Why Did You Buy That Book?

Nobody reads a mystery to get to the middle, Mickey Spillane, Lynette M Burrows. . . They read it to get to the end.

If it’s a letdown, they won’t buy anymore.

The first page sells that book.

The last page sells your next book.

— Mickey Spillane 

 

Do you agree with Mr. Spillane? Do you read the first page before you buy a book? Have you ever bought a book because of the last page of a book?

 

Image: Victoria Park Silhouette courtesy of Russell Street via Flickr Creative Commons

Finding Hope

People were killed and people were severely injured last week.

People are killed and severely injured every week, you say. How is this different? Hate crimes. Yeah. Hate crimes happen every day, too. It’s a sad, angry, scared, confusing world.

This crime was big and public and it hit the news. Caring, compassionate people are hurting, grieving, scared, and angry. Many have lost hope. Some are lashing out with angry words. They think it is a sign of compassion, a sign of solidarity, a sign of right. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it crosses the line. Hate and anger beget hate and anger.

I don’t condone behavior based on hate or anger from anyone, for any reason. I try to feel compassion. But yes, I’m angry, hurt, scared, and confused, too. I wanted to strike back. At the same time, I want to hide my head in the sand. I want to hope it will all go away. And I tried. I tried staying away from social media. I wrote in my journal. I pulled out words I’ve drafted for future blog posts and tried to post them. I tried to pretend all was well. But I couldn’t do it.

I wrote angry, hurt-filled, blaming words that I thought I would post. But I couldn’t do that either. Hate and anger beget hate and anger.

I turned to my center, searching for love, understanding, compassion, hope. Severely challenged by recent events, by all the hate and anger that surrounds us, I couldn’t find any hope until Kitt Crescendo responded to a post by Catie Rhodes. Catie asked folks to comment with whatever music they were listening to today (Sunday). Kitt responded with a comment that when she gets discouraged by the events surrounding us, she turns to this song:

There it is, my compassion, my faith in people, my hope. Look at the lyrics:

“The Change”
Lyrics by Tony Arata and Wayne Tester

One hand
Reaches out
And pulls a lost soul from harm
While a thousand more go unspoken for
They say what good have you done
By saving just this one
It’s like whispering a prayer
In the fury of a storm

And I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me

This heart
Still believes
The love and mercy still exist
While all the hatred rage and so many say
That love is all but pointless in madness such as this
It’s like trying to stop a fire
With the moisture from a kiss

And I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me

As long as one heart still holds on
Then hope is never really gone

I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world we know
Never changes me

What I do is so
This world will know
That it will not change me

Some of you are likely going to comment that I’m avoiding naming the event, the place, the type of hate crime, and the criminals. Yes, I am. An ugly truth is that this isn’t the only hate crime that happened last week. It’s the one in the news. Hate crimes happen every day against people for their gender, their race, their religion, their otherness. Hate crimes range from angry, hurtful words to damaged property, or injury, or murder. No hate crime is less than or greater than the other. No hate crime is the right thing to do. Hate and anger beget hate and anger.

So I will rise above my feelings of hate and anger. I will remember to show love and mercy to all people regardless of their gender, race, religion, or otherness, even regardless of their behavior. I believe bad behavior (which this goes way beyond) must have consequences. But I also believe that only through love and mercy will we ever find true equality and peace.

Written for a different hate crime, this song reminded me. I believe that love and mercy still exist. I know there are people like me who will hold love and mercy in their hearts no matter how much anger and hate is flung around the globe and at home. And knowing that, I know hope is never gone.

With heartfelt thanks to the lyric writers, Tony Arata and Wayne Tester, to Garth Brooks, Catie Rhodes, and Kitt Crescendo. Keep spreading love and mercy!

July in Review

American flag, blog post by Lynette M BurrowsWow, another month is gone. I’ve been working hard at trying to increase my productivity in writing and ALL THE THINGS that must be done. So, for the first time, I’m sharing my progress, or lack thereof, with you.

WRITING

July was not my best nor my worst month. I managed more than 4,800 words on my work-in-progress. The best news is that I finished the second act and have started the third and final act of this book. This revision has been extraordinarily long and painful for a whole bunch of reasons, but I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

A shiny new idea, rather variation on an old idea, came to me and I did a little research that may turn into a series about aliens and Greek mythology and the challenges of being a hero.

I wrote nearly 2,000 words of blog posts but I missed one day.

I finished a deep, structure critique for a friend. And my journals are nearly 2,000 words fatter.

HOUSE

There was one huge storm that meant I spent a fair amount of time cleaning up afterwards. This also meant I didn’t get the exercise room finished nor cleaned up enough to actually use. And I didn’t get the bathroom project done. So many half-done projects going on!

House cleaning is about at the bottom of my list of priorities, so there are tons of things to do that I’m moving to August’s list where they will also likely not get done.

The bad news is that I discovered a woodpecker has done a lot of damage to a portion of our house. It has to be repaired soon.

THE DAY JOB

Caregiver stuff interfered less than it has in the recent past, so I worked the appropriate number of hours. But three of four weeks I ended up having to do some makeup time on a day off. That accounts for some of the dip in the writing word count.

RESEARCH, READING, LEARNING

I finished a book called The Unfit: A History of a Bad Idea by Elof Axel Carlson about eugenics in America. Very interesting. You’ll see a blog post on that someday.

I listened to LeVar Burton Reads. In this podcast LeVar reads short science fiction or fantasy stories. He is fun to listen to and his story selection is excellent. I recommend it.

I listened to the Writing Excuses, Story Grid, and Creative Penn podcasts. Each of them offered interesting details that I can use in various projects. One of the tidbits I found helpful was from the Creative Penn Podcast with Dean Wesley Smith. Dean said, “The only failure in writing is not writing.” Something to remember as I struggle forward.

My fiction reading ground to a halt. The book I attempted to read just didn’t hold my interest. I’ll try something else this month.

GOALS for AUGUST

To Do List Chalkboard, post by Lynette M Burrows

Yes, I know this is the seventh day of August, but it’s the first Monday in August.

WRITING

  1. Get at least half-way through Act 3.
  2. Write 4 new blog posts.
  3. Send out reader questionaires for a new blog series I’d like to do.

HOUSE

  1. Finish the exercise room.
  2. Get estimates for repairs to the house.
  3. Finish the bathroom project.

DAY JOB

 

There will be more challenges to getting the hours in. I will attempt to keep the number of times I must use a day off to complete those hours to just two this month.

RESEARCH, LEARNING, READING

  1. Continue researching book promotion.
  2. Continue listening to podcasts when I’m able.
  3. Choose a new fiction book and begin reading.
  4. Take time to view the solar eclipse on Monday, August 21.
  5. Attend the Seven Deadly First-Page Sins presentation by Tex Thompson on August 21.

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Blogging all this feels a bit weird to me, but there it is. If it helps me increase my productivity, fantastic. I’ll try it for this quarter and see what happens.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Or, share one of your accomplishments or goals. I love hearing from you!

image credits: American Flag by Mike Mozart on flickr CC and To Do List Chalkboard by Mufidah Kassalias on flickr CC