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So NOT Another Mundane Memoir (Both Heartfelt & Hot!!)

Published May 1, 2017 by glgiles

My Review of “So L.A.:  A Hollywood Memoir” by Staci Layne Wilson

So LA Cover

 

Back of So LA

 

Right from the onset, Wilson reveals that she was “born in Hollywood to a rock star dad and a pinup model mom.” If anyone deserves the title of ‘Hollywood Royalty,’ then she most certainly does!

I had the good fortune of ‘cyber meeting’ Staci way back when MySpace was stylized just that way:  MySpace. Even before it changed to Myspace. I think it must’ve been circa 2005, as I don’t think Staci even had her trademark look blue-streak hair yet (Hmmm…I wonder where Blue Streak Productions got its ‘roots?!’). Speaking of hair, that’s what drew me to her  MySpace page, initially. Well, that and her wonderful sense of humor! She had a profile picture up on MySpace of her long locks (a la Cousin Itt, with her back to the camera) and the caption “Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” That still makes me smile even as I write this.

Her knowledge of ‘Old Hollywood’ is extensive (perhaps par for the course with her Hollywood Royalty Roots). Yet, it’s not just the famous names she honors that makes this memoir a captivating read, it is the city of Los Angeles itself. She breathes life into the buildings and landscapes of old and new with her detailed and richly layered insider knowledge.

Though she’s definitely the product of her parents’ journeys, she also, quite remarkably, forged her own more darkly delightful artistic paths while at the same time rescuing horses, rats, cats, ferrets, et cetera. But, that doesn’t mean her own journey was easy. It wasn’t. In fact, she struggled both emotionally and monetarily for years, but she overcame all with a non-judgmental attitude, even against those who’d caused her so much pain.

Her creativity is boundless, and in a society where much art has become homogenized from fear of social media backlash, etc., hers stands out for both its perfection and almost resistance to the mundane tide. I admire the hell outta that!

 

G.L. Giles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Author Bryce Warren!

Published June 11, 2014 by glgiles

 

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 Q: I had the pleasure of reviewing your “Voodoo Mayhem” here last year. Were you thinking of combining “Beneath the Mausoleum” and “Voodoo Mayhem” at one point?

A: “Voodoo Mayhem” was created mainly because I wanted to get “Beneath the Mausoleum” out to my fans because it was a sequel to “The Mortician’s Daughter.”  As I concluded “Beneath the Mausoleum,” I thought I had enough ideas left for a third book, so I created a cliffhanger ending.  Recently, I combined the two under the title “Voodoo Mayhem” and am awaiting word from a publisher.

Q: Still in the darkly delightful arena is your latest release: “Waverly Hills Incursion.” How did this book come about? And, have you ever visited the Waverly Hills Sanatorium?

A:  The idea for this book started when I watched the film “Session 9” and later heard that the building featured in that movie, Danvers State Hospital in Massachusetts, was being transformed into apartments.  I started wondering, what if a place like that was haunted?  What would happen to the people living there?  I wrote a rough draft about an asylum in Northern Kentucky that had been abandoned and later turned into apartments.  I ran out of gas on that one, and revisited it several times, and then eight years later, I thought about visiting a place in Louisville that my students at Northern Kentucky University had introduced to me.  Waverly Hills Sanatorium had been an abandoned tuberculosis hospital for years.  I decided to make a trip to the Hill with some friends and do some ghost hunting.  Mainly, I wanted to see the place a get a sense of it and so I could describe it in a complete rewrite of my original rough draft.  The history and the paranormal activity of Waverly Hills gave my novel the specific details and background information that it was originally lacking.

Q:  Many popular television shows have attested to the Waverly Hills Sanatorium being haunted. What are your thoughts about the possible hauntings? And, if so, by whom?

A:  I’ve watched many episodes on YouTube about Waverly Hills, and walking through the building gave me much to consider about possible hauntings.  I got strange feelings in certain areas like when I entered the solarium and the surgical room.  I heard the faint sound of children screaming like they were on a playground, and only one other person in a room of fifteen could hear it.  I saw the dark images of what is proposed to be the Shadow People who seem to live on the fourth floor.  One of the Shadow People even seemed to transform into a large black mist that grew slowly, taking up most of the hallway.  Upon leaving Waverly Hills, I was convinced that many souls and entities made this their home.  I even believed what the tour guide said about it being a portal to the “other side” where entities can come and go.  But, I remain skeptical, because nothing we heard or saw could be proven as evidence of paranormal activity.  Seeing the Shadow People relied upon seeing them at the end of a dark hallway and from the corner of your eye.  As eerie as the total experience was, we came away with no convincing evidence.  I did, however, capture an image on my digital camera that shows what looks like someone with a skull-like head walking across the hallway and looking directly at me as I snapped the shot.  I had to zoom in on the shot to see it, and it is so faint that you can only see it in near or total darkness.  A photographic expert couldn’t do anything to enhance the image and refused to declare it as evidence of paranormal activity.  That picture still challenges my skepticism.

Q:  Amazing! Changing the subject, what have you learned from being a nontraditionally published author? What are your thoughts about being traditionally published in this day and age?

A:  I know that many people are trying their hand at self-publication, and this angers many traditionally published authors.  I don’t think it hurts traditionally published authors.  People will purchase what they want to read.  In my case, I wasn’t having luck with publishers, so I decided to try self-publishing to see if anyone found my work interesting.  I was surprised and overwhelmed by the response to my first novel, “The Mortician’s Daughter,” so I decided to keep on trying.  The most difficult aspect of self-publishing is marketing.  I have not put much money into marketing, but I have relied upon social media such as Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.  For “Waverly Hills Incursion” I decided to create my own book trailer on YouTube and share it on social media as an ad for my book.  I used images, video footage, and sounds from my trip to investigate Waverly Hills, and I created a simple, creepy soundtrack with my iPad and my computer.  I reversed some of the video footage sound to make the sounds of entities trying to communicate from the other side.  The video has been a big hit and has helped to advertise my novel.   I am still sending work out to publishers, because I want to see what that experience is like.

Q:  Great work! Readers can view it here . Changing the subject again, I know that you and I share a love of music. So, did you listen to any of your favorite bands/musicians while writing your “Waverly Hills Incursion?” If so, then which one(s)?

A:  While brainstorming and writing, I listened to Gary Numan’s newer gothic/industrial works such as “Pure,” “Jagged,” “Exile,” “Dead Son Rising,” and “Splinter.”  The atmosphere and sounds of the music put me in an eerie and otherworldly state of mind but also influenced my writing to a certain degree.  In a couple of his albums, Numan mentions a little black box as a kind of metaphor for a place to hide your fear, or as something to store bad emotions in and to give them to someone else as a kind of evil present.  I liked the idea so much, I used it in a couple different ways and it became part of the central image for my novel.  It also made it onto the book cover.  I used it as a kind of Pandora’s Box which the character Scarlet Snow gives to the main character Ben Clausen and tells him to open.  Upon opening it, Ben tells Scarlet that there’s nothing in it.  She replies that it doesn’t have anything in it, now that he’s opened it—implying that whatever was in it has now escaped.  Later, another character, Kayla, claims to have seen Scarlet conjuring a fiery entity from the box.  Sometimes the music I listen to can directly influence what I’m writing, but I let occur consciously so that I’m creating something new from the idea and not just copying someone else’s idea.

Q:  Now for a random and fun question: Have you ever gone through a period of binge- writing?

A:  Yes, when a scene gets really good, and when I don’t want to stop writing and forget to write something down, that’s when the white-heat writing kicks in.  Also, when I get close to the conclusion of writing a novel, I get so excited that I can’t stop writing.  During the conclusion of “Waverly Hills Incursion,” I used this kind of writing to increase suspense.  Hopefully, the reader will sense the conclusion approaching and feel the suspense increase as the novel comes to an end.

Q:  I know that I did with “Voodoo Mayhem.” What’s on the horizon for the rest of 2014? And, do you plan on attending World Horror Con in 2015?

A:  I want to go back to writing short stories for a while and send some out to publishers.  Then I want to start working on another novel.  I have many ideas for it already, and I know it will encompass conspiracy theories and government control.  I am hoping to attend the World Horror Con 2015 in Atlanta.  I’ve been to Horror Hound Weekend in Cincinnati and Scare Fest in Lexington, KY.  I’ve always wanted to go to the World Horror Con so I could meet some of my favorite authors and publishers.

Q:  Where can readers go to connect with you and your wonderful work?

A:  My author page at Amazon (which includes my book trailer) can be found at:

http://www.amazon.com/Bryce- Warren/e/B004XWKLLE/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/bryce.warren.37

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Thank you!

You’re welcome, Bryce!

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Interview with the Groundbreaking Filmmaker of “Bullies and Friends”: Cassidy McMillan!

Published April 14, 2014 by glgiles

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“Cassidy McMillan is an award-winning Filmmaker/Actress, Speaker and Advocate, and is the Director/Producer/Writer of the acclaimed Documentary Film on bullying, girl bullying and bullycide, Bullies and Friends.

 

Cassidy’s an Actress in Film, TV, Voice-Overs, Commercials, Theater; and Member of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of TV & Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). 

 

For the feature length documentary film Bullies and Friends, she conducted extensive research on bullying, relational aggression and bullycide throughout North America, where she worked with hundreds of educators, thousands of students, parents, counselors, medical professionals, legal system officials.

 

Through her advocacy work and research on bullying/bullycide (youth suicide) prevention and mental health, Cassidy’s become a recognized Expert/Speaker on bullying, girl bullying, bullycide, relational aggression, and legal aspects within the juvenile justice system regarding bullying.

 

Some of the awards Cassidy has received include: Women In Film Foundation Award; Walt Disney Company’s Partners In Excellence Award; United Nations UNA USA Impact Film Award; Inanna Filmmaker Humanitarian Award; Cine’s Social Awareness Award; Inanna Best Documentary Film Award

 

Cassidy was honored with being Named in the Official Proclamation of Bullying Awareness Day in Portland, Maine by the Mayor of Portland, Maine and Maine Governor’s Office.

 

With her acting/film work, Ms. McMillan has acted in/worked behind the scenes for Film/TV including AMC, Fox, Discovery ID, NBC, CBS, 20th Century Fox, Disney. Theater acting includes lead roles in plays/musicals including:

“Noises Off!”, “Oliver”, “Good Morning Miss Vickers”, “Annie”, “Bang Bang You’re Dead”; “Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”.

 

She’s the President of McMillan FilmWorks, an independent film production company in southern California which works to produce projects that shine a spotlight on social causes, animal rights, the environment” (www.CassidyMcMillan.com).

 

Please tell readers how your award-winning documentary on bullying came about and where and when it can be seen.

Bullies and Friends Documentary Film came about when I saw an episode of the “Oprah” Winfrey Show. On the episode was the mom of a 14-year-old girl who had committed suicide due to being bullied by three girls at her high school.  In the girl’s suicide note she named the three girls, one of whom was the daughter of a prominent police officer in the town the incident occurred. The suicide caused an investigation that led to a precedent setting court case, in which for the first time in North America, teen girls were made to stand trial for bullying.

I was horrified to learn that a so full of life young person had taken their life due to bullying. Being a filmmaker/actress who works on causes, I was compelled to take action.

I wanted to make a difference through the work of film in the hopes of preventing another boy or girl from taking their life due to bullying. I reached out to the girl’s mom. Both she and I felt that sharing her daughter’s story could help other kids and families and prevent future suicides. 

I set out in making this film, and self-funded the original filming and production because I believed so strongly in the cause. I directed, produced and wrote the Film and have a great film team on this independent film with an important cause of bullying and bullycide prevention. 

As we started filming and then while in post-production, requests for the film started pouring in from schools in over 14 countries. We started doing focus group screenings of the film with students/teachers/parents at events and schools across the U.S. and I did speaking engagements at those events, schools requesting me to talk to audiences on bullying and bullying prevention.

Bullies and Friends” has now started a movement in the bullying prevention cause. Due to the tremendous grass roots campaign, word of mouth from schools and audiences, we are thrilled and honored that the feature film has now been selected for worldwide distribution with a major distribution company!

This is an amazing accomplishment because only a small percentage of independent films get chosen for distribution with a distribution company!

With distribution though, the distribution company doesn’t cover the many costs needed to prepare a feature length film for worldwide release including technical prep for the multi-platforms of distribution: TV broadcast; Video on Demand; iTunes, Netflix; or FCC federal requirements such as Closed-Captioning; etc.

To raise the funds to get this important film that’s been called “lifesaving” to schools and audiences in releasing it worldwide, the Film has launched an important fundraising campaign on the global Crowdfunding Site Indiegogo at our Campaign Page:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/bullies-and-friends 

 

It’s a great opportunity for everyone across the globe to be part of a feature film already slated for worldwide release that makes an important difference! 

Everyone who contributes receives great Gift Perks/Rewards at every level of donation! 

Including:

  • having their name listed in the film’s credits
  • pre-ordering the Film’s DVD for when the film is released on Home Video where they’ll be among the first to receive it!
  • “Official Film Crew” T-Shirts designed for this Limited Time Campaign
  • School Skype Event/Town Hall Discussions on Bullying
  • Being an Associate Producer or Co-Executive Producer of the feature film! And, much more.

We’re thrilled to have great companies who are stepping forward to assist our film and its bullying prevention movement.

Including Warner/Chappell Records and the Multi-Platinum hit rock band Simple Plan who contributed one of their hit songs they wrote and recorded on one of their hit albums to “Bullies and Friends” Film. Simple Plan spoke out on bullying and the incident documented in our film and we appreciate them donating their song to our Film and its Cause! 

(you can find their music on iTunes – we encourage everyone to check out them out- we appreciate their support!)

It is both a great cause and opportunity. Plus, I love Simple Plan’s music!  So, how do you define bullycide? And, why was the ‘Precedent Setting Bullycide Court Case in North America’ so important? 

Because of the tragic fact that kids/teens committing suicide due to bullying has become a growing epidemic, the word “bullycide” was coined (I’m not sure from where in media). “Bullycide” is the term used to describe when a child/teen commits suicide due to bullying. 

The bullycide case we document in the film is important because the court case set a legal precedent. So in other words, it opened the doors within the legal system for teens being able to be arrested for, and stand trial for bullying actions. For teens to be held accountable for those actions, and for adults to recognize this destructive bullying behavior is actually criminal harassment.

An alarming fact is that the Centers for Disease Control now states: “Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth ages 10-24.”  

Too many children and one child is too many – have taken their life due to bullying. We must all as a society work to change this.

Our Film Bullies and Friends provides solutions to bullying, and gives information and hope.

The thousands of students across the U.S. who’ve previewed our film have said Bullies And Friends validates what they’re going through, as well as the film lets them know help is out there, and how bullying can be prevented and stopped.

I love that you don’t just present the problems without offering tangible solutions. Please tell readers some of the solutions that your film offers?

Bullies and Friends offers Solutions to Bullying for kids, parents, schools and communities—This was a requirement I wanted for the Film. It was important to me that kids, parents, educators after watching the film, have the knowledge, solutions and ideas on how bullying can be prevented, warning signs to look for, and for kids to know what they can do to prevent bullying. 

One of those key things kids learn from the film is how important it is for them to be an “upstander” where they step in and stop bullying or report it to a trusted adult, instead of being a “bystander” and observing or contributing to the bullying actions of others. The film tells and shows how.

Kids need to feel empowered to do so, and this film empowers kids with the information and guidance on how they can stop bullying.

 The response has been amazing and we’re honored with the awards we have won including Bullies and Friends receiving the Impact Film Award by the United Nations UNA Association

Bullies and Friends provides the knowledge and ways kids can prevent and stop bullying. Whether the student who sees the film is a target of bullying, is a bystander to bullying, or the person committing bullying – the film speaks to all of these kids and all of these situations, and provides solutions in a way kids can relate to.

Some of the solutions in the film come from teens involved directly in the bullying that occurred, including the main teen girl brought to trial for bullying. 

Her interview is compelling, poignant and all students who see it are affected by her brave and candid interview. During the trial, some people in her town, and throughout the globe labeled this teen girl a bully. I work to tell schools, parents not to put a label on kids. This girl wasn’t a bully, she was a teen who got involved in a situation over her head, took wrong actions, and regrets those actions.   

Bullies and Friends delves below the surface of the story, and this girl, who, although acquitted of the charges in court, talks of the guilt she will always feel. And, a thing that’s very important – she tells kids things they can do, right now, to prevent bullying.

Also in the film we have noted educational experts/authors who provide important information to schools, parents, and kids on bullying, how we can help stop peer cruelty, and teach kids empathy and responsibility.

“Bullies And Friends” also features the exclusive interview with the Court Judge who presided over and handed down the precedent setting ruling in this highly controversial court case.

The Judge granted her only on-camera sit down interview for our Film. In my interview with her, the Judge’s insight into the case is invaluable.

The Judge provides specific information to kids, parents, teachers, and legal system officials regarding bullying, threats, laws pertaining to the incidents that occurred, her precedent setting decision and how these laws apply to future bullying incidents.

She also shares a personal and candid story of how when she was a teen in high school, she witnessed a bullying incident where some girls were going to potentially beat up another girl. She tells of the actions she took as a student to intervene and the result. This personal story from the Judge resonates with every audience member.

Regarding suicide, it devastates families, and impacts entire communities. 

We present warning signs in the film, and provide a deeper understanding of the bullycide epidemic.

One child’s death affects us all, in a profound way. We don’t know who that child would have grown up to become. Maybe they would have been the person to marry your son or daughter. Or been the person to discover a cure for cancer; become a musician, a dancer, an athlete, government leader, or a veterinarian who helped save your pet’s life, or a paramedic who saved yours. 

Bullies and Friends is working to help end these suicides. 

And we’re working to and hope the global community will help us get to the finish line so we can get this film to schools and families worldwide.

I certainly hope you get there, too! Did you ever feel overwhelmed with having to wear so many different hats (as interviewer, director, producer, et cetera)? 

During the filmmaking process, I never felt overwhelmed in directing, producing, writing the film… and conducting the interviews! Telling a meaningful story and working to help others inspires me. 

Although I love acting work I do in TV, Film, Theater, and am proud to be part of that collective group of artistry as an actress, being a Member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA), there is something especially inspiring in being able to shape a story as a Film Director. 

As a Film Director though, you have a deep feeling of responsibility to “get it right”, to make a difference. At times, the weight of the responsibility follows you because everyone else on the production looks to you for the answers and as the director you build the foundation for everyone who comes on board with the project to stand on. 

Sometimes that weight of responsibility can hit you at 3 a.m.when you’re looking to make sure everything is taken care of,  but as a Director, I have a goal and vision for a project, and I just focus on that.

As long as I have the tools and resources I need as a director, producer, I love the work that I do to create something that can help others.

The difficult part comes in with things beyond your control– the business side of filmmaking. Such as right now, where the film needs to raise the funds to get it to distribution. If you have a studio producing a film from the outset it is less stressful, but for all independent filmmakers there are many challenges on the funding side.

As has been mentioned in other interviews, I self-funded the pre-production/ filming production by the sale of my house, utilizing savings, business loans, grants, paychecks, to cover the costs, equipment, film crew payroll because I believed so strongly the film would have the enormous positive effect it is already having. I feel one can’t put a price on trying to save a life… 

When several students have confided at some preview screenings that prior to seeing the film they had been thinking of committing suicide because of bullying they were going through; and then said that after seeing our film, they saw the devastation their death would cause, saw someone cared, and said they’d now seek help instead –That to me has made the journey in making Bullies and Friends more than worth it. 

I and my film team are now having faith that the global community will step forward, whether companies or individuals, and contribute to our crowdfunding fundraiser to get Bullies and Friends delivered to the distribution company standing by waiting to release it worldwide!

 

Truly amazing the positive impact it’s already had and is making…Now, from following your Twitter page at https://twitter.com/CassidyMcM, I’ve discovered that you and I share a love of canines! In fact, animals in general. Please share  your thoughts on animal rights/protection? 

And do you think that BSL and/or speciesism is a form of bullying, too?

I think all animals: (to list a few) dogs, cats, horses, dolphins, cows, tigers, elephants, rabbits, pigs, deer, giraffes, wolves, rhinos, bears, zebras, whales, ducks — So get from this I mean all animals —are born with compassion, intelligence, empathy and have an innocence and kindness that is beyond the human condition.  

Unfortunately, not all human beings are as caring as animals. A recent study found that elephants have a certain warning call they relay to each other for the presence of humans. Wow. This is a sad reflection on humans that elephants are so frightened of people they now have a specific warning cry. Elephants most likely have this due to the thousands of elephants being hunted and brutally murdered by horribly violent people.  

Thankfully, there are well known leaders like Prince William who are stepping forward to work to protect animals like elephants, etc., and there are many great and caring people who aren’t as well known and caring organizations like ASPCA, Humane Society, Animal Place, the Animal Legal Defense Fund who are working to protect elephants and all animals, and great people who volunteer at shelters and work to get cats and dogs who need families adopted.

I’ve had some amazing learning experiences including swimming near dolphins in the ocean, and interacting with one. Dolphins are friendly, caring, playful and kind. Another was when I was able to hand feed a giraffe some tree branches full of leaves -which the giraffe was eager to eat! The giraffe was graceful, elegant, gentle, as he took care while eating branch after branch from my hand not to harm me due to obviously I’m a lot smaller than him! These impactful experiences showed me what kind, thoughtful beings animals are.

On BSL and how some humans bully animals — No animal would do to humans what some people do to animals – of which I’m speaking about people who capture, imprison, abuse, kill animals. It’s wrong, disturbing and inhumane. 

I’m a passionate advocate for animal rights and human rights. No animal or human should be hunted, caged, tortured and killed.

Regarding our canine friends and BSL: I feel BSL is absolutely bullying (at minimum). At worst, it’s excused murder. 

“Breed specific legislation” is a term that morally bankrupt, misguided people came up with to further a cruel and hateful agenda out of fear and ignorance. The term actually just means legislated murder and/or legislated discrimination.

It’s unsettling some humans think we get to decide what animal should be “allowed” to live or exist. The discrimination and murder of animals based on an animals’ ethnicity or what an animal looks like – or what breed a human says that animal is – such as with “BSL” is deeply troubling. 

For those who aren’t familiar, BSL is a “policy” in Canada, Ireland, U.S. and elsewhere in which people in some government group decides they can fine you for having a dog, not allow you and your dog to live in a certain are, and in worst cases, take your family’s dog, imprison him/her and ultimately murder your dog- “man’s” best friend. 

We all must work as a society to remove these types of discriminatory practices. It can be changed. 

 

Many are working within the legal system to repeal these discriminatory “laws”. Most of the court actions that challenge “bsl” discrimination focus on constitutional issues like equal protection, and vagueness.

There was the globally known incident of “bel” which gained worldwide attention the past few years- the story of the sweet, kind, little dog named Lennox. 

Lennox, unfortunately, was born in Belfast, Ireland. Lennox had a family who loved him and whom he loved. His best friend was the family’s daughter, a little girl with special needs whom Lennox watched over, snuggled with and looked out for. 

But in Belfast, Ireland, the people who are on a city council decided amongst themselves one day that a dog who “looks like” a “pit bull” or certain “terrier” or a dog who happens to be born “pit bull” should be kidnapped by force from families’ homes, made to sit in squalor and filth in a cold, cement type of cell, and then executed by whatever means they choose – gassing them, shooting them, injecting them, etc.

This may be difficult to read but it’s important for people to know what’s going on in our society so we can work to change it. This discrimination/bullying is among the most cruel, and has many implications. That this type of discrimination and murder is allowed-which in my opinion are criminal acts- defies comprehension. 

All of us in society need to repeal “bsl” and any other frightening policy that gives someone the right to murder another. We as a society must ensure there are protective laws making sure that no human or animal being can be discriminated against; tortured and killed because of ethnicity, what they look like, or discriminated against for any other reason.

The little girl who was Lennox’s best friend has to live with the knowledge the rest of her life that people barged into her family’s home, and despite her mother and father’s cries not to capture and remove their family member named Lennox, a peaceful, quiet dog who never did anyone harm, was chained, dragged out and placed in a concrete slab cell and killed after two years of imprisonment. 

It saddens me beyond words that Lennox was frightened and wondering as he sat in dirt, cold, chained, in a concrete dark cell for two years why he was captured; where his family and best friend was, and why he was made to suffer. 

 

It was shocking how this city council was allowed to operate like this and still is as of this moment. 

With this incident, well known people including Victoria Stilwell of TV’s Animal Planet Channel, flew to Belfast to provide her own personal transport of Lennox to the U.S. and known “dog whisperer” Cesar Millan offered to assist and get Lennox from Ireland to the U.S.; legendary boxer Lennox Lewis offered support for the gentle dog who had his name. But the Belfast council refused and after imprisoning Lennox for years in an “undisclosed” location cell, killed him. For more on the true story one can read one of the CNN reports on it, and various other media including links below. This 2 year incident captured hearts and started petitions across the globe. http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/11/world/europe/nireland-dog-death-sentence/ 

 

http://www.sheknows.com/entertainment/articles/965551/animal-planet-star-wants-to-save-lennox-the-dog

I speak on this so strongly because we all need to act to remove these types of horrific policies. As I speak out on bullying prevention – it includes bullying prevention for anyone among us, whether animal or human being. 

If we, as a society, discriminate against an animal being’s ethnicity, it is not a far connection to make that it can give way to discrimination of a human being’s ethnicity. And to discriminate against animal beings or human beings is wrong. We’ve seen in human history the horror discrimination can lead to.

 

I hope it answered your question- and I apologize for the lengthy reply – but in talking about saving lives – it is too important to be brief.

I couldn’t agree more. Great answers! Thank you for the enlightened responses. Switching gears, what other projects are on the horizon? 

On to a lighter question! 

Yes, but I’m so glad we’ve touched on what we have! As a vegetarian (for over 7 years now for ethical reasons)/aspiring vegan, obviously animal rights are important to me, too! And, I loathe discrimination of any kind.

For right now, the Documentary Film Bullies and Friends and its important fundraising campaign on Indiegogo, and then our work to be able to get the film to the distribution company so the film can be distributed to schools and audiences worldwide to aid in bullying prevention is my and the film team’s focus. 

We invite everyone to support and be a part of the amazing journey of Bullies and Friends, and its Bullying Prevention Movement at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/bullies-and-friends and www.BulliesandFriends.com

 

I’m also very much looking to free up some time now and more time once the film is on its way, to get back to doing more Acting work in Film, TV, and Theater! 

Additionally, I’m continuing to do my speaking work on bullying prevention, and my team and I are working on the development of Narrative Feature Film Screenplays, and Documentary Films that focus on important issues and make a positive difference for people, animals and the environment. 

Our independent film company always welcomes collaborations for meaningful projects!

Truly great to know! Where can readers go to connect with you and your wonderful work? (social networking sites, etc.)

www.BulliesAndFriends.com  Official Film Site with film trailer, campaign video – and information upcoming on our Bullying Prevention Outreach Tour 

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/bullies-and-friends Official Campaign Page where everyone across the globe can be directly Involved with the Film, its Bullying Prevention Movement and Youth Suicide Prevention cause.

www.CassidyMcMillan.com  Info on my Acting/Film work; Speaking Engagements

Like Film at: www.facebook.com/BulliesAndFriendsFilm 

Follow Film:  www.twitter.com/BulliesnFriends

Can chat with me on twitter: www.twitter.com/CassidyMcM

For more information Info@BulliesandFriends.com 

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Photo Credit:  Nancy Jo Gilchrist

Interview with Author Blakely Bennett

Published January 9, 2014 by glgiles

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“Blakely Bennett grew up in Southeast Florida and has been residing in the great Northwest for over eight years. She graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a degree in psychology, which accounts for her particular interest in crafting the personalities, struggles, and motivations of her characters. She is an avid reader of many genres of fiction, but especially erotica and romance. Writing has always been her bliss. She is attracted to stories of self-struggle and ultimate recovery.

Blakely is married to a wonderful, loving and supportive husband, also a writer, who helps to keep her grounded. She is a mother, a communitarian, a lover of music (always on while she is writing–thank you, Pandora), and a good friend. An advocate of love and female empowerment, she is a facilitator for a women’s group. She loves to walk and hike for exercise and finds that, since moving to Seattle, WA, she is now one of those “crazy” people who walk in the rain” (Amazon link:  http://www.amazon.com/Blakely-Bennett/e/B009LB3420/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1).

 

 

GL:  Who did you co-author “The Demarcation of Jack” with? Why did you decide to pair up for the book project?

 

BB:  Before I wrote novels on my own, my husband, Dana Bennett and I wrote novels together. Once I became published we decided to kick the dust off The Demarcation of Jack and rework and edit where needed.

 

GL:  What are some of the ways you’ve created narrative tension in your books?

 

BB:  Since I don’t know where the story is headed, neither does my reader and that makes for good suspense and tension. If you were looking for a more sophisticated answer, I don’t have one. Writing for me is about getting in the zone (essentially getting myself out of the way) and letting the characters take me on their journey.

 

GL:  Please tell readers some of the ways you’ve tackled tone shifts—with specific examples.

 

BB:  I don’t consciously tackle this at all. In the My Body Trilogy (My Body-His, My Body-His (Marcello), & My Body-Mine) the story is told from Jane’s viewpoint and from my perspective, the tone shifts as she gets further sucked into the dysfunction of her relationship with Luke and again in My Body-Mine when she starts really owning her life and her choices.

 

In The Demarcation of Jack the tonal change can be felt as Jenna lets go of some of her stored up anger and gets more in touch with her carefree self. Then, towards the end, there is a huge tonal shift when Jack meets up with his line of demarcation.

 

In my most current novel, Stuck In-Between, due out sometime in February, we follow Jacqs journey through her friends, family and love relationships. Each relationship reflects a different tone and overall Jacqs becomes more powerful throughout the story, even when in crisis.

 

GL:  What are some other devices you’ve used to pull readers into your storylines?

 

BB:  Showing, not telling and making the story compelling from the start. Short of that, I don’t have devices. I just tell a story I would want to read and follow my muse.

 

GL:  You’ve written dark erotic suspense, a contemporary romance, and erotic romance, but have you ever experimented with writing historical romances? And, why are you drawn to writing erotica?

 

BB:  I have not written an historical romance and don’t have any plans to on the horizon. Dana, my husband is getting ready to publish Jones Whitman, Time Traveler, Geared to the Present, which is a time travel historical romance and an awesome read.

 

I think sex is a really important part of any romantic relationship and I like being able to use sex to explore the developing dynamics. Plus, I love to read romance and erotica and part of that is getting turned on by the story. I hope to do the same for my readers.

 

GL:  You listen to music while you write, but do you choose different musical genres depending on whether you’re writing erotic scenes versus romantic ones? Please name some bands, etc. along with tracks and/or albums.

 

BB:  I definitely listen to music when I write and the type really depends more on the tone of the story I’m writing. For instance, while writing My Body-Mine, I predominantly listened to the Alex Clare station on Pandora. You can find the list of the bands I listened to under the acknowledgments. With my current novel, Stuck In-Between, I will have a soundtrack listed in the front of the book. I primarily listened to Pandora stations: Corinne Baily Rae, Florence + The Machine and John Legend. The music for the My Body Trilogy was harder and darker, just like the stories.

 

GL:  Now for a fun question:  Do you believe that it’s an example of ‘arrogant gifting’ to give friends and relatives copies of your books for holiday gifts? 

 

BB:  Arrogant gifting? I don’t know if I’d call it that, but I’d never do it. We go to a White Elephant party each year and some people were surprised this year that we didn’t use our novels as our contributing gifts. I figure if my friends and family want my books, I’ll either give it to them or they’ll buy them.

 

GL:  And, another fun one:  Besides the last question <LOL>, what’s the strangest interview question you’ve ever been asked?

 

BB:  “Please tell readers some of the ways you’ve tackled tone shifts—with specific examples.” 😉 Okay, maybe that’s not the strangest, just the hardest to answer.

 

The strangest one was what I had in the refrigerator that had the longest expired expiration date. LOL!

 

GL:  Touche! LOL! Great answers! Where can readers go to connect with you and your work?

 

BB:  Thanks for asking!

 

Amazon: http://goo.gl/CLLfZu

B&N: http://goo.gl/F2t3tL

Smashwords: http://goo.gl/DLyW0o

Kobo: http://goo.gl/iIeVsR

 

Facebook page 

Twitter

Goodreads 

Amazon Author page

Pinterest

 

Blakely’s website

 

 

GL:  What’s in the works for 2014?

 

BB:  Publish four more novels {Stuck In-Between – the first novel in the Bound by Your Love Series, Jenna’s Rubicon – sequel to The Demarcation of Jack and second book in the Fractured Fidelities Trilogy, Lainie’s Story (working title) – the second book in the Bound by Your Love Series, & the third and final book in the Fractured Fidelity Trilogy. Wish me/us luck!

 

In addition, we will be publishing Dana’s Geared to the Present in the next few months.

 

Thank you so much for hosting me. Your questions were very interesting and made me think. 🙂

 

GL:  Truly my pleasure, and I’d love to have you back.

 

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Interview with the Lovely Sophia DiGonis (AKA ‘The Gypsy Poet’)

Published October 22, 2013 by glgiles

Sophia E. DiGonis (AKA ‘The Gypsy Poet’) is truly a multi-talented woman. She’s a piano teacher, composer, poet, radio personality, model and both an interviewer and reviewer for Punk Globe Magazine.

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Photo Credit: Marisa Hernandez

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GL:  Great to have you here, Sophia! Let’s start off with you telling readers about your show and your goal of taking it to Broadway. 

TGP: Okay! Let’s talk–A friend of mine named Jeff Sibley is working on a show on Broadway and his manager had asked him to invite friends from across the country to join him in reading for a crowd and with that, I let him know that I am working on a script called ” Poetry from Lady Angela’s Place” which is a one-woman show about taking problems and turning them into poetry. Each poem is a character and each character gets a moment to speak their part. I have been working for years on this concept, and it’s finally coming to fruition! It’s called “Poems From Lady Angela’s Place” What it is, is each poem represents a character from this fictional bar I created based on a short story collection and it’s about a number of characters that turn their problems into poetry.  Each character represents some aspect of my life that I have dealt with. 

“Lady Angela’s Place” may be a fictional bar, but it’s a place of salvation and sanctuary where people can escape for a bit and turn their lives around.  This one-woman show is based off of the poetry of the two books I wrote and published—plus, in other journals and online material where my work can be found. 

GL:  Please tell readers about your books:  “Mysterium” and “A Voice Over Time.”

TGP:  A Voice Over Time was first started as a project that was suggested by a friend of mine on MySpace. She caught my work on a page and she asked me, “Why aren’t you published?” And I said, “I don’t have the means to do it!” And she got info from her brother-in-law who I totally give thanks to, as he suggested Lulu.com. This was in 2007. I really enjoyed putting this book together because it made me see how much I wrote and my evolution as a person and a poet. There are pieces I dedicated to lost family members and it was a catharsis to put those works in there as a way to remember and at the same time, let go. That’s why it’s called by that title. Our thoughts and memories are an open door for those that have passed on, and those thoughts are a way, if anything, for them to look in and know they are honored. It’s about life, memories, and a sense of understanding even where I am now and where I am going. The title is also about how we can reach beyond our physical limits if we take the time to understand that, too. 

Mysterium is more about tapping into the dark, and tapping into the inside. This one is about understanding the need for discomfort and stepping out of that comfort zone to find out who one really is– this includes me, too. I don’t like to be ‘boxed’ in, or pigeon-holed, (Good God, I CAN’T STAND THAT!) The point of this book is to celebrate diversity, what makes us what and who we are, some of us legends, some of us just people. Though, part of it is a continuation of A Voice Over Time, here, I explore even a little bit more of the dark side of the moon as well as finding out what keeps a star shining, literal and metaphorical.  The cover design is thanks to Donny Morrow, he knew what I was looking for.  Both books are in major retailers online. 

GL: You’re a poet, interview host (for Punk Globe Magazine), a model, a student, a teacher and a good friend. How do you find the time to do all the things mentioned? Please elaborate and feel free to add whatever I missed as well. LOL

TGP: First of all, it’s because I am all of that at once. What it boils down to is I am me when I get up in the morning and everything I do is a PASSION. Punk Globe for me, is a huge passion because I can let loose!!!! Oh, MY GOD I love writing for Punk Globe because it is a different genre and atmosphere! It’s ruthless, bright and rebellious! It’s my dynamite and Ginger Coyote is the source of the fire! She seriously awakened my love for it and there is an energy about the magazine that I just love and with that, has awakened in other aspects of my life, too. My teaching style has changed because of it and in other aspects. I feel like a butterfly emerging from her cocoon!  

As for teaching, I teach music, piano to kids and they love it. It’s a gift for life, literally. Even if they don’t end up playing the instrument, they leave with a sense of attention to details and patience. That’s always an awesome thing! 

Being a student, I currently attend Texas A&M San Antonio, which is an amazing place to be. I’m discovering more of the researcher I am as well as the poetry and I am learning to incorporate them really well. 

The modeling is something I do for my friends who are photographers. Three of the most amazing photographers are Gonzalo Pozo, Marisa Hernandez and Dominic Macias. They have absolutely amazing skills and I’m always happy to give them the best subject matter I can. 

The Piano is an instrument that has dominated my life. I usually can’t go without practicing each day and it sets the mood for the rest of the day.  Chopin is erotic and Beethoven is brilliantly moody. 

On Sundays, I run my own radio show, called Gypsy Poet Radio, with my co-host Girl George, who is feisty, explosive and dynamic. Her trademark giggle just keeps the show going and she is quite entertaining, too, and the guests call in and tell amazing stories. They are what make the show happen! 

This is also why I’m known as “The Gypsy Poet” because I do all of this and I am open to everything.  All of this stems also from my heritage. I’m a first-gen Greek, I speak, read, write, breathe and eat Greek… (LOL!)… Because of my heritage, I taught myself to be open because I love, understand and embrace cultures of all kinds and even the Greek culture has undergone evolution for over thousands of years, going from the belief system of the Pantheon to being believers and defenders of Christ. I’m not afraid of change, because even my root culture undergoes that, too. 

GL:  Besides writing lyrics, you actually compose the melodies, too, correct? 

TGP:  YES! I can write and produce melodies very easily. In fact, my Bachelor’s degree is in musical composition which means I can write and arrange music for even a symphony orchestra if necessary. 

GL:  Have you composed film scores and/or soundtracks? 

TGP:  Yes, I have, actually! And last October, I did a film called “Manchester High: If These Lockers Could Talk” which is on IMDb. It’s a short film about high school situations and it was premiered and featured at Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas as well as the NAMI conference held in Austin, Texas. I loved the experience of film scoring and hope to do it again because that is what I wanted to do to begin with. All the other stuff just came along. 

GL:  What do you have on the horizon for the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014?  

TGP: A LOT, actually, I think that the doors are opening for anything that can happen, first of all, this gig on Broadway is on its way to becoming something of an adventure for me and I anticipate the reaction.  I think that I will keep writing and now music will be opening its doors as I am seeing that both music and poetry are getting some buzz on facebook, twitter and soundcloud and making sure that my voice gets heard and everything starts ROCKIN’! (My new favorite word!) 😉 

GL:  Where can readers go to connect with you and your wonderful work? ( social networking sites, etc.)

TGP:  Here we go!

Http://facebook.com/GypsyPoetRadio

http://facebook.com/SophiaTheGypsyPoet

http://Soundcloud.com/GypsyPoetRadio

http://Twitter.com/GypsyPoetRadio

http://youtube.com/GypsyPoetRadio

http://GypsyPoetRadio.blogspot.com&nbsp;

http://Blogtalkradio.com/Gypsypoet&nbsp;

 

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Interview with the Lovely Lush Montana!

Published October 10, 2013 by glgiles

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Top Pic. LM

Truly my pleasure to welcome Lush Montana to my blog! She’s a digital artist, photographer, composer, animator and filmmaker.

 

 

 

GL:  Which bands have influenced you, as a composer, and why?

LM:  I CAN TELL YOU THE GENRES MORE THAN BANDS. SO I’D GO FOR PUNK, JAZZ, AFRICAN, ROCK, GRUNGE,SQUAREPUSHER, TEST DEPARTMENT, RY COODER, RAP, TOM WAITS, THE STRANGLERS, KATE BUSH, CLASSICAL, MARVIN GAYE, BLUES, OLD SKOOL UK GARAGE AND HOUSE, JUNGLE, ENNIO MORRICONE, BRIAN ENO AND DAVID BYRNE, ALI FARKA TOURE, EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL, NONLINEAR SYSTEM THEORY, OFRA HAZA, PETER GABRIEL, PORTISHEAD, REPTILIAN HUMANOID, SNOOP DOGG, ASWAD, WOMACK N WOMACK, BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB, CAB CALLOWAY, CHET BAKER, DILLINGER, DR DRE, ERYKAH BADU, FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS, FUNKADELIC, JILL SCOTT, JOHN LEE HOOKER, JOHNNY CASH, BIG MAMA THORNTON, MASSIVE ATTACK, MICHAEL NYMAN, MIKE OLDFIELD AND MANY, MANY OTHERS.

WHY? THEY JUST GET TO ME.

GL:  Where can readers go to listen to some of the music you’ve written?

LM:  IMRADIO AND YOUTUBE.

http://www.imradio.com/main_index.php?f=artists_view&id=4290

GL:  What subjects, places, etc. do you find intriguing (as a photographer)?

LM:  I GET OBSESSED WITH DIFFERENT SUBJECTS DURING THE MONTHS. IT’S EITHER SEASONAL WEATHER, LANDSCAPES, CITYSCAPES, BUILDINGS, THE SKY, ANIMALS—BUT MUST ADMIT PEOPLE INTRIQUE ME MORE AND MORE.

GL:  You’re also an animator and filmmaker. Where can readers go to view your work?

LM:  IT’S EASY TO GOOGLE EITHER LUSHMONTANA, LUSHMONTANAS, LUSH MONTANA OR LUSHMONTANA LUSHMONTANAS. I’M ON DEVIANTART, ARTFLAKES, SAACHI, AND YOUTUBE FOR MUSIC VIDEOS.

http://www.saatchionline.com/profile/157968

http://lushmontanas.daportfolio.com/gallery/782870

http://www.flickr.com/photos/84156752@N05/

GL:  When were you first inspired to create digital art?

LM:  WHEN I NO LONGER USED TRADITIONAL ART METHODS SUCH AS PAINTING AND DEVELOPING MY OWN BLACK AND WHITE AND COLOUR PRINTING. I STARTED WITH DIGITAL ART THROUGH PHOTOSHOP, THEN DIGITAL EDITING AND FINALLY COMPOSING DIGITAL MUSIC. BASICALLY TEACHING MYSELF DIFFERING DIGITAL DISCIPLINES. WHENEVER I SAW DIGITAL IMAGERY I WANTED TO KNOW HOW TO CREATE IT.

GL:  How did you come up with the name Lush Montana?

LM:  ALWAYS GOOGLED MONTANA AND LOVED THE SCENERY, BUT I’D ALWAYS COME UP WITH THE TERM LUSH MONTANA. TRUE!!

GL:  Where can readers go to connect with you and your work (social networking sites, etc.)? 

http://lushmontanas.daportfolio.com/gallery/782870

http://www.flickr.com/photos/84156752@N05/

https://plus.google.com/u/0/103600753174018266257/posts

https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=lushmontana&oq=lu&gs_l=youtube.1.0.35i39j0l9.6002.6352.0.8100.2.2.0.0.0.0.112.169.1j1.2.0…0.0…1ac.1.11.youtube.bdqgqDEmSrw

http://www.imradio.com/main_index.php?f=artists_view&id=4290

http://www.artflakes.com/en/s?search=lushmontana+

http://www.myspace.com/lushmontana01  
LUSHMONTANA’S IN LOVE WITH THE UNIVERSE!!!

MUSIC:     http://www.myspace.com/lushmontana01

MADNESS: 
http://www.myspace.com/lushmontana

ANIMATIONS: 
http://uk.youtube.com/lushmontana