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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
fiction.

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
LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY or THE WHEEL OF TIME SERIES. I feel the same way
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.

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.

face-painting

extra-eyes

 

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.)

food-table

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!

 

 

 

 

takeover

I can write another book about all the things that have happened since I last made an entry. Call me lazy. Nah, go ahead, do it. I’m lazy. I should have been blogging like crazy these last few weeks. All right, you ready? Let’s go!

BIG NEWS: JULY 8, 2016!

What’s that? My release date! Both print and e-book formats of The Fourth Piece will be available for purchase from the publisher’s website: 48fourteen.com, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and select bookstores.

You can pre-order your Kindle-edition right now: http://amzn.to/24I4HNr  (WOOHOO!!)

Next off, tomorrow, I’m doing an Author Takeover Event through my publisher. Basically, 48fourteen lets some of their authors take over their Facebook page for 6-8 hours a day. My day is Sunday, June 12, 2016 from 12 PM to 6PM Central time ( 10am-4pm for me!) I’m going to be doing giveaways (free stuff for you!) and challenges and interacting with readers practically all day and I’m stoked!

Here’s the invite link: https://www.facebook.com/events/250136265348256/.

Networking events! I’m scheduled to do two readings, one at Old Capitol Books and Juice ‘N Java at PG! (I will post more specific information about these in EVENTS.) I also had a write-up about me in the Monterey County Weekly (http://bit.ly/1Yky5cR) and I’ll be filming a television appearance on August 4th!

Things I still have to do: plan some book release parties. I’ve got two currently in the making. Talk to some independent book stores. Hit up some more of my library connections to see which libraries might want to carry The Fourth Piece (because of course mine will ;). ) Make some author swag! And finalize which blog tours and review sites ad book promotions tools I’m actually going to use.

I hate to say it, but I’ve been so busy I haven’t written anything new. Ugh! But that will change soon. I’m going to start scheduling writing dates with myself. I get a treat if I do good and write X-amount at any given time. But I need to find a way to make that treat not involve food, or shopping… or spending money… Well darn, that’s a boring date. I’d stand myself up!

Hah, but any way, I’ll figure something out, but new writing will happen and happen soon.

All right, so for anyone who reads my long-winded posts, I just wanted to give you all an update on what’s going on with my book and writing. Take care guys, and I hope you’ll participate in the Author Takeover or hey, pre-order my book :D.

Take care!

 

 

Hey!

I completed my fourth teaser in my “teaser series”, and I’m nerding out because the book is called The Fourth Piece, and this is the fourth teaser. This one was the hardest to make, because the character introduced in this one might be dead. I won’t explain too much, because it’d be a spoiler and I prefer for you to read the book *wink, wink, wink* to get what I’m talking about. So, anyway, this trailer was the hardest to make because I had to someone show alien terrain from the vantage point of a character losing consciousness.

A co-worker of mine is pretty techie and she mentioned a free software program that compares to Adobe Photoshop called GIMP. I know the name sounds mean, but the software’s pretty sweet to not cost me anything. I was able to manipulate my images, change the hues and add and take away layers. I’m still not a boss at using the program, but I think my end product turned out okay. So, yes, GIMP is my new toy. I’m also learning new, fun things about Windows Move Maker. I almost spent a lot of money on Animoto, and I’m glad I didn’t. Movie Maker works just fine for the purposes I need it for and it’s also free.

I’m having a great time scripting the trailers, playing with images, and even timing the music in the trailer to match the intensity of the words on screen. I feel like a director of an EXTREMELY low budget film, but I’m still empowered. I jump for joy when I check my YouTube hits and see the counter tracking more than just me coming back to peep at my videos. The videos are also doing well on Facebook and Twitter. Tumblr… yeah, every time I think I’m going to give up on Tumblr, I get a new follower (which makes a grand total of three, by the way, lol).

If you haven’t checked out any of my teaser trailers, please do so. All of them feature different aspects of the story. Some introduce single characters, some delve into the world building. Haha, look at me talking like all the trailers are done. So far I have three trailers about characters and one trailer about world building. I plan to have seven trailers total, so three will be about world building and the remaining four about character. So, I’ve got three more trailers to go!

Latest The Fourth Piece news, aside from the teasers, is that I’m looking at title pages and chapter headings. I get more excited by the minute. I told a friend: Gee, getting ready for a book release is like giving birth…without the gross stuff. 😀

Okay, I started this blog entry to bring attention to my latest teaser, so I’m going to leave you guys with that. I’d like to introduce you to my character, Evan Ladreth.

On THE FOURTH PIECE by E. Ardell…

Time to introduce another character with yet another book teaser for The Fourth Piece. I’m going to do this one a little differently this time, since this character has lived most of his life off-world. Here we go!

Have you ever had “just one of those days?”

Meet Evan Ladreth, who’s having THAT day.

Name: Evan Ladreth or Lauduethe

Age: 18

Occupation: Leader

Hometown: First Dome, West Central, Octagon 6

Planet: Rema

Hobbies: collecting rare knives, learning new musical instruments, cross-breeding plant species, trying new food, and working old magic

Pet Peeves: Being called short or cute, being petted, being underestimated, long meetings, having to wait, bad service…and crappy missions

Want to know what the heck I’m talking about? Guess you’ll need to follow this link and check out THE FOURTH PIECE (coming soon): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29058267-the-fourth-piece.

Like this video, like me on Facebook.com/EArdell
Follow me on twitter: @E_Ardell

 

 

 

 

 

Reading from Chapter 5 of The Fourth Piece in Lawrence Ladreth’s POV.

The entire book is told from the shifting first person perspectives of four brothers. Lawrence is the one often misdiagnosed by strangers as having ADHD.

 

 

I read this section so fast that even I am amazed at the speed. I talk fast, listen to my audio books at double speed, and am a fast reader, silently and aloud, LOL. I haven’t read to an audience in years and really need to practice to a beat now.

the book of flash

 

I’ve realized something after my reading on Thursday. It’s something I’ve known, but it’s really funny to actually see it in action. I talk fast, I read faster. I used to get frustrated listening to audio books because I could have read a page twice over before the narrator finished it once.  Then a genius friend said: “Um… why don’t you increase the speed?” As a result, I always listen to audio books at double speed. So, when I got up to my reading, I practiced vocal inflection, voices, being animated, using my stomach voice to keep from being nasal, but I read the section as fast as I read things to myself or listen to audio books.

Watching the playback, I found it simply amazing how fast I could act out a section. It was like watching a video in semi-fast forward. My mouth was going at 60 mph. I thought the reading went well, I got some giggles, had some folks interested, but yeah, it was FAST. I will start practicing with a metronome. (Yes, I’m a dork and was in band for 6 years. I know all about tapping your foot to a clicking beat to keep tempo. 😛 )  I wonder if there’s a metronome app. Heck, there’s an app for everything. I’m going to look into it.

Overall, I love reading aloud. A few people who didn’t know me well mistook my fast reading for nervousness and a need to practice before an audience to get comfortable with reading. When you tell people that’s not the case, they all give you that “oh sure” or the “you’re getting defensive” look. But it really isn’t the case. I used to do story times for kids, and I used to read to the high school classes I taught (for one year before I ran screaming for the door and another profession, lol. Teachers you are saints with a higher calling.) I’m comfortable reading to people. I just haven’t done it in a two years and have developed Quicksilver/Flash tendencies. I need to set a beat.

Now, here’s some publishing news! Cover art for my book… the cover artist who initially had the job was dismissed and a new artist has taken over. I’m really excited to get to see some new cover designs. I also received my second round of edits from the publisher, so I’m getting started on that. I also think I’m ready to submit the first two chapters of the sequel to the publisher. I wanted to let my writers groups go through them first, and they finally have.

Okay, to close this entry out, if you go to the category, The Fourth Piece Readings, you’ll find pictures and links to the speedy reading of a selection from The Fourth Piece. I’ll see if I can actually upload the video onto the blog, but I think it may be too big. If it is, as I said before, there will be links :).

Until next time, take care!

gaston can't read!

That would be me! I’m the world’s biggest hypocrite. I’m always complaining about people not reading signs or directions and today, I was a repeat offender.

So, good news–I have sent out queries to fifteen different places, agents and publishers. I have heard responses from three, two said thanks but no thanks, and one said, go ahead and send us the full manuscript so we can take a look.

I’m really excited about that, but do you know I misread the directions on submitting to this publisher not once, but twice. The first time, I misread the instructions for labeling my files. The second time, I sent the manuscript to the wrong e-mail address. Both times I corrected my errors, but my gosh. I sure hope this publisher doesn’t think: Well darn, she can’t follow instructions EVER.

I want to blame it on excitement, and just being tired. I keep telling myself not to submit late at night, because I make dumb errors, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Sometimes, I have to submit when I can, or it just won’t happen.

I know I’ve said it before, but preparing materials for submitting takes such a long time. I almost wonder if it’s not harder than writing the book itself.

So, anyway, my full manuscript is in the inbox of a teen lit publisher. I’m crossing my fingers and praying that they like it. But you know how it goes when you send off a submission. Just yesterday you liked your story just fine, but now that you know someone else is going to be reading and scrutinizing it, you’re thinking: Man that story sucks. Lol!

Well, here’s to hoping they don’t think it sucks. They liked the query and the first three chapters (prologue included.) So, we’ll see. And hey, if they don’t like it, it’s not the end of the world. I will continue to submit. There’s power in pressing “send”.

So now, I need to get back to writing new material while I wait. It’s hard, you feel restless, but you can’t put your other projects on hold for months while you wait for responses.

Until next time!