Book Bloggers Needed

book blogger

Hi there everyone.

I’ve been helping an author by the name of Rachel Gold (see the blog I did about one of her books here) with some marketing and I have a favor to ask. Here’s the back work to her newest book, Nico & Tucker:

The decision can’t be put off any longer.
A medical crisis turns Nico’s body into a battleground, crushing Nico under conflicting family pressures. Having lived genderqueer for years, Nico is used to getting strong reactions (and uninvited opinions!) from everyone, but it is Tucker’s reaction that hurts the most.
Jess Tucker didn’t mean to hurt Nico, but she panicked.
And after the worst year of her life, she’s hanging on by a thread. Forget recovery time and therapy, she needs to put the past behind her and be normal again. But when her relationship with Nico becomes more than she can handle, she cuts and runs.
In this riveting sequel to Just Girls, comes a love story about bodies, healing, and knowing who you really are.

If you’d be interested in reading an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in exchange for a review on your blog, on Amazon, on GoodReads-please let me know. We’d be more than happy to work with you, because book bloggers are our friends ❤

That being said, if there is anyone who isn’t necessarily a book blogger who would also like in on this deal-an ARC in exchange for a review, feel free to also let me know!

I’ve personally read all of Rachel’s books, and as someone who fits snugly in the LGBT community, I have to say, I’m delighted each time I read one. This new book, Nico & Tucker pulls both of my favorite characters and is moving, riveting and all around perfect.

For those of you who maybe don’t know what an ARC is, they’re quite collectible. These are the copies of the books which are released in limited edition, before anyone else can get their hands on one. These are the earliest possible editions of the book that a reader might get their hands on without working for the author or book industry.

Right now, the world is struggling to find acceptance for individuals of the LGBT community. Rachel Gold’s books cover a wide variety of topics including coming out to religious family as a transgender individual (in high school no less!), what happens as trans individuals transition, mental illness in the LGBT community, what happens to a lesbian girl when her partner is abusive and more. These hard hitting issues are dealt with in a respectful, realistic manner and are things that people should be aware of.

And in the event that you’d like to check out her earlier work (I highly recommend it), you can find her books on Amazon at the following links.

Being Emily (Her first book, really emotional, packed with really memorable characters)

Just Girls (Quick read, really excellent)

My Year Zero (My personal favorite, so far!)

Nico & Tucker (Comes out May 16)

Find out more about Rachel Gold by going to her website:
Rachel Gold Books

A Book Suggestion

I wanted to do something a little different, a little the same. First though, I am beyond honored to say I’ve crossed the 150 mark for followers and I am so very humbled by you all. Thank you for hearing what I have to say and being around to have some excellent conversations!

Alright. I’m all for reading-especially for being informed, but also just for the sake of reading. And I have a book suggestion that is both an excellent piece of work, but also incredibly well-written and vital to this day and age. I’m pasting my GoodReads review, because I think I said it best there, and you’ll get the gist. The book I’m recommending is Being Emily by Rachel Gold.

BE.jpg

Here’s my GR review:

**Slight spoiler alert** Having known a few people who made this transition story personal for my own read, I can honestly say I am completely impressed.
First, let me just say that although this book is rather short, it is packed to the brim with information-some of which you won’t process until after you’ve slept on it! There are no facts or figures in this book, but your brain will process the new characters in such a way that you’re going to make some sums. With that being said, there are some things I want to review as a bystander to this situation.
The chapters with Claire are my favorite. Claire asks the questions that a bystander is curious about but doesn’t want to seem rude over. And she slips up with her gender pronouns-just like most of us do. It’s a process and Claire is the closest thing to an ally that I could relate to. Natalie is seen as the pinnacle of success, as is Elizabeth-for having been able to completely “integrate”, but I would personally have like to have seen them more developed as characters. Maybe this could be done in a spin off or something-because an older “T-girl”, who say, started her transition in the 80s or 90s would also be a great read-especially from RG.
As you follow Emily, you really start to ask yourself questions about where you stand, who you are and the books requires you to see things from a perspective that may not be your own. And that’s the best part. Because at the end of the day, there needs to be a main character that people of any form of minorities relate to be it a gender minority, a sexuality one or an ethnic one.
I think the reason I found so much truth in this book is that I, like so many others, have grown up in a very conservative Christian area, where the questions raised are incredibly similar to the ones I’ve heard about Other gender and sexuality issues. The arguments are similar, the frustrations an punishments are similar and I think that that’s what draws people in-especially young people. But to have the one family member who backs her first be her own brother, is very telling. Children do not come born with hate and fear of differences, they are taught these prejudices. And then to have her father bring about the ultimatum about HRT was just great. I think a lot of people expect mothers to love their kids more unconditionally and to have that story line altered was superb.
I gave this book five stars because although as I said it is a quick read, I finished it in about 3 hours total, there is so much information to be gleaned from it that it carries the emotional baggage of a novel twice the length. You come away from it every bit as aware of your surroundings and biases as though you were actually a side character, stumbling through the fog yourself.
I’ve already begun recommending this book to others, for the pure and simple fact that although it may not be your preferred genre, it is a story that needs told and RG was the one to do it with love and grace. More people need to understand the pain and hardships of other individuals and open their minds to the possibility that there may be a different view point than the one they’ve been indoctrinated into.
This book was recommended to me by the alpha reader for RG. I will be heavily recommending this book as a read for several psych courses, as well as some human growth and development ones. (Obviously, I will be recommending this to other readers as well.)

 

Seriously. This book is an excellent place to start for people who are just getting introduced to the topic of transgender, as well as for parents who have questions (especially in a religious capacity). Anyway, I definitely recommend this book, it’s fantastic.

And a quick PSA: If you do read, leave her a review-that’ll help her get recognized, and allow for more books about these issues!

A Change of Pace

Hi all!

As we rapidly approach the beginning of another work/school week, I find myself at a precipice myself. I’ve shared with so many people my love of stories, my deep desire to see women live in a world of gender equality and safety. I have blogged almost exclusively these past few months for women’s rights and issues, made a YouTube video, I even decided that this is what I want to spend the rest of my life doing.

And yet, it hadn’t occurred to me in the beginning that I could do all of that now. I mean, yes, the blogging and the stories and the equality are things I strive for every day, but the thing is, it’s something I assumed that I would need multiple degrees and things to do. Turns out, I was just holding myself back.

I woke up today wondering how I might spend my Sunday. I’ve had a growing hankering to create. Something, anything. I just wanted to really connect with my artistic side, live the changes that I wanted to see, you know? But I couldn’t narrow it down. I spent all day Saturday doing homework and more homework sounded appalling. Did I want to write? Eh. Did I want to sculpt? Eh. Draw? Maybe. And that’s when I laughed. It’s been staring me in the face for ages.

And so, this morning, I Love Me was born. I’ve gotten some wonderful feedback, some really positive and reaffirming stuff, as well as constructive criticisms. And through the fire, we manage to find ourselves looking at a great idea in the making.

I Love Me is a children’s picture book designed to teach body positivity and safety to girls ages 7-12. In this book, there are mentions of loving yourself, how to determine if something is appropriate, and what to do if something does happen that’s inappropriate, as well as being in charge of your own body.

So I knew I started this yesterday, and as you can see I didn’t quite finish it. I was busy reworking the actual “story” part of this project. It now includes a little more and I changed some things around. I absolutely love it more. You see, I’ve talked to mothers and professors and psychology degrees and social workers and we all seem to have reached the same consensus: children need to know more about how to protect themselves from dangerous situations, but also how to love themselves. It’s going to take a while for the illustrations, but I cannot wait to share this journey with you all! 

                                                                                
 

Collide

The title to this blog is the song, but as you’ll see, it also represents something else to me. Today, I want to try to describe a scenario which to me, is the singular reason why I can’t seem to get a grip this past year. I know that being prone to moods and their sways is also not helpful, but I can think of no other thing which makes me feel like a shitty person, friend and individual. I don’t need sympathies, but I hope that my words help someone. And if not, they at least help me.

Fear.

When I was younger I had a dream. Like one of those really vivid nightmare type dreams where you’re positive that it will come true. It was me driving a little car down a road in Columbus, passing under a bridge and getting into an accident. That accident (in the dream) caused me to die. I even remember looking at the black lamp post where blood had splattered. THAT kind of vivid. It’s stuck with me as a weird gut feeling ever since.

Going on a couple years ago now, my husband and I were in a pretty hellacious car accident. We were totally fine, but the car was not. In fact, had the horse (yes, we hit a horse) been any heavier, I would have eaten some very serious amounts of windshield. It ended up that the windshield was an inch away from my face. The horse, for all you animal people, was entirely fine. He got up immediately and ran off. Later the owner found him and got vet treatment immediately, or so he told me. I was in the passenger seat. It shook me a little, but for the most part I was entirely okay.

Fast forward a couple years and a couple cars and I now live in Columbus. I drove all my stuff up here when we moved, I drove back from the grocery store once and I drove to school (but not back) and other than that I have not driven at all. I’ve been here for almost 6 months. Why? I live so close to so many wonderful things that I could literally go anywhere I please and be amazed at the fabulous scenes and sounds. But instead, I stay home or catch rides with someone else (namely my husband). He doesn’t seem to mind, but there are moments when I know it bothers him. 

The reason I’m even writing about this is because well, really two things. The first being that I need to acknowledge that it holds me back. The second is that I want everyone to know that I’m not being a bad friend, or a bad family member, I have a real problem and I’m really just not handling it very well. So I want to describe to you the process of getting from my house to anywhere.

I have a good luck charm, which always goes into the right hand front pocket of my jeans. If I’m dressing up, it goes into another pocket on the same side. It’s full of herbs and charms and crystals which are supposed to bring safety and observation skills. I then put on my best face, grab my stuff and head to the car. By that point, I already have an upset stomach, my head hurts and I fell like I’m going to throw up. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I. GET. INTO. A VEHICLE. And that can be quite often if it’s during the school week. So we pull out of the drive and I’m already feeling sick. I look down at my phone while my husband drives and check the news or Facebook or anything I can to keep me occupied. It doesn’t last for long though, because soon enough we’re on the highway and that’s when phase two of my passenger ritual begins.

I have a little chant that I say while clasping my hands together between my knees. It goes a little something like this:

We shall not break down, crash or die today

Not no how, not no way.

And I say that probably for a good 15 minutes solid. Even longer if the traffic is bad, which it usually is. I do this because I’ve developed a nasty habit of pointing at brake lights, gasping a braking cars and saying my husband’s name when people merge into our lane. He put up with it for a while, but my fears were (and usually are) unfounded and he thought I felt that he was a bad driver. I don’t feel like that at all. I’m just literally terrified of being on the road. So I try my hardest to remain quiet in the mornings for our commute, finally starting to open up when we make it to the school. 

In the afternoon, I try a different approach. I say my little rhyme once or twice, usually just at the ramps and then I try to talk to him about what happened that day. But I think even he notices that I don’t look out the front window. And in fact, that is a constant no matter when we drive. I look out the passenger window if I look out them at all. Because each car is one that might hunt us down, cause us to swerve off the road or mangle us up horribly.

The one time my husband needed me to come to the school to pick him up, I nearly threw up in the car. I even took the back way, so determined was I to avoid the main roads and high ways altogether. My hands were shaking so badly that it really might have looked more like a person coming out of rehab than someone who was simply driving. And I thought to myself, maybe this is the worst feeling in the world.

But it isn’t. The worst feeling in the world is being trapped by your fears. I have to make a trip by myself in a couple days and it turns my stomach just thinking about it. I’ve tried meditation, I’ve tried convincing myself that I’ll be okay. I’ve even tried to force myself to suck it up and drive anyway. But in the end, there’s no success. I literally just sit in fear and wait for the next time I’m going to have to suffer through these feelings. We go back to school in just a short little while and I’d really hoped that this would be the semester that I could share the drive with my husband instead of cowering in the passenger seat. But I think it might be the semester I convince myself what a shitty person I am because I don’t know how to be a functional adult and therefore no one will ever hire me and I will die alone and poor. Literally that is how this thought process goes. There is no logic in fear, there is just an overwhelming, all encompassing feeling of inability and failure. But I didn’t even have these fears while I lived in the old place. So why am I so afraid?

I’ve always been afraid of change. I can outwardly speak about accepting change and change making you a better person, but inside I fight against it with all my might and I frequently cry about how hard it is. Any change is like that scene in one of the Chronicles of Narnia books (Voyage of the Dawn Treader, maybe?) where Aslan is de-scaling Eustace. That’s how it is for me. I’m putting off graduation because I’m afraid to move to somewhere new. I was a nervous wreck when it came to living in this apartment for the first few weeks because it was new.

  And you know what? All I’ve wanted to do my entire life can be summed up in two things: I want to help people and I want to travel.

Seriously. I can barely walk by myself alone on campus without being afraid. I can’t even drive myself around because I am afraid. And I want to see the world and meet new people? Who am I kidding?

But that’s the thing. When Eustace got his scales ripped off, he because a better person. He was in pain, he was scared but he was better. And I guess that’s what’s important. It’s not entirely okay to be afraid. But only in the capacity that you be blocked from your destiny by your fears. So this year, for my New Year’s Resolution, I feel like it is very simple.

I want to drive myself places.

And you can laugh all you want, but when was the last time you took on your greatest fear? 

Every Word’s The Same

I have to say

There seems to be a miscommunication

I thought secrets were for the living

But the only secrets are kept in death

If every second lasted just a second longer

Maybe the trust I thought I deserved 

Would shatter before my eyes

Instead of behind my back

My shoulder blades itch, 

Could you move the knife up and to the left?

Or should I just fall on my face

The beauty of the fall is my disgrace

Is that your heartbeat

Or is it just the echo of a chest that’s hollow

Because you’ve been a tin man your whole life

And I guess that makes me the one without courage.

It takes a tribe to raise a kid, but 

Maybe it was a village of idiots.

You thought you were so clever, so sweet

That I could save you from your own disasters 

You should have looked for a parachute

Because this plane’s about to go down.

I never thought it’d come down to this

A thief and a liar, oh but the twist,

We are the same, you and I

Connected by the handcuffed scars on our wrist.

  (Photo from Pinterest!) 

Thankfulness, Day 17

Where does the time go? We’re already almost done with the month, which means almost the end of the year (and the birthday of my husband and I). Today, I’m going ot come right out and say it: I’m thankful for stories.

I’m a sucker for a well-crafted story. I will stay up all night reading, I’ve been so in love with books that I’ll forget to eat, take them with me to use the rest room and all manner of devotions. But the thing I love about them most, is the way they stick with me.

Romeo and Juliet. Pride and Prejudice. Warm Bodies. Twilight. The Vampire Diaries. Sherlock. iZombie. Cinder. A Game of Thrones. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. F-R-I-E-N-D-S. 

I can tell you how each of these impacted my life, my outlook in some way or another and this is only the stuff I came up with in the first thirty seconds of thinking. Because I can come up with loads more. I promise.

A good story makes you remember what it’s like to be yourself while being someone else. A good story makes you forget yourself in order to be someone else. A good story makes you feel emotions that aren’t yours, recall details from the past which may or may not be “real” and makes you connect. But it is a great story that makes you do all those things while getting you to forget that all of that is found in the pages of a book.

Reading transforms you. You are no longer hunched in a chair, sipping on coffee. You aren’t even turning the pages. You’re witnessing heroic feats from the back of dragons, taking refreshment at an exclusive estate. You’re a willing participant in the greatest theater of all: your own mind. Because in the end, opening a great book is something that sticks with you. It makes you read just one more chapter even though you needed to get to sleep hours ago. 

And if I’m going on and on about books, why did I include TV shows and adaptations?

Because those have the possibility to alter your reality too. A great movie/TV show knows when to harbor secrets and when to pull out all the stops. A great movie/show will get you hooked with one liners and insider jokes. A great movie/show will cause you to forget that you have things to do, because you get to find out what happened to the characters at the end of the next episode (unless you’re waiting to find out what happened to Glenn, and then you’ll probably need to bathe and eat because it’s going to take a while). A great movie/ show will lead you to fall in love with that one character, and even though you know it’s a fictional character, if you ever met them in real life, they’d be your soul-mate, for sure. And just as you think you’ve seen it all, you watch that scene. You know, that scene and your world crashes down around you. You don’t understand how it is that anything will ever be the same and you think you might just have to give up watching it because it wouldn’t be right. But you come back anyway, because you just have to know what happens next.

And as the credits roll, the last paragraph on the last page comes to an end, it’s like saying goodbye. You know that you could alwyas go back to the beginning, but you know too much, you already know what’s going to happen. But you can’t live without the thrill of a good read/show/movie and you start over. You notice things that you didn’t before. Things that make you scream out SO THAT’S WHAT THAT WAS. And it’s like living the moments for the first time all over again.

It is those shows/books/movies that I refer to today. And I am fairly certain that without them, the world would be a much lonelier, boring place.

Chapter 5

So today, I’ve been madly noveling, and although I am glad to have a break from homework, it’s interesting that I never really escape it. Today’s thankfulness comes from being 1/6 of the way to where I was before. But the thing is, I’m writing an entirely new book, and so I think I’m really only about a tenth of the way there, which is even more exciting to me. Anyway, what I’m truly thankful for is inspiration. For me, it comes from life, coffee and great playlists. I think that’s really great, and there’s something quite amazing about taking a blank page, a nothing, and creating an idea, a something. So, in honor of that, I’m going to offer a small segment of my WIP (work in progress) and go back to work. I chose this because it’s one of those scenes I can’t descide how to rework. [This is part of Chapter FIVE, the main character Kat is reading from an old book called The Love of the Queen of Souls. It’s the scene I just finished, and it’s easily the flimsiest but it serves a purpose and well, PLOT TWIST.]

           There was once a summer princess who longed for the chill kiss of winter. She craved the balance and poetry of the cold and the warmth. Her heart was met each day by the warmth of the sun and she could take it no longer. On the evening of her twenty seventh year, she ran from her life and met a stranger in the woods. He was just the frost she’d waited for and she invited him to accompany her to back to her home and immediately fell in love with him.

           They were forbidden to be together, but the summer princess could not forbid her heart from feeling and she secretly married the stranger in the woods. They were very happy, each completing the other in ways they had never known before. They were warned about growing hostilities because of their love, but the summer princess had more news: she was with child. Still, their union did not make everyone happy and the forces of summer and winter, ever at odds, went to war.

           By the time the princess gave birth to not one child, but a pair of twins, the winter and summer courts were rapidly running through their supplies and soldiers and a truce could not be found. The summer princess and her stranger in the woods were betrayed by a most beloved friend and were forced to give up their children, a son and a daughter, in order to spare their lives. As the children were taken away, the summer princess sacrificed her life so that her children would have a chance. A great fire was set to their home and trapped within, the stranger in the woods and the summer princess became spirits, collecting the souls of the winter and summer folk who could not pass on. In a final act of desperation, the summer princess offered the sky people, who ruled the earth and all those within, her life forever in exchange for her babies, that they might be free.

           But the sky people were a vengeful sort, and did not suffer the summer princess lightly, as they blamed her for disrupting the harmony they had created. A curse was placed on her daughter, that she might never find happiness until the war between summer and winter was over. Her son was not cursed, but was stripped of his memories and destined to return to the winter, who would betray him. One of the sky people, a young mother herself, took pity on the children, knowing that all that had happened was because of love, and they were the product of good intentions. She knew that the curse of the daughter and the fate of the son would be what came to pass, but in the event that they found each other, a great alliance would be formed, one that would cause peace to regain control.

           For their unwillingness to compromise, both the summer and winter were forced to live out their lives and fight their wars amongst the humans. They would never be allowed to return to the sky people and their homes, nor could they pass on to the land of souls until the princess and prince are reunited and the war is ended.

           
Katerina came to the end of the story and looked up. Natalia’s eyes were glassy with tears and she couldn’t look at Kat. At the end of the story was a page that looked like it had been added in, but Katerina couldn’t read it. It was in some sort of loopy lettering in some language that she’d never seen.