Archive | June, 2016

Library Writers Group: Setting

30 Jun

We had an 11th-hour change in who would lead our writer’s group this month and it was decided we would spend the time talking about setting. I thought it was a great discussion and I wanted to share some notes with you.

The setting can encompass a lot of elements of the story. The local and physical setting is only part of it. You also must consider the time of year, time of day, and the time passing during the story. It can set a mood or establish a sociopolitical environment. It can include climate, geography (including man-made geography), historical era, population, and ancestral influences. In thinking of the last book I read, the sub-culture of Italian-American immigrants made a big impact on The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street and the historical events going on during the story had an impact on the characters in a big way.

A writer can use the setting to speak about the story. It can reinforce the mood or the characters. A cluttered office says something about a character. A dimly lit office can set a mood. Using two character’s opinions on a space can say something about their character. While one character might notice the romantic sunset, another might find the lack of lighting frustrating.

Having a vast or narrow setting can shift the focus of the book. For example, in Harry Potter, though we are involved in the Wizarding world, much of the action takes place at Hogwarts so it makes sense for the final battle to take place at Hogwarts rather than Azkaban or again at the Ministry.

To research a time period, our group recommends reading historical journal articles and trade publications from that period. A definite setting has become more important as writing is more widely distributed to different geographical areas and among several different classes who could all be different from the writer. With historical settings, the writer has a bit more freedom because there are fewer people alive to contradict the minute points of the book, but it’s still better safe than sorry.

I know this isn’t much, but it was a good discussion from us. I’ll be presenting on Lit Mag publication and Kristine Kruppa (YA Author) will be talking about finding her publisher.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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WWW Wednesday, 29-June-2016

29 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


TruthBeautyCurrently reading: I think I got through four pages of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I had been doing a lot of this reading in my phone during my lunch breaks but I had to read for my class a lot in the past weeks. Well, big news here is that MY CLASS IS OVER! I turned my final paper in on Monday and I’m free until August. I can’t tell you all how excited I am about this. I hope I can pick up reading Larson some more during lunch because I really enjoy his writing.
I’m still not a fan of In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches. Almost 100 pages in and there’s been a total of 3 pages devoted to the plot I thought I was going to find and about 25 pages devoted to Tosches talking about why he’s a great writer and what’s wrong in the publishing world. I don’t know how much more of this I can take.
I began a new audiobook, Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett. I think this one was recommended to me, but it’s hard to remember who or when. I love memoirs and I haven’t read Patchett yet which I think helps because I come in with no preconceived ideas of what her writing will be like.

IceCreamRecently finished: My ceaseless cravings for ice cream will hopefully stop soon because I finished The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman. I adored this audiobook and the character. I really recommend it to anyone with an interest in historical fiction or business. Gilman touches on both well and it was a great combination. I kept laughing during my runs and making my husband question my sanity.

I posted my review on Monday so please go check it out! This was a 5 Star read for me.

WingsReading Next: The book club met Monday and our next selection is The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. I’m tempted to put down Tosches to pick this up and read it first, but with the free time from my class being over, I’m trying to be optimistic about powering through it fast(ish). We’ll see how it goes.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

B+N Harry Potter Night

28 Jun

In the run up to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child being released next month (so soon), Barnes and Noble held a special Harry Potter themed night last Friday. I gathered up my fellow Potterhead and Cursed Child companion, YA author Kristine Kruppa and we headed out for a night of Harry fun!

Kristine being sorted into Slytherin.

Kristine being sorted into Slytherin.

We look great in paper ties.

We look great in paper ties.

The event was really well put together on B&N’s end. When you arrived, you received a scroll with a list of the activities and some puzzles (which were completed later with the hubby’s help). We were first sorted into our houses. Like in the book, you could ‘ask’ the Sorting Hat to put you into a particular house so into Hufflepuff I went! After we were sorted, we were asked to make house-color ties so we could identify our fellow housemates. I’ve not been so excited about coloring in a long time.

At the location we visited, the local Harry Potter club was volunteering to help run the activities which was great because there were even more fans than normal around. The staff was dressed up, too. My favorite was a bookseller dressed as Moaning Myrtle but another bookseller did a great Quidditch themed Harry himself. Even the baristas at the Starbucks counter were into it. We could go up to any bookseller or club member and be asked trivia questions which were later exchanged for house points. Kristine and I OWNED this. There was only one question I got wrong and I still feel bad about it.

If seen, contact the Ministry immediately.

If seen, contact the Ministry immediately.

There was this great photo booth where you could have your picture taken like an Azkaban headshot. Apparently, I was the first person to not smile in my picture. Who smiles in their Azkaban picture?

After about an hour, we were all assembled together to compete for the House Cup in Jeopardy! We came in third but I feel like it was biased in the favor of Gryffindor, haha. They kept getting bonus questions! Some of the questions were really hard and we ended up getting one wrong (darn).

Overall, it was a really fun night and I had a blast! I can’t wait for the release party. We’re going to a bookstore in a college town so maybe there will be more people our age to nerd out with. There’s got to be a ton of original Harry fans out there, right?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman (5/5)

27 Jun

I wish I could remember who recommended this book to me so I could thank him. I think it was another blogger so thank you, fellow bloggers, for this awesome recommendation. I loved the time period and I adored the main character. This book was funny and a great example of a strong voice.

Cover Image via Goodreads

Cover Image via Goodreads

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman

Summary from Goodreads:

In 1913, little Malka Treynovsky flees Russia with her family. Bedazzled by tales of gold and movie stardom, she tricks them into buying tickets for America. Yet no sooner do they land on the squalid Lower East Side of Manhattan, than Malka is crippled and abandoned in the street.

Taken in by a tough-loving Italian ices peddler, she manages to survive through cunning and inventiveness. As she learns the secrets of his trade, she begins to shape her own destiny. She falls in love with a gorgeous, illiterate radical named Albert, and they set off across America in an ice cream truck. Slowly, she transforms herself into Lillian Dunkle, “The Ice Cream Queen” — doyenne of an empire of ice cream franchises and a celebrated television personality.

Lillian’s rise to fame and fortune spans seventy years and is inextricably linked to the course of American history itself, from Prohibition to the disco days of Studio 54. Yet Lillian Dunkle is nothing like the whimsical motherly persona she crafts for herself in the media. Conniving, profane, and irreverent, she is a supremely complex woman who prefers a good stiff drink to an ice cream cone. And when her past begins to catch up with her, everything she has spent her life building is at stake.

Lillian was amazing. I loved her sarcastic comments and brutally honest dialogue. She and Bert were great together and the flash-forwards to the present with Jason always made me laugh. That’s not at all to say Lillian’s life was easy. She had to work really hard for what she got and overcome a lot of stereotyping because of her disability. She was really strong though I didn’t like how she’d bend the truth to get what she wanted sometimes. The way she addressed her reader as ‘darlings’ drew me in and I really liked the way Gilman gave Lil a strong voice. She had catch phrases on her commercials so it only made sense she used those catch phrases when speaking to her audience.

Lillian was very real to me. She reminded me a lot of business cases I’ve read through my school career about good businesses gone bad. I loved how her grief made her do some dumb things and she had to pay for them. She was flawed to be sure, but she was smart, just not in the traditional sense: more cunning than smart. I didn’t like how she tricked Bert and had Isaac to keep him at home. I thought that was too manipulative.

Of course, Lil was my favorite character. The only other character we get a lot of detail on is Bert and while he’s lovable, he’s a sidekick in Lillian’s story. Lil does some stupid things, but she’s always able to explain why. She does everything for a good, motivated reason which makes her very likable by the reader. She’s colorful and flawed and sometimes she redeems herself and sometimes she doesn’t but she rarely apologizes for it.

I related to Lil and Bert when they were first starting their business. My husband and I got married while he was student teaching and I was in a new job that wasn’t motivating me. We were tight with money and we ate the same things day after day because we’d bought it in bulk. It was fun to see that being poor newlyweds hasn’t changed much since the 30s.

Susan Jane GIlman Image via the author's website

Susan Jane Gilman
Image via the author’s website

Lil and Bert starting their business was my favorite part of the book. Bert was such an engineer but his dyslexia (I’m fairly sure that’s what we’d call it nowadays) kept him from being educated. He and Lil hit a lucky break when the got their first store from the knickknack owners, but it was exactly what they needed and they had to make the best of it. Lil was smart realizing how America was going to change with freeways and car culture. The two made a great team and it was fun to watch it take off.

Minor spoiler alert here, so skip this paragraph to miss it. It was hard to keep reading the story after Bert died. You have an inkling from the beginning that he was dead and not just ‘gone from the picture,’ but finally getting around to how it happened was heartbreaking. I think about what I’d do if I lost a family member or I passed away after a fight and I hate to leave when there are bad words between me and someone I love. It was worse seeing how Lillian fell apart after Bert was gone. As much as she spoke about being the brains of the business and secretly running the whole thing, she needed Bert and she didn’t realize that until he was gone.

I was nervous when I saw that the book was narrated by the author. I’ve never seen a fiction audiobook narrated by the author before. I think Gilman did it because no one else could tackle the Italian-Jewish grandmother voice she was going for. It was great! Gilman might not have a future in narrating unless there’s a big demand for Italian grandmothers speaking in Yiddish. She helped give Lillian the voice she needed.

Lillian had to learn the value of family in a hard way. She lost Bert and was devastated by it, not realizing that it would hurt her so much. She’d lost her parents, brother, and sisters but didn’t realize how much it could hurt her to lose another. Even after her father hurt her, it was hard for Lillian to drop him. I think the worst part about going to jail for her would be leaving Jason for an extended length of time. She came to realize that her family was important to her, even when she was angry with Isaac because they wouldn’t leave her. That’s why Flora was so important.

Writer’s Takeaway: This book is one of the best examples of voice I’ve read in a long time. Lillian has a distinct way of speaking that’s very specific to her and it’s wonderful to read it. You can hear someone telling you the story (even if it wasn’t an audiobook, I think I would) and it sounds like they’re sitting next to you. I published a short story where I had to work on this and it’s much harder than it sounds!

A fun read and a great book. A full 5 out of 5 Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Susan Jane Gilman- The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street (2014) | My Book Bag
Review of The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman | The Queen’s Quill Review
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street: Sinfully Delicious | Book Perfume

I think I got an eReader…

23 Jun

I’ve resisted eReaders for ages. My mother has offered to buy me one for ages because she loves her Nook and Kindle so much. People have offered me eBooks that I’ve turned down because I prefer printed books. But, I might have an eReader. Or something that could function as an eReader.

My husband and I ‘won’ a free tour of a member-only family-friendly RV resort. Since we have neither children nor an RV, we weren’t really interested. But, they told us, it comes with a free weekend of camping and a tablet. Free camping weekend? We were so in.

img_3089It was obvious the second we walked in that we were not ideal customers for this place so the 90-minute tour turned to 45 and we were out of there in less than an hour. With a tablet. I’d known we’d get it, but until my husband handed it to me and said, “Now you have one,” I hadn’t processed what we’d do with it. It’s a mini and runs an Android platform. I’m not sure what to do with it besides use it as an eReader. I downloaded the Kindle app and that’s about all I plan to do with it.

I’m not sure this will get me reading more eBooks. I love paper books and I love the look of them on my shelf and discovering them in used book shops. I love feeling a book in my hand and turning physical pages. Maybe I’ll find a use for this new contraption. maybe I won’t. But for now, I’ve got it and we’ll see what happens.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 22-June-2016

22 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


DanteCurrently reading: I thought about reading In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I had a lot of working lunches last week and didn’t really have the time to pull it out. I might have accidentally gotten an eReader so that might speed things up…
I’m still really enjoying The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman. The audiobook is superb and I’m starting to see the connections between the current lawsuit she’s facing and the progressing memoir toward that point in time. I’m really looking forward to finding out how they converge.
I started In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches and I’m a bit iffy on it. It started off really far from the plot promised and it’s very… blatant? The main characters so far are gruff men who are honest about what they’re doing and feeling and it’s not always comfortable to read.

27 Days_HighResRecently finished: I finished 27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa! I wish I’d been able to finish it a bit faster, but that’s life. Whatever, haha. School is almost over and I’ll be able to get through these faster. This was a really enjoyable book and I’m really blessed to have been part of the process and watch Kristine grow this book into the great work that it is.

I posted my review on Monday so please go check that out as well!

WingsReading Next: I’ll have to get back to book club books soon. Our next selection is The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. I’m excited to say that this will hit the 1800s time period in my When Are You Reading? Challenge so this is a well-timed read for me. I’m not always a fan of such popular book-club-books so we’ll see how this one goes.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Ann Arbor Book Festival Book Crawl 2016

21 Jun

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m so lucky to live near Ann Arbor! Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan, is a very bibliophile-friendly city. On Saturday, my friend Amy and I went for the 10th annual Ann Arbor Book Festival. For the second year in a row, we took part in the Book Crawl, a kind of bar crawl with books and poetry.

We did the last three stops on the tour, the first one being Benjamin Landry at my favorite bookstore, Literati. Landry is a poet and at the reading, he read from his most recent book, Burn Lyrics. The book takes fragments from Sappho’s poems and Landry puts his own words to the ideas. He likes to write concept collections like this because he’s able to develop the content quickly after imagining the concept. He also finds they are easier to sell than a general collection. He was asked how his writing was impacted by getting his MFA from UofM and he said that he was introduced more to the idea of writing from fragments. Before, his poems were more narratives.

The second stop on our tour was Crazy Wisdom Bookstore & Tea Room which featured two novelists. The first was Robin Gaines who read from her novel Invincible Summers. The story was about an 11-year-old girl living in 1969. If I had been in a book-buying mood, this would have been the one for me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring myself to purchase anything that night.

Writer David Pratt

Writer David Pratt

The second writer was David Pratt. Pratt has several books published and has recently finished another. He’s working on a movie based on some short stories he’s written. He read from his award-winning book, Bob the Book. It’s the story of sentient books and focuses on Bob, a gay book and his boyfriend, Moishe. It was enjoyable to hear David read, but I don’t think I would have enjoyed reading the book on my own without his inflections and voices. It would make a good audiobook.

Our third and final stop was a Tapas bar named Aventura that I really want to go back to for dinner sometime. The food looked delicious and the drinks were pretty (and probably delicious). The first poet at this stop was Joy Gaines-Friedler. She does a lot of volunteer work with at-risk communities, engaging them in creative expression. One thing she said that I really liked was about a friend of hers who passed from AIDS. He left her his journal and she uses lines from it as epitaphs in her poetry. I thought that was sweet.

The final reader was poet Jeff Kass. I really enjoyed his set. He’s a slam poet and that’s the form of poetry I’ve always enjoyed most. He teaches creative writing at a local high school and brought along his daughter, an award-winning youth slam poet, to read as well. His poems were about teaching and fatherhood and they made me think of my husband and I enjoyed that a lot.

I hope to continue going to this event for years to come. It’s so fun to combine food and literature in such a great way. If you’re ever near Detroit, make a pit-stop in Ann Arbor for some great bookstores!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: 27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa (5/5)

20 Jun

So this book. I met Kristine in 2014 through a friend. He said “Oh, you write! My friend Kristine writes. You should meet her.” So we had a ‘supervised lunch date’ and hit it off. We worked at the same company and would talk during our slow time. We talked a lot about her novel and querying and about my short works. I remember the day she got a request for a full manuscript and the process of her signing with Giant Squid Books. I changed jobs while she was doing rewrites so we talked a bit less, but I was still aware of the process and what she was going through. This book was born in front of me and I was at the launch party. Naturally, I was excited to read it and see what Kristine had done with these characters.

Cover image via Giant Squid Books

Cover image via Giant Squid Books

27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa

Summary via Goodreads

Everyone in Dahlia’s world knows when they’re going to die. Except her.

Her father has never shown her the pocket watch counting down the days she has left to live. When he sacrifices himself to save her from her scheduled death, Dahlia abandons her comfortable home and sets off after his murderer to uncover the secrets her father died to protect…and the time research that could bring him back to life.

Then she meets Farren Reed. She should hate him. He’s an enemy soldier, a cowardly deserter, and the most insufferable man Dahlia’s ever met. Still, she needs all the help she can get, and Farren is the only chance she has to find the man who murdered her father. But Farren has only twenty-seven days left on his watch.

In that time, Dahlia must recover her father’s time research, foil a psychotic general’s plot, and learn to survive in a world that will never be the same. But the research holds secrets more dangerous than she had ever imagined. She will have to choose what is most important: revenge, Farren’s life, or her own. And time is running out.

If you have this book, you’ll see my name in the acknowledgments. I helped Kristine write her summary for the query letter and at the time, she had to tell me the entire plot of the book. Luckily for me, that was over two years ago and I’d forgotten 80% of what we’d written together so I was still surprised by the twists and turns of the plot. I liked Dahlia and I loved Keet. It’s sometimes hard for me to relate to women in books so this was a nice touch. The world building was fun and I liked the idea of the watches. It made me really think about my own life and what I would do differently if I knew how long I had to live. I thought Kruppa handled the watches well, talking about how you could still die prematurely, but it made me wonder if I would act differently if I knew my time was up. Like the bounty hunter who was shot; what would make him think to leave the house that day knowing he would die? Would he die some other way if he stayed in bed? It made me think about avoiding death.

Kruppa did a great job of explaining why Sebastian was as delusional as he was. Many times, I feel villains can be underdeveloped but I liked that I understood Sebastian. His love for Sita blinded him and drove him to hate Ansel though his self-conversations were a bit further and I missed the connection there. I think it was a psychotic break due to his grief and single-minded thinking.

Keet was my favorite character. I liked the strong female in her and the tomboy personality. At first, I thought she had learned about ships to make up for Tiberius being unable to do many of the functions but I liked learning more about her and finding that she had always been that way. She was resourceful and smart and I saw a bit of Kristine in her.

Part of the reason I liked Keet so much is that I related to her. I can be a very strong personality and very independent so I could relate to that. My husband and I have a very non-traditional relationship where I am the majority breadwinner and he does a lot of the house chores which made it easy to relate to Keet and Tiberius’s alternate relationship.

Me and Kristine Kruppa at the book release party

Me and Kristine Kruppa at the book release party

I enjoyed the scene in Lawson’s Ridge. I thought it was a good demonstration of Keet’s character and a really fun chase scene for the characters to be involved in. The ending of the scene was very appropriate in my mind. It wasn’t a clean escape and the side character we learned about had a big role in the ending. That’s something I appreciated as a writer. I liked Tiberius teaching Dhalia something about revenge, too. That was a good development step for him.

I thought the final scenes were a bit drawn out but still really enjoyable. It felt like Dahlia and Farren weren’t going to get away so many times but just managed to escape and draw the plot out a bit longer and then be foiled and find a way out of it maybe once or twice more than I would have liked. That being said, it was always fun reading their narrow escapes. They were very resourceful and smart about how the fought such a deadly man

I loved what Kruppa said about revenge. As Tiberius said, it doesn’t make him feel any better to kill Grimes after he hurt Keet. Dahlia wanted to kill Macall but knew it wouldn’t make her feel better about her father’s death. Though it was what motivated her all the way to the Southern Lands, she realized it was a folly to chase revenge. There are things worth fighting and killing for, but that wasn’t one of them.

Writer’s Takeaway: Many writers are afraid to make their characters suffer, but not Kruppa. She made Dahlia, Keet, Tiberius, and Farren suffer every step of the way. It wasn’t easy for them to get to their final destinations and I really appreciated that. Luck can only be the answer for escaping something unscathed so many times before it’s annoying.

It’s been a while since I read steampunk and this was a good welcome back to the genre. A full Five out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Book Review: 27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa | Buried Under Books

Book Club Reflection: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

16 Jun

Silly me was in a hurry the morning of my book club meeting on Monday and forgot the iPad to take notes! Never fear, I had a legal pad in my car (some real caveman technology here) and I took some notes by hand. Here we go.

I mentioned that I was frustrated by the structure of the book and how the timeline was disjointed and hard for me to follow. Some agreed, but some thought it added to the book. She structured the book the way she thought. The timeline wasn’t important but she focused her thoughts around certain topics that were important to her and proceeded to make those points. It wasn’t disorganized, per say, just non-linear.

Amanda made a point about the difference between asking and begging and told us not to be afraid to ask. She did seem afraid to ask at times. She could ask her faceless crowd for Kickstarter funds, but she struggled to ask her husband for a loan. She was scared to ask those closest to her until it was needed.

She wasn’t afraid to try radical things. She showed that the traditional structure of the music industry was breakable. She made money from art but cutting out the middle-man usually ‘legitimizes’ someone and was still successful. Self-published authors are enjoying this same success. She could fall back on her fan base when she wanted to try something a bit off the wall which was reassuring for her. Sometimes, we didn’t know what her motivation was for acting the way she did. Was she trying to save $200 or was she really trying to connect with her fans? Sometimes, it seemed a bit like both. She was putting herself out there to be sure. We met mere days after singer Christina Grimmie was shot by a fan in the signing line after her concert in Orlando, Florida. Though it was tragic and out of the ordinary, this is something that could happen to Amanda because of how exposed she is to her fans.

The group talked a lot about how different Amanda is from us. She’s bold and creative and not afraid while many of us have reservations about doing the crazy things she describes. Many of the women in my group have children and they talked at length about how hard it can be to accept a child choosing a path different from the one you are used to but how you have to accept that and try to be supportive. The scene where Amanda and her mother spoke about feminism was really moving to me. Amanda had never seen her mother as an artist and it took her a long time to see that her mother was a feminist just as strongly as she was in a time when it wasn’t as accepted to be a feminist. Some of us thought that this showed a side of Amanda that we could be critical of. She’s very focused in her art world and she didn’t always show the most compassion to those outside of it.

Her most important message to us wasn’t about asking but about art and the value of art. As a society, we’re not willing to pay for art. I could say this blog is art but you’re reading it for the price of your monthly internet connection, of which I receive nothing. I’ve published short stories for no payment except for free copies. Many others could tell the same story. Amanda showed how art can be a job. Art makes the functional things of our world beautiful and without it, we’d be so bored and boring. We need art and we should be willing to pay those that create it.

We’re taking the summer off and we’ll meet again in September with a TBD book. I’m looking forward to a few more books of my choice in the next few months but I’ll miss this group.

Until next time, writes on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 15-June-2016

15 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

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BeastsCurrently reading: I think I read four pages of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. School is still in session and going crazy. I keep telling myself it will be over in two weeks, but it’s really three more.
I’m getting to the end of 27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa. I said last week I’d try to have it finished this week but with my bike event and school, that hasn’t happened. Next week?
I’m about half way done with The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman. I kept laughing during a run with a friend while listening to this book. The author does a great job narrating it and I’ve really enjoyed the characters so far.

Recently finished: …Nothing. It’s been a crazy week, I hope to have more to report soon!

I posted a review of The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose. I really liked this book and gave it a full 5 out of 5 Stars.

DanteReading Next:  In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches is still my plan. One of my book clubs is off for the summer so I’m hoping to enjoy some books of my own choosing for a bit now!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

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