August 17, 2017

Change the Conversation. Embrace the Vulnerable.

Warning: Rare personal post

I’m not a political person. My mind doesn’t work that way. I know what I believe in and vote to support that, but if you ask me to explain it to you, my tongue ends up in some strange political knot. There is a political disconnect somewhere between my brain and my mouth.

But I know hate.

During the presidential campaign one of the things that worried me most about Trump was how his actions stirred up the haters. Bigots, racists, oppressors, those who feel they are somehow better than others were feeling empowered by the man’s actions. When the surprise of his win wore off, the dread settled deep in my gut. I knew a lot of things would go wrong with him in office, but my biggest concern was how he empowered mean spirited people.

A president can negate laws and policies meant to protect people. He can put laws and policies in place to further his own agenda and they will have an impact on our lives – but on a higher level. Plus in four years when he’s voted out, the next president can undo everything he did. Our system is a pendulum to protect us – on that higher level – from a president who swings too far to one side or another.

But empowering the bigots and the racists brings it to street level. It plops it right smack dab into our neighborhoods. When he was elected I know I wasn’t the only one who worried about that. So, what happened this weekend was, on the one hand, no surprise. Don’t get me wrong; it’s shocking that we live among a populous that vehemently believes anybody is inferior enough to deserve oppression. Though I truly don’t want to accept there are still so many people with narrow minded, warped, and truly mean thinking – Trump already exposed that during his campaign. So the violence this weekend was just a matter of time.

The thing that worries me is the inflammation. A huge gaping wound was torn open in America this weekend. It’s surrounded by tender, inflamed people who are more likely to become infected and make it worse rather than better. We know our leader is not going to step forward and strongly denounce these actions. So, without proper leadership, we must figure out how to take control ourselves. How do we reject the power given to the haters and create a society of tolerance and acceptance? With more hate and vitriol? No.

Lead by example. Speak up, but instead of shouting, speak with strength and conviction. Why point a finger at people who voted for Trump? That will only put them on the defense. Instead, share a personal experience of how the shift in our culture has impacted you, your family, or friends. Make it real. People react better to stories than to accusations.

We need to change the conversation. We need to protect the vulnerable. Reach out to those in your life who are especially vulnerable; people of color, lgbtq, Jewish, women, (who else, the list seems to grow daily anymore!) Reach out and let them know you love and support them. That you are a safe place for them when they feel threatened. Bullies give up when their target is well protected. As a community, we can warn the haters off.

I’m so sad that we are in this place again. Looking at the images and reading/watching the unabashed hate makes my heart hurt. But at the same time, the fact that we – as humans – continually repeat this repulsive behavior makes me realize that it will always, always be a fight we must wage. Maybe what we learn from our past isn’t not to oppress, but how to oppress the oppressors. It isn’t our leaders who do it. It is the people. It is US. Embrace the vulnerable and stand strong against the haters. Don’t even give our inept leader the time of day. Each time we rise to the bait, we reward his attention monger antics. He doesn’t deserve our anger. Put that energy into the street fight.

Peace.

August 10, 2017

Cover Reveal of This Life Isn't Mine by Dominique Laura + #Giveaway

I'm excited to share the cover for the upcoming #YAcontemporary, This Life Isn't Mine by Dominique Laura.
About the book:
Most nights, when I close my eyes, my dreams are filled with memories from my past life, the one I lived before this. I remember who I was and the people in that life, and I don't want any part of this one. Everly Hope Davis isn't who I want to be, but she's who I am. In the beginning I fought against her and everything in her world, but it's impossible to hate something when you're living it every day, when the people involved make it a life worth living. I'm trying to make the best of it now, but deep down I know this life isn't mine.


Preorder link: (PREORDER FOR 99 CENTS!): http://a.co/hObcR5P



Cover designer: Liv's Lovely Designs



Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dominiquelaurawrites
Twitter: @DomLauraWrites
Instagram: DominiqueLauraWrites
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/author/dominiquelaura

Giveaway HTML: a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 7, 2017

August #InkRipples: Author options in Publishing

A quick side note before I get into this month’s topic of author options in publishing. Several lovely bloggers helped my alter ego, LA Dragoni, celebrate the release of Guardian’s Touch with a blog tour and giveaway. Be sure to stop by their blogs TODAY to read my words of wisdom and enter to win one of three great prizes. Today, Monday, is the last day.
Katie Carroll http://bit.ly/2f12JKI
Meradeth Houston  
http://bit.ly/2hgUo6o
Beverly McClure  
http://bit.ly/2vbfZTF
Patricia Lynne  
http://bit.ly/2f1uHpU
Joan Curtis  
http://bit.ly/2uR2Ooj
Erin Rhew  
http://bit.ly/2wlC52M


I’m going to try and take a different approach to this month’s Ink Ripples topic and see if I can address how the expanded options for authors in publishing has impacted the reader. At least from my viewpoint.

Back in the day, not all that long ago, authors really only had one option to achieve successful sales in publishing. The big six (there used to be six, now there are…five?) Anyway, since Amazon paved the way to making self-publishing not only affordable and attainable and others like Smashwords, and Draft to Digital, etc, followed, it also opened the gates to achieve sales success, all sorts of possibilities have opened up, including many small press publishers, and as a result more books are published each month than ever before.

What does this mean to readers?

Selection. Just doing a generic search on Amazon for a few genres I come up with more books than a reader could browse in a lifetime, let alone read. Paranormal Romance: 122,765. Science Fiction & Fantasy: 382,555. Oh, here. I might have stumbled upon a niche market. Young Adult Contemporary only pulls a result of 43,446. Ooo – wait, even better is Time Travel Romance, which only returns 13,130.

I have books published/to be published in each of these categories. Let’s say a reader is interested in my Super Villain Academy books, but can’t remember the name of any of the books – or they heard someone talking about my time travel romance and can’t remember it’s title or the pen name I write under. How are they supposed to find it?! Sure there is a lot of selection, but how do readers narrow it down? Eenie meanie, miney, moe? Throw darts at the screen and see what they hit? Selection can be good and it can be overwhelming.

Price. Competition often drives prices down. Maybe not so good for the authors, who would like to get paid for all the work they poured into that book, but it’s great for the readers. 99¢ is the new black and readers are taking full advantage of it. It isn’t even too disappointing if they end up with a poorly written book or a one that wasn’t edited at that price. And it is a good way to see if you want to invest a whole $3.99 on one of the author’s other books. However, because authors aren't making money, they are more likely to stop publishing altogether, which will impact that author's fan directly.

Services. This is actually a pretty sweet deal for readers. There are now a ton of FREE newsletters readers can join where, when the reader signs up, they tell the newsletter what types of books they are most interested in and they get a daily/weekly email with a list of books in those categories. That helps the reader find new authors or even publishers who they can then stick with. The reader can weed out the newsletters that don’t send suggestions they are interested in and only continue to receive the ones they deem more reliable. Bloggers are also AWESOME. If readers take the time to try a few different bloggers who review books they are interested in, they’ll find one or two they can rely on to feel the same about a book as they do.

Quality. Back in the day it used to be that only quality books were found through publishers and self-published work was generally crap. The waters have been so stirred up now that you will find self-published crap, small press published crap and crap from the big five. But guess what – it also means you can find quality work across the board too.

The interesting thing is most of the time the reader isn’t really aware of how the book got into their hands. They just know that the cover or the blurb or a recommendation from a friend/bookseller/librarian caught their attention. Most readers don’t say, “Ah, but who published it?” before deciding to pick it up.

What do you think? How has the expansion of authors’ options in publishing changed life for the bookworms out there?

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.