Kneeling in Empathy and Justice for All, the Debate Continues

stars-and-stripes flag
Image of Stars and Stripes found on pexels.com

I will start by saying this.

It is up to you if you want to kneel or slam a hand over your heart reverently when  patriotic words are sung or when a flag is flown.

Who the heck is losing sleep over this mess?

Not I.

You cannot tell people how they should react to a song or a thing.

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This morning I was watching Brain Games on Netflix. The episode was called “Anger” and it was the experiment with two Capuchin monkeys that got me to thinking that we truly are ass backwards when it comes to understanding justice.

If you have compassion and empathy, then the true meaning of justice will not escape you.

A Grape for Your Troubles

In the experiment, both monkeys were caged up and fed cucumbers.

Suddenly, the scientist feeds the monkey on the right juicy, sweet red grapes while still giving cucumbers to the other on the left.

When the monkey on the left saw that the monkey on the right was receiving something sweet to taste without having to do anything for it, the next time the woman tried to feed it cucumbers, he bit it and threw it at her.

Then he proceeded to bang a rock against a cage, while the other monkey was quiet and content, eating juicy grapes.

What was happening here?

One was given better treatment than the other. The other turned “mean”, “angry”, “protested”. I had to ask myself a deep, honest question: Should I be angry at the angry Capuchin?

I could say yes, simply because of its reaction.

But truthfully, I get it. Why was it being treated unfairly to begin with?

The Equation of Inequality

In the land of opportunity, we all have the capabilities to earn. As a black woman I understand I have to use my mind and work ten times harder than non-blacks to grab opportunity, but also realize I will(not might), but will face discrimination in some form on this planet.

Do all blacks experience this? Of course not.

But is it fair to do this to anyone?

This is what black people hear: “I see you. I destroy you and your kind+ Your angry reaction= Very unpatriotic.”

It is problematic to have a conversation about kneeling during the National Anthem. In a land built on freedoms, I think kneeling is the least of our worries.

I may live here and like it here in America better than most places, but that does not excuse America’s treatment of its black and brown people. It is disgusting and inhumane.

The Capuchin monkey experiment reveals that those treated unfairly have the natural instinct to protest and become angry. In fact, there other problems stinking up our world and people are upset about those things as well. Taking a peaceful stand against it, is not and should not be problematic.

Let’s play Devil’s Advocate, shall we?

Perhaps those who are very patriotic feel that this nation has given and fought for so much. A cab driver told me yesterday that blacks are in the military, entertainment, sports and everywhere else. Why can’t we be happy?

I told him he is right to think along those lines. I can not argue that we have definitely come a long way as African Americans. I also agree there are problems, deep seated ones in our communities.

I come from a patriotic, voting, very American family so I understood his feelings.

However and again, in recent events with cops shooting unarmed black therapists, book readers, and people in stalled cars I have to call bullocks on it. Should I really pledge allegiance now? At this time?

Does the National Anthem really represent me? Right now? At this time?

Tough questions all Americans are starting to ask themselves.

Chris Rock had put it this way years ago: “If you are black, then you have to look at America differently. America is like the uncle who raped you, but paid your way through college.”(I am paraphrasing here)

I hope I did not offend anyone in this post and if I did…

Let’s discuss it.

I welcome your thoughts🙂

Ericajean

 

 

 

It’s YA Summer Recap and a Reveal of My Favorite Book

Vacation Holiday
Source: unsplash.com

Intended audience: bloggers, bookworms, teens and young adults, authors

I’d just like to say I had an amazing summer reading YA fiction. I’ve discovered some amazing books this year and I hope to do this and similar blog posts in the near future.

So here is a wrap up of what’s been going on with this bookworm and the reveal of what my favorite book of the summer was. Can you guess?

First, summer kicked off with Hidden Monster written by Amanda Strong earning 4.5 stars for originality and for prompting my love of dragonflies all of a sudden(hint, hint). It had all I needed in a story: love, science fiction, and fantasy. Definitely good.

Click here to discover my favorite book/author of the summer!

Remember to Forget by teen author Ashley Royer ,had sweetness, pain and all of the fixins’ for a popular read. In that story, a boy loses his girlfriend in an accident and he no longer speaks. He later meets a girl just like her…

Next, things get interesting with the promotion of Weight and See by Sienna Dance. A teenaged girl tries to lose weight and falls for her bully at the same time. This is a light hearted, yet beautiful story of love and triumph anyone would love.

To make your summer even more enjoyable, I posted up links to FREE YA eBooks you can download right away and start reading!

Things take a fantastic turn with Trish Marie Dawson’s The Station Series, beginning with Dying to Forget(Book 1). Such a thoughtful premise about a young girl who dies and finds herself in the afterlife at The Station where she must become a Volunteer to help the living -by becoming their conscious. The romance and the plot is on point, folks!

Next, I take up a controversial topic asking “What’s up with African American fiction?” I try to make a bold case as to why most YA novels featuring black people are seemingly not as popular.

After that post, I read and reviewed a few more of Trish Marie Dawson’s novels and had the privilege of interviewing her about her Station series, because I am seriously addicted to that world she has created. To learn about her books and read the reviews, you can check out her interview here.

Finally, I took trip back in time you guys!

Yep, I read and reviewed the juicy, totally awesome ’80s novel Melt With You by talented author, Addison Moore. She is another author my sister and I favor. In this story, a teen has a crush on the hottest guy in school and when he accidentally hit her with his truck, he is stuck with caring for her. Sure he has a hot girlfriend, but the parks are beginning to fly between him and the “nice” girl…

I am sad to have YA summer reading end like this, but I promise more books from all genres and subcategories, more writings from around the web, and more!

Now how can you make this post even more special?

Like, subscribe, share, and comment to keep the conversation going. I can’t do it by myself folks!🙂

Thanks!

Ericajean for The Write Web

Dying to Return by Trish Marie Dawson(a review)

Dying to Return by Trish Marie Dawson
Dying to Return by Trish Marie Dawson

Dying to Return(The Station, Book 3), Trish Marie Dawson

Amazon eBook Edition(2016)

Read on the Kindle App

5 Stars

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Intended audience: Bookworms, book reviewers, suicide survivors, teens, young adults, librarians, Trish Marie Dawson fans

This book was delicious, sincere, enlightening and whatever good and wise adjective you can come up with. I really have been enjoying the Station Series by Trish Marie Dawson this summer and feel I have learned a great deal.

After Piper Willow dies, she finds herself at the station as a Volunteer, helping the living by inhabiting their consciousness and encouraging them to make the right decisions.

In the midst of her helping, she finds out she has an interesting gift as a Seer and by the end of Book 2, she leaves Sloan and Niles to go with the dangerously beautiful Andurush, to receive training and also to learn a bit more about Andurush’s(Rush’s) world.

And this is where Dying to Return, picks up. Piper experiences many emotions all at once and even finds herself confused as to whom she should love, because while her heart is with Sloan back at the Station, she feels it being tugged in another direction…

And this part as well as other parts of the story is what will keep you up at night reading.

Check out the really cool interview I had with Trish Marie Dawson recently!

My Reaction:

All of Trish’s books so far have helped me to understand more about people and their choices and why the Station is created. As Piper learns eventually,

The Station…it’s a place that moves us from one way of living to another. That’s all.”(location 1788 of eBook)

It is not just a place where the dead goes.

This book tugged on my tear ducts. The beauty of the writing and the character of Andurush grew on me. I did not like him in the second book because I was unsure of what he was and he did come off as pompous.

But the banter between him and Piper lights up the page and his interaction with his family softened me up a bit towards him.

The description of his home planet is plain gorgeous. Movie worthy.

Now, the issue of dying and suicide plays a big role in The Station Series. I like how Trish used her imagination and research together to create memorable moments and thought provoking ones.

A few unlikely reunions happens in this book that shocked me, and the book made me miss my father and mother in law who passed away some time ago. Not from suicide, but reading The Station gives me hope that they are somewhere else, still “living” but in a new way.

Love isn’t meant to be easy. Even after you die.”(Location 1696 in eBook)

IMPORTANT Side Bar Note and FYI:

Trish Marie Dawson has a lot of fans and great reviews of her books. But one of her blog posts caught my attention last night. A reviewer thought that Trish was glorifying suicide in her books and I’d like say that if you read all of her books in The Station series, that is far from the truth.

The Station series has not glorified suicide AT ALL. If anything, the hard childhoods of many of the characters and the difficult choices and pain they faced leading up to their suicide, creates a big heartbreak after killing themselves.

Her young mind had no idea one little bullet would steal her away from the short life she was given-forever.”(quote from Dying to Return)

Trish’s books have taught me to empathize with people when they are going through.

And if you want to know the key themes that stick out in Book 3, it is Love and Forgiveness(Redemption). Those are very powerful ideas.

In sum, this is a wonderful series and I will be getting Book 4, Dying to Know really soon!

Please share this post and/or discuss it. I’d love to hear from other bookworms and the general audience on this topic!

 

Interview With Trish Marie Dawson

It’s Ya Summer continues now with the wonderful, talented author, Trish Marie Dawson! Author of The Station Series. Book 4: Dying to Know is currently out.

I am so blessed she agreed to do this. Thanks, Trish!

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The Write Web: Hi, Trish! It is so nice to finally pick your brain about The Trish Marie Dawson CollageStation series and writing in general. It is such an interesting novel dealing with romance and the afterlife, and so much more- where did the concept originate?

Trish Marie Dawson: Hi Erica, thanks for having me! Working on the Station books have been quite an adventure to write; I’m happy you’ve enjoyed Piper’s story so far.

Most of my books start from a combination of strange dreams and life experiences, and the same is true for the first Station book, Dying to Forget.

TWW: What really grabbed my attention is the very first chapter when Piper is with a guy and he harms her…How difficult was it to write that scene?

TMD: The beginning of DtF is hard to read for most people, but it’s a sad fact that sexual assault is a real problem for our youth. As are the other issues brought up in the series like bullying and of course, suicide.

I don’t think mental health is discussed nearly enough, nor the topics brought up after Piper naively drinks from that red cup. Those scenes were very difficult to write, but unfortunately, they happen to others like Piper every day.

My hope though, is that readers will take away something positive from the read, which is also heavy on humor.

TWW: After reading Dying to Forget, I had to buy the second book immediately! Piper seems to be the “Every Girl” type who experiences a lot in high school, including tragedy.  But the book does focus on some serious issues: Rape, suicide, cyber bullying…What kind of research if any did you have to do for this work?

TMD: There’s a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of Dying to Forget, so it’s a good thing that the second is out there and ready to read! lol Research on the topic of suicide and assault is pretty depressing, which I did online, and chatting with others, on top of my own life experiences.

A staggering amount of teens and young adults are depressed, or suffer from clinical depression, which is something that shouldn’t be taboo, but is. Since I write about the subject, I wanted to make sure I did my homework and got the stories right.

Yes, I cried. A lot. I still do, even for the fictional characters I created and tortured, but the upside is that people can heal with the right support system. I want readers to know they are never alone.

TWW: I am beyond excited for the next books in this series! But for those who have not read the book, how would you describe the series in one or two sentences?

TMD: I can’t wait to hear back from you after you’ve continued reading! Please let me know what you think.🙂 Piper Willow is an ordinary girl who dies the summer after she graduates from high school, but wakes up in an extraordinary afterlife place called the Station. She’s offered the chance to make amends for her choices by helping others in need, but not without a price.

I like to tell people that though this story addresses some heavy issues, I want them to walk away from it with a little more hope than they may have had before.

TWW: I have to admit. I am a Sloan fan(swoon much?). It takes incredible talent to write the way you did when Piper was in Sloan’s mind. It felt real.  Was the twist in the end of Book 1, intentional?(wink, wink)

TMD:  I love Sloan Nash! He’s a sexy, yet damaged young man that I think most of us just want to see heal and move on to be a happy person. The ending of the story was intentional and necessary for both characters, but really all of the characters have a reason for being in the books. I won’t say more, because you know…spoilers! 

TWW:  I read on your website you were inspired after reading Stephen King’s The Stand, which is a powerful movie/book by the way. What other writers influence you and who are your favorite authors?

TMD: Oh, Stephen King. He’s a master storyteller and I love his classic work. Most of what I read in the 90’s was a combination of King and Koontz books, so I do love the darker arts.

I’m not really a horror writer myself, so it’s funny that most of what I write now is primarily YA or Dystopian. lol I think everything I’ve ever read has made an impact on my own writing, and writing something unique in your own voice can be hard, but I try my best to do so.

I’m an avid reader, so I know what it’s like to pick up a book and put it down because you feel as if it’s already been done before. The afterlife is nothing new in the book world, of course. But I created the Station out of my mind and put it together over four books sort of like a puzzle. I’m proud of that, and love when I hear from readers that they’ve not read anything quite like it.

Since publishing my first book, I made it a point to start reading outside my normal favorite genres, which means I don’t have a favorite author anymore, but several. And, being an Indie, I try and read as much of my writer friends’ works as I can. 

TWW: What is your writing routine like? And are you a morning or night writer?

TMD: Writing routine, what’s that? LOL Just kidding. Kinda. After I research a book and begin the actual writing process, I need to do so with relative quiet and little interruptions. But I’m married with two kids and three dogs and a cat that thinks he’s a dog, which means my house is never quiet.

If it weren’t for early bedtimes, headphones and lots of wine and chocolate, I wouldn’t be able to finish one paragraph. Once I’m in the groove though, when I write doesn’t matter. I finished the fourth Station book (Dying to Know) at a Starbucks just shy of closing time, but if morning time works, and I’m left alone long enough to finish a thought, I’ll do my best to knock out some serious wordage till life intervenes.

TWW: The Station Series deal with more than just “earthly” issues. Since none of us living folk know about the afterlife, we rely on stories, movies, others accounts and sometimes our beliefs intermingle with it. I will not ask your beliefs about the afterlife, but what do you hope audiences take away from these books?

TMD: One of the most amazing things about reading is how each reader creates their own interpretation of the story. I’ve had readers send me messages thanking me for the Station, because now they imagine their child, a victim of suicide, out there somewhere helping others. Obviously, the Station is a fictional place, but for some readers, it’s very real.

For this story, there is no need to bring any religion into the plot, which was intentional. I want everyone to be able to read it and form their own opinions and thoughts, regardless of what they do or do not believe in. We are all energy, of course, so even for the hardcore Athiest, I think they can read through Piper’s journey fulfilled. There’s no harm is walking away from a story asking, ‘What if?’

One of the most amazing things about reading is how each reader creates their own interpretation of the story.

TWW: Which character was most fun to write? The least?

TMD:  All my babies are fun to write, but some are definitely harder than others. Piper Willow is a complex and beautiful mess. Bringing her full circle through the last four books was a challenge, so I’d say that writing her took the most work.

But the toughest characters to write are the children, though brief in the stories, because their tales are the saddest and most gut-wrenching. A close second would be Andurush, or ‘Rush’; a character that shows up later in the series, because you know, he’s not human. I’ll say nothing more about him. There’ll be spoilers.😉

TWW: Quick. What comes to mind when I say “Before”?

TMD: Before ‘bed’. Because soon my kids will need to go to bed and I’m sure they’ve not yet brushed their teeth or done anything else they need to do beforehand. lol

TWW: For writers out there who wish to be published, what advice would you give them?

TMD: My initial advice for prospective authors would be to do their research about the writing and publishing industry before choosing which route to go. I’m self-published, which is different from being signed with a traditional publishing house.

Essentially, I’m my own boss, which means I’m also responsible for all the work! lol There are pros and cons with both ways. More advice would be to start sharing their work with their friends and family NOW and learning how to take constructive criticism and feedback before releasing a full book to the public, so they have a great plot, greater characters, and fantastic editing. With those things, they will find a group of readers eager for more.

Finally, writing is a creative process, different for each of us. I tell my readers that writing is for me, but publishing is for them.

It’s my dream job, but not often ‘easy’, and can be isolating. A support system of friends, beta readers and other writers can help greatly with success.😉

Conclusion: I am so happy Trish Marie Dawson took the time to answer my questions. If you have not read her books, I will put links at the bottom of this post and I encourage you to comment here and share on your networks as well.

Books in The Station Series

Dying to Forget(Station Series, #1)-FREE on Amazon Kindle

Dying to Remember(Station Series, #2)

Dying to Return(Station Series, #3)

Dying to Know(Station Series, #4)

*Grab the Station Series bundle!

Go to Trish Marie Dawson’s site to learn more about her other books and more!

‘Melt With You’: a Totally ’80s Romance (review)

Melt With You
Cover Design by Gaffey Media

Melt With You(A  Totally 80s Romance, Book #1)

Addison Moore

Hollis Thatcher Press(2016)

Read on USB app on my LG Tribute

5 Stars

Intended Audience: Young Adults, 80s Fanatics, Addison Moore Fans, Bookworms, Romance Readers

Warning! This book is young adult fiction, yet includes explicit language and sex scenes.

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What an amazing story! Before I gush about this book with face flushed from the constant swooning, let me tell you the story…

Melissa Malinowski always had a crush on the hottest of guys at Glen Heights High School. It is 1984 and the only time she gets close to Joel effing Miller…

Is when he runs over her with his truck.

The accident shakes both of them up but other things get shaken up too when Joel starts caring for her by walking her to class, picking her up from home and taking her back home. Like, how awesome is it to have the hottest football player, the cutest boy on earth, care for you so much?

Joel Miller does not know what he has on his hands, but he does have a girlfriend already. A hot one, but there is something real, something different about Melissa.

My Reaction:

From the Go, I was in love with the story. I was born in the early 80s and so chapters like, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”, “Like a Virgin”, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, I was totally into it. Even the cover looks very Flash Dance-y. So, I was hooked.

What is really beautiful about this story is the way Joel and Melissa connect. She is not a hot chick, per se who wears heavy makeup and she does not think the sun rises and sets on her – nope. She is self conscious, an introvert and loves to write.

Joel is portrayed as beautiful, but is a hero in many aspects. He willingly accepts responsibility for Melissa’s pain and sometimes when he talks, he comes off as older than his years in my opinion. He is a senior in high school but you get the feeling he is on his way to being a decent human being.

Melt With You Quote Graphic
Image designed by Ericajean using Canva

Finally, Addison Moore has a way with words. I reviewed Moore’s super charged sexy book 3:AM Kisses, and I mention how she has a way with words. Her character’s dialogue and internal monologues are what I live for.

Check this out: “The sky blushes when she sees how blue they are…”(pg. 72). I love that sentence!

What kept me up at night were the feels and thrills when I realize how much Joel is falling for this girl. It is sweet and endearing how much she means to him and you pray she knows it.

Of course there is partying, booze drinking, loud and crazy music, prom…all the makings of a great book.

Another great read from a great author.

Get your butt in gear and read this book NOW, download full novel for FREE on Amazon!

And yes, this is a series. Thank God.🙂

Happy reading!

 

Easy Navigation Links for The Write Web(Mobile Users)

 

 

Sometimes, mobile phones do not display all the home page options unless you scroll down ridiculously long posts, then you’ll see all the goodies down there(you know what I mean).

So here are some links to help you navigate around my blog.

  • First, is the Currently Reading section. I am reading  the YA novel, Melt With You: A Totally 80s Romance, by Addison Moore. It is FREE to download!  melt-with-you-cover
  • If you are a writer needing your book formatted for Smashwords, please head over to Eurekajean’s page for more information! A great service for you!
  • Don’t feel like paying for a book you may want to read? Next, is the Loan Book Rangers Club where I offer books I can loan from Loan Book Rangers3my Kindle. Keep checking back for updates!
  • Finally, and importantly- Contact me if you have questions, suggestions, and comments! Go the Contact Page.

Please Note: There are review gems after this post, so don’t stop here! Please keep reading and share what you see. Sharing leaves a good feeling. Promise!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Dying to Remember’, Another 5 Star Review

portrait of a beautiful blonde on the beachDying to Remember (The Station Series, #2)*

Trish Marie Dawson

Copyright 2014

Read on Kindle App

*Click book title link above for more details!

5 Stars

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WARNING! Some Spoilers for those who have not read the first part. Thanks for your understanding!

The Backstory to The Station Series and Sloan

Dying to Remember picks up exactly where Dying to Forget left off.

At the end of Book 1, Piper finds Sloan in the Station with her. Sloan is the handsome young man whose mind she resided in for some time.

For those of you a little lost, let me help you out a bit. Piper Willow is dead. She now resides in the afterlife at a place called the Station, where it is her job to be the consciousness of teens about to commit suicide.

Sloan was one of her assignments.

She did great with him so why is he here at the station?

Being inside of Sloan’s head is one thing. But to have him appear at the station in all his deliciousness, having every female bat their eye at him and every man jealous of him, things have kicked up a notch at the station. But Piper learns that when she was pulled from him abruptly, he missed her Voice.

Image designed by Ericajean using Canva
Image designed by Ericajean using Canva

In other words, he heard her and when she left, he became depressed again.

Sloan killed himself because he learned a few surprising things and these things are enough to wrench your heart.

And yes. He and Piper get awfully close.

Then something amazing happens.

I will let that part be a secret. Just get the book already😉

My Thoughts and Reaction to Dying to Remember

Now, what is this Beyond that is spoken of in the book?

As someone who likes reading about spiritual stuff and the afterlife, but within context of my own beliefs, The Station Series proves to be a bit challenging and exciting.

I say this because, there is mention of a Beyond and even of Hell, but hell is what a persona makes it.

This is not your ordinary Sunday school teaching here.

The Beyond is a mystery.

Second, the visual feast of words Trish Marie Dawson uses is worthy of a Steven Spielberg production. I believe this can be a film. Truly.

When I tell you this book has me itching to read Book 3, I am so serious. If you have not read the Free download of the first part, please head over to my Dying to Remember blog post, and grab the link quick!

Stay tuned for more reviews and remember to share these posts with your friends and your own teen at home.

I appreciate it!🙂