The Green Association for Sustainability

Examining, Defining and Promoting a Sustainable World

Leviwand LED Flowdance


Bouncing Lights

I created this bouncing lights illusion using an ASTRAL ATOMIC EVOKE WAND by ASTRAL HOOPS .  This “Chasers” mode provides two color combo LED lights.


Track excerpt:  Emerson Lake and Palmer, Lucky Man outro.



A Guest Post By Author Teresa Trent, Houston Writers Guild member

Book research can be an exciting part of the writing craft. The process can be interesting and fun; still, many authors admit that research can also become daunting.  Additionally, excess research can be overwhelming, as well as a handy procrastination tool.  If book research is taking you away from developing your story, get back on track with a research plan and a few simple rules.

Planning First:  What Does Book Research Involve?

Primarily, book research involves time and effort.  After producing several books, I discovered that I often spend too much time performing book research.  For example, in A Dash of Murder, I spent long hours looking at pictures of haunted tuberculosis hospitals. I watched TV programs on ghost hunting, taking careful note of the paranormal activity equipment used.

Researching Doggone Dead sent me down the strangest paths, yet. Did you know there is a large assortment of YouTube videos featuring exploding port-a-potties? Spoiler Alert! Now you know — the john is going to blow in that story.

It is easy to get caught up learning about things that my heroine gets involved in while solving her cozy mysteries. I have researched hurricanes, arson, beekeeping, calamine lotion, wedding planners, hot air balloon crashes, and German food. Now, my book research is taking me into the world of psychics and the art of children’s book illustrations.

To avoid over-researching and spending too much time retrieving the information, make a book research plan and organize your research so that you can easily find the information when you need it.

How To Organize Your Book Research

Keeping track of your book research can soon become overwhelming. Through experience, trial and error, I have found several ways to stay organized:

1.    Make Notes!

Keeping notes on your book research is essential.  Begin your research journey by creating a RESEARCH file on your computer.  Place documents, pictures, sound and video clips, emails archives, and any other virtual research here.  If you have a notebook system such as EvernoteⓇ or OneNoteⓇ you can simply click from your article’s website and paste it to your notebook. You can also use a word document, and fill it up with clippings from the internet.  The ScrivenerⓇ writing software offers specific research files and templates.

2.  Keep copies of URLs  

When you use an internet source, make sure you copy the URL.  If you use OneNoteⓇ, dock the program to your desktop by clicking on “View”, then “Dock to Desktop”.  You can cut and paste, or select and drag text and pictures. The program will automatically include the URL and any source citations.  If you have a large list of URLs, a simple spreadsheet can be used to store the research information. Regardless of the program you are using to write in, always copy the URL.  That way you will always know its source, and can find the original site again.

3. Use Pinterest

Think of Pinterest as a bulletin board where you pin up articles you are using for research.   You can create “Public” or “Private” boards.  When you save items privately, only you can see and access them. ..  Public boards provide your readers with a visual into your past works, as well as your work in progress.  Use a separate private board for each series. You can dump pictures, articles and videos on the boards.  Use Pinterest to collect setting and prop pictures, articles on story elements, and even pictures of people that may look like your characters. Pinterest can be a great time saver.

4. Go Beyond Your Computer

Let your book research take you out into the world. In my book, Overdue for Murder, I wrote a scene of a gathering of sci-fi, chick-lit and horror authors.  To produce the dialogue, I needed to gather information on these various genre’s.  Through the Houston Writers Guild’s local literary functions, I spoke with several genre authors. By simply asking “what do you write?”, these authors gladly offered a treasure trove of information.

You Don’t Have to be an Expert!

Sometimes, you may not be able to find the information you need.  I once spent weeks trying to find a substance that would cause someone to eat more cupcakes, without results.  What did I do? Mysterious Additive X was born. Nobody said my baked-goods gateway drug had to be real!

Book research can be fun, interesting and essential to telling your story.  Without a plan, too much information can bog down your story and take away from plot development. Create a system to organize your book research, and choose information that will flow easily into your story. Good luck with your writing, and I’d avoid that port-a-potty if you possibly can.


Teresa Trent writes cozy mysteries that take place in small and quirky Texas towns.  She was born in Tennessee, and is especially fond of Colorado, Illinois and Texas.   After the birth of her son with Down Syndrome, Teresa decided to featured a similar character in her Pecan Bayou series.  She continues that theme in the Henry Park Series with “Gigi”, a young woman with cerebral palsy. Teresa lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, two of her adult children and a needy dachshund mix named Martin Luther.

Teresa’s latest cozy mystery is Color Me Dead. She is also the author of six books in The Pecan Bayou Mystery Series and has been in the top 100 cozy mysteries on Amazon. You can visit her website, and find her on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter or follow her blog.




Although Massachusetts was the first state to require a “prescription” for the purchase and possession of cannabis,  California became the first state to “ban” marijuana in 1911.  The California cannabis laws were not related to the plant itself, but rather were a racist bid against Mexican immigrants.  With each election cycle, more states fell into prohibition, and by 1933, twenty-nine states had criminalized cannabis.  In an especially Draconian legislature,  Texas was the first state to classify marihuana as a “narcotic”.

Ironically, in 1996, California also became the first state to defy the Federal chokehold on cannabis laws, by then bound within the “Schedule 1” narcotic fallacy.  After the Harrison Narcotics Act was passed in the 1930’s, Reefer Madness began.  Cannabis was not the motivating factor in creating The Harrison Narcotics Act.  It was a global political strategy to control the movement of heroin.  In order to manipulate the United Nations into a criminalization of narcotics, the US needed laws of it’s own that provided for criminal charges surrounding narcotics.  The Harrison Narcotics act criminalized marijuana in the United States and “reefer madness” began.  By 1937, the Federal legislature passed the “Marijuana Tax Act of 1937”.  As the tax was just $1.00, this complicated legislation was of not a revenue scheme.  This was  but another step closer to complete cannabis prohibition in the Controlled Substances Act of 1972.

Currently, at least 27 US states have created differing cannabis laws and regulations for the recreational and/or medical use of marijuana.  Still, the US Federal Government considers cannabis a dangerous narcotic with no medical use.  Across the world,  industrialized and underdeveloped countries use Draconian practices to inforce illegal cannabis possession.  Even within the United States,  cannabis laws allow punitive death sentences for simple possession (possession without aggravating factors) above certain weights.


Various states within the US  have implemented medical and recreational regulations for the use of marijuana.  Although years of anecdotal evidence correlates otherwise, the US Federal Government continues to considers cannabis Schedule I narcotic.  The complex regulations that state legislatures create to bypass federal prohibition are tenuous under Federal law. Still, each election cycle brings new regulations, often passed by voters under the sole motivation of personal use.  On the other end of the spectrum, states institute Draconian laws and reactive justice to inforce illegal cannabis possession.  In states that do not regulate cannabis for public or medical use, punishment on conviction can carry life sentences for simple possession.


In addition to examining social sustainability, GrAS scrutinizes cannabis laws within the US and around the world.  Although the global consensus in developed nations has changed dramatically surrounding marihuana, it is still considered a high crime in many countries, including the United States.   The movement at the state level of government has allowed for a wider acceptance, but has not changed the federal, or the global marijuana laws.  Although there was a period of detante during the Obama administration, the War on Marijuana continues in our own backyard, and across the globe.

Three important goals of the Green Association for Sustainability include:


GrAS examines the failed political policies of the continuing 20th Century Drug War.  Historically, prohibitive cannabis laws have been well scrutinized.  They readily demonstrate the many social justice issues inherent in the judicial processes.  GrAS reviews state regulatory laws and their motivations in the context of the Federal Controlled Substances Act.


GrAS defines the terms of medical and recreational schemes and legislative regulations.  Usually, the legislative language is vague, creating a regulatory framework.  A bureaucratic agency is created to design the regulatory specifics.  These city, district or county regulations have the most impact on lives, yet are the least well defined or understood.


The importance of medical marijuana to the medical community should be our first concern.  The medicalization discourse legitimized marijuana, and opened the conversation.   While prohibitionists may have medical compassion, understanding recreational use eludes them.

Recreational marijuana is popular and a lucrative tax collection paradigm for cash-strapped states.  In addition to the tax revenue, another advantage is the law enforcement and judicial management of possession offenders.  True recreational regulation will require an alignment of federal and state laws.


In addition to examining the politics surrounding state and federal legalization or medicalization plans.  GrAS seeks to define if such regulations create additional statutory laws by examining policy.  Do recreational legalization regulations add to the Drug War criminal code, rather than provide protection against prosecution?


Exposure of those schemes that remove the means of cannabis production from the people to the State is of great interest.  Therefore, the motivation of those regulatory plans created for the purpose of controlling the indigenous cannabis culture are examined.  Was the usurpation of the indigenous knowledge of the cannabis culture by state administrators intentional?  What will happen to the creative experimentation and product of that culture’s members?  More importantly, will state bureaucrats use the same care and creativity as an independent indigenous cannabis cultivator?

Although GrAS concerns itself with the current state political strategies of recreational and medical cannabis legalization, we advocate for the protection of all indigenous rights.




More about GrAS

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