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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):

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!)


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


Song Lyrics:
"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."

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.

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.

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!!!!!!!!!!"

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!  ;)