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Can being an author get you arrested?

Last night I was reading reddit and a new article came through. This time it stopped me in my tracks. A story about a fellow author who wrote a book and was then placed on leave for being “suspicious.” Others have mentioned he may have been arrested. They are definitely looking at charging him with something.

The facts, according to the article: He was a teacher at a middle school. He wrote two books under pen names. He published them on Amazon. The books were about “the largest school shooting in history.” Both works of fiction.

After reading it I posted the article to G+ and we had an interesting conversation that made me want to write a more in-depth blog post… so fair warning. It’s going to get deep around here.

Ever since 9/11, just 13 years ago, there have been many articles hitting the news about the over zealous “no tolerance” policies in our schools. Now, I will say that not all of it is due to 9/11. There was also Columbine, the Aurora theater shooting, and the recent school shootings in a few other states. We have had a lot more mass shootings, it seems, in the last decade then ever before.

Because of the no tolerance act we have now had:
A boy suspended for accidentally making his pop tart look like a gun.
A boy suspended for twirling a pencil.
7 year old yelled at for paper ‘gun’, then harassed and called a murderer by students.
A boy was suspended for having a PAPERCLIP in his pocket.

And there are TONS of examples where that came from.

What’s more interesting: The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) outlines “no tolerance polices” and has gone on record as saying: “Zero tolerance policies are complex, costly and generally ineffective.” They also say they cause racial discrimination, negative impact on education, high rate of repeat suspensions, and increase the drop out rate.

So… why not start suspending, or even arresting people who write books about school shootings. Never mind that you would need to arrest a lot of people who wrote similar books. Goodreads has a list of 39 books, all with school shootings in them.

It’s actually gotten a little scary here. With NSA watching everything we do, and news reporters suggesting police use water cannons on protesters, and everything else going on over in Ferguson at the moment, it’s feels like it is dangerous to be a citizen.

I spoke to a friend who lives in Europe and his view point of America at the moment is that it is one of the most dangerous places to live. That… that makes me sad, honestly. This use to be “the home of the free.” Is it now? I’m no longer sure.

I write what I write because it is what effects me. If I write about a school shooting it’s probably because I’m afraid one might happen to my children, not that I want to perpetrate one. If I write about a child that was abused it is because I was abused and I want others to know the signs of abuse so they can avoid it, not because I want to do it. If I write about murder, or nuclear bombs, or ghosts popping out of the grave to rip a persons head off.. it’s entertainment, it’s examination of things that effect society. The man who wrote Lolita wasn’t a child molester. VC Andrews didn’t have sex with her siblings. It’s writing.

1984, the thought police. Are we there yet? I hope not. But I don’t know anymore. I’m not proud of my country like I use to be either.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2014 in News, On Writing

 

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“What’s on your mind?”

overflowing-closetEvery time I log into Facebook, which isn’t often, it greets me with that mantra. I very rarely answer on there because FB, for me, is less about broadcasting what’s going on in my life, or even keeping tabs on my friends, and more about communication. I will send messages to friends on there, or upload pictures sometimes, but otherwise want very little to do with it. I’d rather talk to friends about what is going on in my life then post it to facebook.

Our interaction with social media has become rather strange. Many people share pictures on Instagram, post what’s happening on Facebook, or share pictures of their food on tumblr, but have fewer actual conversations. But we call the people following us on those various platforms “friends”, and we get little boosts of serotonin every time we get hundreds of likes on a picture/post.

I admit that this is why I prefer Google plus. There are fewer personal posts. Images and information is usually about jobs, hobbies, or information on how to do something. I follow a lot of authors and geekdom so I get to see information about new blog posts, how to, news that’s going on in the world, and of course the geeky stuff I love like Firefly and Dr Who. It doesn’t call these people friends, unless you name the circle they are in “friends”, it calls them contacts. They can be business associates, fiends, people who love the same thing that you do, or any number of other things. It’s really good for networking. Not as good for posting random BS from your day to day life. Usually.

I suppose I’m terrible at social media. But I’m okay with that. Some things don’t need to be online. I mean really, do you need to know everything I eat, what I’m reading, and that I just got a root canal? Okay, maybe I could write a blog post about some of those things, and I probably will, but not every day of every moment.

“What’s on my mind?” Music, games, hopes, and dreams. Writing my books. Getting some sleep now that my tooth is healing. So many things, and many more tomorrow.

But I think I’ll only broadcast what I think others might be interested in.

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Posted by on August 21, 2014 in Personal Notes

 

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Around the web

Some interesting articles you might enjoy.

John Green did an intro for Hannah Hart’s new Drunk Kitchen Cookbook. You can read it here.

George RR Martin talked about HBO catching up with him on the book series.

Why libraries are still better then Amazon. According to WSJ at least. (I tend to agree, though for other reasons then they give.)

Incredible photography of weaponry throughout the centuries.

25 authors that published great books before 25

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2014 in On Writing

 

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Apps are where it’s at!

Not long ago Humble Bundle updated their Android app.

Now, if you aren’t familiar with Humble Bundle it is an online marketplace that bundles games together and let’s you pay what you want for the games. A portion of the proceeds goes to charity. They also expanded to ebooks, digital comics, and often add sound tracks in with their games.

The app use to allow you to download the Android games you bought through their bundles,  now it allows you to download the ebooks,  comics and music as well.

This is amazing news! It is a pain in the neck trying to side load ebooks on my phone or tablet. Now I just open up the Humble Bundle app and download the comics and books I want to read, or the music I want to listen to, and it’s all right there. All accessible and regale right in the app.

This is the future. Eventually someone is going to put an app together that will go around all the side load bs and just let me read the content I bought. It isn’t here yet, but I can see enough people asking for it that it is coming. Eventually. Maybe some authors child will be really into programming and will set it up for them.

Not only that, but if there are apps out there that provide this service then amazon will be forced to add an auto install for ebooks as well, something they haven’t done yet probably because they want it to be hard on you so you buy direct from them.

Truth is I don’t mind buying stuff from amazon  I do it a lot. But I don’t buy EVERYTHING from amazon so I don’t want to be stuck side loading things all over the place. Plus I’d really like to see all my media in one spot so I can just search for books, games, or music I own and download from one app instead of all of them.

It’s interesting times we live in. Things are changing rapidly and in ten years this will probably seen like a minor irritation along the way to progress.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2014 in On Writing

 

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Behind the Scenes

Some days I wish I could just go the traditional route. I mean then someone else gets to do the cover art, formatting, updating all the back matter, and trying to get my book on all of the different platforms. It’s a lot of work. And that isn’t even the editing, which I started paying someone else to do. then there is setting up Gumroad so I can sell direct through my website, and then…. finally…. some writing.

And let’s not forget marketing, social media and… ARRRGGG!!! It’s enough to make me want to pull my hair out sometimes.

I am not a full time writer. I write when I can, which isn’t as often as I’d like sometimes. Some days I struggle to get the words out, or rather good words out, especially like now when I am sick and my brain feels a little fuzzy. (Hint, I write anyway, even when it’s hard.) But I do have work, and children, and now I have to take my daughter to her job every morning. But I still write. I keep at it, keep hacking away until I have something worth while.

So, today I did some editing, reorganizing of some files, updated the back matter in a couple books, experimented with Gumroad, and I did THIS!

thisI thought I needed a little bit of a break from “Mermaid’s Curse” to feel like I accomplished something. And boy did I. I love the way the scarab came out. And I’ve already worked on the plot enough to actually sit down and write it. A short story, maybe I can finish it and have the third book in the series out eventually.

But, “Mermaid’s Curse” is still my priority. I want a full length novel on my wall of books, and it is coming along nicely. Just so, I’m off to finish another chapter in that one before I go work on “The Scarab Necklace” for a bit. Let’s see if switching back and forth (like I use to do) will give me the inspiration I need to actually finish something new.

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2014 in Updates

 

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One, Two, THREE!

Just to let everyone know, Amazon has finally helped by making three of my books perma-free.

1SB1smthe ringsmproph

Small Bites contains three flash fiction about some interesting fantasy creatures.

The Ring is a short story that begins a series. It is reminiscent of “Twilight Zone” or “Friday the 13th: the Series”.

Prophecy by Barlight is a comedic short story about a barkeep that goes a little over the top to rid himself of a prophecy.

Pick one, or all of them up. Enjoy them. If you’re really lovely leave a review for me. That would be amazing.

Thank you!

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2014 in Updates

 

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Quote

Everyone is talking about Robin Williams today,  and in a way his death has become yet another eye opener in a sea of tragedies that mental health is incredibly important and shouldn’t be taken lightly. His death, while a tragedy and a great lose for all of us, especially his family and close friends, will hopefully bring new awareness to those who have never faced depression of how bad it can really be, and for those who do suffer to stop suffering in silence.

The stigma of suicide and depression isn’t as prevalent as it use to be. We understand there are physiological as well as mental reasons behind it. We are more educated and hopefully more understanding of each other.

But is suicide selfish?

I can’t tell you what to think, and I don’t have a medical degree. I just have my own experience, so all I can tell you is what I was thinking, and what I was willing to do to make the pain stop.

That’s right, I suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts. I suffered for years without ever telling another person. I would sit in my bath tub looking at that razor blade thinking of my children and just wanting all the pain and hurry and hopelessness to go away.

Was it selfish? By the time I stood on the edge of the building looking down I had convinced myself that my death would actually be doing people a favor. I wasn’t doing it for purely selfish reasons, I wanted to stop hurting everyone around me. Too give my children a chance to have a good mommy that didn’t spend most of the day in bed crying. To give my husband a chance to find a good wife that didn’t constantly disappoint him.

Yes, there was a lot of “selfish” thought in it. I was hurting, and hadn’t been happy in years. I was thinking I was a bad mom, a bad wife, never good enough for anyone. I had no family or friends besides my three little kids, and they were to young to understand that mommy was broken. I thought the world would be better without me, and the pain would stop.

In my case the depression was caused by my husband’s mental and emotional abuse. Once I got out of that situation my depression started to go away, and now I rarely have to deal with it. Now I know what it is and how to weather it on the rare occasions that it does show up.

Is it any different than a terminal cancer patient that wants to cut their pain short? Because it is physical and not mental it is more real?

Not to the sufferer. To them the pain on the inside is a thousand times worse then the outside. That is why self harm is a thing. That is why I would dig my finger nails into my hands until they left big dents, or bite my arms and wrists until I had deep bite marks and bruises. That’s why there are cutters and hair pullers and everything else.

I was incredibly lucky that my depression had a definite cause and solution. Not everyone else is as lucky.

So is it selfish? I say it is selfish of those who suggest that it is. They think only of their own pain, not the pain the individual who took their life suffered with for years before that moment.

If you do think of harming yourself you aren’t alone. Reach out. Talk to someone. There are people who care.

Is suicide “selfish”?

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Commentary

 

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