Advice for us Writers during COVID-19

Hello and welcome back! If you read my previous blog post, COVID-19: What’s Going on? then you know that currently my time is freed up, like so many of us during this time.

In the last post, I mentioned that today I would be posting up a lot, and there are two reasons for that. One I just checked my calendar and I noticed how long it has been since I was last on here, which was about a month, secondly, I have a lot on my mind, and for three I need to keep busy, which probably for a lot of us we are trying to do without killing those that are around us. I do not condone the act of murder during this time or any time. You might think that I’m joking about that last statement, and probably I am. However, if there is one group of us that need to keep our heads cool during this time, it is us writers.

While others are out buying lots of toilet paper and other times that they did not buy in bulk before, does not mean that we should be going crazy with out writing. However, I will adjust my statement in that this maybe the perfect time to experiment with your writing, such as writing something that you never have done before.

The latter can go so many different ways, such as writing a genre that you have done before or even finding an online writing group and trying your hand at writing sprints. Whatever you find, try it and see what it does for your writing.

On the other hand, you could also learn something new like researching a topic and see if that peaks your interest to where you can tell a story that centers around this topic that you have discovered.

As the Renaissance was a period of discovery, use this time that you are home as your own period of discovery. Test your limits as a writer and see what it does for you. Granted, if you find something that does not work for you as a writer, then mark it does as it didn’t work. It’s fine. Don’t judge yourself too hard right now.

Remember, you can always go back to the way that you have done things before and if that method works best then you know that it does. Take yourself out of the shell. I know its hard right now, since everything is closed. But when it comes to your muse, you need to find a way to keep him/her busy.

If that muse is chugging along and you’re not, then find away to catch up to your muse. This one time when your muse and your mind are thinking away and your body may not be, because for once you are like I have nothing to do, I can watch television or watch a movie or read a book. While these are activities that I have mentioned before to use for your writing, but while you are doing these activities make notes that you can refer to and transfer them into your writing.

This should be a time of growth in terms of writing and creativity.

Now, if you are working from home, do your job-but after work shut down that work computer. Take your time to eat your dinner and then work on your craft. No need to go from being employed to being unemployed during this time. This is not the time to go hog wild on that idea.

The world is going crazy enough, if you want proof of that go to a Walmart or a Target and see it for yourself. I have and its nuts.

Take my advice and take a deep breath and take the time to study and work on your craft like you normally do, and you will come out happier and probably more successful.

I hope that this post as brought you clarity and some thought about your craft.

Thank you and I wish you a very blessed writing day! Happy Writing and happy creating!

COVID-19: What’s going on?

Hello and welcome back! Yes, I’m back. No, I was not sick. I’m going to give you a quick update. I’m fine, my family is fine, and my wonderful boyfriend is also fine. The reason for my departure was that I started a job not too long ago, and now due to chaos that is going on around the world and around where I live, I know find myself unemployed again.

Yesterday, on my personal Facebook page, I released the following statement:

While some are at home working, others are taking care of their kids, there are others, like my boyfriend, who still have to go to work due to the medical profession is still in high demand, and there’s me, like a few, that have been laid off/ their positions have been cut due to this virus, and I hadn’t even been in the position for a full month now. I’m not going to say this sucks or that’s not fair or anything like that. But we all just need to keep everyone in mind and everyone’s situation is different this time of confusion and chaos. That is all.

I can tell you, that as of right now, I’m still trying to cope without dropping into tears. I mean that I know fully that I did nothing wrong, for I was learning things and picking it up, and there were still some areas that I needed to improve. It’s just that overall this year, has not gone to plan so far.

I mean sure, so far I’ve met some of my goals in terms of writing, but career wise that has really fallen short. However, I digress and lets talk about what we as writers can do during this period of dealing with COVID-19 or as it is commonly referred to as the Corona Virus.

As many of us know this virus is one nasty little bugger. I mean we are living in a time that our world has never seen before. Stores and malls are closed, just many businesses are closing or asking people to work from home. Schools are closed. Events are cancelled. Graduations are even cancelled. The food industry is hit by either closing their doors but either offering drive-thru service or delivery service.

Now with that being said, here is my statement for Moonspinner3 Books:

We here at Moonspinner3 Books are still open and working hard to keep up with content and are able to offer distractions and suggestions to keep the creative writing processes flowing during this time. We send out prayers all of those that affected by the virus in any capacity that may be during this time. May you stay safe and healthy during this time, and if you have the virus may prayers find you so that you can become healthy once more. Stay creative and positive during this time when it is hard to do so. Thank you!

It may not be much of a statement but it comes from a good place during this hard, dark and difficult times. Rest assured that this is not my only post that I am doing today, as I will be posting up an idea blog for what we as writers can do during this time since many of us find ourselves a home, and there will also be a post on ideas for parents on how to get kids to write and use their imaginations during this time. Those are just a few of the posts that will be posted today.

Granted, as some will point out this is day one for me being a home, not working, which means I will be focusing on my business and my writing.

Remember that we are all in this boat together, and you have some place to turn if you need something to read or need help during this time with the creative juices.

Thank you all for your support. Happy writing and happy creating.

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Review: CBS’s Sunday Morning

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Every Sunday morning, for almost the past 15 years, I have woken up to watch CBS’s Sunday Morning hour and a half (90 minute) variety news program. This program is not like 60 minutes, or the national news that is scene in the morning and in the evening, but this is a show that features many different topics and subjects. These are stories that engage the mind and cover topics that other news programs are not exactly covering.

Of course, they do cover some of the top news stories, but usually that is the first story that starts the program off, but after that top feature story is over, then it’s on to the other stories that grab interest, such as celebrity interviews, going to art exhibits, or events that not everyone may know about. Then at the end of every broadcast, it ends with a nature scene. Also between every story, there is a different picture or depiction of the sun.

Then there are weekends that focus on one topic, such as for Oscar weekend it’s all about the motion picture industry, or they have the money issue, the design issue, and the food issue. All of this variety may not grab everyone’s attention, but there is something in there for one person or another. I like when they talk to authors and focus on their works, and of course that would be important since I’m a writer.

But apart from all of that, I have found that sometimes they talk or feature a story that inspires me to write or to focus my attention on that topic. There were also times when I was in college, writing essays that I would use it as a source for material.

If you haven’t checked out this variety news program, I suggest that you do and maybe it will give you a spark or add a spark to your writing. If nothing else then it will give you a different view of the world.

So until next Sunday Morning, I’ll be waiting for that trumpet tune and to be inspired by the stories, as well as a chance to learn something new that I never knew before.

I hope that you give any inspiration that comes into your world a chance and see what it can do for your writing.

I hope that you have a happy writing day! Until next time!

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Piracy warning out for us writers!!!

The word of the day is: Piracy

The definition for us writers and creators of art: the unauthorized use or reproduction of another’s work.

Relevance: I was just informed by a group that I am a part of on Facebook about a site known as Bookinistika.com.

What is Bookinistika?

Bookinistika is a pirate site that is listing books on their site and in turn selling them, which means that they are making money on the books that they sell and not giving a dime to the author.

What does this all mean?

Well, basically they are making a profit off of other’s, mainly writers, and in turn those writers are not seeing a dime of the money that is being made from the selling of these books.

Are there steps that writers should be taking if they find their works on this site?

Yes, there are steps and please, follow the steps as follows.

Open up two web browser tabs, both are going to be linked to Bookinistika. The first is where you are going to fill out the DCMA form, and the second tab is where you are going to search for your known works and request for your works to be pulled down.

Please, note that when filling out the form, only put in the required information.

Next step is to make the main page a favorite, so that when you publish anything through Amazon, you can find it on this site and fill out the form again asking for your work not to be listed on this site.

How did this impact Moonspinner3 Books?

This impacted Moonspinner3 Books because my books where listed on their site without my permission, and furthermore, they were making sales from my books.

I have only given Amazon permission to sell my books, I did not give permission to Bookinistika permission.

Now, if Bookinistika would have listed my book and then linked it to the Amazon page for the book’s listing that would have been different for that would have been sending the user to the right source and then the consumer could have purchased the book through Amazon.

But they didn’t for they made their own page, to sell the book and then in turn make a profit off of the book, as if they were the merchant that has the right to sell my book(s).

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Please, if you have anything that has been published through Amazon, please, check this site out and make sure that you are not being taken advantaged of!!

We work hard to put out our works, and we should be paid for doing so, and sites like these are taking advantage of the hard work that we put into for our work.

Sorry, if this is not in the normal format of my other posts, but it is important to get the word out.

Thank you and I hope that you have a great writing day!

What to get your Valentine, who happens to be a writer?

Yes, another Valentine’s Day is upon us, friends! Although, in the past it has not been my favorite of holidays, but given that so many love this holiday and while I won’t go into my dislike or hatred for the holiday, I will go into giving a few helpful hints for the perfect gifts for those that have Valentine’s that also happen to be writers.

Keep in mind, that chocolates are still essential and maybe flowers or balloons; however, this is for those writers that are near and dear to some people’s hearts.

Now while a notebook or journal maybe be practical gifts, and while they may have a handful of pens and pencils at their side, take these things up a notch by giving them something rare. A leather notebook, which can be found at Barnes & Noble might do the trick and a pen that is hard to find. While some may like the usual ball-point pen, I would suggest either a nice mechanical drafting pencil or a fountain pen perhaps.

This way if they lose them, which we hope never happens, they will ask for your forgiveness down the line.

Other suggestions, that I have for you is more on the technical side, such as a nice USB drive, if your love tends to write everything on the computer rather than pen and paper.

My last few suggestions on the subject are items that can be seen as nice gestures towards your writer friends, such as giving them some writing time, and afterwards rewarding her with a nice, warm bath or soak.

I’ve given suggestions that I have in mind, and the rest is up to you on what you plan for your Valentine.

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Video Game Story Telling

Hello again, and today I want to spend time on the subject of video games and how they can be an effective tool for us writers.

If you have played or seen video games, most usually have a story to tell in some way shape or form, such as Mario Brothers. When you first playing the first Mario Brothers, you just have some guy that is wearing a red hat, red suspenders, and a stash under his nose that you are moving across the screen and jumping on enemies and hit blocks to get coins and mushrooms that make you big. In the beginning, you have know idea who this guy is other than to assume that he is Mario, and you don’t find out what his objective is until like level 1-4, after you defeat the evil lizard, King Koopa, nowadays he known as Boswer. Well after killing him you learn that he has kidnapped the princess and your job as Mario is to go through all of the levels to rescue the princess.

There’s the story in a nutshell, and while Mario’s story in the first game is pretty simple, it’s pretty much the same story in most of the games within the Mario universe, except there are few that do tell a different story, such as Dr. Mario.

When the original, Dr. Mario came out, the story was just that Mario is dressed like a doctor and he is throwing pills and you have take the pills and use them to kill of all of the germs that are in the bottle. Seems, simple enough, right? Yup, pretty much. Until, Dr. Mario came out for the Nintendo 64 gaming system, at which point we get to play not only the original mode but then we get story mode.

In story mode, we get the hole story, which is that a virus has come to the Mushroom Kingdom, and Dr. Mario has to save the day by curing all of the citizens, good and bad that received this virus. But along the way, there are obstacles that add to the story, until you come to the end of the story and you find the source of the virus, which I would state what it was, but I don’t fully remember it off of the top of my head.

Granted, not everyone was into Mario, but then came Donkey Kong, who originally did take the princess and Mario had to save her. However, when Donkey Kong Country came out, his princess kidnapping days are far from over, for he has his own quest to tell, and in the first one we have Donkey, and his side-kick, Diddy Kong, out in the world to rescue his beloved hoard of bananas from King K. Rool. Once the game is done, then you come into the second game of the series, where you learn that Diddy Kong is know the focal character and he is teamed with Dixie Kong. The story of this game is that Donkey has been kidnapped by King K. Rool. Then of course, there were others that came down the line for Donkey Kong where he has to save his beloved bananas, or he along with his crew were kidnapped and needed saving.

Granted, there are many video games that have come and gone and each one has a universe and has some story to tell, even if the story is not revealed until further levels. Now, video games have come along way and the ways that games are played are not the same as they once were, and granted the lines between Nintendo and Play Station is also different, its like Nintendo and Sega were also different.

No matter, how you look at it when it comes to story telling, video games do have something to offer, even if it’s not the same as what you get from a book. However, it can’t be ignored that video games are telling stories and there are even awards for being given to games for the storytelling element that is a vital piece of video games.

Storytelling is vital to who we are and what separates us from the other species. Now to take this conversation a step further, I have seen ads being run on Facebook, for teaching Pokemon in the classroom.

I’ve looked at these ads and have investigated it is everything from the element of storytelling, to even using Pokemon in stories. Why? The answer can be looked at two-fold. One, it is something relate able to children, even if they don’t know what the game is, they have seen either children’s books with Pokemon on them, or they have seen the cartoons. Second, it is another tool that teachers can use to teach story and characters to children.

Granted, we can all admit that they aren’t the faerie tales that we were told as children, but it goes into teaching them who to write fan-fiction even if they are not out right saying it. I think that whatever tools that teachers are using to teach children, how to right should be applauded. Yes, it might have been a long time coming, but think back to when you were a child and wanting to write, wouldn’t you have loved it if your teach was using Batman or even Superman as a tool for teaching the art of story telling. As for us girls, it would have been either Hello Kitty or one of the many Disney Princess.

Either way, the media and how it is used to tell story is something to look at, not to be snickered at or dumb down. But we all can learn something from story telling through the art of video games, such as we can through television, movies, or books. Just add one more source into your arsenal, even if you have no desire to play them.

I hope that you have found today’s topic helpful in the course of your writing.

Thank you, again and I hope that you have a great writing day!

Updates to Moonspinner3 Books

Hello and welcome to Moonspinner3 Books! Yes, I have made some changes to the site. One of the reasons why I made the current change to the site, is that I wanted it look new and fresh. This look makes it very clear that this is site is about the business of writing.

While the site has changed, the content that will appear on this site, will be the same good writing focused blogs that have been always appeared on this site.

On that note, let’s get down to business!

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Publishing Anyone?

Last time, that I was on here I talked about the recent publication of Crimson Bounty, and that is not the only piece that has been published. The recent version of Crimson Shot has also been published, and is available on Amazon.

So in total, my goal of getting all of what I have published before, being updated! I have one more to go and that is Crimson Protection, which is my current project that I will hopefully be starting later to day.

But in case you are wondering her all of the works that I have currently published and they are all available on Amazon:

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What Else is Going on?

Along with working on updating the works that I have previously published, I have also been working on getting my other writing projects organized. That way I have a clear focus on what my next projects that I want to focus my time and attention on.

Most of the work, will be completed after Crimson Protection is completed, hopefully that will be completed later this month, so that I can work on the other projects that I want to get off the ground and running.

This means that there is more short fiction pieces to be written, edited and published. This also means some of my larger pieces to the worked on as well. But as of right now, I’m working on one project at a time so that I don’t get scattered on trying to work on several projects at once.

Anything Else?

Yes, there is one more thing. The other day, after I finished the edits for Crimson Shot, I also started the revamp work on the newest cover for Crimson Protection and here it is:

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One More Thing…

I have more thing to add, in the beginning and I have always continued to be blessed by the amount of support that I have received on this site and on the social media platforms that I have posted up information in regards to Moonspinner3 Books.

I would like to say, Thank you once again for all of the continued support, for it is greatly appreciated.

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On that note, I hope that you will continue to support this site as there is much more to come.

Thank you, and until next time I hope that you have a great writing day!

Snow Day = Writing Day!!!

Hello everyone! If you are not having a snow day, like me, then I’m sorry, to rub this in. But for once a get a snow day!

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Well, enough celebrating! Yes, it’s fun to have a snow day, for you get to stay inside with nowhere to go, it’s great. But for us writers, we should see it as a chance to catch up on our writing projects.

Granted, this week I have been lucky enough to have two snow days!

On the first day snow day of this week, I worked on my revamp of Crimson Bounty. This includes a full re-writes, edits and full reads, and formatting. With all that said in done I’m proud to announce that the latest version of Crimson Bounty has been published through Amazon Kindle.

Here is the latest cover for Crimson Bounty:

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I also had enough time in the day to work on the latest cover for the second book in the Sheriff Crimson Series, Crimson Shot. Here is the latest cover for Crimson Shot:

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While, I have no where to go for I get a chance to stay home and write, I will be working on the revamp of Crimson Shot.

Granted, while I’m going on about the latest that I’m working on. There are some key points that we all as writers can take away, such don’t let a snow day go to waste, and while the snow is falling outside, there are plenty of words that can be written.

While, I’m busy writing on this snowy day, I hope that you have a great writing day!

 

In Memorial: Mary Higgins Clark

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Today, we are sad to report on the passing of Mary Higgins Clark, who passed away yesterday at the age of 92. Higgins Clark is known as the “Queen of Suspense.” She had over 50 titles published to her credit. Upon this credit of her career, may she rest in peace, even if characters that she wrote did not exactly live in peace.

What is the Story with “American Dirt”?

Hello writers and today’s post is looking at the issues that we as a community are faced when it comes to publishers marketing such books as American Dirt. Let me preface this conversation with, there is a lot to cover with this one.

What we know so far?

American Dirt is a novel published this year by Flatiron Books and it is written by author Jeanine Cummins. This book is already the first of this year’s Oprah Winfrey’s book club choices.This book also categorized as thriller, suspense, domestic fiction, along with hispanic american literature.

With that being said, the author, identifies as white and Latina; although, she did have a grandmother, who is from Puerto Rico, which is a fact that the author brought up as it came closer to the final publication of her novel.

“You don’t get to bring out your Puerto Rican abuela when it’s convenient,” said Daisy Hernández, a Colombia American writer who teaches writing at Miami University of Ohio and wrote a 2014 memoir, “A Cup of Water Under My Bed.”

There is even more to the story in that Cummins went to Mexico to do research for her book. In 2018 the book was sold to Flatiron Books after a three-day bidding war with like nine other publishers, and after it was all said in done she earned a seven figure deal for the book.

Also there is a film adaptation of the book, starting in the works.

What is the book about?

In a nut shell, American Dirt is about a woman who lives in Mexico at the beginning of the book and flees to America with her young son after her husband is killed by a drug cartel.

What’s the issue?

There are several issues that go around this book. First off, and take this as you may, I am white same as a lot of authors and there are some in the Latino community that feel that a white person should not tell this story. I can agree with this to a certain extend, however, in the times that we live in with all the political correctness, a white person writing a book like this is not something that should even be conducted.

Granted, I understand that the author has said that she identifies as not only white but also as a Latina. But she came out and said that she was white first then some time later she came out and said that is now a Latina. That’s not who someone should identify themselves, based on a current moment in time. However, that being said this is one of the reasons that this books is burning in the fire.

Yes, I am a big opponent of write what you want and see where it takes you too. But if you are going to upset a lot of readers and others within the community, then you better take your book and get their input as far as the accuracy of what you are betraying in your book. Do your research, but don’t forget to get others opinions before you send off that manuscript.

The reason for this is that when a critic was in Mexico and took this book with her, she said that there were two sides to the setting. In that she was in Mexico, the real Mexico, and what she was reading was the fake Mexico. No, no, no. Anyone that has taken writing 101 will tell you that your settings should make your readers feel like they are there, in the story. But if someone is in the current location of your book and looking around them and seeing a huge difference, then you failed that part of the course, for you have not put them in the right location, for you could have put them somewhere else as far as setting.

This author has made some mistakes with this book. Yes, she did the research but even so she still got facts and still portrayed things in her book wrong. Granted, for the most part those of us that are looking at this situation from the outside, we don’t know what things the publisher or the editor added or changed from what she sent into them. But the biggest thing that has offended a lot of in the Latino Community is the stereotypical notions that had made their way into the book. But at the end of the day, it’s her name on the book like our names will be on any book that we publish, and who gets the judgement? Not the editor, that’s for sure. The publishing company, sure but most of it reflects back on the author.

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Other things that have been said about this particular book, is that for some readers who have picked up the book and started to read it. It made them feel guilty. Why? This goes back to a white person should not be writing this book, some white people have felt that this is not a book that was meant for them to read.

Now, when you make your reader feel guilty for the race that they are reading a book, you have, depending how you look at it, made either a really big impact on your reader, or you are starting to put a line in the sand that says this book is not for everyone to read, for it is only for some to read. This is where censorship comes into play.

Yes, somethings are censored for good reason. However, when the censorship barriers are put up then what is the point of writing a book and getting it published, so only some of the literary world can read your work? I don’t think so. You write it and publish it so that the whole world can read what you put your heart into. What you put every breath of you into. What you put your tears, sweat and blood into. You gave life sort of speak to a book. Yes, a book is an object but when you have written that book, it’s your baby. I don’t care what anyone else says that is your baby right there.

Furthermore, writing books that you are trying to make an impact with your readers, is first saying a have a message. Yes, I’m fiction as my median, but I have something to say. The author says that this was her intentions, but this truly not what is going on here. Yes, if anyone that has taken American Literature will tell you that you at some point during the time in that class, you are asked to read a book about slavery.

I’ll try not to go down the American History story line in this; however, never once did a teacher teaching the material tell the white students in his/her class that you are not allowed to read this. But you are instead told you are going to read this, and the reason is so that you understand what the time was like and what it was like to be a slave. Granted, I will put this up here, a book on slavery again should probably not be written by a white person, but in the past they were. Why? Granted, in this country we have had plenty of racism going on and sexism. Woman at one point could not publish books. Why?

Answer: Because the publishers thought that boys would not read books written by women. This is not the case today. Look at Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. Both series are written by women and both have been picked up by boys, who love to read them.

Now there is another sad fact, for some time people of color could not get published by the big publishing houses, so then they had to self-publish their work. Times have changed, which is a blessing. However, we still have a long way to go, for most of the people that work in the publishing industry is predominantly white.

How does it relate to the American Dirt?

Since many of the publishers are white, this has lead to a lot of exclusion from the Latino community to be published by the book publishing houses. So when a white woman writes a book such as American Dirt, then a message has been sent that only whites are allowed to tell the stories of there’s for they can get them published instead of you.

This again is an example of the gatekeepers letting people in and leaving others out in the cold. This is not right, for there are many writers out there that are gifted and not given the chance. This also leads to the subject of writing to trends. Not everyone wants to write to a trend. But if you do, that’s fine. But for others, like myself, I should not be dictated what I need to write in ordered to be published by them.

The publishers need to get past the thing of everyone that they publish needs to fit into a box. This is the same problem that we have in Hollywood right now. The box is already filled with stories that have been done before. People want new things and if they keep saying that writers need to fit into this box, or they won’t have a job then fine do what has already been done before. I can go self-publish or in terms of film, I can become an independent film maker.

Either way, this book has already lit a torch and that torch keeps getting bigger and bigger, and the burn scars are growing no thanks to the publishing houses or the praises that this book is getting either.

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Another part of the discussion that came from this book being published, is why are some books picked up for publishing and others are not? I have talked about this on here before and the biggest reason is trends.

When it comes to American Dirt, there is not a lot of books being written on the topic of immigration from south of the border. However, there is a lot of discussion around the topic due to thousands of immigrants flee from Mexico and Central America to the United States every day. Yes, this is more of a political trend on the wave length than that of a writing trend. But who knows maybe this book has opened that flood gate for more stories like this to be written and published. Then the Latino Community will pass judgement on who will be able to write these sorts of stories, such as them.

I don’t have any problems with this. Since these are not the sort of stories that I am focused on telling, and that is fine for there are others out there that have more knowledge than I do on the subject and are better qualified than I to tell them. They can tell their stories and people are interested in those stories.

My message to them, is that they should tell their stories and fight for them to be published. If a woman that has never lived that life got her version of this topic published than others can too.

The Take Away?

I know that I have written a lot today on this subject. But let me tell you something, there is a lot that comes to this book to cover. Yes, there are lot of things that we as writers need to look at when it comes not only writing but publishing as well. It’s not just do the research and write, but also look at community that you are writing for in mind. Talk to them and get their perspective.

As for the book itself, it’s not a book that I would read. I’m not going to tell you whether or not you should read it for yourselves. But I know that some of the comments that I have seen from people that have ordered the book and received their copy yet, they will not be reading this book.

The publishing industry needs to change, like I’ve said before, and the gate keepers need to stop not letting people in, or by making rules that state that only those that follow what we want to write for us. I’m not talking about the rules of genre, which need to be followed, but rather the rules that they set forth like the trends that they know are being picked up.

We need to as a community to say enough, and to get the publishers to pay attention to us. Let’s face it without us they wouldn’t have their jobs. But a book like this is not going to help. However, a book like this might also help us if the publishers see the mistake that they have made in publishing a book like this.

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Sorry, if this was not a normal post for this blog or site, but I wanted to present you with information that is going on with recent events in our community.

Until next time I hope that you have a great writing day!