Hollywood frequently ignores common sense and churns out sequel after unwatchable sequel while failing to make smart sequel choices. I mean the new ghostbusters would have been awesome if it was a sequel rather than a remake, right? And, if you base a film on a book, the film’s sequel should only exist if there’s a sequel in print. (That one makes me really mad.) Anyway, these are my picks for the shittiest, hardest to watch sequels that were a waste of talent and money. Also, I’m going to skip the obvious stuff because everyone knows Batman and Robin was insufferable.

1. Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)

Obviously I’m biased because, as a 90s kid, I had Adventures in Wonderland, which took denim-clad pre-teen Alice through a bedroom mirror (looking glass) into Wonderland and a world of adventure. Had I not the privilege to view that, I think I still would have hated 2016’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass.”

It was terrible, despite a talented cast. I should note, I don’t believe any of the cast gave a wholehearted performance. The setting was Wonderland, but the cast’s mood was dispirited and bored the entire film. Also, it was graphically cheesy, like an episode of Once Upon a Time. And, all the obvious metaphors about time’s unfortunate and permanent un-changeability didn’t cause me to reflect on time itself, but rather when the movie would end. (Spoiler alert: it never ends).

2. Bridget Jones Baby (2016)

The original Bridget Jones released at a time when I was still willing to watch a film and then read the book. I adored both the novel and the film, read the second book, and then welcomed the sequel to the film Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, but I just can’t with Bridget Jones’ Baby because it wasn’t written by Helen Fielding.

The most atrocious thing about this is that there is a third book; it’s just not about a pregnant Bridget Jones. The third film is not based on a book because Hollywood imagined it more believable that Bridget would divorce Darcy and find herself pregnant at 47 unlike the novelization, which picks up after her husband Darcy has died when she is 50 years old. She starts dating again. It could have worked, but ultimately they chose a cutesier rom-com set in a delightful London that doesn’t exist in real life Continue reading

Social media icon

Okay – first things first – I must issue this disclaimer: I rarely earn money on social media. I spend money on social media. I sometimes use it as a marketing tool and buy ads, etc. These ads do generate revenue for my businesses, but that’s not what I’m going to teach you. I’m going to teach you how to use your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. to generate profit and score free products. The only reason I don’t use these methods is because I own websites and write for businesses, and I do most of my marketing there.

Sign up as an Affiliate Marketer

I primarily use shareasale.com because their interface is simple and easy to use. ShareASale has thousands of merchants looking for marketers, so it’s a great place to start; however, it’s not the only place to sign up as an affiliate. A simple Google search will introduce you to millions of brands, businesses, and affiliate groups to join. (Just be sure to do your homework because there are plenty of scams out there too). Amazon and eBay have their own affiliate programs if you want to promote products.

To be successful as an affiliate marketer, you should focus on selling just one or a few items. This is called a niche. FYI: I am so bad at this. I am like a fish out of water, or a writer without a niche. I just share whatever floats my boat in the moment, but you shouldn’t follow my style if you want to make a lot of money. Instead, you should focus on a niche, something you’re an expert in and sell that. It could be a cool application or a beauty brand you love.

A final word of advice: DON’T OVERSHARE. People won’t follow you if you’re posts are boring, salesy, or spammy. In fact, you could end up blocked or reported. The secret is to create engaging posts and thoughtful content that’s relevant to your followers.

Get Paid to Twitter

If you don’t have a Twitter – sign up. It’s simple and the posts are short (140 characters or less), so there’s not a huge time commitment. You’ll need to build up a following; if you already have more than 500 followers, you’re ready to leverage these followers and earn some money. How much you get paid is dependent on how many followers you have, so Continue reading

One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to be true to who we are. Before we can do that, however, we have to find out who that is. This process often takes a season, a stretch of time, to become familiar. There is no set time frame for this powerful phenomenon, everyone has their own clock.

The Days of Being Like Everyone Else…Or At Least Trying…

Youth, for most of us, is a season in which we work hard to suppress our budding individuality. We study others to mimic or puppet what seems to be acceptable. We hide our angst by covering up our feelings and pushing them way down within ourselves: so that no one can see. We don’t even realize that we are hiding the best of ourselves, the rarest form of who we are, all for the fleeting pat on the back called social acceptance. We spend a great deal of our young years lost in this holding pattern, only to realize that we aren’t happy and we don’t know who we are.

The Weight of Inauthenticity…

Even an empty box can be heavy sometimes. Especially if you carry it long enough. Your hands get tired, your neck and back become rigid and tense, and your legs start to drag. Anything fraudulent becomes a burden if you are forced to uphold it for too long. It’s hard to stay in character after the curtain falls, but the person afraid to be himself or herself has to wear the masque long after the stage has gone dark.

When the Levy Breaks…

When the moth is ready, the true butterfly emerges. When you get tired of being tired, the floodgates open as you let go of the world of expectations and judgments that have been impressed upon you. After all the unnecessary layers have fallen away, you’re left with the truest version of yourself. This is the authentic self, unlike any other, the original blueprint. At this point, life truly starts from a pure and genuine source. This confidence and authenticity are what fuels independent political party beliefs. When there is no mainstream candidate that reflects your feelings and beliefs, the authentic individual can stand alone.

Having the courage and self-love to be yourself is priceless. Without it, we’re ill-equipped to handle the many changing faces of the world. The authentic self should be everyone’s goal and destination.

An Excerpt from my New Book “Blood on the Vine”

Blood on the Vine

The following excerpt is taken from an all-audiences portion of my book. If you’d like a peek at the steamier scenes, head over to Racy Reads Blog: “Blood on the Vine” Sample for an R-rated excerpt.

The excerpt is below, but here’s a brief synopsis so you can get a feel for this story:

Miranda Knight has returned to her picturesque childhood home on Seneca Lake. The estate-turned-inn is every bit as haunting and beautiful as she remembers, but is home to more secrets than ever before. As Miranda investigates the disappearance of a former owner, she meets Aldo, a rich Mediterranean vintner. Their whirlwind romance is nothing like she’d imagined, but she can’t help falling in love with him despite his penchants for rough sex and playing hard to get. The other man in Miranda’s life is Ashton, who may or may not have murdered his wife, but who has the most beautiful blue eyes Miranda has ever gazed into. Miranda feels an attraction to both men, but only one is sincere. The wrong man is harboring a dark heart that threatens Miranda’s life and the future of her childhood home, The Molly Grange Inn.

This book is an erotic thriller with strong sexual scenes. Mature readers 18+ only.

Chapter 5 – Miranda hears a knock at the door…

I drew my satin robe around my arms and shoulders and cinched it at my waist, and slipped my feet into my slippers. I felt adequately covered to open the door.

“Besides,” I whispered. “If they’re knocking on my door passed midnight what do they expect me to be wearing?”

It dawned on me that if they could hear me crying, perhaps whoever was beyond the door could also hear me criticizing their late night visit. I took a moment and a deep breath before reaching for the door. As I went for the handle, I jumped because whoever was on the other side knocked three more times.

“I said just a second.” I shouted.

There was no one there. It didn’t seem possible, but there was no one there. The final three knocks had happened mere seconds before I pulled open the door, but the hallway was empty as far as I could tell. It was dark, but I felt certain I’d know if someone was there. I stepped a couple feet beyond my doorway and looked up and Continue reading

Here’s What I’ve Learned as a REAL Ambassador for Planned Parenthood

IMG_1867.JPG

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since the infamous anti-abortion organization The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released their so-called secret recordings, which have since been debunked and proven to be fraudulent and altered. Each of the video’s creators have been indicted for their actions, but continue to be martyrs for the ultra-conservative-right, which feeds on the ignorance of its constituents. And, it pisses me off because Planned Parenthood is single-handedly responsible for my sexual safety.

I stand with Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood stood with me through HPV and two pregnancies. I can rest assured I don’t have cervical cancer because Planned Parenthood diagnosed my HPV and provided me with a cervical cancer screening. Today I am both HPV and cervical cancer free thanks to Planned Parenthood, who provides services to low-income people without medical insurance. Thanks also to Planned Parenthood for confirming my pregnancies and providing me with local prenatal care options.

Despite the facts, 12 states initiated investigations against Planned Parenthood in a witch hunt that agitated my liberal sensibilities and inspired me to take action. Without much forethought or planning, I created the Facebook group, We Stand with Western NY Planned Parenthood. I planned a peaceful and supportive demonstration and myself, my friend Olivia, and my husband Robert held signs in support of an organization I believed in. There had been an influx in anti-abortion protestors (those people who cherry pick their beliefs from the Bible. I like to call them Bible Dippers, such as the characters in Augustin Burroughs’s beloved memoir, “Running with Scissors”).

I reached out to Planned Parenthood of Western NY to see if they would support our action. Being that Planned Parenthood is a helpful, quality, classy organization, they don’t encourage rallies even when they’re pro-abortion and pro-healthcare. Planned Parenthood puts patients first, and this means ensuring their privacy. They told us that like all protestors, we could utilize the public space along the sidewalk. This was a message delivered to me by Kate, who I won’t state her last name or position in the company for her safety and privacy, but who plays a significant role in the organization. Her position and professional demeanor and kindness immediately had an impact on me. I am impressed by her, and I admire her tenacity, service, and dedication.

Planned Parenthood Sign Collage.png

On a rainy afternoon in mid-fall, Olivia, Robert, and I held signs Continue reading

While tweeting is an integral part of social media, coming up with tweets on-the-fly is difficult. The best way to solve this problem is to create a twitter library on your cell phone’s notepad. In my quest to develop a fully stocked twitter library, I used the tools in this AdWeek SocialTimes article: Create a Twitter Library So You Never Run Out of Things to Tweet. The article has a lot of useful information. Below is some of what I learned and how I implement it.

Categories for a Twitter Library:

Tips and Tricks

Everyone loves a good shortcut or a tip that makes life easier and more efficient. In this category, I keep a list of tips that I’ve picked up throughout my career. I’ll add links to useful articles, tutorials, and just general advice for writers, authors, and entrepreneurs.

Ways to Engage the Audience

Followers want to feel like they’re part of a group. In this section, I include questions I can use to start a dialogue with followers. For example, around the New Year, I asked “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” It helps to tag a few people you know will retweet and respond.

Interesting Thoughts and Musings

This is a section, I get to put all my creative thoughts, witty comments, haikus, and more. If I have an interesting thought, I jot it down here for publishing later. This is the perfect place for on-the-go ideas.

Links to Blog Posts

Because one of the ultimate goals of social media is to drive readers to my sites, linking back to my blogs is an absolute must. I keep a running list of my favorite and most sharable posts and every once in a while, I send it to my twitter following.

Quotes and Images

To avoid the temptation to repost images, memes, and quotes I find on other social media sites, I’ve created a section of original pieces to have at my disposal.

Stocking the Library

The next step is to fill up each category with content. One of the easiest ways to start is to add some tweets to your library while the topic is fresh in your head. So, when I create a blog post, I take a little time to create a handful of tweets related to the topic. For this little amount of added time, my library grows exponentially.

Finally, there’s two Continue reading

Depression-loss of loved oneIt’s human nature to experience a wide range of emotions. I guess it all depends on what you’re going through. For the last two years, I have experienced significant happiness, but also sadness, regret, depression, etc. For me, most of my unhappiness stems from the sort of social drama that spreads like cancer through families and eventually destroys all meaningfulness and caring that once existed unconditionally. Unconditional love is not something that can be granted to bullies or narcissists, and you have to be willing to sever those ties and move on with your life; and, unfortunately, there’s no greater sadness than losing someone you love.

Once your happiness has been impeded, the slump sets in. If you’ve ever felt sad, and especially if you are or have been depressed, you’re familiar with the slump. It’s when you look at the clock and it reads 2:00 and then three hours later you look at the clock again and it’s only 2:15. The slump is when you struggle to get ready; it’s when you’re so burdened emotionally, all physical activity tends to feel like an uphill battle.

Pulling yourself out of a slump is difficult, but it’s not exactly your fault. It’s actually your brain that’s working against you. UCLA neuroscience researcher, Alex Korb, studied the brain for many years and ultimately determined that your brain can and will keep you in a state of funk…If you let it.

The emotions of pride, shame, and guilt can trigger the brain’s reward center. As crazy as it sounds, it’s true. Personally, I prefer to drown out the noise by blocking communication from my attackers, specifically, my mom; however, she’s a very reactionary person who is addicted to drama and she will post public status updates to Facebook that openly criticize me, which leads to our mutual friends screenshotting the updates and private messaging them to me. I have done due diligence and asked people to no longer engage in sharing this information with me, but ultimately someone always sends me a copy of the things she posts. You’d think my hurt feelings and stress would be negative, but my brain believes I’m doing something positive by reacting emotionally to my problems even if all I’m doing is dwelling on the unfortunate situation. Because my brain sees the whole negative experience as a positive, it begins to reward the slump…But, we all Continue reading

I’ve been using my Twitter to get Donald Drumpf (@realDonaldTrump) to block me. I’ve embedded some of my tweets here; sadly, he has yet to block me from tweeting him. Retweet me to help me achieve my dream of being blocked by Donald Drumpf. With your support, we can get Donald Drumpf to block me.