Below are the articles, stories, and marketing posts that I’ve retained the copyright to. If you have any questions or would like to read more, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you enjoy your read!
Sample 1: Nicole By OPI Is About To Get “Carrie’d Away”
Written for “Creative Age Publications” (Unpublished)
Carrie Underwood fans, rejoice! “Nicole” by OPI is introducing a new nail lacquer line inspired by the award-winning superstar. The line reflects Carrie’s girl-next-door personality with colors including “American As Apple Pie” and “Southern Charm.”
“In working closely with Carrie, we came up with 14 nail lacquers that truly encapsulate her soulful spirit and showcase different facets of her personality,” says Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, Nicole by OPI Executive VP and Artistic Director.
The collection, which includes shades ranging from soft pastels to bright glitters and sultry, dark hues, also features a special color called “Carrie’d Away,” a signature gold textured lacquer perfect for winter. The Carrie Underwood line hits mass retailers this January for a limited time, so grab them while you can!
Published in “We Said Go Travel”
My first glimpse of Egypt is from a dewy ship balcony at dawn. Sunlight peeks through lavender clouds and drizzles onto the blurry coast. It’s a peaceful entrance into what is supposed to be a country suffering social upheaval.
We dock in Port Said, which hosts what is by far the eeriest silence I’ve experienced in a city. From our buses, which are escorted by what looks like the city’s entire police force, we pass boarded stores, a closed Pizza Hut and tall, empty apartment buildings.
The few cars that dot the cross-streets wait patiently for our parade of tourist buses and armed police as we speed through the city. It seems strange that our hosts are so anxious about getting us out of this quiet place. I know their reasoning; Egypt has just overthrown its government. Nothing is safe. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t imagine Port Said housing violence.
Soon we’re on the highway. People emerge from their two-room farm homes, readying themselves for a warm spring day. Children run up to the road to wave at us. Miles later, the local military replaces the city police. They sit languidly in their truck beds, their AK 47’s resting in their laps.
We make it to Cairo just as the sun begins its Western descent. Square sand-colored buildings rise from the earth, accompanied by intricate mosque towers that dust the sky.
Our bus crosses a high bridge, which reveals heaps of trash covering the roofs of some of the more run-down buildings. A rusty, broken air conditioner lays abandoned on top of piles of rotting cardboard, plastic bags and newspapers disintegrating into dust. Just past the bridge looms a beautiful, intricate mosque, its white domes gently lifting to the heavens. This dance between destruction and elegance seems an integral part of Cairo.
Beside the mosque, an aging man carries dozens of fresh, doughy pretzels on his head, stacked haphazardly on wooden rods. Blocks further, we drive by nearly fifty people carrying signs and picketing against one of the presidential nominees. On the other side of the road, citizens supporting the nominee protest against them. But they immediately stop their shouting match when they see our bus convoy. They wave, take pictures of us and flash peace signs.
It seems that wherever we go in this city, locals stop what they’re doing and wave at us with the same wide smiles. Is this really an area where Muslims despise westerners and want them to leave, as we’d been told countless times by the news anchors? Or are they happy to see visitors in their struggling city, where all day business owners wait in empty shops and restaurants, hoping for just one customer to enter?
I ponder this as we make our way toward the Giza Plateau. We ascend a low hill that gives us a wide view of the city. Miles in the distance, two shadowy pyramids stand waiting for our arrival.
We’re surprised to see just how close the Pyramids of Giza are to the rest of the city. Even our hotel is just across the street from the Great Pyramid, giving us a spectacularly eerie view of the behemoth from the pool area. It feels strange to be sitting by a perfectly modern pool fed by a manufactured crystalline waterfall, looking up at this ancient, expansive structure.
After dropping our luggage off at the hotel, we pile back into the bus and drive ten minutes to the base of the Giza Pyramids. Tourists take photos and try to ignore the merchants bombarding them with souvenirs and trinkets.
I get out and look up, overcome with the profound sense of insignificance each visitor meets upon seeing the Great Pyramid. Not only is it towering, but it has existed thousands of years. It witnessed the ancient Egyptians lay chiseled rocks on top of each other as they built the neighboring pyramid of Khafre. It saw countless storms, buried itself beneath the safety of sand, and emerged again in triumph for millions of fascinated eyes to look upon it.
Two Muslim women dressed in hijabs look up with wide, wondering eyes. A man with scruffy, sandy blonde hair shades his face so he can see the wonder better. In this ancient, sacred place and at this single moment, it seems that anyone can stand together and revel in humanity’s capabilities. Here, the overthrow of governments, the wars between religions, the hostility and misunderstandings are all forgotten.
This, to me, is one of the greatest human achievements of all: creating something so awe-inspiring, that, if only for a moment, every person can come together in peace.
New Orleanians are welcoming a break from the scorching summer months as the refreshing cool of autumn arrives. We welcome the rust-colored leaves, cool breezes and one of the most exciting holidays of the year: Halloween. Adults and children alike rejoice at the chance to transform into ghoulish beasts or lovely princesses, to enjoy the mystery of the night and escape responsibilities.
13th Gate- 832 Philip St. Baton Rouge
If you are up for a bit of a road trip, the 13th Gate in Baton Rouge promises to be a truly terrifying tour. It consists of 13 themed indoor and (weather permitting) outdoor areas built to frighten guests out of their wits.
House of Shock- 319 Butterworth St., Jefferson
The award-winning House of Shock in Metairie guarantees a night of amusement and screams. All kinds of live entertainment will greet the adventurous guests- including a show filled with stunts and pyrotechnics and a Halloween Night party with the Molly Ringwalds. When the fear-seekers work up an appetite, they can munch on some “possessed popcorn” or devour a “devil dog.” House of Shock also provides a wide array of drinks from their spirited bars. $18, 8 p.m.- midnight, Oct. 5- Oct. 28.
Scream Factory- 319 E. Lockwood, Covington
The Covington haunting promises to terrify and thrill the brave of heart with Dr. Deadly’s deformed mutations. The mutants are out to get you during your trip through the Scream Factory. According to the legend, Old Man Graves of Europe settled in Covington in the 1800s. He opened a coffin factory on a site that was previously an asylum for the criminally insane. Conveniently enough, this abandoned asylum was located next to a graveyard, which Old Man Graves thought was the perfect opportunity to expand his factory into a two-fold business- coffin sales and burial. As the story goes, he earned the love and trust of the townspeople until his insanity was exposed. Rumors spread that he was performing horrible experiments on the dead and he was soon given the nickname Mr. Deadly. And as any good horror story goes, the townspeople ran him off and the factory was abandoned. No one heard from him again, but of course, in the dead of the night, you can still hear the screams of his victims…
Fun for Kids
Boo at the Zoo- 6500 Magazine St.
The annual Boo at the Zoo at Audubon Park Zoo is just one of many events geared toward the youngsters. Kids can participate in various games and activities, including (of course) trick-or-treating. The event also features a kid-friendly haunted house and a ride on the Ghost Train that provides the little ones with other world encounters. Boo at the Zoo is held from Oct. 26 to the 28th at 5 p.m. In order to make the experience more enjoyable, the park only allows a certain number of guests each night, so be sure to get your tickets in advance! Tickets are $16 for 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m. and $13 for 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Halloween Canine Costume Contest- 3440 Magazine St.
Not only will this event entertain your young goblins and ghouls, but your beloved dog can partake in the Halloween festivities as well. Enjoy some canine trick-or-treating and a doggy costume contest. Find your mighty Chihuahua or timid German Shepard a costume that puts his best paw forward, and bring him to Canine Connection on Magazine Street for the ultimate Halloween party honoring the city’s faithful four-legged friends. Food will be provided by Shaggy’s Seafood and Sandwich Shop and drinks will be sold for a donation. All proceeds from entry fees and cocktail purchases will benefit the LA/SPCA. $5 entry fee, 6:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m., Oct. 31st.”
Published on ThirdAge.com
Warren Buffet is looking to invest in large countries, including India, China, and Brazil. While speaking to reporters during his maiden voyage to India, the billionaire stated that he was looking for industries with modest rates of change.
“India is a very logical place to look so I hope I spend some money here,” Buffet said, as reported by Reuters. He added that the only setback is Indian rules do not allow foreign firms to own more than 26 percent of an insurance company.
“It would be more attractive to us if we could buy more than 26 percent,” Buffet continued. “I would say that for the time being, and perhaps for some time, our activities in insurance here will be at the agency level rather than at the underwriting level.”
When asked if he would invest in India’s $60 billion information technology industry or in the semiconductor business, Market Watch reports that Buffet said he preferred sectors he had expertise in, adding, “I think about the soft drink industry or the chewing gum industry, something that’s much easier for me to understand.”
While he refrained from giving more details about Berkshire’s plan in India, his interest in the insurance sector of the country has already been apparent for some time.
When asked about the devastating earthquake in Japan, Buffet said Japanese stocks now presented a buying opportunity after sliding more than 10% since March 11. He added that beyond the immense impact on Japan, he didn’t believe global economic growth would be affected. His remarks helped fuel a 4% rally in the Nikkei in Tokyo.
Buffet spoke in Bangalore, where he visited TaeguTec India, a unit of Iscar, the Israeli manufacturing firm in which Berkshire acquired a majority stake in 2006.
Ranked the world’s third-richest man by Forbes magazine, Buffet is working alongside Bill Gates to encourage philanthropy.
Sample 5: “Are Dental Implants Right For You?”
Written for VitalWeb (unpublished)
A simple trip to the dentist can be a nightmare. Many of us have our own horror stories, from painful novocaine needles that seem to jolt the life out of us, to frustrated dentists who chastise for forgetting to floss. This fear of potential pain and embarrassment has led many patients to avoid the chair altogether. For some, this can bring about an even worse fate: tooth extractions.
Thankfully, dental implants have saved many a mouth from the horrors of missing teeth and uncomfortable dentures. The word “implant” might sound more off-putting than a root canal, and it’s true that the process takes more time. With newly improved methods, however, the surgeries are quick and streamlined.
During the procedure, the dental team prepares the root of the missing tooth and then surgically inserts the implant into it. None of the dental implant is actually visible outside the root area. It takes anywhere from two to six months for the implant to fuse to the jaw bone. After the area heals, a dental surgeon will place an “abutment” that joins the implant and a custom-made crown. This is where the magic happens: once the crown is placed, the patient will once again have both the full use and cosmetic benefits of a healthy tooth.
Dental implants can be installed on multiple teeth and are even available to help secure dentures. And patients concerned about the implants being rejected need not fear. According to Los Angeles dental implants Doctor Arthur Kezian, the implants are “basically sophisticated screws made of a medically pure metal, Titanium… [which] has no history of rejection by the body.”
While dental implants take time, ultimately, many patients find that the result is worth the effort.
Sample 6: “Looking Back”
Short story published in Page & Spine
Anna squeezes my hand. Her little palm is warm with sweat and dirt and all the things five-year-olds grab on to. I look down at the tiny girl with wisps of brown bangs covering doe-black eyes. She’s always looked more like Frederick than me. “Are you excited to see what the telescope finds, hun?”
“I’m hungry,” she whines, bopping her head onto my thigh.
“We’ll have something to eat soon.” I smile and wrap my arm around her. She’s still too young to know what’s going on.
Frederick’s office is rumbling with voices; mothers, wives, kids, coworkers. We all wear cocktail dresses and suits. Hanging on the far wall is a yellow and green banner printed on plastic: “Congratulations, StarEx Team! We Did It!”
They certainly did. I can’t help but smile, despite the years and drama that went into this project. I nearly left Frederick twice. His long hours, days, weeks away, made me feel like a single mother, anyway. And when he did come home, we only heard about this project; how it’ll change the world, alter humanity’s destiny and our family’s.
Sometimes I worry just how much it will. Frederick doesn’t question the secrets this project might illuminate. He doesn’t worry about the unknown horrors waiting out there, the monstrous things that can destroy us all in an instant.
I push these dark thoughts away, force them into the place where my old nightmares gather dust. I smile at Frederick and take his hand. We stand there together, a family of some sorts, in this single moment at least. We probably look normal.
A champagne glass clangs and the room quiets. Dr. Daniels clears his throat. His hair has gone almost completely gray since I first met him, but his ice blue eyes are still sharp as ever.
“Welcome, everyone, to the evening we’ve been working toward for years. We’ve hit quite a few road blocks, but tonight, finally, we’ll test our new vessel.” Applause. He waves them down. “Now sure, sending a telescope through the space slip is an added touch,” he laughs. Other scientists chuckle. “Thank you again, Dr. Porter, for that last-minute idea. But while it’ll be exciting to send the telescope through and see what it sees, let’s all remember the true reason for celebration. Tonight, we travel farther than any human intelligence has before.”
The crowd applauds again. Dr. Daniels checks his phone. “It’s time. Turn on the screens.”
Everything darkens. Two wall-sized monitors illuminate hundreds, thousands of stars. The telescope shows us what the dark side of the moon sees. There are gasps of delight. Anna clutches me. She hates the dark.
“It’s okay,” I whisper. “Look at all the pretty stars.”
She’s quiet, but I feel her shaking. I should have gotten a nanny, but Frederick wanted her here so badly I relented.
“For those of you who aren’t scientists,” Dr. Daniels continues. “In twenty seconds, the vessel will create a miniature worm hole around itself. If everything goes well, it will travel eight thousand lightyears.”
We wait in silence. Anna’s breathing hard below me. I rub her back. Even my own heartbeats seem loud. I glance around to see if anyone can hear, but all eyes are reflecting the stars.
I return to the screen. It blinks. Then the stars move.
Someone cries out. Cheers. They did it. All these years put into a flash that lasts a microsecond.
“And there we are.” Dr. Daniels’ voice is shaking.
Now we wait to see if the telescope will perform its final task. I feel sick. This isn’t right. We shouldn’t look back.
The stars move again as the telescope turns its camera toward Earth. It zooms in to a small cluster of stars that grow brighter and farther apart. It magnifies them further, until we see a familiar formation. Our solar system. Soon our blue and green and brown planet lights up our screen. White clouds cover almost a quarter of the planet.
“This,” Dr. Porter continues, “is light emitted from Earth eight thousand years ago. Right now, we’re looking at the past.”
More gasps and whispers. What will we see? Who will we see?
It zooms closer, through the clouds. This telescope is better than I’d expected it to be. Everything is as clear as a satellite image.
Before us sits the island of what is now the UK, then the region around present-day London. Then we see movement. A town. People walking around, dressed in leather and tunics. I try to remember my world history. Who lived in the UK eight thousand years ago?
The images get blurry. Humanoid shapes the size of ants are moving around. The telescope focuses. Now we’re close enough to see faces, expressions. Laughter. Talking. A little boy in brown pants and a gray shirt chases a chicken on a busy dirt road. Faces pass by, some worn, some young and bright.
And some, a strange greenish gray.
Whispers flutter through the room. “Who are they?” “Is that face paint?” “Look at the shape of their heads, that’s not normal.”
The beings’ eyes are a bulbous black, devoid of iris or white. They don’t walk like the others, either. Their cantor is graceful, fluid, like a ghost floating above the ground.
One of them stops and lifts a thin finger. A glassy sphere appears just above it. The object glimmers in the sunlight, reflecting rainbow patterns like a soap bubble. But this thing is solid.
It grows larger, until it’s the size of the strange man’s head. It continues expanding until it’s just large enough for him to walk inside. In a flash, both man and bubble are gone.
“What the hell?”
“Did we just see that?”
“What was that thing?”
Anna whimpers. I hug her again. “It’s okay, honey. This isn’t happening now.”
But it is happening now, somehow.
“It’s probably an anomaly,” Dr. Porter reasons. “Might be a lens flare that we misinterpreted.”
A few people murmur in agreement, mostly to assuage their nerves.
The telescope moves slowly over its predestined path, toward a new village. It scans over the trees and grass and countryside pastures. Flits of sun reflecting off metal bound back and forth, fast, like the objects are traveling themselves. Planes?
“The telescope must be straining,” Dr. Porter says. His voice is high, halting, like even he doesn’t believe his words.
None of us do, anyway. Those things are definitely flying high over the atmosphere, and fast. Too high and too fast for an civilization that had supposedly just entered the agricultural age.
I want to take Anna away from here, teach her the history I’d learned, give her false knowledge for the sake of a good night’s sleep. Will her future be the same as mine, or will this night change everything?
The telescope pans down on a new village. This one is denser, with buildings packed in together and people scrambling to fit in.
A scream rings out. Loud talking, pointing. “What the hell is that? And what’s that there?”
I try to focus, but panicked black splotches cover my eyes. I blink hard. Am I really seeing this? There are tall beings with lizard-shaped heads and huge, dark brown scales down their long necks. They’re wearing metal armor and standing upright. Their hands are slender and fleshy, like a human.
One of those things turns to look at an old man leaning against a building, taking in the shade and chewing an apple. The thing reaches its long fingers out, around the old man’s neck. There’s a brief flash of surprise on his gruff face; his blue eyes bulge, hands instinctively claw against the creature’s grasp. But then his jaw slackens. There’s something like realization in his eyes, a simple acknowledgement of some unavoidable fate. This was always going to happen; it was inevitable. The creature lifts him over its head and eats the man whole.
My stomach flips. I try to cover Anna’s wide eyes, but it’s too late. There’s muffled screaming all around me, but I can barely hear it beneath the ringing in my ears.
But the people in this village barely notice the man’s demise.
That is, except for an older woman nearby. She looks straight up into our telescope. If I didn’t know better I’d assume she saw us. Something about her was so familiar, like I’d looked into her dark eyes a million times. She mouths something like “hi” or “hide.”
I want to leave. Something isn’t right, we shouldn’t be here. We shouldn’t be witnessing this. I pick up Anna, who is now crying into her free arm, and turn my head to the office’s entrance.
Two dark figures stand in the doorway. I back up toward the office on the other side of the main room, away from them.
The lights turn on abruptly. More screams. The dark figures are men wearing black suits and gas masks.
I duck into the back office as the room fills with smoke. Anna whimpers to the sounds of bodies thumping, thumping, thumping onto the floor.
There’s a click, and someone asks something on a radio. “All subjects saw the footage,” I hear one man’s muffled reply. “We destroyed them on site.”
The back office has an unlocked window. We’re on the second story. The smoke is already curdling into our room.
I hold Anna tight. She’s whimpering and shaking so hard I almost can’t carry her. I whisper “close your eyes” and wait for her to comply. Then I crawl through the window, take a deep breath, and jump.