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Arrival (The Black Bear Brotherhood Book 1) by Henry Bassett

I’m sure many people remember the story of the “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. You are likely wondering why I’d bring that up at the start of a review for author Henry Bassett’s book, “Arrival”. As you look at the cover you may get a sense as there is the outline of a bear upon the cover.

The similarity to Goldilocks is not lost there as the readers will find that the story will focus around three bears, named Rocky, his partner River and the primary character Caver. The big difference is their world is not interrupted by a girl, but instead, a large round egg-shaped thing falling to the ground. The problem begins as creatures with two legs and two arms climb out of those things.

I will say that the story takes place with some flashbacks as we first find out what the bears’ new life is like. They are forced to do some heavy labor in the way of cutting trees down. You did not read that wrong, they are forced to cut trees down. In truth, the book opens with Caver explaining his new lot in life, and how the bears are being controlled. They are also made to then carry those trees to a mill of some sort. This is done by a group of bears, not just one, but you get a sense that they are not given any time to socialize as they work.

The Arrival is the first book in, The Black Bear Brotherhood. The book does a good job of opening up the series and introducing the reader to who I see as the main characters. The book also does some foreshadowing as you will learn what happens after those beings arrive.

I do realize the review is short, but it is due to the fact the book in itself is on the shorter side. I never want to give away any of the major plot points, so I am keeping this review short. I will say that the idea of the book has me interested in what comes next. I mean with history, and fiction, there are many stories of someone/something invading other ones home. In this case, the invasion involves human-like creatures invading a land populated by bears. It makes you wonder how will they react? Will their primal natures ever appear? These are answers that will only come through further books, and as an opening, this does just enough to get you wanting more. I’d say its worth a read for those looking to start a potential series and fiction fans in general.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2020 in Reviews

 

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Pursuing the Dead by Kevin Hopson

I have read other books by author Kevin Hopson and the one thing I take from his books is the way he can develop a character. This is especially true in his Crossover Sequel to “The Landfill”, the book Pursuing the Dead.

The book opens with a prologue that has the reader, taking part in a phone conversation between two men. The reader learns that one of these men is named, Loredo, and the other his boss. As you read you’ll learn that Loredo is a cleaner of types as he has taken care of a situation that involved some form of a runaway. You do not learn who/what they may have been just that they are “taken care of” as well as the families.

The whole prologue is a bit concerning as you can tell that something has gone wrong, somewhere, and some of those involved met with “interesting” fates. They could have been deadly or required some form of reasoning to stay quiet on what happened. I realize Pursining the Dead is a short story/book so I do not want to give to much away as the prologue will make sense much later within the read.

As I mentioned author Kevin Hopson has a way to create a character that you can find yourself believing and maybe even invested in. He does this ever well in Pursing the Dead as he introduces the reader to a pair of Private Investigators. They are one ex-police officer Jacob Schmidt and his partner, Dinah Peterson. Dinah also having some background in police work having worked in a crime lab.

The other key participant in this story is Connor Reid. He just happens to be a younger man of twenty-three, who was able to plan well for his future and has some money but needs the pairs help. The story will take off when Connor asks for them to investigate a murder. In truth, it’s a cold case that has been out there for five years. It is found a bit later as the story progresses and things get strange as the last bit of information I’m sharing on this story is this. As Jacob and Dinah fly through the air, first-class thanks to Connor, they discuss the cold case. It is here that an important part comes up, that the DNA of a deceased family member was found on two victims.

Now, I do not want to get too far into the plot as Pursing the Dead is on the shorter side. If I go into much more detail I may give things away, and I do not wish to do that for readers. I will say that I do like a well-developed mystery. This is surely one of those books, and at times I was thinking of other great fictional private investigators. I had characters like Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck), Kinsey Millhone (Sue Grafton), Philip Marlowe (Raymond Chandler) and of course Mike Hammer (Mikey Spillane).

I am sure I may be one of the few to draw all of those comparisons but it was something I found myself doing. This shows that Kevin Hopson’s book Pursing the Dead will relate to fans of a good mystery. It will also relate to those who enjoy great written characters, and just a great fictional tale.

If you are one of those who enjoys a visual, be sure to check the book promo below.

 

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2020 in Reviews

 

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Awareness on Coronavirus & Multiple Sclerosis

The month of March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. However, unless you are living off-grid, and void of the world around you it’s not hard to realize something else has dominated the social landscape. If you haven’t figured out what I’m referring to, well I do not plan on adding to the hysteria that has gripped so many within this world. I will instead give a brief bit of information on this “elephant in society” as I then break down MS and lastly its potential impact on those with Multiple Sclerosis.

So, let’s start by taking a look at the Coronavirus group of viruses. You see the reason we hearing more people rebranding what is currently Covid-19 is that it’s a member of the Coronavirus group number 19. It’s not been rarely reported that SARS and MERS are part of the same group. It’s why you can look at a few brands of disinfectants and they may list Humana Coronavirus as something they can kill. What all of these have in common is they will impact the upper respiratory functions in people and mimic anything from the common cold to cases of pneumonia. As the world is learning this newest virus, Covid-19, has many of the characteristics of the other viruses, with this one causing deaths in people.

Of course, any member of the group could cause death, especially in someone with weakened immune systems. The elderly is the group in the largest risk due to their age, the diminished immune systems, and often pre-existing ailments that have put their health at risk. As the linked article, from Forbes (above) shows, the CDC shows that till you hit the age range of 50 the mortality rate is very low, about .5%. As you get to the older age ranges the rate increases and you near the mid-70s, 2.7%, and as we get older it gets higher. The one big take-a-way from the research I did for this posting is those 19 and younger, including school-age kids, there have been few deaths. A recent report I saw (unable to find) listed youngest victim was 14 in China, and 15 in Europe.

So, as I step back and I look at Covid-19 I get the degree of safety that is being called for regarding this virus. It just saddens me that so many have placed their trust with the news to bring us information on this virus, but critical facts are left out. Instead, they would rather get everyone focusing on the number of deaths compared to recovery. To, think the Flu which there is a vaccine for may kill over fifty thousand in America alone this year. I have a link to a CDC update on the Flu. I write all of this as people really should do some of their research. Heck, even the US President’s news conference has him giving a better message of hope than what the news gives us.

I think I have spent enough time on “that” virus and it’s time for me to turn my attention around to the one thing I’m SURE I have and that is Multiple Sclerosis. I’ll say upfront I could link to my several posts on the disease but really if you go to the categories on my page, and choose Multiple Sclerosis, you’ll be able to read any posting as you like.

Now, where do I start? I know let’s give a highlight of what MS is, and some of the multiple symptoms of the disease. I’m not going to use your standard medical terms but try and use some examples that I hope will be better than a bunch of medical terms.

The immune system in a human is there to attack invaders and keep our bodies running pretty safe. It’s there to clear out infections, colds, and other things that may try to break through our defense lines (skin) and attack. The problem comes when our immune system turns traitor and starts attacking the communication lines of the brain. It will start chewing on the nerve fibers, like a rodent chewing through cell tower cables. As those dang pesky rodents break through those lines people trying to use their phones will start to see spotting signals. They may even find that something happened and their call goes to a different person. You may have dialed, say 411, to get information and find that you are being connected with a 911 (emergency) operator instead.

This is, very basic, what is happening within the mind, and sometimes spinal cord, of someone who is diagnosed with MS. We find that our mind will send a direction to our body, and will find that direction messed up and not received. It’s like turning your cars blinker light on to go left and you end up going right while the entire time you wanted to go left. It’s frustrating in so many ways.

So, what are some of the symptoms of MS? Well, first let me explain that they are different for each person with MS. Sure many may have some of the same ones, but they are so varied that it’s hard to find two with the exact same symptoms.

Here are some of the key ones, and hitting some I deal with: Numbness/weakness in limbs, coordination issues, vision problems (vision loss, double vision, blurry vision, (me) partial loss in an eye), Slurred Speech (no not drunk), fatigue (hate this one), dizziness, pain/tingling in parts of the body, and lastly bowel/bladder issues (nope not the prostate).

There are of course many other things that may happen. People have lost the ability to walk, mental issues from mood swings to depression. The disease also has different forms as some may find that with their medication they lead a normal life. Others may find themselves in remission just waiting for that unwanted flare-up, and others have a form that just progressively will get worse after diagnosis. I’ll just be blunt here, MS is a BITCH!

Now, I don’t want you to think this is all doom/gloom as I mentioned some can live a normal life, and I want to say that for the most part that is my case. I live in Wisconsin, and I get out the shovel, use a snowblower, to clear the snow we see each winter. My wife and I, live in a corner house so we got plenty of sidewalks and I am the type that will even go further and help neighbors. Why? I mean yes I’m worried about fatigue, but it’s needed exercise. I also think about anyone who may be out there taking a walk, kids going to school and postal carriers. I’ve fallen on a badly maintained sidewalk and with the MS it took forever to get up. I mean I had to walk on my hands and knees into a snowbank to finally get a footing to stand. I never want anyone else to have to deal with that, so it’s why I go out of my way.

I even can say I take pride in mowing my yard, and as we enter the spring soon it will be time to rake the leaves. Now, sure I’ve learned over the years what my limits are. I’ve learned to judge when I may be pushing things and that’s when a nice bit of water and rest is called for. So, what am I saying here? I’m not giving myself a clap on the back, but instead pointing out how I won’t let this disease dictate my life, but instead, I’m telling this Msonster who’s boss.

I know those who may have read other posts on my blog are like, this again, well here’s the thing. I believe this ties both into the Coronavirus and MS, and that’s that FEAR is the worst thing in both cases. It’s why I spent so much time covering the “virus” at the start of this posting. I wanted readers to have a true understanding of what this is we are all facing. See, I know others with MS and they are afraid to talk about it. They do not want to even tell the family as afraid of how people will react. Me, I want to educate people so they understand that they should not feel sorry for me. I’m strong and I am in a good mental space. Sure, I have my moments as I have found myself watching a moment in a movie and getting emotionally invested. I can even watch some Japanese Animation and with a great plotline, the same thing can happen. I mean this guy is not afraid to cry if the emotions well up and instead of trying to force it down, well get me some tissue, I need to blow my nose.

As for what the “virus” can do with those with MS? Well, the virus is too new to have a great answer to that. I have done some research online and here is a link to some good information. A key thing that my common sense tells me is that, well, MS is an immune disease. It means that I have a weakened immune system and could be at risk of getting sick easier. Also, I know that if I get severe complications, like a high fever, it could create a flare-up for me. Of course, the big fear for some with MS is the respiratory concerns. I mean if someone has struggles breathing already the “virus” could be even more dangerous.

I think by now I’ve written quite enough on both subjects. I do hope that people, that made it this far, realize I have a few key points. They are; do your research, question what you’re told, stay strong, do not let FEAR win, and most of all keep a sense of humor. I mean come one I did my best to toss some comedy/puns into this posting. If I got a grown, a laugh or even a small smile then I feel I did my job. I’m going to close with the next sentence.

Life is to short, and we never know when/how it may end, so enjoy every moment and smile as much as you can.

Quick acknowledgment:

I want to thank my wife Jennifer for being there, and putting up with me for over a decade of MS. There are examples of strong families and those who broke up all over social media. The key is she and I have worked together and found compromises with what life has brought us, so thank you.

 

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2020 in Multiple Sclerosis

 

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Author Kevin Glennon Ten +1 Questions

I have to say that I’ve had a great pleasure working with, and communicating with, author Kevin Glennon. His two books have been great reads and I have loved the detail and depth he has gone into when it comes to characters. He has also been able, in my mind, to bring out the power that the United States Post Office has when it comes to moving around the country. There are many who take the mail carriers for granted but these books may surprise people. I have reviewed both books that are set in the world of Chief Othniel O’Connor.

Kevin was gracious enough to find some time in his busy life to answer my Ten Plus One Questions I ask authors to do. I know it did take some time on his end, but when he informed me of the work he is doing, I totally understand his priorities. Also, as you read through the questions below, he does have a busy home life as well.  I hope people will find his responses as interesting, and enlightening as I did.  As a note, there was no editing done to the responses below. They are his words as he shared them with me.

The books I have reviewed by Kevin Glennon in this series

Questions…

Question 1: When did you realize first wanted to be a writer?

All my life.  But I’ve never called myself a writer – I’m a storyteller.  Writers are masters of language, and can take you on a journey of words such that you forget why you started walking in the first place.  Storytellers tell great stories.  Douglas Adams was an amazing writer, but if you look critically at Hitchhikers, it’s a wandering mess of a story that is so terrible at resolution after five books it never resolves.

Question 2:  How did your friends/family take the loss of your time as you wrote the book?

They never noticed.  I’ve always gone off the grid on a daily, weekly, or longer basis.  Often I wrote, but just as often I was pursuing something else I wanted to know, try, or do.  Whether you disappear into the garage to work on a car, into a craft room to quilt, a cellar to record a song, or whatever creative and inquisitive outlet inspires you, creativity is a calling you should follow, even if only part-time.  We’re all creative and curious beings.  Turning off that outlet is toxic.

Question 3: What inspired you to write The United States Vampire Service?

My buddy Jack.  We were out drinking at the Irish Pub in North Quincy, MA one night bitching about how little girls had usurped the brutal and awesome monster stories of our youth.  Late night, I slurred something about how I could write something as brazen as Dick Marcinko, as technically accurate as Tom Clancy, and as supernatural as Mary Shelley.  I wrote the first chapter of “Vikings, Vampires, and Mailmen,” and emailed it to Jack.  Every couple of weeks he asked me for the next installment, and I would write what usually became the next chapter.  Pretty soon I was doing the background research and writing background structure of the characters and universe in which my story took place, and suddenly I had a series, should I choose to type out what I had worked up in my head and on massive sticky notes around my office.

Question 4: During the initial writing process where did you get the idea for the book and its characters? 

The story?  That came more from my philosophy of what vampires probably would be in our modern age.  If vampires were how I imagined them, then how would regular humans defeat them?  The characters?  I knew that, no matter how hard I tried, I’d project too much of myself into everyone, like most authors do.  So I looked for people who were nothing like me.  When I found people who thought differently, and reacted in ways I wouldn’t, I based characters around them.  Then I changed their names so I didn’t have to pay them royalties.

Question 5: Who were some of the authors that inspired you as a child growing up and their books?

Douglas Adams.  Robert Heinlein.  “Non-fiction” books about the supernatural (I know, an oxymoron).  Every Army Field Manual I could buy at my local Army/Navy store.  Every Dungeons & Dragons manual, but the original Unearthed Arcana more than any other.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the first completed version of your book?

It was electric.  I had reached a tableau that my writing heroes had also reached.  Even if I never sold more than a fistful of copies, that could never be taken away.

Question 7: Will there be additional books within the USVS series? 

HELLS yes!  I’ve spent WAY too much time on the backstory of Othniel’s father, and the universe they live in.  My original sequel to VV&MM was supposed to be “O’Connor,” a story about Othniel’s father from 1946 until his death just before the start of my first book.  But I overreached and wrote complete garbage.  I ended up deleting almost everything, and focused instead on what came after the first book.  A lot of the back story you read there was further developed when I was writing O’Connor.

Question 8: Who do you imagine being the people reading your book?

I honestly have no idea.  Having worked in advertising and marketing for 20 years, I thought I was pretty damned brilliant when I launched VV&MM.  I focused all of my efforts on a target demographic of men, ages 22-45, who either served in the military, worked as emergency responders (cops, firefighters, EMTs), or empathized with that demographic.  What I learned, shockingly, was that our biggest market was women, ages 50+, who wanted stories of “real men,” tired of the emo, whiny men that were flooding the monster markets.  Imagine that?

Question 9: Any good suggestions for those who want to try writing their own book?

HELLS yes!  DO IT!  Just write!  Write, and write, and write!  Don’t look back until you’re done.  Then edit and rewrite, and publish on your own.  It’s so easy and inexpensive to self-publish there’s no reason you shouldn’t for your first book.  Don’t get hung up on details like book cover art, websites, social media, or whatever.  You can pay like $50 to have an insane artist draw you a book cover on Fiverr.com, and you own it outright!

Question 10: When not writing how do you like to spend your time?

These days?  Chasing three kids ages three and under around the house!  We had twins, and then a monstah of a kid, so creatively typing has become near impossible.  But I’ve got miles of notes, and miles of ideas, and miles to go before I sleep.

The + 1 Question

 If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why? 

Prague.  I love Prague.  The people are beautiful, the city is beautiful, and the streets cap an unexplored depth that has, perhaps, no bottom.  I once ate a feast at an underground hunting lodge in Prague that was three stories underground, and the only way to find it was going down a tiny alley and opening a nondescript door.  It was like the best D&D adventure I had ever been on, and it was a random Wednesday night when I was nineteen.  Imagine how cool it would be to explore today?

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2020 in Interview

 

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Three Inspirational Music Arts from Independent to Top-Selling

I am what I consider a very eclectic music fan as I will listen to just about anything. I’ll add that I got much of that love of music as I grew up and both my parents introduced me to different styles of music. I inherited my father’s “Time Life” Collection of Big Band music on record. I even own some old 45 rpm records from my time of working as an announcer at a few radio stations as I was in High School and College. Those also led to my love of different music styles and artists through the years.

So, with that background information, I want to bring some light to some musical artists I recently came across.  I found them through social media, like Twitter, and in one case just letting a certain company’s music device play a top list of music.

There are three artists I’d like to bring to the attention of those reading this posting. You will find 1 top-selling artist, and two (what I call) independent artists who may fly under the radar.  The key thing to me each have a message within their music.  You will find a mixture of upbeat toe-tapping music, to those lyrics that leave the listener asking questions. The lyrics will make you think and have you interrupt the song in a way you, the listener, will likely do.  The primary thing for me is each one has a message within their music that I hope others will enjoy, or learn from, depending on how you take their lyrics.

I’m starting this out with the duo A.J and Tara who I will say fittingly are out of Sunny California. Their about page on their website will tell you a bit more about their connection to Los Angeles, and Berkley.  They are what I considered a pop group with lyrics that are very upbeat. They have music that makes you smile and that will also get you thinking. I would not go as far as calling them a Christian duo, but their message is one that would fit into a category along those lines. I have seen where many of their songs are original and often, if not always, written by A.J of the band. They collaborate together with others when it comes to the music for the songs. I will say some of their music also reminds me of a rock sound as you listen to them.  I can say that they are a duo that is working on getting their name out as they have some things available to those who check out their site, at least of the time of this posting. I have added a video card YouTube video of their song “Believing” just below.

 

Now, let me introduce to you artist Jon Magnusson, who is first to tell you that he is an independent artist who likes connecting with people. I’ll admit when I first listened to his music it took a moment to figure out his slight accent, well one I noticed. You see the man is from the country that brought bands like; Europe, Ace of Base, Roxette, Opeth, and I’d be in trouble if I left ABBA out of this list. Yep, Jon Magnusson is from Sweden.  His music style is just like my music taste, a bit eclectic. I say that as you look at his YouTube page you will find he has many influences in his music. I found a mixture of Rock, Folk, a bit of Jazz and even some soul. His lyrics have something to say as I shared the video to his song “Your Dreams” below. I will say you can tell he is truly an independent artist as you listen to more of his music he does what he likes. It shows in his music that he truly loves what he is doing and he is one that will gladly take time and interact with his listeners, and fans. I should also mention that the man has a podcast as well.

 

The last artist I want to write about is one Nathan John Feuerstein who is out of a small town in Michigan, called Gladwin. It’s no shock that the state that put out artists such as Glenn Frey, The White Stripes, Pop Evil, Kid Rock and Nathan’s prime influence rapper Eminem.  You will ask who is this guy, and really he goes by a two-letter acronym for his name.  You likely heard his music on the radio and announced by artist NF.  NF has a great website that will bring you so much of his other links, and showcase his music. The thing that drew me to his music is the lyrics are powerful as NF is not afraid to put topics such as depression, anxiety and even mental illness. He admits that he is a Christian, but he has stated that his music is for everyone. One can look him up on the internet and find interviews where he will say that his music isn’t Christian Rap. I personally don’t blame him as I have listened to many of his songs, and to me being labeled in that way may impact those who will give his music a try. Just like A.J and Tara and Ron Magnusson, NF’s music has some great messages. I included his song “Time” below as an intro to the man if you have not heard him before.

I must add I own no rights to the videos, and images I share within this posting. All music is owned by the artist.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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The United States Vampire Service by Kevin Glennon

I am going to take some liberty and paraphrase the United States Postal Service’s unofficial creed here. Neither snow nor gloom of night nor length of fangs nor claws nor strength of vampire will stop the US Vampire Service from hunting their foe. You may have read that and asked what am I writing about? It’s rather simple when you take time to read the pages of author Kevin Glennon’s newest book. The United States Vampire Service is Glennon’s second book detailing the USVS and back in charge is Chief Othniel O’Connor.

The book does a great job of introducing the readers to the primary character, Chief O’Connor, the team’s mission and who his team is. The opening pages will take you their current vampire hunt and readers may get a laugh out of some of the team’s terminology that is introduced. Examples of a vampire are actually called a bug and their submachine guns those are called hoses.

Glennon also goes out of his way in the opening chapter to explain how the USVS works. You will read why the Postal Service is the best group to use as cover. The gear the team uses, from their hoses to the tactical gear they wear. There will be introductions to other team members with names like Sluggo, Cracker, Boo, and Larry. An introduction to how the team must sometimes work with the local police, and the dangers that can come from working on them. Dangers? The reader will find an accidental shooting within the opening chapters.

The United States Vampire Service will see the team take on a case near the Naval Base in Newport, Rhode Island. The case may have global repercussions as there is a major event taking place that is bringing top Naval leaders from across the globe to Newport. The complication of the potential fight over jurisdiction won’t stop with the Naval Police. The local Newport police will find themselves involved as well as the Rhode Island State Police. In truth, there are very few law enforcement agencies that will get involved in this case. It’s not hard to understand why as it seems that the bugs are popping up in so many different locations across the area.

As you continue to read a complex story, that will take you all over Newport, that will involve many beyond those already mentioned. A few locals will become invaluable to the team, and this goes from a police officer and even three little girls. There are a few members of the Navy who will also be featured within the pages. The daughter of an admiral and a very complex Commander Tommie Hubbard.

I point this out as author Kevin Glennon does a great job in handling all the complexity of the story and getting one engaged in the characters. As you read the book you will find favorite characters as you read. This is done due to the character development that is given from not just the good guys, but to the bad guys as well.

The story itself is well written and it does become clear as you read that this “bug’ outbreak in Newport has some direct ties to the USVS. There are things that will come out about Chief O’Connor that he was not aware of. The past of the team will lead them to learn about their history and who could be behind what is going on in Newport. All the time the team must avoid creating an international incident, and stopping the world from finding out about the USVS.

Those who enjoy a good mystery will find this book an interesting read due to the fact there is truly something that needs to be uncovered within the pages. Fans of horror and thrillers will also enjoy this book due to the bug, or vampire, the action that takes place within the pages. In truth, I would expect many who just enjoy a good read to find The United States Vampire Service to be a great read. If you find yourself enjoying this book and have not read Vikings, Vampires, and Mailmen yet, what are you waiting for?

 

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Social Media, Communication and Suicide

I first wish to start this post with a disclaimer:

The words and opinions utilized within this posting are of my own mind. In NO WAY do they represent the thoughts of my employer or family. If they do manage to match the ideas the reader has then it is purely coincidental.

Suicide rates are pulled from The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) 

I’m going to start by pointing out that the internet and its original ideals of allowing for the easy sharing of ideas across the world. I think those who created the internet could not fathom all that could potentially transpire from the invention, be it good or be it bad. This all came about over decades and became commercial in the mid-1990s.

One has to only look at how quickly technology grew after this period and one of the biggest growths seen was that of social media. A platform that saw Myspace become the real big first platform in 2003. At the same time, a disturbing trend was seen elsewhere starting to click upwards. This trend is a slight increase in suicides.

As we step forward to just 3 years, it’s now 2006 and Facebook and Twitter have now gone public as well. Some could say that this was a game-changer when it came to social media as there were multiple platforms that people could utilize to stay in touch with friends and family. The drawback is at the same time people learned fake profiles, anonymous usernames could be created and utilized for hate, cyberbullying, and other hateful acts.

Now, it wasn’t till about a year after that Twitter and Facebook began to take off. As each grew, so did their membership to the point Myspace began to decline, and until new platforms became available many people rushed to the big companies when it came to social media.  Again, as we look at the graphic suicide rates began to inch upwards, each year after 2006.

Now, from here on down I’m stepping into the realm of speculation.  I am sure I could do some additional research to find a multitude of papers on the dangers of social media and what it does to society. However, I’m going from my own experiences as someone who grew up with the precursor of social media and back previous to the world wide web growth.

I’ve seen how over the growth of the internet people really do not communicate. You are going, wait how can you say that, I text, I use messenger, I use Twitter, I use FaceTime, and so much more. The fact is, its not true communication in the sense we do not really talk to each other. We use a device to type words to each other. The emotions in those words can be lost no matter how many emoji’s, smiley faces, or memes that can be used. There is nothing like seeing the emotions those real words have on someone’s face. Do your words bring joy, laughter, smirks, tears, hate, or a multitude of other emotions.

I theorize that as we grow more and more inclined on using technology as our main form of communication we will get desensitized to real emotions. We could find ourselves laughing at someone we bring to tears. We may even make fun of the person for reasons we do not understand just as we forget to act, talk, deal with REAL emotions.

It is here that I firmly believe lies partially the primary reason for the suicide rate. In truth, I somewhat wonder if due to this if it doesn’t lead to other social ills such as the shootings that have been plaguing the country.

Now, wait how can I make such a conclusion? In my mind, it is rather simple. The more we escape our real world, our real problems, or real emotions to one that is found thru the acceptance of an online world the more people suffer. Humans want acceptance, we want friends, no matter how much of a loner we are, we still want some form of recognition. It’s when those dreams are busted when hate and ridicule become our world that it brings out the negative in us.

A great example is looking at social media platforms that low anonymous user names. You can look and see people ridiculing others, using names and terms that they’d never (well hope they wouldn’t) use when talking to a person one on one. It’s even worse when people do it using their real name when using a platform like Facebook.

The thing that really bothers me about this all is so many adults, be it a parent to a celebrity we call for civility. We want all the bullying to stop but look at the example that the “adults” set for the younger generations. If your political ideology differs you call others names, break off friendships, call for boycotts, and other things. As adults, we throw mixed messages at the young generations. It’s a case of doing as I say, not as I do.

Hey, wait are you not off track? How does this lead to suicide and other behaviors that are so anti-social?

Again, to me, the answer is obvious. This all plays out so much on social media. The platforms were originally created to share with friends and family. Instead, they are deemed to be used more to spread hate, ridicule, judgment and other forms of hate. Things that people pick up on and can lead to depression. If you see the world around you as a lonely world, a hate-filled world, a world of judgment how can one stay sane? It’s not like we can openly share our emotions as we will be seen as weak, a loser, a crybaby and all those negative connotations that come with it.

This thus leads to other antisocial behavior, a lashing out, and finding a TOOL to make others pay for the feelings and emotions that have bottled up for so long. It doesn’t help that the media puts these events all over the news. So, those clambering for the attention we cannot find online, get the attention we may want in another form thru murder, suicide, and other crimes as the news will share it with everyone. If the news doesn’t do it, well you can count on a story getting thrown around on social media.

The long conclusion here is that although there are many great assets to social media, is that we have forgotten how to be really social. We really need to put down the phones, the tablets, step out from behind the computer and just talk. Find reasons to remember what REAL EMOTIONS are and not emojis, smileys, and memes. Instead make it a real smile, a laugh, even a good cry and really understand where a person is coming from. If we can find a way to change one person, it can spread and maybe just maybe those suicide numbers will drop.

NOTE:

Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and other mentioned companies are not owned by me and are owned by their own companies. I have no ownership within either. They are only referenced as examples of social media and no blame should be placed upon them for comments made upon their platforms by their users.

The emotions graphic is from the public domain from Pixabay.com

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2019 in Personal

 

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Upcoming Return to “Normalcy?”

I took some personal time and thus, it’s been some time since I finally made a click/clack sound and let my fingers dance across the keyboard. I have several books I finished reading and need to get reviews written for them. The big one is sequel to a book I read sometime back. I’m not giving the name here, but just let me give you a hint on what the story is about. I’ll just say the United States Postal Service, the US Navy, law enforcement, FBI and vampires. Yep, I’ll let those who read this post let their imaginations go wild with the possibilities on that one.

As I work on the reviews, start reading yet another book, I wanted to start with getting some new content out on the blog. I am sure I have lost readership due to lack of content, and even my part for not really posting about the blog in some time on my social media.

So, I have been kicking around what I could potentially put out to help build content. I have many old movie reviews that I published on a different site when I was working with a Horror themed podcast. I then thought about more original content, some short stories, maybe my ideas on working environments (my managerial style).

I finally came down with the idea of letting things go a bit free-flowing. I guess let the muse hit me as some would say. I hope to try and get more content out, if possible daily, or every few days. I did make a decision that my first full post back I will make some assumptions on a theory I have (I’m not a scientist) on the correlation between suicides and the growing usage of social media. This could even tie into other events that I will not mention. I do hope people will find that an interesting post, granted if I do not get it how I want well I will do something else.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2019 in Personal

 

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The Resurrected by Kevin Hopson

I must be honest when I first started reading author Kevin Hopson’s book, The Resurrected, I jump to a conclusion. I’m not sure if was the well-done cover or the opening sequence of the book.  I just know that when I read about the fire that was engulfing the woodlands and moving closer to the city, well, yep conclusion born.  You see, I thought at first this could be a book dealing with a potential walking dead type of scenario.  I didn’t do my due diligence and read to much about the book up front as it was by Hopson, and I’ve enjoyed other books by the author.

I have to admit I was wrong, and for that, I do apologize to Hopson. I got to add that the opening did get me hooked and it was a very nice surprise to find that, The Resurrected, was not a medieval walking dead or cursed book.

Instead, readers will find a book set in a period of walled cities, broadswords, an Emperor, and political intrigue.  You will find that those flames are actually those of an encampment of a group that wishes to oust the Emperor of the land. The head of the Emperor’s guard, Asgall, had fought and killed for the man. Some of those were his friends, and those behind the attempted coup are called, The Resurrected.

As mentioned, the book will start informing readers of that fire as it moves closer and closer to the city walls. Those walls are protected by Asgall and his Emperor’s guard.  Their primary mission is to ensure the ruler is protected and at the same time, they must investigate threats from within. It leads one to ask who was the man who blackened the eye of an older male citizen of the city. All Asgall and the guards knew was that he bore that mark, the mark of the Resurrected.

As you read the story you will yourself meeting other key players that will have an impact on the pages. I will not name their allegiances as that may give things away. You will, however, get to meet them through Hopson’s character development. These players are Colum, Owin, Nesta, and Berian. Again, I will not give away who they are but they are players that will have impacts on Asgall, and the kingdom.

The Resurrected is book 1 in the Emperor’s Guard Series by Kevin Hopson. It is a good opening to a series as you will find when you read the story.  I found it to be an engaging read considering its length and do hope to see more of this series.

Please enjoy the video book trailer below.

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2019 in Reviews

 

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A Self Reflection on Multiple Sclerosis

I wish to continue putting some additional focus on Multiple Sclerosis for this month of March, 2019. I am doing this as I have not seen much in the way of social media postings, or awareness being brought. Yes, I could be living in a bubble, but I have just not seen much other than the standard groups.  MS organizations and even drug manufactures are out their promoting it but not much else that I have seen.

So, what I am doing with this posting is linking back to several past articles I have written about MS. The posts I am sharing go far back into the archive going back to maybe 2014.

The below are links to several of those postings I wanted to share with a blurb that was the opening to each of the pieces. I do hope you will find these interesting and share to help others who may find strength from the writings, or find some useful information.  One thing you will note is as I’ve written over the years my grammar and writing has improved, I hope. (smiles)

 

Suicide is Painless

This is not an easy blog post to write. I have started over multiple times as the subject is not one that people want to hear about. It’s one that many feels belong in the shadows, that the problem is all in someone’s head. The fact is, it is in their head. Their emotions are all over the place from any form of issues which includes, and not limited to, the short list below:

July, 2018… https://knightmist.wordpress.com/2018/07/26/suicide-is-painless

My Answers to 5 Frequent Questions on Multiple Sclerosis

I’m one of those people who is not afraid to take time to talk to someone about the beast that is now part of my life. The beast is nothing that is seen upon my body. You do not see a creature hiding behind me, on my shoulders or hugging my leg. Granted at times it does feel like it is hugging both legs and even my arms. The beast is called Multiple Sclerosis.

July, 2018…https://knightmist.wordpress.com/2018/07/01/my-answers-to-5-frequent-questions-on-multiple-sclerosis/

Strong Legs and a Lesson

My original plan was to write a post on a book review but then I saw something that had me change my tactics. The source too many is hated and one of the worst news sources in the world, and that is Fox News. So, what could I find from there that would have me creating a blog post? I’m sure there are a lot of ideas running in people’s heads, but I’m sure they are in most guesses wrong. The title of this post may have given an idea, but what brought me to this post is simple. Her name is Janice Dean; she is a meteorologist for Fox News and most importantly has Multiple Sclerosis.

January, 2015…https://knightmist.wordpress.com/2018/01/15/strong-legs-and-a-lesson/

Personal Insights into me and my Multiple Sclerosis

I’m not one to do year in review type of posts. I do think it is important to learn from the past and to move forward, but not live in the past. So I do not go for the end of year, or highlights type of things. Instead I noticed I have not mentioned much about my Multiple Sclerosis and what that brings to my life in some time. So, that is the point of this post, my life since I got diagnosed.

December, 2017…https://knightmist.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/personal-insights-into-me-and-my-multiple-sclerosis/

M(s)onster Awakens -A True Story

I wish I could say that the reason for the lack of content over the last few weeks was due to something new and exciting. Sadly I would be lying if I stated that as much of my lack of content has been more relating to health issues.

I’ve written about my Multiple Sclerosis before and after the survey results it was revealed people wanted to see more content around it. So this post is a glimpse of the struggles I’ve been dealing with over the past few weeks. They are health related and I have no fear exposing myself, not in that way people, to the world when it comes to the MS. Yes I am still me and got to throw out some odd humor to lighten a serious mood. It’s just who I am. I must now get back on track, so back to the meat of the post.

March, 2015…https://knightmist.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/msonster-awakens-a-true-story/

Fall and the Monster

The change from spring to the fall is one of my favorite times of the year. The leaves turn from their summer green to hues of yellow, orange, and red before they fall to the ground. It’s beautiful to see those colors as they hang from the countless number of trees, at times it looks as beautiful as a sunset. The one drawback the leaves falling gracefully to the ground, and creating a carpet of color is raking them off the yard. This brings me to the main topic of this long promised post, The Fall and Multiple Sclerosis.

November, 2015…https://knightmist.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/fall-and-the-msonster/

Dangers of First Impressions (Opinion by Shawn Micallef)

As many know a first impression is the mental image a person forms regarding another person when they first meet. This is usually is something that comes from a first face to face encounter, but today I’m sure can be formed through internet interactions were people never see each other. Well, I should add never see each other at first.

April, 2014…https://knightmist.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/dangers-of-first-impressions-opinion-by-shawn-micallef

In Darkness There is Light: Depression, MS, and Suicide

I am ending the year of 2014 with what must be my most personal of posts I have ever written on the blog. This one will get into some deep corners of my mind as I feel in sharing some of that darkness I may be able to bring some light to those who finish this long post. I say that as I will endeavor to show a positive that comes from dealing with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and depression. I will warn that this is a lot of free flowing thoughts and grammar may be bad. The intent is in the message not the grammar and I just had to get this written and shared before I lost my nerve.

December, 2014…https://knightmist.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/in-darkness-there-is-light-depression-ms-suicide/

 

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2019 in Multiple Sclerosis

 

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