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Tag Archives: reading

5min – Day 10 – Declutter Continues

Decluttering continued yesterday, and this morning. I cleared out all my craft drawers in the living room, threw out some paints and pencils that were no longer in great shape, and sorted everything. I still have a lot of crafting supplies. I’m going to have to decide if I want to keep them all. Am i actually going to use them? Or am I just holding onto them because I occationaly enjoy using them?

I also started with one bookshelf and I’m going to be working my way around the room to the other book shelves. I’ll need to get a couple boxes because I’m going to be getting rid of a LOT of these books, and downlaoding the ones I like the most on ebook readers. Some of them I might just add to a wish list so I can pick them up from a library later. It’s clear, though, that I don’t intend to read all of these anymore. How can I? I have other things going on in my life, and there are hundreds of books in this house, and almost a thousand on my kindle.

I do love reding, and I read a lot. But the days of collecting because I think a book looks amazing is over. I just don’t have the room for it anymore. Sad, but true.

On the writing front, I finished editing another chapter last night, and then I came down with something. I’m almost certain that I ate something that did not agree with me. I can’t decide what it was, but it was acting a lot like a slight case of food poisoning, or an allergic reaction to something. So I went to bed, and slept early. Then I woke this morning feeling much better.

Today they were painting the staircase just outside my apartment so I we were not supposed to leave the house until 5pm. That was easy enough, the paint smells terrible.

And that’s my five.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2017 in On Writing

 

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All the books!

giveaway 3It’s time for a HUGE give away. If you go HERE you can download more than fifty free books from various scifi, fantasy, and horror authors. There are even a few super hero books, and a couple YA books.

My book, Witch’s Sacrifice, is also available for free. Get it now, this is probably one of the few times I will offer it for free.

You can’t go wrong just by checking it out. Plus you can sign up for their roflcopter and try to win a free kindle. More free stuff! I know, it’s amazing!

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2016 in On Writing

 

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What are you reading?

I’ve been on a reading kick lately. readingMost of the books in the picture I read in the last couple weeks. I found a series I loved, started reading, and couldn’t stop.

The “Little Flame” series is an urban fantasy set on a rock star tour bus. It gets a little sexy at times, and there are a lot of great kick ass scenes. I’m half way through the series and each book gets better and better.

A few of the others are short stories from Annie Bellet. I love short stories. When they are really good they give you a glimpse of a world that makes you want to come back for more. All of Annie Bellet’s books do that for me. I love the fact that each one of her short stories is set in a different time and place giving you that window into new worlfs and ways of life. All but one of them had elements of fantasy though.

I just picked up her Once Upon a Curse, a short story dark fairytale collection. Can’t wait to read that.

What are you reading?

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2016 in On Writing

 

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Strong Female Characters

I saw another post asking which stories could use strong female characters, and my answer probably wasn’t what they were looking for: None of them.

Now, before you get up in arms please hear me out, because I do have a reason behind it.

There are already a lot of wonderful books out there with strong female characters as the lead character. A short list:
Aurian by Maggie Furey
Rhapsody: Child of Blood by Elizabeth Haydon
The Hallows Series by Kim Harrison
Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
The Twenty Sided Sorceress by Annie Bellet
The Little Flame Series by Melissa Lummis
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Magnificent Devices by Shelley Adina
White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland
Several books in the Xanth Series by Piers Anthony
Anything by Anne McCaffery
Elvenbane by Andre Norton
Several books in the Wool Series by Hugh Howey
The Shambling Guides by Mur Lafferty
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Hit Girls by Garrett Robinson
Anything from the Buffy the Vampire universe.
Harper Collelly series by Charaine Harris.

And these are just the books that I know of because I’ve personally read them (or watched the movie in the case of Hunger Games). There are over 6,000 books in this list with strong female lead characters, many of which have been on best seller lists, or made into movies. And this isn’t even counting all the strong, wonderful women that play secondary roles in books like Kitiara from Dragonlance Chronicles, Catti-brie from the Dritzzt series, or Hermione from Harry Potter. That’s not even getting into comic books. And I’m sure there are thousands more that aren’t even in that list.

All of the stories in my list are sci-fi and fantasy. That’s because I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. But I also know a lot of strong female characters from paranormal romance. I also know of characters from other books, games, and films in many other genres that are strong female characters.

Am I saying we don’t need any more? Of course not, that would be like saying we don’t need more books. I really enjoy reading about strong women doing extraordinary things, and even wrote my own series of books with that in mind so I hope my favorite authors continue writing theirs. I also enjoy reading about mages that slowly go mad, or women who are hell cats and need to be tamed. There are all kinds of books out there, with all kinds of characters, because people come with different attitudes, desires, ideas, and personalities. But I would also encourage more authors to include strong female characters…IF they are a benefit to the story.

Not every story has a woman in it. What if you wrote a story about a man in a men’s shower room? Or a group of men going on a camping trip together? Or a father and son sharing a moment? Or a group of dwarves out to save their mountain? Not every story is going to have a strong female character in it. Not every story is going to have a woman in it. In fact when they added a strong female into The Hobbit some of the fans were less than thrilled with the addition.

A story isn’t always about sex, gender, political correctness, or whatever. Sometimes it’s just a story about a leaf blowing in the wind, or the history of salt, or vampire bunnies. And if a story doesn’t have a female character that doesn’t automatically make it anti-women. Hell, there could be a character in the story that is utterly sexist and the story still might not be about women.

My thought for those looking for strong female characters: Expand your reading list, because there are THOUSANDS of books out there with strong female characters, you just have to be open to finding them. And just so you know, MEN need strong male character role models, too. And both sexes need the ridiculously heroic characters, or the weak ones, or the the psychopathic murderous kings/queens to show them what not to be. It does not take away from your enjoyment of books/films/games/etc because the other sex also has what you are looking for.

And if you think any gender, or genderless, or gender fluid individual needs more characters like them out there: GO WRITE IT! That’s the beauty of the indy world. Anyone can make anything that they think should exist.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2016 in Commentary

 

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Ban them all!!!!

This week is banned books week, dedicated to thousands of books that have been banned throughout libraries, schools, and colleges. Sometimes books banned in an entire country.

You can find my top 5 banned books reading list here, and my thoughts on each book. Also a bit about my thoughts on banning books in general. However… I’m a writer not a talker so I needed to write about why I find the idea of banning a book so offensive.

The first video I clicked on about banned book top fives this morning was from a woman who said she agreed with the ban on a comic book that I actually loved. She noted the sexual situations, violence, and nudity and said she agreed. It wasn’t appropriate for children.

My question… Who’s child? Just because you find something offensive, does that give you the right to tell my child they can’t read it?

I took a look at the reasons for banning a lot of the books (books that are still being banned today, btw) and one thing became increasingly clear… Most of the titles weren’t being banned to protect the children, they were banned to protect the ideals of the adults.

Take Harry Potter, for example. It was banned because it “promotes witchcraft.” Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that it did. So? There are people in the USA that are Wiccan and do practice a form of witchcraft, and they probably share that love with their children. Is that wrong? Some would say it is. Others would say inflicting Christianity on a child who is incapable if telling fact from fiction at a young age is wrong. Are either of them right? Both would say the other is wrong and neither would see their own bias they suffer from.

Harry Potter was banned because some parent saw it as an attack against their personal beliefs and was afraid that their child would turn away from them. This bothers me. If your beliefs aren’t strong enough to stand against a children’s book than they aren’t very strong beliefs and maybe you should reconsider them yourself.

Others were banned for incouraging violence, or homosexuality. M.E. Kerr was told that the girls in her book had to turn away from homosexuality at the end in order to get past the censors. I’m glad she wrote her books anyway because “Is That You, Miss Blue” had a big impact on me as I was growing up.

In some cases banning books serves to promote one life style over another. We can’t have our children growing up thinking it’s okay to be gay, or promiscuous, or practice another religion.

But with each banning the case against the people who would do this rises. If your ideas and beliefs can’t stand up to a little scrutiny then they cannot stand!

On the other side of the coin: by saying children can’t read a book because that book will change them and encourage them to do x, y, or z, you are saying that child is weak willed and incapable of making choices in their own. If you honestly think Harry Potter will make your child believe they can cast a spell and turn someone into a frog then you really don’t think highly of children.

Playing pretend, imagination, exploration of different ideas and themes encourages young minds to grow and expand, their horizons to widen. Just remember that most scientists were inspired by star trek and science fiction. That’s why you are probably reading this on a smart phone right now. The concepts for smart phones and cells phones were first invented by star trek writers.

“But, sex!” the banners cry.

Children are not asexual. Some boys look up little girls skirts. Children play doctor, masterbate, and sneak peeks. Yes they are still trying to figure out themselves, and yes they should be protected from inappropriate situations, however books are not going to hurt them. On the contrary, books might help them by showing them what is appropriate and what isn’t and giving them encouragement to speak up when bad things happen.

Part of growing up is discovering your sexuality, and learning about yourself, and your body. Books can be a safe way to explore those thoughts and emotions. By restricting books you’re actually making it more likely that a child will act on those thoughts instead of just reading about it.

“But, homosexual agenda!” 😥 Just, no.

“But, violence!” Okay now you just sound like the same people crying about video games causing violence. Multiple studies prove this is dead wrong. Any aggressive tendencies they have are linked to frustration, not the violence on the screen.

Isn’t it better to teach children how to deal with frustration? To give them examples of both the right and the wrong way of doing things so they can have the knowledge to do the right thing and why it is the right thing?

Lastly I would just like to add that reading a wide variety of books in multiple genres, about various points of views promotes critical thinking, tolerance understanding, and creativity.

Moral of the story: banning books should be in a case by case for a child, not a school.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2015 in On Writing

 

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Around the Web

The internet donated over 800 copies of banned books to teens in South Carolina.

Judging books by their cover just got a little more scientific.

3D printing glass? 

15 scifi books you should definitely read.

‘Guilty pleasures’ and ‘the Kindle closet’: ‘The real book versus ebook list’

Top 100 Sci-fi list filled with books “shockingly offensive”…. As a note, I don’t agree with this woman’s article, but thought others might find it interesting, or worth discussing.

Garbageman rescues books to create a community library.

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Remember that “Witch’s Sacrifice” is on sale for $0.99 for the rest of the weekend. If you haven’t checked it out yet now is your chance. It won’t be on sale again until the third book comes out sometime around the end of the year.

Have a wonderful day ya’ll.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2015 in News

 

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My love/hate affair with reviews

“As an author…” Don’t you just hate it when someone starts the conversation as “As X I believe Y.” It sets them apart, says “I’m X and you aren’t therefore you don’t understand in the same way I do.”

Except that we all have those moments. Because I am a mother I see things in certain ways. Because I am an author I see another faucet of the world. A girlfriend, a divorcee, a survivor of abuse, a high school graduate. All of those things are things that I have done, as have many thousands of other people. So as one of them I do have a different perspective then someone who isn’t.

It’s still a bothersome way to start a conversation. And yet I almost did here.

Anyway, back on subject. I’ve been thinking about reviews a lot lately. NOT reviews of my book, as you might have guessed, but reviews from my day job. Some of you might know that I am a manager at a little store. Our corporation has “asked” us to get reviews from the customers. This means we hand out cards that say “give us a review on Google or Yelp to let others know how you like us,” or something to that effect.

For every fifty cards you give out you might get one review. This causes problems in a little store like mine where I only see two to three people a day. I ask, I hand out cards, and I just barely manage to get their quota of two reviews a month most months.

Then I have to go through the whole conversation of “Why aren’t you doing better?” Sigh.

So when I come home and I deal with my writing and it comes time to ask for reviews…there is a love/hate struggle of epic proportions going on inside of me.

First of all, I LOVE reviews on my books. I’ve only gotten a couple of bad ones, and so many great ones. I’ve read every single one and they just make me happy. Happy that someone took the time to read it. Happy that someone bothered to write a review. Happy that people ACTUALLY LIKED my book.

But the asking…the asking for reviews sucks and I hate it. I hate to feel like I’m imposing myself on others.

“Reviews are the life blood of authors” as the email I just got this morning from another author friend reminded me.

Then you go to Target, or the local boutique, or the car wash and are bombarded by people asking for reviews. Then you get these postcards of “review us please” filling up your pockets.

reviewAs an author I love reviews. As a consumer I am slightly annoyed with every store asking for them. And as a manager at a little shop I feel guilty asking for them, and frustrated that I can’t make the quota.

I still do it. I do my job, put a smile on my face, hand them the card and say “Please give us a review to let others know how helpful we’ve been.” Then I ask the next person, and the next, rarely expecting a review because so few people actually do.

And that’s the crux of the problem. The new internet revolves around reviews, but only a small fraction of us actually do them. I know I don’t do them very often. I just added a ton of books to my Goodreads library and only reviewed a handful of them.

Your book reading choices are being influenced by a fraction of the reading population. Did you know that? If 1000 people download the book, and 100 people read it, but only only ten actually give it a review that is a really small portion of the people who own it actually saying anything about it. That means if you care about reviews only a small portion of people, those who review everything, or those who had significant interaction with (good or bad) are influencing your decision on which product to buy.

And there are good reasons to review, and good reasons not to. For me, I prefer to review books that I really ABSOLUTELY loved so that others will know how much I loved it and might also read it. But I’ve read a lot of books and reviewing them all would take a very long time.

I don’t know if there is a point to any of this. Review my book? Yes, I’d love to hear from anyone who’s read my book. But I don’t want to seem pushy either. So read it, enjoy it, and if you want to then let me know about it. I’d love to hear from you, even if you hated it.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2015 in Commentary

 

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