Journalists Just Want to Tell Stories. Today, Some Died for It

Shari Lopatin

Quote_Capital Gazette

I used to be a reporter at a small daily, community newspaper like the Capital Gazette. We had maybe 14 reporters, and we were like family.

I couldn’t imagine living through a shooting with that family, watching some of them die. Today, I cry with the reporters and staff at the Capital Gazette.

We don’t know the motive behind the crime yet. We don’t know if the alleged shooter was a disgruntled worker, a terrorist (foreign or domestic), or the crazed spouse of an employee. The police did say the suspect mutilated his fingertips to avoid identification, as reported in this article from the Baltimore Sunso that leads me to believe this was planned and malicious (versus a potentially angry worker).

Regardless, I know one thing for sure: journalists just want to tell stories, and today, some died for it.

*** When I was a full-time…

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Chapter I: The Wall (sneak peek)

I enjoyed this novel and you will too!

Shari Lopatin

To celebrate the launch of my debut novel today, The Apollo Illusion, I’ve decided to do something fun! For the next five weeks, I will publish, FOR FREE, sneak peeks of the first 10 chapters of my book (one chapter per post). And I’m starting today by publishing THE WALL, my first chapter!

The Apollo Illusion is a story for the hackers, the techies, the seekers, and the rebels of the world. A dystopian suspense for young adults and millennials, it’s now available through Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords, and paperback via Amazon.

If you get hooked, make sure to follow my blog or sign up for The Readers Club so you don’t miss the next installment (of course, you can always purchase the book so you don’t have to wait).

So, without further ado, I present to you, the first chapter of The Apollo Illusion

The Wall

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What’s beyond the wall?

Recently, I had the privilege of reading an advanced copy of Shari Lopatin’s debut novel, The Apollo Illusion, which is due to be released on May 19, 2018.

I have been reading her blog for many years, so jumped at the chance to check our her first novel.  I found it to be an enjoyable read and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading.

The Apollo Illusion is an enthralling dystopian story.  Once I started reading, I could not put it down.  The story is compelling and holds your attention to the very end.  In a George Orwell-type of way, this story makes you think about the future of society, especially given today’s climate about truth, privacy, and privilege.

The story is well-written and captivating.  You are immediately sucked into the lives of the characters.  Shari weaves together mystery, political commentary, and ordinary life into a believable story about a girl who is seeking the truth about what lies beyond the towering wall surrounding her home state of Apollo.

The Apollo Illusion will leave you with many issues to think about, such as the control of information and the power of propaganda, both of which are hot topics in today’s society.  I believe the story does present extremes of both sides, but it does give one a glimpse into what society could become if we go too far in any direction.

Lastly, though The Apollo Illusion does contain a little bit of language and one “steamy” scene, none of it detracts from the story nor was it overly excessive.  It is obvious it wasn’t placed in for shock value, but what was needed for the characters and story line to move forward.

I hope you’ll give this novel a chance. Check out the trailer and pre-order links below.

The Apollo Illusion, is now available for pre-order for just $2.99The Apollo Illusion may increase in price after launch.  So grab it now while you’re only splurging a couple of bucks on an “unknown author” and the book that piqued your curiosity.

You can pre-order the book using one of the following links:

The paperback will be available upon launch on May 19, so sign up for Shari Lopatin’s email list, “The Readers Club,” at to be notified the moment print copies go on sale.

Shari Lopatin can be found on social media at the following places:

New Year, New Directions

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
~Albert Einstein

This quote sums up that last few years for me.

I’ve been living on auto-pilot and finding excuses not to change aspects of my life that I know need to be changed. I’ve let the unimportant take over and squeeze out many things, including joy, that I want to be important in my life. I’m not one to make New Year’s Resolutions just because I know they won’t last past the first week of the year and I don’t want to spend the year feeling guilty about not accomplishing those resolutions.

This year, however, I want to focus on changing the things that I can and re-prioritizing my commitments to make room for the things I really want to do, such as writing and taking online courses to learn new things. This will mean that I have to let go of good things to focus on better things and cleaning the clutter out of my house as well as my schedule. These changes will make both physical and mental space for me to grow and change in new ways.

I’m hopeful for the new opportunities and new directions this year can bring to me both personally and professionally. It is my prayer that I see the doors the Lord has opened for me and that I will walk boldly through those doors.

18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isa 43:18-19 NIV)

The number of my days

Each year, as my birthday rolls around, I’m reminded of how blessed I am to have had another year of life. To celebrate my birthday is to celebrate the One who gives me life and each new day. Am I always joyful? Of course not! Each year has its trials, challenges, and joys. Each year is a journey to become more like Christ. Though I may wander off the path–more often than I’d like to admit–His grace is a beacon that leads me back.

My prayer for this year to is to make each moment count and to live for the Lord, regardless of my circumstances.

““ LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭39:4-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Living in Chair 2

(This post is inspired by a sermon from my church, which was based off the book Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs by Bruce Wilkerson).

I’m a “Chair 2” Christian, though I don’t say that with any pride, but rather sober admission. As a “Chair 2” Christian, my life is full of compromise, inner turmoil, and constant failings.

Like the church in Revelations 3:15-16, I am “lukewarm” in my faith and don’t have the courage or conviction to stand up when I should; I remain seated in my chair. I depend more on my job than Jesus and go with the status quo in fear of not being able to help provide for my family. I feel that the compromises I have made leave me in turmoil almost constantly, as the inner battle plays out daily in my mind.

I am too busy, distracted, or just plain tired, so my prayer life is truly non-existent. There are the quick “help!” prayers and occasionally I do pray for others, but there is no true connection to God and though I’m sure he hears me, I only get silence in return.

My Chair 2 life is reflected back to me in my kid’s faith. They have both accepted Christ, but how will they fare during the college years and into adulthood? I don’t see them read their Bibles or pray, but then they don’t see that from me, so what should I expect? As with so many other parts of their upbringing, I just continue to feel like a failure and can only hope for the best as we stumble through the teenage years.

I wear so many layers of masks daily that the weight of them leaves me exhausted, but I put them on each day to protect myself and without them I couldn’t survive. Sometimes, like in this post, I’ll lift up a corner to give others a peek, but everything goes back into place just as quickly. There are times I’m not sure who the real me might be, so I just plod along a worn out path my “wheels” to stuck in the ruts they’ve made to do anything else.

I live in Chair 2 and the fears that keep me there will always remain.

Chair 2

Thoughts on Leadership

I recently attended the Global Leadership Summit (GLS), for the second time, and I was amazed again by the speakers and how much of what they spoke about I needed to hear.

I wanted to share some of my take-aways from the various speakers I heard this year. Some of the quotes are not exact; I’m not a good note taker, but hopefully they are close enough that they get the points across. If any of this resonates with you readers, I recommend attending the Summit next year, downloading the GLSNext app (available for iOS and Android), and checking out some of the resources from the speakers.

Bill Hybels:

Leadership matters.

Armed with enough humility, leaders can learn from anyone.

Jim Collins:

Questions are better than answers.

How will you change the lives of others?

Ed Catmull:

Creativity is about solving problems.

Stories are going to change the world. It’s how we communicate with each other.

Adam Grant:

Givers may appear to fail in the short run, but they are most successful in the long run.

Givers are learning and building relationships.

Dr. Brené Brown:

We’re emotional people who sometimes think.

Our worthiness lives inside the stories. When you own the story, you get to write the ending.

Sallie Krawcheck:

Diverse teams outperform super smart teams.

Diversity is hard; we all have our biases.

Albert Tate:

Don’t leave it all on the field, you’ll go home with nothing.

Leave room for dumb ideas.

Dumb ideas + God’s hand = life transformation

Get out of the way! It gives you the ability to discover the awe and wonder of God’s hand.

Horst Schulze:

Caring is what service means.

Individualizing care moves customers from satisfaction to loyalty.

Sheila Heen:

When leaders become better receivers [of feedback]:

  1. They get better feedback.
  2. They become a role model of what they value and respect.
  3. Automatically become a better giver of feedback.

The interview with Brian Houston was a reminder of how important music is to me. More about this in an upcoming post.

Life is a journey, a winding path filled with many unknowns. It’s only possible to navigate because of God’s power and grace. –Brian Houston, Live Love Lead

Sam Adeyemi:

You will not find the definition of success until you help others succeed.

The object of leadership for most leaders is their own success; the object of Christ’s leadership was the success of his followers.

The Jesus kind of leadership says, “If I can do it, you can do it too!”

Following you should hold the promise of life change for those who follow you.

Liz Wiseman:

It’s not what you know, it’s how fast you learn.

Once we have knowledge, we make assumptions; sometimes bad assumptions.

Craig Groeschel:

Your brain does not comprehend what your body is capable of.

There is more inside of you than you can imagine or dream possible.

I hope these quotes inspire you to greater leadership in all areas of your lives.