Monday, September 19, 2016

Passport to Romance update!

I don't know about you, but I'm super excited about this event! It's free, you get to meet cool authors who are both local, from the PNW, and from around the country. It is pretty freaking amazing.

Oh, and did I fail to mention that you get awesome free books and swag if you attend on top of getting to meet authors! Yes, actual authors who have crawled out of their authoring hole, I have first hand knowledge of this (aka myself), to interact with their readers!

This event is located at the Bellevue Westin in Bellevue, Washington and runs from 6-8 pm!

Take a look at this awesome page to see who all will be attending!

(also don't forget to vote in the cover contest!)

There are so many I can't even count! So I'll just copy and paste)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

And It's Live! Passport to Romance Cover Contest!

Please vote for my cover! (Unexpected Revival #41)

I’ve entered my next book cover in the #Passport2Romance Cover Contest. Help me win by going here and voting for my cover.

Finalists are chosen via the online voting, then the winner is voted on at the live event in Bellevue, WA on Oct 15. It’s FREE and open to anyone who enjoys a good romance – from mild to wild, historical to sci-fi. Join me there if you can!

And as a plus, here is the cover of my first book in the Revived Series called Unexpected Revival. This novel (my precious baby) will be sent to my editor at the end of the month, with a tentative release date of January 2017.

Cover art done by awesome artist E.Paschall "DarkElegance" who can be reached or through

Friday, September 2, 2016

Another interesting tidbit about research in regards to the Revival Series

Nothing gets more bothersome than reading a book and knowing the information on history or facts don't quite ring true. That being said, when asked about why I chose to have my first heroine from my new series about women from the past who save the future featured a women from 1999, my answer was simply, because we know everything about that time. It really is all searchable online. Like this little tidbit about how big were computer screens by 2000. And let met tell you, the information was readily available and easy to understand.

Through this interesting page, that originally compared computer screen sizes from 1995 to 2012, later updated to now include 2015, I found that most computer screens were 14 to 15 inch size. Yes, it's not updated to 2000, but about your job. Does your desk have the latest in computer screens. If so, you are one lucky person. When I started working in 2006, my company was still using 14-inch screen and autocad light from 1998. And I know this business is not unique.

That being said, take a look at the article and see how computer monitors have changed in the last 20 years. It's a little mind blowing!

Keep your eyes out for more little bits of weird research info :)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

AI, Robots, and Androids

A bit of a side step from my last two posts about one of the reasons why I enjoy science fiction.

Aside from being set in the future where any possible outcome is probable and attainable, robotics, computer programming, and circuits are readily available to use in any character, but for me comes with a few caveats. 

This article here on "Why do we give robots female names, because we don't want to consider their feelings" discusses how current artificial intelligence focuses on using female voices, names and likenesses on developing and developed robotics including voice navigation, computer programmed voices, and those being created for customer assistance. 

It all revolves around power structures, who has access to the positions of creating AI's and what their uses will be for. Currently the programming field 8% of the population on female, with about 18% of the computer sciences are women. The work force comprises of 51% of women, and yet they are severely lacking in the technical fields and this is a big problem.

Having women, and men, with equal representation allows for a wider group of people to be able to say hold up, maybe we shouldn't be doing this, or even ask "Why are we only using women as are models?". It all comes down to equal treatment, and I like to believe that this value is currently working its way through our societies, with the hopeful end of this being something of the past, sexism will float away as if it never existed, and equal representation of the sexes will be prevalent in all fields. 

I realize that this utopic idea will never happen, and what I mean by that is there will always be people who value one sex over another, just like there are those who value one ice cream over another. The main point is that ENOUGH people will value all sexes that it will reduce the affect of the few who don't, and society will be all the better for it. 

We, as writers, have the opportunity to express in written form one of the many possible outcomes of the future, and I chose to try and actively represent equality in my writing. 

What that means for me, and hopefully for other is:

1. There are an equal number of men and women on the ship/station/planet
2. That men and women are equally present in military posistions
3. That men and women represent the current spread of possibilities in our society (which includes body shape, sexuality, sexual preference, etc.)
4. Women and men are not sexually assaulted or fear that they will be when serving in the military, on a space station, or on planets
5. Women and men can occupy all positions, and are not thought less of for it

There are more points, but they are all variations of the main 5 themes. This of course does not apply for all situations, all plot lines, all alien species, and all back stories, but the point is, I try and ensure that anything that does happen, happens for a reason and isn't put there because "that's how things are" currently. 

This plays into the bigger picture of how readers view what is "normal" and how it will stay "normal" in the future. I hope, as with others, that changing how people think of the possibilities in the future can create change now. This is one of the reasons why I write.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Women and Feminism, Part 2

The biggest obstacle against equality is your mind, and understanding when your unconscious is acting on your conscious or vise versa. We, unless you are living somewhere where you are not affected by media, or anyone else who has access to media, are constantly being bombarded by stigmas and stereotypes on everything and anything, but especially on women.

TV and movies are telling us who can do what and why. There are a lot of articles out there, and I mean a lot, that cover how women are sexualized all the time in advertisements, as living manikins for products, as sexual objects to be obtained, and compared to others to decide which is better than the other.

Not only are women being used and portrayed as less than their male counterparts, the predominately white male population are still in control of most of the merchandising decisions that are then being used to further cement how women are being treated through kids toys that are then sold and advertise to children, who further internalize these issues. They sell men action figures at a flick of a finger, but rarely women action figures. Or if they are allowed to have action figures, the toys are usually then sexualized in some way or another.

Most video games still have female characters that are highly sexualized, even though more than half of the gaming population are women. What this shows is that the industry is still male orientated and that the number of women involved with end games, including toys, are little and far between.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Women are organizing, amassing behind brands demanding changes like the inclusion of Ray in the Star Wars game sets, or a change in character standing positions in a game. What this means is that change can happen, it just takes voices being heard to change them, that and putting your money where your mouth is.

Now, why should we care about this in writing?

When you find the stories that break these bonds placed on women by the decision makers in society, these gems really stick. Take Fallout 4, you can play as a female lead without the archetypes thrown on you, or Mad Max: Fury Road where women shared the main characters roll and were allowed to be and actively participate in the plot-line, or Voyager, or any Hayao Miyazaki film. These movies show the world that women can be equal and do well in the world as men.

People read, I read, I actually read vasts amounts of materials. I internalize what I read, especially if it's emotional or traumatic. I adjust my opinions from time to time based off of what I read, I also will completely move away from a book that leaves me distressed at the choices a character makes. These character choices affect how women feel about themselves and the choices they make/made currently in their lives and in the future.

Kids read these books, young adults read these books, adults read these books. I personally started consuming books at a rapid place in about 7th grade. I have no idea what my actual number of read books is, but its probably in the thousands especially since I can read about 3 books or more in a week.

Books are a personal experience, an emotional expereince, and through these novels opinions are formed, just like through other media, on how people should act, what is desireable and what isnt's, and how to act between each other.

To read without reflection is like eating without digesting- Edmund Burke

We all reflect when we read to some extent. We internalize what has been written and involve ourselves in the characters lives. While we read, we compare our life experiences to what is happening in the book, we then use both material to reflect on our discussions and that of the author.

A good book makes you want to live in the story, a great books gives you no choice. - Antonymous

If you write a book that indicates one body is better than the other, you ostracize a majority of your readers. If you have a lead character demean another person for their sexual exploits, then you are removing a large group of readers from your material. If you have a character that is never more than a victim and used as a sexual object, you will remove quite a few of your readers.

You the reader, you the writer, have the power to change minds, damage minds, and rebuild minds. Choose your words carefully. The following can be used for any genre, but a few are particularly true for romance, but can sneak in elsewhere in non-romance genres.

How do you know if your writing, or reading material reflects this? Here are a few that I have come across:

Do you introduce your characters by comparing them to their friends, or the stereotype of a group?
Suggest instead just introducing your character on their own figure

Do you put your characters body shape down for being too thin, too thick, too something?
Suggest if they have a body image problem, work it in elsewhere and be sure you don't use their -bodies as a comparison to others unless it is part of a plot point.

Do you imply that people who go past a certain point too soon in a relationship are sluts, or whores?
Suggest that your character is not comfortable going past a specific sexual point in a relationship for their own reasons, and please, do not shame others who chose to go further.

Stating in the beginning of the book that all sex is consensual, and have a scene where no consent is given (verbally or non-verbally) to the sexual experience that occurs.
Suggest including verbal consent (my favorite), or a safety word or action later that gives the person the option of stopping, at the very least provide the reader non-verbal consent before the act. Consent in any form is a must, and personally a deal breaker for me when reading.

Is your hero a stud, with lines of sexual partners under their belt, but their partner is worried that if they sleep with them they'll be a seen as less than/
Suggest instead saying that they will be emotionally devastated if they have sex and then are left. By saying that they will be like all the girls that have gone before implies that anyone who is in control of their sexuality and choose who they do or do not have sex with even for a one night stand is seen as less than or worth nothing. (usually the women are sluts or whores while them men are seen as strong, one sexuality is elevated and confirmed, while the other is put down and seen as less than)

If you have a question on if your work implies sexual biased, suggest switching which character says what, and if it doesn't ring true please change it up!


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Women and Feminism in Writing, Part 1

Declined panel blog post #1. Women and Feminism: How to Create Stronger Characters

Personally I enjoy the Merriam-Webster Dictionary full definition of Feminism which states that Feminism is "the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes."

Why I like this definition so much is that it doesn't single out the dichotomy of two sexes as it does with its 'simple' definition of "the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities."

Why the difference or personal preference? The full definition explicitly states where the equal rights should take place, which in doing so highlights the areas in which their are not equal rights between all sexes. The second definition has more ambiguity, and is harder to pin down where the differences in the power structure exist. Which gets me to the second point, that not all people define themselves as a man or a women, and as such the full definition includes all variances of the sexes, and doesn't exclude others as the simple definition does.

Think of it this way, If I have a bag of skittles and I pick two colors out to be men and women, and they get equal rights, what about the others that aren't included in those two. The problem with the simple explanation is everything is okay if you're one of the two colors, but what if you were a color that was left out? In the past, other colors get additional rights based solely on their arguments that the other excluded colors are not as good as them, and then are allowed into the group, leaving the other colors to fend for themselves, or try and separate themselves from the group in order to gain access.

Now if I take a bag of skittles and say every color has equal rights, none are excluded and left out. There is no need to state, or prove that one color is better than another, and everyone has the same rights, protections, and opportunities as everyone else. So the full definition is my favorite.

Now that we've gotten that taken care of, I'd like to talk about why I was interested in hosting this panel in the first place. I've read many books, so many, where I wonder how and why the sexes are displayed as they are even in future contexts. Men usually save women, women are usually sexual slaves without a choice on who they wish to sleep with, women are still treated as commodities, and the military are all male and still only willing to sleep with women. Scenarios also don't reflect the current statistics today where about 1 in 5 people in the population consider themselves to be gay, and with today's youths displaying more acceptance on gender fluidity, those number will change.

My pitch for the panel was:

This workshop will look into some of the ways you can beef up your female, and male characters to create interactions that go beyond the surface, and provide an underlining respect for their actions. It will discuss ways writing might unconsciously be playing into female and male stereotypes, and ways to keep the characters strong throughout the entire character arc.

I recognize by stating male and female characters, I exclude those who chose not to identify themselves as either, and although I plan on discussing that issue, most of the books written today involved characters that identify as one or the other.

With this panel I wanted to explore how social aspects of our own lives play into character and world building, and how to recognize when it is destroying your characters, and how it helps to build them up. I have this problem myself, unconscious biases are incorporated in our everyday lives, we are bombarded with the stereotype of female and male characters all the time through TV, movies, books, social media, advertising, etc. The skill is catching when this slips into your story, and making the book stronger for it. 

I also wanted to talk about plot devices that usually center against female sexual assault, and how to determine if there is another way to move the story along, or if it is a valuable plot point. I've read some really bad books with sexual assault where it was thrown in there almost on a whim and never dealt with later, and I've read some really great books where it was a major part of the plot-line, character arc, and essential to the story. I want to provide tools for the reader and writer to understand which of these two are being played out in novels. 

I will also go over the, Am I a Lampshade test, and ways to tell if you're playing too much into the stereotypes that your main character has turned into a lampshade that helps to move the story along, or isn't an active part of the solution of the novel. 

These questions to ask yourself when writing or reading a novel can be carried through to any genre out there. I've read regencies where the female characters are an equal in the relationships and story-lines, I've read contemporary fiction where characters are no more than arm candy and can't make a decisions for themselves if their lives depended on it (which in some cases they did). Knowing when to ask yourself for more, or the author for more, is not only helpful in improving writing technique, but being aware of when these issues are also displayed in real life. 

Reading is an active mind exploring device. We take in everything we read, we internalize what is happening with the characters as we feel their emotions, and go through the adventure with them. Having novels that depict women who are equals, who are not used as plot devices, who are actually characters in their own right, is essential to our constantly developing minds and especially to those of our younger readers who develop their own sense of selves while consuming our material.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Revamp/Recreation of Blog

Sadly this year my conference proposals were declined, which means that I get to share them here with you all instead! And of course, try again next year.

I submitted two panel requests, one on Women and Feminism and how to create stronger characters, and the other on Diversity and Race and how to create believable characters. Both are awesome panels, and I can't wait to write about them and see what great panels the conference has in store for us this year. Maybe next year I'll also throw in a prosthetic one or a science fiction one too!

I'll also be share my ideas and references I'm using to discuss possibilities for future applications of new scientific devices and ideas, so I'll have a site to come back to when I question by own thought process later on in my writings.

Keep an eye out for these posts and I'm always up for any suggestions on content.