February 28, 2015

Something Important

If you haven't read this article by Shannon Hale, you should. It's important. Dealing with sexism in schools and books and the world, it's an article that should be read, discussed, thought about, and learned from. 

What if you were this boy?

I was.

February 19, 2015

Oh Hey. Sneaky.

A secret look at a new secret project! Check it out.

On Diversity For All

Simply put, diversity should exist in all types of media and favor all types of people. 

This is, however, never simple.

Because when it comes to diversity, there is always someone left out. In books, if we write about race we cannot write about all races. If we write about gender, we cannot write about the specifics of all genders. If we write about love, we cannot write about everyone.

Everyone is unique. 

Recently, there have been several accounts of people (authors, bloggers, readers) who are unhappy with the state of diversity in literature, film, and media. I agree. We need more. We will always need more. But I also think, and this is a very personal opinion of mine, that we must understand that we cannot please everyone at once. This is an uphill battle. One that we must reinforce with positivity and love. If we continue to point out every single negative thing about how the world is treating diversity, every single thing we are unhappy with, without highlighting the positive nature of this diverse movement, we fall farther and farther behind where we want to be. 

We cannot please everyone, and we certainly should not ignore those who throw negativity in the face of equality, but love does grow stronger than hate. And I've been seeing a lot of hate coming from those in favor of diversity. Those who claim diversity is done a certain way. That mindset is hateful. Where is the positivity? The safe haven? The equality for all? 

While we cannot please everyone, we can change the lives of those individuals who relate to the very universal themes in our individual books. After all, who would want to read a book that was meant for everyone? Often, when we write to please everyone, we please no one. Our themes end up being too vague, too much. And we forget that no matter our race, sexuality, or gender, we all experience many of the same universal experiences - love, sadness, happiness, sexual awakenings, death, tragedy. Diversity should not be forced, but natural - because it is natural. 

So I ask this, a question I do not know the answer to because I'm not sure there is a true answer: Is diversity better written when it is focused on a specific diverse topic, or when it is simply part of the genre story?

For me, I think the answer is both. We need stories that feature diverse characters talking and dealing with diverse ideas and things. We need those stories to learn, relate, and grow. We need personal experiences to help others know they are valued. Important information is being missed by the world because these stories don't exist in bulk. But we also need stories where diversity is not part of a lecture, but part of the genre story. Where all genders and all sexualities and all races and all people can be the main characters in the blockbuster stories we love to read and discuss.

We need both. The options of both. The freedoms that both bring. And their unique hopes. 

We need to see ourselves in books and movies.

What we do not need is the negativity that comes from people telling us one thing is better than the other. That we are doing diversity wrong. 

That is impossible. 

We are all unique individuals. Look in the mirror. You are the only you. The only one. We all have shared experiences, but then again, we don't. No matter our race, sexuality, gender, we all face the world differently. We all see things differently. We all live and love and grow differently. And yet a lot of our experiences are shared. We love. We die. We hate. We cry. We laugh. We smile. And so even in genre stories without strict diversity storylines, we are able to find pieces of our individual humanities in the lives of these fictional characters. 

For the character you write or read or watch, there is a person who will relate. That person just might not be you. And that's okay. It's diversity. 

One diversity is not more diverse than another. 

This is a celebration of us all. Of positivity for everyone. Every single one of us. It is also a celebration of unity. This movement of diversity is helping the world see in color, not just black and white. We cannot damn those who are not like us just because they are different. We cannot damn those who are trying to understand. We cannot damn those who are trying to help. We cannot damn those who are being positive about love and freedom and happiness for all, just because they are not doing it in the way we think is best.

Specifically, when it comes to books and film, readers and viewers both are influenced by traditionally made media and independently made media. We need to highlight both, because both matter. When making diversity lists, we need to include everything. Isn't that what diversity is all about? Or are we still focusing on gaps that rarely exist in the eyes of readers and viewers? Are those gaps not examples of hate and poor diversity? 

This is a celebration for all. Throw away your negativity. It's time to be in this together.

Read everything. Watch everything. Support everything you love. 

And talk. Spread the word about books and movies that mean something to you no matter what they look like. 

Don't be afraid. This is about love and equality. This is about you. And you are important. 

February 18, 2015

"Somewhere inside you is a story I want to read." — Between the Stars and Sky

February 15, 2015


You could win an ecopy of BETWEEN THE STARS AND SKY!
Simply like the Facebook page HERE and you'll be entered!

February 9, 2015

Imperfection is endearing.

I love this quote from The Fiery Heart - "Imperfection is endearing." Sometimes I think we forget about effort when it comes to loving someone. A nice reminder that every great love story needs a few romantic, personal gestures - much more than any material ones.

February 6, 2015

Review and Giveaway

Geez. This review. I love when readers pick up on little pieces of who I really am between the words I write. YOU ARE SO SMART, READERS. I can't even. Anyway, I have to share this review. Check it out HERE or below. Comment. It's so beautifully written I read it twice.

"Words. Good authors know how to use them. Great authors wield them with striking ease. You can spot it when you read a written work; the caliber of its author is revealed when the arrangement of words generates powerful images in your mind’s eye. They show you what happens, rather than just telling you what happens. News stories usually use simple words in often poorly constructed sentences. Magazine articles improve on this, and some indie blogs betray a fine writer behind the scenes. And then we arrive at the book—amazing devices that tell stories and transform your imagination into someone else's playground. When I picked up Between the Stars and the Sky by David James and started reading, I became aware of a different kind of writer. An artist will tell you that, technically speaking, their art form is the delicate arrangement of a medium that produces something that can be appreciated by many. An author will tell you that words are their medium. The art of carefully crafting a fine sentence is tricky and rewarding for both author and reader. David James is well, I repeat, is well on his way to mastering the art form of words. Between the Stars and the Sky is a very different style of book for David; he admits this in his author’s notes. It’s taken me a few days to process fully the story that I’ve read because of how well it is written. It’s one of the first book that I actually feel the need to read again because I’m sure that I missed things because I was more interested in the sentence structures and word-wielding that I may have overlooked plot points. I might suspect that David is a romantic by nature because of how freely and (I hate to repeat but) easily the words run. I can imagine him painstakingly - or skillfully - making sure each word was followed by the perfect next word. I have never read a book that flowed with such powerful emotion that captivated me, since I’m not particularly included to this story form. But David did it, and I truly appreciate his writing style. I look forward to reading the next book, regardless if it maintains this form, about Miles and Sean. I need not summarize the book here, as the story’s summary on goodreads.com is perfect. So if you are looking for a story that will fill your imagination with great visuals, strong characters, and powerful images, Between the Stars and the Sky is your next book."

- Goodreads Reviewer

And if you haven't, be sure to LIKE me on Facebook HERE to enter some upcoming giveaways I'll be having.