Remembering 9-11

 Years ago, when the Twin Towers were hit with those planes, I was still a kid sitting in my middle school French class. I remember the day with absolute clarity for many reasons. 

The first thing I remember is the computer teacher from across the hall running into our classroom and yelling that one of the twin towers had been hit by a plane in New York. My French teacher paled and dashed to the tiny TV in the corner of our classroom and turned it on. We sat captivated as we watched the smoke billow. My Teacher turned the volume all the way up on the TV. With our classroom door open we could hear other teachers doing the same. It was an echo of panicked reporters down the hallway. 

We watched as the second tower was hit. The classroom erupted in anger. Teachers and kids alike demanded retribution. Cries of war and revenge echoed down the hallways. I sat in the sea of angry faces and thought not of war but the costs of war. From reading, I had a decent idea of what happened in wartime. I was reading at a college level in middle school. I tore through every single book I could get my hands on. I sat in the midst of all that hate and thought of the people in those buildings. I thought of the people that were in those planes. I thought of how each person must feel while faced with their death. I thought of the horror of choosing to burn or jump. I watched as people did jump and I imagined the feel of their last seconds. The sight of the ground as they fell closer to it.  About the time people were jumping from the buildings my teacher turned off the TV. When she turned around I was the only one not yelling. I was the only one not balling my eyes out. I had silent tears down my face as she looked at me. She and I locked eyes. I could see the anger in hers. I could see that she agreed with the others that war was needed. I stared at her until she looked away. 

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A few hours later the school closed early and parents came to pick up their children. My father refused to leave work so I walked to my siblings elementary school and we all walked the 3 miles home. No one noticed that we didn’t leave with our parents. I think everyone was in shock.

That evening I got a call from one of the few friends I had at school. She was shouting about how we were going to blow them to smithereens. She told me how her dad (who was in the Army) was going to kill every single one of those sorry bastards and make them regret ever messing with the US. I listened to her for awhile and when there was a lull in her tirade I asked her if she thought killing all those people and destroying their homes would stop this from happening again. She said it would. She said people don’t attack what they fear. I asked her why she thought they attacked us. She said her father thought it was because we weren’t Muslim. I scoffed. I asked her if she thought in some way that our country was responsible for this attack. If others had had enough of our bombs and were taking a stand. She screamed at me that the USA is the best country in the world. That we give people freedom. I hung up. I lost one of my only friends because I dared to admit fault on both sides. I still lose friends over it. I have been advocating for peace my whole life in a sea of violent people.

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From reading, I’ve learned to see everything in ripples. Every action has a reaction and I think deeply on everything. My heart aches for the people who lost their lives that day. My heart aches for the people who lost everything and everyone to our bombs of retribution. You can’t bomb a populace into respecting you. Fear will never breed the loyalty you want it to.

America has a nasty habit of invading other countries and I know full well that we aren’t there to give them freedom. We don’t even have that ourselves. As much as it’s claimed, we don’t. 

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You want to know why ISIS and the rest of the extremist groups exist? Ignorance and desperation. If you steal a person’s ability to critical think they become violent and primitive. Without the ability to understand the world and it’s complexities humankind becomes tribal and small thinking. Religious fervor takes over as people attempt to find a greater meaning to their suffering.

Today, as we all remember the horror of watching those people burn alive or jump to their death I want everyone to remember that hate breeds hate. Division and anger solve nothing and create only more horror. We are all human. We all bleed red and might does not always equal right.

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I want you to open your eyes and see the division around us. The extremist groups we harbor right here in our very own US of A.  I want you to see the huge gap of opportunities for the poor and the desperation of a mother who must choose to pay an atrocious amount for rent or feed her children. I want you to think long and hard of the humiliation laid on those who seek government assistance to feed their kids. I want you to see people die of treatable illnesses because of our healthcare inequality. I want you to ask yourself if you think we really are the greatest nation in the world. Because, that’s one hell of a title to live up to and if you ask me, we are most definitely not living up to it in the slightest.

Love one another my friends. Care for those who are down no matter their skin color. No matter their differences. Let us learn and grow together to make a world that’s a great place for everyone. Let us be fair. Let us seek justice that is not unjust to those who have no say in their fate. 

It’s time we evolved beyond hate and violence. 

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Streaming Services – I’m not paying for 20 of them!

Has everyone heard the rumor that Disney, among others, are planning to yank their content from Netflix and fire up their very own streaming services? I don’t know about you but this has me 17 kinds of angry. 

If you’re asking me why this makes me so angry ( I know you probably aren’t but this is called AlliesOpinions so buckle up buttercup) I’d be happy to tell you. 

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Listen up, I’m not paying for 18,000 streaming services. Actually, it’s not even that I outright refuse (which I do) it’s that with stagnant wages and the ever increasing prices on basic necessities….I DON’T HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY FOR THEM. That’s right, it’s just not there. 

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You know what I am going to pay for? Netflix. You know why? BECAUSE THEY WERE HERE FIRST AND THEY HAVE A FAIR PRICE.

Trust me when I tell you that I REALLY wanted to see the HULU series about the Handmaid’s Tale. You know what I did? I used that free subscription and then I canceled that baby. BECAUSE I AM NOT GOING TO PAY FOR A SHIT TON OF STREAMING SERVICES. I’m just downright not going to do it.

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If everyone who makes a series or a movie or a crap load of movies thinks they are going to convince people to pay for 18,000 different subscriptions, they are greatly mistaken. Hell, most people don’t even have satellite anymore. They don’t need it. As soon as my stupid contract is up, I won’t have it either. I don’t enjoy having a measly 20 channels that actually show interesting stuff but have near constant commercials. Want me to keep buying your satellite service? Cut the commercials down by a lot. Cut the bazillion of  “As Seen On TV” channels selling stupid crap I can buy at damn near any thrift store. I’m over it. We’re all over it. No one likes you. No one wants to buy your stupid crap.

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I know you’re thinking that people will want to see your movies so bad that they will just give in and pay for it. Nope. That’s assuming that the money is there to do that with. Which it isn’t. I’m not the only broke lady either. There’s millions of us and none of us have the time or money for this nonsense. 

I’ll keep my Netflix. I’ll sign up for your stupid free subscription and then I’ll cancel the heck out of every single one of your stupid services before you can get a dime out of me. Seems the only power the little people like me have is with our dollar. You won’t be getting mine. 

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Samuel L. Catson & Making Friends

 

First of all, I haven’t properly introduced my feline friend Samuel (Sammy) L. Catson.

Sammy Cat

We got Sammy a few months ago from a neighbor whose cat had kittens. He looks very much like a cat we had when my son was first born so we were ecstatic to give him a home. Our other cat ran away after we moved and it was devastating to all of us. Since he is chipped there’s a good chance he may one day find his way home but it’s been over a year and we haven’t found him. My son has been begging me for another cat so the hubs and I finally relented. We were really holding out for our lost fella to come home. We really loved him. Happy for us that we took in Sammy because he’s very much like our other cat and we adore him. He’s a bit frisky and likes to chase anyone and anything. Our elderly black lab Buddy’s tail is a little worse for wear but Sammy has helped my overweight Chihuahua lose some flab so it evens out.

Our other cat tower was in bad shape so when I saw that Aldi’s had some on sale I sent the hubs to grab one post haste. 

Cat Tower

It’s quite a bit smaller than our other one but as Sammy isn’t fully grown yet it does the job. Mason’s birthday is fast approaching and I just don’t have the extra funds to upgrade just yet but when I do you best believe it’s going to be a monstrously giant and fun towerplex for Mr. Catson. Our pets are family and we do out best to treat them as such.

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Is that too much? Nahhhh

 In other news, Mason finally found some kids to play with for once. He’s been pretty down about not having anyone to play with and it hurts this mommies heart everytime he tells me he wants a friend. I’ve scheduled playdates as often as I can but in the mess of life people often bail on us and poor Mason gets so upset thanks a lot for making my kid cry assholes. The hubs and I try to remedy this by taking the kids to the libraries play area as well as to our local Aquarium. We have a membership so it doesn’t break the bank to go. Sadly, it’s not often that a kid takes Mason up on his offer to play those judgey little shits. Mason is high energy and quickly overwhelms other kids. He doesn’t mean to but he really can’t help it. He’s just a rambunctious guy.

Thankfully, this weekend was different. We took Mason to one of our local parks and he found some kids close to his age (almost 4) to run around with. I was thankful he found some buddies but was quickly reminded why we don’t often go to the public parks. The kids he was playing with weren’t there for 30 minutes when their mom rounded them up to leave thanks for that jerkhole. Mason was crushed and I put a curse on that evil mom  tried to cheer him up by offering to help him go down the big kid slide. When we got up to the top of this tower thing I cursed whoever decided to install those ladders ….just why where the entrance to the slide is Mason and I saw that it was blocked off by a pallet that was zip tied to the structural poles of the tower (real classy). I looked over the pallet and saw that toward the bottom of the slide the plastic was melted and misshapen. Probably vandalized by some asshole hooligans. I sold my soul to the devil  gently convinced him to go down another and went to examine the damage of the other slide. It looked very much like someone had taken a blow torch and melted it (I’m not scared you’re scared). The park we go to is a newer one but isn’t being taken care of and is quickly falling into disrepair. This is why we usually go to the park in our neighborhood since it’s taken care of by our HOA. Oklahoma is quick to take our middle class taxes (not rich people of course) but that money isn’t going into the community. Let us gather with our pitchforks and robinhood those rich bastards. Someone should have a protest.

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      Sunday I took Mason to the library to play and get new books. He found a friend for a bit but the kid was way more laid back than Mason so while they had fun I could see Mason getting antsy. He has a hard time sitting still for long and this kid was happy to sit and just play with the lego’s.

After we left Mason told me he liked the kid but reeeaaallllyyyy needed to run so I raced him to our car. I gave that little sucker my best and lost haaarrdd let him beat me and his big grin was worth my bright red face and lack of oxygen. The stuff we do for our kids.

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Trying to keep up with my kids may be the death of me is keeping me young. Someone get me a hot chocolate and tell me when it’s Christmas. 

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Nasty Comments & Crazy People

 

       I would say that this must be the week of the crazies but honestly I seem to draw a fair amount of them most of the time. Usually the nasty comments are mostly on Twitter but it seems they’ve migrated to my blog. Damn it Yay! 

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Wondering why you haven’t seen them? BAN HAMMERED those bastards I don’t approve nasty comments. If you just disagree with me on a book or a subject I won’t censor your comment but if it’s advocating violence or you cussing me out….yeah, I’m probably not going to let it post. 

           I got one the other day on my post about Oklahoma Turnpikes from forever ago (way to creep my page weirdo) that called me a bitch and told me if I didn’t like how things worked I should start ‘slaughtering politicians’…… Uhm…. holy shit this guy has lost his fucking mind Wow that guy is unhinged. I do not now or ever suggest that anyone “slaughters” anyone else….ever. He went from 0 to ape shit immediately.  Calm the heck down bro! Take a chill pill ( do people still say that?). I’d rather just vote out politicians whose policies I don’t agree with. Killing them is a bit harsh…I mean…if I killed every person I didn’t agree with….there wouldn’t be many people left. Plus, I’m a lover not a fighter. Peace is an actual solution people. Oh, and as of now, I’m still legally allowed to complain when politicians do stuff I don’t like. So, I think I’ll raise my voice and not a weapon because murder is a big fucking deal and I’m not about to take someone’s life over the dollar or so I have to pay to drive on a road. I mean, get perspective. 

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As if that wasn’t crazy enough, I’ve received about 20 emails from some guy pervert  asking me to review his graphic erotic novel……NO means NO fella. Just….read my damn review policy and these types of crazy situations won’t happen. When I said no he got his panties in a bunch upset and said it’s my fault his book can’t get any reviews…..dude, I’m not responsible for what other reviewers are telling you. 

To top all of that off, when I was mowing my backyard yesterday a rabid probably rabies infested tiny mouse ran up my BARE LEG till he got to the edge of my shorts and ran back down and away. So, I’m probably going to die thankful he didn’t decide inside my shorts looked like a path he wanted to take. 

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Oh, and I found a dead mole on my doorstep this morning. So, yeah. Good times.

 

Books That Matter

As a parent, one of my main goals is to raise my kids to care. Not just care, but care deeply. I want my kids to see other’s suffering and genuinely want to change it. I am doing my best to contribute to a generation that has the skills (emotional, educational & physical) to face the trails headed their way. Trials like deep inequality, rampant homelessness, lack of adequate food, clothing, health care and sadly the repercussions of perpetual war. I want my kids to feel empowered to make changes. A good way to do that is to give them a deep understanding of each issue. Books are a great tool to achieve this.

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    When I was growing up war was just the way things were. No one took the time to explain to me that there were other ways to handle attacks from other countries. I remember sitting in my classroom in middle school as the Twin Towers were hit by those planes. We watched the people jumping from the buildings on our tiny bulbous screen hung in the top corner of our classroom. About the time my teacher realized that people were jumping to their death in front of a class of children she turned the TV off. 

Another teacher came into my class and the two of them angrily discussed blowing those terrorists to smithereens. My classmates heatedly discussed how America would kill them all. In middle school…the KIDS went straight to death. There was no talk of any other way to handle the attack. I remember sitting and looking at all that anger and hate and all I could feel was devastation at the choice those people jumping had been forced to make. My mind reeled with the horror I knew was coming to the country responsible. I knew in a round about kind of way what happens in wars. I knew because every chance I had I was reading story after story about anything and everything. I cared because from a very young age my brain was used to thinking from anothers perspective.

I want my kids to think diplomatically and find solutions other than to kill everyone. I want my kids to understand that a handful of people from a country do not represent an entire populace. I want my kids to find solutions to complicated issues.

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  One way to do that is to read them or have them read stories that illustrate the consequences of war and poverty. I recently stumbled upon the “Through My Eyes” series while browsing books in my local library. At 20 months and 4 years my kids are still too young to read these but you can bet I will introduce them later. I suggest you read through them and introduce them to your kids when appropriate. 

Naveed CoverThe explosion jolts him awake. He sits up, gasping for air, heart thumping.

Was the blast real? Perhaps it had only happened in his head, a bad dream. Demons of the dark, his father had called them. ‘Push them away. They’ll only poison your thoughts. Seek the light and they can’t hurt you.’

Naveed is sick of war – of the foreign powers and the Taliban, the warlords and the drug barons that together have torn Afghanistan apart. He’s had to grow up quickly to take care of his widowed mother and little sister, making what little money he can doing odd jobs and selling at the markets. When he adopts Nasera, a street dog with extraordinary abilities, he has a chance to help rebuild his country. But will a new friend’s betrayal crush his dreams of peace forever?

Amina CoverAmina lives on the edges of Mogadishu. Her family’s house has been damaged in Somalia’s long civil war, but they continue to live there, reluctant to leave their home. Amina’s world is shattered when government forces come to arrest her father because his art has been officially censored, deemed too political. Then rebel forces kidnap Amina’s brother, forcing him to become a soldier in Somalia’s brutal ongoing war.

Although her mother and grandmother are still with her, Amina feels vulnerable and abandoned. Secretly, she begins to create her own artwork in the streets and the derelict buildings to give herself a sense of hope and to let out the burden of her heart. Her artwork explodes into Mogadishu’s underground world, providing a voice for people all over the city who hope for a better, more secure future.

 

Shahana Cover‘Open your eyes. We will not hurt you.’
The boy quietens; his eyes open.
‘Where are you from?’
The boy stares at them both; then says, ‘Who will you tell?’

Shahana lives alone with her young brother in the shadow of the Line of Control, the border patrolled by Pakistani and Indian soldiers that divides Kashmir in two. Life is hard, but Shahana ekes out a living with her beautiful embroidery. Then she finds a boy lying unconscious near the border. Zahid is from across the Line of Control, and Shahana takes a terrible risk by sheltering him. But how can she give Zahid up to the authorities when she knows he’ll be imprisoned – or worse?

An unforgettable novel about one young girl in war-torn Kashmir.

Emilio CoverFor high-school student Emilio Garcia Lopez, it’s an ordinary school day. But that evening the knock on the door announcing the arrival of his police officer cousin Juanita, flanked by a tall man in the uniform of the Federal Police, will turn his ordinary day into the beginning of a long nightmare. Emilio’s mother has been kidnapped in broad daylight from a hotel car park by unidentified criminals, who appear to know a great deal about her business and who have mistaken her for a wealthy businesswoman. An action-packed story set in a contemporary conflict zone.

 

 

Malini CoverMalini lives with her parents and young sister, Banni, in northern Sri Lanka. As the civil war heads towards its catastrophic end, Malini and her family are herded by Tamil Tiger troops towards the coast where they and thousands of other Tamil civilians will act as human shields. When Malini’s father pushes a phone into her hands and tells her to run off into the forest with Banni, Malini does as she is told. But then the shelling begins, and Malini has no way of finding her mother and father. With the role of parent thrust upon her, Malini has no choice but to travel to her grandfather’s village a long way inland. She and Banni will need to keep off the highways and stay alert for soldiers. But where will the next meal come from? Who can they trust? Where will they shelter? And will they ever be reunited with their parents again?

Zafir CoverZafir has a comfortable life in Homs, Syria, until his father, a doctor, is arrested for helping a protester who was campaigning for revolution. While his mother heads to Damascus to try to find out where his father is being held, Zafir stays with his grandmother – until her house is bombed. With his father in prison, his mother absent, his grandmother ill and not a friend left in the city, Zafir must stay with his Uncle Ghazi. But that too becomes dangerous as the city becomes more and more besieged. Will Zafir survive long enough to be reunited with his parents?

Dystopian Novel Societies & Their Impact

Dystopian novels are super popular and I know I’m not the only one who has given serious thought to how crappy existing in one of those societies would be. Dystopian novels burrow deep into our psych and give us way more than just entertainment. This genre has a power that most others just don’t. Novels like “The Handmaid’s Tale” influence politics and it’s symbols have been used in many a protest in an effort to protect women’s rights. Novels with that kind of power tend to find themselves quickly thrown into the “banned book” pile with lots of outrage on both sides of the aisle. There’s been so much outrage regarding this particular book that it’s found itself on the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books list for 20 years. At my tiny high school in Oklahoma we most certainly didn’t read it. I read it on my own and it was eye opening. I’ve since read it at least 30 times and it hits me just as hard as the first time, every time.

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I think what is most haunting about “The Handmaid’s Tale” is that Atwood wrote only about restrictions that have actually happened in real life. Most of the time books that are based off truth make me very nervous but what really gets my cogs turning is the books that speculate. Books like “Life As We Knew It” or “The Last Orphans” open a window of possibilities. The scenarios in both of these books are completely out of the blue and throw the world into chaos. It’s those scenarios that scare me the most. There is no where far enough to run in these worlds. “The 5th Wave” is another one that leaves me shaken.

I’m thankful for the freedom that remains in fiction and it’s ability to bring to life every scenario possible. I would like to see these writers given more credit for the depth of influence their writing has. Seeing the extreme consequences of an action either by a government or a natural disaster gives us the ability to see the ripples possible with every decision we make as a populace. There is no price tag on preparedness. 

Another thing to consider is how dystopian writers explore ethics of science and religion. It’s like the saying “just because we can doesn’t mean we should”. I know with the rise of CHRISPR and even when stem cells were beginning to be used, religious leaders were and are in a bit of an uproar. I’m not against either of these but I’ve seen a lot of people throw one heck of a fit about it. From what I’ve seen personally, I think a lot of the anger has more to do with a lack of understanding then anything else. While I know that the US public school system struggles to fund even the most basic of an education…. I am thankful that books and movies help bridge that gap some. The real solve for this issue is a better education and I feel that superstition will fade with better understanding. In the meantime, I would like to see books and movies come even closer to actual science and explore further. 

While on the subject of ethics, I’d like to bring up how dystopian novels also breed enormous amounts of empathy. One book, “The Dean Machine” flips the script on puppy mills. Instead of dogs, the appalling conditions are experienced by humanity. Dylan Lee Peters dives deep in his book and it’s one of the most eye opening and disturbing things I’ve ever read. It also made me take a deep look at society and it’s treatment of animals in general. Author’s have a lot of power in this regard. They literally help shape public opinion and can make real changes with the power of their words. 

What are some dystopian stories you’ve read that shook you? 

Check out the books mentioned in this article below!

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I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald’s still would be open.

High school sophomore Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, like “one marble hits another.” The result is catastrophic. How can her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis are wiping out the coasts, earthquakes are rocking the continents, and volcanic ash is blocking out the sun? As August turns dark and wintery in northeastern Pennsylvania, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in a year’s worth of journal entries, this heart-pounding story chronicles Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all—hope—in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world. An extraordinary series debut!

Susan Beth Pfeffer has written several companion novels to Life As We Knew It, including The Dead and the Gone, This World We Live In, and The Shade of the Moon.

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One horrifying day will change the life of sixteen-year-old Shane Tucker and every other kid in the world. 

In a span of mere hours, the entire adult population is decimated, leaving their children behind to fend for themselves and deal with the horrific aftermath of the freak occurrence. As one of the newly made elders in his small town, Shane finds himself taking on the role of caretaker for a large group of juvenile survivors. One who just happens to be Kelly Douglas—an out-of-his-league classmate—who, on any other day, would have never given Shane a second glance. 

Together, they begin their quest to find out why all of the adults were slaughtered. What they find is even more horrifying than anything they could have expected—the annihilation of the adults was only the beginning. Shane and his friends are not the unlucky survivors left to inherit this new, messed-up planet. No, they are its next victims. There is an unknown power out there, and it won’t stop until every person in the world is dead. 

the-5th-wave    After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

 

The Dean Machine Cover  Meet Dan Delacor, an utterly boring citizen of Yellow City. Every day he puts on his yellow shoes, yellow shirt, yellow pants, and yellow tie, and catches a ride on the Tunnel Runner from the suburbs into downtown. He has a job, a home, and a girlfriend, and he never wonders what waits beyond the giant glass wall that surrounds Yellow City.
Except… Dan isn’t as boring as he seems. He often wonders why everything in Yellow City has to be yellow. He wonders why he suffers frequent anxiety attacks, and why he can’t help himself from strolling through dangerous neighborhoods, or running wildly through the fields that separate downtown from the suburbs. Mostly though, Dan wonders why he can’t remember how he lost his right arm, or anything that happened before five years ago.
So, when Dan’s mundane yellow world is interrupted with the seemingly impossible presence of a little red dog named Dean, he quickly finds out there are answers to his questions, and that everything he knows is a lie.
Follow Dan as he learns the secrets of his true identity, the scope of the world beyond the wall, and the true intentions of Yellow City’s mysterious leader, Chancellor Elgrey Vinsidian. Meet Wendy, the twelve-year-old girl on a rescue mission, Echo Valkzdokker, the woman with a love for danger, James Perkins, the wily pilot who has a way with words, and Bianna Kensington, the cold-mannered rebel with a cause. Look through the cracks of this new world with Dan as he learns why his little friend is nicknamed The Dean Machine, what special bond they share, and why the dog deserves a legacy that should live on forever.

He lives to love.
He would die to protect.
His heart is a machine.

Why should you read book reviews?

Why should you read book reviews?

For most of us deep in the trenches of the book world this kind of question has a pretty obvious answer. Our books are our lives and we live and breath each part of every story. We well know that each person’s reading experience is unique and having an intimate view of our favorite stories from all angles is what dreams are made of.

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There’s also a practical side to book reviews. For the prospective buyer, it’s a great way to try before you buy. Most reviewers are careful to avoid spoilers so it’s a great way to know that the book you’re buying is the book you thought it was. Summaries can be tricksy sometimes and I’ve been burned more than once by them. Like most people, I am on a tight budget and nothing makes me more angry than using my few funds to buy a book that was nothing like the summary said it would be. Ever seen the movie “Inside Out”? I look a whole lot like “Anger” as he melts the window. 

Anger inside out character

Checking Goodreads or Amazon and having the ability to read a plethora of reviews brings me all kinds of happiness. 

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Another great thing about reviews is that when you’ve read a book that hits you so hard it changes the landscape of who you thought you were you get to brag to everyone about it in your review and help a great book gets loads of attention. 

Should people get paid to write a review and if they do should you see that review as tainted?

I probably have a less than popular opinion on this because I think that paying someone to write a review is fine. I don’t see that the author of the review earning money for their work is a disqualifier for honesty. Some of the most in-depth and thought provoking reviews I’ve read have been from people paid to write them. I love when someone puts time and effort into a review to shape it into this beautiful opinion on a story that deserves it. I’ve read paid reviews of books that got horrible reviews. Turns out, those horrible reviews came from more than just that paid reviewer. Sometimes, a book sucks. Sometimes an author tries to put out a crap product that they try to pass off as great and that sucks. It really does. When I read your review of a book, I don’t care if you were paid to write it or not. I am looking for how the book moved you…or didn’t. I want to know about the book….not your income. As a reviewer, I base my opinion on the content of your reviews. That’s it. If your reviews are wildly opposite to others, my opinion of your honesty is based on that alone. 

Why is someone earning a living from their writing even an issue? I mean, there is a clear divide on it and I can’t figure why so many people are against paying someone for their abilities. Not everyone can write a great review. Not everyone has the ability to decipher meanings or explain why a book just doesn’t work. It’s not helpful to an author to get a review that just says “your book sucks”. How does it suck? What exactly has gone wrong? You want authors to turn out a great product but they need guidance like the rest of us. With the rise of the self-published movement, authors could use more back-up. I see reviewers (paid or not) as a great way to get that back-up. 

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Let’s empower writers of all kinds to come together and build great worlds with great heroes! 

 

Vote! Vote! Vote!

As we reach the last few hours that polls are open, I want to inject just a bit of motivation to get you through those long lines. I know it’s a pain. The workers are slow as molasses at some of your voting locations. The lines are disorganized and the system is confusing. I know. I get it. Voting has become a trial instead of a celebration of power to the people. 

I’m still here asking you to wait in those lines. I did. With an 11 month old baby and a very hyper 3 year old. An old man admonished me for allowing my son to play on my cell phone. A strange woman kissed my baby without my permission. Trust me, I wanted to bail on the whole ordeal. I didn’t leave though. I waited. My baby got sick of being held and started to cry. I still stayed in line. My son tried to run away and damn near pulled me over more times than I can count. I stayed in that line like my feet were cemented to the floor.

Do you know why? Because this is one of the few ways that my voice can be heard. As a mother there isn’t many ways I can get involved. Most of these events or protests aren’t kid friendly. So, even if they rig the system…..even if my vote never gets counted for those I actually voted for. I showed up and people saw me show up. AND I saw them show up too. That matters.

I urge you to stay firm. Wait in the line. It matters.

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My Marriage Advice

The opinion of most in my generation is that I got married very young. My husband and I were both 21 when we said our vows. It’s been six years now and we are still going strong. There were a lot of people who told us that we wouldn’t make it. They told us we were making a huge mistake. People say a lot of things.

The truth is, we have made it. Yes, it has been hard. However, it hasn’t been hard in the ways they said it would be. 

They said we still needed to “shop around”. Nope, still happy with my “purchase”.

They said we needed to be kids and make mistakes. Uhm…what mistakes? Cause most I can think of will get you thrown in jail and ruin your life. Don’t think I’m interested in making much of those.

They told us we needed to really get to know each other. I think we knew each other pretty well. 

Recently a few of my friends have gotten married. Here is my advice to you and anyone else who might be interested. This advice is good for both sides of the coin. Women or men.

1: Listen.

You are your spouses closest confidant. No matter how trivial you think their problem is, listen. It’s not trivial to them or they wouldn’t be upset about it. Be their friend. Give them an ear of understanding.

2. Communicate.

If you are upset about something your spouse has done or not done. Tell them. They aren’t mind readers. Don’t come at me with the “they should just know” bullcrap. No, they shouldn’t. Don’t scream and yell. Don’t cuss them out or throw crap. Don’t act like a damn fool. Just talk. Explain your feelings.

3. Share Hobbies.

Don’t divide yourselves into “men stuff” and “woman stuff”. Get involved in each others activities. Be friends. Play games. Read books. Hike. Find common ground.

4. Be Appreciative.

When your spouse does something kind, acknowledge them for it. Every single time. Even for things as simple as vacuuming the floor or loading the dishwasher. Let the other person know that you noticed. 

5. Don’t divide over finances.

Don’t fall into the trap that so many do. Don’t look at that empty bank account and the mounting bills and blame your partner. (Unless they purposefully created the mess.) Bills are going to drown you. Living is expensive. Don’t blame your spouse for your countries economic failures. 

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6. Build each other up!

Keep hope alive. Help your spouse realize their dreams. 

7. Stay on the same page!

Talk about everything before you do it. Make sure that both parties are happy with decisions.

8. Never stop trying.

Don’t get complacent and forget about each other. Don’t drift apart. 

9. Trust one another.

Don’t be controlling. Don’t spy on your spouse. Don’t be insanely jealous of every female/male that speaks to them.

10. Be worthy of trust.

Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Don’t mislead. Treat your spouse how you want to be treated.

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That’s all I can think of for now. It’s really not all that hard. I can pretty much sum all this advice into two words. Be considerate. There is going to be tough times. Don’t give up. Work it out (within reason). Remember why you married the person you did.

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Do you have any advice to add? Let me know in the comments! 

 

 

Labor Day – Discussion Topic

Labor Day Meaning:

The United States Department of Labor gives the following explanation.

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.


Labor rights in the states are a shaky thing. Sure, we have a holiday and I believe that’s meant to make us feel appreciated and respected. Truth is, we are neither. 

You often hear people discussing job growth in relation to politics. What most people don’t mention is the quality of these so-called new jobs. Most of the jobs available are minimum wage jobs that don’t pay enough to live. 

But, we’re supposed to be appreciative of those new businesses and new jobs. Even though they contribute to the overwhelmingly large number of people who try to survive below the poverty line. 

Quality of new job creation is key. Obviously. 

Let’s talk about workers for a minute. Let’s say you are being treated poorly at your job and the lot of you want change. Say you strike. Say you stand outside with signs and refuse to work until your demands are at the very least acknowledged. Very few workers are part of a union anymore so that protection is gone. Most states are “at will” states. This means that an employer can fire you from your job without reason or notice at any time. 

So, you strike. As protesters, you will most likely be arrested. Now, not only are you most likely out of a job, you also have fines to pay for protesting. The company who is treating you unfairly; yeah, no fines for them.

Oh yeah, and now you have a criminal record. Which you have to now list on any resume you fill out.

This day pisses me off. My husband works in a shop that in the summer regularly hits over 130 degrees. Because he is commission, they can require him to be at work even if they aren’t paying him to be there. As long as his total weekly wages equal at least minimum wage….that’s all that matters. He also doesn’t get overtime pay. At all.

This holiday is meant to make workers feel like they still have rights and power to make change.

Truth is, you don’t. In this Oligarchy we exist within, only those who have money have power. 

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What are your thoughts?