those of us history nerds leading the group.
Again, like last year, we lucked out and were able to get right in at the National Archives. We were able to check out the Vietnam Wall where I had some of the kids find soldiers my father served with. I told some of his stories to help make the Wall 'come alive' for the students. The rain started and the next thing we knew we were trapped in the Lincoln Memorial in one heck of a thunder storm. What a place to get 'trapped' in. I told the story of the paintings above the two speeches, and we were off to the Korean War Memorial that we had all to ourselves.
The next day we traveled to Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington, where we were truly blessed. We had the opportunity to see three soldiers receive their Purple Heart. On that subject, I want to take this chance to thank my dad for his service in Vietnam where on June 13th, 1969, the actions of the day led to his second Purple Heart. The ceremony was led by the Secretary of the Army who is to the right of the soldier in the picture above. The grounds at Mt. Vernon were also celebrating the 140th birthday of the Army. What better place to do it than at the home of our first general? We would not be the country we are today had he not decided to give up that power once the Revolutionary War was won.
The day continued with a tour of the Library of Congress and our Nation's Capitol building. We were unable to see the Senate gallery, but Senator Rounds did meet us on the steps for a group photo. Once we were done there we made our way to the Wax Museum that surprisingly had more to do with history than I realized. I tended to a sick kid in the lobby as others raced through. The lady who did the original waxes had to do it in France of heads after they had been guillotined so they could be put on sticks as a 'warning' to people who might oppose the powers that be. Madam Tussaud eventually turned it into a very profitable business.
The next day started at the Senate building where we had the opportunity to meet all three of South Dakota's representatives. The students were great and a few had some real through-provoking questions. Both senators discussed with the room filled with people from South Dakota what they were currently working on. Congresswoman Kristi Noem then let us all in what the House was trying to accomplish. If ever in DC, this breakfast meeting happens every Wednesday Congress is in session.
The next two days were spent out of DC in Williamsburg and Charlottesville were history really comes alive. For those of us history buffs, we were able to see the house of James Madison's for the first time. I was as giddy and almost passed out when standing in the room where Madison spent months studying forms of government to write the Constitution. If those walls could talk...
We did tour the house of Jefferson at Monticello, but we were rained out. We were forced into the cellar for quite a spell. That was okay, we were able to see his grave and spend some time in the gift shop (best ever). During our visit of the house, the tour guide asked about the most famous slave there, meaning Sally Hemmings who is the slave many believe Jefferson had children with. One of my students cried out, "Harriet Tubman!" Right then and there I thought perhaps I should turn in my resignation.
The final day we did have delays. The first call was for a two-hour delay. No big deal, some of us were bummed since I had originally planned a trip to Fort McHenry, but we were still going to make our connecting flight. Then the call was eleven pm, then back to eight pm, then maybe six, oh wait, looks like seven, and finally our plane left just after nine.
The people in Baltimore were absolutely awful. We wanted to make a stink, but with forty plus people we didn't what to make it worse. Not to mention current events in the area might mean tensions are a bit high in that town, and any questionable move might lead to an arrest by States Attorney Mosby. Delta Baltimore actually threatened to throw off some of our kids if they didn't check their bags. There would have been no way for us to get our luggage and get back into the airport. At that time, there was no flight home, so we didn't have a boarding pass to get back in the airport. It was a mess. Again, Delta Baltimore needs to make some changes. The staff there was anything but cordial.
That wasn't the story at Delta Minneapolis. This group of employees needs to be commended for their commitment to excellence. The moment we deplaned ( I love that term) we were greeted by three employees who first apologized for the entire mess. They then went right into what they were doing about it. Dinner was on the way for all of us. They had a separate room with mattress pads, blankets, and pillows (it seems like an endless supply) for us to sleep in. One of the kids exclaimed, "Mr. Flores! This is like, the biggest sleepover ever!" We had some of the parents that needed a room, and without hesitation they were given one. We were told that breakfast would arrive in the morning. The sandwiches had little stickers on them with an apology. Two of our kids were given new flights to meet up with their parents leaving for vacation on Sunday. Every step of the was Delta Minneapolis was incredible.
Delta Minneapolis. YOU ROCK!
We arrived home to crying mothers and hugs all around. It is a trip we will all remember for the rest of our lives. The students were beyond amazing. They were forced to wait over eight hours in an airport. Strangers came by complimenting us on how great our kids were. There is a reason I have my child in the Rapid City Catholic School System, and it's not just because she will over the years get a better than average education. I'm proud of each and every one of them. I am blessed to have had this chance to have stacked another building block on our relationships. God has blessed me in ways I never would have imagined.
Finally, it is worth saying again... Delta Minneapolis- Two very enthusastic thumbs up!
Until next time... God Bless!
Another example of kids wanting to grow up too fast! What can you do... they will figure it out soon enough.
The summer has started and my new project has begun. My plan is to write two short novels (or novellas if you will) this summer. I'm not sure if I am biting off more than I can chew, but what I can tell you is I already feel behind. My goal is to write 2000 words a day during the week and trying my best to sneak in a session or two on the weekends. In the first week, I am about 7000 words into Pivot Point, the working title of my next book. I have spent all night racking my brain trying to come up with a logline to no avail, so I will give you a bit of a summary:
Paul Severson is the starting fullback on the high school football team and a bully. Teddy is his number one victim and a kid struggling with the fear and emotions that come with being the target. In a moment of clarity that slowly changes the heart of Paul (really it happens suddenly, as it always does with God) he saves Teddy from himself only to learn he must battle his own demons.
I planned on the story being more of a Young Adult fiction, but the voice of my narrator has a more adult voice. We'll see. I think it will speak to a larger audience of both YA and those of us moving along in years. I am also toying with using omnipotent or omniscient, whichever one you prefer. Basically, that means the narrator knows everything and can tell the reader exactly what EVERY character is thinking. A Godlike storyteller. Don't worry, I'm not confusing myself with God, to be honest, I really don't want his job (anymore). Using this type of POV is vital to my story. There is a reason why the narrator has this power, but I will leave that up to the reader to discover.
The other story I plan to write this summer is a horror story. It has been in my head (yes, horror does live there) since I was fifteen years old. It started with a premise my best friend and I came up with. It has gone through some changes over the years and now just seems to be the time to write it. For those of you who have subscribed to my Newsletter, I attached the first scene from that story to give you a "sneak peak." If you're not a subscriber and want to be please Click Here and sign up. It's free! And I will send the first peak into my new story. *Viewer warning* My horror story is NOT a kids book. It is for adult consumption.
My plan is to have a blog tour for my short story, "Eyes of Payne," that was released in March. I will keep all of you posted. It will be a party on the internet!
Until next time... God Bless!
Over the past week, I have watched hours of coverage from Baltimore. I have visited Baltimore before, and quite frankly, I loved it! At the time, I was writing an historical fiction novel that takes place in the 1840s. A sort of love story if you will. That story lost much of its steam in late 2008 and gave birth to Lazarus Rising. But my trip to Baltimore will always be a special time. It was right after my sister had graduated from college and originally meant to be a brother-sister gig. Instead, the group became much larger and we had a great time; minus the driving in Washington DC. Actually, our father, who was injured in Vietnam, commented that dying in a rice patty was a better option than navigating the streets of our nation's capital.
I certainly understand the need for answers to what happened to Mr. Gray. It looks as if the officers have to answer for what happened to him while he was in their custody. But what is the point of burning your own city? I have heard they are angry because there are no good paying jobs. Boy, I bet people are lining up now to start a business in a town where thugs are given permission to loot and set buildings on fire. This reaction to "wanting good paying jobs" has set that hope back at least a decade. As I watched people's properties burn and the police just watch and a mayor that stated "it's only property" all I could do was wonder if there are any winners in this scenario. How many of the local store owners will be able to recover from this? When I owned a business it was tough enough without being concerned that some thug was going to burn it down. That might have changed my decision to buy a restaurant had I felt that my property would not be protected from criminals. Especially ones that do it right in front of the police and on film. Certainly I would at least expect that those we elect to public office would not tie the hands of our men and women in blue to protect themselves! Apparently, we live in much different times.
But maybe those officials are ready to take appropriate action…
How did the city of Baltimore respond if their infinite wisdom? Not as we would hope to expect…
Instead, the mayor walks back her use of the word "thug." I bet police officers are lining up to come work for a leader like that. Over 44 buildings have burned, police officers hospitalized, regular citizens terrorized, and business owners ruined, but what we need to be worried about is how we characterize criminals. “Misguided youth,” she calls them… if I was just being cynical I would tell her that I’d bet not one of them voted for her. In fact, I would venture to guess that not one of those “thugs,” oops, I mean “misguided youth,” even bothered to go to the polls on Election Day. You see, that would be the proper place to express your grievances with how your city is being run. It just seems to me lately that the man or woman being forgotten in our society is the one that works hard and obeys the law.
I can’t say with any certainty what percentage of cops are bad, but I can say that 100% of all the looters, arsonists, and those who vandalize are criminals and should go to jail. The need to condone this kind of behavior needs to stop. We better start speaking out when we hear nonsensical reporters, politicians and so-called leaders make ridiculous statements or these incidents will begin to play out at a city or town near you. The idea that this type of violence is in any way going to make it better for any person living in Baltimore is just plain false. The poor will now have less opportunity, the middle class will shrink, and those with means will set up business in a friendlier atmosphere. The birthplace of our National Anthem will not be the same, and all we can do now is pray for them. I wish I had a more inspiring report. But I don’t. I’m just sick and tired of hearing how horrible this country is when all I see is opportunity… so my real message to those who feel disenfranchised is this… stop setting your own opportunities on fire. It’s the equivalent of drinking poison and waiting for your enemy to die.
Howdy all! Yes, as you can see I have been working on a new website. I spent yet another weekend trying to relocate my blog and by the end of the day, Easter, I had convinced myself it was time for a change. In 2009 I bought and created my first website. It changed a few times over the years until I settled on the WordPress Blog many of you have become familiar with. Normally I stay loyal to a company, but the time for a change has come. Going back and getting all of my past blogs to transfer to this one has made it abundantly clear that Yahoo is not the best place to get a website. Perhaps someday they will get it figured... they will just have to do it without me. One good point - the tech support group is fantastic and twice has been able to figure out why my website stopped working and fixed it. The problem, however, is the issue comes from how their product interacts with WordPress - a company they are affiliated with and the one I had to use so I could run a blog. Sorry Yahoo, but I'm moving on.
I did get the chance to do some research and learned much about what companies best host websites. It appears that Squarespace is excellent. In fact, I came close to choosing them as my provider. After playing with their site for awhile I found it was not nearly as user friendly as I had hoped. The cost was much higher (if I was running a conventional business that is where my website would be) which helped me make my decision. This one is run by Weebly, and I love it. This web host is extremely user friendly and I also find it looks great. It ended up being the perfect choice for an Author Platform. I like the idea of being able to have each page have the same framework but a different feel if needed. My old website is currently still up... I plan on keeping it for a bit until I have all my ducks in a row. I am hoping to keep my web address: AnthonyDFlores.com and it seems that is doable. So, if any of you out there are looking to get your first website as an author up and running OR wanting to make a change there are a ton of great products out there... for now, I would suggest staying away from Yahoo until they get there you-know-what in order. Here is a list of what was important to me and why I went with Weebly:
* Easy to use
* Reasonably priced yet still could cater to my needs
* Needed to be able to have a blog
* Ability to have a number of pages that can be unique yet keep the feel of the site
You decide what you need. If I was running an e-commerce business that needed to work like Amazon I may have went in another direction.
Finally, yes, my latest story has been released. I would have loved to make you aware of this on my blog, but, well, Yahoo wouldn't let me. Now I get that chance - "Eyes of Payne" is now available in e-format only. It is exclusive on Amazon but that doesn't mean you can't get a copy! Simply Click Here to download the FREE Kindle app. Then "Eyes of Payne" can be ALL yours...
Spring has arrived. That means longer days, baseball, and my next release. The short story, "Eyes of Payne," will debut on Friday, March 27th. It will be available only through Amazon, but don't forget! ANY type of device can get the Kindle App. The story takes place in California on September 11th, 2001. For those of you who've read Lazarus Rising it is a prequel. Jack Payne is the main character in "Eyes of Payne," as he tries to deal with the death of his wife and how to tell his six year old daughter (Abigail). The journey through that day for the Payne family takes more than one twist and turn. A great introduction to the novel (Lazarus Rising) and an awesome ride for those whom have already read it.
Baseball. Nothing cries out "Spring" like the sound of a 90 MPH fastball hitting the catcher's glove. Certainly as a Cubs fan this is usually the only time I am filled with hope for my team... but this year is different! The hapless Cubs have a legitimate shot at actually being good. The minor leagues are stacked and the front office really did spend some money on real live stars. The battered Cubs have also signed Maddon to manage the team and look as if they are headed in the right direction. All there is left to do is pray there is not a Bartman in our future.
Finally, I need to say something about what happened recently in Ferguson. Two cops were injured in a shooting the other night. This is bad not only for the police, but also for those protesting. The protestors have every right to peacefully have their voices heard. Nothing should ever hinder the rights of those who feel it necessary to speak up about where they see injustice. I have been a part of one before; there is nothing more American. The police should be able to serve their community by making sure everyone... yes everyone... is protected. We need to support the police in what they do. I would venture to guess that over 95% of officers are good men and women doing a dangerous job that saves more lives than takes them. The communities that end up suffering the most when this kind of nonsense happens are the poor and crime-filled ones. I ask that we remember the next time we come in contact with an officer we thank him or her for their service, just like many of us have been doing with our military. In certain sections of our country the police go into a literal war zone daily. We can still hold those who abuse their position accountable AND reach out to those who deserve our gratitude. They have taken enough abuse lately... it's time to let the good ones get back to work!
I also have a feeling that we will learn the protestors were not responsible for the shooting. It will be some radical lune tied to some anarchy-type group. The idea is to get the police to overreact by either making a mistake that leads to their inability to properly do their job in the future, or create chaos in the crowd that leads to the end of a peaceful protest. This would lead to shutting down the protestors creating the narrative of a police state. Just like we don't want to define the police department by a few bad apples we also don't want to dismiss those who feel disenfranchised. I have a feeling we will see more of these wackos disguised as protestors trying to take advantage of the turmoil. My hope is, as a nation, we will be able to keep our head in the game and not allow this to distract us on working towards becoming a better country. Looking around at how crazy the world has become being considered the best nation is not really that much of a stretch. That being said, we should take notice of how far we have come. The United States has made its mistakes, but as a people we have always strived for better... for the best.
Anthony D. Flores loves to spend his summers writing fiction. His strong Christian faith and love for this great country find its way into his fiction. His work is also available on Amazon by Clicking Here.