August 31, 2017
Themes That Transcend the Plot

In August of 2017, at the Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference, I chose a panel discussion, out of dozens in the cart for that day, titled Why Write? Themes That Transcend the Plot. I believe all writers of fiction and nonfiction touch on themes of social and moral significance. Those who don’t consciously realize it miss the opportunity to deepen the beauty and meaning of their stories.

All writers write for one market, the market, humankind. All readers, from the little boy holding a graphic novel to the college psychology professor researching the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath, all readers are inviting into their individual lives knowledge, entertainment, and understanding of themselves and the world around them.

My own mystery/thriller novels hold elements, torn pages, in effect, from the newspaper, from the Bible, from every children’s book, Shakespearian play or classic novel I’ve ever read. Writers draw from their experience to put words on a page. They can also acquire self-knowledge from what that experience translates to on the page.

There is a saying that you are what you eat. I’d like to borrow that slogan to propose another truth: the writer is what the writer writes. What Continue reading

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August 29, 2017

Writers’ Conference, Killer Nashville. Driving home to Florida from the Killer Nashville Mystery Writers’ Conference in Tennessee, I passed through Southern Alabama. It is a place rife with sharp contradictions. I passed through towns named Opp and Verbena. Along their main roads, I saw abandoned mobile homes, rusted farm machinery, and tumbled unpainted shacks. In the next mile, vintage two-story frame homes lined the road, their porches supported by white pillars. The houses might have aspired to–but obviously failed–to attain the size and quality of antebellum Southern plantations; nevertheless, they reminded me of another era of stability and genteel prosperity, the 1950’s.
The unoccupied landscape was another unworldly venue, the world of Kudzu, ruled by those creeping vines capable of engulfing every twig, every struggling plant, and climbing fifty-foot-tall pine trees. Kudzu vines blanketed some areas of the countryside, transforming them into huge waves, undulating seas of leafy green, more alien, more impenetrable and more forbidding than any jungle.
Then the eeriest experience of all. I passed through a landscape of newer homes, large and well-kept, set back from the road amid acre upon acre of cut grass. It was a gently swelling grassy veld, almost like a park.
Sensations Continue reading

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June 6, 2017
Winning-How Sweet It Is

There’s nothing like winning an award to boost confidence and inspire one to continue on the chosen path! Fatal Refuge, Book Two of the Arizona Thriller Trilogy won second place in the Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association Mystery/Thriller contest.  Even greater was the first place win in the National Indie Excellence Awards, category Regional Fiction, Southwest.

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February 5, 2017

Retirement strikes some people like a bolt of lightning that violently strips their identity from them. Others feel the bonds of a kind of slavery being slashed; they feel liberated, free. I’m on the cusp of retirement myself and was not sure if I stood with one of the extremes, or tried to cling to the middle ground. Then I happened on an essay from A Deep Breath of Life by Alan Cohen. He says, “All identities serve us temporarily…..but then we must grow beyond them. For any affiliation you can identify yourself with, there is a grander one available; we must let go of what we were to become who we are. …..There is a bigger room to live in.” Or a better, more beautiful road to travel? He refers to our essence, our Spirit, of course. What wisdom!

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December 5, 2016

Greetings, Respected Readers,

Yes, my blog and I had a tragic break-up due to “technical difficulties.” With the help of a computer guru, I am now back to network nirvana. I look forward to chatting with you all. Regards, Sharon Sterling

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January 5, 2016

And I’m not talking about bridge or pinochle, I’m talking about Donald Trump, who I fear will be the Republican candidate for our next President. His bigotry, stupidity and crudeness aside, I would never vote for him because he is Big Business personified. So what’s wrong with Big Business? Big Business seeks to rule the world without regard for merit or moral principles. It’s bottom line and cherished goal is simply profit, at anyone’s and everyone’s cost. Much of Big Business today is simply Capitalism run amok. When unrestrained by law it can be as vicious and virulent as the other end of the political spectrum, Communism.
A case is point is the rule of Pol Pot, the communist ruler of Vietnam who slaughtered millions of his own people for Communism’s bottom line. As stated above, the focus of Big Business is profit by any means, no matter how perverted and unjust. Take, for example, the CEO of a drug company who very recently raised the cost of a life-saving drug by five hundred percent, putting it out of reach of any but the very wealthy. I agree with the assessment of one psychiatrist who said that the great majority Continue reading

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December 7, 2015

Are you one of those people (usually of the male persuasion) who road trip like it’s a marathon, no stops allowed? Tucson residents wanting to re-hydrate in San Diego or Los Angeles drive Interstate 8 just like that. Yuma goes by in a blur, then across California sand dunes to the beautiful Pacific shore. What could Yuma have to offer? Check it out. The places in these pictures are featured in Fatal Refuge, my latest mystery/thriller novel.

 

Inside the Little Wayside Church

 

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November 4, 2015

Many locations in the U.S. and throughout the world have gained the reputation for generating spiritual energy and inspiring those who view them. I just visited one of those places, Monument Valley on the Arizona/Utah border. It is Navajo tribal land. While there, our Navajo guide, Loyal, helped us understand a little more about their spiritual tradition “The Beauty Way.” This gives you a little idea of their inspiration.

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October 17, 2015

Death, whether by suicide or homicide, is too easy to accomplish with a gun. Even relatively stable people can make mistakes or be guided by impulse to do something that they regret forever after, or that their survivors regret forever.
I once had police confiscate a young woman’s gun. She had come to me for counseling after she almost killed herself earlier that day with a gun that was now in her car, outside. I promptly called police. The woman gave the officer permission to take the gun, and he talked with her until he was reassured that she had no idea of killing anyone else. The agency I worked for was not pleased that its image was tarnished by having a police car in the parking lot, but I am sure to this day that I did the right thing.
When NRA groupies say, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” I say “Atomic bombs don’t kill people; people kill people, but would you want that weird guy down the street or that radical Muslim next door to own an atomic bomb?” The least a progressive society should do is to ensure, to the best of its ability, that Continue reading

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