Monthly Archives: April 2018

Bad Words

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“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me.”

What a bunch of malarkey! Words can be devastating.

Ask any 5-year-old after they have been scolded. Ask any child in junior high/middle school that has been bullied. Ask any spouse whose partner has verbally abused them. Ask yourself about the time someone said something to intentionally hurt your feelings. Ask me, who at one point, not meaning to, hurt her best friend with words.

I am not talking about things that you find offensive in the news or that someone posts that is not about you. Or a particular word that offends you. I am talking about a direct attack on you on a personal level.

So why are we taught that saying? It sounds good. As a young child, we are supposed to believe that and repeat it to other children that are being verbally mean to us. It’s almost a taunt, a challenge. But, it does not stop the hurt.

What’s worse is the written word. Email, texts, Facebook and other social media posts. We infer the writers’ emotional intent. Sometimes the words themselves are obviously meant to be hurtful. Other times though the message may not be so clear. That’s where things can get dicey and relationships ruined by one misunderstanding the other.

Let me tell you my story. In 2001 I became engaged to the best husband in the whole world. Yay me! I immediately asked my best friend to be my maid of honor. Duh. Who else, right? And, she readily agreed.

At some point between then and the wedding date, she became involved with a married man. Now, wait a minute. She did not know it at first. In fact, she did not even know it until after they moved in together. By then she is emotionally invested in the relationship. Then she tells me.

Knowing a little about him from before she started dating him and then finding this out sent me into protective mode. I wanted her out of this entanglement immediately. She is my BEST FRIEND. I want the best for her because I love her. So, while talking with her over the phone about the situation I called him “trailer park trash”. She took it personally.

Her retort was to tell me to find another maid of honor. She did not see how she could even attend the wedding now. She didn’t know if we could even still be friends. Talk about devastating.

We are not kids. We are grown women in our early 40s at that point in time. How in the world did I hurt her by calling him a name? She grew up in a trailer park. I knew this. I certainly did not mean that everyone who lived in a trailer park was trash. It was just the first thing that popped out of my unfiltered mouth. I wanted him out of her life.

It took some time but we finally got through this and are still best friends. She did come to my bachelorette party. The wedding was out of the country and since she wasn’t part of the wedding party she declined to attend. That still hurts when I think about it. And, it is my choice to let it continue to do so. I use it as a reminder that we all have different perspectives.

They eventually broke up. He may or may not have divorced before then. I really don’t remember and really don’t care now. I’m just glad he’s gone. She’s my best friend and deserves better. I love her and would never intentionally hurt her.

What can you take away from this? Try to be kind. Try not to speak without thinking. Try not to let your emotions guide your words. I don’t know. What do you think?

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Attention! Rant Coming

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Military ranks are not something I know a lot about. Lieutenant Colonel is a high rank from what little I understand. It does not make one immune to making mistakes. Being that far up the chain of command I would guess that person isn’t used to being questioned, corrected, or criticized especially by lower ranking staff. Add a Masters in English on top of that and you have an author who doesn’t see anything wrong in their books.

As a book reviewer, I am often approached by self-published authors to review and help promote their works. I love doing that. I often state how Author Are My Rock Stars! Of course, I cannot read everything and narrow down my selections based on the different genres I prefer. Enter the retired Lt. Col.

He friend requested me on Facebook. I looked at his books and they fit into my preferred category and accepted. I added them to my To Be Read pile and let him know when I got to them. Or, should I say one and only one.

The first book in his series of which there are more than a half dozen had so many typos in it that I couldn’t enjoy reading it. It has been out for a year now and I would expect most of them to have been corrected by now. When I suggested that he hire an editor or at least a professional proofreader he balked. First, he couldn’t believe there were that many mistakes and thought I should overlook them as he was an indie author. Second, he said editors/proofreaders were too expensive and he wouldn’t make any money if he had to hire them.

Well, I walked away from the series right then and there. I have my own set of rules that I go by when it comes to situations like this. One, a book published by a well-known house is allowed up to three errors of any kind in total. An indie published book is allowed up to six. And, for the most part, that seems to work well for me. Two, I will let the author know where each of the mistakes is if they are within those limits. Most are gracious and very thankful. Three, I do not portend to be a professional proofreader or editor. I make plenty of mistakes myself. I am not the grammar police. I am certain that I do not catch every mistake an author makes. And, goodness knows I miss mine entirely. For you see, we read what we expect not what we see.

Anyway, after I wrote the book’s review the author made fun of it on his Facebook page without naming me. For you see not only was there numerous mistakes, both typos and contextual, it wasn’t that well written. It was evidently an adult book due to the descriptions of violence and the language used. But, it was written at a level well below what I would expect for that type of book. Let me step back a moment. It was very well written grammatically for young adults.

Time passes and I move on to other works. Then I get a private message on Facebook from the author asking me to point out the mistakes as he is unable to find any. There are seven in the first chapter. After notating those I stop and let him know that I don’t have the time to go through his entire book. I also don’t typically read a book a second time. And, I certainly don’t work for free. I was most definitely shocked that he had the gall to even ask.

End of story.

Now, contrast that with what I’ve done recently. Another author working on his second book asked me to beta read for him. That tells me the work is rough and not to expect an edited book. I very rarely beta read as it takes the joy out of the story. He’s a nice man and I enjoy interacting with him on Facebook so I agreed.

Somehow the chapters don’t follow the timeline. I let him know and he laments how an editor suggested he move them around. It is too confusing for me so I create an Excel spreadsheet to note the main events and the order in which the chapters should occur. He didn’t ask me to do this and was extremely grateful for my help.

He is in the process of reworking the book to maintain the continuity of the timeline.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I’m not a badass reviewer that comes down on writers who make mistakes. I only want authors to succeed and will help if I can. I will not tolerate those that treat me as inferior.

The Reawakening

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As I sit here pecking away at the keyboard writing this blog I am trying desperately to remember the four blogs that I outlined while trying to go to sleep the past few nights. It’s amazing how creative one can be while tossing and turning away the hours. You would think that I’d had the sense to at least jot down a few of my ideas on my cell phone before the sheep found me. But no, I can’t for the life of me come up with a single idea from that nocturnal restlessness.

Yesterday I had tons of creative juice flowing through my veins and wrote two book reviews in a matter of minutes. Today nada. It’s as if the faucet was turned off. I guess that is what writers’ block is all about. I’m way behind on my reading. And, I haven’t studied for my HAM license like I should. So, what is it that has my mojo out of whack? I can’t blame my disability anymore as I am so much better and able to do so much more. So, I’m thinking it’s a slight bout of depression. Nothing serious. More aggravating than anything else. It too shall pass.

The more I can do the more I want to do. Patience forgets to come along part of the time. Then, of course, the pain hits me and tells me to slow down. I can’t even remember a life without pain. No, I do not take narcotics though I could if I asked my doctors. It’s generic Tylenol and Aleve along with muscle relaxers and ice or heat packs that usually work. I do my best not to take them very much. The liver apparently doesn’t like them or so I’ve been told.

Tax season is finally over! Yay! That means my husband is back to a regular 8 to 5 schedule. Aha! I bet that’s it. His odd work hours over the past 4 months have thrown my schedule out of sync too. I had not thought of that until now. It’s as good an excuse as any, very plausible, and most definitely possible. Dang. I see daylight at the end of the tunnel now! I feel better just knowing this week will be the beginning of my turn around. Creativity will smack me right upside the head now and I’ll beat this keyboard to death with all my words.

So, there you go. The more I write the more I think. The more I think the more ideas come to the forefront. And before long there will be blog after blog written with such insight. I feel like Arthur when he pulled Excalibur out of that stone. My heart is just a thumping away with anticipation. My feet are tapping in tune. Watch out! I’m back!

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Will the Republic of Texas fall?

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El Flaco cover

**This novel is expected to be released May 1, 2018**

Ernesto “El Flaco” Guzman is bored six months after taking Dallas and effective control of the Republic of Texas. That all ends when representatives from the United States of America show up at his front door with no challenges. They bring unexpected news of the Reverend Zachariah Wright having taken over the western part of the Republic.

Young’s third novel in the Dark Republic series, El Flaco continues the story of the fight for control of the desolated Republic of Texas after over seventy-eight years of secession. All the characters from the first two books in the series are brought together in what could be the final life or death struggle for the Republic.

The question becomes will the Americans help Don Flaco to rid the world of the Reverend once and for all? And, how did the Reverend get all the supplies he needed to conquer west Texas? Can positive relations be established between whomever rules the Republic and the USA?

In another nail-biting, Mad Max-like, post-apocalyptic adventure Young has created an explosive finale to this series.

5 out of 5 stars.

 

Nuclear War Hits Florida

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Randy Bragg is ahead of his time with his radical thinking. He believes in race equality which for 1959 is something that most white Southerners are vehemently against. Once nuclear war breaks out across the globe Randy is quick to embrace his Negro neighbors as they struggle to live in the reality.

Frank’s novel, Alas, Babylon was written in a much different time then we live in now. Segregation was still the norm and children lived with the threat of a nuclear attack. The late 1950s were the beginnings of many changes that lead to the way of life we now live.

Due to their proximity to many military bases within Florida Randy, his family, and friends become landlocked in-between areas that are destroyed by nuclear bombs from Russia. With little reliable communication outside of their small township, they do the best they can to survive.

For a book that was written in the late 50s and was re-released in 2013, I was surprised that there were still so many typos. I mean, after almost 60 years you would think that they would have been corrected by now. While the book in and of itself is well written and most fascinating I cannot forgive the publisher for these easily corrected mistakes.

4 out of 5 stars.