Thursday, August 28, 2014

Perceptions....what you see isn't ALWAYS what you get.

It's been a while since I've posted. In my defense I was writing my new book. Roses Are Red...Violet Is Dead is about a half Native American named Violet who is being stalked.

But you see, her actual race isn't important. The ONLY reason it needs to be brought up at ALL is the mere fact that Violet's stalker has broken out many cliches he think is Native American and is using them to get her attention. "Oh, look! I know your plight. I know your culture. You want to know me." But, of course as in real life that isn't really true. Let's back this up for a moment. Violet is a typical teenager. She's snarky, worried about the future, and has a thing for caffeinated beverages. She's also typical in that her race doesn't always define her. Her friends, her activities, her sense of self are what defines her. But, I won't get into that quite yet. There's going to be more to come on the mechanics of Violet and her story. :D

Little known fact about me: My brother and I were adopted. Both of us have Native American in our background. Our adoptive parents had to sign away our rights as Native Americans to be able to adopt us. Back then I didn't know what that meant. Now, even as an adult I'm not really well versed on the whole thing. I just know that from what I've been told, I'm a part of the Blackfoot tribe. And unfortunately, I know as much about that as I would about being able to perform brain surgery, in space, on a tutu wearing hippo.

You may have been reading so far and wondering what my point is. Everything seems a tad disjointed and rambling. Here it is. Someone in the publishing industry was looking to get some stories on people of color. I'd asked if Violet and her crew were what they were looking for. The response I got? "I'm sorry, but I'm not comfortable with white people writing about Native Americans." Now....who's judging who?

With all of this hullaballoo in the news about race and how it matters, I find it odd that someone would discriminate against my book simply because I'm perceived to be all white. It feels like it should be the punchline to a bad joke. But, no. It's not.

Years and years ago I'd created a saying "perception is 9/10ths of the law". Yes, I know that in the real phrase it's possession. But bear with me here for a moment. This particular professional chose to not read my work because I was perceived to be completely white. So, perception won out. A few days ago my brother posted a little video on Facebook about the beers at a local sporting arena. If you ordered the small, you got a short stout cup. If you ordered the large you got a large tall cup. BUT...here's where everything goes awry. When someone poured one cup to another BOTH cups have the exact same amount of fluid in them. Isn't that a kicker. You order what you THINK to be a large but it turns out to have the same exact amount of beer in it as the small. This particular sporting area preyed upon your PERCEPTION. You perceive that a large should have more than a small, so you'll spend the extra $2-5 to buy the large. They're making money hand over fist. (Yeah, I'm still in a bit of WOW about that....)

And....now, the biggest moral of my story. For the most part, with me, what you see is what you get. Except when it comes to my race. My ruddy flammable complexion (read that as so white skinned you can use me to navigate movie seats from the glow emanating off of my lily white skin), my green eyes, and my (my actually natural) blonde hair make people think that I'm all white (thank you Clairol for helping me not be a monochromatic palette). Irish maybe. (Yes, I have many many freckles) But I'm more than that initial perception of me. There's Blackfoot running under the surface. In your day to day life, take a moment to look beyond your initial perception. You might find something you hadn't expected. After all, it really IS that perception is 9/10ths of the law. :D

As always, be good to each other and keep #wordmongering.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review Time!! ACID by Emma Pass

As I mentioned in the post last week, I'm not one to give you the ins & outs of the book. That's for you to read & the author to show you in their work. Without further ado....my review!


This book is definitely worth a read! If you come across it in your searches for something to read, please stop  & get it. You won't be sorry you did. Enjoyable to the very end! Since it's VERY rare I'll give a book a total of 5 stars I give this a 4 1/2. It's that good!

Until later! And as always write like the wind & be good to each other!!


#wordmongering

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Review Hoopla and what I think is the reason for it.....

Hey all! This post is going to be a little heavy, but I wanted to say something about it because well, I have an opinion and I feel very strongly about it.


The Horror Writers Association has petitioned Amazon to pull certain reviews. I'd seen the article on either Facebook or Twitter and nodded vehemently when I read it.  Rather than insert a lot of web addresses I'll let you go about it on your own time. I'll paraphrase what's going on. They would like Amazon to take down reviews. Now, before everyone gets upset here's the ones they would like removed:

Ones that are OBVIOUSLY from someone that hasn't read the book or if they have it's only those sample pages that Amazon lets you read for a teaser.--Ok, this seems PERFECTLY logical to me. The people that post reviews based on tiny snippets of a book aren't as informed as they should be. In order to be able to give people an opinion of a book, for Heaven's sake....read the thing! Whoever wrote it put a lot of effort into doing so. Trust me, writing isn't as easy as gumdrops and lollipops like some people think it is. There's blood, sweat, and tears in every word of every page.

Reviews that are focused on price rather than content.--Again, perfectly logical. Just because a book is either 99 cents or is $5.99 that shouldn't have a bearing on what a reviewer thinks about the CONTENT of the book. It's the writing and the story that we want to know about, not the price. We can see the price. It's in black and white in front of us. Sure, maybe cheaper books have worse content and more expensive books have better content. Well, if you've ever been shopping, you know that there are some generics out there that are just as good as the name brand. Unless you're a total brand snob, this shouldn't be the focus of a review of a book. A book review serves to tell people whether or not they enjoyed the author's work. Not whether or not they enjoyed the price they paid for it. Great thing about the society we live in, if you don't like the price of something you either shop around for a cheaper one or you simply don't buy it. We have those wonderful choices right there at our fingertips, even more so if you're buying off of Amazon in the first place.

Reviews that have negative PERSONAL remarks about the author.--This is one that seriously chaps my hide. We're all SUPPOSED to be grown ups here....usually (yeah, there are teen buyers. HECK I'm hoping that teens buy, I'm targeting their age bracket exclusively). When you're pretty much resorting to play ground antics to get your point across, it's the online equivalent of calling someone a "doodie head". Seriously, grow up and realize that just because you didn't like something doesn't mean that the person that created this something is the worst person on the planet. Another nice thing about the country that we live in? We have so much diversity. What's even better is that publishing in general is ridiculously subjective. But what isn't? Not everyone likes lychee fruit and personally I love the stuff. Can't get enough of that ONE tropical fruit that I'm not allergic to. Conversely, don't give me Brussels sprouts, I do NOT like them. I've tried them in every way you can imagine and no matter what, I still don't like them. Now, Husband thinks lychees are "Meh" but he swears up and down his grandmother's recipe for Brussels sprouts is amazing and will blow my socks off. A perfect example of how everything is not for everyone. Personally, I love that. That means more lychee for me. Hee hee.

And last....but not least....my personal rant. The ONE thing that I've always stood by and frustrates me to no end......*drum roll please*

Reviews that include spoilers. -- I know that there are a LOT of reviewers out there that think it's necessary to give us the play by play, blow by blow account of what happened in the book. Whenever I see it though, I hear a unicorn fart in the woods. Why would someone buy a book if all they have to do is read the reviews and know what happens? In my opinion (yes, MY opinion, I own it 100%) the author is the only one that can tell their story. They're the only one that can do it justice. Why am I going to attempt to do something that's already been done before I got there? Call me crazy or even lazy, but I don't want to rewrite this person's novel. They've already done a bang up job of that all by themselves. When I leave a review, I let people know what I thought about the book, but I won't ever....yes I said ever....tell everyone what happens in the book. Especially the ending. In my mind that's the equivalent of running up to some random stranger standing in line at a thriller or mystery movie and saying to them "It was the butler who did it! Aren't you glad you ran into me so I could tell you the ending?" You don't do that! (Ok, maybe there are some people that do it. But seriously? That's the rudest thing ever. Stop it.)

We live in a society where the comfort of our own laptops, iPads, tablets, phones, and desktops offer us that cushy buffer to feel safe enough to take an excursion into the big bad world. Albeit a cyber world, but a big bad world nonetheless. The safety of where ever we're sitting makes us feel like big brave lions that can take on anything and roar in the face of danger. The problem is, with this courage also comes a lack of manners and common courtesy. We forget to say "please" or "thank you". We forget that on the other end of that screen name/user name/handle is an actual living breathing human that has feelings and can be hurt. After all, interfacing with glass and plastic doesn't make it feel like it's personal. Not like we do when we're face to face with someone and can see their eyes, see the light go out when we've just stabbed them in the proverbial heart. To see them genuinely smile or actually LOL. With our lack of feedback to our actions we've become bolder, crasser, meaner, and downright bullying at times. No, I'm not saying that EVERYONE on the internet is in this category, but there sure do seem to be a lot, am I right? Every day I see someone that's been adversely impacted by someone else's rude, mean, and bullying behavior online. In fact, one of the things that brought about the article that I mentioned above was a controversy on Good Reads surrounding a new author that had her book panned long before it came out. The shelves they were putting her book on weren't something that anyone in regular society would say out loud. Maybe in private behind closed doors, but not for everyone to hear.

It's funny that because a lot of this behavior happens behind closed doors, we forget that we're actually in public. Facebook is a community. On Facebook you "friend people" you "like" posts or pictures. On Twitter you "follow" people and you can "favorite" or "retweet" someone's tweet. These are all social things. If we were in person in a conversation someone might say "Oh Moni! I like that!" The same as they can on Facebook. Someone from that conversation can say "Oh, my mom said the other day that your hair looks fabulous." Ok, that was just a retweet. Ultimately, we've forgotten that these technical and digital age things came out of actual things that people have done since the dawn of the spoken or written language. Maybe it's time that we rediscover face to face chats (and no, I'm not talking video chatting on your phone, although I guess in a pinch....that might work). Maybe take some of what you realized while talking to a warm, live, breathing human being and use it when you're posting that next kitty photo to Twitter or Facebook. Be HUMAN on the internet. Be the person that you are in real life with the people that you talk to on the internet. You'd be surprised at how much more caring and less rude you could be.

For those that are reading this and saying "But, Moni! I'm me all the time whether it's on the net or in person." I understand that. I'm just putting out this gentle reminder. It would be nice to have cyber bullying down to a minimum. Bullying in any setting to me is the equivalent of slaughtering that farting unicorn I mentioned before.

As always, be good to each other and write like the wind!!


#wordmongering


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day (Or ANTI-Mother's Day that is...)

For most of us, Mother's Day is an awesome day. We're either celebrating our mothers or being celebrated as mothers. This is wonderful & I can't tell you how happy I am for you.

For me this is a mixed bag. I am a mother, but my children don't live with me. They also don't do anything for me on Mother's Day. I'm all right with this. I check up on them often & I know that they are all happy & healthy. It's what I truly want for them. Then there's celebrating MY mom. Hmmmm....that's another can of worms. I have my adoptive mother, her & I don't get along very well. My biological mother & I have met, but again there's a lot going on there too.

So this post is for those that feel disenfranchised by the whole "Mother's Day" concept.

Some of us have bad feelings on this day because we think of all the bad things that happened to us at our mother's hands. Not all mom's are the June Cleavers that we've been shown to be the "ideal" mom. This is sad but true. As much as I would LOVE to have everyone in the world have that wonderful mother that nurtures them, loves them unconditionally, & never hurts them, it isn't ever going to happen. Then there are the mothers that won't ever get the cards, phone calls, brunches, breakfast in bed, or even an acknowledgement of their motherhood status.

Yes, Mother's Day may be an awesome day for many, but not all. Take a moment of your time to remember those that won't be enjoying today. Remember...perception is 9/10ths of the law!

As always, be good to each other...& write like the wind!

#wordmongering

Friday, December 20, 2013

Working seriously hard these days.

I've been such a bad bad blogger & I truly apologize to you. Of course we know that NaNoWriMo was last month. Did you win?? I did. My first year doing so. While some people may be ecstatic with this prospect, me....not so much. Not because I feel I didn't accomplish anything, because I did...it's because now the HARD part happens. The editing.

There are many of my writerly friends that relish the thought of going in and tweaking their story until it's just right. I on the other hand look forward to it like a root canal while having my bone marrow biopsied at the same time. The creative portion of the programming I have down pat. I can create until the cows come home. Once I hit the editing portion of the programming, that's where the gears grind to a very painful halt. I'm not sure if it's the pressure that's behind editing, or if it's simply my own fears eating me up from the inside out. I know that once I'm done editing I'll have IT, a finished manuscript. Something I can shop around, see if anyone would like to send my precious baby out into the real world. Parents of college aged kids that are reading this are nodding their heads. On the one hand we want to shove our babies out & force them to live their lives on their own terms. On the other hand, we're scared to death they won't get it right. That's how I feel about my MS babies. Only, instead of me being scared to death my baby won't live their life right, I'm scared that people might poke and prod my baby. Make my baby feel like the unwanted child.

I'm not going to pretend I know how to overcome this fear, because I don't. Once in a while I gather just enough courage to shove as hard as I can (my eyes squeezed tightly shut the entire time) & hope that someone will love my baby as much as I do. That's the worst part isn't it? You send your baby out & you have no control over what happens next. It's the best and worst feeling ever.

So, having given birth to this post, I'm off to bed. My babies will need me when I wake up & I want to be fresh to confront them.

As always my #wordmongering & writerly friends.....be good to each other & write like the wind!



Friday, August 16, 2013

Neighbors and Writing...

Today I'm going to talk about neighbors. For the most part we all have them. Some are better than others. Lately I feel like my husband and I have been at war with one of ours.

There are just some people that should move to the remotest location they can find and stay there. The man that lives directly behind us is one of those people. We live in a townhouse subdivision. When we moved in we thought it was the answers to all of our prayers. A nice three bedroom with an upstairs and a downstairs. What could possibly beat that? My husband has his room to do photography, graphic arts, and sound mixing. I have my room to write, read, and quilt in. Win win! We soon found out that paradise had a price. Ours is Douchey Neighbor.

Douchey Neighbor doesn't like to follow the Home Association rules. When he's called out on it he screams and yells at the person pointing out his offending behavior and blames them for interfering in his life! I think that it's safe to say that we all know someone like Douchey Neighbor. The funniest part of this? Douchey Neighbor has a really nice wife! Go figure!

Now, this being a writing blog and all I realized that there's kind of a moral to my experience with Douchey Neighbor. Writers bare their very souls to the world. Whether you're writing for a magazine, a blog, a book, or for yourself you are putting your thoughts out there. Our writing is a little piece of us. Let's face it, if people don't appreciate our efforts we tend to bristle. It's only natural, if someone walked up to your baby on the playground and cursed them out you'd have something to say about it. More than likely it would be a lot of somethings to say about it.

When my husband and I first moved in Douchey Neighbor didn't appreciate being told he couldn't park in front of our garage. For some reason it offended him that we wanted to park in a space that belonged to us. Apparently we hindered him on a personal level. After a lot of blustering he moved his vehicle. We thought that was the end of it, nope...we were very wrong. After a couple more times of asking him nicely to move his vehicle we finally had to lay it on the line, move it or lose it. Yep, we told him we'd call a tow truck. Of course we needed to suffer the wrath of Douchey Neighbor for that statement. On the bright side? We no longer have a need to ask Douchey Neighbor to move his vehicle.

Usually in situations like the one above it's always best to take the high road and not bait them. That's the best way. Ok, my husband is the one that's constantly telling me this. But it highlights the point of this post. I've perused the GoodReads site, checked out Amazon (like every other author I know), and looked into Barnes and Noble. I've checked out the reviews of some of my favorite authors and I can say that usually their reviews are glowing. In the past I've seen Twitter rants from people frustrated because an author didn't take the high road when it came to their babies. Yes, I like many other people just had to click the link and see what the hullabaloo was all about. The drama, while entertaining, sickened me a little. This business is extremely subjective. While I don't enjoy much in the way of Sci Fi, my father in law loves every last book he can get his mitts on. My father in law on the other hand, is not very impressed with Young Adult.

With the amount of genres and authors out there I'm having a hard time understanding why some people feel the need to be rude to those that don't agree with them. Sure, Jane Doe might not have liked your book but does that mean that Jane Doe is a bad person? In the age of instant digital reviews it's way too easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole and ultimately get into a word war with someone over their opinion. Us as authors need to take the high ground.

Conversely, I also have a hard time understanding why a reader would find it necessary to utilize their computer to tear someone else apart word by word. Hopefully there will come a time somewhere in the future that all Douchey Neighbors will be eliminated, until then I hope that authors and readers can come to some sort of a truce.

There is enough room in this world for everyone's opinion and that means that you are entitled to yours as well. You know how that saying goes....I won't be so crude as to repeat it.


Until next time my fair readers! Be good to each other and write like the wind!!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Bear with me....I'm a work in progress ALWAYS!

Things have been on the VERY crazy side here in the V household. Not only did I get married last September, but I also had a massive renovation project going on my in-law's house to contend with. Once the majority of that came and went my husband got a job in Nevada. You guessed it, we moved.

Things here in Nevada aren't as bad as I thought they would be. You know how sometimes when you move to a new city (especially if you've had to rush the move as Husband and I did) you fear that everything will be poop and you can't find an upside to it? Yep, I was there. My fears were unfounded though.

My husband settled into his new job quite quickly and he's very happy with his job. Gracie has settled in with some fits and starts (Read that as we had MANY accidents in the house. Beagles can be QUITE stubborn at times.) and now she's acting like she's always been here. As for me? Well, things couldn't have worked out better. In the past I've never had a space that was just for me and my writing. That's all changed now that we've moved here. I have what is now known in the V household as "Moni's Writerly Lair". A HUGE purple wall, my nice comfy purple disc chair, and a desk all set up with writing supplies. Oh, and I can't forget the two large book shelves to hold all of mine and husband's favorite books. Yes, methinks I will like it here.

On the productivity note, I'll do my darndest to get back here to update a bit more often, even if it's just to ramble about the weather or whatnot. Who knows what I'll be in the mood for? I'm also working on being a lot more productive on the writing front now that things are on the slow down. I can't tell you how excited I am about this slow down. It means that I'll be able to actually concentrate on working.

Until next post! Be good to each other my friends and keep on writing!