Tag Archives: michael bradley

My Books Now Available at The Bookstore

I had a great signing this weekend at 16th Street and Bethany Home Road in Phoenix at The Bookstore.  The Bookstore now offers all six of my books for sale on their shelves if you are looking for a location to buy them.  Of course, the Store tab on this page has links for those of you wishing to buy online versions.

Thanks!

 

 

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Saturday at Keen Halloween…

I Read “The Hair” a short story in Twisted Nightmares for the Keen to Read horror story reading panel.  Spent some time at my publisher’s table selling and signing some books.  It was a good time.  Here are some pictures…Click to see whole picture and caption…

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Please Buy Blood Bank, my 5th Novel, Just Out Now!

Blood Bank is an adventure that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world with the strange start of a clerk who tracks blood for the controlling monsters.  My beta readers say it’s the best book I’ve written so far.  Your patronage is MUCH appreciated, as are any reviews posted to Amazon.  (Pardon my gratuitous begging…)

Here is the cover, illustrated by Alfred Trujillo and Cara Nicole at 183 Degrees studios.  Thanks to my publisher at Arizona Publishing Services, LLC.  There is also an alternative cover with Cara Nicole as the character Shawna which will be available on Kindle and at special convention events.

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Here is the Amazon link to purchase:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AENMYUG

Here is a brief description off the back cover:  William believes he is the only non-bitten human left in the world. He spent his entire life raised by vampires to run their blood bank and keep track of deposits and withdrawals. One day, young Shawna, a human who grew up in the wild is dropped into his prison for companionship. Neither William nor Shawna really understand the world in which they live and they both become unwitting pawns in a final power play by their vampire Overlords.

The Alternative Cover:

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Bank-Michael-Bradley-ebook/dp/B01A6I3NWW/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452462373&sr=1-2&keywords=blood+bank

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Phoenix Comic Con 2015 – Friday!

Here are some pictures from Phoenix Comic Con 2015 I took earlier today.  Most are outside my booth at 3118.  Please stop by to say hi, or even better, buy a book!

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Cosplayers – Rebecca Gau and Jaime Molera think you are “Offensive”

So here is the story on Azcentral.com.  That’s right, Rebecca Gau and Jaime Molera think that my weekly post of cosplayer pictures are racy and offensive.  I should not be able to work at the Arizona Department of Education according to them because you cosplayers are just so scantily clad and inappropriate, that if I post cool pics of you on my site, somehow it will destroy the morals of children across Arizona.  They also attack Cassie O’Quin, known to most of you as Cassandra S. Kyle.  I met her and interviewed for KWOD Radio because of all her charity work with children.  She deserves better than yellow journalism and hate-based accusations and innuendo.

Here is Jaime Molera’s lobbying firm contact information, if you wish to express your opinion:

602.279.9925 Phone
602.279.9935 Fax
300 W. Clarendon Avenue
Suite 220
Phoenix, AZ 85013-3422
info@ma-firm.com

Here is Rebecca Gau’s contact information in case you think her opinion is what is “offensive”:

Twitter – @RebeccaGau

602-926-1707
Don’t defend me.  These two are outspoken critics of my boss, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Diane Douglas.  I am used to criticism and could really care less what these two think.  However, they have essentially called the whole cosplay community a bunch of racy, degenerative sluts in their attempt to discredit me.  Despite my efforts on “cosplay is not consent” and supporting the cosplay community, there are still ignorant people like this who think you soft porn for dressing up like your favorite characters.  If you disagree, please let them know.
Now for the article – I think I have a wider circulation than the Arizona Republic, so I will help them out… 🙂

Racy photos on website of schools chief’s aide draw criticism

The online activity of Superintendent Diane Douglas’ chief of staff is raising questions among officials and influential figures in the education community, who view it as inappropriate given his position at an agency responsible for educating more than a million Arizona K-12 students.

Michael Bradley, who is in charge of day-to-day operations at the Arizona Department of Education, runs a website featuring items of general interest, including pictures of dogs and quirky news items, as well as thousands of photos of scantily clad women in costumes, and sexually suggestive images and humor.

It’s the racy imagery, including an image of one woman touching another woman’s breasts and women eating phallically-shaped foods that has caused concerns.

Bradley, also an author of “PG-13 and R-rated” science-fiction books, defended the images posted at www.mbtimetraveler.com and on a separate social-media site as typical of the popular hobby known as “cosplay,” or costume play where women and men dress as characters inspired by popular culture. He says his website is a “re-post website,” and that most of the content is sent to him by those who want their images shared. He said similar images are also available on social-media sites such as Facebook.

“You see more at a nightclub,” Bradley said of the images on his site. “It’s really harmless.”

Bradley noted that mainstream news sites, including azcentral.com, post photos of women in cosplay. Bradley said Friday that he plans to delete a collection of sexually suggestive photos of women eating food.

Douglas has known about the website and his writings for months, he said.

A Department of Education spokesman said Douglas was returning to the Valley from Yuma on Friday and was not immediately available for comment.

On the website, Bradley identifies himself as a full-time author and public speaker, but makes no mention of his position as the No. 2 official in the state Education Department.

Concern over Bradley’s website has mounted in recent weeks as knowledge of it has spread, reaching the highest levels of state government.

The Governor’s Office did not immediately respond for a request for comment.

Former schools Superintendent Jaime Molera says he supports freedom of speech, but that given his position, Bradley’s online activity crosses a line for parents and teachers.

“If he’s a private guy and this is his genre of writing, that’s his decision, and certainly there’s a whole lot of people who are into that,” Molera said. “At the same time, he’s the chief of staff to the state schools superintendent and there is a standard that they have to portray to the public — particularly schoolkids.”

Rebecca Gau, executive director of Stand for Children and a former gubernatorial education policy adviser, said she learned of the website weeks ago. She said the content is “offensive.”

“There are pictures of women’s breasts, there are pictures of paraphernalia related to women’s breasts, there are comments about women’s breasts,” said Gau. “I take my children’s digital footprint very seriously, I would expect state leaders to do the same thing.

“When you’re paid by taxpayers … there’s a certain expectation that you’re going to conduct yourself at all times in a respectable way.”

Bradley said the criticism stems from disagreement with the policies and politics of Douglas. He said he warned Douglas that her critics might use the website as ammunition against her.

“It’s just enemies looking for a reason to get mad at me,” Bradley told The Arizona Republic. “I don’t think anybody at the Capitol even knew I had a website, so for them to go to it and complain about it, they just disagree with whatever policy … the superintendent has, and so they want to find something to criticize me. I’m a pretty clean-cut person.”

“People will try to destroy me because they hate Diane Douglas,” Bradley said.

Bradley was thrust into the spotlight in February, when he orchestrated the attempted firings of two Board of Education staffers because of their perceived support for the Common Core education standards. The incident led to a standoff between Douglas and Gov. Doug Ducey over who has the authority to hire and fire Department of Education staff.

Bradley launched the website before he began working with Douglas and said he intends to continue operating the site and writing after his employment with the state ends. Bradley said he told Douglas he was an author, and told her about his books, telling her they aren’t available in schools and “I’m not a famous author.” He said his website has had more than 1 million hits, and about 3,000 hits daily.

Bradley, who earns $150,000 a year, said he does not blog during work hours, but schedules some content to automatically appear during the day.

Asked if the website is appropriate, given his position with the state, Bradley said, “I’ve kept my writing life separate.”

One woman featured in costume on his website has been hired as an executive assistant to Douglas, a $40,000-a-year position Bradley describes as “low-level.”

Bradley said he met Cassie O’Quin through the cosplay community. He said they became friendly, and after researching her background he asked if she would be interested in working as Douglas’ executive assistant. Quin’s position is at-will since she reports to Douglas, he said.

Records from the Department of Administration show O’Quin was hired on Dec. 24, shortly before Douglas was sworn into office.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Administration said she is unaware of any state policy pertaining to employees’ personal websites.

Former schools Superintendent John Huppenthal, who blogged under pseudonyms during his time in office, declined to comment on Bradley’s activities, saying he’s now a “private person.”

Political analysts have attributed Huppenthal’s secret blogging, which included remarks that people who receive public assistance are “lazy pigs” and that Spanish-language media should be shut down, as one reason for his loss to Douglas in the 2014 Republican primary election.

Reach the reporter at yvonne.wingett@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-4712.

Follow on Twitter @yvonnewingett

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Wild Wild West Con 2015

First, I want to thank all the awesome people out there that put this together…

Co-owner and Director of Operations – Jason DrotmanJDrotman@wildwestcon.com

Co-owner and Director of Entertainment – Diana Given – DGiven@wildwestcon.com


 

Operations Department

Marketing Manager – Sarah CumberbatchMarketing@wildwestcon,com

Guest Services Manager – Nicole CantwellGuestServices@wildwestcon.com

Photography Manager – Wendy TrakesPhotography@wildwestcon.com

Security Manager – Ray Vaughn Rai – security@wildwestcon.com

Vendor Manager – Shamella Tribble – Vendors@wildwestcon.com

Volunteer Manager – Deena Johnson – Volunteers@wildwestcon.com

Here was what happened the last several days, ending at 6 pm today…

We’ve packed the first weekend in March with an amazing selection of Steampunk Fun!

• Concerts Featuring Abney Park, Steam Powered Giraffe, Frenchy and the Punk and The Cog is Dead

• See our list of over 35 FEATURED GUESTS!

• 62 Vendors • Contests • 80+ Panels & Workshops
• Entertainment and Rides • Fashion Show • Artists • Authors • Tea Dueling • Kids Zone • Performers • And more!

Lastly, thanks to the awesome mother/daughter Tucson Steampunkers (Susan McKinstry and Alexis McKinstry) that kept me company at the event!

Here are some sample pictures for you to enjoy!

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Amy Wilder – Model and Cosplayer – Get to Know Her Better…

Interview with Amy Wilder

By Michael Bradley

Today we are interviewing Amy Wilder, an extraordinary young lady involved in Steampunk Cosplay, the con scene, and professional modeling.  A photo collection follows.  You can click on the first picture and then arrow through them to see them full-sized.  NOTE:  This interview will appear in an upcoming issue of The WOD Magazine and an extended version will be podcast in the future by Patti Hulstrand on KWOD Radio.

Amy Wilder, Steampunk Cosplay

Amy Wilder, Steampunk Cosplay

Q.  Amy, thanks so much for this chance to get to know you better.  I first noticed you on a Steampunk site and reposted your picture on my blog with about forty other pictures.  Immediately, people popped out of the woodwork to let me know it was you in the picture, so you have some fans out there.  What got you involved in Steampunk cosplay and how long have you been doing it?

A. I guess you could say I was always a fan of steampunk style, though I didn’t hear the word till my first DragonCon in 2008… I thought it was just a cool way people dressed at cons, and for photoshoots. I discovered steampunk culture, and fell absolutely in love with it when I wandered into AnachroCon in Atlanta in 2013, and I’ve been immersed and obsessed ever since.

Q.  I was impressed that after working at Hooters for just a few years, you were selected as a candidate for their calendar and you made it all the way through.  How was that experience and was it exciting to be chosen from thousands of Hooters Girls nationwide?

A. Oh yes! That was my very first publication, and being one of just over 200 girls picked was amazing. I even had my own shot glasses, it was so cool. During my time at Hooters, I was also the regional “Hooters Girl of the Quarter” and a state finalist in their swimsuit pageant. I worked hard there, and gained a ton of modeling experience, but it was time to move on to bigger things. 🙂

Q.  You created your own Hooters Girl Superhero.  What gave you that idea?  That must have been a lot of fun?

 A. Oh goodness, that one WAS fun. Working at Hooters, I always joked that getting into uniform and doing that job made us superheroes, but one day while helping a friend buy fabric for one of her cosplays, I found a few yards of neon orange fabric on sale, and the rest was silly history.

Q.  You have two sides to you in pictures.  In your regular photos you’re the sweet girl next door with dreamy doe eyes and a pet cat.  In your modeling photos you transform into a sultry bikini supermodel with a bold look.  Do you feel different modeling or cosplaying than just being at home?  Do you take on the persona you are playing?

A.  I think I always feel like me… but there’s something about an awesome costume or outfit, and hair and makeup to the max that can bring out the sexy bombshell in anyone. I have tons of fun playing different roles and being different people in front of the camera… but behind all that, I still make faces and talk about my cat. 😛

Q.  Recently at San Diego Comic Con some haters criticized you for a skimpy outfit not being “Steampunk.”  I know many came to your defense.  Women wear less at the beach or at nightclubs but there are haters out there for cosplayers.  How do you react to this type of controversy?

A.  I think that cosplay and steampunk, just like anything else, attracts all kinds of people, and I’m never going to be everyone’s cup of tea. The outfit in question actually went over very well in person at SDCC, as I was able to explain the cheeky joke behind it. I just ask that everybody try to be a little kinder to each other and remember why we’re here. We didn’t get into steampunk to tell other people how to have fun, we got into steampunk to dress up in cool costumes, share our fantastical devices and mad ideas, and shoot each other with modded nerf guns. 😉

Q.  You work a lot with Thomas Willeford, one of the top Steampunk crafters.  Are you two friends?  How did you come to meet him and model his Steampunk outfits?

A.  Thomas is one of my all-time favorite people. I had been a fan of his work since I tried on a corset at my first DragonCon, his work is actually what first got me interested in steampunk. It wasn’t till years later that I got up the guts to introduce myself, and ask if I could model for him. But now I am one of his main spokes-models, an occasional apprentice in his shop, and consider him one of my dearest friends. Without his advice and support, I don’t think I would have taken my love of dressing up a step further and started modeling seriously.

Q.  You are tall but maintain a zero size and a curvy figure.  Do you have a strict exercise regimen and diet, or some other secrets to share?

 A. I have a workout regimen I stick to pretty faithfully including weights, body weight exercise, and tons of cardio. I like to think I’m strong enough to defend the innocent from petty villains, and fast enough to outrun a zombie horde… As for diet, I cook my own food when possible, and try to use fresh ingredients, but I eat what I want.

Q.  You are very young now, but like with athletes, models work long hours, have tough demands and a limited career length.  What are some of your long term goals, or are you taking it day by day and enjoying the current ride first?

 A.  Though I love modeling, my real hope is to finally get a workspace of my own set up and start designing. I actually studied fashion design and sculpture in college… I have a lot of ideas.

 Q.  You had a man sculpt you from scratch and recreate one of your Steampunk poses.  Who was that artist again?  That must have been very exciting?

 A.  Yes! Madsculptor! I was so honored when he chose to sculpt me, and he did such an incredible job! It is really an amazing experience watching your own visage come to life before your eyes. In fact, recently my likeness was also reproduced by famous pin-up artist Armando Huerta… As an artist myself, knowing I inspired someone else’s art will always be a big deal to me, and a huge honor.

Q.  As a southern girl from Georgia, do you have that Georgia Peach accent?  Does it get lighter when you travel and stronger when you go back?

 A. Nope! Actually, growing up with a dad in the Army, I have lived in every corner of the US, and been exposed to all manner of accents. I’ve been known to pick up the accents of people I am having conversations with… But no accent whatsoever to call my own.

Q.  You go to quite a few pop culture events and conventions.  As these have gained popularity, do you feel the security is adequate?  As an attractive young woman have you had issues with some of the inappropriate comments and touching that other cosplayers have experienced?

A.  I will be honest, I have never been harassed at a con… Maybe an enthusiastic suitor here and there, but always harmless and quite respectful. Of course I know that a skimpy, skin-baring cosplay is likely to draw more comments of the “misguided compliment” variety, but I’ve never felt offended or unsafe. In fact, I was THRILLED with the level of respect and politeness, (and the fantastic security that missed nothing) I encountered at SDCC, which I’d been warned would be a madhouse. The only times I’ve ever felt truly harassed at cons are when I have had to leave the con space in costume, I think sometimes the general public takes not understanding why I dress up as a license to be extremely disrespectful.

Q.  You have a fantastic look, so I am not surprised you were “found” by photographers.  Still, who was the first person to ask you to get involved in pictures?

 A.  The first modeling I ever did was at Savannah College of Art & Design for a fellow student majoring in photography. Corey Crowley (now Vampman Studios) approached me in the lunch hall simply because I was tall. I did tons of photoshoots for him, I gained a ton of confidence through that, and learned a lot about modeling, and how to act in front of a camera. I don’t know if I would have ever pursued modeling had I not done those fun shoots.

Q.  What would you suggest for others interested in getting into cosplay and into modeling?

 A.  Just do it, and do your best! Make contacts, attend events, and most importantly, HAVE FUN.

Q.  With all the travel you are faced with, what keeps you centered and so happy?  You always seem so positive.

A.  I guess that one is a weird answer, staying positive IS what keeps me so positive. We all have hard times, and get stressed or discouraged… We all have “everything is terrible, I’m terrible, and my goals and dreams will never work” moments… But I always try to look forward, see the silver linings, and hope for the best. Dwelling on something negative will never make it better, but reaching past, grabbing something positive, and running with it? That is what keeps a person going.

Q.  Who would you like to give shout outs to?  Great photographers, friends, supporters and others who have helped you on your path?

A.  Oh God… Everybody… can I say everybody? Every photographer who thought I was good enough to shoot with, every friend who encouraged me. Every designer who had me wear their work, every con organizer who hosted me. Every nice comment, every “like”, every photo share… Every person who recognizes me at a con, or doesn’t, but comes to introduce themselves anyway… You all keep me going! Thank you! ❤

Q.  Where can people contact you for photoshoots and other events?

A.  The best way to contact me is to e-mail me at AmyWILDERness@yahoo.com, or message me on my Facebook fanpage at http://www.facebook.com/AmyWILDERness. 🙂

Q.  Where can fans follow you online?

 A.  I am on Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram. You can follow me @amywilderness. 🙂

Q.  What else would you like to add?

A.  Thank you for interviewing me! Hope the read is enjoyable and that I didn’t sound too silly. 🙂

 

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Forbes – Best 100 Inspirational Quotes

I have taken the liberty to BOLD the ones I agree with completely. – Michael Bradley

images

Kevin Kruse

Contributor

I write about wholehearted leadership and employee engagement.

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

100 Best Quotes On Leadership

Kevin Kruse
Contributor

LEADERSHIP 5/28/2013
Top 100 Inspirational Quotes

Inspirational quotes and motivational quotes have the power to get us through a bad week, and can even give us the courage to pursue our life’s dreams. In my book, 4 Keys to Happiness and Fulfillment at Work, I share surprising research into the true triggers of workplace motivation. So in the spirit of self motivation, here are 100 inspirational quotes.

ForbesQuotes: Thoughts On The Business Of Life
1. Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being. –Kevin Kruse

2. Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. –Napoleon Hill

3. Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. –Albert Einstein

4. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. –Robert Frost

5. I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse. –Florence Nightingale

6. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. –Wayne Gretzky

7. I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. –Michael Jordan

8. The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. –Amelia Earhart

9. Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. –Babe Ruth

10. Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. –W. Clement Stone

11. We must balance conspicuous consumption with conscious capitalism. –Kevin Kruse

12. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. –John Lennon

13. We become what we think about. –Earl Nightingale

14.Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover. –Mark Twain

15.Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. –Charles Swindoll

16. The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. –Alice Walker

17. The mind is everything. What you think you become. –Buddha

18. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. –Chinese Proverb

19. An unexamined life is not worth living. –Socrates

20. Eighty percent of success is showing up. –Woody Allen

21. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. –Steve Jobs

22. Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is. –Vince Lombardi

23. I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. –Stephen Covey

24. Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. –Pablo Picasso

25. You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. –Christopher Columbus

The Forbes eBook Of Motivational Quotes
Discover the timeless advice that the world’s great thinkers, billionaires, writers and businesspeople have to offer.

26. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. –Maya Angelou

27. Either you run the day, or the day runs you. –Jim Rohn

28. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. –Henry Ford

29. The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain

30. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

31. The best revenge is massive success. –Frank Sinatra

32. People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily. –Zig Ziglar

33. Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. –Anais Nin

34. If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. –Vincent Van Gogh

35. There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. –Aristotle

36. Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. –Jesus

37. The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

38. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. –Henry David Thoreau

39. When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me. –Erma Bombeck

40. Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him. –Booker T. Washington

41. Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture the heart. – Ancient Indian Proverb

42. Believe you can and you’re halfway there. –Theodore Roosevelt

43. Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. –George Addair

44. We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. –Plato

45. Teach thy tongue to say, “I do not know,” and thous shalt progress. –Maimonides

46. Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. –Arthur Ashe

47. When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life. –John Lennon

48. Fall seven times and stand up eight. –Japanese Proverb

49. When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us. –Helen Keller

50. Everything has beauty, but not everyone can see. –Confucius

51. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. –Anne Frank

52. When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. –Lao Tzu

53. Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. –Maya Angelou

54. Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions. –Dalai Lama

55. If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on. –Sheryl Sandberg

56. First, have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end. –Aristotle

57. If the wind will not serve, take to the oars. –Latin Proverb

58. You can’t fall if you don’t climb. But there’s no joy in living your whole life on the ground. –Unknown

59. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained. –Marie Curie

60. Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. –Les Brown

61. Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. –Joshua J. Marine

62. If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. –Booker T. Washington

63. I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do. –Leonardo da Vinci

64. Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless. –Jamie Paolinetti

65. You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing, no one to blame. –Erica Jong

66. What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do. –Bob Dylan

67. I didn’t fail the test. I just found 100 ways to do it wrong. –Benjamin Franklin

68. In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. –Bill Cosby

69. A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. – Albert Einstein

70. The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it. –Chinese Proverb

71. There are no traffic jams along the extra mile. –Roger Staubach

72. It is never too late to be what you might have been. –George Eliot

73. You become what you believe. –Oprah Winfrey

74. I would rather die of passion than of boredom. –Vincent van Gogh

75. A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty. –Unknown

76. It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings. –Ann Landers

77. If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money. –Abigail Van Buren

78. Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs. –Farrah Gray

79. The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself–the invisible battles inside all of us–that’s where it’s at. –Jesse Owens

80. Education costs money. But then so does ignorance. –Sir Claus Moser

81. I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear. –Rosa Parks

82. It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. –Confucius

83. If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough. –Oprah Winfrey

84. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. –Dalai Lama

85. You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. –Maya Angelou

86. Dream big and dare to fail. –Norman Vaughan

87. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. –Martin Luther King Jr.

88. Do what you can, where you are, with what you have. –Teddy Roosevelt

89. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. –Tony Robbins

90. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. –Gloria Steinem

91. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live. –Mae Jemison

92. You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try. –Beverly Sills

93. Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. –Eleanor Roosevelt

94. Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be. –Grandma Moses

95. The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. –Ayn Rand

96. When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. –Henry Ford

97. It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. –Abraham Lincoln

98. Change your thoughts and you change your world. –Norman Vincent Peale

99. Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. –Benjamin Franklin

100. Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn

101. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. –Steve Jobs

102. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. –Zig Ziglar

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Rough Spots…

We all have rough spots in our lives.  For me, I am in one.  I don’t usually whine or talk about myself if I can help it.  So forgive this exception…

First, it is 113 degrees in Phoenix, which is freaking hot, and our last electricity bill was $650 and will be higher for the next two or three months…

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Second, our three dogs have all been sick.  Our 18 year old dog was walking like a letter C.  We had to get her cortisone injections and x-rays.  Her liver is also failing.  Now she has a mystery splotch growing on her spine.  So she goes back tomorrow.  Meanwhile, her furry brothers got the flu or a cold.  Shaking, cold then hot, listless, have to be held…

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Third, my wife took my car without telling me.  Hers apparently has an air conditioner on the fritz and she had scheduled it for the shop.  I don’t like her driving my car because it is a six speed high compression sports car and she drives an automatic.  I worry she will have issues shifting and hit something.  Instead, a tire blew out.  So, my car was in the shop for a few days to get my custom tires imported from Japan and installed for just under $1,000.  Meanwhile, her car is in and out of the shop, fixed twice for around $400 and still not having the A/C work, goes back on Friday…

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Fourth, my ongoing osteo-necrosis has been cropping up again with severe pain in the neck and back…  Physical therapy three times per day for two hours each for six weeks has it down a bit, but this week it decided to be ugly again and get back to the 7 out of 10 scale at times…

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Fifth, pain reduces my work day (I know I am supposed to be retired…).  However, as an author, writer for magazines, and consultant, this is a busy time of year for me.  The consulting especially is pretty heavy right now.  That leaves me working in pain and feeling zero creativity.

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Sixth, my main computer is still having memory issues.  Somehow it keeps putting temp files to my solid state boot up drive which only has 40 gig memory, instead of my hard drive which has 2 Terrabytes of unused space…  Meaning I work more off my laptop, which can’t handle graphics without restarting every 30 minutes and drops my typing speed from 100 wpm down to about 25 wpm.

Finally, unexpected expenses like cars, dogs, extreme early summer weather, medical, etc., have taken their toll on my retirement reserves.

That is my complaining for now.  Perhaps I should look at my cute dog picture posts…  How was your week?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Interview with Aurora O’Brien

Interview with Aurora O’Brien

 By Michael Bradley

[Note:  This article is for publication in The WOD Magazine and a future podcast of KWOD Radio.  Aurora O’Brien is one of the many awesome Arizona cosplayers and models.  Haven’t moved to Arizona yet?  LOL, you have no idea what you are missing.]

 MB:  Today our interview is with Aurora O’Brien, an outstanding young cosplayer and professional model.  Most people see you at events or photos and have no idea the true diversity of your interests.  You studied at the Art Institute of Phoenix and are an artist as well as a model correct?

AO: Yes! My dream has always been to be an artist. To create something from nothing is the best feeling in the world.  After attending though, I lost interest in art completely, not drawing for over five years. I soon realized I had to let out my creative energy somehow so I decided to give modeling a try. I later linked up with famous American comic book artist Steve Rude and became his model in exchange for lessons! He helped me regain my passion for art, and now I can’t stop!

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MB:  Tell me about your outdoor lifestyle.  I know you have an interest in motorcycles, riding horses, and even welding.

AO: Oh yes! I’m just one of those people who loves an adventure! These are my escapes from reality. There is nothing like hopping on my bike to go see my horse, spending the afternoon with her, then making my way back home to help fix something. A fun lil fact, is that I did not learn to ride before getting my bike or horse. I just decided I wanted to do it, and learned along the way!

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MB: How long have you been into cosplay now, and what got you started?

AO: I first became interested in cosplay in middle school…well, I mean I wanted to dress up like my favorite anime characters. I went to my first con in 2009 and had the time of my life! I felt like I had finally met people I could connect with. Sadly, I did not have much money and I was only able to attend two others in the next few years. After I began modeling though, things changed. One my amazing photographers paid for my ticket and gas costs to get in just so he could take my picture and hang out. Then I began getting paid to be a booth babe and asked to cosplay more characters! It’s so amazing how things work out sometimes!!

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MB: What are some of your favorite characters to cosplay?

AO: Revy from Black Lagoon & Red Sonja for sure! I just love their rough around the edges attitude and the way they rose up from a rough past. As they say, the flower that blooms from adversity is the most beautiful…or in this case, badass!!

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MB:  Do your cosplay choices match those you read and watch, or are there some differences?

AO: Yes, 100%. I cannot cosplay the character unless I can connect with them in some way. Otherwise it just isn’t all that fun. If I have a request for a cosplay, I will check out the series first. Besides, it’s just another excuse to watch more anime!

MB:  How many cons and events/photo shoots are you doing per year?

AO: That is a hard question…Sadly I cannot afford to attend many cons. Usually, I only get the opportunity to go to about three or four a year. As far as photo shoots go, I average around 75 per year and the events are always a surprise. I am a brand ambassador so I work anything from a cigar girl at Barrett Jackson to promoting liquor at clubs on the weekends or holidays, and even caddying for golfers (including the D-backs) for charity events. What can I say? I am all over the place.

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MB:  You look a lot different in many of your shots, which is a credit to your modeling skills.  When I saw you at Amazing Arizona Con with Mary DeBalfo, I at first did not recognize you.  You even had a contest to find you this year at Phoenix Comic Con.  How many people were able to found you each day?

AO: Thank you so much, it’s something I take a lot of pride in. I was shocked at how many people found me each day! I certainly felt the love! It was so great to finally meet the people who follow my page in person! It’s much better than just reading messages!

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MB:  No one naturally looks good on camera.  I never met a model who had it easy.  When you wore your Red Sonja outfit one day at Phoenix Comic Con, I was kind of shocked at how ripped your abs were.  It reminded me of Toni Darling, and I know she does physical training for a living.  Do you have a special diet and exercise regimen as well?

AO: Oh my, you are so sweet to say that!! Well, honestly I don’t enjoy working out in conventional ways. Sure I do some crunches and yoga from time to time, but I find that hula hooping, dancing, riding my horse, jump roping, and playing Kinect on Xbox is WAY more fun!

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MB:  Are there certain photographers you have recently worked with that you would recommend to other cosplayers/models?

AO: Adam Patrick Murray is fantastic!! He is so easy to work with, creative, and catches the character in a simple, clean, yet engaging way. Another one would be Dave Kelley. He is sort of my go to guy, and one of my best friends. We just had our 30th shoot together the other day!! He is amazing and SOOOO creative!! As far as professional modeling photos go, Michael Luna is the best Arizona has!!

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MB:  What are some of your favorite events or locations?

AO: The geek in me loves Amazing Arizona Con! It’s not too big, not too small….its juuuust right! You have much more time to get to know your favorite artist and authors. Not to mention you can actually walk in the aisles without getting bumped and crinkling your brand new comic book!! The rebel in me however, loves working bike week selling cigars! The crowds are so free spirited, fun, and are always offering me free beer!

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MB: Do you make all your outfits or do you have some preferred helpers?

AO: Here is where the pros will get mad at me… I cannot sew. Instead I go on the hunt. Thrift stores are wonderful for piecing together outfits, and finding other clothes to bring to photo shoots.

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MB: What are some of your best cosplay moments?

AO: Meeting fans is always a touching moment. It’s still hard for me to believe that people are legitimately interested in meeting me and hearing my opinions. That being said, one of my all time favorite moments, was at an anime con before I was a ‘public figure’. It was help at a hotel that had a bar in the center. Since I was cosplaying Revy, it only seemed appropriate to have a drink…you know, get into character and all. As soon as I sat down, a man ordered me a shot of rum, winked, then walked away (Black Lagoon fans will understand).

Soon after another guest approached me & bought me a shot then handed me a six inch moveable Revy statue (which I still use today for my art). He said I did an excellent job with the cosplay and he would consider it an honor if I took the gift, and a shot with him! We downed our drinks, hugged and he left…I think there were about three others that came almost immediately after to have a shot with “Revy” before I decided that was enough.

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MB: Do you cosplay just for fun, or do you have a store and blog site we can plug for you?  Also, for photographers out there and people needing advertising or spokespersons, what is the best way for them to book you?

AO: I cosplay for the fun of it! What other reason is there? I do have a store where prints are available, but that’s only to help with some of the costs of cosplaying. You are welcome to visit my store at aurorart.storenvy.com. If anyone is interested in hiring me for an event they can contact me on my website, www.auroraobrien.com or send me an email at dmobrien88@gmail.com

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MB: How safe do you feel at cons now that the attendance has grown so much? Is it safe to walk from parking lots in costume? Are the bigger crowds bringing out “touchy” people who break barriers they shouldn’t?

AO: I am exceptionally thankful to say I don’t really get messed with at cons. I think I have a natural aura around me that says, “ I may be cute, but I can kick your a**”. I’m pretty thankful for that too, because I would hate to subconsciously knock someone out over a wandering hand… again.

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MB: What advice do you have for people starting out?

AO: HAVE FUN!! There are no rules, you are among friends. Be fearless, and if anyone makes fun of you, just laugh it off. For those people, just aren’t your people, and are probably just jealous of how awesome, brave, and fun you are!! Just be you, and make new friends. That’s what it is all about, don’t forget that.

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MB: Who would you like to give a shout out for being someone who helped you get started with modeling and cosplay and friends you look forward to seeing at events?

AO: My shout out would be to all of my amazing fans, photographers, family, friends and supporters! If it wasn’t for you all, I wouldn’t have the confidence, nor the drive to get as far as I have. Before I entered the modeling world I was not in such a good place. Since then though, I have met countless amazing people who have shown me what it is to be happy, strong, loved and simply not ashamed to be me.

 

 

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