Posts Tagged ‘gun control’

I went to a certain event on campus this evening, but I arrived not realizing that while the event is advertised as happening at a certain time, it only really starts much later (a part of me actually knew that, but the part of me that’s a total freak for being on time or missing something won out in the end). The library being nearby, I decided to pop in and check my email before I decided to go home or not. When I logged onto WordPress though, I saw a notification that I had a comment. I checked, and it was from a post I’d commented on a while back.

The post itself had been from a woman who was relating her experiences being sexually assaulted in the work environment, and how several other women she’d worked with had been in the same situation, and the owners of her workplace had tried to sweep it under the rug for the sake of business and for the attackers’ families’ sakes! Naturally, I was upset when I read that post. Sexual assault is a horrific thing that happens to so many people, mainly women but men as well. And what’s just as upsetting to me is not only the act of rape itself, but those who try to cover it up or downplay it or make it seem likes it not a big deal. This sort of conduct not only adds insult to injury to the victims, but it also sends a message, that rape is okay, that the attacker can go on doing whatever because it’s not a big deal, that if we make it into a big deal than it is then innocent people will get hurt and besides, it’s only one measly person who had a bad experience, right?

So I commented on the post. Since so many women had been attacked at this place, I suggested that maybe they band together and bring to the workplace a class-action suit or something, because sexual assault and covering up for it is illegal and a disgusting act to boot. That comment got a few likes during the preceding week or two after I’d read it, but the post got a lot more! Comments, likes, new stories coming out, stories of tragedy and stories of support. One newspaper even did a story on the place, so I’m assuming that got something rolling. At the very least, that place is seeing a lot less business than it had prior to so many women coming out.

Of course, not all of the people commenting have been supportive. The comment I got was from some woman with a generic sounding name. She basically said that while sexual assault was a crime, so was lying about it. That’s it. Lying about sexual assault was a crime.

Now, I’ve seen this sort of behavior before, and I know not to comment lest I end up getting attacked. Heck, I wrote an article on this very subject a while back, so I didn’t want to be a hypocrite by getting confrontational. But I was curious. Maybe because it was supposed to be a woman who commented, maybe it was the subject matter, maybe it was because I was kind of bored and I didn’t want to walk back to my apartment just yet. But I wanted to know who this person was.

So I clicked on the article to familiarize myself with it again. I also viewed my comment in full, as well as the reply comment. And then I started looking through the comment feed, seeing if anyone else had gotten any comments from this person. Sure enough, there were more than a few comments from this person on other people’s comments and they all had a similar message:

  1. Rape doesn’t happen
  2. The women who say they were attacked at this place weren’t attacked. Whatever happened there, they wanted it.
  3. Any woman who says that they were attacked is lying for attention or some other cockamamie reason and they’re the ones being sexist and cruel by calling supposedly innocent men rapists.

Very curious now, I clicked on the person’s username to see their blog. All I got was a bland background. No blog posts at all. Not even a post saying, “Hi, this is my first post. I’m hoping for good things while I write about so-and-so a subject. Please support me and follow me.” I checked the About page as well. Not a single thing.

At this point, any doubt I have has flown out the window. And while I’m not certain if this is someone who’s personally connected to the case and the workplace in question, or just someone who generally feels that they’re being assaulted as a man (yes, I say a man, because based on the language used by this person they’re probably male) by feminists with too much power and really without hacking skills, of which I’m lacking, there’s no real way to find out. But it does tell me something. That whoever this is feels threatened by women who speak out and feminists in general and will go to great lengths to stop it.

As if there weren’t enough obstacles making it seem like a bad idea to victims to speak out. On university campuses, some of which have really bad sexual assault rates, college administrators have mishandled assault cases, expelling or blaming victims and protecting rapists with light or no sentences at all. U Va recently got into trouble for this, and even my dear Ohio State has gotten into a lot of trouble over this. In the justice system, the system that’s supposed to protect us, there are cops, judges, and many more who will say that rape isn’t a big deal or victimhood is a status to be desired or that the victim knew what they were getting into, or that rape has to be “legitimate”. Some of this is even said by politicians at the highest levels of government. And when women speak out, they can face ridicule or disbelief by strangers, acquaintances, or even their friends and family. If their case gets to court, they risk being attacked by lawyers on the stand and disbelieved by juries. There’s a chance the rapist goes free and they have to live with that every day.

In other words, there’s a great fear, and a legitimate fear too, that speaking out will only make things worse.

And it’s the people like my wayward commenter, someone who seems determined to shut up victims and women in general, who are making the situation worse. There seems to be a great terror among certain sections of the population that giving women any sort of equality or power is akin to castrating all men and forcing them to live in a dystopian society where men are slaves to power-hungry lesbian dominatrices. That is simply not true. Feminists (of which I am one) only want women to have the same economic, social, and political rights as men, without taking away men’s rights. But there are those who believe it, and will go to great lengths to make sure women are afraid to speak out or seek equality.

Last month, feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian was sent a threatening letter by a man who claimed that feminists had ruined his life and that if she spoke at Utah State University, he would commit a mass shooting at the event. Because of Utah’s ultra-relaxed gun atmosphere, Ms. Sarkeesian had to cancel the event lest she risk her life and the lives of others. What does Ms. Sarkeesian talk about? Her latest videos, articles, and appearances tend to talk about how women are objectified in video games and seen less as actual people and more as sex objects or devices that (often violently) advance the game’s story.

Violence is a common threat from people who don’t want women speaking out. And while the actual incidences of violence are low, these threats, plus the threat of ridicule, of becoming a punchline in a joke, of being called a money-grubbing slut or a power-hungry feminazi man-hater, makes it much more difficult for many women to speak out. No one wants that sort of attention on them, and for victims of assault, it’s even harder to come out when facing all that.

So what is there to do about it? Well, I’m doing it right now: I’m fighting back. I’m writing an article that exposes what is happening and pushes back against it. And I’m letting people who have been attacked and that are afraid to come out that I’ve got their back. Yes, I’m a man, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe women should be equal in society. Far from it. I’m willing to fight alongside the many women out there who demand to be treated equally and with respect in the world towards men.

So know this, folks. If you’re a woman and/or you’ve been assaulted, know that I support you and I’m there for you. And for those who still think that men are under threat by these women, I’m so sorry you feel this way, but it’s not true and some day I hope you come to this realization.

Thank you, and goodnight, Followers of Fear and everyone else.

Reborn City

I’ve been advertising my novel Reborn City a lot lately (and doubtless I’ll be doing some of that here too), but I thought this was interesting enough that it deserved a blog post.

Near the end of RC, I introduced hoverbikes, motorcycles that, instead of wheels, hover in the air much like the hoverboards seen in Back to the Future Parts II and III. The way they hover is through magnetic plates that act against the magnetic forces in the earth, allowing them to hover. The thing is, neither hoverboards  or hoverbikes exist, so for now they’re still just science fiction.

Or are they?

Last month, tech company Arx Pax unveiled its own hoverboard, which does apparently hover a few inches off the ground. They are currently funding research and construction through a Kickstarter campaign which at this time has surpassed its original goal of two-hundred fifty-thousand dollars and made over four-hundred thirty-six thousand dollars. Backers have the option of getting their own Developers Kit or “White Box”, which allows them to create their own hover devices. Check out their campaign video.

Pretty amazing, isn’t it? Apparently the science behind it also revolves around magnetic forces, though not the same kind that the hoverbikes in Reborn City use. What the Hendo Hoverboard does is manipulate magnetic fields, which creates flux, or changing magnetic fields. In conductive surfaces like metals, it creates current, and according to a law known as Lenz’s Law, the current will create its own magnetic field which will act in opposition to the original flux. With enough flux, the magnetic fields will repel each other and, in the case of the Hendo Hoverboard, cause it to levitate (thanks to the Nerdist channel for explaining this to me. Click here for their video explaining the concept of the Hendo Hoverboard).

Now, the Hendo Hoverboard does have its limitations. It can only work on certain circumstances, it’s loud, and it has a short battery life. But part of the hopes of its creators, as expressed in the video above, is that people who buy a Developer Kit will be able to make breakthroughs and develop the technology further. With technology progressing in amazing new ways each and every day, and with people in high school developing amazing new programs or devices (like this kid who developed his own smart gun) we could be seeing new developments in this field within the next decade or so, enough that Wikipedia might stop calling hoverborads a”fictional device”.

And since Reborn City takes place in the year 2056, or about 41 years from when those first developer kits get shipped, there’s plenty of time to fine-tune the technology and find new applications for it, including in creating hoverbikes. Perhaps even utilizing the design that I made for the ones in Reborn City.

Below I’m including an excerpt from RC featuring the first appearance of the hoverbikes, which will also feature in the sequel Video Rage. If you’re interested in checking out RC, it’s on sale through Friday on Amazon and Smashwords, and there’s still a giveaway to participate in for a free copy. Hope you like what you read, Followers of Fear. And I’ll try to stop myself from talking anymore about RC till Friday, but I make no promises. HYDRAS!


 

When they were all safely inside, Harvey closed the door and pointed to a row of crates sitting under a single, unlit light bulb. The crates, five in all, were large and rectangular, and were marked with big red letters that read HEAVY BULK OBJECT.

            “D’ya guys want help openin’ ‘em up?” asked Harvey.

            “I got it.” said Rip. Extending his claws, he went to the crate closest to him and cut through the nails holding one of the sides to the rest of the crate. The wooden side fell with a loud clatter, revealing the hoverbike inside. It looked like a regular motorcycle, except it seemed more box-like and instead of wheels had two half-circle panels at each end. The entire thing had been painted black, even the handles and panels.

            “Huh.” said Rip. “I thought it’d be mo’ showy.”

            “Them rich kids prob’bly wanted to do the paint job,” said Fox. “Give it their own gang colors an’ shit.”

            Iori scoffed. “Never say ‘gang’ an’ ‘rich kids’ in the same sentence.”

            With Harvey’s help, Rip lifted the hoverbike up and out of the crate. The key, a small plastic rod with an electronic laser identification tag at the end, was wrapped around one of the handles with a small metal chain. Unwrapping the chain from the handle and setting the key in the ignition, Rip tried to start up the engine.

            There was a loud rumbling sound from within and the hoverbike rose a foot and a half into the air, bobbing slightly where it stopped. From beneath the panels there was a faint blue glow, probably from the magnets, Zahara guessed. Everyone around Zahara gasped and stared at the hoverbike.

            “Wow.” said Ilse. “’Kind of ‘em to put the gas in ‘fore we needed ‘em.”

            “Y’all mind if I test it out fo’ ya guys?” asked Harvey.

            “Be our guest.” said Rip, gesturing to the bike.

            Harvey swung his foot over the hoverbike and sat in the seat. It dipped slightly but other than that did not react to the new weight that had been added to it.

            Harvey sat there for a second, looking like he was trying to get his excitement under control. “Alright.” he said. “Now how the fuck d’ya drive this thing—?” Harvey twisted the throttle and the hoverbike sped forward. He lost his grip and fell off the bike, landing in Rip’s arms with a loud grunt. Both of them fell to the ground, neither really hurt but both looking shaken. A few yards away the hoverbike had come to a stop, hovering serenely as if nothing had happened.

            “Shit.” said Harvey.

            “That bastard’s gonna take some practice.” Rico observed, looking at the bike.

            Zahara was still staring at it, not really listening to the others. She had seen what Harvey had done and thought that if he had just twisted the throttle slowly and hadn’t tried to move too quickly, he wouldn’t have fallen off the bike.

            I have to try it out. she thought, feeling like she was being drawn to it. I just have to know if I’m right. Before she realized it, Zahara was striding towards the bike and swinging her leg over the seat.

            “Zahara?” said Alto, and Zahara knew without looking that all the others were watching her. “What’re ya doin’?

            “Babe, are ya crazy?” said Ilse. “Ya can’t just get on the bike an’ expect t’ get it right on the first try when we haven’t even tested it out—!”

            But she ignored them. Bending over the handlebars, she twisted the throttle slowly. The bike sped forward, going at a pace that was slower than what had it had been going when Harvey had gotten on but still pretty fast. Feeling the air whipping around her, Zahara timed a turn and spun to the left as the wall neared. Navigating the maze of boxes and crates, she reappeared in front of the Hydras, braking with ease.

            Only when she looked at the others and saw their mouths hanging open did she realize what she had done: she had ridden a hoverbike without any previous practice and made it look easy. She looked at all of them, then at the bike, then back to the rest of them again.

            Finally Miguel closed his mouth and said, “Well, whaddya know? The chica’s a gangsta after all.”

            “Yeah.” said Owl. “The riding-a-hoverbike-like-it’s-easy-as-pie type of gangsta.”

            “Wow Zahara.” said Ilse, and Zahara felt herself glowing with pride and accomplishment.

Tonight is the last night of summer break, right before the new semester starts. Later I’ll be cracking open a beer and savoring what will most likely be the end of my last summer break before heading to bed. And all around Ohio State, all around Columbus, all around Central Ohio and even farther beyond, many OSU students will be doing the same or similar things, finding ways to relax and get mentally prepared for 16 weeks of classes, studying, part-time jobs, campus events, clubs, trying to eat healthy, not fall off the wagon, maybe talk to that special person you keep seeing around campus and maybe see if a romantic relationship is in the cards.

What none of us want to have to hope for though, is something that we should all be hoping and working actively towards: a year without school shootings.

I know that’s a somewhat silly thing to hope for. According to StopTheShootings.org, since 1992 we’ve had 387 school shootings in the United States since 1992, or about 17.6 a year. Most of the shooters tend to be between the ages of 10 and 19, the same age as a majority of victims. And children ages 5-14 are apparently thirteen times more likely than children from other industrialized nations to be murdered by guns. Statistically speaking, we’re up against some tough odds.

So what can we do to minimize shootings? I do not feel that making guns easier to get hold of is a very good option. Do we fight arsonists by lighting fires ourselves? Or do we stop thieves by stealing from them? Clearly not. Improving mental health is one option that has been advocated for (and is the only one Congress has actually gotten their lazy butts up to pass). Still, mental health won’t make the problem go away. We hear reports every day from Chicago of inner-city violence being committed with guns. In fact in the past twenty-four hours 2 people died and ten wounded from guns. Clearly, not everyone in Chicago who’s fired a gun is mentally unstable or challenged, so more must be done.

Clearly, no one wants to think of a campus like this as the possible scene of a shooting. But nevertheless, reality dictates we consider the possibility for our own safety and the safety of others.

Another option is placing some limitations on what is portrayed in the media. As much as I hate to admit it, there has been correlations between amount of violent content taken in while watching TV or playing video games and aggression. However, that is only showing the correlation between violent content and aggression, not gun violence. People who get aggressive playing games don’t necessarily become killers, and violent content doesn’t always lead to thoughts of murder, if it ever does. Or in short, correlation doesn’t mean causation. Not to mention that media is often a reflection of the society it is created in, so it seems unfair to artists who are trying o create a harmless representation of their worlds because it might contribute to real world problems. And if we were to police media that could cause violent conduct, we’d have to start with the Bible, because long before guns became an issue, the Bible was encouraging people to kill in the name of God, and in far greater numbers.

A third option is placing limits on guns, where they can be sold or distributed, what sort of guns are available, and where they can be openly carried or who can carry them. Studies show that states with stricter laws of this type have lower rates of murders or suicides because of guns than states without them. And a vast majority of Americans support laws like universal background checks, even within the NRA. And in Australia, the number of mass shootings fell steeply after they initiated a ban on automatic weapons. Clearly placing restrictions such as these might be helpful in reducing gun violence.

We don’t want to see any more memorials like this one created after Sandy Hook, do we?

Sadly, there’s a huge lobby against stricter gun regulations in the United States, and more laws seem to have been passed that have eased gun restrictions rather than tightening them. I don’t want to go into the arguments these lobbies have given against tighter regulations, but it is troubling that a lobby made up of companies that sell guns are advocating for laws that will increase their sales. The best way to combat this sort of lobbying might be in cutting corporate influence in elections and lobbying, but of course that is another difficult and controversy-fraught issue altogether, so I won’t delve into that either.

Finally, some have suggested training school officials in firearms or hiring full-time security guards. While I’m sure there are teachers who would be willing to be trained in firearms and keep them in the classroom, I’m sure there are plenty of teachers who would not feel comfortable with firearms in the same building as them, let alone in the same classroom. Some would even refused to be trained. And even if there were teachers or faculty willing to be trained and keep guns in the classroom or office, there are security risks to this method, especially if students were to get their hands on the guns. And while I like the idea of a trained officer or several on campus to protect students, some school districts do not have the funds to pay for a full-time security guard. And in overcrowded school districts, particularly ones with histories of gang violence, it’d be difficult to check students each and every day for firearms.

Perhaps the best option would be a combination of all of these. Sure, implementing any ofthem would require a lot of work, cooperation, dedication, and compromise on the parts of several people and parties, but in the end, a combined approach to a problem often yields more results than a singular approach (especially if that approach features some major logic flaws). And in the end, working together might bring together this highly fractured country and make it a bit more unified than it’s been in recent years.

So let us work together. Let’s stop the partisan and ideological bickering to start working on a solution to a horrific problem. Eighteen shootings are supposed to happen this year. That’s eighteen tragedies we can avoid. Even doing minor things like teaching children about gun safety or by forming neighborhood watches can do worlds of good. Because our children, and the nation at large, deserve so much better than another Virginia Tech, Columbine, or Sandy Hook. At least, that’s what I think, as I hope and pray for a school year without a shooting.

Please note that I will be screening comments for this post, so be aware that any comments that I find insulting, unacceptable, or off-topic will be deleted immediately. Thank you for your participation in this ongoing discussion.

As of last night, I’m a little more than halfway through editing Video Rage, the sequel to my first novel Reborn City. It’s been a long and slow process, not helped by work, preparing for the new semester, and the general craziness of life itself. Still, I am making progress. And I have become a bit more cognizant of the fact that I like to make issues that are important to me part of the stories that I write.

I’ve mentioned this before, but RC and its sequel VR have a lot of themes in them that reflect societal problems we face today, including Islamophobia, racism, and drug addiction, among a few others. I thought that these were the only book I’ve written where these issues have become so embedded within the story’s narrative, but then I realized that wasn’t the case. Snake, my other novel, explores the trade in human beings and in flesh, albeit slightly less prominent due to the focus on a certain serial killer.  And Laura Horn, the novel I finished last month, stars a main character who suffers from the trauma of sexual assault. Even Rose, the novel I’ll be writing for my thesis, has a lot of themes reflecting issues that I find important, including gender dynamics and women being viewed solely for their biology, domestic abuse in relationships, and even gun violence*.

*Speaking of which, I have a post about that. Remind me to write about it later this week.

I think I write in all these themes into my stories for a number of reasons. One is because a lot of what I write is taken from today’s world. You look around you, and you’ll see the world plagued by many issues that are not easy to solve and nowhere close to being solved. Often I will write a story and the problem can either be inserted into the story or it just evolves its way in, showing up throughout the story. Another reason is that, as an author, I have the potential to influence plenty of people through the words I write and the stories I tell. If I can do some good through that, then why shouldn’t I? Third, sometimes you feel so upset about the problems yourself you can only vent about them through words on paper, which is something I sometimes do. And fourth, because I can.

In any case, I look upon this habit of mine as beneficial. Like I said, inserting issues such as racism, gun violence, LGBT rights or whatever into my stories has the potential to perhaps do some good in the world and allow for discussion that sometimes is stifled out of fear or because of strong emotions (or because being politically correct can make you feel like you’re walking on eggshells). And besides, I think it makes the plots of my stories much better. Rose originally didn’t have the gun violence aspect to it, but when I realized that it could make things in the story more interesting and allow me to flesh out the main character more, I decided to go with it, and with fantastic results too.

And if the reviews I’ve gotten on my books are any indication, people like my books better because I add in these issues.

Do you insert issues important to you in your stories? What issues and how do you put them in? What have the reactions been like?

It seems easy these days to get caught up in all the horrors and tragedies going on lately and feeling hopeless and depressed over it. Right now in the Middle East, two wars are going on, each a continuation fo a longstanding conflict that is older than most of the readers on this blog. Go up north, and you’ll see a huge superpower that is making aggressive moves at its neighbors in order to reassert itself as a once feared and respected empire. And then come home to the United States, where the federal government resembles more of a daycare full of squabbling children than a functioning body of elected officials. We’ve got continuing problems with immigration, gun violence, police abuse, the wage gap, and more problems than I care to put in this post, all with no end in sight. Add to that the recent deaths of so many people, some of whom died before their times and under tragic circumstances, and it feels easy to give into despair.

But it’s in these times that we must look to the good and remember all that we have to be thankful for. Sure, my home country of the USA is far from perfect, especially on the federal level, but it is a country with plenty of opportunities. I’ve been able to take advantage of those opportunities, getting a quality education that I’ll finish up this coming May with my college graduation (any further education will be several years down the road if I decide to pursue it), and while receiving this education, I was able to receive counseling that allowed me to learn how to interact with people and get along (a subject which confused me growing up and still confounds me sometimes). And if that was not enough, I’ve been able to pursue my passions and publish three books, with another one recently finished, another one in the editing stages, and a sixth planned for this school year. Am I making lots of money each month? No, but that doesn’t stop me from working hard and making my dreams come true.

I’m also blessed to have a loving, if somewhat kooky family, great friends, and the near-guarantee that they won’t be suddenly taken away from me (it could happen, but it’s not likely). I also have a steady job that allows me to pay my bills and afford the things I need to get by, and I have taken part in programs that will help me find a job after graduation.

And I’ve been lucky enough to travel to other countries, Israel the summer before my senior year of high school and England, France, and Germany this past May. And there’s a chance (slight, but there), that I could go abroad again in the coming years, God willing.

And that’s not all. There are stories appearing in the world every day that makes life seem magical. A man in Florida graduated from college with a 4.0 GPA in business, all while battling cancer he’d had since he was 18. A dog whose hair was so overgrown you couldn’t tell which end was the front got her hair cut off and is now getting adopted. And my friend Matt Williams tells me that scientists have developed a new method for finding people more predisposed to commit suicide, so maybe someday we can make suicide a less common problem in the world. Even with the dark stuff, there’s still room for the light.

Look around you. What are you thankful for? What’s good in your life? Your friends and family? Your job or school? Is there someone or something that makes you forget all the bad and feel at peace? Did something come in for you at the library or in the mail that you’ve been waiting for a long time? Is it a book by me, by any chance? If it is, you might have just made my day.

When you think about it, you can find plenty more reasons to be happy than to be sad. So keep strong and never stop hoping and looking for a better tomorrow. I know life isn’t always easy. For some, it’s a constant hell. But we’re human beings, and while we’re capable of great horrors, we’re also capable of great good, and of being able to find the silver lining in any grey cloud.

So if events around the world have you stressed out, take a moment to reflect on the good. You may just find your stress and sadness floating away.

I’ll eave you with this video by the immensely talented singer Alex Boye. From the moment I saw it, I knew it was an incredible video with the power to help so, so many people. Check it out for yourself. You might just ind yourself perking up a little. I know I do when I watch this video. Especially shots with the special guest star of the video. You might recognize him. He’s quite the famous anchorman.

Part of my research for my thesis/new novel Rose was that I had to look into the life of a sociology grad student, because my protagonist Rose Taggert is one. Well, was one. I mentioned when I first announced what I was working on that Rose died and was resurrected by her stalker, didn’t I?

Anyway, since my knowledge of sociology was limited to the introductory course I took last year, I decided to contact the sociology department at Ohio State to see if they could maybe help me. After first heading to their main office, and then getting redirected to their undergraduate advising office, I talked over email with one of the advisers, who then told me to email their graduate adviser Kelly Hopkins (boy, was that a little roundabout). After a couple of emails to determine when was a good time to meet, we finally agreed to meet at nine this morning, and I made the trip onto campus. Once back in the same office I started in, I was taken to Ms. Hopkins room (no idea if she’s married, so I’ll just go with “Ms.” for now), where she was all too happy to give me an explanation of what the sociology grad program was like after I explained to her about my protagonist Rose.

We spoke for a little under a half hour, Ms. Hopkins doing most of the talking while I asked a question here and there. Turns out that sociology grads at Ohio State spend their first two years earning their Masters degrees, after which they take very intense candidacy exams to enter the PhD program. At that point they start taking specialized courses for PhD students, as well as taking specialized courses for their area of specialization and working on their dissertation. The grad students spend a lot of time together in classes and in their offices together, usually becoming lifelong friends by the time they graduate. They also develop close relationship with their faculty advisers, and many of them have the chance to teach during their tenure as grads.

Based on this information, I was able to get a clearer picture of who Rose will be and what her grad life was like prior to the events of the novel. She’s probably in her third year of grad school, so she’s about six months into the PhD program. She is specializing in criminology and community studies, particularly studies involving gun violence, and was probably either a GTA working underneath a professor in an introductory course or already a PhD student teaching a class of her own when she met the student who would become her stalker, depending on how long ago I end up wanting them to meet and the latter becoming fixated on her.

I’m glad I was able to meet with Ms. Hopkins and speak with her today. I know Rose’s life as a grad student isn’t the most important part of the novel, but it’s one I wanted to seem authentic to readers. Besides, it’d be a little bit embarrassing if a sociologist or sociology student read Rose when it came out and was like, “What the heck sort of program is this girl in?” Always glad to have the details right.

I also learned something interesting from Ms. Hopkins: when I told her that my work was heavily influenced by Stephen King, she mentioned that she had a friend who was a make-up artist for horror movies and had worked on a few Stephen King adaptations of King’s work, including The Shining, and knew King personally. Apparently King’s a very nice, sweet guy in person (doesn’t surprise me; we horror authors usually are, though at one point I thought I needed to be a little bit creepier in order to be a better author). I ended up handing Ms. Hopkins two of my business cards so that she could pass them onto her friend (and maybe even King. Do I dare dream of it?). Hopefully at least one of them will go online and check out my work.

Well, that’s all for now. I’m going to do some more work on my thesis outline later today. At this point I think I might be done by the end of the week, with about thirty or so chapters. I’m still not sure where eactly this novel is going, but so far I like what I’ve come up with and I think my adviser might as well. I’ll keep you guys updated.

Have a great day, everyone!

snake

How far would you go for love and revenge?

Last night while I was out seeing Guardians of the Galaxy (which was a great film, by the way), a new review of Snake was posted on Amazon. I’m very excited and happy for this review, because reviews let me know what the readers think of the book and gives me feedback on where I can improve with the next book.

Today’s review comes from Gefilte63, which means it’s from my dad. Now before you roll your eyes and think to yourself, “Obviously he gave his son a glowing review”, I think you’ll find my dad can be quite the book critic (and critic of a bunch of other things, but I’ll save that for my stand-up comedy act). His four-star review, which he entitled A great story, a real page turner, goes like this.

This novel is a much easier read than the author’s last effort. It is a great story that keeps you wanting to see what happens next; it reads like an action/thriller movie.
Areas for improvement would include better editing. At times there is too much conversation where it isn’t necessary. Also a few plausibility issues but overall a great read!

Okay, remember when I said reviews give me feedback on where I can improve? Well, apparently I need to do a better editing job next time around. And apparently there are plausibility issues (I’m thinking he’s talking about parts in the latter half of the book), so I’ll try and make sure that’s less of a problem in the future (though if I could point out, sometimes a lot of things in life are implausible but are reality nonetheless. I mean, have you seen our gun situation?).

Anyway, I would like to thank my dad, Rabbi Michael Ungar, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to not only read Snake but to write a review for it. I hope in the future you continue to read, enjoy, and review my books.

If you would like to learn more about Snake, you can check out the page for Snake or you can check it out on Amazon and Createspace. And by the way, this week until August 9th, all e-books of my work, Snake included, are only $0.99 when you download them. So now’s a great time to check them out!

And I’ll be seeing about getting my books onto other formats like NOOK and iTunes soon, so stay posted for information about that.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ve got some work to take care of, so I’m going to get on that. Have a good day, my Followers of Fear!