That’s right! I’m going to post short stories right here on the blog! I’ve recently joined a writing group (more info below) and once a month we’re given a prompt for a short story. I’ve decided to post them here. I may publish them in a book down the road, I may develop one or two into a novel, I may hate them and print them, just so I can burn them. Who knows?! My point… Be on the look out for at least one short story a month.
Some amazing things are happening! I’ve got two new full length novels in the works. I’ve found an amazing community on YouTube. And, I’ve gained a lot of new friends lately from Twitter. THINGS ARE ON THE MOVE.
I’m working on a science fiction novel. It’s post-apocalyptic and really cool. I started it for NaNoWriMo. And, while I learned NaNoWriMo is a NaNo-NoNo for me personally, I absolutely LOVE the story I started. So I’m going to keep going with it. It’s too good not to. Also! I’m currently in the process of creating a new author platform. I’ve felt the pull to write something Middle Grade. Call it fate. Call it destiny. Call it me trying to get my little niece and cousins to love reading as much as I do. I have to do this. I can feel it. But, to do so under the name K.D. Reed is going to be… problematic. My stuff is for grown-ups. Like… the grown-uppiest of grown-ups. If you’ve read my books, you understand. Therefore, when the time comes, I’ll be creating a whole new name and platform for my kid stuff.
Because I can.
I’ll also keep working under the name K.D. Reed at the same time, though. So don’t worry, adult people. I’m not going anywhere.
Next! Thanks to the beautiful people on YouTube, I’ve joined a writing group. As I mentioned above, we’ll be prompted for some short story work. It’s mostly for fun, but I wanted to share it with all of you lovely people.
I want to quickly give a special thank you to Ben Sanders. We met on BookTube/AuthorTube (the people on YouTube talking about reading and writing, respectively) and he’s the super neat dude that organized our cool kids writing club. Yeah… it’s not actually called that. It just makes me feel like a cool kid, okay? Any who! Ben is really great, and a talented writer. Check out his YouTube channel. You’ll thank me later.
Lastly, if you haven’t noticed, I’ve moved most of my social media activity to Twitter. Facebook, especially right now, has A LOT of problems. Every time I log on I feel like Wesley in The Princess Bride when he’s hooked up to the machine.
So! Most of the time, I only go to Facebook for the groups I’m in and to keep up with family. There’s a lot of people I’m connected to there that I love both personally and professionally. (Not like in a hooker way. Like in a writing way. But, you knew that, right?) Moving to Twitter has gained me some amazing friends, and I like it A LOT better. Here’s my Twitter, if you want to follow me there.
That’s all the news! I’m hoping to post January’s short story tomorrow. Or soonish. Sooner rather than later. Definitely. Probably. Maybe.
As always, you guys are so great. I have the best readers. I really do. Thank you so much for sticking with me. Please know that you are appreciated.
Earlier I spoke about the authors who turned me into a reader. Well, that was only the beginning. I’ve evolved. Certain authors pushed me into the world of story creation. Now, I’m a writer. And these are the authors who turned (cursed?) me.
I have so much to say about Neil Gaiman. So. Much. He taught me the beauty of simplicity in story telling. You don’t have to describe every article of clothing. Every hair on the main character’s head. If you have a STORY, you can have a book. Every one of his works are solid, unique, stylized, and gorgeously creative. I own this man a lot. His ideas are not only original, but he owns them. He commits to every character, theme, and sentence. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, Gaiman never disappoints.
Where Gaiman taught me simplicity, Anne Rice taught me the art of description. Her work (The Vampire Chronicles specifically) has a flowery, artsy, romantic style of writing that would normally turn readers off. BUT IT WORKS. Or rather, she makes it work. She has the ability to beatify her characters. She just loves them. You can tell. You can feel it. She knows them, and loves them, and it makes her stories lovely. The Vampire Lestat tops my list of favorite fictional characters. And the way Rice writes about him, I’m not convinced he isn’t real. These novels showed me you can write with voice and adoration for your characters. So grateful for her.
This guy, though! If there’s anything Douglas Adams taught me, it’s honesty. His writing is so on point it almost makes me sick. He has a way of explaining a feeling with pure, brutal, honesty. Funny. Relevant. Dead on. He can truly define the undefinable. I come back to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy time and time again just to smile and nod. Every time I read ANYTHING by him I think “Yes! You’re right! That’s exactly what that feels like!”
I found myself applying this idea in my paranormal series. My style is a little more… I don’t know… unfiltered candor. But I really believe writing should be sincere. Adams helped me find genuine honesty in my own writing. And I love him for it.
Plus, comedy is HARD. I think that’s one of the most difficult styles of writing to master. And he is effortless with it.
Say what you want about “controversy” or “inaccuracies”. I don’t care. Not even a little bit. Dan Brown can captivate. He takes cliffhanger to a whole new level. Some of his books I’ll get genuinely angry at, because it’s cliffhanger after cliffhanger and I just can’t stop! He forces me to keep going. His stories are riveting and enthralling. It’s inhuman the way he can suck me in. Witchcraft I tell you! But man… did I learn about how to keep a reader hooked. His books start with a million questions, and each time you get an answer, your questions triple. At least. Deeper and deeper you go down the rabbit hole until you feel like you can’t breathe.
R.L. Geerdes may be unknown to you. She wrote a fantasy series that was pretty good. She actually writes under a different name now, and is quite successful. But I need to speak to you about when she was R.L. Geerdes. Woo! Story time!
I know her personally. And while that isn’t reason enough to call someone “inspiring” she truly did inspire me. She taught me that if you want to write, you write. She went for it. Now, she’s writing full time. She’s a success. I met with her when I was first thinking of writing. She gave me some great resources and advice. But, I gotta say, it was her meeting with me in the first place that I found encouragement. She had two novels out, and took time from her life to meet with little ol’ me. She was so kind and motivating. I was so pleased that she’d offer to help. I owe her a ton. She really set me on the path.
If you want to write… write. You don’t wait for someone to tell you it’s okay. You don’t wait for an opportunity. You sit your ass down, and do it. Now, she didn’t actually say these words to me. Her attitude did. She knew very little about me. But, she knew the importance of writing. Of a dream. She was willing to help. This showed me that if you want to write. You go and you do it. Your dream is worth it.
Also, and this is just a side note, this was my first taste of the writing community. My first experience dealing with the beautiful village of writers. What it means to be a part of this circle. I’ve had amazing results every time I’ve reached out to the writing community. We are a bunch of crazy, creative, kind, and generous people. And I am honored to be counted among you.
Stacy is also someone I know personally. We carpooled in middle school. Not kidding. However, this is not a moment of promotion for my friend. This is me saying Stacy Lynn Carroll taught me one of the most valuable things of my career. Don’t wait. Write. Publish. Live your dream.
Boom. That’s it. Now, don’t get me wrong. She’s a talented writer. I’ve loved all of her stuff. I’m going to be gifting her books to people for Christmas this year. She’s awesome and you should read her stuff. My point, for this post at least, is that she was the first writer to show me that indie-publishing isn’t something “desperate” people do.
When I first heard she was going to “self-pub” I was confused. My pea-brain thought that was only for authors who felt they’d been rejected one too many times. It was a way for them to say they were published without actually being published. I WAS THE WRONGEST WRONG PERSON OF ALL THE WRONG PEOPLE.
I read up on self and/or indie publishing and learned a thing or two…
You have so much more control over your content
You are the only one in charge of your career
You can make MORE money indie-publishing than traditional publishing
You don’t have to do what you don’t want to do
And that’s just the beginning. Carroll taught me that if I wanted a career, I could go get one. She taught me not to wait. Do it. Write your book. Publish your book. You. Just. Do. It.
Here I am, years later, with mad respect for my dear friend, and a writing career of my own. I am so thankful for her and her amazing example
Most, if not all, writers start at the same place. As readers. Our love of reading leads us to fulfill our destiny of saying what others cannot. To produce the stories people need. And how did we learn such a career existed? By reading! We started as the readers we now cherish. Certain authors set us on the path. Everyone has their favorites. And these are the beautiful souls that lead me to my journey. The authors who turned me into a reader, and ultimately a writer.
We’re going to do this as chronologically as possible. Becoming a reader starts in childhood. The books we’re read at home. The books our teachers and parents read to us. So journey with me, if you will, to the days of my youth…
Truthfully, this is my mom’s favorite children’s book. She read it to us often. And, while I have no idea why she loves it (I found the dog who didn’t like the other dog’s hat mean, but what did I know? I was just a kid) this book was a staple of my childhood. I knew all the words, all the puppies inside, and all the silly pictures. Entertaining and memorable. This probably started my whole crazy writer life. So… Thanks Mom!
Eastman created a lovely dog world in Go, Dog. Go!Simple. Fun. Relatable. My four year old niece loves it. Her grandma, my mom, reads it to her. Just as she did with me. Hopefully it will instill in her a love of silly stories the way it did for this writer. Who knows? Maybe my niece will grow to be an author herself!
What kid doesn’t love Goosebumps? I think every child in America gets a solid start with R.L. Stine. Spooky. Creepy. So. Much. Stinking. Fun! I loved every single one. And then he did the Choose Your Own Adventure books! The ones where you pick where you go in the story. Jumping around the entire book. What fun! Ah! I can’t get over what Stine did for me as a kid. I picked up my first Goosebumps in like… 5th grade? (ish.) And let me tell you… I wasn’t thrilled. I thought, “This book looks stupid. No princesses. Why do I care about monsters? These books are for boys!”
What an idiot. I loved the first one, and every single one after. So great! R.L. Stine speaks to kids beautifully. He entertains. Reaching the entire audience of children. Every kid loves his stories. He speaks to them, and their interests. Such a talented writer.
Oh, man. My friends and I LIVED off these books for all of 6th grade. At least. Actually it started in 4th grade. Maybe even sooner. We read these books furiously. Every single one. All the spin-offs. We watched the TV show and the movie. A great time was had and this book series was responsible for so much of it.
Martin creates fun stories, that deal with what kids deal with. Friendship dynamics, step-parents, diabetes… Her stories aren’t traumatic, but they don’t graze over real-life stuff. Growing up, I was totally a Kristy (kind of bossy, resourceful, ambitious) and my best friend was a complete Claudia (artistic, free-spirited, innovative). Parts of our personalities had the potential to put our friendship at risk. But! I fully believe this book series showed us that different personalities can thrive together. Everyone is important. We embraced who were were, just like the girls in Baby-sitters Club did. Ann M. Martin just gives me all the good feelings.
I read Journey to Topazthree times between 6th grade and 7th grade. I LOVE this book. The subject matter is deep and painful, but Uchida tells it with hope and beauty. A terrible mark on America’s history, this story made me think. Feel. I think that’s why I kept going back to it. It made me feel. It showed me something ugly, but taught me that people are strong.
I think this was the first book I read that invoked true emotion through writing. Oh! The Feelings!! Conflict. Sadness. Confusion. Injustice. But also hope. Strength. Tenacity. Ah! Yoshiko Uchida did such a beautiful job with this story. I think I’ll go read it again…
I read this book in 9th grade. CHANGED MY LIFE. V.C. Andrews was a turning point for me. I went from girl who kind of likes to read sometimes to always having a book with me. In my backpack, in my locker, in my purse. I became a reader. A bookworm. And so, SO, happy.
This book may have been a tad mature for me at 14. But! It was so engaging. The story was captivating, driven, suspenseful. Andrews has a way of sucking you in, without mercy. Some of her plots are even predictable, but her storytelling forces you to keep going anyway. This author taught me the power of a book. Of a story.
No list of authors (if composed by myself) can exclude Tolkien. He is my literary idol. Tolkien took me from reader of whatever, to literature enthusiast. Okay… Story time!
First of all, I honestly thought I was too stupid to read “real” literature. Classics, if you will. I thought I wouldn’t understand them. That they’d be over my head. Vocabulary would be too difficult. Themes wouldn’t be exciting. Blah blah blah. People discouraged me from reading things like this. They said, “it’s probably too hard for you and boring.”
THEY WERE 100% WRONG.
I love classics. You don’t have to be a genius to get them. Or love them. They’re all beautiful and wonderful and if anybody tells you differently you send them to me. I’ll take care of it. >insert chosen angry threat here<
Second, and this is a little shameful, I saw the first movie BEFORE I read any of the books. I hate myself for it, but… that’s just how my life played out. Any who, after seeing the movie Fellowship of the Ring I dashed out and bought ALL the books. I now own Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Simarillion, The Book of Lost Tales… Even some theory and language books on Tolkien’s world. Read ’em all. Love ’em all.
Tolkien opened up a doorway for me. Not just for classic literature, but for fantasy as well. A deep love of high fantasy grew quickly. Which led me to science fiction. Which led me to write. My first book is science fiction. Had I not ventured into Middle Earth, I never would continued on to create my own worlds. It really is that simple.
He is a true genius and beautiful soul. I owe him my life.
There was a time when I felt all I had was Middle Earth. Those adventures gave me purpose when dealing with a particularly difficult phase of life. I clung to them for strength. I keep them near now… Just in case I need them. Tolkien’s characters were my friends. My family. They still are.
These are the writers who turned me into a reader. They’re the reason I write. Had I not found them, the fire of story telling would never have ignited. I’d be wandering around searching for a destiny. Now, I wander searching for a story.
But, you know what Tolkien says…
Be sure to check back for Part 2 of Why I Write: Authors Who Turned Me into a Writer. More authors to gush about. More books to swoon over… All that jazz. Also, I’d love to hear about the authors who took YOU from “regular person” to reader. What book changed your life and turned you into a fantasy world creature?
Banned Books Week is now! I will be reading Lord of the Flies by William Golding for my official banned book. I’ll also be taking part in a banned books photo challenge over on my Tumblr which I will also post on my Instagram
(I’d also like to preamble this with: I long for the day I write something important enough to be banned. I’ll know I’ve made it when my work is challenged. That’s an okay goal to have, right?)
Any who, here are my thoughts:
The Banning of books is a controversial issue that’s been debated and protested for decades, if not longer. Books are banned for many reasons. Some of the criteria almost makes sense (sexual acts, violence). Other reasons are laughable (children questioning authority, too depressing, abundance of cartoons). Authors of these works are trying to tell a truth, or express an idea. Writers are not writing books with the intention of being banned. They’re trying to help people, and some of these people are children. Your children. The banning of these “controversial” novels isn’t helping anyone. Children are being cut off from reading about, what some may call, uncomfortable situations; this is only going to make it more difficult for them to deal with these situations in real life. It is often helpful for children to read about these issues, in an environment where they can ask questions (to parents or teachers). If not allowed to learn about things like sex or mental illness in a safe environment, children may be left learning about these subjects from friends or popular media. Can you imagine? It also seems that groups banning books forget kids aren’t without common sense. Children quite often know what’s “real” and “not real”. Give your kid some credit! And give them the opportunity to learn, grow, and explore their world and new ideas. They can find help in these books. Let them.
This form of censorship isn’t an archaic practice. Schools and communities are still trying to infringe upon the liberties of free speech. They’re playing with the rights of children. It’s almost sickening. They seem to be having trouble coming up with valid reasons, too. Some book banning criteria includes:
children questioning authority (you will think what we think, no matter how wrong we are)
characters who speak in non-standard English (heaven forbid you have an accent.)
Non-Christian culture (no Jewish literature for you)
witchcraft of supernatural (magic isn’t real, but our kids might think it is!)
abundance of cartoons (never a good idea to help children better understand a concept with pictures)
homosexual subject matter (you have two dads, so you’re not allowed to be a role model)
negative statements about the United States government (remember slavery?)
non-traditional family units (because every family is a nuclear family)
promotion of self understanding (don’t you dare think for yourself!)
That’s a minuscule glimpse of the list of “reasons” books are censored.
To be fair… there are some reasons to consider keeping some books out of elementary schools, or make them only available to older readers. I’ll agree that some content need not be read by second graders. I’m not a complete radical. But, I stand by my argument that ideas should never, I repeat never, be kept from people. How are we to grow as a society and culture if we shelter our future thinkers from an idea that could plant a seed of pure brilliance? We’re cheating ourselves and our children if we allow thoughts to be put through an approval system. Just because you don’t agree with an idea, doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. This is supposed to be the free world! This is not a land of certain people’s opinion. This is a country of anyone’s opinion who is willing to speak. Stop shushing the people brave enough to change the world.
Books are not bad guys. Taking them away won’t help your children deal with the scary world in which we live. Our kids need books, even the questionable ones. The reasons for banning books are not reasons at all. They’re agendas. Please, I beg of society, let books help them. There’s no need for empty libraries. Challenging these books is hurting our little ones, and us. It’s not fair to take away the tools to help them grow and learn. You’re leaving them defenseless.
There’s a struggle brewing within Sam. A demon loves him, but he’s unsure of what to do about it. And now, he’s taking Delilah to meet his family. It’s supposed to be the perfect weekend in a rented cabin. With his cheerful mom, moderately religious father, a sister that’s nothing but question marks, and his demon girlfriend, what could go wrong? Then, weird things start happening. Sam’s family is in danger. His hope rests with Delilah. But, can he trust her?
Haunted is in its final edit right now! Only a few more days, and the next chapter of Demonic Illusions will be available!
Book 1 Demonic Impulseis only $.99 Not even a dollar! Haunted will be the same. Very excited that I can bring these to you for such a low price. And! Book 3 is on its way! It’s being drafted as we speak.
Yay! A much better cover for Demonic Impulse. I’m awaiting for it to appear on Amazon’s listing for the book, but sooner or later it’ll show up. Quite happy with it. Now we’ve got some continuity with Haunted, and I’ve already got the elements I want for book 3 in the works.
Haunted the next book in the Demonic Illusions series is currently in formatting. In a few short weeks it will be available for purchase!
I’m particularly excited for this one. I really had to work hard for the story to come together, while setting up book 3. For me, I usually let the story happen. Taking as long as necessary to let everything fall into place slowly, over time. But! I promised readers the next book soon and I’d hate to let you guys down. You mean the world to me. You’re why I do what I do.
So! Here it is! Almost. Just a little while longer…
This was part of a 30 day letter writing challenge I did on a blog I used to have. On July 18th 2010 I was to write to a stranger. This is what I said:
I’m not really sure what to say to you. Being as I don’t know you, I have no idea as to your interests. I could tell you about myself. Although, I’m not sure what good that’ll do you. I’m not sure what good that will do me either.
What do you believe in? For you, what’s worth fighting for? I’m always intrigued by other’s ideas and notions. What’s most important to a person teaches me far more than “what do you do for a living?” Quite often our occupation is what’s there, not who we are.
I work in retail. It’s not what I “do”. It’s what I tolerate so I can have food and a car. See? You didn’t learn much about me there, did you? Oh well. It’s not as though you’re going to write back.
Do you believe in Destiny, Stranger? I do. I’m not really sure how it’s helping me, but I believe in it. I wish on stars, too. Although, lately, I’ve only stared at them. No wishing. I’m trying to give up wishing. It’s no good. Every dandelion, first star, 11:11, necklace chain and penny in a fountain wish has proved false. I never expected the wish to magically materialize before my eyes. I only thought that maybe putting that hopeful energy into the world would make things a little lighter.
But, alas, it did nothing.
Interesting how one can say things to a stranger and feel alright with it. I don’t know if you’re even listening. Doesn’t really matter, though, does it?