Tuesday, February 28, 2012

“These violent delights have violent ends And in their triumph die, like fire and powder Which, as they kiss, consume”

I woke up this morning and turned on the television. I usually take the first few minutes to get myself together before I wake up my son to get him ready for school. On the television on a news program, there was the story of the shooting at an Ohio School. As a parent myself, I could not fathom what it would be like to get that phone call, hear it on the radio, or television that one of my children's schools had something like this happen. As a writer, I cannot find the words. I do however have the tears when I think about how these poor parents probably were rushed to the hospitals their children were at, hoping all the way that this was just some nightmare; hoping their child will be alright only to find out they've lost a child. I wonder how children have become so violent? I understand bullying and being teased. Most of us can recall at some point in our lives when we were bullied. For me, and I've spoke on this before-I was an easy target because I was quiet and I really did like school for the most part. I loved reading, writing, and I adored science. I liked being accepted and having friends. I've never bullied anyone so I am not sure how they go about picking their "victims". I have never seen the Captain of the football team bullied nor did I ever see the head cheerleader messed with. High School just was one of those journeys that was fraught with many obstacles and sink holes.

I understand with the invention of the World Wide Web and today more and more parents are single and/or work 2 or more jobs that kids are susceptible to things. I can remember feeling depressed, overly sensitive and emotional, and anger. I was angry but I was never so angry that I wanted to end someone's life. I don't understand how one gets to that point. Then I think about how parents don't notice the change in their children. I am in NO way blaming the parents. Parents regardless of your jobs you are going to have to start talking to your kids and their schools. If teachers and schools won't talk to you or give you the run around-mostly because teachers are teaching more for less pay and schools are ill funded-then you show up at school! Demand they give you the 4-1-1 on YOUR kid! I am also not saying that all school shooting tragedies are the result of bullying. However, mental illness has many forms and we have to step it up with our kids. We have to get nosy! We have to look into their schools, friends, and internet activities. Drugs are not the only things you have to look for anymore. We have parented our kids in a Dr.Phil age and while I'm not blaming Dr.Phil but we've left them to their own devices instead of shepherding them down the right path. They're KIDS; if we're not there for them then who is? The internet? Really is that the tool you want to use to parent your children? I'm not a perfect parent. A few years ago I often wondered if I was even a good one. I had a teenager that was wrecking havoc and a son who was undiagnosed and having melt downs left and right. And yes, my son does have ADHD. I know a lot of children are misdiagnosed with that but I'm telling you that out of the many children I have been around, baby sat for, and even the Child Care and ECE classes I have taken I can honestly say I have never encountered a child like my 7 year old. I don't like that he takes medicine but the schools can't do anything-he's not learning as he should, and without his non stimulant medicine he can't function. We can't go really too many places with my son and unless you are wanting to have a nervous breakdown-Walmart is off limits. However, I am his mother and I love him and my daughter very much. I didn't bring them into this world to bury them or see them fail.

Folks get involved with your children. I know bills have to be paid and the economy sucks. However, you only get to be a parent for a little while. It's your responsibility to make sure you give them all the tools they need to grow into a stable functioning member of society and can support themselves. It's up to us to demand that our schools are funded so that teachers and staff can do the very best by our children and can pay attention to them.

I don't know what went on in this young man's head. He had written poems on his Facebook page and I just am left to wonder, who never noticed this kid? Who didn't see that his appearance had changed, his moods and attitude had changed, and he had withdrawn himself from things and people. I say this because on every Suicide hotline checklist-it's always those things that people look for when assessing if a person is depressed. Not all depressed people want to kill people. I don't want to get that stigma going. This boy will no doubt spend the remainder of his life behind bars or in some sort of institution. Parents will miss the children that this young man took from them. I like so many others just want to know what was in that gray area that led this young man to commit such a horrible crime and to have done one of the worst things a person can do: Take a life.

People pay attention to your children and students.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Romance Novels Only For The Lonely?

How many times have any of you out there that love the Romance/Paranormal Romance genre heard, "Only lonely people read romance novels", "You're love life must really suck, because let's face it-why else would you read romance novels", and my favorite-"Are you that much of a perv or that sex crazed?". I mean you never hear people who read Stephen King and them being accused of all being schizo sociopaths with multi-phobic narcistic agressions towards animals do you? If you're into Self-Help books, you must be a Hippy or if you're into Sci-Fi you must be happy with your virginity, Dungeon Master.

I didn't get into romance novels until I was close to being a Senior in high school. I had read a few Sunfire YA romances because like I have said before, I am a big history buff especially with the European Pre and Middle Age eras as well as Native American stories and lore. A girl who had been a friend, named Dawn talked me into reading this pirate themed romance. Yeah I have a thing for pirates and vikings too. She introduced me into the world of Georgina Gentry and Johanna Lindsay. Then Interview With The Vampire came out by Anne Rice. I had always loved anime movies because most of them were fantasy themed. I don't know where that came from-perhaps it was all those years as an only child living in an all adult neighborhood(yeah there was ALOT of pretend and the lake had mermaids and the ducks carried fairies across-don't ask). Anyhow I loved those animated movies, The Hobbit, Return Of The King, The Last Unicorn, Unico, Vampire Hunter D, The Monkey King, and much more. My mom having HBO on the weekends and us having The Disney Channel was awesome in the 80s. It's been no secret that I loved to write from a young age and I wrote about everything. So why did I pick Paranormal Romance for a genre to write?

The answer is easy, I love it! However I have not limited myself to one specific genre, but you're talking to a gal here who has had all sorts of fantastical stories pent up in the storehouses of her mind for over 20 years. So back to the question, are romance novels Only for the lonely and love lorn? Are we all just sex crazed and depraved individuals? I want to read your responses to this one guys and gals!

When I pick up a romance novel off the shelf, I immediately decide if it's 1.) Part of a series I'm reading-if so then I don't even need to read the back cover and inside preface. It's an instant buy.

2.)I look at the back cover first and read the summary. If the summary can perk my interest then I move to the inside pages and scan through the preface of the book. Then finally I look at the cover. My opinion is that if the cover is really over the top that means that there is a reason why a publisher would take the time to have the cover artist really go all out. So the cover does have to have some sort of appeal.

3.)Author-yes the author does count when I look at a book. I'm kind of the Lara Croft of books. I love to discover some new treasure and run with it. So I always tend to look up new authors as well as those of whom I'm already addicted to.

A romance novel to me whether it is historical, paranormal romance, erotic, etc. has to have a plot. You can't just have a bunch of cheesy lines from a bad daytime soap and a bunch of sex scenes and that be considered a romance. Well maybe if you're at a singles bar or you belong to a frat-perhaps it's acceptable but I won't be buying your book. I love Paranormal Romance because well most of them have better plot lines, thrills, chills, and great intimacy (which is better than sex in a lot of ways because achieving true intimacy with another person is almost impossible) between two characters that is better than most things on TV or on the big screen. When I pick up a romance novel it's not because I am "love lorn" or "lonliness". I try not to pick up a book period to fill some void that only I can fix myself. Perhaps some do-I won't harsh on them but as stress and strife enter my life, as much as I love my books and authors-only I can fix what's wrong here. I read fiction and even some non fiction for relaxation and a means to hone my craft. I think a large number of women and men read for recreation not to fill a void.

As to the other misconception-well maybe it's not a total misconception. I mean most of us are consenting adults however "perv" and "sexually frustrated" are just kind of ill words so I will say that that Life has all sorts of adventures and some are more sensual than others and people just like my brand of kink! HA!

So I want to hear your thoughs-good,bad,funny,but not sad on the stigma placed upon Romance writers and readers alike. C'mon talk to me!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Facebook RP Nation

You've probably been surfing Facebook or maybe you've noticed some familar or odd names when it comes to friend requests while on Facebook. Chances are they are characters from books,Manga, and other forms of media. There are literally hundreds of Role Playing (RP) groups on Facebook that range from WOW, Call of Duty, to Clark Kent. The biggest bulk in my experience are the books from authors such as Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lora Leigh, Laura Adrian, Lyndsay Sands, Gena Showalter, and Kresley Cole. Each of these Rp'ers make up accounts, choose pictures/avatars depicting their characters they have chosen, and basically if it's a good solid group-they enhance the book or series they are Rp'ing. The best benefit from this is the friendships that can be made and being able to be in a collective with others that share simular interest. However there is a dark side of all this. Jealousy, petty bickering, a loss of connection with the book/character, or worse they jump the line into the world of fantasy and never come back to reality. As an author, I know what it is to create a world and characters and the hard work it goes into developing and molding. It's a feeling like no other to have someone or a group of people love your story and characters so much that they want to not only represent them on a social network(which is great PR if the group is a positive one)but give fans and potential fans a look at beloved book characters. However, when you have groups that use manipulation or that bastardize the creative hard work of someone then that totally just kills it.

Another thing that totally stuns me is how many men-and straight men at that are reading Paranormal/Fantasy romance. Here is a questionaire I sent to a 100% Straight Male Paranormal/Romance fan who RP's.

nikkitrueblue@hotmail.com: Thanks for agreeing to do this. I think there's a stigma attatched that straight guys couldn't possibly get into paranormal/fantasy romance. Why does the genre appeal to you?

Talon*******@gmail.com: I have always been a big sci/fi and horror fan. I also love a great comedy. A few years ago I had to have surgery and was laid up for 5 months and daytime television had lost its appeal. My girlfriend at the time had all these Kenyon and Anita Blake books and I picked up Kenyon's Night Embrace. I didn't really think I would like it but as I read I became really entertained and immursed into the story. I also really liked the character Talon.

nikki trueblue@hotmail.com: *laughs* Yeah I know what you mean. Night Embrace used to be one of my favorites too. So how did you get into RP?

Talon*******@gmail.com:Believe it or not I was seeing all these names on Kenyon's FB Page. I friended some of them and it started from there.

nikkitrueblue@hotmail.com: How many RP groups have you been in as Talon? What are the good experiences you've had? Bad ones?

Talon*******@gmail.com: I've only been in 4 as Talon. The friends and interacting with people are great on most days. Some can be a little harder to take. I get a lot of inboxes from all types. Most like the way I play Talon-which is awesome cause I work really hard at portraying the character and some especially the ladies *winks* like to flirt. Some women though take it to far, and I usually try to rectify that but if they can't respect my wishes then I have to delete them which sucks. I can say that most my experiences have been great. I like the group I'm currently in and I've been with this one for about five months. We do lots of things yet we stay pretty close to the books and the way Sherrilyn has written her DH world. The bad aspects? Well I can only say that bad communication and people who can't disconnect from RP and FB can really sink a group.

nikkitrueblue@hotmail.com: True, very true. So what do you have to say to other guys who think it's "too girly" to pick up a book from an author like Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series?

Talon*******@gmail.com: Just try it. You don't have to surrender your man card and the books are really good and well balanced that even a straight guy like me can read them and enjoy them. There are a lot of great books out there and just because they have the label "romance" on them doesn't mean that it's all hearts and flowers. It's not like reading soap operas and they're way better than what is on television.

nikkitrueblue@hotmail.com: What is your advice for people who want to delve into the world of RP'ing?

Talon*******@gmail.com: Simple: Remember it's just a game. It's just something to pass the time and do with other people that like pretty much the same stuff. Remember that you can't use RP to fix your real life problems and situations and the character you play or make-up is something fictional. I don't really believe I am Talon. I have a job I go to, a kid I see on the weekends and twice through the week, and I have a lot of friends and I do have a social life outside of Facebook and the computer world. It's okay to step away and do other things.

nikkitrueblue@hotmail.com: Thanks Tal for answering these questions and I wish you and your group nothing but love! I think alot of us can agree that Sherrilyn Kenyon has one of the best (notice I said one of the best) book series out there.

Talon*******@gmail.com: Nah it's cool. I enjoyed it. Any time you want to hit me up for anything like this you know who's page to visit! Take care Nikki and btw I got your book on order and my girl just bought the E-book you did. I can't wait to read them!

nikkitrueblue@hotmail.com: That is just awesome! Yeah I really did enjoy the Lost To The Night Vol 1. with Denyse Bridger, Kayden Mcleod, Brigit Aine, and Sara Gonzalas. It was phenominal working with such great and creative women. It's also been a pleasure Tal being able to glimpse your world for a bit!

So to all those in the Role Playing world-reguardless of what character you play or whether you have just invented your own, let me know your thoughts and feelings about Role Playing and why Facebook? I want to hear from you!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fantasy Pages: Guest: G. MITCHELL BAKER

Fantasy Pages: Guest: G. MITCHELL BAKER: Today my guest is G. Mitchell Baker, or Mitch as he tells his friends to call him. Mitch is a relatively new author, recently published by X...