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Monday, December 17, 2012

In memory of the lives lost in Newtown, Connecticut on 12/14/2012

If you have watched a second of news, turned on the radio once, been on Facebook for more than a minute, or talked with one other person in the last three days, then you have undoubtedly heard about the terrible tragedy that took place Friday morning in the small community of Newtown, CT.

What happened is unspeakable, and something that no one in their right mind would ever do.  I won't say the name of the killer or tell you anything about that person, because I feel that the "glory" of infamy should not be rewarded for what that person has done.

Twenty six people are dead now.  Most of them were kids, no older than seven.  Their whole lives were ahead of them, cut unfairly short.  Though I don't have any children of my own yet, I have seven nieces and nephews with one more on the way; I don't know how I would cope if it had been any of them.

The brave adults did their best to shield and protect the children, several giving up their own lives to save the lives of their students.  What they did was selfless and incredible, and their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

The media has plastered the killer's name everywhere, but I refuse to do so.  It is a name I have heard but will never repeat.  The following names are the ones I want to honor, to remember, to pray for, to think about.  Their birthdays go to show just how young they were.  These are the innocent, the ones we mourn for and hold in our hearts:




Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06
Daniel Barden, 9/25/05
Rachel Davino, 7/17/83
Olivia Engel, 7/18/06
Josephine Gay, 12/11/05
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06
Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06
Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/60
Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06
Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06
Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05
Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06
James Mattioli , 3/22/06
Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05
Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60
Emilie Parker, 5/12/06
Jack Pinto, 5/06/06
Noah Pozner, 11/20/06
Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06
Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06
Avielle Richman, 10/17/06
Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982
Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56
Victoria Soto, 11/04/85
Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06
Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06





There is nothing that would take away the pain from the families of the fallen.  Some wounds will never heal; people just learn to live with the pain.


My thoughts, heart, and prayers are with those affected by this.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Another zombie novel, a supernatural novel, and a memoir... too much?

Almost a month has passed since my last post.  The sequel to Silence of Souls is nearing completion, and (if things go well this week) I am still on schedule to release it sometime between Christmas and New Year's.

The novel is better than the first, or at least I think so.  It's much deeper, more emotional, and far different than any other zombie novel I've read so far.  Hopefully, it'll gain a lot of readers, though I'm sure there will be people who hate it because of a certain event that takes place in the novel.  This one is definitely NOT for children, and I think parents should be aware of what happens before letting their teenagers read it or not.  Once it's released, I will put up a fair warning (while trying my best not to give away any important plot points) on the page so that people know it has mature content.

Thanksgiving was a fantastic long weekend.  I spent the long weekend camping with family and friends and didn't get on the computer at all.  I didn't force myself to think about work at all either.  It was a good idea, because I came home with a clear head and an imagination yearning to get to work.  As my mind cleared up, new ideas came rushing to me for the rest of Resurgence as well as for my next two novels.

The next novel is a vast expansion of The Secret Room and is going to be an epic battle between good and evil.  It's going to have a lot of supernatural elements in it, and my ideas keep expanding and growing, and I'm loving where this is leading to.  In all likelihood, this will be another series, which I am okay with.  (Don't worry, zombie fans: The Silence of Souls series will continue!) As soon as Resurgence is finished, I'm getting to work on The Secret Room novel (though it won't be called "The Secret Room"; I don't yet have a title for it, though).

Part of me is considering taking on a challenge I've never done before- writing two novels at once.  One will be The Secret Room novel, and the other will be the memoir I've been considering writing for a few years now (and more and more encouragement has come from friends and family to write it).  Discipline will have to be a top priority if writing two at the same time, though one being fiction and the other non-fiction might make it a little easier.  We'll see how things go after Resurgence is released.  :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Book Signing

Over the weekend, I had my first book signing event.  It was at the local library, and they were also doing a book sale.  (I got a box full of books for just $2- what a deal!)  The library is only a couple years old, so it's a gorgeous building and very spacious.

I sold every copy that I had, and had to take orders for more.  It was so much fun, and the feeling of having people come and ask for my novel and autograph was surreal.  There were several people who made the trip special just to see and support me, and I am grateful to each and every one of those people.

It was also very cool to have people I didn't know asking for my novel and autograph.  I'd tell them the basic gist of the story, and some people got very intrigued.

Proceeds from sales were donated to the Friends of Acton-Agua Dulce Library (they do all sorts of awesome reading, writing, and educational activities for the community), Susan G. Komen For The Cure, and St. Jude Children's Hospital, so it all went to good places.  Even though I didn't make any money off the sale, it was a very profitable weekend- I met some great people, made some new contacts, and may have opened the door to two more book signings in other communities, which is very exciting!

Halloween is tomorrow, and I think the whole "scary season" is really getting to me, in a good way.  I've been getting so many ideas for different paranormal stories lately, and some of them really intrigue me.  A few dreams and old memories have washed up on the shores of my mind and are taking up root in my imagination.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What do you really want to be?

The other night, I was thinking about something- what do I really want to do?  Why do I want to be a writer?

The obvious answer is that I love to tell stories.  I love being able to create worlds, characters, and situations and blend them all together to create a story.  It's a deep passion that I've had as long as I can remember.

But there's a deeper reason why I want to be a writer- I want to be a positive influence on the world.

I want to write stories, inspire people (including myself), gain a voice, and help create a better future for our world.

My morals are (in no particular order):
• equality for all
      -not being judged based on your gender, ethnicity, orientation, religion, political beliefs, etc.
• freedom for all
      -to achieve your dreams
      -to do what you love
      -to be who you are
      -to have opportunities
• love
      -for each other
      -for animals
      -for our planet and environment
      -for children and the future they have
• education
     -for all; smart people make smart choices, so good education would solve lots of the world's problems
     -creating a passion for learning in our children
     -self-learning and betterment
     -self-evolution and continuing to strive for understanding of the human experience
• working together
      -understanding each other
      -helping those in need when we have no obligation to


By no means am I anywhere near perfect, but I want to continually make myself a better person.  The person I want to be is one that doesn't think about giving, just gives; doesn't worry about possessions, but about people; doesn't care about impressing those more fortunate than her, but helping those who are less fortunate; doesn't judge or criticize others, just loves them for who they are.

Who do you really want to be?  Are you on your way to becoming that person?


p.s.- don't forget that all month long, proceeds from book sales will be going to Susan G. Komen and St. Jude's Children's Hospital to help fight cancer: The list of books and stories that will help cancer research and treatment is here.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Zombies, Ghosts, and Psycho Killers for Breast Cancer Awareness!!!

While I was lying in bed last night, it hit me. October is the perfect storm for something I've been wanting to do for a while.

October 2012 means:
-The return of The Walking Dead for season three. (And you all know I love ZOMBIES!)
-Breast Cancer Awareness Month
-This October marks 19 years for me of being cancer-free, and 19 is my lucky number. (I am the survivor of a very rare childhood cancer called germ cell cancer of the ovaries; sometimes also called germination cell cancer. Even though it wasn't breast cancer, people still become more aware of cancer during this month.)
-Silence of Souls has been nominated for Book of the Month on The Paranormal and Horror Lovers Group on Goodreads. (Winner will be announced tomorrow.)

So, with all this adding up, I've decided that I will donate 50% of all my income from book (both eBook and paperback) sales for the month of October to cancer research and treatment.  Every time someone purchases one of my works, a donation will be made to cancer research and treatment, for the benefit of those currently battling cancer, those who have fought and won, and those who have been lost to cancer.

The donations will be given to St. Jude's Children's Hospital and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

If you like reading scary stuff, ghost stories, thrillers, or zombies, check out something to read and help make a difference in someone's life!  Author Page with List of Works

"Silence of Souls" is wearing a pink ribbon this month.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Big things are happening!

Even though I was sick, this weekend turned out to be pretty awesome.

Friday morning, I went down to the local library where they were having a meet-and-greet with the new librarian (her name is Valerie, and she happens to be a friend and a wonderful woman). It was nice- Val talked about herself, her love of books, her experiences, and what she planned to do for the library.

After the introduction, there was mingling and some refreshments. The head of the Friends of the Acton Library committee was there, and she approached me and started talking about upcoming events. Long story short, she asked me to do a book signing at the end of October! I was thrilled.

Then, on Saturday, I had some major story revelations for Resurgence that I am pretty excited about.

Sunday was awesome, too. I discovered someone had posted a glowing review of my novel on a popular zombie-forum website! Here's a screenshot:
Click to enlarge

Also on Sunday, I found out that Silence of Souls has been nominated for book of the month over on a Goodreads group!  Here's the screenshot of that:
Click to enlarge

It's very exciting, and I'm thrilled that Silence of Souls and Resurgence are gaining buzz!

One last thing- the Goodreads giveaway for autographed copies of both the novels is up and running.  Be sure to enter and tell your friends about it!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Silence of Souls by Stefanie Oberhansley

Silence of Souls

by Stefanie Oberhansley

Giveaway ends December 19, 2012.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fictitious dreams that influence the future.

Last night, I had a dream about one of my characters from the Silence of Souls series.

First, an announcement: I've decided on a title for the sequel.  It's going to be Resurgence.

I'm working on the sequel, and it's going to be so much more intense and emotional than the first.  The first, in hindsight, was really just setting the stage for the series.  In the sequel, there is a deplorable, absolutely horrible thing that happens to one of my characters.  I debated for a long time, and spoke to several people about it, before I decided to actually do this thing in the novel.

Back to the dream... last night, I dreamt about this character whom something terrible happens to.  This character was very sad, very hurt, and couldn't understand why this terrible thing had to happen.  I held this character in my arms and comforted them as they sobbed.  I told them they would be alright, and that times may seem hard right now, but they would get better in the future.

I promised my character that life would go on for them, and that it would, eventually, be great.  I think, inadvertently, that I have (unofficially) committed to continuing the series for as long as the story keeps going.  It may end after three books, it may end after twelve.  We'll see.  All I know right now is that my character is having a hard time understanding why this terrible thing had to happen to them, so I must continue on with the story until things get better for that character. It could take a while- there's a lot more hell they'll have to go to before they start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The story must go on.

I'm doing a giveaway, so pass along the word.  You could win autographed copies of Silence of Souls AND Resurgence!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Silence of Souls by Stefanie Oberhansley

Silence of Souls

by Stefanie Oberhansley

Giveaway ends December 19, 2012.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Monday, August 27, 2012

I am who I am; you are who you are; it's beautiful. :)

Since the release of Silence of Souls earlier this month, I've been having a few absolutely incredible experiences.  I can't believe these things are happening to me, especially this quick- I would have thought it would take years before experiencing anything like this: I feel like a "celebrity."

Obviously, not to the scale (or anything even remotely close to it) that Brad Pitt or Ellen DeGeneres feel like celebrities, but there have been a few occasions where I felt like I was somebody.  I have "fans," and it's incredible.  There's been four people who have contacted me, praising my work, and telling me how inspiring I am to them.  I've gotten to know a couple of them, and they're amazing people.

Twice there's been instances in real life that were totally surreal.

The first one was when I went to a party about a month ago, and there was this girl there I had never met.  I introduced myself to her, and she said "Oh, I know who you are!  You wrote 'Surprise Party!' That was a fantastic play, and it's so nice to meet you!"

The second one was when I met this caretaker that comes to visit my grandpa once a week.  She asked me if I was the "writing granddaughter he always talks about" and I said yes.  She then asked me to write down my name and the title of my book so she can look it up, so I did.  When I handed her the piece of paper, she read it and then said "Oh, this sounds really familiar.  I think I've heard of you!"

It's completely flattering, humbling, and unbelievable that these things would happen.  I'm not sure I've really done anything to deserve such recognition, but I'll admit that I am really enjoying this incredible ride.

One of my friends, whom I have known for years, has been following along the whole time with my publishing, writing, et al.  He gave me a piece of advice: "Now that you're starting to gain a rapidly-growing following, you should be mindful of who you are and create the image you want to be.  You should stop posting political stuff and speaking your mind so much.  If you're more bland to the public, more people will like you."

While I appreciate his advice and understand what he's saying, I don't agree with it- I respect his opinion, and if he feels that is what he wants to do when he starts gaining a following, then that is fine with me.  But that's not the right choice for myself.

I am who I am, and I would rather have 100 fans who like the real me instead of 1,000,000 fans who like a bland, fragmented version of who I really am.  I have strong beliefs, I have opinions, and I have a personality.  I'm not going to hide who I am just for the possibility of gaining fans.

It took me years, but I finally like who I am- why would I want to oppress that now?

Undoubtedly, there will be people out there who don't like me for me.  There will be people who dislike that I am pro-equality.  There will be people out there who won't read my work because I believe in an afterlife.  There will be people out there who assume that just because I am on the left side of politics that I am also very supportive of stricter gun laws (not so, but that's a story for another time).

I am who I am, and I like me.  I hope you like who you are, too.  Over the years, I've grown emotionally, expanded my mind, experienced things that have shaped who I am, and have formed opinions based on facts and what makes sense to me.  It wasn't an easy journey to become who I am, so why should I try to hide it?  It's impossible to be universally loved, so why be something I'm not when I can't please everyone anyway?

Be who you are, there's no one else like you.  We are all so different- each with a unique set of experiences, beliefs, reasons, motivations, understandings, and so on.  It's so much more interesting when we let the "real" us out instead of hiding behind what society expects us to be.  At least, that's what I believe.  ;-)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Great stories.

Over the weekend, we saw ParaNorman.  It was fantastic!  I loved the story, the twists, the humor, the characters, and the score.  Most of the time, it's fun going to a theater full of kids because you get to hear some of those incredible, totally innocent reactions to the movie.

That's also the same reason I love going to the theater to see horror movies with a packed house- you get some crazy reactions, and sometimes they're hysterical.

Both situations involve a good story and interesting characters.  That's how people get drawn in.  If it was boring and uninteresting, then the kids would lose interest at the animated movie showings and the adults would feel bored at the horror movie showings.

I love it when you watch a movie or read a book and become so engulfed in what's going on that you completely forget that it's a movie or a book.  That moment when you fall in love with or come to completely loathe a character.  When you feel intense emotions one way or another toward a character, then you feel like you are living vicariously through them.  When you indulge in great books and movies, you live a thousand lives.

The beginning of Silence of Souls 2 is underway, and I'm thrilled about it.  I've received so much positive feedback about the first novel, and I'm very excited about working on the second one.  The story outline is nearly complete- I just need to add some more meat to it.  The second installment of the series is going to be even more intense than the first; at least, I think so. ;-)  I'm working on developing the characters even further, creating some interesting conflicts, and putting out a unique story.

I have a real rough idea for a third installment, but I'm not going to force it if it doesn't want to happen.  The second one is a definite thing, though!  I'm hoping to release it around March or April, but I'll adjust the release date as the novel comes along.  ;-)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Don't be discouraged.

Silence of Souls has received its second review.  Time-wise, I think it's pretty good that I've received two reviews within a week of release.  The first was a 5-Star, and it was very flattering and humbling!  The second one is a 3-Star review.  The reviewer made some valid points, said that the story was solid, and the things he didn't care for about Silence of Souls are purely opinions and don't reflect on the quality of the work.  (For example- he said he thought it was strange that the word "zombie" was never mentioned.  That's something I deliberated over for a bit while I was writing, but then found that the majority of the [good] zombie fiction I read doesn't often actually use the z-word.)  That being the case, this hasn't discouraged me in the least.  Three-stars isn't bad, actually.  Plus, he did compliment the work.  (I peeked at his other reviews- he rarely gives a review above 3-stars anyway.)

To be honest, I talk a lot of talk that I don't usually walk.  I am always encouraging people to reach for their dreams, to work hard, and to not let naysayers get them down.  But I've found that I get discouraged pretty easily, and it's something I'm working on getting better at.  When I got my first (and, thus far, only) 2-star review for The Secret Room, I was very discouraged, even though I had received several 5-star reviews prior to that.  With Silence of Souls, I have received a tremendous amount of positive feedback and praise, and each comment is very heartwarming.  This time, I'm happy to have a 3-star review, because it means that people are reading and thinking about my work.  I welcome feedback and reviews, both positive and negative.

I love doing what I do, and I enjoy it.  I need to stop being so concerned about what the people who don't like what I do or who I am think, and start focusing on how I feel about myself.  I wrote a novel, published it, sold it, and now I'm starting work on another one- no matter what happens, no one can take that away, and I'm proud of myself.  :)

Also, on a side note: Silence of Souls is available in Kindle eBook and now in paperback!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Onward!

Today I started working on my newest project.  It's an idea I came up with about a year and a half ago- even before I came up with the idea for Silence of Souls.  It'll be a short story, though I'm not sure exactly what I think the length will end up being.  I'm venturing out on a new branch in writing- it's a comedic short story, unlike my previous works which have all been horror, thriller, and/or paranormal.

We'll see how it goes.  I want to stretch my legs a little as a writer and see how I do with other genres.  Initially, I would have expected myself to write drama, not paranormal, and I've done well so far.  Because of that, I have high hopes.  If it's absolutely terrible, I won't publish it.

When I turned on my computer this morning, I was surprised to find that Silence of Souls already has a review, and it's an incredible review!  Apparently, I am a "talented and seriously disturbed author."  I love it!  I'm taking the "seriously disturbed" bit as a compliment to my work.  Either that, or I'll use it as motivation to sell enough books to pay for therapy...

Anyway, I'm going to get back to writing now.  I've got a number of projects planned, so onward to writing!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Chick-fil-A Controversy: It's A Beautiful Thing

I'm sure most, if not all, of you have heard about the controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A. If you haven't, here's the short version: Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, came out as against marriage equality in support of "traditional values," and in response, proponents of marriage equality have been protesting and boycotting the fast food chain on a national level.

This- ALL of it- is a beautiful thing when you really think about it, albeit kind of a Catch-22.

Should we muffle someone's right to free speech or should we allow the oppression of equality?

For one, Cathy is exercising his right to free speech. He has the right to say what he feels and what he believes in. Thanks to religious freedom, he has the right to practice activities that coincide with his religious beliefs, including giving money to anti-LGBT organizations.

On the other hand, Americans have the right to protest and speak out their on beliefs which conflict with his.  Americans have a right to fight for equality, and no group (heterosexual couples) should have rights that are denied to another group (homosexual couples).  It is the epitome of "unconstitutional," and pretty much NOT what our Founding Fathers had in mind at all.  I'm fairly certain that the Founding Fathers would be pro-marriage equality.

Some people would be shocked to think that the Founding Fathers would be pro-LGBT equality.  I've even heard a guy once say "Our Founding Fathers would be rolling in the Christian graves if they knew what we [pro-LGBT activists] are doing here, but it needs to be done!"

For one, the Founding Fathers were NOT Christian.  Most were deist, a few were theist.  Several of them have been quoted with statements that are anti-religious, stating that they believed the world would be a better place without religion.  They founded our nation on freedom of religion (which also includes freedom from religion), equality, and liberty.

Second, marriage is NOT a religious institution.  Originally, marriage was created as a legal agreement for the purposes of social or financial gain.  (Some marriage scholars say you can go back even further, pre-dating any legal system, and see that marriages were a form of union between two people to raise children; most lasted until the kids were four years old.)  It wasn't until the 12th century that marriage was associated with love at all, and it also wasn't until then that marriage was associated with religion on a wide basis.  There are records of legal marriages that can be dated back to more than 4,000 B.C., millenia before it was ever mentioned in any religious doctrines.  Through the centuries, the various religions and cultures have adopted marriage and molded it to fit with their own beliefs, but they are far from being the original creator of marriage.

Anyway, back to the Chick-fil-A controversy.  Personally, I am very pro-marriage equality: I just can't wrap my head around any reason to deny equal rights to same-sex couples when our country was founded on equality.  Most people who oppose same-sex marriage do so because of their religious beliefs, but (as stated before) religion was not the originator of marriage and we have Separation of Church and State.

When it comes down to it, it's a battle between freedom of speech and the pursuit of equality, both of which should be protected.  Dan Cathy has every right to speak out against marriage equality, just like the American people have every right to speak out against him for donating millions of dollars to anti-LGBT organizations that try to oppress equality.

Strange as this may sound, I was really happy to see yesterday that there were amazing amounts of people flocking to Chick-fil-A both to support the chain and protest against it.  Both sides were exercising their right to free speech, the ability to demonstrate a variety of beliefs, and the freedom of choice.  Neither side felt fear when speaking out.  We should be a nation that encourages people to speak up for what they believe and exchange ideas, so long as it's done in a respectful, non-violent fashion.

Do I think Chick-fil-A will go out of business because of this?  Probably not.  But I do believe, with all my heart, that we will someday see marriage equality across the nation, and some day the people who were so adamantly anti-LGBT will be looked upon by future generations the same way young people today look back at those who fought against racial equality.  Equality will win.



What's it like to be gay and work for Chick-fil-A?  Read this.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"Silence of Souls" Official Release!

Today's the day, it's finally here!  I'm so very excited!

Be one of the first people to read it- click to get Silence of Souls!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway when you get your copy of Silence of Souls- click here for details!


Plus, check out Kindle Author. Silence of Souls is featured in the bargain book section on the left-hand side of the page! (The price is under $5, so it's considered a bargain! Less than $5 for 95,000+ words? Quite a deal, hehe! That's pretty close to the length of The Hunger Games, but half the price!)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Gift Card Giveaway! Zombies are almost HERE!

If all goes according to plan, I'll be hitting the "Submit for Publication" button tomorrow at 7pm for Silence of Souls!  If I'm estimating Amazon's review process correctly, it should be available on August 1st!  I'm so excited.


As promised, I'm going to give away prizes to readers.  If I sell 500 copies in the first 30 days (August 1st, 12:00am PST to September 1st, 11:59pm PST), I am going to give FIVE readers each a $20 Amazon gift card!


So here's how it's going to work:
1) Take a screenshot of the "Thank you for your purchase of Silence of Souls" page, like this one (or the mobile version, whichever you use):


OR
If you don't know how to take a screenshot, forward the email with the purchase receipt.


2) Include your name (at least first name, please) and how you heard about Silence of Souls.


3) If you "Gift" a copy of Silence of Souls to someone, you can enter that entry into the contest as well.  Just be sure to send the screenshot or receipt of any purchase of Silence of Souls to silencegiveaway@yahoo.com.


Send the entry to silencegiveaway@yahoo.com


On September 2nd, I'll use a random generator to pick five winners.  The winners will be announced (first name only) on my blog and will receive an email notification that they have won!  (Your email address and all other personal information will not be shared!  I will ONLY post your first name!)




**BONUS ENTRIES**


If you want your name entered into the drawing more than once, there's a couple of bonus ways you can enter (each one will be one additional entry into the drawing; complete them between August 1st 12:00am PST and September 1st 11:59pm PST)):


1) Tweet about Silence of Souls using the hashtag #silenceofsouls.


2) Share Silence of Souls on Facebook and send a link to the post or a screenshot of it to silencegiveaway@yahoo.com.


3) This one will be worth TWO additional entires to the drawing: create a cast list!  Pretend Silence of Souls is being made into a feature film, and YOU are the Casting Director!  Pick the actor or actress you want to see in each role.  Cast five or more roles and email your list to silencegiveaway@yahoo.com.


4) This one will be worth TWO additional entries to the drawing: draw/paint/create a picture of one of the characters from Silence of Souls.  Email the photo to silencegiveaway@yahoo.com or post it here!


5) This one will be worth FIVE additional entries into the drawing: post a video of you acting like one of the characters in Silence of Souls!  It can be anyone you want, get creative!  Email the link to silencegiveaway@yahoo.com or post a link to the video in the comments section on this post.




I'd love to share some of the stuff you send, so please let me know in your email if I have permission to post your cast list, pictures, and/or video on my blog, Facebook, and/or Twitter.


Thank you everyone, and best of luck!!













Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In Memory of Those Who Died in Aurora, Colorado, at the showing of The Dark Knight Rises

Danny and I went and saw The Dark Knight Rises on Saturday.  It was awesome!  I saw the teaser trailer a while ago, but I hadn't seen any other trailers before seeing the film, so I didn't have many expectations when I walked in the theater.  It was great, I would love to see it again.  (And if I looked like Anne Hathaway, I would wear that cat suit every day!)

When we got to the theater it was about 15 minutes before the 1:00 showing.  We figured we'd get in to the one after that, which was at 2:35; we expected to be at the theater for at least an hour before seeing the movie since it was opening weekend of one of the most anticipated movies of the year.  However, when we went up to the box office the employee informed us that there was still plenty of room in the showing that started in just fifteen minutes; out of 300 seats, only about 50 had been sold.

We were a little surprised.  Then we realized the reason it must have been so barren: the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.

It's hard to put into words the feelings that come from hearing about this terrible event.  Senseless violence and murder are something I can never wrap my head around.  I just can't understand why someone would want to inflict that kind of pain on another living person.

When the movie started, I was imagining what it must have been like for them: sitting there, enjoying an evening with friends and about to see a film I'm sure they were all looking forward to, when someone comes in and starts shooting.  These were people with hopes, dreams, families, expectations, goals, and so much ahead of them, and it was all taken away in the blink of an eye.  My heart goes out to the victims, their families, friends, and the survivors from the theater.

One time, in a group of friends, someone asked us all what we would do if we only had two minutes left to live.  Most people responded with things like "fight to the death so I can live!" and "call 9-1-1!" and asked questions like "what am I dying from? Can I find a cure before I die?  Am I close to a hospital?"  My response was simple: "If I had just a few minutes left to live, I would think of all the things that made me happy."


In the wake of this shocking catastrophe, there have been a lot of people calling for stricter gun laws and more government control.  People are throwing out statistics about how many gun-related deaths there are every year.  The truth is, getting rid of guns won't be what makes the difference.  They're simply a tool, not the mastermind behind the crime.  If a person wants to inflict harm on another, they're not going to just say "Hmm, I don't have a gun.  Oh well, guess I can't do anything to hurt them."  They'll find other means; they'll use another tool.  Tighter gun laws isn't going to change how people feel, and it isn't going to stop violence- it'll just make it so that the only people who have guns are the ones who acquire them illegally.

To back up my statement there, consider this: when alcohol was illegal during the Prohibition (1920-1933), it is estimated that alcohol consumption remained at about 60%-70% of what it was pre-Prohibition (source).  That means that out of 100 people who drank alcohol before the Prohibition, there was around 70 who still regularly consumed alcohol while it was illegal.  That's just an estimation, so it's likely that it could be higher.  Take a look at marijuana: it's illegal (a few states allow it for medicinal purposes only, but no state allows it for recreational use), and yet it's estimated that almost half of the population uses it regularly.  If people want something, legal or not, they can get it.

So what's the solution?  I'm not sure, really.  The easy answer is that the solution to violence is love and kindness, but I have no idea how to implement that on a national scale.  Maybe the solution is to just do what we can as individuals to show kindness to all others; kindness is contagious, and it spreads fast.

Of course, some people, like James Holmes, just aren't stable.  No person in their right mind would do such a thing to other people.

My heart and thoughts go out to all affected by this.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Edjumakashun

Song Lyrics:
1973-
"Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun."

2010- "And I was like baby, baby, baby, oh
Like baby, baby, baby, no
Like baby, baby, baby, oh
I thought you'd always be mine, mine
Baby, baby, baby, oh
Like baby, baby, baby, no
Like baby, baby, baby, oh
I thought you'd always be mine."

  Movies:
1985- "Back to the Future" is number one in the box office.
2009-2012- More sequels and remakes released than ever before. Films like "Piranha 3DD," "Transformers," and "Battleship" take up space in theaters across the nation.

Books:
1970-1979- The top twenty books of the decade include The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Princess Bride, The Stand, The Exorcist, Interview with the Vampire, Sophie's Choice, and Carrie.
2005- Twilight is the most read book of the year, and tops most of the charts, even though it has plenty of grammatical errors and features a relationship that hints at abuse.

Social:
1990s and before- People wrote letters, went to gatherings, knew their neighbors, and spent a lot of time with others. People knew basic grammar and spelling, and could do simple math in their head with no problem.
2000s- People do most of their socializing online. More than 39% of people say they prefer socializing digitally rather than face to face. It is estimated that 24% of unborn babies have their own FaceBook profile. People type statuses that look like this: "i cant wait 2 go 2 da beach tomarow its gonna b so much fun your gonna b so jelly that u didnt come w/ us!!!!!!!!!!"

Political:
1970s- Most people were able to correctly identify the president, vice president, secretary of state, their congress representative, and knew the majority of issues on the ballots. The majority of voting-age Americans could also explain (even if just basically) how the voting process works, what "veto" means, and what role the electoral college plays in elections.
2012- It was recently found that 34% of Americans of voting age don't know who Joe Biden is (he's the vice president); 60% have no clue who the current secretary of state is (Hillary Rodham Clinton). However, 92% could give the correct answer as to who Angelina Jolie's partner is (Brad Pitt).


1950s-1990s- Education funding and standards higher than ever, and more people are getting educated than the generations before them.
2011- More states cut education and art funding than ever before. Higher education is harder to afford, and student debt for current generations is estimated to last longer than any previous generation; some student loans will take decades to pay off.

 Haha, and they say that cutting funding to education and the arts makes no difference to society! Education is crucial to the future of our world and the betterment of humankind. Arts are very important- through art comes innovation, and through innovation comes new invention and advancement. Education and art both bring better understanding of our world, our roles and purpose, and what the human experience is really like.

It hurts my heart when I hear about more cuts to education and the arts. They are critical to the advancement of our species, what sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, and yet they're discarded as completely disposable. One of the most disturbing things I came across while doing research for this post was the political section. To learn that so few people have even the basic understanding of politics and who is running our country is disheartening- how can we improve if we don't first understand? How can people expect to make the best decision when they go into the polls if they have no idea who they are voting for or how the issues affect them?

Take your education into your own hands. Learn, study, evolve, explore, and never stop doing so.

Self-education is a powerful thing, and can make a huge difference. I know there is an infinite amount of information out there that I don't know, but I always want to learn. The more I learn, the more I want to learn. One question answered often breds three more unanswered questions. We are the future. What we know and what we do with that knowledge will influence our own wellbeing and the generations that come after us.

We can thrive; just don't let go of learning, passion, and the thirst for self-improvement.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Decisions, decisions...

It's always a bit intimidating when you make a life-changing decision, but often the most challenging ones give the biggest reward.

This decision I currently have on my mind is something I've been thinking about doing for about a year and a half, maybe longer.  I feel that now is a great time to invoke this decision, as I feel I am educated enough on the subject (and have gathered enough resources for all those questions I will need to ask along the way) to do it well and continue on the right path, learning more as I go along.  Danny is totally on board with this, and thinks it's an absolutely wonderful idea.  He's not going to commit to it 100% right away because he's not sure it's something he would want entirely for himself, but wants to try his best to do this along with me for the benefits of it as well as support for me.  I really don't know what I would do without that wonderful man in my life.  <3

While this decision isn't something that anyone would find offensive, I'm not going to reveal what it is just yet.... Mostly because I'm still not 100% sure I can do this.  Just know it's something I've thought long and hard about, have read up on a lot, and feel that it is right for me.  It's not something I would ever force someone else to do, nor do I think people who choose other options are in the wrong.  Far from it- I think it's personal choice and preference, and while it's the right choice for me it might not be the right choice for you.

I made three collages on my computer today (yay for software that makes it super easy) to keep me motivated and inspired to commit to this decision and make it a lifestyle.  As a hint, I'll post one of the collages:

Click to enlarge

These people all have something in common- they have been living the lifestyle I am aiming to convert to.  Can you figure out what it is? ;)


(Hint: It's not being famous or working in the entertainment industry.)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

You're Amazing!! And I want to thank you for that. :)

Well, it's no secret that I'm ├╝ber-excited about the release of Silence of Souls coming up in a month-ish. It's been completely unbelievable how well received the preview was (in this post here) and how many people have sent me messages about how much they are looking forward to the rest of the book!

It's overwhelming the amount of support I've gotten so far, and the book isn't even out yet!  You are all so incredible, and I am truly thankful to each and every one of you who have said positive things to me about Silence of Souls and what I am doing.

So, as a "thank you" to you all, I am announcing a giveaway and a goal- if I sell 500 copies of Silence of Souls in the first 30 days of its release, I'm going to giveaway a $20 Amazon gift card to FIVE random readers!

More details soon.  If you haven't already, please follow me on Twitter (@smober) and/or like my Stefanie Oberhansley Author Page on FaceBook.  I'll be posting more details there as it gets closer.

Thank you all, and I hope you'll enjoy Silence of Souls when it comes out!!!  May zombies spare your brains and refrain from biting your flesh!  ;)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Goodbye, Ken. You'll be greatly missed.

There is really no black-and-white to life.  There's no hard and fast rules that are universally followed.  There's no determining the reason things happen sometimes.

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine passed away.  He was young (only 43) and had a lot of life still ahead of him.

I never met Ken in real life, but I had come to know him on Twitter over the last few years.  He had a knack for making people laugh, getting people motivated, and just enjoying his space in the Twitterverse.  Everyone who knew him on Twitter counted him as a friend; that's just how he was.  We friended each other on FaceBook and emailed about acting from time to time.  He was always there to offer some advice, encouragement, or make a quick joke to liven the mood.  Even though I had never shook his hand, I would often forget that I had only ever met him electronically.

It's interesting how you can come to know people without meeting them face-to-face.  I've got a few friends I've known via the Internet that I've never met face-to-face, and they're still dear friends to me.

What's strange is how out-of-nowhere this appears to be.  Ken was very healthy; often he would Tweet about going to the gym, improving his workout, and staying active.  So why is it we lost him at such at young age?  There's no way to tell the reasons, or even if there really is one.  Sometimes we just have to be okay with not knowing the answers.

It really makes you think of taking a hold of your destiny.  Who knows why some people smoke, drink, are jerks and live to be 98 years old while others who take good care of themselves and are greatly compassionate live to only 21 years old.  Where's the reason?  Where's the fairness?  That's one of the things that makes life exciting and beautiful- it's completely unpredictable, and we're here to enjoy the ride to the fullest and spread love and joy to others as best we can.

We don't have a choice of how old we will live to be.  We can prolong our lives by taking care of our health, but that doesn't prevent accidents and other things from happening.  (Not that I'm saying we should disregard our health- being healthy is the best way to enjoy life!)  What we can control is what we do with our life, what we make of ourselves, how we treat others, and how happy we are.

Happiness isn't in the circumstances; it's in the heart.  It's a conscious choice, and one that many ignore when they constantly want more or look at the negative side of life.  I forget what it was I was watching, but there was a man who had been in a serious accident and lost his leg below the knee.  He said "I can look at this one of two ways: I can be bitter because I almost died and lost my leg, or I can be grateful because I survived and only lost a leg."

There's a boldness is not adhering to what is expected of you and taking the easy route in life.  So many people just fall into what they think they're supposed to do and float through life instead of taking risks and going for their dreams.  Why?  There is no do-overs, no second chances; you only get to live this life once.  There's an audacity in saying "You know what?  I don't want to have this steady job where I work 9 to 5 in an office and get a paycheck every week from something mundane and boring.  I'm passionate about painting and sculpting- I'm going to do that, and I'm going to make a living doing it!"

When I realized I wanted to be a writer and an actress, it didn't take long to realize I had fallen in love with two of the hardest professions there are to be successful at.  Millions and millions of people want to be writers; millions and millions of people want to be actors; few actually get to make one or the other their life's work, and here I am trying to do BOTH in the long run.  Wanting two careers that are so difficult and with such slim odds of success is probably the scariest thing I've ever done (and I've been skydiving)!  Maybe I'm a fool, but at least I get a sense of fulfillment every day.  When my time comes, I want to look back and saw how awesome my life was, how much fun I had, and that I took every chance I got to share love with others.

We spend so much time worrying about things that we forget to do what makes us happy.   Ken always seemed so happy, so positive, so excited about everything, and so willing to spread those feelings.  People like him, who radiate genuine positivity, are hard to come by.

What do you love to do?  Are you doing it, or pursuing routes to be able to do it?  If not, why?  If not now, then when?

Life is beautiful, and your time is a limited edition.  Spend it wisely!


"It's not the years in your life that count; it's the life in your years."
-Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"Silence of Souls" Special Preview





 Hello everyone!  I'm back from Texas and am getting so close to finishing the novel.  As a special treat, I'm giving you all a preview of Silence of Souls.  Below the cut, you'll be the first to see the cover and read an excerpt from Chapter 1!  I hope you'll like it.

Be aware, you're getting the raw, unedited version here.  You might find some typos or errors that need to be fixed, and I assure you I'm working on it to give you the best product I possibly can.  This is for your enjoyment, to get a little taste of what's coming soon.  This is copyright Stefanie Oberhansley, so please respect my work and don't copy it without giving credit.  (Otherwise I won't be able to do special previews like this in the future.  However, please DO share the link to the page and invite your friends to come check out this special preview.

The book will be released early August 2012.

Enjoy!


Monday, June 11, 2012

Zombies! Zombie apocalypse!

Lately, I've been spending more time on my computer than anywhere else.  The good news is that I've been getting a lot of work done in preparation for the release of Silence of Souls.  The bad news is that my eyes have been redder and dryer than ever before.

I can't stop working, it seems.  I'll work during the day, then I'll get back on my computer after dinner for "just one quick thing" and it turns in to working until I go to bed.  Yesterday, I got up at 5am and drove from Albuquerque, NM to Sachse, TX and was exhausted.  I spent the evening with my in-laws and grandparents, playing a game and visiting.  Around 11pm, I headed up to go to bed, but when I got in the bedroom I picked up my phone and thought of one quick email I wanted to send before going to sleep, so I laid in bed and started typing.  One quick email turned in to checking out a zombie website, doing a little research, and a few other things.  I ended up working for two and a half hours before I finally went to sleep a little before 2am.

Then, I dreamed about zombies.  For the last week and a half or so, I've had nothing but zombie dreams.  It's been horrifying (and in a couple of dreams, pretty funny).

I'm on the last leg of my book.  It's coming along so fantastically, but I've been overworking myself to the point of confusion.

The zinger is that I don't want to stop.  I'm tired, worn, confused, frustrated, and I love it.  I feel like it's really coming together and that my goals are going to be hit.

In five weeks is our annual Beach Blast- a week at the beach with lots of great friends/family/friends-who-are-like-family, too much food and too much booze.  It's a lot of fun.  My goal right now is to finish and publish before the Beach Blast so I can actually take the week off and recover from writing my novel.

Friday, June 8, 2012

On The Road and an Announcement

This seems to be the year of traveling.  Between March 2011 and now, I've done more traveling than I did during the entire period of 2006-2011.  Alaska, Washington, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and Colorado have all been very welcoming to me.

Tomorrow morning I'll be heading out on the road again.  This time, it's off to Texas; driving all the way there to deliver a car, and then flying home after a week of visiting relatives.  I'm looking forward to it.  The plan is to drive all the way to Albuquerque tomorrow, stay the night, then finish the second half of the trip and be in Dallas Sunday evening.

Appropriately, I'm reading a book right now called On The Road.  It's by Jack Kerouac, and it's fantastic.  It's written in first-person POV, all about this guy Sal who travels across the United States and meets different people along the way.  He and his friend Dean and Dean's wife Marylou go through all sorts of places and do lots of different things.  I'm loving it, and it really captures the simplicity of driving long distances with little money and how adventurous it can feel.

For me, every trip feels like an adventure.  There's always something new to see, interesting people to come across, and places that have such a unique feel to them.  I love driving long distances, especially when it's at a leisurely pace and you can stop and take notice of the sights.  Even a small town, dusty diner can feel like a whole new world, and each person has a different story.  I've come across people who have never actually seen the coast or dipped their feet in the ocean; I've come across people who have done things I could never see myself doing.

If I ever get the chance, I want to spend four weeks on the road, just going wherever the path leads.  I think it would be so much fun and such an amazing experience.

If you get a chance, take a road trip and enjoy every moment of it, even especially when you're lost.  If you don't get to do that anytime soon, at least read this book:
"On the Road" by Jack Kerouac



And now time for a special announcement: I've decided on a title for my zombie novel:  
"Silence of Souls"  

It's coming along very well, and I'm excited that the completion of my novel is just around the corner.  The gentleman who is doing my cover has sent me the first draft of it, and I love it.  I can't wait for everyone to see it!