Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury, in his classic dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451 said he chose the title because that was the temperature it took for paper to burn--books to burn. The novel was written in a time where (as hard as it is to believe) people considered the best way to educate our young was to ban books. Well, guess what? It seems not a lot has changed. If you look at the titles of the books in the photo above you will be surprised to discover what some people thought was worth banning: Tom Sawyer, The Color Purple, The Catcher In The Rye. I am pretty darned sure I would not be an author if not for The Catcher In The Rye. This was the absolute first book assigned to me to read in school that I thought was speaking to me. Until Catcher... school assigned books were guaranteed to be boring, and guaranteed not to garner my attention.
This week is Banned Books Week. It's a week where we remember that Books promote thought. It's all right for you not to like a book. It's even okay for you not to want your children to read the book. But to ban books for everyone is just plain wrong. Nothing good can come of it.

Recently, Wesley Scroggins, a professor in Missouri, proclaimed that Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, Kurt Vonnegut's, Slaughterhouse Five and Sarah Ockler's, A Twenty Boy Summer, should be banned from Republic schools. Click on the link to read the article. It's horrifying to think that even in this day and age people want to ban our children from thinking for themselves. As an African American who recognizes the struggles of my forefathers, I understand first hand how damning not allowing people to think for themselves can be.

If you agree with me please support Banned Books Week. You can start by visiting Speak Loudly online, and then tweeting, emailing or blogging to your followers about the value of free speech. Remember, it's only guaranteed as long as we guarantee it. If you have something to say on this subject I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, September 17, 2010

December Zombies

Hey Everybody, I just did a guest post for my friend Velvet, and in it I spill information about the next Never Slow Dance With A Zombie Fest. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How Many Books

How many books do you read at a time? Do you read one book cover-to-cover before daring to pick up another? Or are you like me? How many books do I read at once? Well, that depends on my mood. Sometimes two, sometimes three, sometimes waaay more. I am currently reading four books... well, actually five. But never do I read one book at a time. What's the challenge in that?

I am reading Different For Girls (Ebury Press) by former Brit pop star, Louise Wener. I read a review of it on Trashionista and just had to have it. It sounded soo amazing I had to have it right away. I convinced myself that rather than complete the rewrite my agent requested on the first book in the Hollyweird series, my time would be better spent buying a book. Us writers do this a lot. Procrastinate. But we're so creative we don't call it procrastination. We call it research for our next book.

I stopped work on the spot and rushed out to buy the book only to discover it wasn't yet available in America. So, I joined Amazon-UK. And now I have it. I've been reading it for three weeks. I know, I know--slow. But I'm really enjoying it. And oh, I now realize it's not research.

One book I have been reading for research is Forbidden History (Bear & Co) Edited by J. Douglas Kenyon. I am more browsing this book than reading it. I'm also browsing Technology of The Gods (Adventures Unlimited Press) by David Hatcher Childress. My next project is a time travel novel, and these have turned out to be quite helpful.

Finally I'm reading the delightfully enchanting The Language of Trees (Avon) by Ilie Ruby. You have got to read this book. It's not a YA or a paranormal (my favorite genres) but it is written by a former student. Yes, I taught Ilie Ruby screen writing while she was attending graduate school at USC. And get this, I am scheduled to introduce her at her West Coast reading sponsored by USC in October. What an honor. But the real reason you should read it is it's really good. I never thought I'd be intimidated by a student, but Ilie can write!
I'm also about to start Audrey Wait (Razor Bill) by Robin Benway, because my editor, Dan Smetanka, thought it would help with my voice. Can't wait.... Get it?

So, there you have it, I'm reading four (five, really) books right now, and about to start another. I think I'm going to finish one of the others before starting Audrey Wait. Every one of the books I'm reading is worth the cover price.
So, how many books are you currently reading--and why? I'd love to hear from you.