Meet Me at the Phoenix Public Library’s First Read Local Author Fair!

Print

I am crazy excited to announce that the Phoenix Public Library chose my book, The Apollo Illusion, to be included in its FIRST Read Local Author Fair event! In partnership with Local First Arizona and along with about 30 other Arizona authors, I’ll have a booth set up so you can purchase a copy of The Apollo Illusion, get your book signed, and/or grab a selfie for Facebook or Instagram. Best of all, 10 percent of the proceeds will go to the Friends of the Public Library, so you’re supporting a good cause.

Facebook lead ad

If you live in Arizona, or plan to be in Arizona during the author fair, I’d love to meet you! Check out the details below, and SAVE THE DATE!

Date: Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018
Time: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85004
Mark your calendars now! [RSVP to the Facebook event here]

I hope to see you there!

Voting is Your Rallying Cry, Your Middle Finger, Your Roar

Shari voting 2018 primaries
Aug. 28, 2018 was Primary Day in my home state of Arizona. This is me after voting.

As a writer, author, and American, I believe so strongly in the power of voicing one’s opinion beyond words.

Yesterday was Primary Day in my home state of Arizona. And I feel the need to say this, to anyone and everyone who is willing to listen.

The will of the people is heard one way, and one way only–by the vote. If you’re discontent with the current state of affairs within your city, your state, or your country, the voting booth is where you can affect change. Your vote is your rallying cry, your middle finger, your roar.

Do not shy away from the power that shimmers deep inside you, even if you doubt its own grit and force. Make it heard. Make it known. November is just a few months away.

“Don’t boo. Vote.”

What do the monsoons have against me?

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.

Ghosts of Bisbee, AZ (the Old West!)

I just took my first trip to Bisbee, Ariz. this past weekend … and this place is something else! Honestly, I can’t capture it in words, so I used images and music instead.

Below is a 2-minute photo slideshow to music I created to help express the true uniqueness of this historic mining town on the border of Mexico and the U.S., famous for its ghosts of Old West prostitutes and miners! And yes, all images are copywritten by me. 🙂

Please enjoy (and if you’re reading this in an email, you’ll have to click through to my blog to view the slideshow)!

What Happened to the Need for Volunteers?

I’m a 29-year-old professional woman, college-educated, and I’m dying to volunteer for my neighborhood’s at-risk kids.  

There’s just one problem: no one wants my help.

Today is one of those days I’m veering off-topic. And yes, perhaps this is a bit of a rant. But I see something wrong–very wrong–with my recent discovery. And I cannot remain silent.

What I want(ed) to do 

I grew up in the vibrant dance culture of Phoenix, Ariz. (yes, we do have one, believe-it-or-not). I danced ballet, jazz, lyrical … 15 hours a week. I helped put myself through college by teaching dance.

And now that I work a professional 9-5, I want to teach it again. Except this time, I don’t want to be paid. I want to volunteer as a dance teacher and mentor for teenage girls in my neighborhood’s high school dance program.

It’s a Title 1 school. That means it receives federal funds because many of its students are at-risk, from low-income households.

Since this summer, I’ve been trying to call the school. I’ve left messages with the principal, the office staff, and even the staff dance teacher. I went so far as to call the SCHOOL DISTRICT and leave a message for their volunteer coordinator.

Not a single call back.

I guess our local school districts, which are scrounging for money, don’t need free help from its community’s professionals, who by the way, pay property taxes to support education.

Walter Cronkite had a volunteer high-school mentor.

Did you know that? I’m currently reading his autobiography. The man was a professional journalist in Walter’s community. He volunteered to teach and mentor the neighborhood high school kids once or twice a week.

Walter Cronkite, as we know him, would probably never have existed without this great volunteer.

Have you ever seen the movie, “Stand and Deliver?” It’s about the infamous math teacher, Jaime Escalante, who taught at-risk high school students calculus. Jaime, a Bolivian educator, came to Garfield High School from a computer factory, where he served as a star technician.

In today’s world of public education, neither Jaime nor Walter’s mentor would have made it to the classroom. No one would have bothered to call them back.

Yes, I’m angry! And you should be, too.

What happened to this country’s appreciation for volunteers? When did it become so HARD to help, for free, in your community? When did we become so selfish, that we think only to use our communties as resources–to better ourselves?

I come from a family of teachers. My mother was a teacher, my father was a teacher. My boyfriend’s mother is a teacher. I have cousins who are teachers. It runs in my blood. And yet, I cannot get involved.

Is anyone else seeing what’s happening here?

Yes, perhaps there are many reasons why I haven’t gotten a call back. But after leaving multiple messages for multiple people, I think the message is clear. They don’t want my help. Because to them, it’s not about the kids.

This makes me wonder, what other opportunities are being denied to our youth in the public school system? Who else have they not called back?

I’m not a parent. So I urge every parent out there to find out. Ask questions. Because apparently, it’s no longer the American way to step up and volunteer for your community’s youth.

[If you agree with what you read here today, share this post with your friends! Tweet it. Facebook it. Stumble it. The buttons are below. Just click, and get the conversation going.]