Sunday, August 20, 2017

Spotty Record

You may have noticed that blogging hasn't been as consistent here as I promised.  Work and life have become somewhat overwhelming at the moment, so, for now, I have to scale back to once a week.  As things calm down a bit, I will try to get back up to twice a week.  Believe it or not, my goal is to blog three days a week, like back in the old days when this site was new.  Of course, my goal is also to run two miles in less than 14 minutes too, and I'm not sure I can get there right now.

So please stick with me.  Plans for Salvation Day are moving forward, and I hope to do a cover reveal shortly.  Until then, know that I'll at least be putting up one post a week.  Sorry it's not more, but life sometimes gets in the way.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


A few days ago, while reading According To Hoyt, I came across something that literally left me slack jawed.  Being as cynical as I sometimes am, it's hard to shock me.  Very Hard.  However, the total and abject stupidity of the world of hysterics managed to do so.

I'd never heard of The Black Witch before.  It's a YA thriller about a woman whose grandmother saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War(whatever that is).  This story follows young Elloren as she attends Verpax University to become an apothecary.  However, being sheltered as she was, Elloren has some shaky views about the people Verpax lets in its doors.  It seems she was raised by folks who think such folks are lesser people, and she, naturally, has adopted these attitudes.  But, confronted with the reality of those in her midst instead of the caricatures she grew up with, she's forced to reevaluate her misguided beliefs and come to terms with the way she once viewed the world with the way the world really is.  Sounds like a great story about overcoming prejudice and growing up, right?


A blogger named Shauna Sinyard, who goes by the handle Bookstore Babe, wrote a 9,000 word review that starts out with "Normally, I start these reviews with a photo of the book and a star rating. Today, I am not going to do that. The Black Witch is the most dangerous, offensive, book I've ever read. It's racist, ableist, homophobic, and is written with no marginalized people in mind."  Her review started a firestorm where people began trashing the book and the writer based on the views the main character holds for a good portion of the book(which is kind of important in order to establish the story where she can overcome these things).  Reviewers began giving one-star ratings on Goodreads and other sites in the hopes of not just persuading people to not read it, but to get removed from stores altogether.  What's worse is that many of those parsing out one-star reviews freely admit they've never even read it.

What.  The.  Fuck.

Look, if you want to give a book a one-star review because you think it's a shitty book, go right ahead.  We've all read horrible stuff in our time.  However, at least understand the story,  The blogger in question, and many who came out as part of the mob she stirred up, made their reviews because the main character doesn't fit into their neat little world where no racism should ever exist.  There is apparently no room for the growth of a character, or if so, then they don't care to read about that character's journey.  I mean...pfft, who would want to understand a character in order to better figure out how that person overcame bigotry and oppression in the first place?  Who do the folks who do this think they are, writers with a story to tell or something?

Shauna goes on to spout every cliché ever produced to caricature the American Left.  She labels the protagonist as a stand in for white people who marginalizes every minority stand in throughout the story.  She then tries to connect Elloren's journey with racist white people giving themselves a pat on the back for getting past it.  I guess in Shauna's world, there is no personal journey, no overcoming of bigotry, and once a racist means always a racist.  Let's hope she never picks up something like To Kill A Mockingbird or Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

As bad as Shauna's lack of understanding regarding this made-up story is, those trashing the book based solely on her review are even worse.  Do these people allow others to make up their minds for them?  Are they so sheep-like that they will follow whatever someone in the "woke" crowd says?  And most absurdly, do they think their entire world will collapse...over a friggin' book?!?!

This stuff harkens back to old timey book burnings and should scare the shit out of all of us.  I know that I've said not to wade into politics, but the attempt at censorship here should make all of us - left, right, or center - mad as hell.  I was going to say scared, but scared isn't the emotion I'm feeling - I'm feeling anger.  Anger at those who think words are dangerous.  Anger at those who couldn't be bothered to judge for themselves but would rather another like-minded person tell them what to think.  Anger over trying to suppress a book(and let's be honest - that's exactly what's going on here.  If these people were granted authority over what others could read, do you have any doubt, any doubt at all, that they'd yank this book off the shelves so you couldn't make a decision they disagreed with?)

I'm not so much upset with the book getting a one-star review.  Like I said, if you dislike a book, then by all means, give it the worst review you can think of.  Where I get agitated is with people like Shauna completely misreading a novel and chastising the author, Laurie Forest, for not getting over racism on the timeline the reviewer wants.  Or, what appears to be worse, daring to not be woke to this stuff from the beginning.  I wonder strongly at the kind of bland characters she likes, for they must be so milquetoast that there is no internal conflict whatsoever.  And then she and others have the gall to tell us it's a dangerous book(news flash - books are not dangerous - actions are dangerous; books are words compiled into a story, and if you think they can create evil, then you need serious therapy).  Shauna, get over yourself.  Your adherence to your "woke" ideology has blinded you to the threat to freedom you represent, not Forest.

Ideas must flourish in the light of day where they can be scrutinized.  Bad ideas must be countered with good ideas rather than shut down because those ideas make you feel icky.  And folks should actually read for themselves before they comment on whether or not something is hateful.  It would also help if they got the premise of the book rather than letting it go completely over their head because it didn't resolve in the manner in which the reader wanted it to.

I have no desire to be timid on this.  If my stance on this issue offends you, then unfollow me.  I do not want to associate with people who question whether a book should even be in print.  And yes, I mean any book.  Those who believe a book is too dangerous would feel right at home in puritanical societies where no unapproved ideas come out to make others uncomfortable.  Sounds so nice...and so shallow.  I weep for those narrow-minded fools who cannot countenance a book being out that doesn't meet their strict social standards.  How pathetic.

Sunday, August 6, 2017


I ran across this post from WriteToDone a couple of days ago, and it caught me off guard.  In a nutshell, it talks about how to not be intimidated by other writers.  Nelu Mbingu, the post's author, makes laudable points in trying to get folks over being intimidated, but the entire post brought me to one simple question - is this really a problem?

Maybe I'm naïve.  Maybe I'm an arrogant asshole.  However, I have trouble wrapping my mind around being intimidated by anyone, especially in a field I enjoy.  Do we not publish because we feel we can tell a story better than someone else?  And if we need to get better at telling that story, don't we just do it instead of brooding on it?

But maybe this is a bigger issue for most than it is for me.  In my personal interactions with other writers - I mean real writers, not the folks who keep saying they're going to write a novel but never actually do it - I've found that so many have egos of crystal, as if a single harsh word about the work or artist will shatter their view of themselves.  So many spend so much time trying to impress others that I wonder if there's any time left to know...write.

Yes, many of us feel insecure.  After all, we're putting our work out there for everyone to see.  However, feeling intimidated?  Why would we ever allow our own insecurities to make us feel that others are better than we are?  True, we can always improve, but so can that person you feel may be so much better.  I think we all need to take a deep breath and realize that everyone else has the same insecurity we do.

I'm not saying to tout ourselves as the Next Great Thing.  Humility can always serve us well.  That doesn't mean we should ever believe our writing doesn't measure up to someone else's.  Be proud of what you've written, and be confident in the way you wrote it.  If someone doesn't like it, figure out why and move on.  That's part of getting better.  But never - never - let yourself feel inferior to another writer.  We're all in this together, and simply putting our work out there for others is an act of courage.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Salvation Day Release Date!

My next novel, Salvation Day, has a release date!  It is currently scheduled for release on November 2, 2017.  I've very excited about this release, for although I've enjoyed writing all of my books, Salvation Day is, in my opinion, my best novel.  I look forward over the coming weeks to the cover reveal and promotion for my most engaging novel yet.

If you haven't joined my mailing list yet, send me an email and do so as soon as possible to keep up with everything scheduled in this release.  See you in November!