The shooting in Orlando

Let it never be said that Twitter doesn’t do any good.

I don’t usually check the news before I leave for work, bu sometimes, if we’re slow, Ill scroll through Twitter. Yesterday, I was checking Twitter, and found several tweets about a mass shooting in Orlando.

For those of you who don’t know, fifty people were killed in an act of domestic terrorism in a gay nightclub called Pulse, in Orlando Florida.

After that, I kept off of Twitter for awhile. I couldn’t stand what I was reading.

This leads me to share with you some things I am damned well sick of, as an American. If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to share them with you today.

I’m sick of gun violence.

A gun is a weapon, like a knife or a flame. Any of them can be used for good, or bad. I’m from Western PA, there are some families that I know, and know well, that only have meat in their freezers in the winter because of deer hunting. I like guns, actually, I was on the rifle team in school.

But nothing else that private citizens can get their hands on is as capable as a gun of killing large amounts of people quickly. No, guns don’t kill people, but people kill other people far more effectively with them.

Today is June 12. We are 165 days into this year, and there have been 133 mass shooting in America already. (Source: Bustle.com, VOX) I don’t know what the answer to this is. That’s why I’m a blogger and not a politician. But it would be nice if we were doing, I don’t know, literally anything.

I’m sick of anti gay violence.

If I thought I couldn’t be angrier about gay rights than I was after North Carolina’s recent decision to allow persecution against gay and transgender individuals, I was obviously wrong. People died, literally died, because they were at a gay night club. And I’m sick of it. I’m sick of people thinking they’ve got any sort of right to say what someone else should or shouldn’t do with their lives. Even if you really think that gay people are sinning, you don’t have a right to say or do anything to them!

I’m sick of anti Muslim hate.

And while we’re on the subject of hating other people, let me just remind everyone reading this that the majority of shootings in America are committed by non Muslim people. The Muslim faith is similar to Christianity in many ways, including the fact that we both have a whole spectrum of faithfuls. We have the selfless and devout who spend their lives working to help people because of their faith. We have the people like me who believe, and try to be good people, but mostly just go about our days making small sins and trying to help our brothers and sisters when we can. And we’ve got the crazies who kill people and say that God/Allah wanted them to do it.

I’m sick of the conversation being about everything but gun control.

Over the next few days, you’re going to hear all sorts of things about gun violence, and how we need stronger protections. We’ll hear, from certain people, how this sort of things wouldn’t happen if we would stop letting foreigners (mostly the ones with dark skin) into the country. That’s all bullshit. What we need to do is uphold the laws we have, and close loopholes like gun shows. We need to become a society that values differences, that celebrates differences. We should be a society in which the very thought of disliking someone because they’re different is deplorable, reprehensible. And we need to start keeping control of our guns. This man shot 103 people. How did he do that, without taking time to reload? Why was he ever allowed to get his hands on a gun that could fire that many times? You might say that making things illegal won’t stop people from getting them. That’s true, you are absolutely right. But it will lessen the amount of people who have them. And, quite frankly, it’s better than doing nothing.

I’m sick of being scared.

I was fifteen on September 11th, 2001. And it seems, I swear, like I’ve been scared ever since. Or, at least, I’ve been told I should be, treated like we all should be. I have seen us overreact, take away freedoms, take leaps and strides toward a 1984 sort of world. I have seen people cower, I have seen safety measures increased, but never have I felt a single bit safer, because we are never doing enough. We are taught to hate the stranger, hate the one who is different, because he might be a threat. We are not encouraged to befriend those who look or think different. We have been taught, as Americans, to stick to our own kind.

Thank you for allowing me to rant today. If you take anything away from this post, take this. Don’t let people tell you to be scared. Don’t hate blindly, don’t blame a group for the actions of a few. Know your history, it will help you process what happens today. And look after your fellow man, no matter his skin color or religion. Please, don’t take this as an excuse to hate.

Take this as an excuse to love.

Writing From My Roots

I have this great little moleskine notebook that my darling husband got for me for Christmas. He had it engraved on the cover with the words Come On Home. Those same words are on the inside of our wedding rings. They’re from our song, Christmas TV by Slow Club. I use this little notebook to collect short story ideas, because I roll over bullet journals once a season, and I need something that lasts longer for story ideas, since I might not get a chance to write more than three of those in a season.

It’s a reminder, every time that I look at it, to write from my roots.

Let me tell you what I mean by this, because I realize it’s a little bit of a strange thing to say.

Writing from my roots means writing from my home, my family and my history.

I write about my home town a lot. I think I might have already mentioned that I have an intense love/hate relationship with this place. Butler is a drying out steel town. Our steel mill is shut down, and has been for awhile. We don’t really make many new things here, which means that our economy just recirculates the same money over and over, year after year. Sometimes, it’s like trying to breath stale air. No one moves here for work. You’re either trying to get out or get by until you die. I’m included in this, because I’m trying like hell to get out. I think it’s pretty obvious that this feeling of frustration often makes its way into my writing. My American world view certainly changes how I see the word, and I write from that root as well.

My family is kind of messed up. I don’t speak to most of it because the majority of my family have no desire to be part of a healthy or supportive relationship. It’s more back biting, more of a situation where you don’t get help without expecting to pay something back for it. But my own nuclear family is wonderful. I have a great husband, and two kids that I love all the time and like most of the time. My mother in law is an amazingly openhearted person who has gone out of her way to make me feel like her child, not just the spouse of her child. I write from those roots.

I was born in 1986, and so I have a far different world view than someone older or younger than me. I saw my country grow scared after 9/11/01, and we haven’t stopped being scared since. I have seen my country become polarized, seen politicians who are supposed to be representing me say things that just flagrantly ignore the laws of science. I have seen heroes, real life heroes stand up for us, and be ignored or shunned. I have seen technology take leaps and bounds that I never thought possible. For instance, I used to watch Inspector Gadget as a kid, and I wanted Penny’s book. You know, the one that was pretty much a computer that had a cover. Yeah, I have a tablet now that’s pretty much the same thing. I have seen us get smarter individually and dumber as a whole. Our policies have gotten more tolerant, our people have gotten more narrow minded. I write from those roots.

What roots do you write from.

Pedophile

Perry thought it would be harder than it was, this business of killing a man.  Even knowing what sort of things this monster, this pedophile had done, he’d thought it would be harder.
When he found out that there was someone like 
that, someone who preyed on little kids, in his own apartment building, the knowledge had refused to leave him.  Perry saw the pedophile in the halls, on the way to and from whatever place he spent his day.  It made Perry shake just to look at him, walking around so casually.
Did anyone else in the building know?  How could they?  They were all so 
polite to him.  And there were children in that building.
Perry didn’t feel like he had any option.  He had taken the first opportunity to sneak up the fire escape to the pedophile’s apartment.  The window was open to let in the early fall cool.  The pedophile was in the kitchen, the radio was on low.
Perry was quiet.  He snuck up behind the pedophile with a length of wire, and pulled it tight around his neck.  It took nearly no time at all.
Perry felt no guilt for what he was doing.  Someone sick like that, he never should have been let out of prison.
A set of keys was jingling in the hallway, bring Perry out of his musing.  Pedophile or not, he thought that it would not do well to be found hovering over a dead man.  He started to slink  back towards the window.
Then he heard shouting from the apartment next door.
“Dennis, I told you to stay away!” a woman screamed.  That was Hannah Lewis.  Dennis was the boyfriend she’d kicked out, loudly, almost a month ago.
Perry heard a crash.  Hannah was screaming, “Help!  Mr. Johnson!”
Perry ran to the door, nearly tripping on a baseball bat set next to it.  Hannah’s door was still open.  He ran into her apartment.
Dennis had thrown Hannah through the coffee table.  She was laying in the broken wood and porcelain from the brick a brack.  Dennis stood over her, holding a crowbar.
“Hey!” Perry yelled, “Get out or I’ll call the cops!”
Dennis fled.  Apparently he wasn’t up to much past beating on girls.
Perry helped Hannah from the remains of the table.  “Thank you,” she said, tears welling in her eyes.  “I really thought he was going to kill me this time.”
“Do you want me to call an ambulance or something?” Perry asked.  ” Is there anyone who can come stay with you?”
“No, thank you,” Hannah said.  “I’m sure Mr. Johnson will be here in a minute, and he’ll stay with me.”

     “Who’s Mr. Johnson?” Perry asked.

     “The man who lives next door.  He’s been helping me with this situation with Dennis.”

     Perry helped her to the couch, and thought back to the baseball bat he’d tripped over.  “Are you going to call the police?” he asked.

     “No.  Dennis is always gone by the time they get here.  They’re no help.”

     “I don’t know that you can really trust Mr. Johnson,” Perry said.  “I’ve heard some things about him.”

     Hannah laughed out loud.  “You heard about him being on that website for sex offenders?  Yeah, he told me about that.  Even showed me the arrest report.  He didn’t do anything wrong.  He was dating a girl who was younger than him in high school.  They got caught messing around one night, and he got arrested.  I wish people would leave him alone about that.”

     She stood up.  “I’m make some tea.  Do you have time for a cup?”

If you liked this story, please share it! And don’t forget to check out my short story collection, Days and Other Stories.

     

Some Changes

I’ve been thinking about this for some time, and now I think I’ve made up my mind.

Over the next few weeks, you’ll be seeing some changes here on Paper Beats World. I’m focusing less on writing about writing and more on, well, writing. As I turn 30 this week, I think it’s a good time.

I’m turning 30, in fact, tomorrow. It seems weird, realizing that the things I’m worried about and working on and praying over are things I wouldn’t have even imagined ten years ago. I’m learning about a 401 K, preparing to publish a few more books this year, and getting ready for my little monsters to go into 7th grade in the fall. (I’m really looking forward to that already, and it’s only the first day of summer vacation.)

So, here are the changes you’ll be seeing.

  • I’m going move my posts to Mondays and Fridays. Mondays are going to have a more ‘my real life’ feel to them, and Fridays will be anything from writing advice, movie reviews, tv reviews, book reviews or really anything else I can think of.
  • I will still do a market post, But only if people really want me to! If you want me to keep posting markets, please leave me a response to this post, telling me so. Seriously, I was checking my statistics, and they’re by far my least read posts. If I’m wrong, please let me know. In fact, if just one person says they’d like me to keep posting markets, I’ll do it.
  • Since my goal online is to show my writing, and get people excited about it, I’m going to be posting more of my own fiction. From now on, I’ll be posting speculative fiction every Wednesday.

And by the way, this new focus on sharing my own writing is going to include a very exciting project I’m intending to launch in August. Stay tuned.

I know that some of you are here just for the writing advice. To you, I say I’m sorry. At this point I feel like I’ve said all I have to say on the subject. But there’s a lot more I have to say. I hope you’ll stick with me.

Computer Programs Every Writer Should Know

I think we’re just about done with the topic of real life writing for now. It’s a topic that I’m sure I’ll explore again, but for now I feel like I’ve said everything I have to say.

Before we go, though, I want to talk about computers for a minute. Awhile ago I posted a list of the best aps for your smart phone or other device that will help you be a better writer. At the time, I promised that I would talk about computer programs for writers as well.

As promised, here is that list now. Some of these you might have heard of, and some you might not have. I tend to use only programs I don’t have to pay a lot for, so none of these should be breaking your budget.

Open Office

I was less than thrilled when my latest computer didn’t come with Microsoft Word. Maybe this is just me, but I was spoiled. I’d never gotten a computer without it before.

Fortunately, I’d been using Open Office for years anyway. It’s free to download, and you can convert the documents to any other form. This is awesome if an editor or agent needs your work to be in some strange form. It has all the same lovely fonts and useful tools as most word programs, and is very easy to use. It also has spreadsheets, which I’m sure you all know I can’t get by without.

Book Creator

A lot of you might already know from my behind the scenes look at my e-book creation that this is the ap I used to do it. It is easy to use, took me about three seconds to learn it. It’s great for adding graphics, too, if you’re the artistic type that needs a lot of graphics and artwork in your book.

(Full disclosure, I intend to use Calibre Ebook next time. The only problem I had with Book Creator was that I had to fit the words directly onto the page, I couldn’t just import my work and have it lay it out for me. I’ll let you know how Calibre works after I’ve experimented with it.)

Cortana or google ask

When I got my new computer it didn’t have Word, but it did have Cortana. I cannot tell you how valuable this has been to me. Instead of searching google for things like Middle Eastern names, what sort of dogs are most common in Russia, or what sort of breakfast people eat in Italy, I just ask Cortana. I can also use it to open documents just by asking and setting alarms the same way. I love it.

Avira anti virus and firewall

Please tell me that you already have an anti virus, and a firewall. Let me be clear with you, if you don’t then you might as well be standing on a corner of the street, screaming your bank account numbers, home address and social security number for all to see. You are also leaving yourself as open to viruses as a gaping foot wound while walking in a dog park.

I use Avira, and I love it. It doesn’t take up much room, it’s easy to run a scan whenever I like, and it has random jokes. (Luke Firewalker. Love it. )

Canva

If you have looked at a single image on this website, then you know what Canva has done for me. I use it to create all of my images, including both of my book covers so far, and it is so easy to use. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

If I didn’t mention your favorite computer program for writers, it’s because I don’t know about it. Please share with us below.

EMC

This is a cool speculative fiction market I stumbled upon recently. I love that in addition to horror short fiction they also accept horror poetry. This is something I’d never really considered before, but I think maybe I should.

Genre- Horror, Dark Fantasy and Dark Science Fiction

Word Count- Max 3,000

Payout- 1 cent per word.

Wait Time-Not listed.

Here’s your link to the full submission guidelines. I’ll be adding this one to the Market list, so no worries if you miss it.

What your antagonist doesn’t have to be

Happy Throwback Thursday!

Paper Beats World

If we are to talk about characters at all, of course we must talk about antagonists. It won’t be a very exciting story without them. Not much fun watching your mc achieve all of their goals without any sort of roadblock, after all. Your antagonist has to be at least as interesting as your mc, if not more so.

Eh, but there are a lot of blogs that will tell you how to make a great antagonist, tell you all the things they should be. Here at Paper Beats World, I want to go a step beyond that, and shatter some illusions you might have about what an antagonist has to be. It’s your book, after all, you can make it anything you want. Just for the record, your antagonist doesn’t have to be-

Stupid or for that matter, smart

Someone’s intillect has nothing to do with whether or not…

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