Behind the Laughter

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Robin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014)

To the man who made us laugh all these years…You will be missed.

I may have been very young then, but I remember watching Mork and Mindy with my mom and dad and my siblings and laughing with them—memories that will stay with me forever, thanks to a comic genius.

I’ve always thought that the hardest question to answer is “Are you happy?” People often pause and think hard when you ask them this. You can follow up this question with, “When was the last time you were really happy?” This one gets them thinking even more.

Think about it. Are you happy? When was the last time you were really happy?

There are people we know who often smile and joke around a lot and laugh their hearts out when you see them, but it doesn’t always mean they’re happy. If you take the time to look into their eyes when the laughter has faded, you may see sadness and loneliness behind the smiles. They may try to hide behind the laughter because they don’t want anyone to see their pain, but if you look, and look really hard, you may be able to save someone’s life.

Robin Williams died after an apparent suicide. There are people out there, maybe in our families, or in our circle of friends, who are in need of a smile—a hug—a hand to hold—a conversation. Instead of asking for help, they slowly drown inside their sorrows. We must take the time to see them, listen to them, reach out to them, and spend time with them, because they may never reach out to us.

If you need help, please ask for help and tell someone. And if you see someone in need—help them.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. If you lose that, you’re nothing.” – Robin Williams


Why Do You Write?


Leave me a comment below with your answer.

Begin your reply with “I write because…” 

Don’t overthink it. Write the first thing that pops in your head. (Feel free to leave more than one answer.)

I’ll start.

I write because I love writing.

I write because if I didn’t, the characters in my head would never come alive and their stories would never be told. And if I didn’t explore them or write them down, I’d probably explode.

I write because it is necessary. Writing liberates me.

I could go on, but I’ll stop here.

Now it’s your turn. 🙂

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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I don’t usually post book reviews on my blog, but after finally reading, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, I feel the need to share my thoughts about this book.

Let me start by saying…Wow. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story. Charlie, the protagonist, is perfect. Not perfect because he is not flawed, but because he is flawed and he is real. You can’t help but feel for him, relate to him, and just plain—love him.

I couldn’t put this book down. There were too many things about it that kept me glued to the pages. I found myself reading certain lines over and over again, because they were so beautifully written. Many times I found myself teary-eyed, at one point even crying, other times, nodding my head or shaking my head because I felt a strong connection to Charlie and his sentiments. He is one of those characters that will linger in your head for a long while.

Here are only a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
“You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand.” 

“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”

“Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve.”

“Not everyone has a sob story, Charlie, and even if they do, it’s no excuse.” 

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”

“But because things change. And friends leave. And life doesn’t stop for anybody.”

“And nobody felt sad as long as we could post-pone tomorrow with more nostalgia.”

I plan to watch the movie very soon. I’m sure I won’t be disappointed since the author of the book, Stephen Chbosky, also wrote the screenplay and directed the movie.

For me, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is up there with “The Catcher in the Rye.” They’re both raw and honest coming-of-age stories that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

To me, a good book is the kind that makes you chuckle, laugh, and cry. The kind that not only tells you a story, but engages you and affects you and stays with you. This book did all of that.

If you haven’t read “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, I hope that you do. And if you have read it, what did you think of the book?



Self-Published Authors Night

I think it’s wonderful that there are bookstores out there who support self-published authors. Lauren, the owner of The Reading Bug, had her first Self-Published Authors Night last July 9. I was lucky enough to be part of it.

Three other authors and myself, got to present and read our books to the crowd. Click here to view more photos from the event.
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The Reading Bug is a bookstore mainly for children, so it was a delight to be able to showcase Sammy’s Books.

As authors, I believe it’s important to go out there and meet our readers—talk to them and engage with them. Participating in events like these really brings us closer to our audience. It’s also a good way to meet and support other authors.



5 Fiction Writing Tips from Famous Authors

Photo by Corey M. P. (Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, Paris)

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
—Anton Chekhov

“Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.”
—Henry Miller

“All fiction has to have a certain amount of truth in it to be powerful.”
—George R. R. Martin

“Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”
― Stephen King

“So okay―there you are in your room with the shade down and the door shut and the plug pulled out of the base of the telephone. You’ve blown up your TV and committed yourself to a thousand words a day, come hell or high water. Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want.”
― Stephen King

5 Tips on How to Become a Prolific Writer

5 writing tips from author, James Scott Bell:
1. Write a certain number of words on a regular basis
2. You’ll learn a lot from completing a novel
3. Treat writing as a job
4. Have a weekly quota
5. Take one day off a week to recharge



5 Quotes About Rewriting

1. “You write your first draft with your heart, and you rewrite with your head.”
―James Ellison, Finding Forrester: A Novel

2. “You become a great writer by writing lots and lots of stories, not by rewriting the same story over and over again.”
―Scott William Carter

3. “Writing a first draft is like groping one’s way into a dark room, or overhearing a faint conversation, or telling a joke whose punchline you’ve forgotten. As someone said, one writes mainly to rewrite, for rewriting and revising are how one’s mind comes to inhabit the material fully.”
―Ted Solotaroff

4. “Novels are like paintings, specifically watercolors. Every stroke you put down you have to go with. Of course you can rewrite, but the original strokes are still there in the texture of the thing.”
—Joan Didion

5. “The process of rewriting is enjoyable, because you’re not in that existential panic when you don’t have a novel at all.
—Rose Tremain


Last night I started reading “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway, a book I’ve read a long time ago but felt like reading again. On the first few pages, I noticed that the word “very” was used quite a few times—sometimes twice in one page. I immediately remembered the quote by Mark Twain:

Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.

Very interesting, isn’t it? I guess the lesson here is this: there are many rules when it comes to writing, but every writer can also break some of these rules and even make up their own rules. I think it is what makes each writer unique.


Book Sale

Hi folks! HIGH is only $0.99 today! Get your copy now!

“I inhale slowly, soaking it all in. I step forward and backward, my neck twisting and turning, memorizing every corner. I feel an instant connection to this place. Something about being here grabs me and infatuates me. I begin taking mental pictures of the narrow alleys decorated with rows of artists and vendors. I start imagining myself dining at the sidewalk cafes, sitting there with Chad during the summer, spring, winter, and fall. I get this strong desire to take off my shoes and walk barefooted on the cobblestones as if I have found my new home.”
Corey M. P., HIGH