Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Stop It! Just Freaking Stop It!

It seems that too often these days I am reading stories of banned books. And frankly it gets my dander up. Okay, let's be honest, it pisses me off. There, I said it.

I'm taking a stand here. If you don't like it ... go suck an ostrich egg. It is my right to have an opinion and your right to differ with me. You are wrong, but I won't let that get in the way of our friendship or a good argument.

If you stopped by my house you would find a very ecclectic selection of books. You'll find books on gardening, hunting, engineering texts, grammar books, history galore, the bible, Wiccan books, Tarot books, Buddism, herbology, gemology, astrology, astronomy, physics, how to field strip a rifle, coloring books, children's books, junior books, teen books, romance, erotica, mysteries, dictionaries, encyclopedias (yes I still have them), classics, comics and instruction manuals. You name it, I have it ... in print and in ebook and in pdf format.

I was raised to read. My mother is an avid reader, and my father read a lot. Gifts were often books. I read everything I could get my hands on. Occassionally, Mom would pop her head into my room and tell me to shut out the light and go to sleep. Sometimes I listened, sometimes I lied and said, "As soon as I finish this chapter." She never hounded me, she never said "I told you so," when i was blurry eyed and sleepy after reading most of the night. She never told me what to read, and what not to read. There were books of all sorts around the house. Technical books, trashy romances (damn I loved those), kids books, encyclopedias, dirty magazines (ya, they intrigued me for a while), gardening books, the bible and newspapers.

I didn't encounter censorship until I heard about it in school. I was shocked when my friend told me her parent's would never let her read that. I questioned Mom about it and she told me she thought I was smart enough to choose my own reading material. But then, we were encouraged to investigate things and make our own decisions. I was never told not to read my older brother's skin magazines, Dad was anti-religion, but he never told me to put down the bible. He would ask me why I was reading that drivel, but he never told me not to read it. He let me choose. The only reading stipulation was that I had to do my chores before I read.

As for my own kids, I started reading to them when they were only a couple months old. I would hold up books so they could see and read the story, or make one up. As they got older, I encouraged them to ask questions, to take turns reading aloud, and to select what to read. I admit that when they were very young I did limit their options. I kept adult material (porn) out of their hands, but encouraged them to read as much as they wanted and what ever they wanted. But my husband and I guided their reading, not the school, not society, and certain not some stranger on the street.

I once got into a shouting match with a teacher about my children's reading choices. Okay, I nearly punched her in the face. She had banned Goosebumps books from her classroom because they were poor quality books and when my daughter took an junior version of Edgar Allan Poe to school she was told she couldn't read it because it was horror like "those Goosebump books."


The teacher's claim was that kid's wouldn't understand the difference. Grade four? Really? Kids that age are pretty damned savvy. Suffice it to say that we had a rather heated discussion about it, (I may have raised my voice), and in the end, my daughter read Poe in school.

Nobody has the right to tell my children what to read, or what not to read, except me. My children are older now, and I will listen to their dictates on what my grandchildren are permitted to read because it isn't my place to raise their children. That isn't to say that I won't tell my children they are wrong and try to convince them to come around to my way of thinking. 

My opinion of reading was and is, I don't care what you read, high quality, low quality, classics or total crap. If you read something crappy and enjoy it, you might pick up something similar that is better. A child reading Goosebumps (not picking on them, just using them as an example) can be steered to something better with the simple words, "This is like Goosebumps, maybe you could try this."

Once you develop the taste for reading and the wonderful worlds it can open up for you, you can fly. So read anything, read the cereal box, maybe when you get bored of that you'll pick up the comminity paper beside it, or your sister's novel. Why stifle curiosity by limiting his reading options? If he only ever reads comics, so what? To my mind, that is better than not reading at all.

As for censorship, let the parent's decide what their children can read. I will admit that children are best served to keep books with topics they may not understand out of their hands, but it is a parental, not societal choice. If the school library serves a wide range of ages, all the librarian has to do is suggest that Sally select something different and talk to Sally's parents about what they consider acceptable for her. Simple. Easy. No problems. If Bobby's parents don't want him reading a particular genre, then it is their repsonsibility to let the library know and to follow up on it. The library doesn't need to ban books and other parents have no right to dictate your child's reading materials.

Children need to be encouraged to read, and to be guided to age appropriate books. If that fails, let them have after the difficult or inappropriate books. Chances are they'll come around to your way of thinking and if not, the world needs more independent thinkers.

But banning books .... that is never an option. Ever.

And don't get me started on book burning, because I will slap you, or worse.

Rant finished.


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Welcome to our blog hop. We are doing three questions this week and they come from JJ Devine.

If you are coming from visiting  Gemma Brocato thanks for stopping by. If not, please come in, sit a spell and see what we're all about.

You’re moving right along with a storyline and suddenly it takes an unexpected twist. Do you go with the flow and follow where the twist leads you or do you conform your story to your way? 
This is an issue I have battled on a number of occasions. I have had two heroes and one secondary character refuse to do my bidding. My solution, lock them in the dungeon and break out the whips. Wait, forget I said that. Sometimes it seems that the character is right, and I do it his way. Sometimes, I stick to my plan, after all, I am the author and this is my story. Oh wait, maybe it’s his story … Nevermind. Generally speaking, I start with a rough plan and flesh it out as I go, so altering things isn’t that difficult. I believe that the recalcitrant character is my subconscious giving me a kick in the butt to wake me up to a better plot.

What time of year is your Best time for writing? Winter, summer, fall, spring? 
This is going to sound crazy, but the best time to write is Master’s Lacrosse Season. Ya, pathetic I know. I go to my husband’s games and huddle up in the stands with my laptop and write. I do my best writing there for some reason. (Pretty sure it isn’t all those scantily clad hunks running around.) Other than that, we have a place we camp at during the warmer months. I can write quickly and smoothly there because there are no interruptions.

When looking for a publisher do you chose a traditional press, indie route, or one that does both, ebook and print? 
My first (published) novella was through etopia press, at that time they were strictly ebooks, now they are digital and print. My others are indie. I am still submitting to traditional press, but I believe in keeping my options open. I don’t believe in limiting my options, and believe there are some pretty amazing indie authors out there and I support them wholeheartedly. 

For more on the inner workings of a writer's mind, visit  Collette Cameron.

Thanks for stopping by, come back and visit soon.


Monday, 1 September 2014

Sweet Bea: Sarah Hegger's New Release: Outstanding Novel

Isn't this a gorgeous cover?
Sweet Bea
(Book 1 in Sir Arthur’s Legacy Series)
Sarah Hegger
Release Date: September 1, 2014

Sweet Bea, aka Beatrice, is impulsive, dreamy and sweet all the way through to the bone. Her love interest, Garrett, is the total opposite. Street smart, angry and out for vengeance, he is a man on a mission. In this story, I throw the two of them together and see what happens when sweet mixes with bitter.

Two things, you should know about Garrett right off the bat. Firstly, you may not like him all the much at first (hopefully, by the end of the book, you’re going to love him as much as I do) and secondly, he’s a medieval hero and he’s NOT a knight.

Is anything sweeter than revenge?

In a family of remarkable people, ordinary Beatrice strives to prove herself worthy. When her family is threatened with losing everything, she rushes to London to save them. Unfortunately, she chooses as her savior the very man who will see aher family brought low.

Garrett has sworn vengeance on Sir Arthur of Anglesea for destroying his life when he was a boy and forcing his mother into prostitution for them to survive. He has chosen as his instrument Sir Arthur's youngest daughter, Beatrice.

Can Beatrice’s goodness teach Garrett that love, not vengeance, is the greatest reward of all?

Time to be wooed. Wooed with honeyed words and sweeter touches. Delightful tingles spread to Beatrice’s fingertips, rushed back again, and pooled in her stomach.

Spring filled the air with scents of new grass and wildflowers. The sun beamed from a cloudless arc of blue above her. Birdsong serenaded her, as cornflowers merrily bobbed beside the path. Even the insects buzzed encouragement. Only one thing was missing.


She dare not tarry much longer. Someone from the keep would soon come looking for her. Beatrice shifted her basket to the other arm and investigated a patch of what might be vervain. From the keep, anyone would see her picking wildflowers. Just as she intended.

A footpath disappeared between the dense green beech thickets. It crossed a small stream before meandering through the trees and down to the village below. Was he still down in the village? She tried to picture what he’d be doing. Working at the forge, perhaps?

She gave up on the plant and straightened. She wouldn’t know vervain from, well, anything. Opposite the village, a path shot straight as an arrow through the meadow toward the castle. For certain, Garrett wouldn’t come from that direction. Perhaps he wasn’t coming at all. He’d made her no promises. There was no understanding between them. But, she dearly hoped all the same.

Hoping, however, didn’t make him appear.

The sun blazed down harsh on her face and she’d freckle.

“Wish, wish, planted a feather and wished a bird would grow.” Nurse’s voice sang in her head. It was nonsense, pure and simple. Nonsense, like lingering alone on a path, pretending to pick wildflowers, whilst waiting for a man she barely knew to appear. A man with dark and mysterious eyes that whispered of secret places and forbidden pleasures. She was a goose. When she pictured the scene in her mind, it went thus. A beautiful maiden, garbed in her finest blue samite, engrossed in the gentle occupation of picking flowers by the roadside. The sun gleamed off her flaxen hair and brought roses to her alabaster cheek. Her slender form, bent like a reed to her feminine labors...
Roses be damned, she was sweating beneath her silk. It would leave stains on the fabric. She’d never hear the end of it from Nurse.

A soft whistle jolted her.

Her heart leapt.

There he stood, by the thicket.

Smiling to warm her from the inside, one shoulder propped against a tree, arms folded across his broad chest.

About this author: British and raised in South Africa, Sarah Hegger suffers from an incurable case of wanderlust. Her match? A hot Canadian engineer, whose marriage proposal she accepted six short weeks after they first met. Together they’ve made homes in seven different cities across three different continents (and back again once or twice). If only it made her multilingual, but the best she can manage is idiosyncratic English, fluent Afrikaans, conversant Russian, pigeon Portuguese, even worse Zulu and enough French to get herself into trouble.

Mimicking her globe trotting adventures, Sarah’s career path began as a gainfully employed actress, drifted into public relations, settled a moment in advertising, and eventually took root in the fertile soil of her first love, writing. She also moonlights as a wife and mother.

She currently lives in Draper, Utah, with her teenage daughters, two Golden Retrievers and aforementioned husband. Part footloose buccaneer, part quixotic observer of life, Sarah’s restless heart is most content when reading or writing books.

She loves to hear from readers and you can find her at any of the places below.

Thanks for stopping by dear readers. I hope you'll pick up Sarah's book. I know you'll enjoy it immensely.