Book Banning: Why It Happens, and Why It Shouldn’t

bwharold:

Great topic!

Originally posted on The 100 Greatest Books Challenge:

Book banning happens A LOT, and it happens for all the wrong reasons. In my latest article over at Punchnel’s, find out which books are “filthy,” which books are “dangerous,” and which books are “communist” — and why we should read them anyway.

10 Reasons for Banning Books,
and 5 Much Better Reasons Not To

And don’t forget, Banned Books Week 2014 starts on Sunday. Support banned books by participating in an event near you, and by making fun of people who would try to take away some of the world’s greatest literature.

banned books 2

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10 Things Authors Worry About

bwharold:

I have struggled with all of these and still do on a daily basis!

Originally posted on Shannon A Thompson:

Announcements: 

The next section of my interactive poetry series on Wattpad has begun! You can read the first poem – The grave of my teenage daughter – by clicking the link. Remember to vote, comment, and/or share for your chance to be mentioned during my next YouTube video.

In other news, Star-crossed Book Blog reviewed Take Me Tomorrow, and she included excerpts and viewpoints on the characters. Read the full review by clicking here, but here’s a small quote, “Noah was a mystery that I enjoyed unraveling. He was broken, dark and even though he never showed it, I couldn’t help but feel as though he was suffocating from having the weight of the world on his shoulders.” Click here to check out Take Me Tomorrow on Amazon.

10 Things Authors Worry About:

One of my more popular posts has always been Being a Writer: Pros…

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NaNoWriMo Creeps Ever Nearer

November is NaNoWriMo. Last year I didn’t even make it a week. I had a story, I had a premise, but I found the first installment still haunted me.

Rewriting seems to be where my work dies. So this year I am deliberately doing a rewrite.

My first writing project post high school was a “fan fic” of a universe a good friend of mine had created. I created my own characters and set them on his playground. I didn’t worry about it being good, but I did want to work out some personal demons. I was going through a divorce at the time and had some issues to work through.

Writing is very therapeutic and helps a person see themselves in a mirror. I needed that mirror.

The piece itself is poorly written (and my friend didn’t care much for it), but I fell in love with these characters. I created a fictional family that I could relate too. And for the record I did ask my friend if I could borrow his playground. He seemed pleased that I would take an interest.

My goal this NaNoWriMo is to rewrite the piece and finish the concept I started. My friend gave me a great base to build off from. I have no problem sharing a byline with him. I think he is super talented, but I only use his world building devices. The rewrite won’t mention his characters at all. Previously they were mentioned in explanations to my characters. It’s not that I don’t want to bring attention to his talent. I think he has a lot to offer to his genre.

I think it best if I just let my characters tell their experience in the playground. I am a very feminine writer and in a world clearly designed by a man; a woman’s experience is very interesting to me. I hope my friend understands that I *need* to write this. If anyone has ever created a fictional character I think they can relate to the “speaking” that happens. When the story surfaces or resurfaces, it is an obsession. It is the escape from the mundane and the rigors of adult life.

My character Sheldina Campbell wants me to finish the story. I can’t disappoint her. My friend and I haven’t spoken for a while so I haven’t been able to tell him. It’s not that I plan to “do” anything with the piece. However there is a certain peace of mind and confidence that fills me when I know I have his blessing. I hope this rewrite will be better crafted, but still hold the heart. *Sigh* I guess the only thing to do is try and see.

What about my fellow Wrimos? What challenge will you lay down for yourself this year? Let me know I’m curious.

A New Addiction

I have recently developed an attraction to an Otome game (dating sim) called “10 Days with My Devil.” For those who don’t know what Otome is, here it is a nutshell; a young woman (late teens to mid 20s) stumbles into a situation where she has the opportunity to get to know 4 or 5 really handsome men. These men are often stereotypes of classic romance novel heroes or romantic comedies. A good Otome makes the reader giggle as well as sigh.

Anyway back to the Otome formula. The girl (the player) chooses which male lead she wants to follow and buys an in-app story that they will read through like a graphic novel. Along the way the player can choose 1 of 3 responses at critical times in story. In bigger stories all three options have their own ending. There are shorter side stories and there are splash page images to highlight key story points.

10 Days with My Devil is based in the eastern idea that lives are reincarnated. The main character discovers one night that by some fluke she was spared from her appointed “toasting” time. 5 well dressed men approach her outside of her apartment just minutes before it blows up in a fiery inferno. Shaken by the event the main character tries to understand what these strangers are telling her.

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Voltage games

Suddenly she makes a deal with the 5 men. She will allow them to take her soul to heaven for reincarnation if they allow her to stay alive 10 more days. Apparently no one has tried to bargain with “demons” (even though it is a classic literature trope) before and the leader agrees to let her complete her final business.

This final business changes with each character. The girl chooses a guardian (one of the five) to make sure she completes her unfinished business and also to hide her from angels. If an angel finds her then she will be toasted on sight.

The term “demon” simply refers to a humanoid that was born in a different level of reality. In this story there are three: the human realm, the demon realm, and Heaven. These demons have as much in common with real demons as Twilight vampires have with Dracula.

The guardians choices are:

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Voltage games

Kakeru Kamui

Kakeru is the captain of his team. He is the member who is responsible for removing a soul from the body. He is arrogant, proud, and very concerned with the well being of his team. He demands “complete obedience.”

If a player chooses this route be prepared for a great story, but a lot of chauvinism. (Yeah, yeah par for the course in romance novels.)

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Voltage games

Meguru Kamui

Meguru is the kid brother to Kakeru. They are polar opposites and often disagree on how to treat the main character.

Meguru is one of the games “nice guys” he never insults the main character and he is the quickest to accept her.

He really doesn’t have a job in the group he is more of a tag-along and is treated as such. The player should expect a lot of frustration in this route because the others are quick to squelch any romance.

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Voltage games

Shiki Kurobane

Shiki is the game jerk. Meaning he is too honest for his own good. Personally, Shiki is my favorite character in the story because he has no reason to mislead the main character.

He is the team member that finds the next person to die and confirms if they are going to die. He is anti-social, childish, and fiercely loyal. In all the stories he is the first one to help the main character and her new love trick fate.

Players who choose this route should expect harsh comments, moody angst, oh and lots of sleeping. Shiki is a great guy, but it is clear he has never experienced life beyond his backyard.

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Voltage games

Satoru Kamagari

This is the one character I don’t get, and yet he is one of the more popular routes. Satoru is mean, jealous, spiteful, and really just a pig. His role in the team is to figure out how the assignment dies.

The Satoru route pulls no punches that it is a bad boy meets good girl story. The selling point is probably it is a more physical relationship (i.e. more sex.) The acts are described in text only, but make no mistake the route is designed for mature audiences. No more than a traditional bodice ripper though.

Satoru is a much more interesting character in the other routes. He is always teasing the main character and he often pushes the true male lead to do something nice for the main character.

In his own route though he tosses the main character around like a
rag doll and constantly makes her uncomfortable publicly. He is a sexual bully and is always referring to “punishment.”

Where I’m from that would be labeled as “abuse.”

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Voltage games

Haruhito Amano

Haruhito has the most dramatic story of the five. He is a whimsical and playful guy who loves parties, games, and general fun.

He is the game’s 2nd nice guy. He doesn’t intently embarrass the main character (very much) and he doesn’t order or drag her around everywhere.

His story is well written and touches on some deep issues. Of all the stories I think Haruhito’s has the most drama. And I mean real thought provoking drama, not teenage angst.

Why I’m hooked…

I wish I could believe I have out grown the misunderstood guy and the innocent waif story, but I find myself caring about what happens to the couple in question.

I think another facet of the story is that each male lead brings out different qualities in the main character. Now the character is still the same character through out the game, but each lead appeals to different tendencies.

I think my least favorite main character is the Satoru girl. She is so addicted to the physical part of their relationship she refuses to see that he’s not good for her.

The same could be said for Kakeru’s girl, but she at least has a back bone. Even though Kakeru is a jealous lover; he honestly sees his partner as an equal.

Meguru is a great care giver, but he is weak as a romantic lead. I think the couple is cute in his route, but they let the others interfere too much. It’s a sweet story, but not a great story.

Haruhito has a great story, and he seems the most comfortable with the main character. However, the great story takes away from the couple’s dynamic. The main character is more selfless in the Haruhito story. Yet for some reason that just makes her flat.

Shiki has to be taken care of or at least that’s what his main character believes. She is constantly dancing around his phobias, his lack of communication, and his tantrums. However, Shiki’s problems are Shiki’s problems and he never blames the main character for his shortcomings. He honestly wants to please her, but he can’t be something he’s not.

In short he’s complicated, and that’s probably why I like him so much.

All these screen shots are from the game by Voltage. The prologue is free to play and so is the first chapter of a route. The rest and the remaining stories have to be purchased though.

I enjoy the light read these kinds of stories give the reader. Adult enough you wouldn’t want a tween playing them. But tasteful enough to feel comfortable. After all these are pure fantasy.

For other Bloggers who enjoy Otome check these out!

Otome Junkie

My Otome Experince

Phase 2

I feel like I am finally moving on with my writing career. I spoke with my boss at the full-time and he agreed if it was going to help me reach my goals, then he supported me. After 4 years I feel like I have found a place there. I didn’t quit, I just asked to drop down to part time.

My focus will be to develop a steady Odesk schedule. I need to dig in and just stop juggling. Do the work and build a stronger foundation.

I currently have 4 clients and I like them all. I know I’m doing the right thing. As my husband said, it is the next step. So… Deep breath… Here we go.