If you reached this page by searching for my name on Google …

15 Aug

… you’re most likely looking for my business, Shari’s Ink: Copywriting & Creative Services. I do all my freelance journalism, writing services, social media strategy, and communications consulting via Shari’s Ink. Please head over there now for my portfolio, contact information, and available services.

This site, ShariLopatin.com, was my official writer’s page and blog for the past few years. As I’m finishing up my first book, this site will most likely evolve into an author’s page, which may or may not include a blog. Thank you for your interest!

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Yea, I’ve been taking a blogging break

18 Sep

If you’ve been expecting new posts from me, sorry to disappoint, y’all.

But I promise, I’m not sitting around at night picking my nose (although, that does sound appealing … in a lazy, non-conformist kind of rebellion sorta way).

Naw. I just decided that, for the time being, blogging is going to take a backseat to REAL novel-writing. Because between Zumba, my NEW JOB (you may now congratulate me by kissing my toes), trying to eat like a dignified human being, and feeding the two minions which live under my roof (a.k.a. my cats) … I only have so much free time in the day.

And really, that time gets split between my family and my writing. And rather than writing my blogs, I’m writing my novel.

So I hope you understand. I’m not sure if I’ll be gone for a month, or a year. I may publish an occasional post to keep my funny gene stimulated. But if you stay subscribed via email, I promise to let you know when I finish my first novel! If you even care …

In the meantime, thank you ALL for the wonderful awesomeness you have bestowed upon me these past couple of years. From gold-pooping bacteria and chicken nuggets in a frozen bag of veggies, to my Jewish cat who’s mastered the art of guilt … we’ve had a blast!

 

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My FIRST Published (Creative) Story! ‘A Call from Paris’

19 Jul

eFiction cover

 

[ Read "A Call from Paris" now!]

As of June this year, I am no longer some used, discarded toilet paper in the creative writing world. That’s right …

I’M PUBLISHED!

I know I’ve been published as a journalist before, but never as a creative writer. As an author. I kinda feel like Moses right now, after he descended from Mount Sinai, beaming with holy rays of light from his ears.

Of course, minus the white beard (or am I merely thinking of Charlton Heston?).

Anyway, I digress …

I was published in the June 2013 edition of an e-publication called, “eFiction.”

And my story is proudly entitled, “A Call from Paris.”

And yes! I made it possible for you to read! I printed just my story, then scanned it into a document.

Read ‘A Call from Paris’ Here!!

But be forewarned, my snarky, snide attitude does not carry over into this story. My creative works tend to be a little more serious.

I also urge you to consider purchasing the FULL June 2013 eFiction edition, which can be read on your Kindle or Nook. You can buy it here. It’s only $3.99, and you’ll read works from the other amazing authors who were also published with me. Plus, if you buy, we get royalties. :) And who doesn’t want to support their fellow writers?

So please read my story, if you’re so inclined to make me feel welcomed into the world of publishing, share it with your friends, and then comment below and tell me your thoughts! You’re my first readers, so your thoughts mean a lot to me.

Penguin Random House Merger Helps Author Solutions Exploit Writers

16 Jul

Shari Lopatin:

OK, so I haven’t written about the publishing industry on here in awhile, but this was just too dang good–and important. I know many of you who follow me are also professional writers, some indie writers. So please take a moment and read this. It opened my eyes! And knowledge is power, people.

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

ASIPRHPenguin and Random House officially merged on July 1 creating the largest trade publisher in the world. This merger has given fresh impetus to one of their subsidiaries to scam unsuspecting writers – Author Solutions, the largest vanity press in the world.

One of my blog readers, who will remain nameless, has forwarded me emails from an AuthorHouse sales rep touting that company as the “self-publishing wing” of Penguin Random House (AuthorHouse is one of the many brands of Author Solutions, a tangled web which is deconstructed here).

When Penguin purchased Author Solutions in July 2012 for $116m, I warned that the Penguin brand would lend legitimacy to Author Solutions – who were already the market leader in author exploitation.

Defenders of the deal claimed that Penguin would clean up Author Solutions – a universally reviled vanity press which has been slammed by every watchdog in the business…

View original 1,546 more words

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What do the monsoons have against me?

3 Jul

Seriously, I want to know. Because a few days ago, it reached 120 DEGREES here in the deserts of Phoenix, Ariz.

No rain yet, just apocalyptic dust storms. Not even a little tease of lightning. C’mon, monsoons!

Oh yeah … and there’s a black widow living in my garage.

I think God is taking out His frustration on me for not updating Rogue Writer in nearly a month (sorry, y’all). Or if not Him, then the monsoons are holding some preconceived, spiteful grudge. Who knows …  it could be the water I left running in my front yard for TWO DAYS (by accident) last week.

But on another, more serious note …

Whilst talking about monsoons and a hellish drought, I can’t help but also mention the 19 incredibly brave firefighters who died this past week, here in Arizona. Did you hear about them?

1002091_202846069870283_1773686805_n

They were the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew, fighting that aggressive wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz. It burned nearly half the town, about 200 homes. The Granite Mountain Hotshots were all from Prescott, Ariz: my old stomping ground.

See, I got my start working for The Daily Courier newspaper up there, as a lead education reporter. I also backed up on crime, courts, and the fire department. When I heard what happened, my heart sank, and I felt sick.

Most of these men were in their twenties, a few in their thirties, and one or two in their forties. I want to take a moment to recognize them, thank them for their brave service, and send my deepest condolences to their families.

Prescott firefighters

Support the Surviving Families

Here is a Facebook post, taken directly from the “In Memory of Prescott Firefighters Lost 6/30/2013” Facebook page:

The United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association, together with the Prescott Fire Fighters Charities, have established a 501(c)3 relief fund at any Chase bank. Ask for the United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association Account set up to benefit fire fighters killed in the Yarnell fire.

Every penny of your tax deductible contribution will go directly to the families.

Additionally, donations can be made through the 100 Club or the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

May you RIP, Hotshots.

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What would you do, if you lost EVERYTHING?

5 Jun

diceSo usually, you hear people ask, “What would you do if you won the lottery?”

Well … duh … that’s kinda easy.

But how often do you hear someone ask, “What would you do, if you lost everything?”

By this, I mean your house, your job, your car, even your marriage. I’m not a complete sadist, so I’ll spare you your loved ones and pets.

Besides having a panic attack, perhaps you’re not too sure how to answer. Well…

I can tell you what J.K. Rowling did.

According to Wikipedia (and rumors I’ve heard from others who saw her speak), Rowling considered herself a large failure seven years after graduating from college. Her marriage had failed, and she was jobless with a child. Yet, she said the following—as cited in Wikipedia from The Fringe Benefits of Failure, 2008:

“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me [Harry Potter].”

This has been on my mind lately.

I won’t lie. In fact, I’ll be completely truthful. I’ve been a little quieter on this blog, because I’m in a career transition. I lost my job of more than five years after the company I worked for lost a major federal contract. It wasn’t just my job affected, but hundreds of others, too.

So now, using everything I have, I’ve launched my new business, “Shari’s Ink: Copywriting & Creative Services.” And I’m writing a novel that burns inside my soul.

I have a house. I have a life. And I keep asking myself, what would I do, should I lose it all?

Maybe I could become the next J.K. Rowling.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

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Death to the Spoon Gnomes!

20 May

Is it just me, or do microscopic gnomes sneak into your kitchen at night … and steal all your spoons?

Because each time I clean my dishes, or open my kitchen drawer, I find less and less of this very necessary utensil. Not only does this happen to me, but my boyfriend suffers as well. He quietly revealed to me last week that all his spoons have been disappearing, mysteriously.

I feel like whipping out my old, investigative reporter hat, and following the clues. Because this question is driving me berserk:

What happened to all the spoons?

oh-no

After nights of lost sleep and cortisol-filled panic attacks, I’ve come to one, discernible answer.

It was the gnomes. 

The evil spoon gnomes. And they all must DIE.

How dare they sneak into my house, without my permission, and take my hard-earned silverware while I’m asleep! They fool the cats, they trick the dog.

But worst of all, when the spoon gnomes strike, you can’t sip soup. Or eat cereal.

Or consume ice-cream.

NOOOOOOO!

nooooo

So, my friends, I implore you. Spoon-lovers of the world unite! And death to the spoon gnomes!

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BOOK REVIEW! ‘Call Me Zelda’ by Erika Robuck

13 May

Every so often, you’ll actually find me reviewing a hot, new book on this blog for your reading delight. Like today.

Call Me Zelda,” by Erika Robuck, published on May 7 this year. And I actually won an advanced copy through a Goodreads giveaway. I was so stoked, I might as well have just met Jesus.

OK, kidding, kidding.

But in all reality, I was excited to read Call Me Zelda, because it’s about Zelda Fitzgerald. And I have a serious fascination with the Fitzgeralds (who else is dying to see “Gatsby?”).

Just a heads up, though: Call Me Zelda is historical fiction … and this was my first experience reading the genre.

Here’s what I thought of Call Me Zelda. 

STARS: 3 out of 5

Call Me ZeldaErika is a great writer. I genuinely enjoyed her very human portrayal of the famous writer and his muse. Her prose was fluent, sometimes poetic, and encompassing of the time period for which she wrote: the 1930s.

However, I felt like the plot line and character interactions fell flat. And thus, the story tended to drag.

Here’s the scoop: rather than concentrating on the famous party days of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Call Me Zelda focuses on their later years, when Zelda was committed to a Baltimore psychiatric hospital in 1932. The narrator is a fictional character, a psychiatric nurse named Anna Howard, who tended to Zelda while also fighting her own demons from the past.

The result is that we get a much more human, emotional look into the complicated and sometimes chaotic nature of the Fitzgeralds’ relationship. We see their tenderness, and we understand how they destroyed each other. This was the part I enjoyed most about Call Me Zelda.

Unfortunately, I was not a huge fan of the nurse, Anna. And since she was the narrator, this took away from the story for me.

I think Erika could have done much more with Anna to add spice and conflict to the plot. I appreciated Anna’s good, caring nature, but I felt like she was a bit too perfect. And thus—even for a Goody two-shoes like me—she wasn’t real enough. The drama of the story wasn’t intense enough.  And it sometimes bored me.

Would I recommend Call Me Zelda? It depends.

If you love literature and have a fascination with past figures such as Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds … then yes! I think you will either enjoy or genuinely appreciate Call Me Zelda. Even if I sometimes found the story slow, I still appreciated the new life that Erika breathed into these two literary icons. And I wanted to know what happened at the end.

But if you prefer more contemporary work, action, or drama, then I’d recommend passing on this one. Instead, save it for a friend like Gil, the nostalgic screenwriter played by Owen Wilson in Woody Allen’s movie, “Midnight in Paris.”

Find Call Me Zelda on Amazon.

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If you’re gonna hack a writer’s email, at least be grammatically correct

3 May

So, my email got hacked this week. Yes, my technology shenanigans continue.

But in a way, I must publicly thank the hackers, because they gave me some seriously positive publicity.

Like making everyone in my network aware of just how QUALITY my work is … which is good, because I recently launched my new business, “Shari’s Ink: Copywriting & Creative Services” (I’ll formally announce that soon enough).

You think I’m joking?

Then check this out (LinkedIn):

LinkedIn hacker convo

And this (Facebook)!

Facebook hacker convo

OK, and here’s one more. The actual MESSAGE from the hackers. Note to them: next time, do a little market research on your target audience, first:

Hackers message

Maybe the hackers could hire me for their next “email marketing campaign.” At least then, their messaging will be grammatically correct and on-target.

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When the technology gods all plot against you …

29 Apr

… it’s worse than the Zombie Apocalypse. Because with the zombies, at least you can run.

But the technology gods? They will rip every digital limb from your frail, vulnerable body. Like your computer, your phone, your email, your soul. Leaving you desolate and defenseless in the bitter cold.

That’s right. They are EVIL LORDS that deserve to BURN.

computer-frustration

And just when your entire life hangs on a new business venture … 

Your day ends up looking like this:

9:00 a.m: Get out of shower. Begin breakfast.

9:15 a.m: Drag laptop downstairs to work in kitchen.

9:30 a.m: Open Google Chrome. “Cannot access website” message appears. Check internet connection. Nothing. Moan and drag laptop upstairs to router and modem.

9:40 a.m: Troubleshoot router. No luck. Plug modem into computer. Still no luck. Curse Cox Communications.

10:00 a.m: Call Cox Communications.

11:00 a.m: Get off phone with Cox Communications. Internet working. Drag computer downstairs. Eat cold food. Scowl.

12:00 p.m: Make first sales call. Verizon phone stops working, says “out of minutes.” Wonder how that’s possible? Just switched to unlimited plan.

12:10 p.m: Can’t access new Verizon account because PIN number never sent. Call Verizon customer service.

12:30 p.m: Verizon customer service won’t help without PIN.

12:45 p.m: Scream at air. Phone rings randomly … working again? It’s Boyfriend, calling from work. Cry into phone.

1:30 p.m: Write first follow-up email. Press “send.” Doesn’t work. Try again. Doesn’t work.

2:00 p.m: Rip hair out of head and wonder how the hell I.T. people do it!!

By the way, THAT was my day, last Monday.

computer_frustration 02

And it’s what will happen to you, should you ever piss off the technology gods and they all plot against you. So beware, my friends, beware …

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