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Archive for November, 2015

No Black Section

Maybe this is me being a clueless white person, but I don’t think all black authors should be filed in a section by themselves.

Let me explain. The other day I went to the library and as I was looking for interesting paperbacks for my mom, I scanned the shelves, spotting an author I enjoy. I moved on then noticed I had entered the AF section. AF I gathered was for African Americans. My eyes went up to the books and I thought ‘how sad’. How are other people of other races going to run into these books if they’re just browsing. Unless they come into the AF section people are going to miss out on these great authors.

And, if we have a AF section, is there a Latino section? I sometimes think there’s just to many specialized sections, but this library wants to reinvent itself by using the bookstore model and I don’t think that’s always a good thing. I tried to justify the section by thinking, well, there’s a Mystery section, and there’s a Science Fiction section, and there are Westerns, but is that same as grouping authors by race?

One might ask why wouldn’t other races go into the AF section? They might think it’s just urban fiction, the ‘drama’ books my kids liked so much. They might think the novels only pertain to black people and overlook the great authors here. But a good story is a good story and a good writer, a good writer and everyone should have the opportunity of bumping into one without having to find it in a corner section away from other good literature.

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Dirt-scratchers – the lowest of the low, exiled to live in a land where one barely makes a living and forbidden to leave that valley. Emmeline Thistle, born a dirt-scratcher, born deformed, is cast out to die, but lives, saved by cows. Thus she is returned to her family, to grow up an outcast among outcasts until disaster strikes.

It’s told in two voices, that of Emmeline and of Owen Oak, a diaryman’s son who finds Emmeline and discovers the sweetest spell.

This reads like a fairy tale, a nice new one, but not filled with magic as there is only one spell, the sweetest one. It also reads like a historical novel filled with thieves, greedy kings, and includes a leper. The disaster isn’t made by monsters or witches, but it’s a believable natural disaster.

Sometimes I had trouble figuring out who was speaking, but that’s not a deterrent, the story is too good for that. The characters are good and well developed and I liked how one bad person had a back story to explain his evil ways because he was trying to do good in his own way. I also liked the cows.

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Software Woes

I’m busy trying to finish a picture book I’m going to self-publish on blurb in time for this Christmas sale. I hope to recoup my money and then some on it.  I was scanning and getting upset because the software was acting up. Sometimes I think I should have paid the extra fifty bucks for Windows 7 because my older software doesn’t run to well on Windows 8. I’m really glad I didn’t get Windows 10 or none of my software would.

I guess it’s part my fault because I have old software, some really old software. The Microsoft Office suite I’m using I think I used on Windows 98. Two other favorites are from the early 2000’s. I like the way they work and they do what I want them to do so why get new versions?

My scanner works fine otherwise. I used to be able to open up the photo editing software (I forgot the name right now), click on the little scanner, and a window would pop up and let me decide what I wanted to scan, photo, slide, etc. Now I get some generic message that has fewer options. It still lets me scan pictures, but not slides, and why I’m obsessing over that right now, I don’t know because I’m not even scanning slides at the moment now. Still. It bugged me.

And them my music software didn’t work. I have a Creative Zen mp3 palyer. It’s old, but it works and it came with this nice software that lets me import music, which was really great when I digitized my vinyl. Well, that software decided it wouldn’t work either and I like it better than the other programs that came with my new computer, some xbox music thing and Windows Player or whatever.  You can’t play a certain artist of create playlists or maybe you can, but I can’t be bothered with learning how because this one’s just so easy to use.

I did finally get the music player to work. I never got the other thing working the way I wanted, but I can still scan so I can’t complain too much. I just wish that older software would work on newer machines like they used to do. I find it interesting that the ‘better’ the operating systems become, the less they offer.

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I’ve written several stories by first outlining them, testing to see which technique, outlining or seat-of-the-pantsing, will help me focus on the story and make the writing easier and quicker. Now I’ve written a story without creating an outline and I’m working on another one, also without using an outline.

I can’t honestly say which is better for me. I think I wrote the first un-outlined story as quick as I did the outlined one. I can’t say that about the one I’m writing now, but I’m making good progress even if I don’t know exactly where I’m heading.

Maybe I’ll find out when I get to editing (and editing and editing) the stories. Right now I’m transferring my first outlined story to the computer and while, yes, it needs work, I think it won’t need much, not as much as the story I’m sending out to get critiqued. I’m carving that one up like a turkey.

I suppose that will be the key, the editing. I’ll post my thoughts when I’ve done more work on that.

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The books are: Rot And Ruin, Dust and Decay, Flesh and Bone, and Fire and Ash

Benny Imura has grown up in a world of zombies. He lives with his brother Tom in the town of Mountainside, the townsfolk on one side of the fence, the ruin, and zombies, on the other. As long as things stay the same, everything is okay. But things don’t stay the same. Things change. Secrets and truths come out and evil, not just zombies, marches across the land.

This is a zombie story where zombies are more than just zombies and they aren’t the baddest in the land. There’s evil on both sides of the fence and you have to wonder just what is worse. These stories pull you along as you read to find out what’s going to happen. I like watching the main character and his friends grow up. Their characters develop over the course of the series, they fall in love, and help change the world.

It’s always interesting how every author has their own take on zombies. That might be why I prefer zombies over werewolves and vampires. There’s always some kind of kink, and Mr. Maberry brings us his own take on them mixing in some from other sources.

I also liked that the bad guys were really bad and the good ones good, although not perfect and some a bit strange. I enjoyed reading the whole series. After reading the first one, I couldn’t stop. I had to find out what happens next. Will the bad guys get defeated. And why are the zombies acting so weird?

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Dear Hamish,

I dinna can believe you’ll be an uncle again. Congratulations. I was sorry to hear about the mysterious fungus on the walls of your croft. If you take strong lemon juice and rub hard and repeat many times it will go away. I’ve seen that type before and is caused by the devilish duo by the names of Heather and Peatmoss. The day they are married off and depart to another pasture will indeed be a celebration worthy of pipes and drums. I am working hard to get the rest of the money for your plane ticket. You may stay as long as you want.

‘Twas Halloween last week and I bet Pawnee I would wear the scariest costume ever. She did not believe me. She does now. I dressed as a banana. She stayed away from me the whole night. She has it on authority, her bestest friend in the whole word, Talbot, that bananas are poisonous. I have it on authority, the person, that Talbot made the whole thing up to see if Pawnee would believe it. Well not only does she, but she once thought she’d die from Banana Paw, some ridiculous disease one gets if one touches a banana.

I searched on the Internet for Banana Paw on me mobile and only found a pet supply store in Jakarta. On their page they have prominent treats for kitties. Trust the silly kitty to think it’s a conspiracy to infect cat kind everywhere of this horrible disease and then added, rightly so, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Sad to say, she meant the truth is being hidden. Since it was no use arguing with her, I didn’t.

I did treats at Halloween. I went to houses where I know the people and got vegetables. They were delicious.

That is all for now. Take care.

Your friend in the colonies,

Angus. McSheep.

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