My Take on Clean Reader

Even though the major debate is mostly over, I’m going to weigh in on the Clean Reader app. Hot topic, there.

So, for those of you who don’t know what it is, let me give a brief explanation. Clean Reader is an app that was created by a Christian couple whose daughter was distressed at the foul language in a book she was reading. You can download this app and use it to read books. It works much like the filters many people use on their television in that it censors out foul language and replaces it with a more G-rated option based in your settings. It even goes so far as to censor the names of certain body parts.

The problem, from what I’ve gathered, is this: the app had a bookstore option. People could buy the books through the app and choose their censor setting. From what I’ve seen, the big deal was that authors felt like Clean Reader was pretty much republishing their altered books without permission. They also felt like it limited their freedom of speech and that if people couldn’t abide the language, go read something else.

Now Clean Reader has retracted the bookstore option after a week of brutal protest and are on their way to an update.

My thoughts, you ask? I straddle the fence on this. Now before you get your panties in a wad, hear me out. As an author myself, I don’t want someone republishing or reworking my stories/poems without permission. Absolutely not. I worked hard on it and I have rights to it. So from that perspective I totally get what all the fuss was about.

On the other hand, I think the idea has potential. As referenced before, many people have devices attached to their TV’s that censor foul language (they’re called TV Guardians, by the way). Where I believe Clean Reader went wrong was in selling the books. What’s so bad about having a censor people can download and use in conjunction with their Kindle or other reading device? Your books may reach more people who were unable to read it before because of the language.

So what’s my final answer? I think Clean Reader is an app that has potential for those who want to use it. Is it for everyone? Nope. Will some people enjoy it? Absolutely. I think where they went wrong is selling the books. As a simple censoring app without the bookstore, I think it has a place for readers who don’t like the language but who want to read your book.

So I’ll say this. The app is out there. It is available. If you want to use it, great. If not, great. Its totally up to you.

Advertisements

I’ve Been Nominated for the Liebster Award!

image

A few days ago, my good friend L. N. Holmes of A Vase of Wildflowers nominated me for the Liebster Award. It’s a cool “chain letter” award that recognizes bloggers and helps others discover new bloggers. So a big thank you to LeeAnn! Here goes!

The Rules:

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

1. thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2. display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)

3. answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

4. provide 11 random facts about yourself.

5. nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)

6. create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

7. list these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)


Now to answer the questions:

1. Name the title(s) of your favorite book(s).

“The Forest of Hands and Teeth” by Carrie Ryan, “A Great and Terrible Beauty” (and the entire series) by Libba Bray, “The Good Earth” by Pearl S. Buck, “The Luxe” (and the entire series) by Anna Godberson, “Intensity” by Dean Koontz, “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, “Water for Elephants” by Sarah Gruen, and the Bible, just to name a few.

2. In your opinion, what came first, the chicken or the egg?

The chicken because simple logic will tell you that an egg has to be incubated in order to hatch. If there was no chicken to sit on that egg, it would have never hatched, thus leaving us without chickens.

3. What’s your favorite knock-knock joke?

One that my fiance Kirk always likes to tell:
Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
(silence)

It makes me laugh every time.

4. What’s your favorite artistic genre?

Writing! I’ve been writing ever since I learned how to hold a pencil and make letters. Second to that would be drawing. Just simple pencil sketches, really. I used to do it all the time, but I haven’t drawn anything in a while. I kind of miss it.

5. What was your favorite game as a kid?

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina or Time. Hands down, best game ever.

6. Name some of your favorite magazines (literary or otherwise).

I don’t read a whole lot of magazines (shame, shame says everyone reading this). I’m more of a book person. My favorite magazine is Fitness and I also enjoy looking through People every now and then.

7. What writing style annoys you the most?

Constant short, choppy sentences. I mean, they’re okay to use some of the time, but I started to read a book where the author wrote almost entirely in fragmented sentences. It drove me nuts and I had to quit. Also, if an author spends too much time on back-story and doesn’t get into the action soon enough. Or if the author excessively “tells” versus “showing”.

8. What writer have you discovered recently?

Well, neither are new by any means, but a few months ago I was reading a lot of Dean Koontz. Now I’m reading my first of Stephen King.

9. Why did you choose to start your blog?

To help get my name out to the public and create a place where people can get to know me, which would be especially helpful after I get published. I’ve never really blogged before, but so far I love it. So now it’s partly for fun too 🙂

10. Who is most likely to achieve world domination?

Me! Haha, no. Arnold Schwarzenegger would be a better bet. I mean, he is the terminator, after all.

11. Explain yourself! Or just give us a quick quip of what makes you, you.

I’m always horrible at this! Haha. Lets see…I’m a writer, Christian, animal lover, and a chocoholic. But out of all of that, my faith is truly what makes me and defines who I am as a person.


11 Random Facts About Me

1. I’m a huge Skillet fan. Seriously. I could listen to their music all day.

2. My first “story” was a take-off of The Black Stallion movie. I was eight when I wrote it.

3. In my life, I have owned some dogs, several cats, some ducks, and a few chickens.

4. I’m really not good at math. At all.

5. I don’t like coffee. I know, that’s a writer stereotype, but I really can’t stand it.

6. My fiance is actually my first (and only!) boyfriend. I didn’t plan to marry my first boyfriend. It just worked out like that.

7. I enjoy writing poetry based on Bible verses. Its kind of like a form of worship to me.

8. I took a horseback riding class in college. It was so much fun! I’ve loved horses ever since I was little.

9. I’m terrified of needles and doctors. Before I even get called back, I’m in tears in the waiting room. And then if I have to have blood drawn, I hyperventilate. No joke.

10. Most people who know me wouldn’t think I enjoy Duck Dynasty, but I do! It’s one of my favorite shows.

11. To that point, I’m not a redneck. I’m a Southern girl. Trust me, there’s a very big difference.


Now for my nominations:

the foot note poet

Danny’s Style

keithgarrettpoetry

Mystical Quill

Rebirth of Lisa


Your questions, if you choose to accept the award:

1. What got you started blogging?

2. What kind of movies/books do you enjoy?

3. What is your favorite pastime?

4. Do you have any pets? If so, what are they and what are their names?

5. What’s the best advice you ever received (about anything)?

6. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

7. Do you write anything else besides blog articles? If so, what?

8. If you could speak to yourself as a child, what would you say?

9. If you could spend the day with any celebrity, who would it be?

10. What is one surprising thing about you that most people wouldn’t know upon meeting you?

11. What is your favorite quote?

Writing Weekend #3

image

So much can be said about a person by their hands. Calluses means he or she works with their hands. A ring can mean that the person is married depending on which finger it is worn on. The color of the skin can be an indicator of ethnicity.

Your assignment, if you haven’t already guessed it, is to describe your character’s hands. Don’t describe the person in any way. Use their hands as a way to discover him or her. Are their hands soft or callused? Do they have dirt under they’re nails or are they manicured? Is their skin soft and smooth or rough and dry? What jewelry are they wearing? Are they big or small?

If you take this challenge, link back to my blog and post a comment telling me you did it. I’m looking forward to reading it. Happy writing!

This is Your Brain on Exercise

image

I recently read an article about exercise and creativity. Simply put, it said that exercise increases divergent (not the movie) and cognitive thinking. They’re pretty similar. Divergent thinking is coming up with multiple solutions to one problem while cognitive thinking is coming up with one solution to a problem.

This got me thinking (ha!). During National Novel Writing Month last year, I hit a wall. Not literally, though I tend to do that sometimes. But my story was stuck and I had about 20k more words to reach the goal, which was 50k. I was still writing faithfully every day, but my characters were wandering through the pages without any real purpose. Actually, they got chatty during that time because I didn’t know what else to do. What I had written of my outline before the challenge started was running out fast and I was desperate for ideas.

I stated in a previous blog post that I’m an avid exerciser. One evening during that time, I went to a Metabolic Effect class and came out with the direction I needed. No lie! What I came up with during that high intensity workout went into the story and it fits so well it a going to make it through the revision process.

How exercise specifically helps the problem solving parts in the brain, I don’t know. But it got me out of my writer’s block that night. It has also proven to be an effective stress reliever. Running kills stress like nothing else.

So the next time you’re stressed or are going through a bout of writer’s block, go for a walk. You don’t have to do something high intensity. A walk through your neighborhood or in the park may be just what you need. Sometimes it helps just to get away from the problem and clear your head for a while.

Scaredy-Dog

image

Meet Dapple. She’s the sweetest, gentlest, most well behaved dog I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning. She’s also terrified of everything. Here are some stories to help you understand. Please remember these are all true and not exaggerated in the slightest.

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Around here, we sometimes are visited by Jehovah’s Witnesses. No big deal. They’ve always been nice and never caused any trouble.

On this particular day, a couple of them stopped by. Mom went to the door and was talking to them. During their conversation, Mom saw movement out of the corner of her eye. Dapple, minding her own business, was bee-boping down the sidewalk to the front of the house when she realized we had company.

She’s very friendly, but something about these visitors signaled danger in her mind. Maybe she envisioned them coming at her with knives or ransacking the house, looking for a dog to kill. Whatever the reason, she froze on the sidewalk. Ever so slowly, she started backing up, never taking her eyes off of them until she was safely around the corner.

She survived a close brush with death that day.

Warm Bread

Dapple is an outdoor girl. On cool days, we like to give her something warm even though she loves cool weather. One day, we warmed up a piece of dry bread so it was barely warm to the touch. In other words, five to ten seconds or so. It was not hot. I repeat, it was not hot.

We went out and gave it to her (she loves any and all food). She took it gladly, but dropped it almost immediately and backed away from it. Nope, she wasn’t doing it. To get away, she made a wide loop around the bread as if it was going to sprout legs and chase after her. Even after it got cold, she wouldn’t touch it.

Eventually, a cat came along and ate it.

Shadows

One sunny day I was inside and happened to glance out the window to see Dapple slinking along in the yard with her tail between her legs, looking behind her every few steps. It was like a monster was stalking her through our yard.

That concerned me, so I tried to find out what was scaring her, but I didn’t see anything. Then it hit me. She kept looking down at her shadow.

The poor thing was literally scared of her shadow.

She has a rough life.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Settle

I meant to post this yesterday for a nice start to the week, but obviously that didn’t happen. So here it is, one day late.

I recently had the chance to hear some authors speak about writing young adult novels. Not only was it informative, it was encouraging too. Hearing how people get published always inspires me, so I wanted to share one story with you.

Stephanie Perkins, author of Anna and the French Kiss, was one of the authors there. Starting out, I didn’t know much about her, but pretty soon she had me hooked because her story is applicable for those of us struggling to break into the writing industry.

Stephanie graduated with a degree in Creative Writing, but when she graduated she got a job at Michael’s. Talk about a bummer! There were no opportunities to use her writing skills there and she was miserable. So she found a new job at a library–a writer’s heaven! Even though it wasn’t her dream of getting published, it was the second best option. But she was still miserable.

Instead of wallowing in her misery and eventually settling for second best, Stephanie took action. She would get home from her library job, sleep a couple hours until her husband came home, write all night, sleep a couple more hours, and then go to work. Yes, she became the grumpy librarian. But you know what? It paid off. She has been published numerous times and has been asked to speak at various places.

So the point of that story is this: you can do it. As long as you believe in yourself and push yourself, you can do it. And this isn’t just for writing. It can be for anything. Whatever your dream is, don’t give up on it because the road looks hard. Sure, it may be tough. You may experience rejection. But keep going.  Don’t settle for second-best. It would be easier, but you wouldn’t be as happy. Remember that even the greats like Stephen King and James Patterson experienced rejection and probably thought about settling at some point in their journey. Now look where they are.

So to keep the warm-fuzzies going, post a comment sharing how the going got rough but you pushed through and made it to the other side. Someone else might just need a little encouragement right about now.

Weekend Writing #2

image

If you have taken literature classes, chances are you’ve read Tim O’Brien’s short story “The Things They Carried”. If not, a very brief summary is this: it’s about several men in the military and what items they are carrying with them. O’Brien uses those items to describe the characters in surprisingly great detail. This is where you’re challenge comes in.

Inspired by true events (i.e. I went shopping), write a brief story about your character going shopping. What does she get? What kind of things is he drawn to but doesn’t want anyone to know? This story can be set anywhere: Wal-Mart, the mall, the grocery store, etc. You may be surprised to find out new things about your character.

If you decide to take the challenge, link back to my blog and send me a comment so I can read it. Happy writing!