Tuesday 31 May 2011

There's something really disturbing about LinkedIn writing discussions ...

I've been a member of LinkedIn for about the same time that I've been blogging. It's been useful in that I've found a few freelance jobs through it, but other than that, my profile sits undisturbed. About a year ago, I took part in some of the writing groups and discussions. One day I posted a query for some feedback and had members gang up on me. They were just plain nasty.

Despite me saying it was a rough draft and that I only needed feedback on the content, rather than grammar, etc, which I would fix up later (BIG MISTAKE), one woman battered me continuously, claiming that my spelling and grammar was so bad that she couldn't imagine how I thought of myself as a writer. There was one spelling mistake in the query, folks. Can't even remember what the grammar issue was. I got upset. I didn't say anything cruel in return, but I made it clear that I was offended. Then other contributors started taking her side and saying that if I couldn't handle a tiny bit of criticism, I wouldn't last. It wasn't tiny. It was an aggressive attack. Yikes! It wasn't called for. At all. So I stopped taking part. I still have a bitter taste in my mouth from that incident.

Anyway, I'm bringing this up now because over the weekend I had a browse through the discussion topics for the first time since then, and read a few comments, and found myself feeling quite insulted despite them not being directed toward me. I guess that bitter taste still lingers. I began to wonder why so many of the group members that take the time to get involved in LinkedIn writing discussions are so competitive, pushy, arrogant and rude, and seem to be on the hunt for an easy way to sell their books. It's really weird. (Not all are like this, there are some lovely people, too.) However, generally they're nothing like the blogging community. There's no mutual support system. It's as if they believe they have the expertise and background to act as a teacher rather than a classmate. Do they feel safer there to speak what's really on their mind, because LinkedIn is a lot more private than Facebook and blogger? I'm intrigued. I want to know the psychology behind it.

I'm not going to quote anything from the discussions, because the groups are private and it wouldn't be right of me, so you'll just have to take my word for it. But let me ask you ...

Could you imagine yourself behaving differently on a more secure network than you do on your blog, for example? Would you feel more comfortable telling someone that their work sucked without being polite about it? Why/Why not? If not, why do you think some people are? Do you think it might stem from the possibility that these people are in it for the business, rather than the pleasure? With LinkedIn being a 'business' network, do you think they feel they should assume the voice of someone with power?

REMINDER: Have you signed up for my String Bridge Book & Music Blog Tour yet? If not, and you'd like to, just click HERE.

PSA friend of mine, Stephen Parrish, the author or The Tavernier Stones won an Independent Publisher (IPPY) gold medal earlier this month. (Congrats, Stephen!!!) His publisher, Llewellyn Worldwide, has lowered the price of the Kindle version of the book from $9.99 to $2.99. On June 2 & 3 Kindle Nation will sponsor the novel as "Ebook of the Day" and a generous number of Kindle copies will be available free to interested readers.

If you would like one of these copies, pop on over to Stephen's Blog and let him know  There are no strings, there is no obligation. If too many people respond, names will be drawn randomly. Despite this, Amazon has further discounted the price to $2.39, so if you're one of the unlucky ones I nevertheless encourage you to take advantage of the bargain price before it goes up again. Everyone who gets a free copy should have it by 4th June.

Monday 30 May 2011

I'm not in it for the money ...

Since I launched my blog tour registration form for String Bridge, I've been wondering what people think when they see the Amazon Chart Rush section. I've been wondering whether people are thinking I'm just doing it to make sales. Well, that's understandable if that's what you were thinking, I don't blame you, I would probably think that too. But I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Those sales aren't going to make me any money. Nada. Do you know why? Because I'm giving away the soundtrack with those sales. And do you know how much it has cost me to record the soundtrack? Well, I'm not going to disclose any figures on here, because that's not my point today, but I will tell you this:

I'll be one of the luckiest authors alive if I ever break even.

Why am I doing this, you ask? Because I LOVE it. I love to write. I love to sing. I love to make music with instruments and words. I. LOVE. IT. And I want you all to hear and read what I love to do. I want to make a name for myself. I want create a solid base for a career I intend to pursue for as long as I live. So, I figured, who's going to buy my book AND soundtrack without anyone having read or heard it before, when buying the soundtrack on top of the book would set them back about another $15? My guess? Very few. So I'm giving it away, but I'm being smart about it. I'm doing it in a way that is going to get my name, and my book's name, a bit more exposure, so that when I continue to do, what I LOVE TO DO, from here on in, perhaps some people might recognize my name and buy my next book. Perhaps then I will have the opportunity to make some money. But not now. Now is not my time to make money. Now I just need to have faith, that in time, all this work will eventually pay off so that I can spend MORE time doing what I love to do.

How about you? What do you (or did you) expect to achieve from the release of your debut? If you're not a writer, but are involved in some other form of creation, are you willing to sacrifice for love?

REMINDER: Have you signed up for my String Bridge Book & Music Blog Tour yet? If not, and you'd like to, just click HERE.

Friday 27 May 2011

My sister has raised a very interesting question: Why hasn't design been explored as a way of looking at the creative process in the same way art has?

My sister, Allison Bell, has raised a very interesting question on her research BLOG (she's in the middle of writing a thesis and this blog of hers is a part of her assessment). She is also on a search for designers to interview about this. So if you're a designer who is willing to be interviewed on the topic, please leave a comment here and I'll get you in touch with her. Allison hasn't asked me to do this. So perhaps she's already found her guinea pigs, but if not, this might be of some help.
Allison says:
  • ... Many of the articles use either art or science to illustrate how breakthroughs are made when creating, or how inspiration might strike. Articles written from a neurological perspective in particular seem to use art as a point of reference, with expositions into how the brain interprets colour, line, etc, and how this is a fact of biology.
  • This leads me to wonder why design hasn't been explored as a way of looking at the creative process in the same way art has. Has design somehow been deemed to be less creative? Or perhaps less 'accessible' to the reader of these articles? ...

To read more of this article please visit her blog.

PS: If you have some spare time, take a moment to read her articles. Wow, is she a smart cookie and boy am I so PROUD!!!!

Why do you think design is somehow deemed less creative?
1. Over at All 4 ALABAMA, I've got a first chapter or ten poem critique up for grabs. Head on over and bid on it for a worthy cause!

2. Have you signed up for my String Bridge Book & Music Blog Tour yet? If not, and you'd like to, just click HERE.

Thursday 26 May 2011

ALL 4 ALABAMA: Tornado Disaster Relief Auctions


Today over at ALL 4 ALABAMA, I've donated a first chapter critique of any genre or a critique of ten poems of any style. Bidding for this item will start at 1pm CDT. Here's the LINK! The item will be available for five days from today. There are plenty more items up for grabs and all donations will go toward the relief fund.

A big thanks to Courtney Barr, one of the coordinators for contacting me! Go on, folks. Head on over and donate! It doesn't even have to be on any particular item, you can simply donate money too.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

I'm guest posting over at Operation Awesome!

Operation Awesome

Hi all! I'm over at Operation Awesome today talking about why I chose to self-publish my poetry book Twisted Velvet Chains.

Also, if you missed out due to the blogger crisis yesterday (just my luck!) please sign up to participate in my STRING BRIDGE BOOK & MUSIC BLOG TOUR!

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Want to cross the String Bridge with me? Then sign up to participate in my blog tour and receive the String Bridge soundtrack for free!

Yeah, I know, I know, it's not Thursday yet, but I just couldn't wait! Guess what, folks? It's time to sign up to receive an ARC of String Bridge and participate in my Book & Music Blog Tour! That's right, a book and a set of MP3s (entitled "On the Other Side")—music and lyrics recorded by me to compliment the book, will be available.

Here's how to receive free music: Participate in the Amazon Chart Rush on Friday, November 11th by purchasing the paperback of String Bridge on Amazon, and you will receive a complimentary copy of On the Other Side. Once you purchase a copy of the book, all you have to do is email me your receipt and I will send you a link to download the MP3s for free.

The official release date of the book is November 1st, so that's when the tour is going to begin, but I'm holding the chart rush on November 11th to be safe. You never know with Amazon!

So, you can sign up for one or all of the following ...

ARC distribution for review (Aug 1st - Sept 1st)
Amazon Chart Rush (Nov 11th)
Blog Tour (Nov 1st - Nov 20th)

... just fill out the form below!

Thank you so much for all your support and encouragement! I would also really appreciate it if you could spread the word about this any way you know how!

PS: Those five people who donated books to my last book giveaway are guaranteed ARCs. These lovely five are Amie McCracken, Michelle Davidson Argyle, Judy Croome, Sharon K. Mayhew and Deniz Bevan. But please do me a favour and fill in the form so I have all your details handy, thanks!

Have a great day, all!

Monday 23 May 2011

'Trash' TV vs. 'Trash' novels. There seems to be a difference.

So, for some reason I love watching 'trash' on TV, but don't very much enjoy reading 'trash.' No, I'm not saying here that trashy TV or book content is only fit for the garbage, what I mean by 'trash' is easy-to-watch/read commercial content that allows one to tune out and get a quick thrill without too much thinking being involved.

One example: The Twilight movie.

You will NEVER EVER catch me reading the books. But you know what? The first film was on TV the other night and I was engrossed. I was tired from my long working day, eager to put my feet up and switch off my brain. I was so into the film that I even snapped at my Sig.Oth when he tried to speak to me while it was on. I wanted to hear every single word. I wanted to forget EVERYTHING that was going on around me and focus primarily on the TV screen. Why does TV trash give me such a thrill, and book trash make me turn up my nose? I have no idea. Does anyone else have a odd preference like this?

As I said the other day, in my POP post that blogger made disappear for a whole day and lost everyone's comments on, I like to read books that are meaty, books that go deeper than the action. Yes, I do thoroughly enjoy reading chick-lit now and again as much as I enjoy watching chick flicks (Talli's Hating Game being a perfect example. Was such a fun read, you should check it out if you haven't yet!), but most of the time I want literary fiction to sink my teeth into.

But watching Twilight made me wonder whether this aversion to reading trash was real or something I've come to believe without really testing out. So I picked up 'Shiver,' (is it even considered an easy read? It seems easy to me) which I bought because a friend of mine insisted I'd like it despite me not liking vampires or werewolves or being a very big fan of YA fiction, and began reading it the same night when I went to bed, hoping to prove myself wrong. But unfortunately, I was right. I couldn't get into it. It felt really quite flat to me compared to watching something like that in motion on screen. Now, I'm not putting down the writing or author here. I'm sure it is great for what it is and it has its market. I'm just not a part of that market. I've finally realized that it's not my imagination. But it still is mind-boggling as to why I get into TV trash so much ...

How about you? Do you feel differently about watching and reading 'trash'? If so, why do you think that is?

Thursday 19 May 2011

It's all becoming so real ...

Yesterday I received layout proofs of String Bridge from my publisher to review. I'm buzzing inside! Check out this awesome title page! Isn't it just so 'me'? Thanks, Janice!

This is all becoming so real now that I can see my book designed. I can't believe this book--this book I've persisted with for the last FIVE years--is finally going to venture out into the world. A book which an agent once said this about: "I have thirty seconds to pitch a book to an editor and I can't even think of enticing words to pitch it in one minute." I cried and cried and cried. I was in a state for over two weeks. I was about to ditch it. But that's when I realised I should query small presses. Thank goodness I did!

Anyhoo, let's get back on track here. My list of 'things to-do' seems to be growing as I cross things off, but that's to be expected I suppose. I have tons--TONS--to do. But the stress is beginning to dwindle as I get everything under control. I seem to have more going on than I did last week when I was in a panic, but I think my brain has become accustomed to the dizziness. Writing a list certainly helped. Thanks, Leigh, for pushing me to make one! I seriously wouldn't have expected it to help. Never have been a list person. Leigh, you might have created a monster ... dun dun ...

Here's the current state of my 'String Bridge' to-do list (yeah, I have others. I have WordsWorth Camp, Twisted Velvet Chains, Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop and Misc, and they are all in addition to my day job: SQUEEK!). Oh, and see those words in CAPITALS in the list? Well, that's kinda freaking me out a bit because I really need them ...

So that's the state of String Bridge at present in a nut shell. I'm so excited for you all to be able to read it!!!

So, um ... who wants to volunteer as my assistant? And are you good at making lists? ;o)

Tuesday 17 May 2011

100 stories for QLD: Pretty please with a cherry on top for Theresa Milstein and I, couldja?

We interrupt my blogging schedule, once again, today because 100 Stories For Queensland are hosting an Amazon Chart Rush to raise as much money as possible for the flood victims in Queensland, Australia--my home country! But this isn't just any anthology. It contains a short story of mine and a short story from the gorgeous, talented Theresa Milstein! So, in addition to raising money for Queensland, you are doing both Theresa and I a favour by giving us more exposure as writers. I'd like to stress, that none of the authors in this anthology are getting royalties. ALL proceeds go towards aiding areas of Queensland which suffered during the floods.

So will you join us and purchase a copy today? It would also be great if you could tweet and facebook this post to get the word spreading!

The following content is from the 100 Stories For Queensland Blog:

What is a chart rush?
Readers are invited to purchase the book on Amazon, in a nominated 24-hour period, with the intent to capitalise on the volume of sales to move the book up the Amazon best seller list. The higher up the chart it is (we’re aiming for a spot in the top 100) the more visible it becomes to other readers who may go on to purchase it.

It’s all about exposure and the more people who come across 100 Stories for Queensland, the more books we sell and the more money we raise.

If you can’t buy on the day, you can add it to your wishlist. Every little bit counts.

Retail Price
The book retails online for US$19.99 and ₤9.99. The paperback will be available for sale through this site in June when eMergent Publishing’s printer, Lightning Source International, opens it’s Australian press in Melbourne.

100 Stories for Queensland is listed here at Amazon and Amazon UK.

Go forth and publicise

Please feel free to copy the graphic for your website, Facebook or twitter and spread the word far and wide. Lots of authors have already changed their facebook pictures to the book cover… consider doing as a supporter just for 24 hours! You can download the book cover here.

Join our Social Network

You can join our Amazon Chart Rush Facebook event or official fan page for updates on our progress up the charts! We also tweet at @100stories4qld. 100 Stories for Queensland is also listed at Goodreads.

So wilya coudja mightya purchase? Pretty please with a cherry on top?

PS: Angela Felsted is interviewing me about my poetry collection, Twisted Velvet Chains. Would love if you could check it out! :o)

Monday 16 May 2011

Laughter is the Best Medicine Blogfest: He He Ha Ha Ho Ho!

Guten morgen, folks! A nice and easy ride today. Leigh T. Moore and Lydia Kang are hosting a blogfest in which we have to post our favourite writer joke. Mine's short. It goes like this:

Punctuation neglect kills.

"Let's eat Grandma."

Have a great day, all! Just click on either Leigh's or Lydia's name to fine the list of other particiapants! :o)

Thursday 12 May 2011

Do you like to doof doof?

So, er, I'm reading a Jodi Picoult novel. I've read quite a few, actually, because despite not really being into 'pop' fiction, she somehow manages to get me so involved in her books that I can't stop reading. But I'm not here today to talk about her hooks. I'm here to talk about something that a friend of mine mentioned about her stuff recently and got me thinking. She said that although she loves her books, she can't read one after the other because they seem to all have the same formula.

Yes, they do. And this formula she uses has given her great success. Aspiring authors want to write like her, to create a story so intense that it's impossible to put down. But 'formula' isn't necessarily a good thing, I think. Being a fan of literary fiction, if I were to read multiple books of hers in a row, I would get bored, because there's no DYNAMIC PROSE.

So, I like to see Jodi as a 'story-teller.' She is a master at story-telling, as is Marian Keyes, Lisa Jewel and Nick Hornby. To me these folks are pop writers. They make money by sticking to a formula that will lure the masses, just like pop music does. There is nothing wrong with this. Nothing at all. And I, on occasion can't wait to get stuck into a bit of pop. Even with music, sometimes I can really do with a bit Madonna, as opposed to PJ Harvey. Sometimes I just need to dance, to get into the groove.

It's the same with books. But! Who do I admire more? PJ Harvey, for sure. Because she gives me soul and makes me think and makes me smile and makes me cry. She makes me want to listen over and over to the layers of melody and instrumentalization. She doesn't give me doof doof doof, quick gimme another song to dance to, quick gimme another shot of vodka so I can keep feeling this thrill. She makes me appreciate very single note, every single lyric. So, my point, I guess, is that's what I prefer in books too. Even though I do like to break it up on occasion with a bit of formulaic pop.

How about you? Are you pro pop or do you like to dig deeper? Do you think there's a difference between writing and storytelling? What authors have you read that you think stick to a formula? Are you able to read many of their books in a row without starting to feel it's all becoming predictable?

Tuesday 10 May 2011


Hello! I know I'm not meant to be blogging today, but I'm just so thrilled to announce that all the necessary arrangements have been made for THIS WORKSHOP/RETREAT, and APPLICATIONS are NOW OPEN!

Please, please do me a favour and tweet this, FB it, blog about, whatever, to get the word out there for me! I would really really appreciate the help!

Have a great day all!!!

Monday 9 May 2011

So, it seems I use cigarette ash for deodorant and actually speak French ...

I have got so many things on my mind that I'm having trouble sleeping and having weird dreams to boot. But before I tell you about the dreams, dreams ... stress dreams ... I've been having, let me tell you what I have on my mind ...

1. In less than two months I'm off to Canada to teach poetry workshops to 11-14-year-olds at a summer writing camp (WordsWorth). I have to prepare my lessons. But I'm still waiting on info from The Young Alberta Book Society (the company running the camp) to find out exactly what kind of lessons they are after. So I'm feeling a little up in the air about the whole thing because I thrive on being well-prepared way in advance. I'm anxious to get myself organized, to say the least. Dream, dreams, dreams ... stress dreams ...

2. After Canada I'm heading to the USA to meet a few blogging buddies in Columbus, Ohio, before I head to Athens, Ohio to meet my publisher. So excited to meet everyone face to face! But ... my publisher is going to try to organize a few poetry readings for me while I'm there. Never done one before and all I can think about is the reason why I gave up playing live music: STAGE FRIGHT. Dream, dreams, dreams ... stress dreams ...

3. Today my edited ms of String Bridge is due in the mail from Lucky Press. A courier should be knocking on my door any minute. I have to review the changes and then email the document back to Lucky Press for galleys to be made so that the ARCs will be ready by July. I'm anxious about what people are going to say about it. Dream, dreams, dreams ... stress dreams ...

4. I'm anxiously (yes, this word is popping up a lot, innit?) awaiting for my String Bridge marketing plan to be emailed to me by my publicist. And again, I feel up in the air about that too because I have no idea what is going to be expected of me to pitch in toward promoting my novel. It makes me feel disorganized not knowing, not being able to prepare. I'm a bit anal like that. Dream, dreams, dreams ... stress dreams ...

5. I'm so close to finishing the first draft of my second novel. I've been so close for seven months now. I feel like I'm failing myself, but I've been busy, and every time I take five minutes for myself I feel guilty and mope around the house driving my partner nuts. Dreams, dreams, dreams ... stress dreams ...

6. My debut poetry book has just been released. Thank you so much for all the wonderful reviews that have come in! You have no idea how much they mean to me! Why is this stressful? Well, poetry is hard to market. Still trying to find my footing and courage to promote myself more vigorously. If anyone has any advice regarding this, please shoot me a line. Dreams, dreams, dreams ... stress dreams ...
7. I'm running a writers' workshop/retreat on a Greek Island next year and there is a lot to organize! Won't make a list here, but I'm sure you can imagine ... Dreams, dreams, dreams ... stress dreams ...

8. Some nit-picky-bits:
  • I need to apply for a US Visa waiver before I travel.
  • I need to pick up my renewed Greek Residency permit before I can travel (queues in public services here are deathly ...)
  • I need to book my flights within the USA, but I need my Canada flight details first (don't have them yet, makes me feel stressed).
  • Have some books on order for ages, that haven't arrived. Might have to deal with post office. Post office guy has crush on me. Don't want to have to call!
  • Our cleaner is sick. OMG, I have to clean the house myself!
  • I have a ton freelance work, WHICH I LIVE ON, btw, and I seem to be fitting THAT into my schedule when it's supposed to be the other way around. So I'm paranoid I'm gonna go broke ...
  • Um ... I'm sure there's more ...

Okay a few of my dreams just off the top of my head are:
  • I book flights to wrong airports in the USA and miss all my events.
  • All the guests that come to the retreat/workshop are people who are trying to kill my parents because apparently they have been mobsters all my life and I never knew it.
  • When I roll on my deodorant in the morning I roll cigarette ash onto my underarms and then suddenly realise I can't speak English anymore, but I do speak French. (Do you think that has anything to do with the hairy armpit thing?)
  • I'm in a cartoon version of Jurassic Park and every species of dinosaur communicates in song. One of them sounded like the Bee Gees, another like Tina Turner, another like Angry Anderson ...
  • I'm in India. I give birth to a little girl. In a narrow alley way. Then I go shopping in a street market with a friend of mine from Australia. I drop my daughter on the ground to take a look at a pair of earrings and forget her when I walk off. (Whoa! Why? I love kids!)
  • Moments before I get up in the morning, I've morphed into a concrete slab of footpath. People walk all over me and their footsteps echo through me. I feel heels stick into my ears and up my nose. It doesn't hurt. But it feels kinda numb, there's pressure. And I'm reminded of when my grandmother explained that she could feel the doctors sawing her bones when she had a hip replacement ...

So friends ... stress dreams, do you have 'em? Tell me about them so I don't feel so um ... stressed! :o)

Thursday 5 May 2011

How do you feel about writing content that might cause conflict within your family?

Clarissa Draper wrote an amazing review of my poetry collection Twisted Velvet Chains. And it poses a very interesting question that I'd like to discuss today. How do you feel about writing content that might cause conflict within your family?

Clarissa, in her review, said, "It's honest. Brutally honest. There were a few occasions I asked, 'Would Jessica's family read this?' or 'Should I read this?' or 'Should I know this?' But, I realized the answer is yes. For the same reason I write fiction based on real life. For the same reason parts of me go into my books. For the same reason writers tell stories."

I'd like to say I didn't think twice about writing this book, but I have to be honest here. I was SO scared to publish this book. Not because it reveals a few truths about me and my mother, but because the poems are very embellished, and I was worried (am still worried) that the people who know both me and my mother and our history are going to think that the way I depict our relationship is REAL. Well, it's not real. The poems may have been inspired by real events and triggered by real memories, but the fact of the matter remains, that after working at these poems, and making them the best they can be, they no longer represent my mother and me.

However, despite this, I'm still scared. Because when my mother reads these poems, she is going to recognize a few elements about her past. And she is going to be thinking, "Oh my God, Jessica, is this how you think of me? Like a monster?" No. I DO NOT THINK OF HER AS A MONSTER. But will she forgive me? Will she be worried that everyone is going to think it's her in this book? Is she going to be afraid to give it to people to read? These possibilities break my heart because that was not my intention at all. These poems may be dark and twisted, but they are also art. Art that I'm proud to say I created. And I'm proud to show it to the world. I hope that my mother can understand this and be proud of me too.

My mother is alive and healthy and we both have a wonderful relationship. I just have a dark mind and vivid imagination. Mum, you are a beautful, kind-hearted woman, who I love with all my heart. I do not blame you for anything. I know you suffered more than me. I love you. And I always will.

(PS: If you like to read poetry, you can now purchase a copy HERE or HERE. It will also be available through all fine bookstores in about six weeks.)

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Change of Schedule

Hi all! Thanks for all the wonderful input on yesterday's post!

Just a quick note today to let you know I've decided to cut down on blogging for a while. The schedule may stick or it may not. It just depends on how busy the rest of my life is at any given time. Working freelance can be a bit like that. When it rains it pours. At the moment I just have too much going on so I'm just going to post Mondays and Thursdays. I will read your blogs and comment sporadically, depending on my free time.

And just because I feel like it, here's a photo of why I LOVE Greek yoghurt so much. See the spoon sticking out of the top? Well, there ain't no hand holding that in place. :o)

Have a wonderful week and see ya Thursday!!! :o)

Monday 2 May 2011

So I'm different. What say you?

I got some interesting responses to yesterday's post, 'How do you feel about Offensive content in ADULT novels?'

One particular and common response, initiated by Ted Cross, was "I don't consider any content to be offensive unless it has no bearing on the story." But how do you judge this? What kind of reasoning takes place to determine whether the content is necessary or not? It must have been necessary in the author's view, otherwise it wouldn't be there. Just like Sarah said, "The word "offensive" is entirely subjective." I agree. Completely. And I don't think readers can really judge what should and shouldn't be in a book.

And this brings me to my point: I like to break boundaries, and I like to read books that do too. I cringe at cliched prettiness, at characters that are too good to be true, at fairytale behaviour, at prince charmings and barbie doll girls who become princesses. I like books that jump up and bite me in the face. But that's just me. I think I have been like that all my life. I like to like everything that goes against the norm. I like to be different.

I don't fit in with pop culture. I never have. And I'm actually not sure whether that is REAL or whether it has just become a habit from my teens of always wanting to be different.

My Sig.Oth. says I'm conservative. LOL. Maybe I am deep down. Or maybe it's the other way around. Maybe I am on the surface, but deep down I'm not. It's also interesting how people interpret what conservative means. Are you conservative? What makes you that way? What makes you the opposite? Are you different? Do you fit in with the norm? Oh gosh, WHAT IS THE NORM? Too many questions, folks. Can you answer any of them?

Sunday 1 May 2011

How do you feel about offensive content in ADULT novels?

The SlapThe Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This isn't any old review. My opinion on this book has sparked an idea for a discussion I'd like to have with you about offensive content in novels. I'd like to know how you react to it. But first, let's get to my review of this book.

This book was written by a very highly acclaimed Australian/Greek author. I have to say, that I admire him and his blatant honesty. And this is the first book I've read of his. I find it hilarious how so many people who have read this book have given it bad reviews and low ratings because they believe that the characters were horrible and the language was horrible and 'why would anyone want to write about such uninteresting people?' It really makes me laugh, because clearly, the people who have these opinions have totally missed the point. Opinions like these, are what I like to call, 'surface opinions.' Surface opinions, as the term suggests, do not attempt to dig any deeper than what can be seen (or read, in this case).

The point of this book, in my opinion, is to highlight the pettiness, cruelness, complete self-centeredness of humankind; the attributes we fail to recognize in ourselves, or deny even exist. We are monsters, people. Deep down there is as much bad as there is good in us and this book depicts this realistically. It's void of censorship, void of phoniness, void of pretence. This book is what it is because this is what the world is. Run by a pack of selfish animals. This is who we are, and I think anyone who denies it, is kidding themselves. Even if you do not actually behave appallingly like some of these characters do, take a moment to think: Have you ever smiled at someone, pretended to be polite, and at the same time cursed at their existence? We all have at some time or another. It's human nature. This is what this book represents: human nature. It's honest. It's blunt. It's real.

Great book. I recommend it to those who are not afraid of a bit of honesty. If you don't like reading about the world you live in. Don't read this book. Now to my question:

How do you feel about offensive content in books? If you are disgusted by it, do you ever stop to think, "Gee, there must be a REASON it's like this?" and try to take an objective stance? And another thing, please, please, please, do not assume that the characters in someone's book represent WHO THE AUTHOR IS. This is a big mistake, I believe, that readers make. The author is most likely trying to depict a certain person, or stereotype. Perhaps the author, too, is disgusted by their characters' behaviour, but they wouldn't do their book any justice by censoring these things, would they? Take a moment to think about that too. Look deeper. And don't make assumptions.


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