Meanderings of an exhausted mind

It’s me, so you gotta know this is likely going to be an uncomfy topic to talk about. Seems I excel in finding those to blog about.animal-983529_1920.jpg

A little forward for those who don’t follow my blog, I’m an excellent writer and a phenomenal editor (not my words). I’ve been writing for 29 years on and off, on spec for 5 years, I’ve queried 5 of my own books now, plus answered 4 proposal calls and submitted numerous short stories.

and I’m unpublished as far a traditional publishing is concerned. With no hope of an agent on the horizon. Now, it could be that my writing sucks, logistically minded, that’s me. But when I have international renown and high ratings on what I have self-pubbed, and a lot of strangers go out of their way to email me to tell me they love my work… well, I’m erring on the side of it being ‘not me/my writing’.


So… I’ve just finished my fifth official book-query go round in the query lists. My mind feels exactly like I imagine a jouster’s would after the lists are closed.


So many different kinds of forms to fill out, so many different kinds of submission packages to put together, so much sheer research to be done to make sure each particular agent represents what your current project is. (Especially for multiple sub-genre writers like me, this is incredibly hard.)


We have to, (and should) make sure that their tastes haven’t changed, that they’re still where all the programs like and say they are as far as agency, that they’re OPEN to queries right then.

Making sure you’ve dotted all your eyes and crossed all your tees, and all the many other parameters are met or fulfilled or… control-427512_1920

It’s bloody exhausting. I’ve been doing this most days for over a month now and in that time I could have drafted another book, or most of one. A novella and two short stories for my readers at the very least.


And… I think I’m done. This is likely the last book I’ll try to query to agents. Every time I get another rejection in my inbox, I’m basically checking off ever querying that agent for anything ever again. It’s not even anger, or angst or even negativity. It’s a cost/benefit scenario in my mind. It wasn’t worth the time to query that agent, hence I won’t do it again when I could be writing a book for indie-pub that will make me money doing what I love. Things could change, but… this isn’t the kind of thing one considers lightly.


I admit, the first few books I tried weren’t that great, so it’s perfectly logical that they weren’t picked up. As far as quality of writing goes, though, there is no reason for the last two not to have been agented. No, that’s not my arrogance speaking, that’s professionals (editors, agent friends who don’t rep my genre etc) telling me that the writing is excellent. I have readers telling me the same, that the stories are amazing and could I maybe hurry up and write another one, please?


I know all the arguments, that the market isn’t buying that kind of book, that the agent doesn’t have enough time, that, that, that…

But this go round, I’ve already gotten a very warmly worded rejection asking me to definitely query an agent with my next completed work because they loved the writing sample.


But. No. Unless something changes, I don’t think I will. 

Here’s why, We’re in a time of changing markets where the ease of self-publishing, and marketing groups, freelance editors, and cover artists, micro-presses and un-agented submissions to mid-level presses, all of it has completely changed the face of publishing.

I’m not the first person to point this out, to write an article like this one.

When I first started writing, oh… 29 years ago? The only way you got published was if an agent took you on and IF they managed to sell the book to one of the big 5 (then 6).


If that didn’t happen, and you didn’t pay the massive amount of money to a vanity publisher just to see your words in print, you didn’t get published.

You HAD to keep trying with new books, had to keep querying agents, had to just keep trying. While the other books you’d written sat shelved. All that creativity wasted.

In this age, I don’t have to do that. We as writers don’t have to do that.


We don’t have to obey the dictates of a publishing industry that limits debut authors to a short book, even when anyone who listens to readers (you know, the ones who actually buy the books??) would repeatedly hear them say they don’t like to spend their hard earned money on a short book, especially from a new author.


My readers keep asking me when I’m releasing another book. Because I’m sitting on three books in the query trenches right now… I don’t have an answer for them.


I work as an editor and I see a lot of books in that role, many aren’t that great, much like my first few, (because it is true that almost every book you write is going to be better than the last). Some are absolutely outstanding and the authors often ask me, why, if it’s at least good, isn’t it getting picked up?


Why can’t I make it as a writer?

Why am I still un-agented?


Because that is still the end goal for many writers, (no shame in that at all) to be agented, to be partnered with someone who can sell their book, works contracts, have contacts in the industry and maybe inform them of the markets and all-in-all, help them along.

It’s why I’ve been trying. I don’t really like to talk to people on the phone, and that’s part of what I’m willing to pay an agent to do for me.

Forgot about that part? That it’s the writer paying the agent for their expertise and connections?


Well. It is. it’s not the fault of the writer at all, it isn’t even the fault of the agents. It’s the industry behind everything that is a hide-bound dinosaur that doesn’t seem interested in change.


I mean, why would they? It’s worked this way for a long time and if it isn’t broke, why fix it? Don’t forget that publishing is a corporation, they work like corporations do.


So many agents I see list on their blogs the ‘ideals’ for a perfect client. Most will say commitment, ability to write, in it for the long haul, and you know, so many of us are?long-vehicle-320309_1920

But the way the system works just doesn’t work for us. Not the ones for whom this is a calling. The ones who have to make themselves stop writing vs the ones who have to make themselves start.


I’m going to, lol, as I usually do, share an unpopular opinion.

we-2078025_1920.png Agents may have to change the way they do things.

The way they still function (on the surface anyway, I don’t have an agent so I don’t actually see behind the curtains) is very much the same as it was 20 years ago. 


In today’s day and age, where it’s so much easier for a talented writer to say ‘screw this’ to the way THINGS ARE DONE and strike out on their own… I really think agents might need to be looking more to the clients, and not just at a book they can sell right now.


This is especially true for people like me, who write fast and self-edit well (no, not perfectly, I stand by my words that no author ever can see ALL their own mistakes because we’re too close).


I highly doubt any agents are likely to read this blog post. But if you are, I’d suggest that when you find an author with a voice you love, you consider signing them on their voice and talent alone, vs whatever book they have at the time.

Here’s why.


In a market as demanding as the one we’re all in, someone like me who has written custom stories for years, (and many good writers have, it’s easy money to ghostwrite, edit on spec, write custom kink stories…) those kinds of writers could very easily turn around a saleable book quite quickly. It takes me, probably 3 months (at most) to draft a book,


Another month, maybe 2 (at most) to self-edit it to the point where it’s in better shape than a lot of NYT bestselling titles.

Seriously, one of my biggest complaints with big 5 pubbed books is the lack of editing that goes into many of the titles. (My other huge one is the lack of interesting new types of stories. I’m bored with the same old, same old. Something new please!)

So, that’s 2 books a year, and those are ones that I’m ripping up from the depths of my soul. The hard ones to write, my own creativity.crayon-2162075_1920.jpg

If I had a little guidance on what was likely to sell? What the market would be looking for in the near future? It’d likely be faster.

MUCH faster.


If, for instance, I had a working partnership with an agent who loved my voice, my style and repped the genres I write in, vs a book I have right now, there’s no telling how many sales we could make. Which is rather the point of the whole author/agent relationship, isn’t it? To make sales so both of you make money? Maybe I’m romanticizing what I don’t have yet, a relationship with an agent, but I do write romance… so it’s in my nature.


Oh, I know. I’m breaking the rules, I’m thumbing my nose at the way things are done. (Probably shooting myself in the foot with any agents I DO have queries out to.) But you know what?

Change starts somewhere.

It often starts with words.

If only it didn’t hurt so much to give up this idea that I could make more money with an agent, than without one.

I think part of that comes from having wasted months of my time querying, when maybe, I didn’t need to do that at all.

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Drawing In and Untold Stories.


It’s about taking care of one another. Or it’s supposed to be.

It isn’t about tearing one another down, it’s about checking in on the ones who matter to you, or the ones in pain.

Yet, we in the modern age seem to have lost sight of this. We spend so much time trying to be right, to prove a point, to have what we want to have happen finally occur, that we fail as human beings. Especially online. My gods, do we ever fail at being human online. We fail to consider the damage our words and actions cause to real world people.

Many people fail to think about the fact that their words on a screen are being read by real people with their own burdens and their own pains. They don’t think about what they are doing when they post private information online (which is bloody illegal you know, it really is).

I reiterate, again, that posting private emails, DMs and PMs violates copyright and decreased expectation of privacy laws. So stop it. Seriously, enough. Eventually, someone is going to get really ticked off at that behavior and sue someone for it. They’d win too. There is case law and precedent already in place to penalize the person sharing the private communications.

We fail as a community to check in with others, with our networks.

We fail, a lot of the time to stand by our friends and acquaintances.

There have been a lot of attacks on innocent people, me included, in the past 8 months or so.

I keep wondering what in the world people are trying to accomplish.

I’ve seen a lot of it lately.

There is so much pain in the writing community right now, and there are many untold stories that haven’t been aired.

Because those who know them, can’t say anything out of fear.

It’s also hard to know what is truth, what is false, and what is a spin on reality that makes things look bad. Many people don’t bother to read critically and think, they go off on tangents that have nothing to do with fact. I just don’t understand how they can do that. I mean, I literally do not understand how someone can speak without researching and reading exhaustively about a topic. It completely boggles my mind. I fact check EVERYTHING before I talk about it… how can people… you know, not??

It really is hard to know the truth online. People can be anything or anyone hidden behind a screen.

Knowing that people maintain a level of mystery about themselves online, and my Asperger’s brain, lets me look at things critically, not emotionally.

It doesn’t help the pain I feel, though. Losing people I would’ve stood by because they couldn’t bother to read and think about something hurt. 

They assumed. They didn’t read, they assumed or believed rumor.

I also know how self-serving most humans are.

We really are, it’s just how we’re wired. Any parent with a young child will tell you the same if they’re feeling like being honest.

When we speak, it’s often to pad our words to make ourselves look better in the eye of the beholder. When we post things or share things, there is often an element of self-service to it.

When there is so much hurt in the community, in your  community of friends, loved ones, and associates. I hope you will draw in, and talk to the people who matter to you. I hope you will check on those you haven’t heard from lately, to make sure they’re okay.

I hope that everyone takes a breath and thinks about what they are saying before they get into something with someone online. Because it really isn’t worth the potential pain.

This really isn’t even about just one platform or one topic, there have been so many instances of hatred online lately that it’s mindboggling and making me want to stop using social media at all.

I can’t though, because for me, this is as much business as it is pleasure. This is my career, writing, and editing, and I need an internet presence for that.

How do we draw in?

We stop, we breathe. We step away from the computer and we sit with our emotions until we can react less emotionally and more logically.

We ask ourselves if the potential pain of what we want to say is worth inflicting, and hopefully, decide not to do that.

We go and get a snack, water, take a nap.

We call, or message people we care about to make sure they’re okay. I’m so grateful for the people who check on me. They are heroes.

We stand by our friends, and we ask them about something before abandoning them.

We don’t assume.

We take care of our community.

Instead of letting it burn.

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Cover Reveal! CROWN OF ICE & SCEPTER OF FIRE by Vicki L.Weavil

Today I’m participating in a special double cover reveal for the first two books in the Mirror of Immortality Trilogy by Vicki L. Weavil. The all-new second edition of the first book, Crown of Ice, releases on May 9 from Snowy Wings Publishing, with the second book, Scepter of Fire, coming on May 23!

Cover designed by Deranged Doctor Design

Title: Crown of Ice
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Release Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

Snow Queen Thyra Winther is immortal, but if she can’t reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she’s doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.

Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal.

A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai’s childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles.

Thyra’s willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts — to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup’s devotion and the fire of a young man’s love, the thawing of Thyra’s frozen heart could prove her ultimate undoing.

Add Crown of Ice on Goodreads!


Cover designed by Deranged Doctor Design

Title: Scepter of Fire
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Release Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

She’s the ugly duckling in a family of swans. But Varna Lund is determined to live a life that matters.

Ridiculed by the young men of her village, Varna vows she’ll become the finest healer in the land. The skills she’s learned from her ancient mentor prove vital when she encounters Erik Stahl, a young soldier who deserted the battlefield to carry an injured friend to safety. Aided by her sister Gerda, she cares for the soldiers in secret.

When betrayal catapults the four young people into life on the run, Varna encounters her former mentor—now revealed as the sorcerer, Sten Rask. Seeking an enchanted mirror that offers unlimited power, Rask appears determined to seduce Varna to his side.

To protect their country, Varna and her companions form an alliance with a former Snow Queen, a scholar, and an enchantress. But when Rask tempts her with beauty and power, Varna’s heart becomes a battlefield. Caught between loyalty to her companions and a man whose kisses ignite a fire on her lips, Varna must choose—embrace her own desires, or fight for a society that’s always spurned her.

Add Scepter of Fire on Goodreads!

About the Author:

Vicki L. Weavil turned her early obsession with reading into a career as a librarian. After obtaining a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she continued her education by receiving a Masters in Library Science and a M.A. in Liberal Studies. She is currently the Library Director for a performing and visual arts university.

An avid reader who appreciates good writing in all genres, Vicki has been known to read seven books in as many days. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, listening to music, gardening, or traveling. Vicki, who writes in other genres under the pennames V. E. Lemp and Victoria Gilbert, is represented by Frances Black of Literary Counsel, NY, NY. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats.

Visit Vicki online at, or on Twitter at @VickiLWeavil or Facebook at @VickiLWeavil.



I think, for me… what it comes down to is the kind of person I want and choose to be.

I have fear of backlash for posting this, but in the end, if I can’t respect myself… I’ve got nothing. If I don’t speak, I can’t respect me. So.

I won’t speak for anyone but myself.

For what it’s worth. I’m an autistic, disabled, queer (pansexual, kinky, gray-aro, gray-ace, polyamorous) genderqueer person of mixed descent. I’ve spoken about it elsewhere on my blog, but my close ancestors are from four different ethnicities. European, First Nations, Latinx, and Black. I am a trauma, sexual abuse, self-harm survivor. I cope with depression/anxiety and several diagnosed chronic illnesses.

I was raised privileged being taught to pass (violently taught in some cases). I still pass, and because I do and have privilege (neurotypical, cis, religious, white… almost all of the privilege out there can apply to me) I still have a lot of unpacking to do.

I’m trying.

They say that autistics tend to turn everything back to themselves when we talk about the experiences of others, it’s part of why we’re often misunderstood, accused of lying or other things.

But you see, when you’re autistic, (and speaking only of myself) a lot of the time that’s HOW you learn to understand what another person is experiencing. You turn it around and put it on like a raincoat to see what it feels like. So you can understand. We know it’s not about us, but that… trying it on, it’s how we make it fit into our computer-like brains, (or at least that’s how I do things).

Isn’t that what empathy really is? The ability to feel someone else’s pain for your own?

I suppose that’s a piss poor analogy, but with my heart weighing down the center of my chest like a fucking elephant, well… it may be the best I can do.

I’ve been asked often today if I’m angry. To turn it to me intentionally for just a second, all I feel is sadness for the family’s loss and the snuffing of a bright light far too soon. A diverse writer who the world really needed. I feel deep, abiding grief, and that’s all. No. I’m not angry.

The rest of this post, I’m just trying to explain the thoughts running like mice around my noggin… I’m not (though it’ll probably seem like it to the neurotypical) trying to center me and my experience. I’m only trying to communicate.

You see, I understand what it feels like to try so damned hard to communicate… and still not be understood or believed. To feel like you never will be.

I also know despair the likes of which causes a person to take their own life. By some random chance (and a cat) I didn’t succeed.

I know the utter rage, searing pain, sense of violation and lack of peace, the hurt, despair, all of it… when someone you love does succeed.

I know that one too well. I wish I didn’t.

He was my brother, it was almost three years ago (I promise I’m not trying to center myself or make this about me.)

Today is for her.

Not me.

This post is for her, not me.

Two-dimensional words on a page are not going to get that through, I know that. They’re all I have.

For so many reasons, I can’t stay silent. It’s not really in my nature for one. She deserves better, for two.

What little part I played, either by not being outspoken enough because my life was in the way, or by not knowing, or by staying silent… by not immediately shutting down comments on my blog, by not knowing if I’m conflating separate arguments into one with privilege… by following who I want to follow on social media for my own reasons, I am sorry for the part I played.

None of us can know the ripples from the stones we cast.

Words are tricksy things. The saying of them and the interpretation of them, too.

Perception is the key and the only thing that matters.

See, that’s where so many writers have it wrong. Intent is meaningless. Desire is meaningless.

Not when it comes to pain and harm.

My intent/need to spend less time on twitter and more with my family caused me to miss things.

My life imploding around me with the move and the election and my family choosing to have nothing to do with me because of the way I’m born and how I won’t be quiet… that doesn’t matter either.

My intent to help other writers blew up badly, for all the wrong reasons and my intent there doesn’t matter either.

My desire and intent to educate on things that feel as plain as day to me is also meaningless, and I may be very wrong about some of it. I’m still listening and trying to learn what I don’t know.

I am autistic, I do see a large percentage of things in right/wrong answers. I also often fail to understand emotional and social responses, especially if the person isn’t standing right in front of me.

My desire to stay silent because I just didn’t understand what the hell was going on and I didn’t feel it truly involved me… that too is completely irrelevant.

It also doesn’t matter that I didn’t feel I knew most of the people at the center of the issues.

Harm, Pain, Life, Death… those are what matter.

Pain is real.

I’m sorry for pain I caused.

It doesn’t matter that I didn’t KNOW I was causing pain and harm. (FWIW I didn’t) what matters is that inadvertently, I caused the pain. I will try to do better. It’s all I’ve got.

Though I know more than most that at such a time, words are useless. I need to say them.

I’m sorry.

May your spirit fly free

Julie. I speak your name and remember.


It never really goes away.

Naming my issues helps me, and if you need to not read this post, that’s fine. I feel like I’m screaming into the void in any case.

I don’t have it in me to make this a pretty, easily scannable post. I don’t have anything in me right now except a sucking well of darkness. (I’m fine, I’m not thinking of hurting myself, I will persevere because I have kids and I don’t have a choice.)

You can recover from depression to some extent. Some days are good, some days are better, and some days are like today. Where I just… sit here and stare, trying to find something worthwhile inside myself. Where I have to repeatedly remind myself that my husband and kids count on me and love me. That no matter what I prefer, I can’t check out.

Part of my angst is worry. For so many reasons. My spouse has to go to the states for a conference this week, and I worry about him running into trouble at the border, or ‘over-there’. (The fact that the country I was born in has become this foreign, scary ‘over-there’ is not lost on me.

I’m so very selfish that I’m glad he passes in every way. (He’s Wendat but has a Welsh last name. Cause his dad is white, hubs looks white.)

But it means that he has a higher percentage chance of coming home to me and our kids.

I’m worried about coping with being a single parent for a week without him. I have no idea how full-time single parents do it, and I give SPs all the kudos of ever.

I’m worried about my health, about how I’ll have to make a terrible choice soon (to give up my calling to go back to soul-deadening work… I can’t keep living with so little income. We can’t keep doing it. Writing and editing just aren’t doing it, and I think it’s coming time to acknowledge that the rest of the world just doesn’t care. I can preach and talk about the needs of creators to have patrons, and how they have through history (like I did here) for hours. But… why? No one cares.

What else am I to think? I see kickstarters and the like succeeding for potato salad recipes, but my sales on amazon are non-existent and I can’t get reviews even when people message me privately telling me how much they adore my stories. I’m sitting on three books right now that are ready to publish, better edited than a LOT of books on the market from the big five… in the hope that I MIGHT interest an agent or small pub in my work enough that they’ll help kickstart this new career I’m trying so hard to make work.

As for reviews… I’ve sent out unlimited free copies of my stories, I have two reviews. People on KDP read my work a lot by the page count numbers, still… no new reviews. I review other authors ALL THE TIME because I GET how important it is. I realized today that if I had a review for every one I’d done for others my sales rank/ratings would be MUCH higher on Amazon.

In case you don’t know, here’s how it works, reviews = a rating algorithm on sites like Amazon, Goodreads, et cetera. More reviews equals higher visability. Higher visability = higher potential sales (cause the book is right there in front of someone looking for that type of book). Obviously, higher sales equals well… so much, but at least the idea that you might actually be decent at what you do.

My editing clients… they rave over my work, but when it comes time to pay for it, they quail. Even some of my CPs don’t do close to what I do for them… so. Part of that is my asperger’s. When I say I’ll do something, I DO it, to the best of my ability. Others don’t seem to be so burdened.

People tell me they value my words, (on twitter, on my blog, my website) they tell me they’ve learned so much from me… but a buck a month for more of those words to keep me providing that content through Patreon? Yeah… that’s not happening either.

Faith in humanity… lessened. (Y’all do know I didn’t have a helluva a lot of it to begin with, right?)

Part of my issue today is also grief.

It’s the first day of spring. In November we lost our house, and my garden, that I had poured blood, sweat, and tears into for half a decade.

It’s gone.

I don’t know how to start again. The very idea of digging out my pots, and soil and starts and seeds… it hurts so much and it’s bloody exhausting on top of it.

I gambled on moving to a new country. It was supposed to be better here, but because of poor legal representation (if they weren’t lawyers I’d SO sue them for how badly they fucked us over) my paperwork took 5 freaking years to finish. We found out in the interview that it should’ve taken 6 months.

6. Months.

On top of that, my husband’s family is amazingly almost more broken than mine is. Which is… pretty fucking flabbergasting to be honest. (I hadn’t spent much time around them before we moved here… um. Yeah, BIG SHOCK!)

Today is just one of those days where I wonder why I’m bothering with writing at all. It’s hard fucking work, other than being a parent it’s the hardest work I’ve ever done. It will be so. much. easier. to give up and work a job where I’ll HAVE to take anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds and painkillers just to function. At least I should have a prescription plan doing that kind of work to help me afford the meds I’ll need to do that kind of work.

I *can* do the work of writing, educating, curating content, editing, with little physical cost to myself, and I don’t have to medicate myself into insensibility to do it. But I can’t do it if I’m not given a chance, a break, something.

and I don’t have forever to wait for it.

I have a  little over a year left before I have to have a job, unless life takes another downturn (which, given our life the past year, I’m expecting any moment).


It hurts. There’s mine.

Now I’m going to go edit my science fantasy book so I can put it on amazon and no one will buy that one either.

How’s that truth for you?

I don’t even know why I bother to put this here…

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So, I haven’t blogged in a couple of weeks. Partly because I’ve been busy with work and getting BLOOD-BOUND, Book 1 of Ace Assassin ready for querying.

I admit a little of that is a desire not to blog and just, I dunno, give my words and myself away. My hopes for more patrons to help me keep supporting this blog seems doomed to failure.

Unless you can help me out with that?

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Help me keep providing content, and you know, eating?

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So more of my time has to go towards things that have some potential to making me money sooner than later. I have hope on the horizon for the immigration thing finally being finished and my legal paperwork in hand.


Yet, you know, that’s not going to change a lot when it comes to my day to day life. I really can’t work and write/edit. It’s one or the other. I don’t want to give up my writing and editing. I really don’t. But unless something changes, I’ll have to give up my calling just so I can afford dental.

So… more of me, my limited amount of energy, spoons and time goes to the writing/editing/querying.

Yet… I’m moved to blog today because I found (to my surprise) that I’m blocked on twitter by someone I don’t know, have never heard of before and (to my knowledge) have never done anything to.

I don’t *think* I’m a horribly confrontational person, I try very hard not to be. 

Yet for some reason, this other writer has me blocked.

I don’t know why. In my aspie way, that bothers me A LOT.

There is this culture of preemptive blocking and self-defense in all forms of social media these days, and I just don’t understand what is with people who do it.

I really don’t. I don’t block someone unless they’ve done something pretty bad TO ME. If they’ve done something nasty to a friend, I’ll call them on it, privately if I can and always politely.

So to find myself blocked in such a way truly confuses me.

Go figure, another aspect of social interaction that I don’t understand.






Full review of Project Emergence:

Young Adult Science Fiction

Available March 14th, 2017project-emergence

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play Books | Indiebound

An ancient Hopi myth says people arrived on tiny silver pods that fell from the sky.

But the truth is far more terrifying.

Two-hundred fifty-eight teens are sent from a dying Earth to a terraformed Mars as part of the Emergence Program, mankind’s last hope before solar flares finish off their planet and species. Among the brave pioneers are sixteen-year-old Joey Westen and her twin brother, Jesse.

After only minutes in space, something triggers a total ship lock down.

With the help of their roommates, the Matsuda twins (notorious hackers and shady secret-keepers), Joey and Jesse stumble onto an extremist plot to sabotage the Emergence Program.

But Joey and Jesse didn’t travel to the deepest pits of space and leave their mother behind to be picked off in a high-tech tin can. They’ll lie, hack, and even kill to survive the voyage and make it to Mars.

The meat of my review: 

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

I love Ms. Zakian’s work, that’s no secret, her Ashby Holler series is one of my all time favorite sets of books.

As for Project Emergence, even though it’s coming out after the Ashby series, I have a feeling it’s an earlier work. It isn’t as nuanced as her other books but that fits the story line quite well.

One of Ms. Zakian’s gifts in writing YA is that she writes teens like they really are. It’s not adult thought patterns put into supposedly teenaged heads like a lot of the YA on the market.

Project Emergence is an easy, fast read and I think it’s a great set-up story for what I feel will be a fascinating book two.

Unfortunately, I caught a number of editing errors, so feel it could’ve been edited more thoroughly, but that’s not on the author. No author can ever can catch everything in their own work, we become blind to our own words. Just part of the business of writing. You need external editors and Project Emergence needed one. Regardless of that, it’s quite a fun read with a light, enjoyable plot.

I most strongly identified with Sabrina in the book. The young adult characters are written in a way that evokes the feeling of being a youth, which is exactly what one wants when writing YA. I think teenagers and new adults are going to enjoy the story quite a bit.

The two different styles of voice in the book are each unique and well defined (Sabrina/Adult, the YA voices, all are exactly as they should be, and it’s a hard thing for an author to do, to have two such different voices in one book.)

The characters and world definitely have promise, and I look forward to book two.

Scroll down for more info on the tour, author and for the giveaway!

About Jamie: 


Jamie Zakian is a full-time writer who consumes the written word as equally as oxygen. Living in South Jersey with her husband and rowdy family, she enjoys farming, archery, and blazing new trails on her 4wd quad, when not writing of course. She aspires to one day write at least one novel in every genre of fiction.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a DVD of Passengers, US Only.

1 winner will win the complete FIRE IN THE WOODS eBook set, International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Tour Schedule:

Week 1:

3/13/2017- Reading for the Stars and Moon– Guest Post

3/13/2017- Kaelan Rhywiol– Review

3/14/2017- Month9Books– Excerpt

3/14/2017- YA and Wine– Interview

3/15/2017- Kaitlin Gillespie– Review

3/15/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Interview

3/16/2017- The Math Lovin’ Momma– Review

3/16/2017- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt

3/17/2017- Fix Gal– Review

3/17/2017- Book Review Becca– Spotlight


Week 2:

3/20/2017- Jennifer Eaton– Guest Post

3/20/2017- So Few Books– Interview

3/21/2017- Never Too Many To Read– Review

3/21/2017- Rockin’ Book Reviews– Excerpt

3/22/2017- Omg Books and More Books– Review

3/22/2017- Wishful Endings– Guest Post

3/23/2017- Hall Ways Blog Excerpt


Narrated version here…


It’s a twitter abbreviation I’ve seen a lot lately, usually with some sort of modifier in front of it and a glaring generalization of thought patterns, activity or something attached behind it.

White Ppl

Black Ppl.

Latinx Ppl.

Native Ppl

Gay Ppl.

Ace Ppl.

Bi Ppl.

Straight Ppl

Pagan Ppl

Xtian Ppl.

I can keep going? Yes? No?

Or do you get my drift.

So, I qualify as… let’s see… 6 of those.

How do you think it makes me (and anyone else like me) feel when we see this type of thing?

White PPL do X, they’re against us.

Black PPL do X, they’re against us.

Ace PPL do X, they’re against us.

Pagan PPL do X, they’re against us.

et cetera ad nauseum.

I’m tired y’all. So tired of it, because you know what ANYONE who would use some sort of designation like that is missing?

The PEOPLE part of that.

We aren’t monoliths. Not every person falling into any one of those categories is going to be the same, think the same, have the same beliefs or thoughts… and there is so much hatred being tossed around.

Yeah, and there’s bullying too. I’ve spoken out about bullying before, and I have a Masters in education and many hours of attending professional development seminars about that very topic, so it’s not like I’m talking out of my ass here.

Link to bullying post

It’s easy to hate. It’s so easy. It’s one hell of a lot easier to throw around hate and accusations of ‘you just want us to be nice’ and ‘you’re talking over XXX’ and ‘it’s not bullying to call out XXX’.

It’s SO much easier to devolve to name-calling… and FYI? Name calling is bullying, by legal and technical definition AND by the experience of it.

You can label actions, you can’t label people, it’s wrong. So stop it.

Someone recently suggested that it’s the same thing, to call someone a sexist or racist-as it is to call someone a baker or a hairdresser. I had to sit with that one for a while. It isn’t the same at all. That’s a fallacious argument. Calling someONE (not their actions, you can call out racist actions all you want, and we all SHOULD when we see it), but calling someONE a sexist or racist is a helluva great way to make them stop listening to you.

IF your goal is to actually educate and enact change, don’t LABEL people with any word ending in -ist or -phobe. If it isn’t, and all you want to do is foment more hate, keep tossing words like that at people.

Homophobe, Psychotic, Sociopath, Racist, Bigot, Biphobe, Acephobe, Sexist, Misogynist, I could keep going, and then I could segue into the ethnic slurs.

I won’t… but do feel free to educate yourself on what to NEVER use in language… I’ll link it here. 

It’s so much easier to stop following people who hold different viewpoints than you do. Trust me, in the past few days I’ve really wanted to.

But you know what? I’m not going to learn anything if I stop listening, and unfollowing is a way to very easily stop listening.

I’m not going to learn how to NOT HARM (a rather important part of my faith, if you’ll remember) if I don’t listen and learn.

So.  I’m still listening. Are you?