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What is book-shaming? Book-shaming is the act of making others feel 
embarrassed, intellectually inferior, or just less than you, because of what
they enjoy or do not enjoy reading.

Is it a thing? For people who read a lot, or were/are English majors, or hold
writing degrees, yes! It’s a thing for others too, but this topic really struck
a chord in me, because I have a BA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing.
With these degrees, people were stunned that I have no true love for poetry, or
classics, or even literary fiction. I love science fiction, fantasy, comic
books, manga, some contemporary literature, and the occasional biography. Also,
I read young adult fiction just as readily and voraciously as I read adult

I’ve been told that I don’t read “real” books, or told I might not
like something because it isn’t “teenagery” enough for me, or is too
complicated, because I cannot handle literature with depth. As if the things I
read do not have depth or complex plots, because of their genre. I cannot help
what I don’t find interesting and will not seek it out in my free time. I have
better things to do…and read, than to waste my time with books I don’t care
for to please or impress other people.

The argument is that classic and literary books are supposed to expand your
mind, providing you with thought-provoking prose and rich imagery and
vocabulary. Those who think genre books can’t and don’t do the same, have never
read and truly digested a well-written genre book. Good authors can exercise your
brain on a spaceship or on a boat chasing a white whale. However, I argue, if a
reader is not engaged with the text, meaning they can only tolerate a page a
night, because the wording is so dense—and this does not speak to intellect,
because so called geniuses have said they read a page a night of dense novels—how
much is that reader really taking away from the experience? Are they able to
grasp the overall theme and arc of the book, are they able to catch clever
wording and appreciate it? Some people do, but, for others, if they are bored
and having to reread every other sentence to make sure they understood what was
said, then they are not having a pleasant experience. Their only take-away from
the book is: I read it! Then, they may be deemed smart enough to sit in the
circle of book snobs who would look down their noses at them, if they told the
truth about falling asleep mid-page.

The book-shaming snobbery doesn’t stop with the literary crowd either.
Within people who read genre fiction, there are “standards” and literature
that is considered almost holy. If you do not like these authors and these
books, you are not worthy. I find that many people might lie about what they like
or dislike, or how closely they’ve read one of the “holy” texts for fear
of being excommunicated by their local chapter of nerds. We escaped the literary
snobs who hover outside English 4301 classrooms, reciting poetry, to join our
fellow nerds, only to find that they might present us with their own version of
a papal bull.

I will out myself. I don’t like fantasy books written before the 1990’s
(exceptions: THE MERLIN TRILOGY by Mary Stewart—my favorite books, and THE MISTS
OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley.) This means that I do not like *gasp* THE
about certain science fiction as well. It is blasphemy to claim to love science
fiction and fantasy, AND to also write it, and not like Tolkien or have no
interest in Asimov. But, you know what, I’m a proud sinner. While I’m at it,
I’m not crazy about GAME OF THRONES either. It has nothing to do with intellect
or bad taste, and has everything to do with my personal preferences, which I am
allowed to have. Everyone is.

I write this piece to empathize with everyone who has been made to feel
inferior, unworthy, or childish because of what they like or don’t like. Why is
it such a difficult thing to let other people have and be proud of their
reading opinions? If we disagree, why can’t we ask the other why they feel this
way, and honestly and openly, listen to their responses without flavoring the
interpretation of what they have to say with our personal feelings. You may be
surprised at how stupid and shallow that other person is NOT, even when they
are disagreeing with an entire cult following. Yes, many people have a similar
opinion on this book or genre, but that does not make them right. It just means
a lot of people think like them or are lying and conforming so that they won’t
be the odd one out.

With age, comes the ability to not give a flying f-bomb about what anyone
else thinks about anything you do. I’m in my 30’s. I don’t hide the books I
read or don’t read, and if asked, will give an open response about my literary
choices. But, when I was younger, I did hide what I read. I wouldn’t bring comic books out in
public. I conformed with the masses and said I didn’t like things that I did
and allowed myself to feel shame for enjoying HARRY POTTER over the likes of
GAME OF THRONES. I even started to speak badly about books I enjoyed, so that I
wouldn’t be the “stupid” one in the group. It was a horrible feeling
having to hide what I truly found interesting and sitting quietly with nothing
to add in conversations about books that didn’t excite me. When you sit
quietly in such discussions, people think you’re dull anyway. So, you might as
well pipe up and say you didn’t like whatever it is they are talking about, and
if the conversation goes south from there, leave. That last sentence is
something I’d do now, but would not have dared to do then, in my youth, lest be
judged “stupid” AND “mean.” I truly had a problem with people thinking I was intellectually inferior to
them, so I tried so hard to do and say all of the right things, but I still
never seemed to get it correct. Also, none of it made me any happier or made
them think any better of me.

I do not want to be a hypocrite, so I will share that I am guilty of book-shaming others. TWILIGHT, FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY—to me—yuck! But, you know, other people like those books and that’s okay. When
friends tell me they love these series, I need to nod and smile. I should ask
them what they liked about the books, listen, and then move on. There’s no need
to express my opinions on the books unless they ask, and no need to give
those opinions in such a way that it makes others feel like their reading choices
are “guilty pleasures” or vices.

I think we should celebrate any person who picks up a book to read as
recreation. We shouldn’t care what it is. Your brain gets a workout any time
you read, no matter the genre. Our brains are processing by attaching meanings
and emotions to written words. They are providing imagery to what we read, and
helping us build critical thinking skills by making us follow a plot and notice
causal relationships between events. We gain emotional intelligence by analyzing
characters and their interactions.

Have you ever read the same book as someone else and discovered they interpreted
certain scenes and dialogue differently than you did? Everyone’s reading
experience is unique, and people take, learn, and grow from various aspects.
Another reader might find Easter eggs you may not have noticed, or you found
some that they didn’t. These eggs can be uncovered in all forms of
literature, whether it be classics, poetry, literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy,
young adult, middle grade, comic books, etc. If the book is something that you
want to read, and enjoy reading, you will gain from it.

We all learn from positive experiences. So, let’s keep our reading outside of
class positive. Some of the saddest confessions I hear are from adults saying
that after finishing school, they never read another book. They say it with
pride, because they associate reading with boredom. I bet they are people who
were told “this” is what you should read, so you can be smart like
us, and who simply chose not to read anymore because “this” was never
their cup of tea. Parents, please stop snatching away books your children or
teens like to read and making them read “classics” they don’t enjoy
in their free time. A lot of them become the book-hating adults I referenced.

I don’t know if this is a blog entry or a rant. I guess it can be both.
Book-shaming is not cool. Today is the day I stop, and so should you. All
reading should be seen as higher-level activity, no matter the title or genre.

Let’s cancel book-shaming.

There are a lot of negative news reports out lately about police officers, so I want to share my positive–and very awesome might I add– experience with the police.

If you don’t talk to me on the real, you don’t know that I just got a brand new phone after an Uber driver tried to make off with my last one. (Long story: left the phone in a ride and the driver wouldn’t give it back until I let him know I used my super-powers–mad librarian skills–and had enough of his personal information and bad credit history to make a very nice report to the Denver police about him. Unfortunately, it took 5 days and I already bought a new phone.) So, anyway, new phone :D.

I returned to work after several long distance trips (October 25-30th in Denver, the 31st back at work, then the November 1-5th in Salt Lake City). I stopped off at Starbucks to pick up a mobile order and set my phone down on the counter to add my typical 6 billion (well, that number is only accurate according to my co-workers) Equals to my coffee. I left Starbucks, went to work and realized: “I don’t have my phone. Crap.” I ring it through Google, and don’t hear it anywhere around my desk. I ring it and don’t hear it in my car. Crap. I must have left it at Starbucks! I drive back to Starbucks and the phone isn’t on the counter where the Equal is. I ask the attendants and no one has turned in a phone, there’s not even one in lost in found. Crap. Someone stole my brand new phone! I just set that thing up! It’s barely a week and a half old!

I drive back to work and do a Google Find My Phone. Google gives me an address in a neighborhood close to where I live. My immediate thoughts: “Thief! Stop thief!” So, I call the police from my office phone and introduce myself as a city librarian and then say: “My phone was stolen from Starbucks and Find My Phone says it’s at [top secret location].” Dispatch sounds excited, “Yeah? That’s the address for real? Okay, how long will it take you to get there? We’ll send officers out now to meet you.”

I say: “You want me to go there? O-okay. I can get there in about 10-15 minutes.” I tell him what car I’ll be in, tell my co-workers I’m off to wrangle a phone-thief, print out an old fashioned Google Map, and I’m on my way! (Dude, how did we EVER used to get anywhere reading printed Google Maps in our laps while driving. I had to **gasp** pay attention, because if I missed a turn, nothing would recalculate for me!) I get to the neighborhood, looks just like the picture, and parallel park between two cars and a power line (because I’m Queen of Parallel. And, well, since I have no phone to entertain me, I do my eyebrows until the police officers show up. :D.

Maybe about 5 minutes later, a cruiser comes down the road and I wave. I get out, the police officer confirms my identity, and then he has me do Find My Phone on his car computer. The computer says that the phone is right down the street between this address and that. So, then he says: “Let’s ring it!” And what the unsuspecting don’t know is that while he’s in his cruiser, in plain sight, two other officers have pulled up in cruisers parked to the side and are out on foot creeping around the vicinity listening for the phone to ring. (Google can make your phone ring as loud as it can for 5 minutes, regardless of if you’ve turned the ringer off.) But we start to notice something, every time we ring the phone, the phone says: “Device has stopped ringing” after about 15 seconds. Which means someone is actively turning the ringer off, meaning that we’re not just going to find the phone laying in the bushes somewhere, a person has it in their hand. A gleam comes into the police officer’s eyes. They’re about to rope some live cattle! Yeehaw!

The officer tells me to wait where I am and he proceeds to drive down the middle of the street, flashing his lights and ringing the phone. Most people’s eyes would be drawn to the police car in the middle of the street with the flashing lights, which is why I think he did it, as the other officers patrolled mostly unnoticed. I watch these police officers knocking on doors, going around to back entrances to apartments and houses, jumping fences and checking cars like they’re looking for a kidnapped baby. I start to think: “My God, what if somebody starts shooting? It’d be over a cell phone! Maybe I should call it off. I can get yet another phone…”

The officer that had stayed in plain sight gets out of his car and jumps a fence. I’m too far back to really see, but are they chasing someone? I don’t know. An elderly neighbor on a scooter keeps coming out, driving his little vehicle in circles, trying to see what’s going on. Dogs are coming to windows, yanking on curtains and barking. It’s a real scene. I want to start playing “Bad Boys,” but yeah, I don’t have a phone, so I can’t add a soundtrack.

A few minutes later, one of the officers (a female) strolls up to me with a pocket notebook and a pencil. I think: Oh man, they’re giving up. I’m going to have to file a traditional police report. Do I have time today to stop by Verizon to get yet another new phone or worse, activate the insurance. Insurance will send me a new phone for free, but I have to wait for them to mail it to me. I haven’t had a landline in years, so I’d be dark for at least a week. How annoying…

But then my thoughts are broken by her words: “We got him and your your phone. Do you want to press charges?”

*Blink. Blink.*

Excuse me, you what? They got him and my phone??? I was truly expecting never to see that phone again. I take a moment to process the information, then ask, “So…uh… how’s the guy acting? Like is he acting like he was out to steal the phone or is he acting like he wanted to return it, but was confused?”

Lady Officer: “We asked him where he found the phone. He said, at Starbucks. We asked him, Well, why did you bring it home? Why didn’t you give it to a store attendant? He said, uuuhh….”

So, I think about it, hard. If the guy’s got to steal cell phones (and is obviously not very bright, because of the way the police were able to catch him), he must be struggling in many different ways. It doesn’t excuse thievery, but what would I really get out of pressing charges? The guy would probably have to pay some kind of fine he can’t afford, I’d have to do a bunch of paperwork, the police would have to do paperwork. What a pain. So, you know what, I have my phone back. No harm done. He took it off a counter where stupid me left it, he didn’t lift it out of my purse. (If he had taken out of my purse or off my person, then you bet I would have pressed charges, because that means he touched me at some point. Do not touch me.) So, anyway, I chose not to press charges, I really just want the phone back.

Lady Officer: **nods, smiles** Okay, I’ll tell him.

As I stand thinking: “Dude, these cowboy cops really wrangled that guy and got my phone back!” the police officers are talking to the phone thief. The male officer, the first one I interacted with, brings me my phone and his card.

Male Officer: “Get in touch with me if you have any questions or change your mind. The guy’s saying that he was planning to take your phone to a phone store now. We’re going to go talk to him about what would have happened had you chose to press charges.”

Me: **Blinks and thinks: Yeeeeeah…suuuure…. Keep digging, dude (about the phone store story the thief was telling now), but I’m still not gonna press charges.**

I thank the police officer and get into my car. As I drive away, I look in my rear view mirror and see a young guy, head in his heads, sitting in the driver’s seat of a car, feet on the concrete. (Amazing thing I didn’t note, the police officers had patrolled the area earlier. When we arrived on the scene, one of the first things they pointed out was that the car at the end of the block–the one the guy is now sitting in–hadn’t been there earlier, meaning it had just gotten there within the hour. I think they already knew the thief would be the driver of that car.)

I think the whole incident maybe took 30 minutes and then I was back at work, waving my phone around like, “Haha! Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do…” Just about everyone at my job has heard my “cowboy” story now, but for the co-workers I missed, I’ll catch ’em. Or they can read this!

Thinking back, a lot of people say I should have pressed charges on the guy. The police did all that roping and riding and they didn’t get to hogtie anybody. Well, I still just don’t think anyone would have gotten anything out of it. Somebody said that he guy would probably just steal again, but I’m not so sure. From what I saw in my rear view mirror, the guy looked scared to death. I mean, image you have this innocent cell phone (that’s not yours by the way) and it rings in your hand. You’re probably thinking: “Oh, it’s just the owner calling. They probably think they lost the phone in the cushions of their couch. Hehehe—” Wrong sucker! It’s the police calling the phone and they’re right outside the door listening for the ring! Muhahahahaha! I really doubt that guy will be taking anymore cell phones. He’ll probably pick one up and twitch, looking over his shoulder for po-po cowboys :D.

When I get some free time later on that afternoon, I go to a local bakery and pick up some cute little cakes and decorative tarts (not donuts! I don’t want to insult anybody!) and deliver them to the police station with a note for the officers. I only know one by name, but I ask for the names of his associates so that I can write a letter to the police chief (who is very nice, by the way, he bought me and my co-worker coffee one day and left it on our desks) and to the city manager on their behalves. I think they should get some kind of recognition, because wow!

Members in the community that hear my story all stare and shake their heads, like wow. It is really nice to know that the police have our backs like that! It really was amazing.

Moral of this story is: My cell phone is either in my hand because I’m actively using it, or it lives in its special purse pouch, unless it’s at home or charging.

Other moral (for others): Don’t mess with my stuff! ;). I won’t let it go. In the words of Antoine Dodson (Home Invaders):

“They’re hanging out at Starbucks, snatching your cellphones up.

Trying to steal em’, so you need to hide your keys, hide your phone,

hide your purse, hide your cards,

and hide your coffee, ’cause they’re stealing everything out here.

You don’t need to come to confess. [I’m] looking for you.

[I’m] gon’ find you. [I’m] gon’ find you.

So, you can run and tell that, run and tell that

Run and tell that, homeboy

Home, home, homeboy.”

Lol, okay and on another note, one that actually has to do with writing, I have finished Book II, The Third Gambit. I sent it off to the publisher a few weeks ago with my fingers crossed. We’ll see how it goes!

Take care all, and make sure your phone has some kind of tracking system on it. If it doesn’t have one, look into getting one installed.

eboni indie conThe last time I wrote an entry, I was telling you all about my Rone Award finalist status. Since then, I’ve put together a costume to cosplay one of my characters, Desiri Lilias (who you’ll meet in The Third Gambit), bought my first Square and cash box to take to conventions so I can sell my book, had book bling made (I’ll have pictures of that soon), will be on some author panels, will have a signing table at a convention, and… won two more awards :D.

Yeah, you know I wanted to say that last part first. The Fourth Piece, my baby, won Most Promising Series in the Red City Review Book Awards and a bronze medal for Young Adult Science Fiction in the Reader’s Favorite 2017 Book Award Contest. I received a real bronze medal (bit it and everything. It is real!) I am attending the award ceremony for Reader’s Favorite in November (it’s in Miami) and am still going to the Ind’Scribe Reader Con to attend the award ceremony for the Rone Award in a week. I’m so excited! I can’t wait to meet the authors I’ve been in contact with as we prepare for the convention. Woohoo! I’ve also lost my mind and am driving to the convention. Yes, Burbank is only six hours away, but ugh! I’m one of those annoying “Are we there yet???” people. Three hours in the car is my limit.

But wait until you hear the reason I decided not to fly–or rather, the decision was made for me. You can’t bring swords on a plane as a carry-on, not even wooden ones. Yeah, my costume has bokkens, real ones, and they are heavy! I have a back-strap carrier for them that makes me feel like Leonardo (if you don’t get that reference, you are too young to talk to me, lol).  Of course, after I bought said bokkens and realized that now I have to drive, I think “Oh, I should ask the convention leaders if I can bring these.” I can :D. And since my bokkens pass inspection, I will assume my bow and arrows will too (these are fake, but the bow looks great.)

Now that I’ve gushed about awards and swords and wigs, I want to share something else I’ve been working on: National Indie Author Day 2017. The library I work at is participating in this event for the first time, and I was given the task to organize it. It’s probably the biggest event I’ve ever had to put together. Sixteen indie authors will be in- house presenting panels and workshops. Figuring out ways to communicate and get them to communicate with each other was interesting; promoting the event was fun. I’m expecting a small article in one of the local papers about our Indie Author Day event. I can’t wait to share it with the authors involved, though I’m afraid of one thing. A photographer came out and took my picture, but didn’t let me see the shots. I’m afraid there will be a blow-up of me with my mouth half-open, eyes half-closed. Bad pictures seem to live forever.

Jumping topics again, because it’s late and my mind’s bouncing around, I want to end this with a little writing rant at myself. So, I am very excited about upcoming award ceremonies, and wish-wish-wish that I’d had it together and had my second manuscript done, so that I could maybe go to these events and say: The sequel’s coming out soon. Instead, I can’t. I wasn’t that mad about it a month ago, because I’ve really been struggling to get the story out and right. Then, I made a discovery that made me want to smack myself in the face with a brick. (Well, not really, because that’d hurt, but you get the point.) I’m writing multiple perspectives and most of the people are in different places with different arcs. When I switch perspectives, it’s almost like moving to a new story. So, every other chapter, I was writing a new story, and when I’d go back to a particular character, I’d lost touch with their arc. So why did I choose to keep jumping around? Stupid. I should have written each character’s arc straight through to the end, then shuffled the chapters like cards, so that the POV’s still alternate but I’d lose nothing. I would SO be finished by now, if I’d done that before. I’m doing it now. I smell an ending.

And all this talk of endings makes me think I should end this. It just gets more random as I go, and let me tell you, I can keep going. If you’ve read anything on this blog before, you know that last sentence is true. Pictures, of everything, to come!  But for tonight, in the words of Yakko Warner, “Goodnight everybody!” (And if you don’t get that reference, you are WAY too young to talk to me ;D ).

Take care!



Rone-Badge-Finalist-2017I’ve been waiting for pretty graphics to use before I made this announcement! A little before The Fourth Piece came out, I was shipping the ARC around for reviews. I joined a site called Where Writers Win to find lists of bloggers and magazines accepting ARCs for review and found an indie magazine called InD’tale. I didn’t think they’d pick my book up for review, but hey, couldn’t hurt to ask. I didn’t hear from them for months. In fact, it took so long, I’d forgotten I’d submitted there. Anyways, months later a glowing 5-star review appears on my Goodreads page and in their magazine. I even got two steaming kettles for certain scenes being kinda hot. I was surprised and please. Read the review here. (It’s on page 85 :D.)

Anywhoo, a few months ago, this year, I get an e-mail announcing that my baby is a 2017 RONE finalist. What is the RONE award, you ask? Well…

Each year InD’tale Magazine honors the very best books in the Indie and Small publishing industry by awarding the prestigious RONE award.  To achieve this award, a book  must go through the most comprehensive process in the industry today, with three distinct areas of focus. (

This process involves a public vote for books that have gotten at least four star reviews from the magazine’s professional reviewers. But… books that are rated with five stars get to skip the public voting round and go straight to the judging round. The Fourth Piece got to skip a grade! :D.

The judging round goes like this: The finalists will then be read by a group of industry professionals consisting of editors, writers, professors etc. and be judged on a one to five scale from a specific list of requirements such as characterization, overall arc, editing etc.   Those scores will then be tallied by a professional company unrelated to InD’tale or its employees to determine the winner of the coveted RONE award, along with the honorable mentions.

gala-graphic-webAnd this is my favorite part here: All awards are announced at the annual RONE award gala event and ceremony and given the beautiful Crystal RONE award. This is a formal but extremely fun and entertaining night for all, one that truly honors all Indie and Small published authors, readers and professionals!

So, because I live four and a half hours from where the gala will be held, guess who’s going? Oh yes! And there is a book convention going on around it where there will be cosplay day, and I will be cosplaying one of my characters. Plus, I’ll have half an author signing table and will be signing and selling books there. Also, because it’s close to Universal Studios, guess who might be popping over to Harry Potter World for a butter beer and a peppermint cupcake? You guessed it! Evening gowns, costuming, and Harry Potter? Hecka yeah!

So, here’s hoping The Fourth Piece wins it’s category (YA Paranormal) and I get one of those sweet awards 😀 😀 :D, but even if it doesn’t, I’m happy just to participate! Now, I just need to lose half a person, so I can squeeze into an evening gown. I can do it… (eyes exercise machine in front of the TV while eating half a pint of ice cream–hey it’s light ice cream!)

Well, that’s what’s going on with me! I hope everyone else is doing well. Take care!


The strangest conversations or random thoughts keep me up at night. Sometimes, I write the ideas down and sometimes I call somebody up and ponder with them until that person is either as confused as I am, or ready to hang up, lol. I’m the only only person I know who seems not to need sleep… until about an hour before work. So, here is the latest question that was brought up to me during a writers critique group. What is the definition of “person”? Meaning: what is considered a person and what is not?

I’m steadily working on my second book, The Third Gambit, and for all of you who’ve read or just know a little something about my series Order’s Last Play, you know most of my cast aren’t human. The Fourth Piece, the first book, takes place mostly on Earth, but this second book does not. My characters encounter, interact with, and befriend many different races of alien people. A particular scene has to do with one of the Ladreth brothers discussing the fate of another alien race, and he refers to them as people. A fellow writer said: Oh, I’m confused. I thought Devon was the only “person” in this scene. I blink, confused myself, because there are seven other characters hanging around. Come to find out that to this writer, because Devon is the only character in the scene who is at least half human, he is the only one considered to be a “person”, everyone else is a creature. Another writer said: No, they are all people in this scene because they are humanoid in appearance.

Well, some of my aliens are not humanoid in appearance, are they then creatures? Also, one writer’s definition of “person” was that to be a person you had to be from a certain planet. Well, then to an alien’s perspective, I’m not a person and neither is the other writer. Rather than get into a debate, we moved on to another story, but it didn’t stop me from thinking about it. Especially when the other writer then said she was going to look up the definition of the word “person” for next group.

When I got home, I looked up the word “person”. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines it as: human, individual; the body of a human being; the personality of a human being; one that is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties. **Author’s note: This definition has been truncated due to excessive length, lol.** If I were to use the first and second definitions, my fellow writers were right in saying my non-human characters are not people or are only considered people if they appear humanoid. If I were to use the last definition, then all of my characters are people… but this last definition is troubling.

According to this definition, those who are not given rights by law are not people. In certain places in the world, and in certain time periods, there are and were individuals who are not/were not protected by law or given certain rights: slaves, women, non-Christians, the disabled, the mentally ill. Does/did that make them not people? Well, to a lot of others, they weren’t, and did these others make up definitions to exclude folks they didn’t think much of or wanted control over, yes. I would love to bite into that debatable nugget too, but I’m getting off-track. So, back to definitions and writers groups.

So, next week, I know that my fellow writer will probably come in to read to me the definition of “person” that she found in a dictionary, and I need something to combat it with. I started looking at the definition of “person” from a philosophical standpoint and took bits and pieces from others along with some of my own ideas and came up with the following. In my opinion, a person is a self-aware being in possession of higher mental facilities, capable of independent thought, reasoning, and reflection, and that has language or means of communication. Using this definition, I can conclude that all of my characters are people.

I also want to take this one step further as the subject of my first book was meant to parallel current and past equality movements. In my book, Visitors (people not native to Earth) and vulattos (offspring of Visitors and humans) are discriminated against. In the eyes of the humans who won’t accept them, they are creatures and non-people, meaning they don’t have feelings or thoughts and are not intelligent. The moral of the story is that the definition of a person is: a self-aware being in possession of higher mental facilities, capable of independent thought, reasoning, and reflection, and that has language or means of communication. Those who come from a different place and look differently than you and who may do things differently are not beneath you or so unlike you that you can regard them as things or animals, because if you’re not a person what else can you be? And all people are to be treated with dignity and respect and should be given unspoken rights to fair treatment and protected by law.

I wrote about the importance of tolerance, but used aliens as a literary device. I guess it kind of stings to hear that assessment from someone who read the first book and is now well into the second. I wanted to smack myself in the face and moan about how I failed. I wanted to say: That was the mentality I was attacking, and you didn’t get it! But I didn’t want to preach (not at the meeting anyway). Not everybody is going to get what you put on the page and why, but for those who do, and who let you know that they got it, it’s great.

So, my purpose for writing this is to give a definition of the word “person” as it relates to a speculative writer who features beings from other planets as characters. Why?–because our silly Earth dictionaries aren’t cutting it :D. I know I got on my soapbox a little bit, and got off task, because phew, a lot was said to get out that one little definition. But I feel better for having shared all this. No hard feelings toward anyone. What was said tonight really bugged me. I know it was said in innocence and I doubt the writer was thinking of equality movements or social justice, just the written terms “creatures” versus “humans” and I took it to another level. Had she used the word “human” I’d have been fine, but to say someone who feels, thinks and reacts is not a “person” just rubbed me the wrong way.

Okay, it’s late, I’m yawning, but probably won’t go to sleep for hours. Let’s see if I can be productive and maybe get some writing done. Sorry to pop back up after a month of silence with philosophy, but hey, I like being random. It keeps me interesting.

Until next time!

bookplatesI know a lot of people say that brick and mortar bookstores are a dying breed, but those same people also say that about libraries. I think so long as people thirst for knowledge, stay book junkies, and seek a little socialization with others whose needs are the same, brick, mortar and libraries are safe. That being said, I’ve been invited to be on a YA and Children’s Literature Panel at a Barnes and Noble Bookstore in San Jose inside of Eastridge Mall. There will be a book fair in the store featuring books from all of the panelists.

My song and dance: (even though you can’t hear and see it, which actually might not be too bad for you 😉 ) The Fourth Piece is gonna be in Barnes and Noble! La, la, la!

Some authors might not care too much about this. When it comes to sales, some say they do better through Amazon and don’t make much from bookstore sales, but you know what? I’m one of those authors who want to see my books on a bookstore shelf, a library shelf, a personal bookshelf. Two down… the bookstore left to go, and it’s happening! 😀

What am I going to do on this panel? Well, I heard in the past, the authors all did a book talk about their books and genre. This year the panel is going to be more focused on individual authors talking up the books they’ve brought to sell. We’ll each get our own little table/booth to decorate and swag-up and we’ll be set up near the food 😀 (Stroke of genius!) In previous years, they’d set up near the children’s section, but because the YA section and Children’s section of this B&N are not close, it’s not advantageous to all. Also, they determined that areas closer to the food get more foot traffic. (I’m a believer in this. No matter what books I search out, I always drift over to Starbucks in the end.)

So, now, I’m focusing on my elevator pitches, and what I’m going to bring to swag-out my table. I ordered more bookmarks, I’ve got my fancy new bookplates, I’m bringing my big The Fourth Piece book cover poster, and several smaller posters of the awesome promo images my publisher made for me. I don’t know how big my table will be, so I might have to prop some posters on the floor, but I want my booth to be eye candy. Hmm…candy. Free candy is always good to put out too.

The event is going to be on Saturday, December 10, 2016 from 2-3:30 pm, at Barnes and Noble Eastridge in San Jose, California. If you live nearby, please come in and say “hey!” If you come up and tell me you’re there because of my blog, I might have a free treat for you! ;).

I’ll end this with a question. If you go to B&N or any bookstore and an author is there at a booth, selling books, and talking… what would entice you to come over and see what’s going on, aside from the book being your genre?

Thanks to everybody out there listening, reading, you know what I mean. Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate the holiday and, as I always, take care!

Until next time!









I had to blog today, because I feel that I must share this um…well, I don’t quite know how to describe my recent transactions with the post office. I’m just gonna take it from the top and let you all decide what you’d call it.

So, a friend of mine purchased a copy of The Fourth Piece for his friend. He wanted me to sign it and write a personalized letter, so he ended up purchasing the book from me personally. I autographed the book and shipped it media mail to Michigan on September 16th. By September 29th, the package still hadn’t been delivered. In fact, when I checked the tracking, it hadn’t even left the post office. So, I went in to talk to the post office manager. He says:”Oh no, I’ll have to contact consumer affairs. They’ll call you in a few days. We don’t know what’s going on!”

A week goes by. The package is still in limbo. No one knows where it is. On October 7th, I go back to the post office to inquire about it. Now the manager checks the tracking and says: “Oh, it made it to Michigan! They tried to deliver it, but couldn’t leave the package at the door. Looks like people forgot to scan the package as it was traveling, so that’s why we couldn’t track it.”


So, uh, what’s the point in a tracking number, man? Anyhoo, I contact the person I’d sent the package to, and she says: “Well, the package came, but the post office says I have to pay $5 to get it, because they’ve declared that what you sent didn’t qualify as media mail.”

Now I’m totally confused. Since when have books not been considered media mail? I even received a letter from the Michigan post office telling me that I owed them $4.76 worth of postage for my non-media mail package with a brochure inside that explained to me what does classify as media mail. And yes, books are on this list. So, again, why was my book not media mail?

In the meantime, I’ve sent the customer another book on October 11th (which still hasn’t been received.) That’s about $40 in the mail, and I’m starting to get a little mad. I’m about to march down to the post office again, when I get a message. The customer went to the post office in Michigan, paid the $5 to have the hostage package released, and opened it to find:

post-office-package-bumper-stickersUm… that’s not a book. What the heck is this stuff??? And to top it off, the envelope has obviously been ripped open and clumsily taped back together.

What is going on???

Did somebody remove my book because they thought it was the devil’s work and replace it with prayer and Pokemon?

Or did they just rip off the book and think stuffing the envelope with a bunch of junk and sending it on its way was funny?

Is this not bizarre??? I’m going to show this to my local post office and see what they have to say. But geez…. how does this happen? If I didn’t know the people who placed the order, they might have accused me of being a scamming author. This is craziness.

I get so worried when I mail things now. I jokingly told some co-workers I was going to buy a horse and revive the Pony Express.

All right, I do apologize for this blog post being a rant, but the story was just too strange not to tell. Who does this happen to? Certainly not me…until now.

On a more normal note, I’m actually going to truly commit to Nanowrimo next month. No, I still won’t be working on anything brand new, but I’m going to polish a novel :D. Are any of you doing Nano this year? Good luck to you if you are!

Until next time, take care!






Yes, yes, I’m no stranger to showing my age these days it seems. But you know what? Nineties kids had some of the best sayings, and a lot of our phrases are back… or never really left.

I promised that the next time you heard from me, I’d have party pictures. Well, you know what? I do! I had two great launch parties. The first launch party was at Monterey Public Library. At this party, there was face painting. Some people left the party with extra eyes and a lot of glitter.




henna-tattooWe also had a henna artist. You can’t really see it in this picture, but I’ve got the Mark of Order from The Fourth Piece on my arm. It took forever to dry, but it washed off after a few days. I’m thinking of getting a more permanent Mark of Order in the future ;).

There was plenty of food. A good thing too, because a man came in and made sure to come over and thank me for such a good time and to congratulate me for my accomplishments… then made a bee-line to the food and proceeded to stuff his face. He refilled his plate 4 times, eating as he was stacking snacks on top of each other. (And I know you’re wondering, so I’ll tell you. No, he didn’t buy a book. Shhh…. I think he was only there for the food.)


I had music playing as guests entered. I let them grab some treats and mingle, then I kicked off the event with an introduction of myself and The Fourth Piece. My baby has come a long way, and I thanked everyone for attending his first birthday party. I played the official book trailer on the big screen, and then did a reading. A toddler loved the reading so much he screamed for joy… well, he screamed for something at least, lol. After I finished reading, I took questions and then let my teaser trailer reel play. Every 30 minutes, I pulled a raffle ticket and called out the name of the winner of 1 of my 3 door prizes.

mugsMy henna artist, a high school senior, won the first mug, her younger sister won the second mug. Before I pulled the ticket for the third mug, I joked that their mother would probably win the last mug so that the family could have a matching set…. and um… then she did. I made sure to rub their shoulders and promised to purchase a couple of lottery tickets that night ;).

While guests got tattooed, painted, and fed, or sat and watch trailers, I sold mommy-and-ebbyand signed books and posed for some pics. All in all, it was a great event that was actually recorded. I will go through the reel and make clips of it eventually, lol. The lighting wasn’t the best for video, but it made for a cool otherworldly atmosphere for the party.

Two days later, in San Francisco, I had a second launch party at Book Passage book store. I had never been there before the event. It was small, book-passagebut fabulous. The networking that was done at that meeting was amazing and The Fourth Piece is now in a book store. I look forward to getting it into many others in the future, but we’ll do it one at a time for now.  I’m learning about many other literary events going on in the Bay Area that I may be very welcome to attend now that I know “people.” 😀

Next stop on my promo train is my first blog tour. I just sent in all of the information requested from the person overseeing the tour. The Fourth Piece will be the featured book on YA Bound Book Tours from September 19-23rd! I don’t really know what to expect, but I hope I get some interesting reviews and maybe some more readers.

Until next time guys! Take care!





It has been a little while since I blogged last. But come on, even you have to admit I’m not as bad as I used to be :P.

So much is going on. Work has been so crazy busy. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I know why some people say you can’t be a professional writer and hold down a full-time job. Writing has to be your job–or rather, promoting is your job if you’re truly serious about not working, because you have to sell books to pay bills. I do not have any plans to quit my job and thus lose a steady pay check, so I’m gonna keep putting on my big girl pants and get it done.

I have been doing online promotions, author interviews, radio shows, TV shows (okay, yes, one radio show and one TV show, lol), doing readings, running a critique group, planning launch parties, doing author take-over events online, PLUS maintaining my fabulous front of being a teen librarian by day…and sometimes by night. I also dare to go out from time to time, lol.

I think things are going well. I’m pleased with the reviews I’ve been getting and the welcoming responses from the community I live in. (Monterey is awesome!) My co-workers are really putting themselves out getting things ready for my launch party at the Library. (September 10 from 2-4 for anyone in North Cali.) There will be henna. A high school senior will be doing interpretations of Order’s Mark on willing guests. There will be make-overs. My friend’s lovely daughter is an amazing artist who is practicing designs to make brave guests ready to blend in with the other Visitors. 😀 Also, I will have door prizes! I ordered mugs and a travel cup with character images and quotes on them. The food is going to look very sci-fi (but it will be safe I swear.) I’m going to read, show some books trailers and teasers, do some Q&A, sell and sign some books, and take a lot of pictures.

I’m excited. This is my first book launch party. My second will be a few days later in San Francisco. Check my event calendar for more details. That one I’m not so sure about what will go on. It is being thrown by a group called Left Coast Writers. They’re sweet! They are the ones who got me the radio spot. The party will be held at Book Passage, a large independent book store.

Okay, now I bet you want to know why I’m rambling, because I am rambling. I do have something I want to show you. I want to debut my new professional book trailer for The Fourth Piece and let you guys see a “do-over” trailer that I felt one of my characters deserved.

I’m going to end this with the trailers. I hope you all are doing well, I want you to take care, and next time you hear from me I’ll have PARTY PICTURES!

What is “nicety”? Nicety, pronounced nice-stee, is a mash-up of the words “nice” and “nasty”. To be nicety means to literally kill with kindness. When someone is awful to you, you respond in your kindest tone with the sweetest look on your face, using your most proper and polite diction… with a subtle undertone of either sarcasm or condescension that some people never catch. I exercise a lot of nicety while providing customer service to difficult patrons and lately, dealing with HOA (Home Owners Association) for the condo I’m currently renting.

My front door broke and the woman I had to deal was snotty and rude each time I spoke to her. At one point, she snapped at me. I remained pleasant but firm in what I needed her to do. Later, I texted her with something like this: I appreciate your taking the time to work with me in rescheduling my appointment (kind and flattering). From your tone the other day, I could tell you were quite upset (kind but, here’s the nice-ty, I’m actually scolding her for being rude). I apologize for being a difficult person to work with, and hope that you don’t think badly of me (my tone sounds genuine, but I’m being sarcastic as all get out). Have a wonderful day (I wish this on everyone). Five seconds later, she calls and apologizes profusely. This is a prime example of using your words. I could have easily fussed at her, but all that would have done was escalated an already tense situation. Instead, I defused it, and made her feel guilty. :D. Nicety works!

Okay, I had to get that tangent off my chest for the moment. Now, it’s time to tell you about some author stuff. So, I made my radio debut last Sunday. You can listen here if you’re interested, but here’s what I learned. I love radio and I want a radio show! I would have YA authors come on all the time to read snippets and leave listeners on cliff hangers. Audio books on demand. ( I know, I’m such a nerd and things like that went out a lo-o-ong time ago. But I think we could bring it back.)

And, tomorrow, I’m gong to be on a plane to LAX to do an author meet and greet and book signing at a comic store near Santa Clarita. My friend’s book group read The Fourth Piece, and I get to sit in on the discussion. Hope I’m not ripped to shreds, lol, but I’m really looking forward to it. After that, I’m going to Harry Potter Land LA!

I’m going to do another blog post after the comic book store signing to talk about how it went, and to make another exciting announcement. I think things are going well for me and The Fourth Piece. I’m learning so much and when it’s time for Book II (The Third Gambit) I’ll be better prepared.

Until tomorrow!