Posts tagged with "writer"

KANG THE CONQUERER cover via Mike Del Mundo for Marvel for use by 360 Magazine

Origin of a Villain in New Marvel Series: KANG THE CONQUERER

This August, it’s time to tell the definitive origin story of one of Marvel’s greatest villains: Kang the Conqueror! Announced earlier today on the This Week in Marvel podcast, the Avengers and Fantastic Four foe will star in his first ever solo series that will tackle the complex saga behind the universe’s most fearsome time-travelling menace. KANG THE CONQUERER will be written by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing, the popular writing duo known for their work on Joyride, Green Arrow, and Star Trek: Year Five, with art by Carlos Magno (Avengers Mech Strike). Together, this all-star creative team will unravel Kang’s enormous legacy from his expansive backstory to his various alternate selves, tying everything together and catapulting him into his biggest era yet.

The new series will be a love letter to True Believers who treasure the complicated tapestry behind the saga of Kang, while also serving as a perfect entry point for fans eager to learn the fascinating lore behind one of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s most iconic creations. Like many other series starring villains, it’s bound to be intriguing, offering a new look into a complicated character!

The man called Kang the Conqueror has been a pharaoh, a villain, a warlord of the space ways, and even—on rare occasions—a hero. Across all timelines, one fact seemed absolute: Time means nothing to Kang the Conqueror. But the truth, like with many Marvel villains, is more complex. Kang is caught in an endless cycle of creation and destruction dictated by time and previously unseen by any but the Conqueror himself. A cycle that could finally explain the enigma that is Kang. And a cycle that begins and ends with an old and broken Kang sending his younger self down a dark path. 

“Time may mean nothing to Kang, but Kang means everything to us. This is the book we’ve been wanting to write for years,” Lanzing said. “It’s a total dream come true for Collin and I to be making our Marvel debut, we’re best friends who first met through a mutual love of Young Avengers, Runaways, and Ultimate Spider-Man. But to make our first mark with a character as storied as Kang the Conqueror, on a very personal pitch we never in a million years thought would be greenlit, is a genuine honor. Carlos Magno is delivering jaw-dropping work that recalls the exacting detail and operatic emotion of Kang’s co-creator Jack Kirby. We’re genuinely stunned by every new page. Add the brilliant colors by Espen Grundetjern, letters by the Marvel master Joe Caramanga, and the insightful leadership of our editor Alanna Smith, and you’ve got a team worthy of one of Marvel’s greatest unsung characters.”

“Kang has been a nefarious force in the Marvel Universe nearly as long as it’s existed, but the true crime here is that he’s never had a solo series. The fact that we’re the ones who get to bring Kang’s complete story to life for the first time is an incredible honor,” Kelly added. “KANG THE CONQUEROR isn’t just an origin story; this is a life story. When young and jaded Nathaniel Richards discovers the ancient lair of his Latvarian ancestor Victor Von Doom, his life is changed forever by a man he should never have met: Kang himself! From the last days of the Cretaceous to the war-torn world of Jack Kirby’s year 4,000, from ancient Egypt to the stars themselves, KANG THE CONQUEROR is a story that unpacks the told, and untold, moments of Kang’s life through a human lens. Powered by his love of the enigmatic Ravonna Renslayer, and fueled by the hatred of who he will become, this is a cross-time epic for everyone who has ever rejected who they were supposed to be.” 

KANG THE CONQUERER hits stands on August 18th! For more information, click HERE.

Inhuman illustration by Heather Skovlund (Cover art for Inhuman provided by Smith Publicity) for 360 Magazine

Eric Leland × Inhuman

A Gripping Military Horror with Shocking Supernatural Twists

Q&A WITH ERIC LELAND:

AUTHOR OF Inhuman MILITARY THRILLER DEBUT

Question: What inspired you to write Inhuman?

Eric Leland: During a class for my MA I wrote a 25-page short story titled Recon Team: Mercury. That story was shortened to five pages and is now the prologue to Inhuman. For a NaNoWriMo idea I thought it would be interesting to see what happened when the rescuers came looking for the team that disappeared in my original short story. Inhuman is the result.

Q: What sets Inhuman apart from other military and horror books?

EL: The bravado one comes to expect when reading military fiction is quickly ripped away to expose and pick at the delicate flesh of fear and self-doubt we are ashamed to admit exists.

Q: What do you hope readers will take away from the book?

EL: It was never my intent for Inhuman to be didactic. Primarily I hope readers are entertained. I hope readers will remember the experience of Inhuman rather than any particular lesson.

Q: Inhuman features a diverse cast of characters. How did your military friendships, and experiences with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” inform this inclusivity?

EL: A diverse cast adds verisimilitude to military fiction simply because any U.S. military unit features a diverse roster. In my first combat experience I found myself fighting shoulder to shoulder with Mexican Americans, an African American, and a gay woman. Unfortunately, DADT was still a thing for most of my military career and I would only find out after DADT was repealed that some of my greatest friends were gay. I think truth in fiction is important, and if I did not write a diverse cast I would by lying. Readers can spot a lie from a mile out.

Q: How did you develop your characters? And which of them do you have the strongest connection to?

EL: The character Jaran is heavily based on my wife’s experiences who was born in Vietnam. At an early age, she and her family fled to a refugee camp after the war. The chaos of displacement during war time seemed terrifying. I can’t really say which character I have the strongest connection to—John’s sense of duty; Chris’s refusal to take anything seriously; and Brandon’s severe depression and self-doubt—they’re all variations of me.

Eric Leland grew up in Massena, NY and entered Army basic training upon high school graduation. He was an MP in the Army for six years and reclassified to a Special Agent with the Army Criminal Investigation Division. Eric deployed to Honduras in 2002, and Iraq in 2003 and 2009 where he was awarded an Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for valor. He completed his MA in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University and has happily traded in his gun for a pen. Eric lives in Seattle with his wife. Connect with Eric Leland on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Inhuman is available on Amazon in both print and digital.

Audiobook forthcoming in Summer 2021.

Computer illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

VC Pitch Deck Advice

­­14 words to take out of your VC pitch deck

By: May Habib

170 seconds. Weeks or even months of working on your pitch deck could come down to the 170 seconds (on average) that investors spend looking at your deck. “Investors see a lot of pitches. In a single year, the classic general partner in a venture firm is exposed to around 5,000 pitches…and ends up doing between zero and two deals,” writes VC and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.

With all that pressure to make an impact quickly, founders spend an incredible amount of time on the design of their slides. Less consideration, however, is usually spent on the words on the slide. That’s a mistake, especially when you only have 170 seconds. When not used intentionally, the words in your deck can be distracting or downright off-putting. We used what we know about language and healthy communication from the millions of documents we’ve processed at Writer to come up with 14 words and phrases to remove from your VC pitch deck:

Negative Association

Runway”

  • Pitching VCs is a balancing act: you want to position your idea in the best light, but also show that you’ve thought things through. However, volunteering for certain types of information can have the opposite effect. Don’t write: I’m seeking $X in funding to provide Y months of runway. You certainly need to show how you’re going to use the funding you’re asking for, but you don’t want to frame things in terms of runway in a pitch deck. The word is associated with a looming cash-out date, which can put an investor in a negative state of mind.

Exit strategy”

  • Don’t write: Our exit strategy is…Yes, thinking through your business means knowing how you’ll handle worst-case and best-case scenarios. But putting exit strategy in your deck can only get investors thinking about the inherent risks. You want them focused on the opportunity. You need to know what to say when the topic comes up — just don’t volunteer the information on a slide.

Cliches

Just one percent”

  • A pitch deck is a tool to show VCs why your idea merits an investment. Using cliches can work against that goal. Don’t write: If we could capture X% of the market… It’s not only a cliche but also wishful thinking rather than a plan. Keep the text on your slides grounded in relevant facts and figures. Other cliches to cut include: the Amazon of X, imagine a future, and moving Y to the blockchain.

 Absolutes

Everyone”, “always”, “never”, “no one”

  • A great pitch requires nuance. Using absolutes to talk about your idea fails on that count. And, if you look closer, chances are there will be exceptions to the absolute that’s being set up. When discussing your TAM, target customer, or product value, your words need to reflect a thoughtful and measured approach. Using absolutes, such as everyone likes X falls short of that goal and casts doubts about the validity of your plan.

 Imprecise Language

Unique”

  • Precise communication makes it easier to bet that a business has the potential to succeed. But imprecise language is one of the top no-no’s we see in pitch decks. Take the word It may seem like an ideal word to show differentiation, but it’s imprecise as to the nature of the uniqueness. Just describe the uniqueness directly, or better yet, the plan to execute on the uniqueness. Ideas are important — but the plan is what gets companies funded.

“Intend”

  • Good intentions aren’t the same as a plan. Using the word intend in your pitch deck makes the discussion conceptual and somewhat nebulous. An intention is easier to reject than a plan backed up by compelling storytelling.

No competition”

  • Don’t write no competition anywhere in your deck. Like, anywhere. At best, it will be seen as an exaggeration: if there isn’t direct competition, there may be indirect competition to consider. And, at worst, it could make investors think that you haven’t fully explored the market, meaning your entire premise could be flawed.

“Good”

  • Investors don’t want good ideas; they want the best Using the word good to describe any part of your plan (for example, good growth) lacks specificity and lowers your pitch’s believability.

Qualifiers a.k.a Intensifiers

“Very”, “so”, “quite”

  • Brevity is key when you’re working with a visual format, like a pitch deck. Qualifiers not only clutter your slides with unnecessary text, but they’re also less precise. Don’t write: very, so, and quite. Ask yourself one question: What does very fast growth look like? Your answer would likely be different than someone else’s. Instead, you might say the growth of X% a year so there isn’t confusion. Again, you want to be as precise and fact-based as possible.

Other things to keep in mind:

Readability

  • In an analysis of successful decks, we found an average readability level of Grade 10 or 11. For unsuccessful decks, that number was higher — Grade 12 or college. Never use jargon, keep your sentences simple, and include a maximum of 1-2 sentences per paragraph. To analyze your own deck’s language, try out Writer’s readability

Humor: Just don’t

  • Cracking a joke on a slide can easily backfire. The last thing you want is to have a failed joke make your pitch awkward or throw you off. That could derail the entire process. So, it’s best to skip the deck humor and get to what really matters: your plan.
Big Sean Detroit Pistons annpuncement illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE

BIG SEAN × DETROIT PISTONS

The Detroit Pistons announced hip-hop icon and Detroit-native Big Sean will become the organization’s Creative Director of Innovation. In this role, Big Sean will provide creative counsel and strategic guidance on a variety of Pistons off-the-court initiatives, including team merchandise design, in-game experience, co-branded community, and social responsibility activation, and more.

To kick off the partnership, Big Sean has added his Don Life logo to the Pistons practice jersey. Photos of the jerseys are attached.

“Sean is an accomplished artist, philanthropist and entrepreneur. Having spent time with him and his family I know how deeply he cares about the city of Detroit,” said Pistons Owner Tom Gores. “We share a common desire to use the power of sports and entertainment to improve our community and make a positive impact on people’s lives. I’m excited to see what we can do working together.”

Central to the partnership, the Pistons and the Sean Anderson Foundation will work together and engage Detroiters through future community initiatives and programming. The six-time Grammy nominee will also curate music for Pistons in-game entertainment, including halftime performances and DJ playlists. Additionally, Big Sean will participate in creative sessions and spearhead collaborations with the Pistons design team to launch custom merchandise line extensions.

“It’s a dream come true and a real honor to get to work with the iconic Detroit Pistons,” said Big Sean. “I grew up in the city, which naturally made me a fan of the Bad Boys. I would later have a Grant Hill poster on my wall and then, against all odds, would watch the ’04 Pistons go on to win the Championship, inspiring the whole city of Detroit. I look forward to creatively finding new ways to contribute to their legacy and continue their dedication to the community through sports, art, and, of course, music.”

Detroit Pistons Chief Business Officer Mike Zavodsky lauded the addition of Big Sean and sees the partnership as a natural fit for the Pistons and their newly launched D-Up brand campaign.

“Big Sean embodies everything the Pistons organization and our D-Up campaign is about – creativity, hard work, and the people of Detroit,” said Zavodsky. “Big Sean and the Pistons are both a part of the fabric of Detroit, and we look forward to this partnership reflecting the culture of the city we both call home.”

FOLLOW BIG SEAN:
INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | SPOTIFY

King in Black: Return of the Valkyries

Jan. 2021 is hitting hard with the return of the Marvel Universe’s finest warriors, the Valkyries, in the brand new King in Black: Return of the Valkyries.

The story is written by Jason Aaron and Torunn Grønbekk with Nina Vakueva providing the art. The stars of the series will be Jane Foster, Dani Moonstar and Hildegarde, and a brand new Valkyrie will be introduced and given an origin story.

The Asgardians will face off against Knull, who seeks to overtake the Nine Realms with his unrelenting darkness. As Knull moves throughout the galaxy, it becomes evident that only the Valkyries and their new secret weapon are equipped to deal with him. What is their weapon, and is it enough to help them fend off Knull and save the universe?

It all comes to a head Jan. 6, but you can see never-before-seen art in the stunning trailer for King in Black: Return of the Valkyries by clicking right here.

Grønbekk called the Valkyries “powerful women who navigate both the spaces of the living and the dead,” adding that they are just inherently interesting to her.

“The role demands a perspective on life and battle that is quite unique; they see the whole picture, always, and when you combine that with the great humanity you find in characters like Jane Foster and Dani Moonstar, you get something really special,” Grønbekk said. “It takes courage to see the world through the eyes of a Valkyrie (especially when that world is under attack by Knull!), and that makes for complex and exciting stories of the kind I want to tell.”

This is the Valkyries greatest era, and it’s available for purchase on comic book shop shelves everywhere Jan. 6.

To find a comic book shop near you, you can click right here.

You can follow Torunn Grønbekk on Twitter and Instagram, Jason Aaron on Twitter and Instagram and Nina Vakueva on Twitter and Instagram

You can learn more about Marvel by clicking right here, and you can follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

Dennis Quaid – America, I Love You, Too

Multi-hyphenate superstar Dennis Quaid continues to connect with audiences of all facets of his legendary career, as he releases “America, I Love You, Too,” a LIVE performance track originally aired during CMT’s 2020 Concert for Love & Acceptance with a message of unity and patriotism.

CLICK HERE to stream and download “America, I Love You, Too.”

Released via Audio Up Records, “America, I Love You, Too” captures Quaid performing with all-star musicians, including The Doors guitarist Robby Krieger.

Most recently, Quaid co-founded Audio Up, a podcast content studio, network, and production company, and launched his own podcast, The Dennissance, on the platform. He will run Audio Up alongside CEO Jared Gutstadt. In addition to The Dennissance, Quaid is involved in several other Audio Up podcasts. He co-hosts The Pet Show with Jimmy Jellinek, which premiered on July 14; Uncle Drank: The Totally Hammered Podcast alongside Gary Busey, which will debut in October with Warner Records set to release the soundtrack; and Make It Up As We Go, which he is executive producing and is due to release this fall.

Quaid is an acclaimed actor known for his roles in hit films The Rookie, The Day After Tomorrow, Traffic, Vantage Point, Frequency, The Parent Trap, Soul Surfer, The Right Stuff, and Breaking Away. More recently, his latest big-screen credits include starring roles in Sony’s thriller The Intruder, Universal’s A Dog’s Journey and A Dog’s Purpose, and Roadside Attractions’ I Can Only Imagine, among others. For his role in Todd Haynes’ Far from Heaven, he won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for “Best Supporting Actor,” the Chicago Film Critics’ Association Award for “Best Supporting Actor,” the Online Film Critics Society Award for “Best Supporting Actor,” and the Film Independent Spirit Award for “Best Supporting Male.”

Currently, Quaid is developing The Charley Pride Story, which he will produce along with Ben Howard’s production company, Third Coast Content. Quaid is also set to star in the Ronald Reagan biopic, Reagan, produced by Mark Joseph, with production currently underway.

On the television side, Quaid recently starred in and executive produced Netflix’s holiday-themed multi-camera comedy series Merry Happy Whatever. He also starred in the third season of Amazon’s Goliath opposite Billy Bob Thornton, which premiered in 2019. Previously, he was nominated for numerous awards including a Golden Globe, a SAG Award, and a Primetime Emmy for his portrayal of Bill Clinton in the HBO movie, The Special Relationship. Additional TV highlights include starring in and executive producing Crackle’s auctioneering drama The Art of More and starring in the BAFTA-nominated Amazon series Fortitude.

Along with his acting accomplishments, Quaid is a singer-songwriter and touring musician who performs both original songs and country standards.  After years of playing clubs with his band, Quaid released his debut album, Out of the Box, in November 2018.

To keep up with Quaid, follow him on Instagram and visit AudioUp.com.

About “The Dennissance”:
Dennis Quaid is a renaissance man, one of the busiest people in show business. Besides being an actor, musician, songwriter, writer and podcast pioneer; he is also a jet pilot, amateur astronomer, fly-fisherman, philosopher, low handicap golfer, medical safety advocate and armchair historian. He has powered a NASCAR around an oval track, given speeches and appeared before congress on patient safety, played golf with 2 presidents, piloted a dogsled in the arctic, meditated on the shore of the Ganges River in India, has run and cycled marathons, team-roped on a quarter horse, trained dogs and people, pitched on the mound in Texas stadium, been a middle-weight boxer, and can change a diaper in 20 seconds.

From the biggest, blockbuster movies, to being a hilarious and insightful talk-show guest and host, Dennis does it all. All of Dennis’s famous friends have interests outside of the thing they’re known for. In each episode of The Dennissance, Dennis talks to his guests about those things and what makes them unique in the world. This ongoing series features compelling and shareable content that focuses on honest conversations. The Dennissance combines all of Dennis Quaid’s famous friends and Denizens into a weekly podcast full of can’t miss content. The Dennissance is executive produced by veteran network TV executive David Hurwitz. Season one is out now, and season two has just started!

360 Magazine, Ahmaud Arbery, Politics

So You Want a Career in Journalism?

Journalism is an exciting, fast-paced, and interesting career where no two days are the same. Journalists can work for newspapers, TV stations, websites, magazines and radio stations. Most of the time, the best way to get into a career as a journalist is to earn a relevant degree, although you might be able to get into the field through an apprenticeship. If you’ve decided that a career in journalism is a good fit for you, here’s the experience and qualifications you’ll need to beat the competition. 

Qualifications:

There are two common routes into journalism, which include earning an undergraduate journalism degree, or taking an undergraduate degree in a different subject, followed by a master’s degree in journalism. You can search journalism courses at University Compare; a website where you can look at all the different degree options available, where to study them, and the differences between them. When you choose where to do your degree from this list, make sure that you opt for a course that is NCTJ (National Council for the Training of Journalists) accredited if you want to eventually work for a news organisation based in the UK. You can also choose a degree with an area of specialisation, such as newspaper journalism, multimedia journalism, or broadcast journalism. 

Blogging:

While studying for your degree in journalism, using your spare time to start a blog can be a great way to get relevant experience in your career and make valuable connections that will help you when looking for work in the future. A strong blog and a large Twitter following will help you get noticed by potential employers who are looking for new hires that have a solid understanding of online journalism. And, many postgraduate degree courses will expect applicants to have blogging experience and an active Twitter account with a large following, so this will be extremely helpful if you want to go on to get a master’s in journalism in the future. 

Choosing the Right University:

Most universities in the UK will offer a course in journalism, but not all of them are created equal. Along with making sure that you are only applying to NCTJ accredited courses, you might want to consider other accreditations, such as the BJTC (Broadcast Journalism Training Council) if you are considering a career in radio journalism. You should also look at the facilities, reputation, teaching staff, course content, and where journalism graduates from a particular university go on to study further or work. Bear in mind that journalism graduates who have a wide range of skills tend to have more options in the job market, so it’s worth considering a course that teaches extra skills such as data journalism, financial reporting, or video production. 

Getting Work Experience:

While there will be plenty of opportunities for you to get valuable work experience as you study, the experience that matters the most is that you get after graduating. Typically, your first job will be working as a junior reporter, covering any stories that are allocated to you. Generally, these jobs are long-term contracts rather than short-term, which is great if you’re looking for a position with plenty of security, which isn’t always the case when working in the media. However, starting salaries are low, so you might want to consider freelancing for more than one news organisation, something that will become more accessible to you as you build up your experience and contacts. 

Working as a journalist is a very exciting career choice. Finding the right university and course to study, however, is just the beginning; start focusing on building your network and experience as early as possible. 

William Anthony Allen – Harlem’s Renaissance

By Abigail Baldwin × Vaughn Lowery

Earlier this month, 360 had the opportunity to sit down with the award-winning community activist William Anthony Allen. After many years of serving Harlem as a community leader and on its District Council, Allen is exploring the possibility of running for City Council serving the 9th District.

Harlem has long been a beacon of Black culture, community, and heritage since the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, the Harlem that William Anthony Allen knew was one of unity, familiarity, and freedom. According to Allen, “Crack cocaine came and killed all that. It stopped people from going to the community. It created mistrust. It changed how people participated politically and how they saw themselves. A great number of the working class and middle class of Harlem began to look at other options.” Allen describes his childhood in Harlem as poor but centered in the community, “people were so loving like they were aunts and uncles, but they really were not a blood relationship. The way they treated you, felt like family.” He watched as crack cocaine and the crisis that followed attack the infrastructure of Harlem and divided its community, giving way to gentrification. “Black people don’t own the businesses in their own neighborhood anymore and young people say that can’t afford to come back to Harlem,” he says. Allen has completed housing and community development efforts in New York, as well as health care and social services proposals on a local, state and federal level. His efforts have always been lead by a desire to uplift the community and uphold the “great legacy” of Harlem, “particularly for African Americans.”

But what are his plans? How does Allen intend to use his experience in the community to serve them at a City Council level? He told 360 he would begin by “sitting down with parent leaders, senior citizen leaders, youth leaders, and really talk about mapping it out in terms of how do they see the future of this community, what do they want from it, and make that the blueprint.” He calls for the people of Harlem to define their own community and make their own decisions, with himself as a representative of their interests. “I’m going to be fighting very hard to address the housing inequities and disparities, helping to lower the cost of housing,” he told 360, “making sure that folks that really want to make a contribution to the life of this city can afford to be here.”

Allen lamented that a particular program that had been around for nearly fifty years, the Addicts Rehabilitation Center (ARC), has closed; “without those services, gentrification moves us all out.” Allen is fighting to get these programs reestablished, but he specifies that black and brown people should be running these programs for the community, “I want to make sure that the people that are running the program are culturally correct.”

In his youth, William Anthony Allen attended Fordham University in the Bronx where he was the first non-white person to serve as Vice President of the Student Council. Later, he transferred to CUNY where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper. Now, he is the founding member of a local charter elementary school. He recognizes that education is of the utmost importance. In the City Council, Allen plans to create a network through Historically Black Colleges. “We need to make learning and knowledge sexy,” he says, so everyone, regardless of their circumstance can step up and participate in the betterment of their community.” Of his current efforts, he says, “I’m organizing a network of black influencers to address crisis issues that affect black people across the country.” These crisis issues include police relations, employment discrimination, gentrification, and inadequate schools.

For himself, Allen’s goal is, “to be known as the guy who brings everybody together to have dialogue and then create action.” He says to not only the Black community, but to the youth of Harlem and the LGBTQ+ community, “Tell me how I can support you to have a strong voice.”

“Harlem represents a great legacy, particularly for African Americans. And our entry, not only here into the city but what we have done for the nation,” says Allen, “We need to leverage that.”

Check out his latest article inside New York County Politics.

William Allen, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery, Harlem, protests

Harlem Democratic District Leader William Allen encourages others to take a knee during a march in honor of George Floyd. Black men march through Harlem, pick up hundreds of others along the way to insure justice by claiming power.

SUSAN E. FOSTER × CHARMING IMPOSSIBLES

For the many women (and men) stuck at home with abusers, children to care for, and the current stress of survival overall, domestic violence survivor, Susan E Foster, author of the new book Charming Impossibles: How Ordinary Angels Help Free the Hopelessly Stuck (Clovercroft Publishing) provides tips, advice, strategies, and resources to help them escape the invisible strings of abusers.

Foster calls them “‘Charming Impossibles’ – ‘charm’ is their deceptive invisible mask and convincing lure. ‘Impossible to satisfy’ is their secret weapon.”

But, how do you escape the abusers in your life? Why is leaving them behind while moving forward so difficult?

In this very revealing book, Foster shares her personal journey of surviving years of emotional abuse and isolation in plain sight…and the lessons learned. She also shares powerful and moving stories of others, unraveling the mysterious web of confusion surrounding abuse and overcoming difficult relationships.

In her article “Why Do We Self-Sabotage? You may be self-sabotaging without even realizing it,,” Dr. Ellen Hendriksen, a psychologist, states: “Self-sabotage can interfere with the best-laid plans and goals. Why do we do it? Turns out, there are many reasons why instead of shooting for the moon, we end up aiming right for our foot. Self-sabotage is any action that gets in the way of your intent…'”

She further adds, “There are countless ways we sabotage ourselves. So why do we do it? It comes down to four big reasons: Self-Worth, Control, Perceived Fraudulence, and Familiarity of that which we know is preferable to the unknown. To summarize: it all comes down to three words: fear of failure.”

Charming Impossibles is a story that describes a path to freedom for the apparently “hopelessly stuck.” The result is a credible, engaging, informative, supportive, and hopeful story.

To learn more, visit: susanefoster.com 
Books are available online

About the Author 

Susan E Foster is a mother, author, speaker, coach and advocate hoping to equip women and men to recognize the abusive Charming Impossibles in their lives. She hopes you will discover the Ordinary Angels in your life just as she has in hers. She resides in Fort Worth, Texas.

road, uber, car, traffic, illustration, car-sharing,

It Began Before I knew It

By Gary Dickson

There is little doubt that travel whether for business or pleasure stimulates the mind, challenges preconceptions, and promotes a flexible attitude. And I’m no different from anyone else and lucky enough to have had a business before I retired that provided a heady amount of high-end luxury travel as well as an association with people of impeccable taste and sophistication. These experiences are ingrained in my memory as beautiful dreams but there were a few nightmares along the way.

It all began a long time before I was in the business world of fashion, hospitality, perfumes, and jewelry. While that platform allowed me to combine business and pleasure trips to the design centers of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris, and Milan, those adventures only continued a predilection that I had developed when I was a graduate student in Switzerland. I used my time off to travel to cities in Europe and beyond like Amsterdam, London, Budapest, Berlin, Athens, even Casablanca, and Marrakesh, and my favorite, Paris many times. But it all began long ago with my mother and father.

My mother was a stickler on many subjects, but particularly about books and thank-you notes. In fact, she was my first editor. Whenever an occasion required that I reciprocate some favor or event, she would not only remind and then remind me again of the necessity of sending a hand-written and timely thank you note but would also review a draft of my authorship to see that it captured the essence and etiquette of the moment. In effect, this meant that the thank you note had to re-tell the story of the event and its importance, but also how I particularly enjoyed the experience, as well as the obligatory praise for the hostess. Let’s just say politely in her memory that my first draft never passed muster.

And then there were the books; first, the ones that she read to me as a child in the afternoons curled up in her reassuring lap, and later, the ones of the summer reading schedule prescribed by my school that she insisted were subject to the equal time provision with the sports that I so dearly preferred.

Then there was my father, the consummate printer, the compositor/typesetter. In printing you learn a lot about precision–words, spelling, type fonts, wrong fonts, kerning, spacing, alignment, plus you’re exposed to every business and profession, and how they want the public to perceive and value them. 

My father loved hand-made wool three-piece suits. He loved Cadillacs. He loved music and Broadway; so each year this Georgia couple, my parents, went to New York to see the latest shows and eat at Sardi’s, and they took me along from eight years old on to see Guys and Dolls, The King and I, South Pacific, Fanny, and a host of others.

And when I graduated from university and was accepted to a graduate program by a university in Switzerland, they reluctantly agreed although my father thought it too extravagant and my mother thought it too far.

Then in Switzerland, I met my first wife, an artist. As a matter of fact, her extended family were all artists to one degree or another: Dante professors, art restorers, etc. Their devotion and patronage of the artiigiani in Florence rubbed off on me. We made jaunts all over Tuscany searching for the special and unique. 

Then later, when I became active in my father’s business, I helped change its course to reflect those qualities inherent in artistic workmanship. This tack in heading endeared our company to graphic designers across the country, indeed the world.

When I retired, I found that I had all these vignettes of people, places, and stories that were always popping up. Catalytic to these memories is my wife Susie who loves travel and new experiences as much as I do. Through her complicity, my personal souvenirs are re-lived.  Sometimes a ragout is better the next day.

And after all, isn’t every story even if it is about an afternoon in a small town, a travel story? Life is a journey, and it is up to us to enjoy every bump along the way. But to do this, you must possess a level of consciousness, pay attention, and enjoy the trip. I remember people used to ask me if I had had a good trip. And my response was always that I don’t do bad trips. 

Several years ago, when I was taking advanced French literature courses at the Alliance Française, LA, my French professor asked me if I had ever written anything. I answered, No.

But in reality, I have been writing all my life, if not on paper, then in my head. I took her advice and attended writing classes at UCLA where after five months I had my first novel. 

Many people have asked if my stories are autobiographical or even if certain parts are true. I always respond that in every story a little truth resides, but more importantly it is the synthesis of experience and observation that provide the fodder for narrative. Said best by Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson:“I am a part of all that I’ve met.” 

Gary Dickson is an inveterate traveler and a Francophile, sans merci. Educated in the United States and Switzerland in history, literature, and the classics, Gary is the author of The Poetry of Good Eats, An Improbable Pairing, and A Spy With Scruples.

Connect with Dickson at GaryDickson.us, Facebook.com/GaryDicksonAuthor/, and Instagram.com/GaryDicksonAuthor.