Never the Right Fit

I’ve been mulling over what my next topic should be for a blog post, wondering if I should do a book update, a new life subject, or get a bit more personal with more odd bits about myself so my readers can get to know the person behind the books a bit more.

But I’m still a bit hung up on the last blog post – Resist the Cookie Cutter where I talk about society’s relationship with our individual differences. The contemplation has turned inward and I’ve been analyzing my own relationship with differences and how it has impacted my individual development and my life journey. So, I guess I’m going to be on same life topic and giving you a bit more background on me.

The more I kept thinking about this subject, the deeper I kept looking into my life and my psyche, and I figured out that the real crux of everything lies in the relationship with differences. My emotions, responses to happenstance, decisions, etc. – everything is directly and indirectly twisted up with how I and others around me view and handle our differences.

One of my earliest memories of this actually revolves around my sexuality – my love and attraction for woman and not men. The first time I remember being gaga over a woman was one of my teachers, I believe in first grade. So, I was about six or seven-years-old. I don’t remember much from that age, but I remember this teacher vividly, as if I just saw her yesterday. She was beautiful with long red hair, freckles on her face and chest, and the kindest smile and eyes. I remember getting butterflies in my stomach when I was around her because I just thought she was the most beautiful woman alive. A couple of times, I remember going to her desk to either hand in an assignment or ask a question about it and she was bent over in a way that put her chest at eye-level and I was able to see down her dress and I saw her breasts and how they were speckled with freckles like her face. I knew I shouldn’t look, so I tried to divert my eyes, but if she spoke to redirect my attention to her, I was face to face with her breasts again. It was one of those situations that I felt rude either for looking at her or away from her and I felt it was safest just to look at her. My eyes would dart from her face to her breasts without my permission and it basically made me feel very awkward – I felt like I must look like I fool or have an attention problem because my eyes just didn’t know where to land. On one of these occasions, I think she finally realized what was happening, and from that day forward, anytime she had to bend over her desk to write or hand out papers, whether with me or any other student, she got into the habit of placing a hand on her dress or blouse to keep herself modest (a term and practice I didn’t understand till much later in life).

I’ve always noticed women and girls and never so much with the boys. Supposedly, in my earlier years, however, my family recalls me having a “boyfriend” that I absolutely adored, though I have no memory of this because I was only a toddler.

I am the third of four girls in my family and all three of my sisters are straight and as far as I know, they always knew they are. I remember growing up with this attraction to girls that was similar to their attraction to boys, but no matter how hard I looked at a boy, I just couldn’t muster up the attraction. I really thought something was wrong with me and I never talked about it. I never talked about how pretty I thought a girl was. Instead, I would try to fit in with my sisters and friends and just talk about how cute a boy was or even have “boyfriends”. I watched what my sisters and friends did and just tried to mimic them so no one would know how different I was. I would have the occasional boyfriends that I’d hold hands with, share awkward kisses, and write silly love letters to. It was exhausting and made me feel gross, but at least no one knew I wasn’t normal. Much of this ridiculous need to fit in actually resulted in some pretty embarrassing memories - ugh, those stupid “love letters” dictated by my sisters or friends making me look lovesick for boys I literally had zero interest in even just sitting next to.

When I was about ten-years-old, I found out that what I was feeling was normal and that other girls/women experience the same thing. I remember the day as clearly as if it was yesterday. The younger sister of my oldest sister’s friend took me for a walk into the woods one day. I’m pretty sure she was a year or more older than me and we weren’t really friends, so I thought it was pretty cool she wanted to hang out with me. But she didn’t want to hang out with me. What ended up happening instead changed my life. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking – but seriously, get your head out of the gutter! We just talked. She called me out on my attraction to girls and I was so shocked and scared that I couldn’t speak at first. She noticed a “vibe” about me and how I would look at a particular friend of my second to oldest sister’s. She was a very pretty Korean girl, and as would happen anytime I was around a pretty girl/woman, I was all butterflies, nervousness, totally awkward, and googly eyed.

This girl basically told me what I was feeling was normal but that people would tell me it’s not. She told me that I’m a lesbian. It was the first time I had ever heard the word, so she had to explain it to me and that there were gay men in the world too. I seriously felt like someone had just released a tight band from around my lungs and I could properly breathe for the first time. For the first time in my young life, I had validation and an explanation for why I was so different from my sisters and our friends. I had these labels that I could explain some of our differences - straight, gay, lesbian, and bisexual (which in years to come would grow to include even more labels because humans are obsessed with labels – seriously, why do you think those handy little label makers exist?).

She gave me some warnings that I can’t just tell anyone because most people don’t like gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. She told me it’s dangerous to tell people and that I need to really trust someone. Trust wasn’t really something I understood at that time. I hadn’t learned how to trust anyone at that point. So, even though I had a better understanding of myself, I had to keep it hidden. I couldn’t tell anyone.

The conversation took an embarrassing resolution though when she suggested I tell the pretty Korean girl that I like her and ask if she likes me too and if she wants to be my girlfriend. I still didn’t really understand those terms – girlfriend and boyfriend and I sure as hell didn’t yet understand that a girl could have a girlfriend. But I decided to trust this girl - she was obviously wiser than me about these matters after all. Ah, the embarrassing mishaps of the ignorant youth. I didn’t have the guts to do it, so she did it and reported back to me that she is not into girls. I have no idea if that embarrassing episode ever made it back to my sister and if they had a good laugh about it, but hey, look, it’s out here now! My first failed attempt to snag me a lady is now public knowledge.

Even with the knowledge of these new labels I had never heard of, and knowing what I was, I couldn’t come out of hiding, or the “closet” – a term I learned later on in life. As time went on as it does, I started to hear more about these labels in school and church. In school, they made gays/lesbians sound like misguided and confused individuals and that if you had sex with someone of the same gender that you would get HIV and AIDS. In church, they preached that having feelings/attraction for someone of the same gender was evil and anyone who acted on those feelings would go to hell.

I grew up in a very Christian family – Mormon to be exact, which was a whole whirlwind of differences for me – I disagreed with so much of their doctrine that I never felt like I fit in and I was constantly at odds with my teachers and church leaders. I attempted to play the part and would participate in church activities and discussions when required and write nice talks when it was required of me. But it was just so grating on my individual growth. It made me feel imprisoned and like people were trying to brainwash me. At one moment, I would feel like I belonged because I was doing everything “right”. I was doing what I was told and I was receiving the approval of my parents and teachers. But when I was alone with my thoughts, I would feel this bitter emptiness from it all and I just didn’t feel like a real human being. I felt like a robot.

I got to a point in my life that I literally started questioning everything. I mean everything!!! And the church leaders hated it. I stirred up quite a bit of trouble in classes asking questions they couldn’t answer and challenging archaic ways of thinking that just didn’t sit well with me (mainly their belief in the woman’s role in this world – but we’re not going to get into that). It infuriated them and they could tell I was disrupting the indoctrination of the other children. My questions were causing cracks in the framework they were trying build up in everyone’s minds and making their jobs so much harder. It’s really no wonder that my coming out at sixteen turned into a very humiliating experience with the church leaders trying to shame me into thinking I’m mentally ill and needed help. The experience ended with me in a sobbing mess storming out of the church and refusing to ever to return. And I never did, not to that church/religion. Not even when they attempted to force the matter.

My coming out at sixteen was a pivotal moment for me. It wasn’t just about me finally admitting to myself and everyone that I am different. It was about me finally admitting that there is no shame in being different. But even more than that, it was about me finally understanding that it’s ok to question everything and to find my own truth in everything, no matter what others try to convince me of.

I had spent years afraid of being different and just trying to fit in, knowing I never would. I didn’t fit in. I was different. I am different. The struggles I’ve had with my differences, having to hide who I am, having to deal with the shame people tried to throw on me for my differences – all of it helped form who I am today. All of my strengths and weakness are a result of how I and everyone else have dealt with my differences. All of my relationships have been affected by my differences. People form their own opinions and prejudices about me after learning I’m a lesbian and then the relationship alters. More times than not, people either get weird about things or they drift away. I’ve lost many, many friends and family over the years because I am gay. I have had many people, whether in school or at work who viewed me as a confidant and would come to me for advice on a regular basis. But as soon as they learned I’m gay, they stopped coming around and barely acknowledge my existence. And seriously, I am not “in your face gay”. I just don’t really talk about it because it has always been a piece of me that no one really wants. So, it’s not like these people can argue that I’m “throwing it in their face”. They are just writing me off because they don’t like a private detail about my life.

It really is a sad world we live in when a person can go from being your friend and having absolute trust in you to deciding you’re scum just because you love another woman. Love is the purest of emotions, yet so many people in the world try to tarnish it with their ignorance and hatred. It’s very sad.

There are so many things that I could dissect from myself as differences from other people and how each of them has impacted my life. My curly hair. My religious upbringing. My lack of interest in makeup. My hermit like tendencies (a result of my life experiences). My interests in cooking, karate, art, writing, and on and on the list could go. You could fill many cinder-block thick novels listing out the things about me that I’ve been picked on for or singled out as being different, as you could for every single person. But when I look at just a single difference, like the fact that I’m a lesbian, it’s absolutely insane to realize the unfathomable impact this single difference has had on my life just because other people can’t accept it. I am totally happy being a lesbian. Yes, it’s hard as hell, but I know who I am and I accept who I am, and that is a really fucking fantastic feeling. Knowing who you are is so much more valuable to your mental well-being than having someone’s approval to exist.

It took me a long time to figure this out, but I’d rather be alone in this world knowing who I am than be surrounded by people sculpting me into something I don’t even like or recognize.

I’ve never been the right fit for anyone else, but I’m the right fit for me and that’s what matters.

Resist the Cookie Cutter!

Let me just say this first: Discovering who you are as an individual is a never ending process.

Humans are extremely complex beings and doctors and scientists have just barely cracked the surface of understanding how our bodies and minds work. And just when they think they understand something, they discover something new that completely obliterates that original theory. And what may be true for one person may not be true for another, even though we have the exact some body parts. The ways our bodies and minds function are not identical among one another. Even though we may appear similar on the most basic levels, when you get a bit closer, we’re like snowflakes – all completely unique and no two people are identical (not even identical twins).

We know this, yet it’s so hard for people to understand that it’s ok to be different from one another. It is so bad that for thousands of years, society has been trying to make each other feel ashamed of our differences, and I’m just talking about the differences we were born with and can’t change – skin, eye, and hair color, health, body size and shape, sexuality, etc. On the most basic and natural levels, these things are not preferences. Sure, some people may develop a sexual preference because of their life experiences, but many people are just born with a certain affiliation already ingrained in them. But we’re not going to get into that right now. Again – humans are super complex.

It’s not enough that we push each other down for just existing. Humans then have to push the envelope further and degrade each other over things like religious beliefs, education and career level, wealth and possessions, life experiences, political views, your friends, diet, hobbies, etc. Anything and everything is fair game for someone to trash you and they will at every chance they get.

Why are people like this? Why does society break each other down instead of embracing our differences and building each other up? And how the hell are we supposed to figure out who the hell we are as individuals when society is scorning every single thing about each other? You have this group throwing social grenades on another group, then that other group spraying hate bullets on both groups for stirring up trouble and demanding they be better without ever giving them a chance to be better. It’s a never ending cycle of degradation, judgement, and downright hatred.

So, how do we rise above when the rest of the world is trying to tear us down? Honestly, our evolution as an individual in a world that hates individuals is a never ending battle of ups and downs. And unfortunately, there is no easy answer. We will have good days and bad days and we will have days that have so many ups and downs that it will make us dizzy and feel like absolute hell. But what we have to remember is that in every single one of those moments, the good, the bad, and the really fucking ugly – we’re constantly growing, even if we can’t recognize it. Every little thing we experience directly and indirectly affect us and remind us of our differences and each of those reminders, as painful as they can be at times, are opportunities for us to become more secure in the knowledge of our differences.

Seriously, being different is NOT a bad thing. And just in case you missed that, let me just repeat it – being different is NOT a bad thing. It’s a wonderful thing. I mean, come on, how interesting would life really be if we were literally identical in every way? Or those stupid charts that claim there are only four types of people or six types of people in the world? Seriously, there are NOT just four to six different types of people in the world and we should all be ecstatic about that.

We don’t need charts or character profile boxes to match up with to know who we are. We just need to live life and go with our gut. It’s ok to ask for advice on how to handle a situation you’re not familiar with or that you’ve never experienced. But ultimately, that experience is going to be yours the instant you deal with it so you need to make sure you deal with it in a way that is in alignment with who you are at your core and in a way that doesn’t disrespect yours or someone else’s differences.

For example, an employer is looking at two resumes and concluded the interviews for both candidates.

Candidate A has the experience and education required, but they had one bad reference for being combative with management. Interview went well.

Candidate B also has the experience and education required and they received glowing recommendations from all of their references. Interview went well, however, the person was wearing a pride ring and there aren’t any known queer people in the company.

In this situation, you have an employer faced with two similar candidates in terms of qualifications, but both pose a possible risk for causing tension in the office, just in very different ways. (Just a reminder, in many states and countries, it is still legal for an employer to deny employment to a person based off of their sexual orientation.)

I think the choice is pretty obvious, but too often in this world, people choose to go with what they think someone else would do or what would make someone else less uncomfortable. They choose the option that is less “different” on the surface. It really is crazy when you think about it. Instead of choosing to set their personal differences aside, too often we see an employer choose to hire Candidate A just because their lifestyle and personal beliefs may possibly be more in line with their own, choosing to just deal with the fact that the person is completely disrespectful to management, which hurts productivity and destroys team moral.

This is just one example of how one situation can either uplift or tear down not just one, but many people. This one decision can have a very positive or negative impact on not just the candidate, but the company as a whole. Imagine how much better off they would be if they just chose to accept the differences between them. Imagine how much they can learn about each other and themselves if they embrace the differences instead of running from them.

Imagine the strength and courage it took for Candidate B to go into that job interview with that pride ring on, knowing it could possibly cost him/her the job.

Some people actually think displaying your differences is an “agenda”, like we’re trying to “convert” the world. Which, if you think about the origin of that false claim, you can’t really be surprised by it. After all, wearing and even carrying a cross has always been the Christians door opener for converting the masses. It’s a tactic used by many groups, particularly within in the “majority”. So, when a smaller group of people or an individual displays their differences proudly, they must have an agenda.

Ok, fine, we have an agenda. Here it is - our agenda is to be seen as individuals, not as cookie-cutter massed produced sacks of flesh with easily programmable minds. There, now the secret is out!

And on that note, I’ll leave you with these final words: Resist the Cookie-Cutter!

Ending the Radio-Silence

As infrequently as I write on the blog, it’s probably no surprise that I haven’t written in this space since June of 2018. Unfortunately, the radio-silence this time was due to some major personal issues and not about laziness or forgetfulness.

My last blog post was my most raw and deeply personal bit of information I’ve ever shared, and I shared it at a time I was feeling extremely vulnerable and basically at rock-bottom with a crossroads decision to be made. Shortly before I got up the nerve to share the details of why I started writing and the health issues I suffered with, I learned of a devastating betrayal of my trust and love from the most important person in my life. I wrote the blog post more as a way of reminding myself of what I’ve survived and that no matter what decision I made, I would survive this heartbreaking development as well.

I spent the summer attempting to just enjoy life and keep on living while I reevaluated some things. But before I could figure out what to do, I was given even more bad news. Since my giant ovarian tumor that took over my body three years ago, I’m supposed to go annually to make sure they’re not coming back. So, I went in, had the ultrasounds done, and find out I’m all clear – no tumors. Fantastic news.

However, I did have a sizable hernia open up in the incision from the tumor removal right above my belly button. So, I needed surgery again. Which I had done in November and it was a rough recovery. I was super cautious about all of my movements, not allowing myself to use my ab muscles for anything. I didn’t allow myself to cough or sneeze. I wouldn’t even lift a gallon jug of water. I did absolutely everything I could do to ensure that hernia stayed stitched up.

Well, less than three months later, something just didn’t seem right. So, I was right back in the surgeon’s office, had a CT scan done, and wouldn’t you know it, that son of bitch is back! I had opted to have the hernia repaired without mesh because it wasn’t super big and I was concerned about having complications with the mesh – because that is seriously my luck with everything. But the damage to my abs from the tumor and the surgery three years ago just weakened the muscle too much and it just can’t hold itself together. So, I’ll be going back under for another surgery to have the mesh implanted this time.

I’m still working through personal relationship issues and I’m trying to figure out when I’ll be able to get this surgery done, but I am still writing and attempting to stay connected on social media. I’ll do my best not to let so much time go between blog posts, but I want to thank all of my wonderful readers for your patience with me. I have high hopes that I’ll eventually get better at this blogging thing.

Oh, and if you didn’t already know, I did release two new novels during my radio-silence – Breaking Mae’s Curse and Taming the Tramp. I hope you’ll check them out if you haven’t already and I hope you enjoy them.

Writing Saved My Life!

Exactly two years ago today I published my first novel – Love Triumphs Pain, and I have since published a total of 12 novels and 2 poetry collections.

Last year, this anniversary came and went without a single word typed to celebrate it. Why? Well, I struggled with whether or not I wanted to share this piece of myself. But here I am on the second anniversary and I am tapping away on the keys of my laptop, determined to not allow another year to go by without saying this.

Writing saved my life.

There, I said it.

So, now some back story to explain that bold statement.

Up till I graduated high school, I was in great shape with six-pack abs, was strong, had a ton of energy and zest for life, and I was motivated to be something. Then, my health took a horrible turn. I started gaining weight for no reason – literally gaining about fifty pounds in the matter months even though I ate super healthy and was active. I had no energy at all and no motivation to do anything, even though I wanted to be up living life. I developed massive uncontrollable heartburn that I pretty much had 24/7 and would cause me to cough up blood and it was very difficult to eat or keep food down. The doctors were dumbfounded and just kept prescribing me more heartburn medicine that only made it worse.

So, I started doing research and started experimenting with my diet. Come to find out, after several years of absolute hell, I had a gluten/wheat intolerance. I cut the gluten and my health started to return. I was able to get back into shape, nearly getting my high school figure back, and my energy had returned. Life was great. I was walking five miles a day, working out a few times a day, and taking 5-15-mile hikes and canoe trips on the weekends.

Then, in 2015, as if a switch was flipped inside of me, my energy vanished, I started gaining weight again, and I started having issues with passing out for no reason at any given moment. There were countless times that I was just standing up talking to someone and blacked out and collapsed on the floor. I blacked out driving numerous times and thankfully snapped back into focus before I crashed.

So, remembering that the last time something similar happened was because of gluten, I started experimenting with my diet, researching symptoms, experimenting with different herbs, and I even went and spent hundreds of dollars for visits on acupuncture.

Why didn’t I just go to the doctors, you may be asking?

Because, they didn’t do anything the last time I went in for these same issues years prior. Long story short, I have had some disappointing experiences with doctors not doing anything and then having to “self-remedy” the situation. I basically didn't want to waste my money to be told they don't know what is wrong with me.

But after a few months of getting nowhere, I was defeated. I knew something was seriously wrong and I needed to go to the doctors. I needed someone to look inside my damn body and find out what the hell was going on!

At this point, I literally looked 9 months pregnant (seriously - people asked), after having a flat stomach only five months prior. So, I called the doctors office and they gave me the option between two doctors and a nurse practitioner to schedule with. Not having good experiences with the doctors in the past, I opted for the nurse practitioner. Now, I don’t know if the doctors would have handled the visit the same way as she had, but I’d like to think that I finally found a person who knows how to listen to her patients, because after listening to me and feeling my stomach, she ordered a CT-scan – exactly what I knew needed.

 A week later, I go in for my follow-up to get the results. What I knew in my gut was growing in my gut, was in fact growing in my damn gut! I had a 20-pound ovarian cystic tumor that was displacing all of my organs and was even pushing my stomach up against my chest cavity, which was causing me agonizing chest pains that felt like I was having a heart attack.

In October 2015, I underwent a major operation requiring a very long incision up the center of my abdomen to remove the 20-pound non-cancerous tumor (basically the size of a very large watermelon). I had to have a partial hysterectomy, and had to have all of my organs put back into their correct place. Yeah, sorry if that grossed you out.

I continued to have a lot of issues with my health, even after the operation, and in the spring/summer of 2016, my nurse practitioner had me in and out of tons of tests and lab work, trying to figure out why the hell my passing out issues weren’t going away. It was so bad that she actually banned me from driving, so I had to arrange to work from home for a couple of months.

After the tests revealed, I had to go back to my diet experimentation and figured out I could no longer have any grains at all – none! Once I eliminated the grains, I was golden. As soon as I ate even just one bite, I was sick for days. So, no grains equaled back to work and back to health.

But, wait, why did writing save my life?

While I was going through all of this, while I was basically deteriorating and dying, my determination to write the stories I had in my head and finally share them with others is what kept me fighting, it’s what kept me going every day. I had so many episodes where I literally almost died – I could feel it and there was nothing I could do about it because I was home alone and unable to get to my phone. But I kept telling myself, “You’re not fucking dying till you publish at least one book!”.

Yeah, I had to use some hard language with myself some days. But here I am two years later from the date I published Love Triumphs Pain – still kicking and still determined to keep writing till I just can’t anymore.

So, to everyone reading this and to those who have read my books – thank you for being a part of my survival journey and my journey to follow my dream to write.

It has been a challenging couple of years to get to this point, but writing has been so damn rewarding that when I look back at everything I went through, there is still a silver lining on all of it - writing. Writing is my silver lining. What started out as an activity to occupy my mind and keep me positive when my life was basically ending, has turned into a passion that I live for. It’s a passion of hard work and never-ending scrutiny (from myself and readers), but I’m very excited to keep putting in the labor and to keep growing, keep improving, and keep sharing the stories my imagination is constantly churning out.

Here’s to many more anniversaries! Cheers!

P.S. A second edition of Love Triumphs Pain has been released with a new cover and edited to match my current writing style.

It's Confession Time!

Fact 1: I love being a writer!!!

Fact 2: Telling people that and telling them about my work is the HARDEST thing for me to do!

The act of “self-promotion” has always been hard for me, but even more so with my writing. Sure, I can joke around with friends and family about my “awesomeness”, but when it comes to being serious, and telling the public about it, I literally grow a shell and hide in it.

When I sit down to try to come up with a promotional post or email for my books, I get this sinking feeling in my stomach and my mind goes completely blank. For every sentence of “self-promotion” I can actually formulate on the screen, I could have written two chapters in a new book. I swear, with the amount of time I waste in fretting over how to just tell the world about my love and passion for my writing, I could have written a library of short stories. It’s really ridiculous.

Why is “self-promotion” so difficult? Why does it send me fleeing into a dark closet in my mind? I’d like to think it comes from a tranquil spring of humility. But since this is confession time, let me be honest – rejection really sucks.

Yes, I love to write, and I love what I have written, otherwise, I wouldn’t share it with the world. However, rejection is inevitable. I know as soon as I put a new book out, some will love it, some will just think it’s ok, and some will down right hate it. That group of “down right hate it” flag wavers is what causes my shell to grow over when I try to put an “ad” together.

But why does the negativity affect me so? Honestly, I don’t want to disappoint anyone. If I put a piece of “self-promotion” out there, and someone bites the bait, reads the book, and then hates it, I feel like I have failed that individual.

I write for myself first. However, I share my work because I think others might also enjoy it. And because I have decided to share my work, I write with a level of scrutiny that forces me to respect my readers and take them into consideration when I’m writing. I try to capture emotion, real life, fantasy, and hope into each page that my soul bleeds into a story.

So, because I have made my readers a part of my process, “self-promotion” no longer just includes me and my books – it includes my readers. How do I speak for them? How do I put a “self-promotional” piece out there on behalf of the readers?

This is the conundrum that promoting my writing puts me in. Am I promoting myself, my characters, or my readers? Reality is, I’m promoting all of them and that is a very intimidating reality! Why, you may ask. Well, because of that group of “down right hate it” flag wavers. If my readers are indirectly being promoted in my “self-promotion”, I feel a bit protective of my readers. I don’t want that negativity to transcend and affect my readers.

It’s a bit like the paradox of the child suffering the crimes of the parent. In reality, the negativity of the “haters” probably doesn’t impact the readers who love my work, but this is condition the act of “self-promoting” put my mind in.

So, if my interactions, promotional posts, emails, etcetera seems a bit too far and few between, it’s just because I care too damn too much.

But now that I’ve figure out the hang-up I’ve had with my thinking on “self-promotion”, it’s something I’m going to have to work on. I have to get better at it, not just for myself and my writing to become more visible, but so I can better serve my readers.

To all of you readers waving the “I love it” and “it wasn’t so bad” flags, you’re more appreciated and valued in my heart than you’ll ever know. Also, to the “down right hate it” flag waivers, I appreciate you as well – you’ve helped me to grow.

Happy reading to all of you!

February Book Releases!

So, when you're reading a book, and the main character receives an opportunity to star in a movie, do you ever wish that the author had written the novel for the movie so you could read the full story? Well, I decided to do exactly that to give my character’s universe even more depth.

February is the month of many celebrations, but is most notably a celebration of Love. So, for my love of writing, I’ll be releasing two new books on Monday, February 19th. In addition to releasing Building the Nursery – Book 5 of The Dancing Wolf series, I’ll also be releasing The Sharps Unleashed, so you can get fully absorbed into Kayla's world.

Here is what you have to look forward to in Book 5 - Building the Nursery:

By being able to stay true to herself and her values, no matter the number of temptations and calamities that seem to befall her, Kayla quickly rises to iconic status, further opening career paths in the entertainment industry.
While trying to enjoy the riches of their labors and planning to start having children, Kayla and her wives have to balance a hectic schedule and complicated relationships.
Suspicions of disloyalty will mount, tensions will flare, and very shocking truths will be learned.

If you want the full story of the movie Kayla is starring in – I recommend starting your reading on 2/19 with The Sharps Unleashed to avoid spoilers that are in Book 5.

Robin Sharp is a police officer for her local precinct in a small town in the mountains, where a bill was recently passed to open up a huge portion of the mountain to commercial logging. As the town is overrun with out of towners, they bring a mess of problems for the police force. While trying to help keep the peace between the locals and the loggers, Robin is assigned a case to find a few missing big-rigs, which turns into a rapidly escalating threat of a major homegrown terrorism plot. Not knowing who else they can trust, Robin and her wife, Grace, must go into dangerous territory to gain more intel and scramble to prevent multiple catastrophes.

If you haven’t read books 1-4 in The Dancing Wolf series, what are you waiting for? This series is packed full of action, love, romance, humor, drama – basically everything you could possibly want in a good story. Book 1 – Building the Family is currently on sale for only $0.99 till Friday, February 16th, so now is the perfect time to start the series.

Note: Reading The Dancing Wolf series is not required to be able to read The Sharps Unleashed – this is a standalone novel and is not a part of the series.

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Let the world exist!

I had an interesting conversation with a friend this week about self-centered perspective and it felt like an important enough subject that I decided to blog about it.

So, my friend and I were taking a walk to the store together on a work break, and we were in the middle of nonsense banter, as is typical for us when we get to escape our desks. Then, as is typical, the conversation somehow fell into a more meaningful theological conversation immersed in humor.

How exactly this scenario came up, I can’t even remember, but it definitely fit into the conversation (probably). Anyway, he tells me a friend of his posed this scenario to him.

A living cat is placed in a sealed box, and you have to shoot the box. Is the cat dead or alive?

My friend, of course, argued that he won’t know till he opens the box. However, the person posing the scenario countered with this:

No, the correct answer is that it’s either dead or alive, whichever you choose, till you open the box. If you said it’s alive, it’s only dead after you open the box. If you said it was dead, but it’s alive, then you brought it back to life.

Basically, we have a new (and disturbing) twist on the debate of “If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?”.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with this debate. I love it, because it shows how deeply ignorant and self-centered humans can be. I hate it, because it shows how deeply ignorant and self-centered humans can be. No, I didn’t make a mistake in repeating that sentence.

Both examples above show the dangers of internalizing the entire world – meaning, taking everything in the world and defining it by your own understandings and experiences.

If you look at the question, “If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” and you answer, “No”, you’re saying that because you’re not there to experience it, there is no possible way for it to exist at all. This is an extremely dangerous idea, and it causes so many problems in the world.

Such as…

  • You’re not gay, so homosexuality doesn’t exist.
  • You’ve never been discriminated against or personally discriminated against someone, so discrimination doesn’t exist.
  • You’re a man and feel like you’re supposed to be a man, so gender identity issues don’t exist.

And so on, and so forth…

Yes, if a tree falls in the forest, it most certainly will make a sound, regardless of who is there to hear it or not. No, you have no idea if that cat is dead or alive, till you open the box or it gives you some other visible or audible signal to its life.

Answering no, or delegating an end result without knowing what happened is a dangerous self-centered perspective. Just because you don’t experience it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

We cannot internalize the world – it’s just too damn big with infinite experiences, variables, and mysteries. The world’s greatest scientific minds have been trying to understand the world we live in, animals, humans, and outer space for thousands of years. Sure, they’ve learned some interesting things, but they still don’t understand even a small amount of anything. They’ve also been wrong about a lot of what they thought they understood.

Just because you have never experienced something, or you don’t understand it, doesn’t make its existence invalid. The world would be much better off if more people understood that the tree most definitely makes a sound in the forest, even if they’re not there for it.

Please, let the world exist in its beautifully incomprensibly massiveness!

Happy Thanksgiving. Or, is it?

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               In a couple of days, many American families and friends will gather together to share in a feast – the feast of all feasts – the Thanksgiving Day feast. But what are we really celebrating? Why do we have a national holiday of giving thanks? Where did this holiday really come from?

                If you study history, no matter the continent or the time period, the pattern of an invading people adapting the beliefs and practices of their captives is constantly repeated. Our three major holidays – Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all started out as something very different and were celebrations of an indigenous people – before the invaders got a hold of them.

                Long before the first English explorers even reached the North American continent, Thanksgiving was a day or season deeply rooted in Native American culture. It was a time to feast and celebrate and give thanks to the creator and Mother Earth for a bountiful harvest, health, and safety. But how did this Native American tradition become a part of American culture?            

                The most well-known explanation for the origin of the national Thanksgiving holiday is the harvest feast between the pilgrims of Plymouth Rock and the Wampanoag natives in 1621. We’ve been taught that the pilgrims invited the natives to share in their first bountiful harvest after the Wampanoag had taught them earlier in the year how to farm, fish, and hunt. The Wampanoag were never invited to this feast. The Wampanoag were only at this gathering because they heard gunfire from the settlement and thought the settlers were under attack, so they raced to offer them aid (at the time, the settlers had not yet betrayed the natives and they lived in relative peace). When the Wampanoag arrived, the pilgrims didn’t have enough food to share, so the Wampanoag went on a hunting trip, and returned with four deer to offer as a gift to the English settlers. The feast lasted for three days, but the natives were not invited, nor were they offered any of the food they helped the settlers grow/obtain. The Wampanoag procured their own food and shared it with the settlers.

                Now, the Plymouth Rock story may be the one we’re told is the true origin of the holiday, but many historians and indigenous experts on the subject trace the holiday’s origin to a much darker day of “thanksgiving”. The first official record of a “declared day of thanksgiving” was in the year 1637, when Governor Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony called for a celebration of thanksgiving and feasting. You see, the colony’s men had just returned safely from what is now Mystic, Connecticut, where they had gone to participate in the massacre of over 700 Pequot men, women and children. Governor Winthrop decided it was appropriate to mark the occasion of the slaughter of over 700 innocent natives with a feast to “give thanks” for their great “victory”. The Thanksgiving celebration became an annual occurrence to mark the anniversary of this massacre.

                By the year 1777, all thirteen of the first United States colonies held Thanksgiving celebrations.  In 1789, President George Washington declared November 26th a “National Day of Thanksgiving”, and on October 3rd, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln made it official with a “Thanksgiving Proclamation”, declaring Thanksgiving a national holiday. 

                So, while it’s important to give thanks for the blessings and the people we have in our lives, its equally important to know and teach the truth. This year, as you sit to feast with your loved ones, please do not propagate the lies of this holiday. Know the truth, teach the truth, and learn from it. When the Puritans invaded the North American continent, they rapped, pillaged, and murdered the Native American people. They burned down their villages, and drove them off of their lands. Mainstream culture and history books would like you to believe this didn’t happen, but it did.

                The tradition of the American Thanksgiving is based off of the celebration of the massacre of hundreds of Native people, and marked the beginning of the genocide of the indigenous people of this land that continues even to this day. Supporting the lies of the origins of this holiday shows support for the invasion and slaughter of the native people and rightful owners of the land you call home. So, please hold this day in reverence, in remembrance of the great injustice done to the indigenous people of this land.

Live Like a Wild One

Depending on the continent and the interpretation of the historical records, humans spent about six to seventeen hundred plus years believing the world is flat. Some humans caught on sooner than others, but we've know for a VERY long time that the world is in fact a sphere. A sphere has no directional end. You can start at one point, maintain a perfectly straight line, and go on and on forever in the same rotation. That is, till you forcibly determine a start and an end.

The idea that we live in a sphere doesn’t seem to have caught on with society, because society is constantly trying to throw up “start” and “finish” lines everywhere we turn. In addition, society even has the audacity to keep dropping boxes from the sky, trying to catch us like a claw in a skill-crane game!

Why does our world insist on living in boxes with definitive directional lines and limited journeys with a start and finish, within the confines of such cramped spaces? Why does society like everything so neatly packed into boxes that we look more like the cubed landscape of vintage Mario Brothers, than we do of the exquisitely beautiful wild natural world that we call Earth?

Humans are so dead set on restricting everything to boxes that we even manicure our bushes into boxed shapes. We take a beautiful green bush and trim it so it has perfectly smooth edges. Why not just put a green plastic box on a pole and plant it like a flag in your yard? It will be like a beacon to all those who pass by to let them know – “Here resides a square. Do not bring innovation, creativity, or passion to this doorstep!”

Ok, that may be an exaggerated judgment – because some manicured lawns are honestly about the art. But in all seriousness, why all of the boxes? Why do we say, “You can only do this and that?”

If you’re an artist, you know the feeling all too well – you even receive the boxed in judgments within your own community of “innovators”. You’ll have “purists” who say, “This medium must be used this way and only this way.” If you write, you’re told what and how you can write, and if you brave the outskirts of those edges, or just down right fly far passed the known boundaries, you’re a “novice without a clue” and your work is trashed and discredited.

No matter the walk of life we choose to lead, there is ALWAYS someone to throw down a “start” and “finish” line. And if you try to throw down your own “detour”, you will be ridiculed and judged. We live in a sphere, but the flat earth boxed in mindset is still firmly engrained in the human brain, unfortunately.

So, I’m calling out to everyone to rebel against the manicured lawns of your life! Let that wild jungle grow free and marvel at the countless lines of endless direction that sprout up for your feet to follow. Jump out of the boxes and live like a wild one – be free and run amuck! Because in all honestly, it’s the rebel rousing amuck-running spheres that keep the world going round, and not sharply falling off a cliff into vast nothingness.

Yes, I'm Writing

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a book update, so I think it’s time I let you in on what I’m working on. First, I think it’s necessary to explain a little bit about how my mind works. I’m a very eclectic person with a lot of interests and I like to do as much as possible. I’m also a big multitasker – I’m much more productive if I’m working on multiple projects at once. That being said, I’m also a perfectionist. I scrutinize my work very thoroughly and I don’t allow myself to take any shortcuts. So, even if I’m working on, say, ten projects, not a single one will be done half-assed.

So, now that you have a little bit of insight into the brain of Amy, let’s get to the more interesting news. I’m mainly working on my lesbian romance series – The Dancing Wolf. I’ve released the first three books in this series, and I’m currently working on writing book seven, while proofing and editing books four through six. When I started writing the first book in this series, I only had a standalone novel planned. The plan was to push myself outside of my comfort zone, and write about a type of relationship foreign to me. Polyamory is a very interesting way of loving, and is very complex, with many variations, rules, and expectations. In, The Dancing Wolf, I focus on a monogamous form of polyamory. About halfway through writing book one, the story grew like a jungle watered with a tankard of Miracle Grow. In ten months, one book has become seven, with new growth sprouting up every day to inspire even more installments in the series.

You’d think with my mind as occupied as it is with this series that I wouldn’t have room or time to work on anything else. Well, I kindly ask you not to underestimate my brain so much. In addition to working on The Dancing Wolf series, I’m working on another lesbian romance series. I’ll be releasing books one and two in The Brooke and Hannah series before the end of the year, and I’m working on writing book three to release early next year.

Ok, seriously, I’m not done. No, two series are not enough for my brain to focus on. I’m also working on a romantic comedy series for my website with short scenes. The Cat’s Meow will be a free series with weekly installments released to keep you entertained and engaged in between my book releases. Yeah, that tankard of Miracle Grow spilled everywhere and has stuff popping up uncontrollably, so I’m going to share the fruits of the creative garden with you.

Is that it? No, not quite. I don’t get to work on this as often, but my next big project is a collection of short-horror stories. Horror stories from a lesbian romance author? Yeah, I’m eclectic, remember?

Ok, I’m still not done. I currently have over thirty planned projects with very detailed notes for new novels in a folder called “Back Burner Projects”, and that folder grows on a weekly basis. Needless to say, I have enough content to keep you well entertained for a very long time. I’ll pump it out as quickly as I can at optimum quality.

Ok, so that concludes the update – for now.

Living with Wild Abandon

As children, we tended to live with wild abandon. At least, I did. I remember spending more time outside exploring and trying new things, than I spent time in front of the TV. In the summers, my sisters and I would spend nearly every waking moment outside. As soon as we finished eating breakfast, we were out the door, and typically, running straight into the woods. The edge of the woods was thick with thorn bushes and weeds, so we’d have to use a long stick to part a sliver through the twisting, prickling thicket, just large enough to squeeze through. Hardly ever did we make our entry or exit without sustaining at least a few red beaded surface scratches on our arms, legs, and faces. But it never stopped us. Into the woods, with wild abandon, and a thirst for adventure, we plunged through the thorns and spider webs.

Once through the woods thick protective boarder, the woods opened up into a wonderland of fallen trees to climb on, fields of skunk cabbage to laugh about, and red clay filled creeks to play in. We could spend hours in the woods every single day trying to explore every inch of the place.

It was our place. There weren’t any adults telling us we couldn’t touch something, or couldn’t do something. If we wanted to climb across a half-rotted tree to cross the clay filled creek – we did it. If we wanted to climb a tree till its top was bending and swaying from our weight – we did it. If we wanted to dig clay out of the creek bed and make our own pots and sculptures – we did it. Then we painted them with purple choke berries. If we wanted to build a fort in the middle of the woods – we did it.

As children, our eagerness for new things, and our spontaneity was a force to be reckoned with. As adults, we tend to fall into habits, due to our busy schedules, and we end up losing that incredibly refreshing and addictive thirst for adventure. It beckons to us daily, but we are often too hard headed to hear or heed it. We scan feeds on our computers of distant paradises, stare in awe at pictures of natural wonders, watch videos of people doing wild and death defying stunts, and we constantly tell ourselves, “one day”.

Oh, to be a child again – to have that sense of, ‘Who the hell cares? I’m doing this, right now!’ Where would I go? What would I do? Probably, everywhere and everything. As a child, that strip of untouched woods seemed so huge to me, and it was packed full of adventure every time I pushed through the thorns to get there.

Now, the entire world is my strip of adventure filled woods, and my thicket of thorns I push through is my adult reservations, responsibilities, and obligations. Every day, I tell myself, “you’ll have an adventure this weekend.”

Being a writer means my adventures often involve me delving into the worlds within my own mind so I can create them on paper for others. I guess I must give credit to that wonderful aspect of being an adult – we can be content for a time to adventure in a book, rather than the wild woods.

But as I look back at my childhood, I can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic and longingly for the innocence of being spontaneous and wild. Building a fort in the living room with blankets, chairs, and couch cushions. Playing flashlight tag on a warm summer night. Running and dancing in the rain with my mom and sisters (which is my absolute favorite memory of my mother). And snacking on wild blackberries, crab apples, and honeysuckle flowers after a long hike in the woods. So simple and innocent, but some of the strongest memories I have.

Here’s to tearing an old T-shirt apart, tying it to a stick, and drawing a crest of innocent defiance upon it. Here’s to marching with wild abandon, through the thicket of thorn, and emerging on the other side, in the land of endless adventure. Here’s to planting our flag of spontaneity in our hearts and trekking forward. Here’s to teaching our adult minds how to think like a child’s wild soul.

Here’s to the endless adventures awaiting us…

Start Now - Make Life Happen

There is never an ideal time to start anything new. No matter how hard we try to plan for something, life will always give us an excuse to push it off for another day. Time, money, talent, knowledge, support, health, family, and confidence – all of these and more become the roadblocks we haphazardly toss in our own paths, preventing us from achieving our dreams.

All of us have our limits to how much we can do in a day, but too often, we actually limit ourselves, instead of allowing ourselves to reach our true limit. We underestimate ourselves so much that we begin to believe that we can’t achieve better than the status quo.

The status quo is like a desert wasteland. It’s unchanging and deadly. The status quo stifles us till life has no meaning. It turns a day of unimaginable opportunity, into a day of regrets. Living a status quo life is boring and tragic.

Everyone has responsibilities and obligations, but that doesn’t mean we have to live a mundane life. We can always find the time for greatness.

What is defined as greatness?

It’s anything and everything that’s different from our habitual lifestyle. Instead of rotating through the same four boring dinners nightly – get adventurous and try a new recipe. Don’t cook? Even better! Learn how! Instead of running on the treadmill, find a safe place outdoors to pound out steps in the real world. Instead of watching the same reruns on TV every night, crack open a new book and discover a whole new world.

Small changes will make a huge difference in keeping us out of a status quo lifestyle and they give us the courage to make the leap for the big changes. Such as, learning a new skill, changing careers, or using the talents we already have, but don’t exercise.

If there’s something you’ve been wanting to do, start now. Determine the steps you need to take to make it happen, and get to work. Roll up those sleeves, puff out your chest, hold your head up high, and climb that mountain.

When we remain in a status quo rut, life happens to us. When we push ourselves beyond our limits and reach for some greatness, we make life happen. No matter the obstacles, no matter how many times we stumble, the experience of climbing that mountain for some greatness is worth the bumps and scraps.

Start now…

People are Individuals, Not Groups

I don’t blog often, so for me to make the next statement may seem a bit ironic, but here it goes. This is not my typical blog post, but it felt important enough that I needed to write it.

I saw a post on Twitter today that disturbed me enough to cause an internal debate on the reaction of logical reasoning we have in the face of judgement, criticism, and injustice.

The post read: Insecure people always put others down, that’s just how it goes.

Immediately, I thought, this is such a dangerously inaccurate statement. The person has the statement mixed up a bit, which is what makes it a dangerous statement.

I believe the post should read: The act of putting another person down is an unhealthy manifestation of being insecure.

First of all, before I delve too deeply into this particular statement, I must say, broad statements like the original comment, encompassing an entire group of unique individuals who may share one or few commonalities, is a sign of ignorance and vastly reduces one’s ability to understand a person and yourself. Never associate behavior with an entire group – everyone is unique and should be treated as individuals, not groups.

As far as the above statement goes, everyone has insecurities. No one in this world is free from the burden of insecurities. Whether it’s about their appearance, intelligence, skills, likability, finances, morality, gender and sexual orientation, race, religion, etc., everyone feels insecure about something.

The above statement made on Twitter states, “insecure people ALWAYS put others down”. If you agree with my argument that everyone has insecurities, then you’ll probably agree that everyone at some point in their life has put someone else down, for whatever reason. So, “insecure” people can’t have a pass completely – everyone does it, often without realizing they’re doing it. However, to say someone with insecurities, ALWAYS puts others down is just ridiculous. Everyone’s insecurities manifest in different ways, while most are able to stay hidden.

Instead of looking at the “insecure person”, I want to analyze why people, in general, “put others down”. There is no one reason that a person may try to tear another person down. There are countless reasons, and many times, a person is not even aware of why they are doing it.

I’ve narrowed down what I believe to be the top five reasons a person would “put others down”. These are based on my own life experiences of interacting with countless unique individuals. No poll or scientific study went into this – just pure observation of, and attentiveness to people. These are also not in any particular order.

1.       To fit in with peers

2.       To appear strong in the face of someone who makes you feel unimportant

3.       In retaliation for an injustice you endured

4.       To hide the fact that you share commonalities with that person

5.       Because you are hurting and want someone to feel like you do so you’re not alone in your pain

Indeed, insecurity of some kind is the cause of lashing out against another person, but not everyone deals with their insecurities this way. Silence and inaction are more often the way people choose to deal with their insecurities. To protect themselves, people withdrawal and hide from these issues. Lashing out at someone reveals your weaknesses. Most people are dealing with a daily struggle to appear strong and aren’t willing to risk gaining a crack in their façade.

Too often, when we receive injustice or someone “puts us down”, we immediately pass judgement, not just on that person, but entire groups of people. I’m going to repeat myself here – everyone is unique and should be treated as individuals, not groups! Everyone behaves differently, thinks and feels differently, and reacts differently. No two people are identical.

Let’s give people the respect they deserve and see them as individuals. Don’t reduces a person’s worth and uniqueness by compartmentalizing them as a group.

Ditching Comfort for Progressive Love

It’s been said that being comfortable in your place in life can be the most dangerous condition of the mind. When you’re comfortable, you can become scared to try new things, fear change – Instead of learning how to go with the flow, reject innovation and creativity, and eventually, you can become irrelevant, even to yourself.

I love getting out of my comfort zone. I love trying new things – whether it be, a new cuisine, a new outdoor activity, or listening to a new genre of music. Experiences are only exciting if they change. Doing the same thing every day becomes boring and drags you down mentally and physically.

I put that same adventurous thinking into my writing. Each story I write is unique and their characters and obstacles and victories they experience are unique. In my latest release, Building the Family – Book 1 of The Dancing Wolf Series, I pushed myself far beyond my comfort zone. At times, it was actually hard to write – not because I don’t like what I wrote, but because it is so progressive that I wondered if the world is ready for it.

But thinking like that is just as dangerous as staying in your comfort zone. If we think that something is too progressive, or too innovative, we may never advance as a society.

Love is a complicated phenomenon, one that is vastly underestimated, and not very well understood. In this series, I push the boundaries of what society holds as the acceptable principles of love. I push forward out of the comfort zone, and by doing so, I challenge the concept of understanding to expand.

It's finally here!

Sometimes, or maybe most times, things don’t go as planned. My original vision for the book cover for Keeper of My Heart was one of those moments. Aside from becoming creatively distracted from completing the final editing and formatting for the interior of KOMH, I ran into some delays with the build on my “perfect cover design” for the book.

Sometimes, but probably not most time, it works out when things don’t go as planned. When my mind had enough room to begin working on getting KOMH ready for release, a new idea for the cover design was born. So, a handcrafted horseshoe heart was bought and a photo-shoot date with my best friend, Kristin, was scheduled.

While drinking hot chai lattes from a tiny café tucked down a cobblestone alley in Historic Old New Castle, we roamed old brick sidewalks, turning the small city into our photography studio. A hundred pictures later, we had the one – the image to match the vision I had in my head.

Creating a book cover can be a very stressful experience. You want just the right image to convey some meaning from the story, but also have it grab the attention of your audience. It needs to be interesting. It’s more intimidating than writing the story.

In this instance, having things not go as planned eliminated that stressful intimidation that building a cover always causes. How can clear blue skies with a warm spring sun, tiny blue butterflies landing in your path, gentle tides of the Delaware River lapping at the shore, and delicious chai lattes – all while in the company of your best friend, be intimidating?

So, a special thanks to Kristin for taking the stress out of the cover build for Keeper of My Heart and lending her photography skills to make my unplanned vision come to life.

Creatively Distracted...

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve dropped a blog post!

My only explanation I can offer for failing at maintaining the blog is that I fell into a deep creative chasm in my mind and have been writing like a demon – cranking out several novels for two different lesbian romance series. In five months, I’ve written six novels, and made extensive notes and plans for three more, between the two-different series, and am now working on editing them. To say that I’ve been busy is an understatement.

Sometimes, creativity sneaks up on us and we just have to let it grab us and take it wherever it wants. It’s a wild ride – one that I love and often over indulge in. The next novel I’ll be releasing is a standalone, titled, “Keeper of My Heart”. This is actually the second book I’ve ever completed, but because I often allow my creativity to pull me in different directions, it will be the fourth in order of publication. While I was working on editing “Keeper of My Heart”, the worlds for “She Became my Water” and “The Perfect Right Hook” begged loudly to be born into ink and paper. Who am I to deny the birth of new creation? So, of course, I had to set the current project aside and allow them to flow through my cerebral channels, guiding typing fingers to paint words into windows, giving light to their existence.

“Keeper of My Heart” has undertones of a host of diverse and unique characters dealing with a lot of social stigmas and judgements with homosexuality, loveless sexual relationships, sexual experimentation, religious oppression (Islam), and how to heal from a broken heart and accepting ones-self – flaws and all. The dynamic between these characters brings you full spectrum through your emotions and you’ll quickly fall in love with the entire cast.

Stay tuned for news on the two-different series I have in the works – I’m very excited for you to fall into both worlds as I have.

Writers Obligation to Educate

I am going to pose a thought that I think a hundred years ago would have been welcomed as common sense and supported by the literary world as a standard of fact. Today, however, I think this statement would be a bit more controversial given the “statistics” people use to back their opinion against it. Here it is.

A writer is an artist with an obligation to educate through the presentation of their piece of art.

Whether you agree or disagree, I hope you will read on so I can explain why.

The reason I am writing this is I have been reading a lot of blogs lately written by “successful” writers/authors supporting a statistic that your writing should be “dumbed down” for an eleven-year-old to be able to comprehend it because most readers don’t have a better reading comprehension above that level. Some blogs explain further that this really should only apply to what you post online in your blog or a magazine or newspaper article. Some, however, support the idea that all writing, including novels, should be dumbed down and simplified. (No adjectives in a fictional novel? Really? How boring!)

When I read these articles, I was floored. Whatever happened to “knowledge is power”? In a world where the job markets are saturated with far too many candidates and far too few jobs to fill, competition to be the best you can, is at its highest level. Good paying jobs today require you to have good speaking and writing skills. You are the face and voice for your company. If you cannot appear smarter than an eleven-year-old, why should they hire you?

Companies want people that can learn and be trained on whatever they need you to do. If your comprehension is only that of an eleven-year-old, can you really be trained to use complex computer programs, deal with difficult customers on the phone or in person in a professional manner, and possibly lead and manager other people?

I won’t bore you with siting journals or scientific studies – a simple internet search can lead you to the research if you so desire it, but it has been proven in a number of studies, as well as by teachers I have known that a good foundation in reading and writing allows the brain to better understand other subjects, such as math and science. Reading is the gateway form of education to learning everything else more efficiently.

So, what is the responsible writer educating his/her readers on? Aside from the obvious – grammar, spelling, and complex sentence structure, a good responsible writer teaches, through their art, how to convey thought in an understandable way, how to describe something in more than one way, how to paint a picture in someone’s mind, how to hope and love, how to triumph, and so many other wonderful things. Reading shouldn’t just be for simple quick entertainment like watching a television sitcom. Reading should be an experience that leaves you wanting more from life. It should leave you feeling empowered and stronger. It should leave you richer than before you read that first word. Reading is an exercise of growth.

A responsible writer, not a writer only looking to cash in on readers, wants to leave their reader with a wonderful experience and help them climb higher and mature. 

Writers are growing and maturing with each piece they write. As they polish their craft and get better at writing, that writing becomes more complex and vivid. If readers don't grow with them, writers aren’t going to have an audience anymore.

A society with a majority having only the comprehension level of a preteen should be scary enough of a concept to convert writers to not pander to this “dumbing down” theory. If it’s not, what a sad world we have to look forward to.  

To be released by November 2016 - She Became My Water

As an author, I feel it fitting for my first blog post to be about the next book I’ll be releasing soon. She Became My Water, is a special project to me because it’s conflicts aren’t just on a character level; some are also on a societal level and are struggles that the LGBTQ community deals with every day. Such as, understanding that humans act of falling in love is far more complex than the anti-gay advocate’s understands and that gender identity is not developed in physical form, its developed in the mind and heart. This story has everything – love, compassion, struggle, humor, loss, suspense, revival, growth, adventure, and complex diverse characters. I am currently working on the book cover and my final proof read. I hope to release this book before November 2016. I will keep the blog updated with my progress and the final release date. To read a brief synopsis, click here to go to the Books page.