Should books be banned?


Warning…this blog is not funny.  I needed to write this and it may cause you to think (the horror) but these words needed to get out.  Recently in the book world, a book and an author came under scrutiny due to the content of the book.  It was declared a “banned” book by Amazon due to its content and that is where the controversy started.  It was even advertised by the author as a “banned” book.  Which led me to ponder, as an author, at what point should a book be banned or never published?  Should we ever silence someone’s voice?  What content in a book is considered unacceptable to be published?  Should book banning be a thing? And where do I stand on this subject as an author?  As a reader?

We all have heard the stories of books being banned based on content, language and sometimes sexuality.  And not just in other countries.  It happens here too.  In fact, my favorite book of all time, Gone With the Wind, was banned for the vocabulary used in reference to African-Americans.  To be honest, as many times as I have read that book, I was never bothered by the language.  I looked at it as historically accurate.  But, nonetheless, it was banned.  So at what point is a book considered pornographic?  Racially inappropriate?  Is it censorship?

In the book in question, there is an inappropriate relationship between a father and daughter.  One that is romanticized, not condemned.  And not just romanticized, but it is sexually explicit.  It was this content that made Amazon decide not to publish it so it was published on another platform.  The book was advertised as “banned” and many readers grabbed it to see what the hype was.  There is a “trigger” warning on the book, however it is quite vague and does nt really alert readers as to the situation that this book deals with.  A father/daughter relationship that is romantic and sexual in nature with a minor.  The girl is 16 and the book implies that this relationship is consensual.  Now, before I go any further, I must say this.  I do NOT condone this subject matter.  I feel that this type of storyline is bordering on irresponsible as an author.  I feel it could lead to many girls feeling like this situation is ok, that it is not abuse.  And THAT is not ok with me.  But did I feel like it should be banned?  I thought long and hard about this.  It was not as clear of a choice for me to make as I thought it would be.

I have always been in the camp of reading and books should never be banned, but this book and it’s subject matter made me stop and think.  Is it alright to write and romanticize molestation?  Should this voice be allowed to be out there in the world?  This subject matter really sits wrong with me.  But, then again, some forms of pornography also sit wrong with me and I don’t feel it should be banned. Because to each his own.  So why is this different?  Why am I feeling like this should be banned?  This book is about an underage child having a romantic relationship with her father.  **SPOILER**  You do find out at some point that they are not blood related and she is adopted, but still he raised her as his child and she considered him to be her Dad.  This REALLY bothers me.  I cannot stand any children being abused or sexually molested in any way.  It is a topic that is a hot button for me, maybe because I see it way too much in my line of work.  I frequently feel that child molesters should be locked up for life because they cannot be rehabilitated, no matter what people say.  When I heard about the subject matter of the book, I was disgusted and horrified.  How can anyone write about such a thing and romanticize it?  I was actually sick to my stomach over the fact that someone would publish such a story.  It involves a minor.  I do not care what the age of consent is in the state where the story takes place.  It is a child in a relationship with her father.  NOT OK in my book.  Not ever.  And I will always be outraged over this subject matter.

But should it be banned?  Should any book be banned? I sat on this subject for a long time.  It really hit home because as an author, what if I wrote something that someone considered inappropriate and called for it to be banned?  What if someone doesn’t like the word fat?  So this is my view.  No.  A book should never be banned.  Because if we start banning books with this one, then we will end up banning books like Gone With the Wind, Huckleberry Finn and many others over content or language or sexuality.  Readers have the right to read what they want to read and voices should never be silenced.  I realize that this viewpoint may not be a popular one with this book, considering the subject matter, but it is my opinion.  And I stand by it.  NO BOOK SHOULD EVER BE BANNED.  Amazon has a right to refuse to publish it and I have a right to not read it, but it should not be banned.  We live in a country that was founded on freedom of speech and everyone has a right to express their speech however they see fit.  I will choose not to read this book due to its subject matter, same as choosing not to read some forms of pornography but I will say this.  I urge this author to consider the implications of this story.  I urge her to look at whether her story will cause more harm then good and consider whether or not it needs to be out there.  We have responsibilities as authors.  We are responsible for our words and the impact they cause.  We need to look at the cause and effect these words can have on a person.  Therefore, I urge this author to consider her words and their impact and her responsiblity for them and whether the story should actually be out there.  Think when you write.  Was this a story that maybe should have just be kept to yourself? What statement were you trying to make with this subject matter?  As authors we need to consider these things when writing.  I even considered whether or not to write this blog.  But here I am…loud mouth and all.

I choose not to read this book but I also choose that it not be banned.  Books should never be banned. I will always stand up to censorship.

Oh yeah.  I didn’t die today.  I did think long and hard about book banning and ended up more torn than I thought I ever would but I didn’t die.  I am Fat Girl who feels all authors should write responsibly but should never be banned Running.  The experiment continues…

On Being an Over-packer and New Shirts!


I am sitting here right now avoiding packing.  I absolutely hate packing.  I love to travel, but packing?  Nope.  Don’t love it even a little bit.  I am not so sure which is even worse…the actual packing or the unpacking and all the laundry that comes with it.  You should see me when I pack for one of our Disney trips.  You would think by now that packing for a trip like that is easy.  Yeah…no.  I am a notorious over-packer. Half the stuff I pack I never use, but what if you might need it?  Do you want to be caught without band aids and safety pins?  No.  You never know when you are going to need things.  I take twice as much stuff as I probably need.  I could never be one of those people who backpack through Europe with a pair of jeans and a toothbrush.  Nope.  First off that requires lots of outside time and I am such an indoor girl.  But for traveling?  Such an over-packer.

Take for example our recent four-day trip to Disneyland.  I need five shirts right?  No I need like ten.  Yup.  Ten.  I might wanna change or if I spill on one and don’t want to walk around with Dole Whip on my boob all day so this requires twice the amount of shirts.  Pants?  Now pants can be worn for days, especially jeans or jean capris.  Yeah so maybe three.  Then since I never know the weather, this will require two hoodies and a rain jacket (none of which I will use of course).  Double the unders and socks just in case and the unders need to match the bras which need to match the shirt choices.  Jammies.  You can’t forget jammies (well I have before but let’s not get into that).  An extra pair of shoes in case you get wet on a ride and need to change shoes.  Unless you are into walking around with squishy shoes.  I am not.  Oh we haven’t even gotten to the toiletries and makeup.  Ugh.  I fill a huge suitcase on my own.  Now let’s remember that BFF and I drive to Disneyland.  This now requires 2 coolers full of water and other drinks since we are driving across the desert and you never want to be without water doing that.  It is an 8 hour trip so this will require lots of snacks (most of which we wont eat because we know where to stop and get different crap).  I also need a smaller bag for the first night so I don’t have to take the bigger bag into that hotel.  OH!  Let’s not forget hair bows and headbands, watches and jewelry and all the things you need when you are old (like bengay, heat patches and pain meds).  Lastly, there needs to be a bag full of electronics for the car.  Things like the portable blu-ray player and movies, kindle, chargers, ipod, and whatever else is needed to keep BFF occupied while she is the passenger.  This is how we ended up with eleven bags for bell services to hold when we checked in.  Eleven bags between the two of us.  Sigh.  So ridiculous.

This trip I am currently packing for is different.  It is a book signing so this require so much more than just the basics.  Luckily, I don’t have to pack books to take to the signing as one of my friends lives there and I shipped them to her.  Whew.  That would be a whole extra bag.  And a heavy one at that.  Ugh.  But my big suitcase is already mostly full and I haven’t even put in clothes yet.  I have to pack my banner, bookmarks and candy, trays and markers, cash and money bag and cups/water bottles and t-shirts (YES!!  I got t-shirts!).  Speaking of t-shirts, I did a thing and had custom Fat Girl Running shirts made.  If you are in my fan group on Facebook (and why aren’t you?) then you already have the opportunity to order shirts at special prices.  Fat Girl Nation is the place to be I tell you so get in there!  Shirts will be up here on the blog on the merchandise form!  How cute are these shirts?  Made by Mockingbird Apparel, these shirts say “I didn’t die today” on the front and my branding on the back.  Her shop is awesome and full of nerdy shirts galore.  I can’t wait to see pics of you guys wearing your shirts!   But first, I must go finish packing.  I shall fill you all in on the signing when I get back.

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I just want to wear them all the time.

Oh yeah.  I didn’t die today.  I did however procrastinate packing and wish I could pack lighter but I didn’t die.  I am Fat Girl over-packer now with custom t-shirts Running.  The experiment continues…

Coming Soon….


Ever put so much work into something that when you are done, you feel a sense of relief?  That is how I felt when I turned in my latest manuscript into Boss Bean.  And not the rough draft, but the final draft.  There is something so satisfying when you finish up a project you have worked so hard on.  I know it must seem so easy.  Just copy and paste my old blogs into a word document and BOOM!  Book done.  Unfortunately, that is no how it works.  I wish it was, but nope.  Let me give you a little glimpse of how it really works.

Yes, I do some copy and pasting of my old blogs to a word document.  But that is not all of it.  I also write originals for the books, the tips, and I have to re-read and perfect the blog posts I already wrote.  This takes quite a bit of time and I even start hating every single word I have written.  Once I have everything written, I then send it off to Boss Bean, who sends it off to my editor.  This is where it got different for me this time.  I have a new editor and he is amazeballs!  First off, he does not normally read my stuff, so he was the perfect person to edit it all.  Second, he is British.  Which, proved to be somewhat challenging in itself.  Why?  Because he did not always understand all of my cultural references, or Americana, as he called it.  Hmmmm.  I guess I never thought about the fact that my readers across the pond might not understand everything I talk about.  After the manuscript gets turned into your editor, you wait.  Waiting is the hardest part.

And then…the email appeared.  Let me tell you something about editors.  Editors are like teachers.  Imagine turning in to your teacher a paper you have written, that you have worked on for a long time, slaved over even, and thinking it was the bomb paper.  Then, you get the paper back from the teacher and it looks like a murder scene has taken place on the paper, there is so much red pen everywhere.  I mean, did you even write a paper?  This is what it is like for an author every time you get your first draft back from your editor.  Want to know what that feels like?  It feels like crap.  Total crap.  You sit there, looking at all the comments in the margins, all the red marks throughout your writing, and you feel like total crap.  You might even want to give up at this point.  I know I did.  But instead, I read the corrections, I made some, chose to ignore others, and took the time to explain the Americana references.  One thing my editor really did for me which I am super glad for:  he made my grammar so much better!  I feel like a super duper smarty pants now that I speak good.   Also, I apparently use the term “for reals” a lot. For reals.

The next step is the most exciting,  My editor formatted the new book and changed it up!  You guys, I have to tell you how excited I am about this book.  It looks different, it feels different, and it will appeal to a lot more people who might not have discovered me.  I cannot wait to see it in my hands.  I have seen the proofs but to see it in print is a whole different monster.  I am more proud of this book than the others because it really is better.  My writing is better and my grammar is quite British….just kidding.  I hope you guys like it as much as I do.  In the mean time, I shall tease you with this cute graphic that the author Sara Ney made for me (it pays to have other author friends).  Feel free to share this around!

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Oh yeah. I didn’t die today.  I did however show you how painful of a process writing a book can be, but I didn’t die.  I am Fat Girl with a British editor who made me speak gooder Running.  The experiment continues….