Ban them all!!!!

This week is banned books week, dedicated to thousands of books that have been banned throughout libraries, schools, and colleges. Sometimes books banned in an entire country.

You can find my top 5 banned books reading list here, and my thoughts on each book. Also a bit about my thoughts on banning books in general. However… I’m a writer not a talker so I needed to write about why I find the idea of banning a book so offensive.

The first video I clicked on about banned book top fives this morning was from a woman who said she agreed with the ban on a comic book that I actually loved. She noted the sexual situations, violence, and nudity and said she agreed. It wasn’t appropriate for children.

My question… Who’s child? Just because you find something offensive, does that give you the right to tell my child they can’t read it?

I took a look at the reasons for banning a lot of the books (books that are still being banned today, btw) and one thing became increasingly clear… Most of the titles weren’t being banned to protect the children, they were banned to protect the ideals of the adults.

Take Harry Potter, for example. It was banned because it “promotes witchcraft.” Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that it did. So? There are people in the USA that are Wiccan and do practice a form of witchcraft, and they probably share that love with their children. Is that wrong? Some would say it is. Others would say inflicting Christianity on a child who is incapable if telling fact from fiction at a young age is wrong. Are either of them right? Both would say the other is wrong and neither would see their own bias they suffer from.

Harry Potter was banned because some parent saw it as an attack against their personal beliefs and was afraid that their child would turn away from them. This bothers me. If your beliefs aren’t strong enough to stand against a children’s book than they aren’t very strong beliefs and maybe you should reconsider them yourself.

Others were banned for incouraging violence, or homosexuality. M.E. Kerr was told that the girls in her book had to turn away from homosexuality at the end in order to get past the censors. I’m glad she wrote her books anyway because “Is That You, Miss Blue” had a big impact on me as I was growing up.

In some cases banning books serves to promote one life style over another. We can’t have our children growing up thinking it’s okay to be gay, or promiscuous, or practice another religion.

But with each banning the case against the people who would do this rises. If your ideas and beliefs can’t stand up to a little scrutiny then they cannot stand!

On the other side of the coin: by saying children can’t read a book because that book will change them and encourage them to do x, y, or z, you are saying that child is weak willed and incapable of making choices in their own. If you honestly think Harry Potter will make your child believe they can cast a spell and turn someone into a frog then you really don’t think highly of children.

Playing pretend, imagination, exploration of different ideas and themes encourages young minds to grow and expand, their horizons to widen. Just remember that most scientists were inspired by star trek and science fiction. That’s why you are probably reading this on a smart phone right now. The concepts for smart phones and cells phones were first invented by star trek writers.

“But, sex!” the banners cry.

Children are not asexual. Some boys look up little girls skirts. Children play doctor, masterbate, and sneak peeks. Yes they are still trying to figure out themselves, and yes they should be protected from inappropriate situations, however books are not going to hurt them. On the contrary, books might help them by showing them what is appropriate and what isn’t and giving them encouragement to speak up when bad things happen.

Part of growing up is discovering your sexuality, and learning about yourself, and your body. Books can be a safe way to explore those thoughts and emotions. By restricting books you’re actually making it more likely that a child will act on those thoughts instead of just reading about it.

“But, homosexual agenda!” :'( Just, no.

“But, violence!” Okay now you just sound like the same people crying about video games causing violence. Multiple studies prove this is dead wrong. Any aggressive tendencies they have are linked to frustration, not the violence on the screen.

Isn’t it better to teach children how to deal with frustration? To give them examples of both the right and the wrong way of doing things so they can have the knowledge to do the right thing and why it is the right thing?

Lastly I would just like to add that reading a wide variety of books in multiple genres, about various points of views promotes critical thinking, tolerance understanding, and creativity.

Moral of the story: banning books should be in a case by case for a child, not a school.

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 30, 2015 in On Writing


Tags: , , , ,

My Brain is Mush

sunshortI’ve been making a lot of youtube videos this last week. It’s turning my brain to mush.

I am really enjoying all the videos, and the community around booktube. It gives me something to post to my youtube, and I love learning about new books. But I think I dove into a little fast. I keep thinking I need to write today and my brain keeps saying “but we already did the thinking for today, lets rest.”

Am I going to take a break from the videos? Heck no. I am, however, going to work a little smarter. I will be doing some batch videos (as in recording several of them all at one time) and uploading them to the youtube scheduler. I’m trying to keep it to four short (under 10 min) videos a week. That seems doable, for both me and the those of you who might watch.

I’ve also met some really fantastic book tubers like Books with B, Book Babble, and Call me Tea. Let’s not forget Richard Denney (there should be more men in the Booktube space.)

I also joined a couple goodreads communities, and have been watching videos from people within those communities to see what everyone is up to.

Let’s be honest, it’s a lot to take in.

I think Thursday will be a day for catching up on everything. Make some videos, send off some mail, and write write WRITE!

But for all the added stress I’ve given myself Booktube has given me a great gift. The gift of learning to talk to the camera without fear. I’m finally starting to feel comfortable in front of the camera and enjoying all the parts of my youtube channel. I’m even doing a little editing. (Now if I can just find a way to add an overlay to the videos.)

Tomorrow I will be putting up my “Wednesday Top 5” list on banned books that I loved. Look for that.

And have a wonderful week everyone.

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Commentary, Updates


Tags: , , ,

Magic Systems

Another FAQ from reddit.

I’m not very experienced in terms of magic systems. So I thought about going sort of Final Fantasy (black, blue, red, white) classification. Can I use latin names for my spells? Is it tacky? I can’t think of imaginative ways to name my spells rather than that. Will it sound too Harry Potter-esque?

Spells have been done in all sorts of unique and interesting ways, from ingesting pieces of metal in the Mistborn series, to land magic in MTG, transmutation alchemy in “Full Metal Alchemist” and energy magic in Krynn.

The most common magic system is based on the mind and/or elemental magic. The red/blue/red of Final Fantasy is one of them.

For a magic system of your own you can borrow from the classics and adjust it, or you can create your own and make up your own names for it. Latin is perfectly fine and has been used before. It is not tacky, though some might think it’s over done. (Besides, “tacky” is in the eye of the beholder and I happen to love several series where the wizard yells out a spell word/name to cast. Like Dresden.)

To create your own magic system I suggest starting with these questions: 
What does it cost to cast?
How is it cast? (words, items, gestures, etc.)
What does it feed on?
What does it effect?
Who can cast?
What is the negative side of the magic?

This should get you on the right track.

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 26, 2015 in On Writing


Tags: , , , ,

FAQ: Making money

Question on reddit today: Just wondering if an income of $500 a month would be an attainable goal for an average self publisher.

My answer:

$500 a month is doable. I know several people who make more than that on average.

If you price the book at $2.99 that’s about 250 sales needed. If it’s at $5.99 that’s about 120 sales. That’s not out there in the realm of possibilities.

The trick is to write a good book, then white another one, and keep writing good books for a while.

I’ve been at it for two years now, but I’m a really slow writer so I only have two novels and a bunch of short stories out. I’m getting better sales all the time, but it’s a slow process. Don’t go in thinking you’ll make it big off one book. There are some lucky people who hit the market just at the right time, but the vast majority of us have five books in a series before we start seeing some traction.


Posted by on September 15, 2015 in On Writing


Tags: , ,

Is Science Fiction Offensive?

Yesterday I posted some links to articles that I found interesting to read, or I thought other people would enjoy. This included a link to an article about the 100 must read sci-fi novels, and how the author, Lutgendorff, thought the list was filled with sexist and offensive books. Simon gave an interesting comment and I started to write my thoughts on the matter. After 300 words or so I thought it would be best if I wrote another blog post.

About half way through the article Lutgendorff brings up a version of the Bechdel test and states that almost all of the books failed. Her standard is a little stricter then the original (at least two women, one in a lead roll, with jobs other then traditionally female roles) but I don’t think many of the books listed would have passed the original test either (has at least two women who talk to each other about something other then men.)

I also agree with her that from today’s view point a lot of the books on this list could be shockingly offensive, especially if you are looking for those offensive things. There are books with rape, incest, and mandatory orgies. (Game of thrones is on this list people! It’s incredibly offensive.)

Before we go on lets just remember that this list was nominated by 5,000 fans and voted on by 60,000. The editors did toss out some of the nominations (because they were young adult, horror, didn’t fit criteria, etc) but otherwise it was all fan made. 60,000 people said this was the top 100 books in SF, not a small group of hetero white men.

Most hardcore science fiction fans will talk about the science in a world, world building, government, technology, and maybe at the bottom of the list will be a discussion about gender and gender politics (unless you’re talking to a trekky as that was very visible in Star Trek). And when we (I say we because I am a HUGE! science fiction nerd) tell you which novels are the best in our genre we are going to point to a lot of classics that shaped the world, changed thinking, or shaped the genre as a whole. This will include novels that might be offensive by today’s standards. In fact sometimes a book that is offensive will shape the world MORE than a book that is completely inoffensive.

Also, keep in mind that many of the books on the list were written before 1970, before female liberation and equality movements. And some of the books she described as offensive were MEANT to be offensive. Take Thomas Covenant who rapes a girl in the first book of that series. It is meant to be jarring and offensive because he is an anti-hero. In later books even he hates himself for what he did and he doesn’t get why people don’t just kill him and be done with it.

And as for her issue with “there are no women in some of these stories”… Okay, she’s right. There aren’t. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good books. If the only offense of the book is that there aren’t female characters in the book, or there are very minor female characters that don’t really contribute to plot, then I don’t find that offensive at all. I’ve read a lot of women’s chick lit that doesn’t have any male characters, or uses men as window dressing for a woman’s fantasies.

I love what one person pointed out in a thread on G+… That the romance genre is guilty of most of the offenses she lists in her. Novels written by women, for women, and filled with all the sexist stuff toward women that Lutgendorff is complaining about. I’ve read books where the main female interest was raped then falls in love with her rapist after being forced to marry him. And it was a very popular book in the romance category.

Going down the list of the 100 top Sci-fi I found myself saying “yes, that’s an awesome book,” and “oh, I can see why that one is on the list.” Time and again they were some of my favorite books growing up, and even now into my adulthood. Books about technological advances, alien creatures, censorship, exploration, and discovery. Amazing books that shaped me into a creative, and curious person who still loves finding out about new things.

Could science fiction use new books that are more female friendly, or directly speak to gender issues? Yes, of course it can. But that doesn’t mean the list of books here is offensive, it just means we have an opportunity to do more.

Science fiction is about exploring the world, the universe, and ultimately ourselves. Exploring gender roles is a wonderful way of doing that, both traditional and more unusual roles, expanding out idea of what is and can be as science fiction has always been known to do.

So yes, I disagree with Ms. Lutgendorff. I don’t find them completely offensive, even if there may have been parts of the books that were offensive when seen through the eyes of 2015. I find the books to be a fair, and wonderful interpretation of the best books in the science fiction genre. And I think we have room for even better books as time continues.

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 5, 2015 in Review


Tags: , , , , ,

Around the Web

The internet donated over 800 copies of banned books to teens in South Carolina.

Judging books by their cover just got a little more scientific.

3D printing glass? 

15 scifi books you should definitely read.

‘Guilty pleasures’ and ‘the Kindle closet’: ‘The real book versus ebook list’

Top 100 Sci-fi list filled with books “shockingly offensive”…. As a note, I don’t agree with this woman’s article, but thought others might find it interesting, or worth discussing.

Garbageman rescues books to create a community library.


Remember that “Witch’s Sacrifice” is on sale for $0.99 for the rest of the weekend. If you haven’t checked it out yet now is your chance. It won’t be on sale again until the third book comes out sometime around the end of the year.

Have a wonderful day ya’ll.


Posted by on September 4, 2015 in News


Tags: , , , , , ,

A lot of changes!

So much going on this week.

Witch's Curse smWitch’s Curse” is out! The second book in the Witch’s Trilogy is available.WSsml If you haven’t read book 1, “Witch’s Sacrifice“, and you’d like to then let me know. I’ll happily give you a free copy.

Since releasing “Witch’s Curse” I’ve been hard at work finishing “Witch’s Stand.” Currently done editing 11 of 32 chapters. The other chapters have been roughed in, but I have to finish writing them. That and all the battle scenes. I am sure everyone knows how much I love the battle scenes.

I’ve also been working on getting more audio books out. “Small Bites the complete collection” was just released a few days ago. It joins “Footprints” and “Prophecy by Barlight”. You can find them all here.


I hope to get more audio books up eventually. I have “The Ring” finished, but had some tech difficulties getting it to work so it isn’t actually out yet. I need to take care of that soon. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to do the rest of them as well.

It will be quite some time before I am able to get the Witch’s Trilogy up as an audio book. Since it is a full novel it’s less likely anyone will do a split pay for that until I have a lot more readers. The short stories are less time investment and gives new audio book readers something to add to their portfolio. A nice strategy for them, and for me.

In between writing I’ve been putting in a little bit of time on Twitch. Not a lot since I’m not looking to make it my living, but I really do enjoy talking to people who stop in to watch.

I also posted a vlog about the house buying process (and the failures there of). And I’ve been pretty active over on Instagram, mostly sharing drawings and sketches that I’ve been doing.

I’ve got one other big project that I’ll be doing this weekend since I have a three day weekend. I think I’ll post some pictures, but for now I will give you this hint: Cosplay.


Posted by on August 27, 2015 in Updates


Tags: , , , , ,


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,076 other followers