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It's about adventure! Life, Scouting, Family, writing what else is there?
WELCOME TO:

GEMINI RISING

Banner for my blog, "Gemini Rising"


*Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1*

UPDATED INTRO 4 JULY 2019:
Just a little about me. I've been married for 27 years and currently live in Southern California, but I grew up in New Hampshire.

I've got 2 kids, a 17 yrs old and a 12 yr old. Both are boys. Nuff said.

I work as a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. I enjoy my job a lot.

I love to write, but since I've been so involved with the Boy Scouts program since 2015 (now Scouts BSA since girls were invited to come on board) I haven't written much. I hope to get back to more writing soon, as I'm scaling back my BSA commitment.

I like to get out in nature, take walks around Castaic Lake, drink coffee and watch football.

Here's a little bi about my zodiac.

GEMINI: Gemini, the sign of the Twins, is dual-natured, elusive, complex and contradictory. On the one hand it produces the virtue of versatility, and on the other the vices of two-facedness and flightiness. The sign is linked with Mercury, the planet of childhood and youth, and its subjects tend to have the graces and faults of the young. When they are good, they are very attractive; when they are bad they are more the worse for being the charmers they are. Like children they are lively, and happy, if circumstances are right for them, or egocentric, imaginative and restless.

Their good qualities are attractive and come easily to them. They are affectionate, courteous, kind, generous, and thoughtful towards the poor and suffering - provided none of the activities resulting from expressing these traits interferes too greatly with their own lives and comforts.

Geminians can be successful in many walks of life though their general characteristics tend to make them unreliable. They are often skilled manipulators of language, in speech and writing, and may be: debaters, diplomats (though in politics they are more interested in theory than practice), orators, preachers (brilliant rather than profound), teachers, authors, poets, journalists, or lawyers.

*Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1*


This is me. I am a Gemini. Pure, Raw, passionate.

The NEW focus of this blog is to share my adventures, scouting adventures, book reviews, thoughts, opinions, and writing adventures from actual writing, writing/editing tips, marketing, research. I'll get there.

Another Signature

Find me at:

WEBSITE:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

TWITTER:
http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor

GOOD READS:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

YOU TUBE CHANNEL:
http://www.youtube.com/user/botrina?feature=mhee

Previous GRATITIOUS Warning, that I decided to keep in case I post about something that might offend.

*Exclaim* WARNING *Exclaim*

I intend to be open, honest, and forthright. No topic is off limits from religion to you name it, I'm going there. If you think you might be offended...back up now - this blog isn't for you. For those who "dare" *Wink* check out the "Gemini Rising..."

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January 13, 2020 at 3:55pm
January 13, 2020 at 3:55pm
#973314
I love how when January shows up we all re-evaluate our lives, make resolutions, get goals, and tell ourselves, "new year, new you." Then it all goes to shit come February if you even make it that far. That's what has happened to me the last 4 years. Right down the tubes come February. *Smile*


So, it's another January, and I'm trying again. Wish me luck.

In 2016, I increased my volunteer hours with the scouts. In order to "right the ship" in my son's cub scout pack, I stepped up to become Cubmaster. The amount of time needed to "do it right" basically took up the time I would have used to write. I did/do enjoy my time scouting. I gave up Cubmaster in June 2018 after 18 months, but transitioned to ASM in my son's boy scout troop, and I've basically as busy as I was when I was a cubmaster. Things have changed a bit. My oldest, Andrew made Eagle and will age out in March. I'm going to do a lot less due to parental dynamics.

In 2016 I still taught Religious ed. I haven't the past 2 years because it was too much. Right now I'm just a "volunteer" at his 8th grade facilitated meetings.

Every January I say i'm doing weight watchers but fall off the wagon in February because of demanding schedule as the boys' chauffeur. And again, I started the Weight Watchers. Wish me luck. It's only been a week, but I'm tracking and watching portion size.

Things must be getting better because last year was my first WDC "Dear Me" letter since 2015. It lasted until FEB but I tried. So I'm going to try to again. Time will tell.

One of my new goals is to read "Writer's Digest" every month. This month I read an article about branding yourself.

I listed these items as values:
humor
honesty
do the right thing
Proverbs 4:23 "Guard your heart"
Support Alzheimers
Support Charities close to my heart

Passions:
Writing
hiking/being outside
watching movies/tv with a historical slant or sci-fi slant
like going to amusement parks
Baseball
Football --Pro/College
Archery
Bowling
Reading (being better about updating Goodreads and Product Reviews on WDC)

So I've got the basics. I need to flesh out a plan and get out there more. One of my priorities will be to update my official website with a focus on "branding."

Let's not to forget to update my social media, Facebook, twitter, etc...

I feel like a jack of all trades? Have any of you made goals/resolutions and been successful?


January 5, 2020 at 3:55pm
January 5, 2020 at 3:55pm
#972731
I wanted to get back to this sooner, but this is first chance I've had to get back to it.

BTW -- Happy New Year!! 2020 is in the house!!

From my last BLOG:

WHAT HAPPENED NOW IN 2019?

Courtney Milan, a well known romance author of Chinese decent recently tweeted criticizing remarks about another romance author. The other author is Kathryn Lynn Davis who wrote "Somewhere Lies the Moon," in 1999. One of the characters in Davis' novel is of Chinese heritage. Milan called the book "a F*** racist mess."

WHY?

So who is Courtney Milan? Who is Kathryn Lynn Davis? What's the plot of "Somewhere Lies the Moon?" Why didn't Milan criticize Davis in 1999? Why do it now in 2019, 20 years later? And what did the RWA do about it? It is an organization that is about the writers, the romance writing process? What happened to start this and how can be resolved?


WHO IS COURTNEY MILAN
Courtney Milan is the pen name for Heidi Bond, an author who grew up in Southern California. She has degrees in math and chemistry. She attended and graduated law school at the Seattle University of Law. She's been a writer since she was ten. Her earliest book was published in 2009. Is a proud of supporter of diversity in the work place.

WHO IS KATHRYN LYNN DAVIS
She is an author who wrote "Somewhere Lies the Moon" in 1999. As mentioned above, Milan said one of the characters in the book is a racial ".... mess."

The RWA has over 10,000 members and over 150 chapters so it is very big. The mission is to advance the business interest of career focused romance writers through networking and advocacy.

Boy, does this get complicated! Here's a good blog post about what happened and when it happened.

https://www.claireryanauthor.com/blog/2019/12/27/the-implosion-of-the-rwa

In a "simpler" world -- Milan has spoken out supporting diversity in romance writing, HOWEVER, how she "attacks" peers regarding diversity is what generated her ethics complaints. (Name calling in tweets)

NOV 19 2019, the RWA ethics committee decided to recommend a punishment of suspension of membership for a year and a lifetime band against holding a leadership for Milan.

17 DEC 2019, the RWA accepts the ethics committee recommendation.
When Milan's "discipline" has been announced, romance writers go crazy. The RWA takes it on the chin as writers leave the organization and criticize how the RWA handled Milan's issues. RWA Leadership may resign -- judges for the RITA have pulled out. It's madness.

I don't know what will happen with the RWA, it's leadership, or the organization.

Here's a post by NBC that puts a lot of the controversy in perspective. https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/romance-writers-america-racism-row-matters...

Milan has a right to criticize others -- not bully them. Diversity should be explored and in the romance genre. Readers are African-American, Asian, Hispanic and White and have the right to read romance with characters they identify with. So here's the food for thought:

Did Milan draw attention to racist writing in the romance genre or did she draw attention to poor writing? Can authors handle criticism of their writing? Will successful authors loose money because of Milan's criticism?


I am a writer. I've been writing since I was six. I've grown as a writer over the years. The challenge, I've found, when writing a historical or writing about different cultures is to pay history/different cultures respect. Write a quality product and people will read. Write about characters who are different and write about them with respect.

******

Back to my personal prelude --- I'm a writer. I'm not a financially well off author, but I enjoy writing. I always aspired to be a member of the RWA when I was "younger" but honestly, I just want to be a part of a supportive network of writers who give constructive critiques, not criticism. I want to write a good story with interesting characters who are rich in diversity and culture. I want to have fun writing.

The drama is too much for me. I believe in treating all people with respect. I may be one person, but hopefully, a better way starts with one.

I'm very sad and disheartened to see this happening in the "bigger" writing community around me, and I ultimately, I just wanted to share and vent. Thanks for letting me.





December 28, 2019 at 2:05pm
December 28, 2019 at 2:05pm
#972146
Hi all -- I know it's been a while, but there's been drama over at the Romance Writer's of America and I was moved to discuss it. I was going to mention it in my upcoming Romance/Love Newsletter here on WDC, but decided against it, as I think a blog is probably more appropriate.

PRELUDE
I love writing. I have since I was a little kid.I prefer writing mainstream, romance, horror, some thriller and suspense. I have written children's books as well, which, honestly, I just kinda lucked into and I was glad I did.

One of the first 'novels' I wrote was "Destination: Berlin" which is geared to be a thriller/suspense with some romantic elements. I used IUniverse but eventually had to take it down. I believe you can find a rough draft in my portfolio if you look. My writing grew from there, I have several mainstream short stories that were acknowledged by Writer's Digest Annual Competition, "Spontaneous Decision" and "Made in America." I have a historical "what if" still with Lulu called "Across the Fickle Winds of History." In 2009, I was offered my first contract with Desert Breeze Publishing for a paranormal romance, called "The Hungarian." During the Teens, I published a lot of romance stories with Desert Breeze and Victory Tales Press. It was during this time, I explored becoming a member of Romance Writers of America.

What is RWA?

From Wikipedia: It is a national non-profit genre writers association. It provides networking and support to individuals seriously pursuing a career in romance fiction and supports top authors such as Nora Roberts and Judith McNaught.

That was me. It still is me. (though since 2016 I got so busy with real life my writing is sparse. I hope to look at my stuff which is out of publication and update it and finish a couple of writing projects I have started)

There's two programs in the RWA: PRO and PAN (Pro:wrote a novel and queried) PAN: (Published) . I would fit the PRO.

When I was a member, in the early teens, I had a general membership. Membership in RWA is open to those actively pursuing a career in romance fiction regardless of publishing status. A writer does not need to be published to join but must be working toward that goal. At the time, the fee was 80.00 to be a member, now it is 99.00.

I liked the goals of the organization: to support romance writers, especially since Romance isn't a genre that isn't taken as seriously as mainstream or thriller/suspense. Still, I found the whole experience, a kind of "strict" one, do this, do that, to get ahead, feedback was more critical than constructive, and with 2 young kids at the time, they required my attention more than my romance writing (hence, my writing drop off after 2016) and I let my membership lapse.


WHAT HAPPENED NOW IN 2019?

Courtney Milan, a well known romance author of Chinese decent recently tweeted criticizing remarks about another romance author. The other author is Kathryn Lynn Davis who wrote "Somewhere Lies the Moon," in 1999. One of the characters in Davis' novel is of Chinese heritage. Milan called the book "a F*** racist mess."

WHY?

So who is Courtney Milan? Who is Kathryn Lynn Davis? What's the plot of "Somewhere Lies the Moon?" Why didn't Milan criticize Davis in 1999? Why do it now in 2019, 20 years later? And what did the RWA do about it? It is an organization that is about the writers, the romance writing process? What happened to start this and how can be resolved?

I'll tackle some of those questions in Part 2, with my own unique spin on the drama.



July 22, 2019 at 7:33pm
July 22, 2019 at 7:33pm
#963018
I'm tired. Sometimes, it's all you can do but give into the tiredness and allow yourself to be tired. Here's my issue: I work from 2-1015 pm so I get home at 11 pm. Then I have to get up at 530 am to get my older son (who is 17) off to summer school. His class is from 7-930 am. It's tough. I'm like the walking dead at 530. We leave at 615 and usually get to school around 645 am. Today I went home and slept until 845 when I got up to get him. When we got home I just sat around like a lump on a log vegging on TV.

Not that I didn't mind. I found Guy's Grocery Games on the Food network and Iove watching it. So I vegged out that. I didn't really wake up until about 1215 pm when I had to hop in the shower and get ready for work. It sucks.

I finished reading Patton. I have a lot of respect for Patton. He was a fighter and he was the only one who really had the Soviets pegged about their plan of Europe. Him and Churchill. It is amazing to think how World War II has shaped the rest of the 20th century.

Does anyone else watch the Food network? Do you have a favorite show?
July 19, 2019 at 2:19pm
July 19, 2019 at 2:19pm
#962864
I try not to think to hard about the news I hear on TV. I mean, I'm interested, and I want to know, but a lot of reporters put a "spin" on what they report about and so it's a process to get to the facts. Not only that, politics is extremely divisive and I'm just not into that. Do I have political leanings? Sure, but today's politics are more theatre and drama than politics and I'm not into that either. -- I've become very discerning about my media exposure and I'll let it be at that.

Went back to work yesterday. I learned about paperwork. I think every job has paperwork and paperwork is a necessary evil. Today, I'll be working in a supervisory role. I like that job. It's hard when I get assigned the phones 911 and non emergency. Because it's mentally draining, dealing with people's problems. And a chunk of them are not really emergencies but more like civil disputes. And they heart goes out to the business owners who call for the umpteenth time to complain about the homeless urinating and dedicating in front of their business. Sadly, there's not much the police can do for them.

Almost done my book about Patton. He lead a very interesting life. He believed if you give the Soviets an inch, they'll take a mile. Unfortunately at the end of the war, we gave too much to the Soviets and that set us up for the Cold War. I find it an interesting read.

I've been trying some different ice cream flavors to help cool down. Working on Cookies & Cream. Do you have a flavor to recommend? I'll give it a try.

July 18, 2019 at 11:18am
July 18, 2019 at 11:18am
#962812
It's been a busy week. We took the scouts on a trip to Hearst Castle. It was a fun trip for the most part. We arrived at the San Simeon campgrounds at about 8 pm and put up our tents. The campground was a bit crowded, but I suppose it usually is with the Hearst Castle nearby. On Saturday with visited the Piers Blancas lighthouse station which was impressive. I saw a sea otter. I *Heart* sea otters. After that we ate a bag lunch at the Hearst Castle visitor center and went on our tour. What an impressive building! What Hearst and Julia Morgan were able to accomplish was amazing! After that we visited elephant seals. They were very entertaining. Most are molting right now. When we got back, I taught the scouts the Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge. It was a busy day. We drove home on Sunday. (I'm trying to keep it brief, so maybe I'll take time in a later post to expand on my Hearst Castle thoughts)

I have an early morning wake up call at 530 am because I need to get Andrew, my 17 yr old to summer school. I'm doing this until 26 JULY. It will get tough starting today because I go back to work today. Vacay is officially over. *Sad*

Monday I had to go to work and drop off my days off for August. They were due. Tuesday I was cleaning house and took Andrew to the dermitologist. He has acne and we've decided to use accutane to treat it. Wednesday was payday so I was busy spending money. lol!! Also, the boys are involved in a summer bowling league. After bowling we went to sushi. Personally, I can't wait until July is over. I'm so over July. lol!! -- Maybe it's because July is so hot?

Question for you: What do you do to cool off during summer?


Next payday is 31 JUL and I'll be taking the boys for school clothes shopping on the 1st of Aug. Yay! More shopping! lol. This is the first year in quite a while where I have a couple of extra bucks in the pocket so I won't feel overly guilty about overspending.

I've been trying to follow my favorite baseball team, The Red Sox on the MLB app. I paid for the audio so I'm able to hear the games. It's been great following my hometown heroes.

I'm excited about the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11. Space travel has always interested me. (topic for another post)

I didn't get anything for Amazon Prime. I didn't really see anything that interested me. I'm not into that Echo thing. I prefer to do somethings for myself. Besides, I think it's a bit "untested" and I have no desire to allow internet companies so invasively into my house. They are already invasive enough IMHO.



July 12, 2019 at 2:29pm
July 12, 2019 at 2:29pm
#962500
Good news! I was able to get out my Romance/Love NL and submit it for next week. Sadly, I've been rather last minute with my newsletters for several years now. It's a wonder I manage to get them in on time. This month's topic is Heat Levels in Romance. I usually write Spicy, but I've done some sweet and sensual. My "Journey of the Heart" is mostly sweet only due to the setting of the story. I prefer those authors who usually write sensual or spicy. Shana Galen is one of my favorite romance authors.

I also like reading "cozy" mysteries. I really enjoy Janet Evanovich, but I need to catch up on my Stephanie Plum series. I also like Maggie Toussaint's cozy mysteries.

Well, I thought I might not make it with the romance/love submission because we're prepping to go to the Hearst Castle for the weekend. This will be my last trip with the scouts for a while. We'll be camping at a nearby campground. The trip will take approximately 4 hours to get to. It's a bit of a long trip, but I think the scouts will think of it as a big adventure. lol.

I haven't been to the Hearst Castle since 2004. (I went with my Uncle Bill when he came to visit) so, about 15 years. I was very impressed with the Castle. It was constructed in the 1920's. (Actual construction began in 1919) The architect was Julia Morgan and the owner, of course William Randolph Heart Sr. From what I remember he made his money in the newspaper business. He had 5 boys with his wife, and then a daughter with his mistress, Marion Davies. Now I don't believe the daughter was officially confirmed, but from what I understand it was a badly kept secret. lol. His earlier years he spent in New York and even served in the House of Representatives, representing NY. He was born in San Fransisco, CA and the Hearst Castle was built on land his father left him. I suppose his ties to California were strong, so when he got sick of his wife, he came back out here? Hard to really know. Most online biographies are vague about that.

I'll have more about my adventures when I return.
July 11, 2019 at 10:01pm
July 11, 2019 at 10:01pm
#962470
Well, I didn't mean to be gone so long! lol!!

Hope you all had a great 4th of July!

During the week, I saw Toy Story 4 and Aladdin. I have to admit, I really enjoyed Aladdin. I was impressed with the acting and Will Smith really did a good job as the Genie. Hoping to get Spiderman in before I have to go back to work on the 18th.

I've been busier than usual. My older son is going to summer school and classes are from 7 to 930 am. That means I have a 530 am wake up call because we gotta plan on a 30 min drive to school because it's all the way across town. He's doing well, so far. Last day of school is 29 July. I usually come home and wash the dishes and put on a load of laundry and get a shower in. I've been doing some errands and preparing to take the scouts to a trip to the Hearst Castle this weekend. After this weekend, that's it though. I'm done being "super" active. I need a break. lol!! Especially since I don't feel very appreciated.

I've trying to read "Dutch Girl." It's a book about Audrey Hepburn when she was living in Netherlands during World War II.

I wanted to talk a little about summer camp at Camp Big Horn near Lake Arrowhead, but I don't want to get long winded. LOL!

I've been watching "Band of Brothers" (I discovered the series at summer camp) and it's resonated with me, so I wanted to talk about that for a bit along with sharing my Uncle Harold's story. He was a combat engineer in World War II.

Those are topics for another post. I have to get going and work on my Romance/Love Newsletter for JULY for WDC.

What book are you reading now?
July 4, 2019 at 1:02pm
July 4, 2019 at 1:02pm
#962037
As usual, I get back to blogging come July. Why July? Because the Bard's Hall hosts it's annual blogging contest in June. I love visiting the different blogs, catching up with the bloggers and enjoying the entries. I'm also usually on vacation about this time, and I have time to spend hanging out with Germini Rising.

I've found I enjoy the shorter blog posts that are conversational, fun, and engaging. Sometimes I need a prompt, and sometimes I don't. This vacay is more of a "staycation." I really can't complain. We've got some day trips planned and I'm using the time to Catch up on my movies.

Movie Catch up:
I recently saw
Avengers: End Game
Rocketman
Dark Phoenix
Yesterday

On the list: Toy Story 4, Aladdin, and Spiderman, Far from Home.

** I'll add my movie musings in a future post**

My younger son, Joey, and I went to Universal Studios Hollywood on Monday. Loved visiting the Minions! My older son has to do summer school for Algebra IIB. That runs from 1-29 JUL. His class time is 7 am to 9:30 am. Let's just say that's an early morning wake up call!

Today, we are going to see an LA Dodgers Game for the 4th of July with a fireworks show after the game. I'm looking forward to it. The Dodgers are finally a good team (we've been going since 1997 and just recently the Dodgers have put together World Series teams) The only thing that's a bit of a bummer are the prices. Tickets are wicked expensive and the refreshments to include Dodger Dogs cost an outrageous amount of money. We had to save up to afford the tickets. Another bummer about the dodgers is that they have this funky TV contract with Fox Sports Spectrum and we don't have the service that shows the games. We can only catch a game on TV if KTLA (the local affiliate shows the game which Fox Sports occasionally lets them do.) -- It's hard to be a fan of a professional sports team because the costs are outrageous. I'm curious to know how much other teams charge their fans.

Is supporting your local sports team affordable or wicked expensive?

Just some musing on the 4th of July. Happy birthday America *Cake* *BigSmile*
August 24, 2018 at 2:45pm
August 24, 2018 at 2:45pm
#940281
Boy oh Boy, 2 weeks flew by!! --- Hard to say where it went but it went! *Laugh*

WORK

So, I am training at work. I enjoy training dispatchers, but when I have a trainee, it's hard for me to balance my real life needs. The good news is that the weather has been more bearable (in the 90's) so I'm able to get some stuff done when I get home. Yesterday, I cook. I cooked up a tri tip on my flat iron and had a salad. Sometimes I go to the grocery store. I supervise my kids if they have to do homework. I've been catching up on TV, now... if I can only find a tad more time to write.

FOOTBALL

I'm ready for *Football* *Football* *Football*!!

I've been watching HARD KNOCKS on HBO and crossing my fingers for the Browns. You can't help but root for the underdogs. Hue Jackson seems like a decent guy. I *Heart* Josh Landry and I appreciate the leadership he brings to the team. Both Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield impress me. Rooting for Devon Cajuste to make the team. I watched the game against Philly yesterday and the Defense looked impressive considering its still preseason.



Of course, mind you, I'm a die hard New England Patriot fan. I grew up rooting for New England in the lean years in the 80's and 90's.

Mind you, I *Heart* *Football* so I have a bunch of teams I like and root for but New England is my #1 team. I root for the Rams and Chargers, I like the Packers, and I like any team where a USC quarterback has landed. *Laugh*

I never used to be "big" into College Football. I suppose my "spark" was kindled when I we would spend 4th of Julys on Catalina Island and we'd watch the USC marching band lead the Golf Cart parade. Then I compared prices for football games and I realized I could afford College games whereas pro football games were just outta reach. So...if I was going to see a college game, I figured why not give USC a shot?

While I'm not a fan of the parking for USC, (I ride the metro) I love watching USC play football. They're not bad for college, usually they're ranked in the top #25 poll and I just love the ambiance of the stadium. Last year, I had a mini plan of games, this year, I was able to save up and got Season Tickets!! I'm hoping this year is fantastic, but Sam Darnold went to the Jets so we'll see what we get at quarterback.

I've also been to a UCLA game. I know, USC and UCLA are rivals, but it's all about the football. Personally, I like the Rose Bowl more than the Coliseum, but I'm not picky. I think the Rose bowl has better food.

USC's first game is next weekend on 1 SEP. Game starts at 1 pm though and it will be hot. I personally don't like it when games are hot. I'll bring a mister and make sure to get a lot of ice cubes in my drinks. hehe.

If you could go see a *Football* game, who would you go see?

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