Monday, October 20, 2014

Time To Talk: Reader-Author Interaction Should Carry On Despite Drama, IT SHOULD!

This picture is mine. I got up this morning looking for this
mug but I CANNOT FIND IT HELP ME PLEASE.  

Okay so over the weekend there was a little bit of drama, wasn't there? YEP. 
WE ALL HATE THE DRAMA and I know that I'm not alone when I SHAKE MY HEAD and ROLL MY EYES when I pull up Twitter to see what everyone is reading only to find out that what everyone reading is something incredible stupid, because the drama usually is.  

But this time I think it is not only stupid but more than that. 
If you haven't heard or read of this crazy mess in which a published author admitted to stalking a reader/blogger/Goodreads user, here is a link to the article that seemed to start everything and clicking here will not give the article any more hits SO YAY CLICK THIS ONE. 

Read, if you would like. Then I have a few thoughts. 
If you've already read the article, PLEASE let me share my thoughts 
so I can move on from this mess. 
Thanks! 

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1. My heart pounded as I read this article. It actually read like a thriller-y novel, don't you think? I mean, I was pacing the floor and my eyes were wide and I felt like I had to DISCUSS with people. I was riveted. My initial review of this article is: if I had read this author's book, I would have probably reviewed it in a very dramatic way because I was feeling hella dramatic, which is now a little on the terrifying side. But I digress. (Disclaimer: I cannot speak to the author's novel as I have no idea about it at all. I have not read it.)

2. Stalking is never okay! We all know that. Or at least, I thought we did, until I saw that people were arguing back and forth about this. In this article, the author not only admits to stalking by actually using the word stalking, she gives out information about the person that she stalked. My opinion is: HELLO NO THIS IS NOT RIGHT. Not allowable. (Also note that the publication printed this thing, THEY PRINTED IT, WHAT?!)

HERE HERE HERE, THOUGH:

3. I finished the article and began to really pay attention to what the world was saying for a few minutes - the responses of readers of the article, bloggers, and authors. I WAS AND STILL AM ALARMED. No matter how hard I have tried to move onto other things over the weekend, to get this negativity out of my heart and mind - I just cannot until I say a few things. So here I go. 

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4. Being online means that we are all connected, which is very cool. I've been blogging for almost five years now and I still LOVE LOVE LOVE the interaction between bloggers and readers and authors and publishers. It's a cycle. It's really an incredible community and we live in this super-amazing time of connectivity because it wasn't very ago that the only way to be connected was an actual piece of paper fan mail. 

5. With that connectivity comes responsibility. YES, if we are bloggers we have an online presence. YES, authors are online and are encouraged to have an online presence. YES, publishing companies are online and have an online presence. And YES, I think it is awesome that readers are able to be online with platforms like Goodreads. And with ANY online presence inside of a book community or outside of it, THERE IS RESPONSIBILITY
Period, the end. I don't care who you are. That is all. 

6. I think it would be a big shame if we all reverted to FEAR and stopped interacting and sharing our opinions and being a community of people that love books. I think it would be the opposite of what brought this community together in the first place if everyone gives into fear because of an article that was published in poor taste and was written in poor taste about events that happened that never should have happened. 

I REALIZE that sounds very cheesy and preachy 
but I FEEL THIS so much right now.

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7. In response to authors that have tweeted about being fearful of interaction with readers and bloggers: 

Please don't be afraid to talk to your audience. The internet is a big place and this community is amazing. Readers and bloggers are generally amazing people and LOVE it when an author interacts with them! After blogging for a very long time, I still get ridiculously excited with I see a tweet "favorited" or retweeted by authors that I love - whether self/indie or traditionally published. PLEASE DON'T STOP INTERACTING! Please do not let the actions of a small few make you feel afraid. And thank you for remaining graceful when you face criticism. That must be so hard! And I'm sure it is a practiced skill - to be able to focus less on the negative and more on the positive? I cannot imagine that pressure. Be encouraged to keep doing what you do!

8. In response to the people that I have seen mention that bloggers are bullies, they are glad they are not bloggers, or they are glad they are no longer blogging about books: 

This makes me sad because generalized statements are not usually entirely accurate. Also, reading blogs is a choice and I would encourage you guys to rid yourself of any blogs or reviewers that you feel are bullies. You don't have to support that behavior and there are plenty of other fantastic reviewers and bloggers to read instead! There are plenty of great recommendations that can be provided if you need some.  

I am so proud to be associated with this community because 
this event does not define it

9. This behavior is NOT the norm, and a culture can change. 

One way this can happen is to stop perpetuating it! We can actually BE the change by not perpetuating the negativity and poor online behavior. Certainly we can speak our minds and back up our thoughts, but we have to remember to be responsible about how we do it. There is NO NEED to bash, bully, stalk, cyberbully, in-real-life bully, or do anything like that. And that includes Twitter-ranting, you guys. 
Responsibility is key.

Let's turn things around and be positive. Let's make this something to learn from instead of something that a few dwell on to the point it becomes a stain. Alrighty? Okay! 

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I am still SO PROUD to be a part of this community, but I need to be able to move on from this to a degree. This whole thing was disgusting and scary and horrible and I have thoughts about it that I probably should reserve for discussion behind the wall of a public forum. But more than anything, I think we can all take this time to 
re-evaluate ourselves and see if we're comfortable with our online presence because HELLO PEOPLE MAY BE WATCHING. And that goes both ways - it could just as easily have been a reader going overboard on a writer

I am not a bully and will never bully anyone, and I don't want to be lumped into that crowd. I understand that crap like that will happen when people become upset and need to vent. I get that. So here I am, and here are some of my feelings. 

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Share your thoughts if you have some, but remember that I'm pushing a move toward POSITIVITY after a dramatic time. Share your opinion, but please be responsible. Thanks! 


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An April Bride by Lenora Worth Review

An April Bride by Lenora Worth
Series: A Year of Weddings #5
Published by Zondervan
Publish Date: February 4, 2014

102 Pages
Source: Publisher

Find It: Goodreads / Amazon / B&N 


War changes everything . . . even their love.


Bride-to-be Stella Carson can't wait to marry her longtime sweetheart Marshall Henderson. But Marshall has been away serving his country and has suffered a head wound. After being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, he has distanced himself from Stella, asking her not to visit him in a Washington, D.C., hospital. Marshall returns to Louisiana just four weeks before the wedding, but as the big day draws near, Stella wonders if the man she's loved for most of her life has become someone else.


Can true love conquer all for Stella and Marshall, even the tragedy of war?
 (from Goodreads)


An April Bride by Lenora Worth

My Thoughts:  Marshall Henderson is fighting in Afghanistan when he is involved in an accident with an IED - he survives, but has injuries leaving him with significant memory loss. Marshall comes back to the United States to recuperate, but asks his fiance Stella Carson not to visit him while he is healing. 


Meanwhile, Stella has spent her time working and planning their wedding to keep her mind busy during Marshall's service and hospitalization. But she can't help but wonder if there is something Marshall is keeping from her - has he changed his mind about wanting to marry her? Or is there something else? 

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Stories that involve men and women fighting in our military and the after-effects of their service always tug at my heart. In this case, Marshall's injury left him in such a place that he was unable to recognize even his parents, who were by his side as he recovered. They were very patient with him and he was eventually able to regain memory of who they are. BUT! Even with the help of his parents, Marshall had no memory of his fiance or the fact that he would be getting married in just four weeks! Marshall decided that he did not want his fiance, Stella, coming to the hospital because he didn't want his amnesia to hurt her. He had hopes of regaining his memory before he saw her face-to-face, in order to spare her feelings.  

Stella remained at home because that was what Marshall wanted. She kept busy planning the wedding and having wedding showers and working on the fixer-upper home that would be their first home together. 

Okay. 

I realize that I may be completely judging Stella, but I find it really difficult to believe that she wouldn't be on the first flight TO HIM regardless of his wishes because he was severely injured, PERIOD, THE END. I realize that I probably sound awful in saying that, but this is why I found the story a little on the unbelievable side from the beginning. 

Despite this, I accepted it and moved on. An April Bride is a sweet story with a happy ending. It is not my favorite novella in the A Year of Weddings series, but I did read it quickly and I did like it enough. I would recommend An April Bride to people that enjoy happy endings, romances, and a Southern setting. 

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An April Bride will appeal to fans of:

Adult Contemporary Romance
Romance: Already established but slowly re-developing
due to amnesia. No triangle. 
Great Setting
Great Family Relationships
Novellas

An April Bride by Lenora Worth
is currently available for purchase.  

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