Sandra Carrington-Smith's Blog

November 29, 2012

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." ~ George Bernard Shaw When my kid went to bed, last night, I finally took a few minutes to reflect on everything that's happened in my life in the last few years. Although I often feel that my existence is a big, boring set of routines, and Spirit could really try a little harder to make blessings roll in a timely manner, last night I finally had to admit that things HAVE happened, and compared to five years ago, my world has changed a great deal. What I think triggered my reflection was a discussion about the state lottery. While we were sitting in the living room after dinner, my daughter asked me what I would do if I won such a staggering amount. My answer surprised her and slighly disappointed her. If I won a jackpot of 500 millions, I would probably set one million aside for each of my three kids, I would put away five to ten millions for retirement, I would take care of family and a few close friends, and then I would have fun with the rest. I don't think I would want to buy houses, yachts or cars, and clothes and shoes have never been at the top of my list of likes. What I would really like to do would be to play anonimous Santa, sharing that wealth anonimously with the unsuspecting needy. I have heard a few sweet stories in the last few years -- one of a woman who walked into a K-Mart close to Christmas and paid off all the toys on layaway in cash, and another of a woman who bought a foreclosed home just to give it back to the original owner who lost it after falling into hard times. How much fun would it be to do something like that?? My daughter didn't seem all that impressed with my choices. "Wow, Mom, you would give all that money away and you would only leave us, your own children, one million each?" I explained to her that life is more fun when you have goals you strive to achieve, and the journey is really what defines you as a person. Individual strengths don't usually come out until one needs to be strong, and one rarely tries hard to learn new strategies until challenges come along. A million would buy each of the kids a home and give them enough money for education and a good start. When everyone went to bed, I thought of how my philosophies apply to my own life, and how much I have learned by having to reinvent myself in the last few years. Writing has truly been the key to not only finding myself, but also to creating a new self. Of course, I wish someone could have come in, touched me with a magic wand and offered a shortcut to success, but if that had happened, I wouldn't have learned half as much. In the last five years, I have learned how to stand on my own two feet, I have learned how to do things I never thought possible, and I have been forced to get out of the safety of my shell and explore the world. Has it been easy? Not at all, but it has been fun and educational. If I look back at the shy person I was just five years ago, and the more confident individual I have become, I know all those efforts were not in vain. Life isn't just about discovering who we are by finding what we enjoy doing, but rather, it is an opportunity to reinvent the wheel if one is needed to travel smoothly. As I thought of all this, I was suddenly happy about the challenges I endured.
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Published on November 29, 2012 04:41 • 1 view

November 21, 2012

Week 23: THE NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP Author Sandra Carrington-Smith, The Book of Obeah and Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery) . “The past few years have been full of high profile reads—50 Shades of Gray, Twilight, and more. Love them or hate them, you have to admit you have at least heard of them. As Independent Authors we all dare to dream we will be next, and well let’s face it, you never know ... right? With some hard work and the right marketing any one of us could be the next most talked about Author. With that thought I jumped on this Hop, what is a blog traffic hop? Well I didn’t know until I asked. Basically, it’s an Independent Authors game of tag. One author posts, and then tags five other authors, who each link back to them. Exponentially it is a marketing gold mine, and you my fair reader have hopefully just increased your to read list. Finding new and exciting authors you may never have found otherwise. Some of us are still writing, others are just being released. Either way, for you Fiction Lovers, a treasure trove awaits and I’d like to thank fellow Author Carol Marvell for tagging me to participate. Please check out Carol's website and books. Website: Buy Slave Trader here: Blog: Click the links to find out about Sandra Carrington-Smith’s books. Paranormal Thriller, The Book of Obeah: Supernatural thriller, Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery): Spiritual self-help, Housekeeping for the Soul: Website: “In this particular hop I and my fellow authors each in their perspective blogs have answered 10 questions where you get to learn about our current WIP (Works in Progress) as well as some goodies as to our process, from characters and inspirations to photographic/ cinematic eye candy! I hope you enjoy it! If this or any other items pique your interest, please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions.” HERE ARE THE QUESTIONS 1: What is the title of your book? The Book of Obeah 2: Where did the idea come from for the book? I am not too sure. I woke up one morning, back in 2006, with the name of the protagonist in mind. She told me her story and I just wrote it down. 3:What genre does your book fall under? Paranormal Thriller. 4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Morgan Freeman would be perfect for Elegba, the spirit of the Crossroads. Evan Rachel Wood would be wonderful in the role of Melody Bennet, the main protagonist. 5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? An emotional ride, steeped in the secrets of a southern Louisiana bayou. . 6: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?. The Book of Obeah was traditionally published by OBooks and represented by the Krista Goering Literary Agency. Killer in Sight, my new novel that released in May 2012, is represented by Natalie Kimber at Sunrae Agency. 7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? A month, approximately. 8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? The Celestine Prophecy, The Skeleton Key. 9: Who or What inspired you to write this book? It was sudden and unexpected inspiration. I never turned back. 10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? The Book of Obeah offers a different take on voodoo, quite unparalleled by the traditional Hollywood version. The novel has been optioned for film, and production is scheduled to start in early summer 2012.
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Published on November 21, 2012 14:37

September 7, 2012

Can a conservative and a liberal peacefully cohabitate the same body? They certainly can -- I am the living proof of it. Before anyone ruffles their feathers, let me explain.

I was raised in a conservative family, and my parents made sure we children understood there was no tolerance, under our roof, for loose morals and teenage rebellion. Both my mother and father held a respectable place within their social circles, and were very clear about their views on life. To them, honor, hard work, faith and respect were huge on their list of priorities. Unbeknownst to me, their loving influence affected me more than I thought possible.

Like my parents, I also believe in solid morals and traditions, I am a fervid believer in the power of Spirit, and live my life according to the Golden Rule. These same values I try to impart to my children. In fact, I made a choice long ago to be a stay-at-home mom, to ensure that my kids would be raised by me, and would not be influenced by questionable views at such young ages. Thankfully, I married a great man who shares the same principals, so it has been fairly smooth sailing the whole twenty years we’ve been together.

Now, to the liberal part…

Although I live my life according to the views that have been passed down to me, I can’t bury my head under the sand and pretend that everybody is as privileged as I have been. I know there are people out there who have not had the advantage of growing up in a solid home; I know there are people that have only experienced hardship in their lives, simply because they were born on the wrong side of the tracks, or in countries ravaged by war and famine. And I know there are people who do rely on others before they can pick themselves up after they have fallen. Those people exist, so I feel that I have to keep my mind open and embrace the fact that if we hope to move forward within the process of human evolution, I have to be a part of accepting the beauty of diversity in the world. I believe wholeheartedly in self-responsibility, but I also believe in helping others out if they are in a position of not being able to help themselves -- at least temporarily.

I believe in preserving our environment, because we only have one Earth; it’s a bit controversial to state we have strong family values, and then not realize that saving our Earth is the very best gift we can give to our children and the generations that will come next, as they will have a healthy, beautiful planet to live on. Saving our planet ensures the survival of our own genes.

My stand on gay marriage? It shouldn’t be my stand, since I am not gay. I believe marriage is a union between two people who love each other, who pledge to support the other and commit to a relationship the rest of their lives. The old Testament might have implied that marriage is between man and woman, but then, Sacred Scriptures also teach that what God unites no man should dissolve; yet, good Christians divorce and get remarried every day, thus sinning in the eyes of God. As far as I am concerned, I prefer to let God make the call of judgment. Furthermore, I don’t believe that Church and State should walk hand in hand, and if a gay couple live together for a number of years, and have common property, they should have the same LEGAL rights as a couple who’s heterosexual. Of course, that’s my two cents, and I don’t expect anyone to agree with me, but please don’t throw in the Bible where it doesn’t belong.

Last but not least, I believe in equal freedom. If the government needs to stay out of an issue, then it needs to stay out of all of them – freedoms shouldn’t just be picked at random only because they benefit a selected few. And, if we believe in life at all costs, then we need to come up with a plan to support the life we promote. Being against both abortion and welfare simply cannot work. If children are forced to be born to mothers who can’t take care of them, physically or emotionally, we need a system that will ensure someone WILL take care of those children and they won’t be thrown from one foster home to another until they are of age. Adoption in our country could work, but it often fails because of high costs that force aspiring parents to go abroad to find children. We won’t even go as far as discussing the fact that many couple prefer to adopt babies, not older children who have been in the system for a while and/or might display emotional scars or erratic behavior.

I could go on and on, citing many examples, but I think everyone has pretty much gotten the picture. I am a core conservative who’s liberal at the edges, with no need for extremes. And thanks to that, I am enjoying the best of both worlds.
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Published on September 07, 2012 11:05

August 3, 2012

The more I read about celebrities, the more I realize not only that I will never be one, but also that I am good and happy with it. Why, you might ask? Let me explain...

As much as I would love to dazzle the world with my writing, and squeeze Morgan Freeman's hand as he prepares to accept an Oscar for a movie based on one of my stories (hey, one can still dream, right?), one of the things I enjoy most in life is to connect with people, especially readers.

Last year, a lovely young lady sent me a friend request on Facebook after reading one of my novels, The Book of Obeah, and when I accepted it and wrote on her wall to thank her, she wrote me back to let me know how surprised she was to get my note. Earlier tonight, another lady responded to an event invitation and expressed how cool it is to be able to talk to the writers in my group; not too long ago, she explained, she had a bad experience with an indie author who acted as though she was above everyone else. To me, such behavior is truly mind-boggling. Why would anyone NOT want to talk to the very same people who made them who they are??

Certainly, I understand why really big celebs can't talk to individual fans -- if they chose to respond to every person who tries to get in touch with them, they wouldn't have time to do anything else. But what about the smaller guys? Why should they be so distant? Years ago, I worked in a hotel downtown which housed many celebrities when they were in town. The thing that I found most comical was that the legends were friendly (David Crosby was a peach, and so was John Denver, may he rest in peace), while the small bands that were part of Lollapalooza were, for the most part, jerks. Napoleon Complex, anybody?

There almost seems to be a veil of mysticism surrounding artists in general, and many come to accept it as part of the job. Handsome actors, beautiful actresses, talented musicians, dancers and writers, weren't always demi-gods...there was a time when even the "untouchables" depended on the kindness of others to open the door. One thing is certain: Without people buying tickets, actors and directors would be scrubbing dishes in Hollywood, without good folks who enjoy music, singers wouldn't be able to charge a fortune for a concert ticket, and without readers, writers are NOTHING.

If being a celebrity means being superior and alienated, then I know that it is not what I want to be when I grow up, and if my books do well, I owe it all to the good people who decided to give my work a chance. The fact that you, the reader, support my dream and allow me to be who I am means the world to me, and puts YOU on a huge pedestal in my eyes. Never forget that.
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Published on August 03, 2012 20:57

July 24, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to the great little Gatsby. A parody of a great classic, you say? No, not at all – the Gatsby I am talking about is a tiny little kitten, whose life had such a rocky start that he ended up at my door at the age of four weeks, with little fur on his body and nearly starving.

You see, Gatsby’s mother – a stray cat – was killed by a car, and she left behind five kittens that were barely three and a half weeks old. They were rescued by a kind lady, who was able to find homes for three and was left with two of the babies.
The first of those two babies, Karma, made her way to my house after my daughter’s friend brought her home and was told she couldn’t keep her. When she brought her to me, I had no idea how to take care of a cat so young, but a trip to Petsmart set me straight – I got back with cans of kitten milk, some kitten food, a litter box, and a bottle of Dawn dishwashing soap. Why the dishwashing soap, inquiring minds might wonder? Well, flea drops can only be used on cats eight weeks and older, but Dawn can be used at any age to give kittens a bath.

Giving Karma a bath was the beginning of the adventure….as soon as we got her wet, the poor little soul looked like a frightened sea monkey – all eyes and ears. Next came the feeding part, and alas, it wasn’t any easier. Karma was too small to eat cat food, so I went back to the grocery store and got some turkey and beef baby food. The baby food worked, and within a few days, Karma was ready to find a home. I started a Facebook campaign, and I’m pretty sure people on my friends list cringed each time I posted a new request, since I posted so many. Finally, Karma found a home with my son’s friend, whose mother instantly fell in love the moment she saw the kitten. A day or two after she went to her new home, I called to check on her, and the new mom told me the “baby” was already getting spoiled rotten…that same day, this wonderful lady bought fresh shrimp, boiled them, and minced them in tiny pieces for Karma to eat. Needless to say, I asked if she was also willing to adopt a 40-year-old daughter. She said no, so I’m still here fixing my own dinners.

The day after Karma left, my daughter’s friend called me and told me the lady who still had the last baby didn’t know what to do with him; he wasn’t eating and he was getting weaker by the day. Of course, I told her to bring him to my house. I didn’t know what I was going to do with him, but I had to give him a chance.

The little guy arrived, wrapped into a blue blanket and nearly furless. He was dirty and ridden with fleas, so I gave him a bath; actually two, since he still had fleas after the first one. At this point I had a clean kitten, but he was so weak, he could not even stand up or play. His eyes wouldn’t focus, and he barely meowed. When my vet came and weighed him, the next day, he was only eleven ounces! The vet was pretty sure that this kitten hadn’t eaten anything since his mother died, a week before. We started a round-the-clock regimen of baby food and kitten milk, and after a few days, he started coming around.

I found him a home, but three weeks later, the lady who adopted him developed allergies, and asked me to help her find a new place for him, so I got back on Facebook pleading, once again, to find this little guy a home. This time my campaign was short, and a family from St. Louis agreed to adopt him. The lady of the house happened to be visiting family in NC, so we arranged to meet to finalize the adoption. She chose the name Gatsby for him, and I think it fits him perfectly! His final destination will be St. Louis, so he has a few miles to burn before he can make it to his forever home, but one thing is for sure: Once he gets there, he will have the home of a cat’s dreams. With two loving adults and two happy children around, who will undoubtedly play with him all the time, what’s there not to love?

So, this is the story of the great little Gatsby, a kitten who started on low gear but is going to go far, all thanks to the love of wonderful humans who took one look at his little Yoda face and instantly made him a part of their family. Thank you.
And to my friends on Facebook who read the many posts, and were kind enough not to send me a box of chocolates laced with arsenic, I really appreciate you. Now that you know Gatsby’s story, I am sure you understand why I had to do it.
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Published on July 24, 2012 20:41

July 22, 2012

Fans of John Connolly and Stephen King should enjoy this supernatural thriller that will raise the hair on your arms and put tears in your eyes, often at the same time. Carrington-Smith's empathy and feel for character also constantly brought Joseph Wambaugh's "Hollywood Station" to mind for her similar ability to seamlessly switch between multiple points of view without losing tension. This tension starts on page one, which finds you inside the panicked head of a victim fleeing a knife-wielding stalker through dark woods and continues apace up through the story's revelation. I appreciate a writer who isn't afraid of her passion, and Carrington-Smith is an artist who definitely goes all the way in several scenes dealing with death, sex and wounded souls. A very enjoyable debut.

Just to note: I won this book on Goodreads as a "First Read" giveaway
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Published on July 22, 2012 19:02

July 18, 2012

Instant judgment is one of the building blocks of human nature, and an important part of our survival instinct. We judge everything – our own attitude, our flaws and strength, but mostly, the attitude, flaws, and overall behavior and choices of others. Of course, some actions we encounter are a natural trigger for instant judgment, and we don’t think twice before we point our finger toward the guilty party without even thinking about what might have motivated that person to act a certain way.
Judging from our point of perspective alone offers a limited view, and leaves us wondering why certain behaviors take place at all. Since early childhood, we are taught that our impulses should be kept under tight control, and we should never do or say anything that can offend or harm anyone around us. Unfortunately, sometimes life gets in the way, egos get bruised, and perceptions shift, leading some people to act in ways that are condemnable by our society standards.
So, what could possibly motivate someone to behave in such a way that will attract unpleasant consequences? Are they unable to judge situations? Are they mentally impaired? Do they just not care at all? And if the latter is the right answer, why do they feel that way? History shows that most serial killers and psychopaths have a higher I.Q. than the average person, so obviously, intelligence is not a factor. Many criminals are also able to orchestrate their crimes with such finesse that they walk free for many years, so they can apparently think and judge. In a process of elimination, the answer to our question is down to the last possibility: Criminals don’t care. But why don’t they?
The human mind is an intricate maze, one that even the most skilled psychiatrists haven’t been able to fully explore. Each experience forms a different, unique pathway that can lead the mind to craft multiple “travel plans.” Most of us follow the beaten path, while others stray away and move against the current. Strangely enough, criminals whose brains have been picked, often share a common trait: Unhappy, abused childhoods. Many tell stories of abandonment, physical or emotional discomfort, and unease with their early environment in general.
When I wrote Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery), my goal was not only to write a thriller, but also to explore the reasons behind the killings. Stepping into the mind of a murderer is a brain-jolting experience, and it can open our eyes to the inner suffering of the perpetrators. I once read something that really caught my attention: “We are all victims of victims.” Such a simple statement speaks volumes, and it confirms that happy people don’t do things that will make others unhappy.
In Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery), a young woman is found murdered in a public park. When Detective Tom Lackey is assigned to the case, he realizes that things aren’t always as they seem, and in order to find the killer, he has to step outside the box and explore possibilities he never considered before.
What about you? Are you ready to walk the pathways of a killer’s mind? Like Tom Lackey, you might be surprised at what you will find.
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Published on July 18, 2012 08:16 • 39 views

July 12, 2012

Dear readers,

Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery) will be available for FREE on Kindle on July 13 and 14 only! The free promotion will begin at 12:00 PST on July 13 and will end at 11:59 PST on July 14.

What can be more fun than to read a murder mystery on Friday the 13th?? Here's your chance to do it for free.

Click on this link to get to the book page.
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Published on July 12, 2012 20:00

July 11, 2012

If you have enjoyed The Book of Obeah, and think your friends would like to read it as well, or if you haven't had a chance to get your hands on a copy yet, here's the opportunity to win a FREE autographed copy. The Goodreads giveaway starts tonight, July 11, and will go on for a month!
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Published on July 11, 2012 19:50

July 8, 2012

THE BOOK OF OBEAH -- A Review by Anne Petz "The Book of Obeah was the best novel I've read in many years. Ms. Carrington-Smith brings New Orleans to life, with all its shadowy inhabitants, exotic food, music, and hidden combination of Christian religion and African-Caribbean voodoo. In this page-turner mystery, her characters come to life, as the young female protagonist deals with her quest of learning the truth of her family's secrets, while trying to avoid those trying to permanently silence her. This is a story you will never forget."
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Published on July 08, 2012 08:10 • 52 views