Saturday, September 30, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
Why are books challenged? Usually it's done with the best of intentions--to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information (such as sex or sex education, homosexuality, or religion).
Censorship can be subtle--almost imperceptible--as well as blatant and in-your-face. John Stuart Mill wrote the following in On Liberty:
"If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only a few persons or many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is tat it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error."
According to the list of the top 100 challenged books, the three top reasons books are challenged are because the material is considered to:
1. be "sexually explicit";
2. contain "offensive language"; and
3. be "unsuited to age group".
And, according to this list, the group that challenges most frequently is parents.
Well, yahoo. Part of doing your job as a parent is to keep unsuitable material away from your children. That's why I do believe that a library is NOT the place for adults to get online and surf around porn sites. Come on. You want it that bad, stop buying beer and cigarettes and save up for a computer of your own. We don't need six year olds walking by the computer carrols and seeing (and hearing) pornography.
That said, it's not your right as a parent to determine what my child can or cannot read. That's my job. (Or it would be if I had kids.) I might think Judy Blume's books are entirely suitable for my pre-teen daughter because it's yet another way to educate her about herself and her body and the real world around her. Plus it has a character that has a real--and close--relationship with God. If you don't want your kid to read it, don't let her. Just don't try to tell me that me and mine can't read it if we want to and that we can't access it from our local library, which my freakin' taxes pay for.
Seems pretty simple to me.
"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us." ~Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas
Thursday, September 28, 2006
"Censorship is harmful because it results in the opposite of true education and learning. In the process of acquiring knowledge and searching for truth, students can learn to discriminate--to make decisions rationally and logically in light of the evidence. By suppressing all materials containing ideas or themes with which they do not agree, censors produce a sterile conformity and a lack of intellectual and emotional growth in students."--Censorship in the Schools: What Is It? How Do You Cope?
Banned books in school and public libraries produces a sterile conformity and a lack of intellectual and emotional growth in human beings. Do I not want to read (or keep children from reading) Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn because Mark Twain used the language of the day? Frankly offensive, racist language to us today?
No. Because it's written from his perspective during his lifetime--it's a commentary on our society as a whole, a look back at the injustices done to an entire race of people just because their skin is darker than mine. Was that right? Absolutely not. Should we ignore it or try to ban books that spotlight it?
We are what we read. I really believe that. And if we only read boring, vanilla books, that's what we'll be. Boring. Vanilla. Because these books don't make us stop and think. And isn't that--sometimes--why we read? To broaden our own horizons? To take us out of ourselves and put us in someone else's shoes for an hour or two?
"Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition." ~1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, American Association of University Professors
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:55 AM
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
I'm still just thrilled to be part of the 10th anniversary anthologies that New Concepts Publishing is putting out in print in October. Check out this cover:
Michelle Pillow is one of my favorite authors. To share an anthology with her is...I'm not sure I have the words. Thrilling. Exciting. A little scary. All of the above.
My story, The Wolf of Cnoc Meadha, is another werewolf story. But a werewolf story with a twist (of course). The hero, Connor mac Finnbheara, is the son of the powerful king of the Daoine Sidhe (pronounced don shee), the gods and goddesses of ancient Ireland. Connor has been cursed with lycanthropy and will attack any Fae creature during on the nights of the full moon. To protect his people, the king banishes Connor to the human realm those nights.
The heroine, MacKenzie McCallum, used to be a favorite in the king's court. A favorite wolfhound, that is. When the queen caught the king in yet another of his dalliances, in revenge she turned his favorite dog into a human. Enraged, the king banished Mackey to the human realm.
The queen granted her an extended life. The question is...
Is Mackey human enough to be safe from the wolf? Or is there still enough Fae in her to put her in danger?
You can read an excerpt here.
The Wolf of Cnoc Meadha, part of the Phoenix Rising I Anthology, coming October 13th to New Concepts Publishing. Mark your calendars now!
"You can drag a horticulture, but you can't make her think." ~Dorothy Parker
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:50 AM
Monday, September 25, 2006
"Swimming pools can be dangerous for children. To protect them, one can install locks, put up fences, and deploy pool alarms. All these measures are helpful, but by far the most important thing one can do for one's children is to teach them to swim." (emphasis mine) ~National Research Council, Youth, Pornography and the Internet
Dare I make the obvious connection? There is a lot of stuff out there that is unsuitable for certain age groups. We can--and should--protect our children from exploitive things such as pornography, violence and a host of other things. But the best thing we can do is to teach our children to think.
(And let me add a parenthetical here. Some people argue there is material out there that's unsuitable for any age group. To them I say--don't frickin' tell me what I can and cannot read/watch/listen to. If something comes up that I find offensive, I'll stop reading/watching/listening. But it's my choice. Not yours.)
What does banning books solve other than to take away one of our most basic liberties? The freedom to say/think/write what we want?
Hey, let's just do away with democracy and establish the Thought Police. Then we can all say the same things, do the same things, think the same things, be the same things.
"BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston's own. Down at street level another poster, torn at one corner, flapped fitfully in the wind, alternately covering and uncovering the single word INGSOC. In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the Police Patrol, snooping into people's windows. The patrols did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered." ~George Orwell, 1984
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:35 AM
Sunday, September 24, 2006
... or, at least, one that would most likely be banned:
My lovely, Alpha Praetorian is sitting at #2 today in the Erotic category at Fictionwise. And me? Not only am I over the moon, I'm also freakin' #10 in the "Recent Best Selling Authors" category.
I am in shock, people. While I knew I loved my Praetorians, it is exhiliarating to see them so well received by others.
Thank you so much to everyone who's gotten me this far!
"I shall stay the way I am because I do not give a damn." ~Dorothy Parker
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 12:12 AM
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Beginning today, we're taking a look at this year's list of banned books (according to the American Library Association). Both left wing and right wing Americans challenge (actively seek to ban) books, and some times are successful.
Between 1990 and 2000, there were over 6,300 challenges reported to or recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom. Check out these stats:
- 1,607 were challenges to “sexually explicit” material (up 161 since 1999);
- 1,427 to material considered to use “offensive language”; (up 165 since 1999)
- 1,256 to material considered “unsuited to age group”; (up 89 since 1999)
- 842 to material with an “occult theme or promoting the occult or Satanism,”; (up 69 since 1999)
- 737 to material considered to be “violent”; (up 107 since 1999)
- 515 to material with a homosexual theme or “promoting homosexuality,” (up 18 since 1999)and
- 419 to material “promoting a religious viewpoint.” (up 22 since 1999)
Some of the books that have been on The Most Frequently Challenged list in the past:
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
Forever by Judy Blume
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Goosebumps (series) by R.L. Stine
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
Cujo by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach by by Roald Dahl (one of my favorites!)
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (another of my favorites!)
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Carrie by Stephen King
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Now, I don't know why these books made the list exactly, but I can guess. Well, I know why Anne Rice's Beauty Trilogy did--it's erotica, pure and simple. One of the fastest things to get a book banned is if it's all about sex. Even if it's about sex education. Because God gave us sexual organs but clearly didn't mean for us to talk about them, or--heaven forbid--actually use them.
Judy Blume's books have made the list because of the sexual content. Personally, I think Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret should be required reading for young girls. Listen, my mother is one of the most conservative Christian women you could ever meet--raised in the Bible belt and a devout Baptist--and she let me read this book when I was young. If she didn't have a problem with it... You know what I'm saying?
A Wrinkle in Time? Another of my favorites. I guess I need to go back and read it, cuz I don't get why it's made this list. Anyone have an opinion on this one?
And Flowers for Algernon? One of my favorite books, one of my favorite movies (Charly with Cliff Robertson).
Mark Twain's classics are probably challenged because of theme and language. Because he uses the language of the day, including the N-word. Stephen King's books most likely have made the list because they're...creepy scary and full of violence.
Hey, here's a thought: Why don't we just ban real life?
"Censorship is the strongest drive in human nature. Sex is a weak second." ~Phil Kirby (former editor of the LA Times)
Friday, September 22, 2006
Oh, baby. Man, look at the shoulders on this guy. His biceps... biteable. And his abs! Is that an eight-pack?!?
All tied up and nowhere to go... Come on over here, hon. I'll help you.
Oh, darn. Can't get the ropes untied.
You'll be all right. Just lie back and relax...
"So many men, so little time." ~Mae West
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:45 AM
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Finally, I've stopped farting around on my manuscripts and have made some real headway on Damnation (the sequel to Redemption), as well as the self-edits on Beyond the Beast. It's amazing how much more I can get done when I just don't have the television on.
LOL Back away from the TV and no one will get hurt.
With just some light classical music playing in the background, on Monday I managed 4,000 words on Damnation, plus 5 loads of laundry! And edits of two chapters on BtB. Tuesday I had an appointment for a perm, so not as much writing time available, and it was brought home to me once again that if I don't get started writing in the morning I manage to not get a lot done. I was able to do 1,000 words on Damnation and another chapter edited on BtB. Yesterday I had to work. I didn't plan on getting as much done, so I'm pretty happy with the 1,000 words on Damnation.
We'll have to see what today brings. My critique partners and I are going an early lunch and then it's on to see The Black Dahlia. I may (or may not) get any writing done. At the very least I hope to get more editing on BtB--I've already been through each chapter a few times, and the entire book at least twice, but once more around certainly won't hurt--so it's as polished as possible when the full is requested by an agent. (Notice I said "when" and not "if". Think positive, people!)
Ah, well. Che sera sera.
Have a good one, y'all!
"Good girls go to heaven, but bad girls get to go everywhere." ~Mae West
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 7:20 AM
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Since 2002, there's been an International Talk Like A Pirate Day on September 19th. Did you know that? I didn't. I first read about it on Fal's blog on Sunday, then on Jenna's yesterday. Apparently, two friends established it because... I don't know why. They picked September 19th because it was the birthday of one of the men's ex-wives and so would be easy for him to remember.
So, strap on your eyepatch, put the parrot on your shoulder, and get ready to walk the plank.
Hey, I gotta tell you... I'd walk Johnny Depp's plank any day!
"Me, I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly, it's the honest ones you have to watch out for, you can never predict if they're going to do something incredibly stupid." ~Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Monday, September 18, 2006
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Oh, he's soooo tempting. I want my hand where his is. Not the one under his head.
Well, maybe it is the one under his, er, head.
He's scruffy and rumpled and looks comfortable. Maybe a bit too comfortable...
"He who hesitates is a damned fool." ~Mae West
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 7:50 AM
Saturday, September 16, 2006
I watched Access Hollywood Thursday night. I usually only end up watching that if I've watched the 6:00 news and have nothing else to watch until 7. Anyway, they had a segment about models.
Get this. Finally, finally it seems some folks are waking up--in Madrid, the Spanish Association of Fashion Designers has banned models who are too thin. Some people think it's a good idea; after all, models in magazines are the women young girls (and even those not so young) look up to as having the ideal body. And the ruling has enraged some--because they're disriminating against people who are thin.
Well, it's about damned time. I've spent much of my adult life watching people's reaction to overweight people, hearing snide remarks, etc. And I'd thought maybe it was just me, but if you can see a woman's ribs across her chest... Okay, first of all, just ewww. But if you can see bone stripes, she's too thin.
Am I right? Come on, you men out there. Please tell me you don't find this woman that attractive. She's got rib stripes, and just look at those frickin' hipbones! Someone could get hurt with those. Just as being overweight is unhealthy, so is being underweight. A woman who's 5'9" and weighs 107 pounds (the average height/weight of a runway model) is too thin. I'm 5'4", and my ideal weight is 110-120.
Thank you, Madrid.
And, yes, I'm dieting. Again. So maybe this is all just jealousy on my part.
But maybe not.
Wish me luck.
"It ain't no sin if you crack a few laws now and then. As long as you don't break any." ~Mae West
Friday, September 15, 2006
Mega-talented author Cheyenne McCray will be visiting Follow Your Passion tomorrow beginning at 12:00 p.m. If you're not a member yet... why not?!? Come on over and join the fun!
Cheyenne's latest book, in collaboration with MacKenzie McKade, is Kalina's Discovery, book 2 in the Return to Wonderland series.
Sorceress Kalina has accepted that love is not in her cards, but she can't refuse the allure of Prince Eral. She desires the mystical werefin with a power she finds hard to deny. But she's a weretiger, a creature of the land. There can be no future for them. When Kalina's visions call her to Atlantis, she must face her terror of water to try to save a king and realize her own dreams.
Eral feels Kalina in his mind, on his skin, in his very blood. Even though she resists him and shuns his watery homeland, he remains determined to win the she-cat and claim her for his own.
But an evil sorcerer has other plans for them--deadly, painful plans. Eral and Kalina must join their hearts, minds, and formidable powers to save a kingdom and discover a love that even their differences can't divide.
This is a wonderful series! But, wait, there's more! Book 2 in her Magic series is coming soon, too:
What are you waiting for? If you're not already a member of Follow Your Passion, come on over and join!!
"I feel like a million tonight. But one at a time." ~Mae West
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:15 AM
Thursday, September 14, 2006
...to angst about. Thanks to Kelly Maher, I've been watching my books over at Fictionwise, to see how they're doing. I don't know if it means anything at all, other than it's something else to get my gut twisted in a knot over. Thanks, hon.
On September 7th, here were the rankings:
Dragon's Bane - #17
The Praetorians: Discovery - #87
Summer Sizzlers - #46
Zodiac: Pisces - #282
Torrid Teasers Volume 3 - #339
As of September 11th, they were ranked:
Dragon's Bane - #24 -- Slipped down the rankings a bit
The Praetorians: Discovery - #27 -- Wow! Moved up 60 spaces!!
Summer Sizzlers - #61 -- Ouch!
Zodiac: Pisces - #243 -- Moved up almost 40 spaces
Torrid Teasers Volume 3 - #491 -- Another ouch! That's 152 spaces. Zowee!
And as of today...
Dragon's Bane - #34 -- Down another 10 notches
The Praetorians: Discovery - #9 -- Wahoo!! It made the top 10 and is ranked a Best Seller!!!!
Summer Sizzlers - #139 -- Oy.
Zodiac: Pisces - #193 -- Up another 50 spots!
Torrid Teasers Volume 3 -- #339 -- Back where we started.
Initially, I wasn't sure this was a good idea, watching my stats, cuz it's rather depressing to watch my books moving farther and farther down the list. But when they're moving up...
Look at Discovery! It's in the top 10!! *VBG*
"Virtue has it's own reward, but has no sale at the box office." ~Mae West
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:55 AM
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
I found this site from the NY City Fire Department, a tribute to their fallen. Easily, they lost the most men at one time on September 11, 2001. Be prepared to reach for your tissues.
And this, from YouTube:
(I'm not sure why, but I can't get YouTube to embed in my blog anymore.)
On September 11th, we saw the worst that human beings can offer... and we saw the best.
In New York City, we lost police officers, Port Authority officers and other emergency workers, as well as people just going about their lives. In a field in Pennsylvania we lost more people--sons, fathers, brothers, wives, sisters. At the Pentagon we lost still more.
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 12:04 AM
Sunday, September 10, 2006
I recently checked my stats on how people are coming to my blog, and found a few...interesting search strings. Hmph. I guess I know what they were thinking. Check these out:
"Cheyenne McCray spanking" -- Chey? Looks like somebody thinks you're spankalicious. LOL
"against the saddle orgasm" -- Well, yeah. Isn't that what saddles are for?
"dakota her nipple moaned" -- Nipples moan? Really? I have two of them and they've never made any noise. Hmm.
"she kissed my clit" -- Um, no. If you're looking for lesbian erotic romance (and there's nothing wrong with that), you won't find it here. This is strictly a hetero zone.
Well, at least there are no icky porno hits. LOL
"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." ~Mae West
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 12:02 AM
Saturday, September 09, 2006
The October issue of the Romantic Times magazine arrived in my mailbox yesterday and I quite unexpectedly tore off the blue plastic wrap to find--*gasp*--my name is on the cover!
Here's a picture of the cover, although you can't read my name on it. :(
Yep. That's right. L'il ol' me made the cover of RT as part of the feature about New Concepts Publishing's 10th anniversary--they have the two covers of the celebration anthologies, Phoenix Rising I and II--and I have a story in Phoenix Rising I (which is the bottom cover--my name's the fourth one at the top of the cover).
I'm just so tickled, I can't hardly stand myself. LOL
It's like a rock star being on the cover of Rolling Stones... or more like Mike in Monsters, Inc., with his little eyeball body mostly covered up by the bar code. But, hey. It's still there! LOL
"It's better to be looked over than overlooked." ~Mae West
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:21 AM
Friday, September 08, 2006
This Saturday, Ellora's Cave author Denise Agnew will be my guest at Follow Your Passion, my readers group. Be a member before 12 p.m. EST and you'll get to read great excerpts and "chat" with this exceptional writer!
Here's some information about her most recent book, Treacherous Wishes:
Just when you've stopped looking over your shoulder…
Evil finds a way…
Tammy Carter lost her psychic abilities in the aftermath of tragedy. Now, years later, her power resurrects when evil returns to her town. Everything in her comfort zone is disintegrating, except for one thing—the searing attraction she feels for one man. The one man who might stand between her…and death.
Bodyguard Kyle Hawthorne doesn't believe in the supernatural or in Tammy's psychic gift, but when her life is threatened he'll do anything to protect her. Professionalism requires a platonic relationship with his coworker at Taggert Security Team, yet the sizzling connection he feels for Tammy demands exploration every time he's near her.
Tammy harbors lightning-hot fantasies about Kyle. Suddenly their sensual desires and emotional connections are too powerful to ignore, and as they seek to sate the long-denied sexual hunger, they spark a chain reaction of events that may bring them together, or allow the evil to consume them.
Plan on joining us at Follow Your Passion tomorrow beginning at 12 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. We're gonna have fun!!
Click here to join:
Click to join sherrillquinn
Or to join via email:
See you there!
Today I'll be over at Love Romances Cafe with Shara Lanel and AJ Matthews, talking about our paranormal books at Liquid Silver. I'll also be stopping in at the NCP readers loop tomorrow with excerpts from Atonement, my NCP vampire story. So, if you get a chance, join me, won't you?
"He who hesitates is last." ~Mae West
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Oh, hey! I'm over at the Amber Heat blog today with a sneak peek at my October release, Obsidian's Flame. Come on over and say hi!
"Every man I meet wants to protect me. I can't figure out what from." ~Mae West
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:07 AM
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid: What happened after Cinderella married Prince Charming? Dragon's Bane is the story of Adara Tremeirchion, fairy godmother extraordinaire, and Ruarc of Melthione. After she did her job and got Cinderella together with her Prince Charming, Adara was considered the best in the guild. She also had made an enemy of Cinderella's stepmother, a devious, powerful witch. When Adara sees Ruarc for the first time, her heart recognizes him as her One True Love. But the wicked stepmother has other plans for both of them.
Ruarc is cursed to be dragon by night, man by day. Adara is stripped of her magic, and both of them are sent to the Hinterlands, where the dragons rule. In order to return to his life, Ruarc needs the blood of a virgin. For Adara to regain her magic and once again save Cinderella, she needs the blood and scales of a dragon.
Magic, dragons, wicked witches and True Love. What more do you need?
From Wateena at Coffee Time Romance:
"Simply wonderful! A behind the scene look at a fairy tale we have all grown up with. But cover the little one’s ears, because this is not for the faint of heart. This tale features fascinating characters under extraordinary circumstances, woven (with) this lovely fairy tale around it. Extremely erotic sex scenes that are hotter than dragon fire makes this one twisted fairy tale you will want to read for your bedtime story."
Dragon's Bane, available now at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid!
T.A. Chase's second book is available today at Loose-Id:
Herpetologist Kael Hammerson is hiding in Ireland, working at a research lab. While Ireland may seem a strange place for someone in his field, it was the furthest away he could get from his abusive ex-partner. Now, a year later, his heart is ready to heal.
Kael's boss, Hugh Price, is very interested in Kael, but is afraid to cross the line from employer to lover. When a strange sea creature is brought into the lab, Hugh and Kael are swept into a fight for their lives and the lives of mankind.
Dragons have returned and the men must decide if their own love can survive the interference of a goddess.
Here Be Dragons, available now at Loose-Id!
"Don't keep a man guessing too long--he's sure to find the answer somewhere else." ~Mae West
Monday, September 04, 2006
Bob Parsons, the founder of GoDaddy.com (where I host my website), published the following article on his blog in 2005. I have a copy of the rules hanging in my office as a reminder to me when things start getting a little rough. I hope you'll find these useful, too. Reprinted with permission:
I liked Clint Eastwood's rules.
Also at that time, I happened to pick up a copy of Men's Journal. Clint Eastwood was on the cover and an article featured 10 items called "Clint's rules." I found his rules to be interesting. They were things like, "You are what you drive," "avoid extreme makeovers," and things like that. As Clint Eastwood is a pretty easy guy to respect, I thought the whole rule thing was pretty cool. And the more I thought about it, I realized that over the years I had accumulated a number of principles (or rules) that I tried very hard to adhere to — and these rules (in many ways) have become the foundation for whatever successes I've had.
So, a few weeks before the meeting, I sat down and started typing — in no particular order — the rules I try to live by. At the breakfast meeting, I read my rules at the end of my presentation. The response was amazing. I was swamped with requests for copies of the rules. An edited list was published in the Arizona Republic newspaper a few days later. I was even called and interviewed by a local radio station about the list.
Since then, some of the rules have been edited, some consolidated, and a few new ones added. Despite those changes, the list of rules I presented that morning are pretty much what appears at the end of this post.
My rules come from the significant life events I've experienced.
As I write this, I am now 54 years old, and during my life thus far I suspect that I've encountered more significant life events than most people ever dream about. Here's some information about me:
I grew up in a lower middle class family in Baltimore's inner city. We were always broke. I've earned everything I ever received. Very little was ever given to me.
I've been working as long as I can remember. Whether it was delivering or selling newspapers, pumping gas, working in construction or in a factory, I've always been making my own money.
And, of course, not all life events are happy ones.
I was stood up to be executed during a robbery of a gas station where I was working when I was 16. To my amazement, my would-be executioner could not muster the nerve to pull the trigger. This saved both of us. I lived, and while he went to jail, he did not go there forever. Even though there were other witnesses to the gas station robbery and assault, and other crimes he and a partner committed, I was the only one who testified against them. They both received major jail sentences.
I was with a United States Marine Corps rifle company in Viet Nam for a short while in 1969. As a combat rifleman, I learned several key life lessons that resulted in some of the rules I try to live by. I learned first hand how significant a role "luck" or karma can play in our lives. The rifle company I was assigned to, Delta Company of the 1st Batallion, 26th Marines, operated in the rice paddys of Quang Nam province. We operated on the squad level (7 to 10 of us, depending on casualties), and most every night we left our command post and went several kilometers out into the rice paddys and set up in ambush. While there are many who saw significantly more combat action than me, I did see my share. After 5 or 6 weeks, I was wounded and medevaced to Japan. I returned to Viet Nam several times after that, but came back as a courier of classified documents. Although I requested (at least twice) to return to my old rifle company, the transfer was never approved.
After the Marine Corps, I used the G.I. Bill to attend college, and graduated from the University of Baltimore with a degree in accounting. I attended college mostly at night. After college, I took and passed the CPA exam. I worked only a few years as an accountant. The lion's share of my career has been spent as an entrepreneur.
I've been very lucky when it comes to business.
I started a successful business division for a company called LeaseAmerica. During the four years I was involved with this business, it grew to 84 employees and wrote over $150 million dollars in small office equipment leases. Its success helped redefine how business in that industry is now conducted.
Not long after I started the division for LeaseAmerica, I started a software company in the basement of my house. I started it with the little bit of money I had, and named it Parsons Technology. I owned this business for 10 years, grew it to about 1,000 employees and just shy of $100 million a year in sales. Eventually, we sold Parsons Technology to a company named Intuit. Because my then-wife and I were the only investors, and the company had no debt, we received the entire purchase price.
Shortly after selling Parsons Technology, my wife and I decided to go our separate ways and did the customary "divide everything by two." I then moved to Arizona and retired for a year. This was a requirement of my deal with Intuit.
Retirement was not for me.
Retirement wasn't for me, so after the mandatory year passed, and using the money I had from the sale of Parsons Technology, I started a new business. This business eventually became The Go Daddy Group. I started this business from scratch, did it without acquisitions, and developed our own products. In the process, I came spooky close to losing everything I had, and actually made the decision to "lose it all" rather than close Go Daddy. Today, Go Daddy is the world leader in new domain name registrations, and has been cash flow positive since October 2001 (not bad for a dot com). As of this writing, I continue to be the only investor in Go Daddy.
Throughout all of these life events, I came to accumulate a number of rules that I look to in various situations. Some of them I learned the hard way. Others I learned from the study of history. I know they work because I have applied them in both my business and personal life.
And one more thing.
I've read many times that original ideas are rare indeed. This is particularly true when it comes to the rules herein. I can't imagine that any of my rules represent new ideas.
My contribution is that I've assembled these ideas, put them to work in my life, and can attest — that more often than not — they hold true.
While I put my 16 rules together in response to a business question, I've been told by others that they can be applied to almost any pursuit.
Here are the 16 rules I try to live by:
1. Get and stay out of your comfort zone. I believe that not much happens of any significance when we're in our comfort zone. I hear people say, "But I'm concerned about security." My response to that is simple: "Security is for cadavers."
2. Never give up. Almost nothing works the first time it's attempted. Just because what you're doing does not seem to be working, doesn't mean it won't work. It just means that it might not work the way you're doing it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn't have an opportunity.
3. When you're ready to quit, you're closer than you think. There's an old Chinese saying that I just love, and I believe it is so true. It goes like this: "The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed."
4. With regard to whatever worries you, not only accept the worst thing that could happen, but make it a point to quantify what the worst thing could be. Very seldom will the worst consequence be anywhere near as bad as a cloud of "undefined consequences." My father would tell me early on, when I was struggling and losing my shirt trying to get Parsons Technology going, "Well, Robert, if it doesn't work, they can't eat you."
5. Focus on what you want to have happen. Remember that old saying, "As you think, so shall you be."
6. Take things a day at a time. No matter how difficult your situation is, you can get through it if you don't look too far into the future, and focus on the present moment. You can get through anything one day at a time.
7. Always be moving forward. Never stop investing. Never stop improving. Never stop doing something new. The moment you stop improving your organization, it starts to die. Make it your goal to be better each and every day, in some small way. Remember the Japanese concept of Kaizen. Small daily improvements eventually result in huge advantages.
8. Be quick to decide. Remember what General George S. Patton said: "A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan tomorrow."
9. Measure everything of significance. I swear this is true. Anything that is measured and watched, improves.
10. Anything that is not managed will deteriorate. If you want to uncover problems you don't know about, take a few moments and look closely at the areas you haven't examined for a while. I guarantee you problems will be there.
11. Pay attention to your competitors, but pay more attention to what you're doing. When you look at your competitors, remember that everything looks perfect at a distance. Even the planet Earth, if you get far enough into space, looks like a peaceful place.
12. Never let anybody push you around. In our society, with our laws and even playing field, you have just as much right to what you're doing as anyone else, provided that what you're doing is legal.
13. Never expect life to be fair. Life isn't fair. You make your own breaks. You'll be doing good if the only meaning fair has to you, is something that you pay when you get on a bus (i.e., fare).
14. Solve your own problems. You'll find that by coming up with your own solutions, you'll develop a competitive edge. Masura Ibuka, the co-founder of SONY, said it best: "You never succeed in technology, business, or anything by following the others." There's also an old Asian saying that I remind myself of frequently. It goes like this: "A wise man keeps his own counsel."
15. Don't take yourself too seriously. Lighten up. Often, at least half of what we accomplish is due to luck. None of us are in control as much as we like to think we are.
16. There's always a reason to smile. Find it. After all, you're really lucky just to be alive. Life is short. More and more, I agree with my little brother. He always reminds me: "We're not here for a long time; we're here for a good time."
A special word of thanks.
I owe a special thanks to Brian Dunn. When I first wrote these rules down and was thinking about compiling them into a book — that book, like most books I suppose, has been half-done for a while ; — Brian read them and suggested a title. His suggestion was, "They Can't Eat You." I like Brian's suggestion for two reasons: 1. It reminds me of my Dad. I sure miss him; and 2. It's true. No matter how difficult things get, you're going to be OK. It's very important to realize that. Thanks, Brian.
The above article is posted with the permission of Bob Parsons (http://www.bobparsons.com) and is copyright © 2004-2006 by Bob Parsons. All rights reserved.
"If you put your foot in it, be sure it's your best foot." ~Mae West
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 12:02 AM
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Warning: I'm not treating this subject seriously here (big surprise here, that I'm not being serious...). If you're really "into" angels and don't appreciate the subject being treated lightly, don't read on. If you read on and are offended, don't say I didn't warn you...
Guardian angels. Are there such things? Even with my religious upbringing, I'm not sure I believe everyone has their own personal guardian angel. Of course, if they all looked like this beautiful angel, I might adjust my thinking...
"I'm no angel, but I've spread my wings a bit." ~Mae West
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 8:08 AM
Friday, September 01, 2006
SPOILER ALERT!!!! DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.
It's down to two: Feedback and Fat Momma.
The first thing they did tonight was put them on a trampoline. Feedback was doing back flips and just having a great time. Fat Momma bounced up and down and managed to (on purpose) bounce from her rear back to her feet again. But I loved her response when she got off the thing: "I did it without losing one donut."
Feedback was just too cute--so enthusiastic about getting to do all these cool stunts, and when they told him they'd get to do it in front of a green screen... I thought he was gonna pee his pants.
Fat Momma: "I need a donut for this one." Funny!! She got on the thing to be able to jump off and "fly" across the green screen, but when she got to thinking about her kids, she knew she couldn't afford to get hurt and she got down. I liked Feedback's response. He said something to the effect that Fat Momma constantly amazed him in the ways she was heroic every day. Awww.
After all the filming with the green screen, Stan had some one-on-one time with Feedback and Fat Momma. He wanted to learn more about them as people, not their characters.
Feedback (aka Matthew) was so sincere in his desire to be looked up to and have people trust him. Feedback considers Stan Lee to be his hero--after his father committed suicide, Matthew found solace and even a sense of direction from Spiderman and, therefore, from Stan.
Fat Momma (aka ??) said her most significant moment was when Stan told her he was proud of her. It meant a lot to her that he noticed. When he asked who her hero is, she said it was her father. He's a strong man, a good man, and she started to cry, saying that he's getting older and won't be around much longer. It made me start thinking about my own dad, who will be 80 in December. Stan told her she was his hero.
Then... it was time to make the announcement. They did it from the University City Walk at Universal Studios. More cheesy special effects and a crowd of people breathlessly awaiting Stan Lee (who never once made a personal appearance--he was always on a TV screen).
And the winner is...
Wait for it...
And he looked so shocked when the announcement was made, especially since it was made this way:
"The last superhero who has to turn in their costume is... Fat Momma."
Then, when Stan introduced him as the next great superhero, it hit him. He laughed and yelled, especially when his wife came up to him. Then his family and friends and all the others who'd been in the show came up. And fireworks galore.
Then - finally - Stan came up and greeted Feedback in person.
This was a fun--and really cheesy--show. The first reality show I've watched from start to finish. Of course, it was only 6 weeks long, so that probably helped. LOL
I was happy to see Feedback won. Of all of them, he really seemed to be the one most emotionally invested in it. Good for him!
"I love you, but if we're going to make this work, you have to be more than Mr. Incredible." ~Helen (from The Incredibles)
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:30 AM