A Literary Tattoo? I Think Yes!

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I decided a few weeks ago that I want to get a literary tattoo. Hopefully before the year is over. Remember, I LOVE tattoos and already have three of them. But you’re probably thinking what the heck would I want to get from a book? Well, let’s talk about that.

You guys should already know that I have a quill writing in an open book on my left forearm. I’ve mentioned this in at least one previous post. I got this exactly one year ago today. It was my graduation present to myself because I was now ready to start writing. You can judge me all you want, but I love it. And then back in March I got my university’s logo on my left wrist. Some people love this one, and others are like huh? Again, I love it, so go think whatever you want to think elsewhere. I have a third one, but I’m not telling what it is. I was 18 and stupid. But at least it’s not visible.

So now let me tell you which items or objects I’m considering getting that come from literary works

The Mockingjay Pin

I think some people would probably call it a little girly or make some smart remark once I explained what it was, but let’s be clear, no one I tell about it is going to say anything too outrageous because I’m bodybuilder and everyone who sees me knows it. I’d just throw them. But really, these books are obviously my favorite series, and it’s not like I’m talking about getting Katniss’s face or something. The mockingjay pin is small and plenty of people probably wouldn’t even know what it is until I tell them. Can you believe I actually know people who haven’t even seen the movies?! I don’t know how that’s possible.

The Elder Wand

This wouldn’t make for the greatest tattoo ever because it’d look much like an ordinary stick, but how cool would that be to have the Elder Wand on me?! Don’t answer because people who hate tattoos are judgmental and I don’t like them. Anyway, the one other tattoo from HP would be the deathly hallows symbol. I don’t think I’d get both, but who knows. They would both be small and could fit anywhere on my body now.

I’d also consider quotes from either series. But probably not because I already have one quote I want to get at some point and I don’t want to be covered by a whole bunch of writing. Also, I once considered getting the title of my first book down one forearm and up the other, thank goodness I didn’t do that. Would have been huge.

So all you book peeps, if you’re not of the opinion that tattoos are some kind of evil, would you consider getting any literary tattoos?

Photo Credits: Pinterest

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Why is it Still Acceptable to Strip Books?

ImagePhoto Credit: Nesting Place

I was thinking last night about how traditional publishers allow for unsold books to be returned. I had an idea about how the process to return unsold books takes place, and unfortunately I was right about how the process works when it comes to mass market paperbacks. These are those small paperbacks that basically fit inside the palm of your hand. You probably have hundreds of them. The price range for these books is typically $7.99-$9.99. At least that’s what I’ve always seen them listed at.

But do you know what happens to these books if they go unsold and a retailer decides to “return” them to the publisher? Their covers are ripped off and sent back to the publisher as proof that the book has been destroyed. Ripped off! These then become known as “stripped” books. Paperback and hardcover books are typically shipped back to the publisher as whole books, but mass market paperbacks are not. They’re simply destroyed.

Tell me how come these books can’t be shipped back to the publisher just the same as others. Or how in the world this practice was ever acceptable. Or what kind of evil person could sit there and actually strip the covers off either by machine or by hand. I almost couldn’t believe that the practice was still going on, but then again, the publishing industry has remained unchanged for so long that it really shouldn’t have surprised me.

It doesn’t matter that the return rates of these books is higher than the rest. You know why? Because the publisher is the one paying to have it shipped back, not the retailer. This practice should be done away with immediately because I’m sure a group of reasonably intelligent people could come up with something better that doesn’t destroy books.

I don’t like that books can be returned at all, but if I had to pick between returning a book to its publisher or destroying it, well then I say ship it back.

What do you think of the practice of stripping the covers of mass market paperbacks?

You’ve likely seen this message on the inside of your mass market paperbacks.

If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

Your Favorite Bookstore

ImagePhoto Credit: BookRiot

There once was a time in which a reader had many options as to where to buy his or her next book, at least here in the US. We had Borders, and Barnes and Noble, a number of indie bookstores, Book-A-Million, and then of course, Amazon. Okay, that wasn’t quite as many as I thought, but let’s move on. I’ve pretty much gone through every bookstore I have over here at some point in time.

Way back in my high school years when I first started buying books for myself, I’d go to Barnes and Noble and do what millions of others do everyday, I’d find my next book. I wouldn’t go with a specific author in mind or a book or anything. I’d just browse the mystery section and take a chance on something that caught my eye. But this didn’t last. Barnes and Noble charges full list price for books, and I can’t be the only one who doesn’t have eight or nine dollars every time I want to buy a paperback. So I switched.

Then came the days of going to Borders. This was in the year or two leading up to their bankruptcy. They would email me coupons every week for 30-40% off any item. I mean, yes, please! AND if they didn’t have the book in store, I could order online and have it delivered to the store for free. I remember getting several books for a whopping $5.21 after the discount. I know I’m an author and all that, but you CANNOT pass that kind of deal up. But then the company closed its doors and I made a dash to the store located about seconds from my house. I think I bought five books that day.

Then came Amazon. See, I knew I didn’t want to go back to Barnes and Noble, but I’d never bought anything from Amazon before. My apprehension soon faded when I realized that Amazon had a buy 3, get fourth free deal on millions of paperbacks! It was almost too good to be true. But I took advantage of this deal more times than I can possibly recount now. And I thought four books at a time was the perfect number. But then like all good things in life, the deal came to an end. It was roughly at the start of 2013 or the end of 2012 that they did away with the deal. I’ve read on forums that people were livid that Amazon could do this. I wasn’t all that upset, Amazon is a business, right? Imagine the millions of free books they’d given away during the time of their promotion.

Then came another switch. I’d known forever that Wal-Mart sold books online, I’d even bought one before several years ago. But I never knew how cheap they were! Wal-Mart was cheaper than Borders (with their coupons) and Amazon with the 4-3 deal. How!? Around the holiday season last year, they ran a promotion in which all books available in their online store were 40% off. That meant that most titles would drop to $4.79! Yes, I was in heaven. And yes, I bought a lot of books before that promotion also eventually ended. Now I’m back with Amazon. But I no longer buy three or four books at a time. Mostly just one or two. Which is fine since I’m hardly reading anyway.

So now you know my journey through all the bookstores I’ve known, what’s your favorite bookstore?

A Year After Graduation: My progress

One year ago today my name was announced as I walked across the stage at the Spring Commencement of the University of Houston Downtown. Before we get into what I’ve done in the 365 days since that wonderful day, let me tell you all a little about it.

I woke up extremely early. Around six. Guys, this may be regular for some of you, but I do not EVER wake up this early. I ate a rather large breakfast because the ceremony wasn’t set to begin for another four hours, and then I wouldn’t get to eat for several more after that. Then I did the only thing I could. I got ready.

About five hours later the name John Raymond Guillen, Cum Laude, was announced. I know this happens a gazillion times every year in America, but I came so close to crying on stage in front of about 1,000 graduates and like 20,000 friends and family members. It wasn’t because it was unexpected. Or because I was the first of eight siblings to make it to this day. It was simply because I’d done it. I had maybe 25-30 family members and a few friends there for me. But only three friends went to our little lunch get together afterward, and I told them I’d never forget that they were there. Because it turned into a 13-14 hour day for everyone involved. Mercedes, I love you. Grant and Nathan, same goes for you guys.

I didn’t cry during the ceremony. Or before. It wasn’t until I started reading all the graduation cards I’d gotten that I finally did. I was graduating from college and it was writing that got me to cry. Now let’s see what I’ve done since then.

I wrote a book

This is definitely something to be proud of. The day I received my author proof is still probably the second best day of my life. Behind graduation up there. And the only things that could even come close to it that may be happening within the next decade or so are my wedding day, getting an agent, and getting a publishing contract.

I started a blog

Starting a blog isn’t significant in itself, it’s the people I’ve met from blogging. You all might think I’m crazy, but I seriously love you all. Did I ever think I’d be approaching 1,000 followers, ever? No. Did I ever think I’d talk to so many great people just about everyday? No. I could name like ten of you guys who I thoroughly enjoy talking to, but I don’t want to embarrass anyone. BUT I want to name one. Mahrukh. Oh my goodness. Could you imagine if I’d never started a blog? Then I wouldn’t have found yours. Then we wouldn’t talk. I mean, it’s almost scary. I’m lucky. And so are you. 🙂

But that’s it. I wanted to have so much more by the time this day arrived. I was supposed to have my second book written by January 1. I was supposed to finish writing my current WIP and have another book written by the time 2014 came to an end. I was supposed to be working toward getting an agent by now. But I’m not. And I don’t think I have the time to write another book once I finish the one I’m working on. And I don’t know anything about agents or query letters or anything.

I’m not going to sit here and act like I’m completely disappointed with myself. I’m not. I just wanted more from the last 365 days than I’ve gotten. I need to get with it. And soon. I don’t want 2014 to end up being the year of accomplishing nothing.

I’ll leave you with some pictures.

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ImageImageNow I need some words of encouragement from you guys.

Are Bookmarks Dead?

ImagePhoto Credit: Pixopa

Bookmarks. No, I’m not talking about that little tab at the top of your browser that saves your favorite websites for easy navigation. I’m talking those things that we used to put on the insides of our books to save our page.

I’ve never been a huge fan of bookmarks. But I always liked looking at all the cool designs at my elementary school book fairs. And at Barnes and Noble on that little twisty thing. You could always find one that caught your interest that you just had to buy. Give me a bookmark with Katniss on it! Matter of fact, give me all of the bookmarks with Katniss on them! Or Hermione. But really, I probably wouldn’t even use those. One of my older brothers gave me some really fancy bookmarks for Christmas in 2012? And I never even removed them from the packaging. Don’t worry, he doesn’t read this.

And with the advent of e-readers, bookmarks have become even more obsolete than ever before. Your Kindle or Nook or iPad stop exactly where you stop reading. Or you can just use the page numbers as your reference, but you’re never putting your e-reader away with a bookmark sticking out of the top. I mean, that would look a little funny if you did.

I keep my page by remembering where I leave off. For instance, I read in 50 page increments. I’ll never stop a chapter short of the 45th page of reading, so it’s fairly easy for me to keep my place without using a snazzy little bookmark. And I NEVER dog ear my pages. If you do that then I’m punching you in the face. Right now. That’s just cruel and one of the reasons why I’ve never once lent out one of my books to anyone. If I got it back like that I’d be forcing them to get me a new one.

So tell me, do you still use bookmarks, or do you have another way of keeping your page in the book you’re reading? I’m not asking you e-book freaks.

Introduction of my TBR Piggy!

Ahahaha I seriously love the title of this post.

So recently I’ve started following some Booktubers on Twitter. I think that’s what you call those book vlogger people on YouTube? Anyway, and of course I read a ton of blogs on here. One of the things that I’ve seen a lot of is a TBR jar. Basically it’s your basic jar and you just write down all the names of the books in your TBR pile and whenever you want to add a little spice to your reading game you just pick out a title from the jar. I’ll still be following my own rules of how I pick my next book to read, but I’ve been wanting to make one of these for some time now. I’m just lazy.

My jar isn’t really a jar. It’s a piggy! Hahaha it actually has a lot of loose change in it right now, but I’m about to dump it all out and get my TBR book titles in there. I hope I have someplace for all that change. So that’s all I have for you today. Sorry for the short post, it was definitely rushed and I actually have to work tonight. Ugh to that.

The first book out of the TBR piggy is…Where Serpents Lie by T. Jefferson Parker. I started this awhile back but didn’t finish it. Guess I have to now.

Just look how cute he is.

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Authors, Tell me the Titles of Your Books!

ImagePhoto Credit: Venture Galleries

I’ve been wanting to write this post for some time now. The basic premise is that so many authors are on WordPress and happen to read my blog sometimes, and many of them have written books of their own. I’ve been really bad about reading the books written by other WordPress bloggers. Really bad. Just ask Melissa, I think she might hate me because I have her book but it’s not been fully read. Don’t hate me, please!

Anyway, I haven’t read a single book written by a WordPress blogger. I know, I know. I’m a horrible blogging bud, but I haven’t been reading much this year. Just look at my What I’m Reading page as proof. But there are a number of books I’ve looked up on Amazon and considered buying, but didn’t.

So before I release the floodgates and let all of you throw your book titles at me, let me tell you what I will not be reading at all. It’s nothing against you if you write any of these kinds of books, but my books are my most prized possessions and I think I have every right to limit what makes the cut to join my little library. I will not read anything related to God. I’m atheist, remember? Won’t be reading erotica, which if you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time then you likely could have assumed this. And I won’t read anything non-fiction. I couldn’t tell you the last time I read a non-fiction book before I read Anne Frank earlier this year. So I think that’s it, I’m pretty much open to anything else.

One more thing for you guys to know, I won’t be writing reviews for any book I might buy. If you’d like to ask me questions about your book should I choose to buy and read it, then go right ahead, but I really just want to read some of what you all have written. I’m not looking to critique your work.

Last thing, I swear, I am only one person. I can’t buy every book suggested no matter how much I like you all. So your book better have a REALLY good description on Amazon! Oh, and it has to be available from Amazon for me to consider buying it.

Okay guys, that’s it! Tell me the titles of books you all have written! You can just put the title of the book or you can include a very very very very brief blurb. NO LINKS! I won’t approve the comment if there’s a link.