Month: June 2017

Breaking Up With Characters

Breaking Up With Characters

Like many authors, life experiences inspire me. I draw from these experiences and write them into my work as a way of trying to understand them. Many of the characters you find in my work are similar to people I’ve met in real life. These are people that have influenced or affected me…just not consistently in a positive way.

Recently, I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw that a guy I once had feelings for was getting married. To be honest, I wasn’t shocked. Marriage and living a clean, wholesome life were on his to-do list. I expected this. More importantly, I’m in my own relationship. Still, I had to stop and stare at the photo of him and his fiance. Like we all do when Facebook stalking someone (he and I actually never dated, mind you), I put most of my eyeball focus on the new, lucky lady. Immediately, I begin to analyze her for her secret. How did she get him to fall in love with her, even start liking her? This was a task I could never achieve.

No matter how much I listened to him, sought him out for advice, tried to alter my views to fit his world perspective, we just never clicked. Some would say I should have told him about my feelings and maybe I should have. But we were working at a religious summer camp and he was “reborn.” If memory serves me correctly, he wasn’t even open to dating and was on some sort of cleanse which, of course, was his own right.

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Write Your Way Through Life???

Write Your Way Through Life???

When I was trying to come up with a slogan for my author platform I wracked my brain for days. I wanted something that was easily remembered, unique, and representative of me, as well as my writing. However, my first few attempts either felt forced or were too dramatic. I don’t even want to list them here because that’s how embarrassing they are. Let’s just say my early slogans came off like something from a bad self-help book you find in the dollar store–catchy, corny and questionable.

Anyway, at some point, I eventually reverted to the basics. I’m talking about the five w’s: who, what, when, where, why, and how. I started asking myself the following questions:

Who did I want to reach?
Readers and aspiring writers.

What was I going to reach them with?
My writing, fingers crossed.

When was I going to do this?
ASAP!!!!!

Where was I going to do this?
Since it’s 2017, online, of course.

How was I going to do this?
Through my writing with an organized online platform.

Why was I doing this?
Many reasons! The two biggest ones being I want to entertain and inspire people. The same way so many authors are responsible for kindling the fire inside of me, I wanted to do that for others, too. And if in the process of sparking all these soul fires, a few people chose the path of writing with the same goal as mine at their forefront, well the more the merrier!

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Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition Offers Overdose Training Workshops to the Community

Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition Offers Overdose Training Workshops to the Community

Once labeled “Murder City”, the last few years in Baltimore and the state in general have seen a rise in a different type of violence that has exceeded the others. In 2016, there were a total of three-hundred-eighteen homicides in the city compared to the over two-thousand intoxication related deaths in Maryland, 89% of which were opioid related. Though some may only call for harsher sentencing, organizations like the Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition(BHRC) are taking a more reductive approach.

Formed in January 2011, BHRC uses harm reduction principles to fight the rising intoxication-death toll in the city, as well as the ripple effects of drug overdose.

According to their website, harm reduction is defined as “a range of policies and practices designed to reduce the harmful consequences associated with drug use, sex work, and other activities that may contribute to poor health outcomes. Harm reduction is an alternative and, in some cases, a complement to the more conventional approaches of demand and supply reduction.”

Executive Director Harriet Smith presented the benefits of harm reduction practices in an Overdose Response Training workshop at the Greenmount Coffee Lab on June 17th. Below is an outline of the workshop and information on how to get involved.

Overdose Response Training:

1) Recognize the signs of an overdose
If an individual has taken any sort of drug and is experiencing these signs there is a high chance they are overdosing. Some of the common signs of overdose include trouble breathing, trouble sitting up, change in lip color, confusion or unconsciousness.

2) Check for unconsciousness
Place a hand or ear by the individual’s mouth to listen/feel for breathing. If they are not breathing, try reviving them by taking a fist and placing it down knuckles first on the individual’s breast plate, before rubbing up and down. This action, called the sternal rub, is very uncomfortable and the individual will react if they are conscious.

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Author Highlights: Rachel Rawlings-How to Talk About Your Books

Author Highlights: Rachel Rawlings-How to Talk About Your Books


The Extroverted-Introvert:
Taking Your Brand On the Road. How to Talk About Your Books & Brand With Readers & Peers When the Last Thing You Want to Do Is Talk About Yourself!

My name is Rachel Rawlings, author of urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, and founder of HallowRead Book Festival. Over the last four and a half years, I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the brightest authors in our industry. Some are more outgoing than others. As an author, I have a unique perspective into the psyche of an extroverted-introvert because I am one. Once I get to know you, the extrovert comes out, but how does an introvert get to know other people? Ahh, therein lies the problem. Let’s delve a little deeper and help ease those meet and greet fears with a few helpful tips.

1)Do Introduce Yourself to Your Tablemate or Neighbor.
Some of the best relationships start with a simple “Hello, my name is…”

2)Don’t Stack Your Books High Enough to Shield You From The Oncoming Horde of Hungry Readers.
A friendly smile is the best lure to hook a new reader.

3)Don’t Get Distracted With Social Media.
Uncomfortable silences or awkward social situations make it easy to reach for the comfort of social media, grabbing our phones and swiping away at the small screen of familiar yet isolated interaction.

4)Do Have A Bowl of Candy.
No greater ice-breaker out there at an author’s table than a bowl of sweet confection! Chocolate, caramel, sweet tart? It doesn’t matter. People can’t help themselves and many a book have been sold over a bowl over Hershey’s Kisses.

5)Don’t Be Afraid.
Easier said than done, right? Trust me, I feel your pain. When I first began taking my brand on the road, I hated talking about myself. Still do, in fact. But, with each one it gets a little easier and I have made long lasting friendships and connections that are far too invaluable in our industry to stay comfortably hidden in my corner.

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