Share The Love

First off, I wanted to shout out Rachel Harrie’s Third Writers Platform-Building Campaign! I had a lot of fun participating in the last Campaign, and enjoyed meeting a lot of writer friends, and visiting other blogs! If you’re interested, act NOW! The list of Campaigners will close tomorrow, August 31.

Hope to see you around the blogosphere, and on Twitter via #writecampaign

Photo shared generously by Poppy Thomas-Hill

Ok, now to share more love!

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks here, so here are a few highlights from my last few weeks…

While roaming around the blogosphere, I LOVED these posts:

Laurie Halse Anderson: The Nuts and Bolts of Crafting a Creative Life

Carrie Ryan: Revisions, The Why and The How (courtesy of WriteOnCon)

Beth Revis: Don’t Give Up (courtesy of WriteOnCon)

I also twittered a little bit, and I LOVED these tweets:!/Committed_Jay/status/82263496196227072!/veertothewrite/status/106797419995475971

I also read a TON and LOVED these books (I wish I could review them ALL):

Eona: The Last Dragoneye (Eon, #2)Eona: The Last Dragoneye by Alison Goodman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think of Eon and Eona as one epic saga, like Lord of the Rings, versus being a book and its sequel. Goodman did such an amazing job weaving culture, language, magic, action that while I read, the words just disappeared and I was living the story.

Just to emphasize how gripping this tale is, I started reading this book around 9PM Wednesday night, thinking to read a few chapters before bed. Well, I HAD to keep reading, and got to The End around 5AM. I only had three hours to sleep before going to work, but the story was SO worth the lack of sleep. (Besides, that’s what coffee is for!)

Amazing work! I only hope that one day, I can develop my scifi/fantasy to this level of sophistication.

WitchlandersWitchlanders by Lena Coakley (released TODAY, August 30!)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Witchlanders is told through the perspectives of two boys, Ryder and Falpian. Ryder is a farm boy in the Witchlands, struggling to support his family after his father’s death. Falpian is a Baen prince from the Bitterlands, mourning the loss of his twin and his potential for magic. Born enemies, Ryder and Falpian discover they have a common destiny, and need to work together to uncover the mysteries behind the cultural assumptions that they’ve inherited.

Witchlanders delivers high fantasy without plodding backstory and cumbersome terms. Coakley beautifully weaves together cultural traditions, histories, and magic to create a rich, immersive reading experience. It has the scope of being an epic story, and the potential for companion tales. And, though I would read a sequel to this story (and I hope there is one considering how this story ended), I would REALLY be interested in reading a prequel.

*Note: I read Witchlander as an egalley, courtesy of Simon and Schuster’s Galley Grab program.

View all my reviews

[I’ll be archiving any of my book reviews on my Book Love page (see menu) and of course, GoodReads.]

Those were some of the things I’ve loved these past few weeks…how about you?

In Honor of This Year’s Banned Books Week…Speaking Loudly for Speak

Cover of "Speak"

Cover of Speak


I’m not here to decry Censorship, even though I am vehemently against it.  It’s such a huge and multi-faceted debate, and even now, my mind is too unsettled (and maybe too inferior) to put into words all the random thoughts that are pinging around in there involving the big and abstract concept of Censorship.

So, instead of talking about Censorship, or even about the much-celebrated “Banned Books Week,” I will just react to the Twitter and Blogging buzz that surrounded Laurie Halse Anderson’s book, Speak this past week.  Basically, Dr. Wesley Scroggins wrote to the School Board of Republic, MO (and also an opinion piece in the News-Leader of Springfield, MO), equating two (delicately handled) rape scenes to soft-core pornography; for these scenes, and for the irreverent tone of the novel (I don’t think he understands irony or wit), he believes the book ought to be banned from being taught in schools.

Of course, there’s a lot to respond to, especially since Dr. Scroggins says a lot of provocative statements.  But, I don’t want to talk about Him, and His Illogical Conclusions. Nor, do I want to talk about Parental Supervision and Parents’ Rights in Raising Their Child.  These are Important Issues, sure, but are quite frankly, superficial.

The issues of Censorship and Parental Rights and even School Board Responsibilities are so BIG, that they detract (and distract) people about the worth and beauty found in the singularity and uniqueness of a specific book, like Speak.  I believe that the best way to handle Censorship is to take abstract and general words (Sex or Disrespectful Behavior or Uncomfortableness) away from a Group of Books, and instead take the time to handle each book individually.

There are other important books that were banned from school, or threatened with banning, too, and should have their moment in the spotlight (I was saddened to hear that Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian was banned from several school districts this year).  I chose to champion Speak, because of the heart-breaking feedback, discussions, whispered statements that I have read/heard resulting from this one specific book.


…saved my life.

…helped me say the word “rape.”

…gave words to my anguish.

…helped me feel that I am not alone.

All these beautiful words…and that’s only a casual glance at readers’ remarks.  A tenth anniversary poem which is basically a compilation from letters to Anderson can be found here.

We read to know that we are not alone. (CS Lewis)

I read a passing tweet that said, “keeping Speak in schools won’t stop rape from happening.”  Of course that’s true.  But again, not the point.

Speak is for the rape survivors.  Speak gives the survivors words for their pain.  Speak gives the survivor’s loved ones words of comfort to share.  Speak provides a community for a survivor who might otherwise feel ostracized.

Speak makes specific and personal that which can easily become General, Vague, and Meaningless.

Final Words

Please never forget that this world is so large, and we can oftentimes feel so distant and disconnected, even among our own peers.  But, This Book…This Specific Book, Speak, can help bridge that distance, and I am so proud to know and be a part of a (writing) community that would support something as beautiful as Speak.