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The Reader in Me: Part II

Okay guys, this post was supposed to happen yesterday, but I’ve worked the last four days in a row and y’all don’t understand how sleepy I am as soon as I walk in the door. I’ve been doing a lot of sleeping during my time I should have been writing posts. Eh. Anyway, this will be the second half of the post I wrote on Saturday.

Also, I’m playing around with posting at a new time. I know probably every single one of you posts whenever you feel like, but I don’t. I strictly post between 9:30 in the morning and 12:30. Now I’m going to see about posting at midnight each night instead. Why? Because I think most of you who actually read my stuff will read no matter when I post and perhaps I’m opening my blog up to a greater audience by posting at the later time. Maybe. Okay, now on with the post.

11. Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

Absolutely. Not! Are you kidding me? No. Just no.

12. Which book has been with you to the most places?

I don’t travel. And I wouldn’t take my books with me if I did. Another question with no response.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad ten years later?

Well shit. How old am I supposed to be? I’m barely four years out of high school and I guess eight years out from my freshman year. I haven’t reread anything from high school because you all should know by now that I don’t reread anything. This set of questions is off to a wonderful start.

14. What is the strangest item you’ve ever found in a book?

Oh come on. This isn’t even fun anymore. What the heck am I supposed to find in a book? A corpse? A Mega Millions winning lottery ticket? Food? I’ve only ever found scraps of paper or notes in books, and I have to think that most people are the same way.

15. Used or brand new?

Definitely new. I have a handful of used books that stick out like a sore thumb on my shelf. At least they do to me.

16. Stephen King: Literary genius or opiate of the masses?

Never read him. I bet he’s closer to the genius side.

17. Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?

There are some truly great literary adaptations. But do not fool yourself, you cannot make a movie better than the book. Why? Because even if you have a nice long 150 minute movie, you still have to leave out huge chunks of the book because you simply don’t have the time needed to adapt every facet of the work. So no, I’ve never seen a movie that I thought was better than the book.

18. Which book should never have been introduced to celluloid?

Along Came a Spider by James Patterson. This isn’t a knock on the book, I thought it was pretty good, but the movie did it absolutely no justice whatsoever. The movie looked thrown together at the last minute. And this was with Morgan Freeman as Alex Cross! And what happened after this trainwreck of a movie? They released a sequel made exactly the same way. Ugh. Thankfully no more came after. The more recent Alex Cross adaptation was a bit better, but still not very good.

19. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry?

This is a little weird. No. I will say that I’ve read so long that I’ve finished reading with some weird noises coming from my stomach. Does that count?

20. Who is the person whose book advice you will always take?

I’m trying to figure out what this question means by book advice. Does it mean recommendations? I don’t think it means writing. So I’ll just assume it means suggestions. Okay. I don’t recommend books and I don’t want you suggesting any to me. We both win.

So that’s it! Another batch of questions found in the blogosphere and another batch conquered. Thoughts?

The Reader in Me

I missed another post yesterday, well maybe to you I missed it, I had plenty of time to write one and several ideas but I just didn’t feel like it. So I don’t think I missed anything more than I just didn’t do it. But that’s neither here nor there. I have a simple one for you all today. Y’all know I like writing posts in which I get to answer questions about my reading or books or whatever. Wellllll I have another set for you guys to read. Each of the other two times I’ve written this type of post I’ve had a number of bloggers copy me, so one of you needs to continue that tradition.

Okay. Might as well get started. Oh, I found these questions here. I’ll do the first ten today and the last ten tomorrow.

1. Which book has been on your shelves the longest?

Ooooh. This is actually a tough one to answer. I know for sure that I’ve had some books at least since my sophomore year of high school. I’ve probably had a couple handfuls since before then. Okay. I’m going to have to take a wild guess and say that the book that I THINK has been on my shelves the longest is A Deadly Game of Magic by Joan Lowery Nixon. I have another of her novels that I read right around the same time that actually won an Edgar. Didn’t even know.

2. What is your current read, last read, and book you’ll read next?

Don’t really have an answer for any of the above.

3. What book did everyone like and you hated?

I’m pretty sure I’m the only one in the history on the universe who did not like this book. I’ve written about it over and over and even dedicated a full post to it back in March. Sorry, Mr. Dahl. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

4. Which book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read but probably won’t?

The Bible. Ha. Just kidding. I’ll never read that. No matter what reasons people give me. Hmmm. I don’t think I have an answer for this one. Cause I’ll read a book if I want to and won’t if I don’t. Pretty simple.

5. Which book are you saving for “retirement”?

Uhh what exactly does this even mean? Is it supposed to be a book I’m saving for years and years from now? Or…I don’t even know. Anyway, I’ll just say Potter. Cause when the movies ended I vowed to wait awhile before actually starting the books. Cause once I finish them there’s no going back, the entire phenomenon would be over. I know there are millions of people like me in that I grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The first movie was released when I was ten. You see what I mean. So I’m saving the series for forever. Although I have now read the first and have the second right here next to me. Once I get to book seven I imagine that I’ll wait at least a year before actually reading it. Cause then I’ll be done and  I’ll no longer have anything more I can take away from the series that haven’t already. I know a lot of people reread the full series every year, but I know I won’t be doing that. Of course, with all that being said, I read THG trilogy in a really short span and finished the series shortly after the first movie was released. Eh.

6. Last page: Read it first or wait til the end?

Oh boy. I read mysteries. Where’s the mystery in reading the last page of a book before actually reading the book? Makes no sense. Okay. Let me go pay $13 to go to the movies and walk in during the final five minutes. Yep. No. Literally the dumbest thing I know readers do is reading the last page first.

7. Acknowledgements: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?

The person who created these questions has obviously never written a book. To say that the Acknowledgements section of a book is a waste of paper and ink (you’re talking pennies) is simply moronic. This is the kind of person who thinks one person writes a book. This is the kind of person who has no respect for what authors and writers do. This is the kind of person who says “Oh, so you just stay home and write?” This is the kind of person who has never written anything of substance in their life. I almost always skip the Acknowledgements, but as someone who has gotten to write just one Acknowledgements section I can tell you that I spent quite some time on those few pages and every person mentioned helped with the book. I very much hope that not a single one of you who reads this will think they’re a waste of ink and paper. Then you fall into the category I mentioned above.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

Easy. My own. Andrew Banks. Perfect girl. Perfect job. Pretty intelligent. Strong physique. Helps people.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?

No. I don’t know how many times I have to say that I read because I like reading and because it’s the greatest form of entertainment we have today. Whatever I have going on in my life has absolutely nothing to do with what I read. I’m not trying to cope or deal or get away, I just want to read my books without someone thinking that I have some motive for doing so.

10. Name a book you acquired in some interesting way?

I buy all my books. Nothing special about it.

Okay.  I rather enjoyed answering these questions. Had to really think about a few and then had those that were pointless, as usual. Feel free to go ahead and answer them yourself or let me know what you think of my answers.

What Moves Your Characters?

Before you start writing your comment about what “moves” your characters let me stop you. That is NOT what I’m talking about. And frankly, I’m not even interested in that topic because I’m sure most of you have read my rant on all the people who claim to be so “moved” by books and all that junk. Yeah…don’t get me started.

Anyway, I am talking about what your characters actually get around in, what they drive. I can’t tell you what hardly any of my favorite characters drive. I know Harry Bosch mostly gets around in an unmarked LAPD Police Interceptor. These are the black cars with the spotlight in the front that you see driving around every once in awhile. They probably remind you of a Crown Victoria, but they’re not. For future reference, there could very well be a police detective in there. I know Kinsey Millhone used to drive an old Volkwagon Beetle. But she also used to walk from place to place quite a bit. I know at least one of my favorite characters drives around in an old Chevy Nova, but I have no idea who it is. The point I’m making is that in my reading experience the vehicles of the characters in the story have not been a big deal.

I can of course tell you what cars I’ve mentioned in my writing. My protagonist drives what he often refers to as an “old Mitsubishi.” Sydney drives a BMW. There have been a couple other cars mentioned, but none that the reader was ever in.

I’m just thinking about how much thought writers put into what their characters drive. I mean, I know just about every choice a writer makes is calculated and made for some reason, but I’m thinking there is a long list of things that would come before trying to decide what make and model car your MC should have. You all should definitely know by now that my character is me, and I bet you’d guess that I gave him my car. That was all the thought I put into what he drives. Although in my second book, which is indefinitely on the backburner, I gave a young, attractive, intelligent lawyer a car that’s something of status symbol. So eh, maybe I think about it more than I know.

Tell me about you and your characters. What do they drive and how do you make such a decision?

This post was inspired by the fact that I just got a new car yesterday! I had my first car since just before the start of my senior year in high school and it was definitely time for a change.

This was my first car.

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This is my new one.

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Books in School Classrooms

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Photo Credit: Apples for Your Eye

School is just now beginning for most of the country, and with the start of a new school year comes the start of many new careers in teaching. More than 500 new teachers are starting this year in my former school district and many of these new teachers face similar challenges. But one that I’ve happened to see article after article written about is the struggles that come with trying to have a small assortment of books within the classroom. I’m not talking textbooks or workbooks, I’m talking books.  Books for the students to read.

I am fully aware that there are new teachers starting out this year that don’t teach English or ELA at all who may not have as many books in their classrooms, but I can remember just about every elementary school teacher I had having some books in the classroom. And my future English teachers in middle and high school definitely did. But let’s be real, new teachers have limited resources to outfit their classrooms with the proper supplies needed for their students. Especially books. Teachers are now utilizing crowdfunding websites for this specific purpose. Most I’ve read about are attempting to raise $500-$900 for supplies for their classrooms. This is for ALL supplies, but think about how much it would cost just to buy maybe 30 books, which isn’t many.

There’s an organization in my area that provides new teachers with $100 for supplies, but we all know they need a bit more than that. This is where you likely expect me to tell you about a new teacher I know personally who could really use your help this new school year. I’m not going to ask you to give your money away, nor should you feel obligated to do so. But I will say that I think it’s great seeing so many new and longtime teachers going to such lengths to get books in the classroom, because a classroom without books seems inadequate. I would be surprised if you disagree.

Judging a Book by its Author

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Photo Credit: Larkable

We’ve all heard the stupid saying about judging books by their covers. Easily one of the more annoying things that you hear about books, but have you thought about judging books by their authors? I think it’s a real thing worth discussing just a little further.

I’m not going into judging books by their covers because I’ve actually already written about that practice before and we all know that it absolutely does happen. Let me explain to you what I mean when I say judging a book by its author. How many of you read multiple series? If we’re being honest with ourselves it takes all of two seconds to realize that publishing is going in much the same direction as movies have in recent years. It’s all about sequels. Plenty of authors are still writing great stand alone novels, but it seems that just about every author and their mom is writing a series, which is perfectly fine with me since I love a number of characters who I don’t want to stop reading anytime soon. So a lot of series are being written So what, right? Well, not exactly. You see, this may have given rise to judging books by their authors. How, you ask? Let’s say you just finished the first book in a series. You liked the book and you immediately log into your Amazon account to purchase the next book in the series without looking at what the book is about or the reviews or anything at all because you just know you have to have it.

This is where judging books by their authors comes into play. We all judge books, but now that you know you like the series and the characters and the author’s style of writing you’re almost certainly going to compare the book to the first in the series that you just read. I think it’s much easier for us to compare books within a series than it is to compare books completely independent of one another.

So that’s judging books by their authors, when you compare a book to other books you’ve previously read by that particular author instead of comparing it to everything you’ve read. I can’t be the only one who does this. I can easily tell you my favorite THG book or my top two or three Harry Bosch novels, but it becomes much more difficult to go down a list of my all-time favorite books. So tell me, do you judge books by their authors just as I do?

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Blogger edition

Okay guys, assuming that your name isn’t Patrick Star and you don’t live under a rock, then I’m certain that the title of this post tells you exactly what I’m writing about. I would hope that would be all of you. BUT if somehow or other you have no idea what the ice bucket challenge is, you’re in luck. It all comes down to professional golfers last year started the ice bucket challenge in order to donate to their favorite charities. Over the course of time the challenge morphed into being all about ALS. So there. People are pouring ice water over their heads and MOSTLY donating money.

That’s the basic premise. But what you hear about online from people who THINK they’re sounding intelligent is that all these people are wasting water. How does dumping ice water over your head help people with ALS? They say people are just doing it to be part of the phenomenon that has spread across the country. They say no one really cares about a cure for ALS. My response to all these people would be…..shut up.

If you’re one of these people, then unfollow my blog right now. Cause there is nothing intelligent about criticizing people who yes probably want to be a part of the challenge, but who are also donating their own money that they absolutely don’t have to. And what are you doing? Trying to record a video that you think a lot of people will agree with because you seem to be under the impression that you’re seeing something in all this ice bucket challenge business that no one else is. Everyone knows that a little bit of water is wasted. Every person who does it knows this. But let me ask you something.  Have you ever just stood in the shower that extra minute, or two, or ten? You’re talking a whole lot more water than just a bucket. Do you run the water while you brush your teeth? Oh look, more water wasted. Maybe there’s a drought ongoing where you live and you still run your sprinklers during the day. See, don’t sit there and act like you’re this wonderful perfect person who cares so much about water, cause you don’t. And if you want to make it out like you do, find some water causes online and donate there.

Now let me tell you all something fun about my ice bucket challenge. I actually challenged three bloggers! It’s not like I’m going to nag you if I challenged you and you don’t do it, but It’d be fun to watch your video if you do.

Just a few last things before I show you all my video. I’ve been reading article after article about people who have actually had to deal with ALS and let me tell you, I haven’t read a single one that says they think it’s stupid. Cause it is raising awareness and it is raising money. With that I leave you with an article from the Huffington Post in which someone very close to ALS gives her thoughts on the ice bucket challenge. Second, here’s a video of someone talking about why he did the ice bucket challenge.

Access the article here.

Watch the video here.

That’s all for today. No book stuff, but now you have to watch my video because I may or may not have challenged you!

The Perks of Being a Writer

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Photo Credit: Writer’s Digest

Okay guys, I’m certain that I could write a book about the so-called perks of being a writer. And hey, maybe some clueless soul might confuse the title with The Perks of Being a Wallflower and mistakenly buy it. I can dream, right?

Let’s get on topic here. For the sake of this post, let’s assume that you, the writer, earn enough money from your published titles for writing to be your one and only job. You’re not James Patterson but you’re also not John Guillen making zippo.

Make your own hours

This is one of those things that other professions just don’t have. I mean, I suppose a business owner could also set his or her own hours, but last I checked there are a lot more people in America who don’t own their own business than those who do. But as a writer you can write every other day or three hours a day or eight hours a day or on no set schedule at all. Tell me that isn’t the coolest thing. Sure I know that if you don’t write enough, then you could potentially miss deadlines and yada yada, but still. The hours a writer actually writes is solely dependent on the individual.

No commute

Plenty of professionals live a lengthy drive from their place of employment. And then you have others who may be able to walk to work each day if they live in an overpriced apartment in the middle of the city. But writers don’t have to deal with any kind of commute to and from work. If I want to only write at my desk at home, then I can. If I want to sit out back and write as the sun falls, then I can. If I have a favorite cafe that I frequent for my writing purposes, then I can go there whenever I feel the need to do so. A writer can literally work anywhere, others can’t.

No boss

I know what you’re thinking. A writer has a million people within their publisher who may or may not tell them what to do. But would you really put that in the same sentence as your boss at work who never leaves you alone about the dumbest things? “Get me coffee.” “Get off the internet.” “Where’s that report?” “Were you just taking a selfie?” I don’t think so. After all, this writer has a nice body of work and an agent who can always look for a better publishing situation. Writers are like every single aspect of a business in a single person.

No set salary

Again, I know what you’re thinking. This can also be a very bad thing, especially for a self-published author. But our writer for this post is not self-published and has several published books already. But let’s be real, every working person goes into their annual evaluation thinking they’ve done a good job over the past year and deserve a pay raise. And so many of these people are disappointed over and over again. But a writer doesn’t have to look at his or her work that way. They could write one book that someone likes and that someone could go back and buy the others that are available. A writer can always earn more. And that is not a bad thing.

Okay, I kept this list short because I wanted to hear from you all. What are your favorite perks of being a writer? I’m counting on you for some good ones I haven’t thought of yet!

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