Category Archives: reading

Does Banning Books Really Keep Kids From Reading Them?


When a book is banned and not allowed in schools or even the library, it can make the avid reader even more eager to hunt down a copy for themselves to see what all the hype is about. In this day and age, it’s very easy for many to get their hands on those books, whether it’s e-books that can be borrowed imageor purchased online or physical copies that can be picked up at the local book store.   Personally, there was only one book my mother forbid me to read, Flowers in the Attic. I found a copy for 10 cents at a yard sale (sans the cover…) which I picked up and read without my folks ever knowing.  At the time, I didn’t see what the big deal was. Sure there was some adult themes: incest, murder, etc.but I understood it was just fiction and not a real story. As an adult I can see why my mother found it so awful. How could a mother, fictional or not, do such an awful thing to her kids?

Adults can see topics in a different light than someone who is younger. While they might see Harry Potter as promoting witchcraft, a teen reader sees a coming of age, fantastical story that just happens to include some cool magic stuff. While they might wish they could be like Harry, I doubt they’re running out looking for their own owls and books on how to become a wizard.

I do think it’s important to know what your kids are reading and if the themes are currently too mature for them, but to broadly ban books is only going to push the avid reader to find some way to get their hands on it. In the day and age of internet, video games and phones that do just about anything, be happy your child/teen is still picking up books and wants to throw themselves into worlds they have to imagine on their own.

What are your thoughts on banned books?


Time to Start Anew


It’s been quite a while since I’ve updated, but along with the impending New Year comes the resurgence of my blogging and other writing endeavors. Goals have been made and will be shared and the lines of communication have been reopened. I’ve missed the weekly updates as well as the conversations posts have sparked and I look forward to new discussions on writing and reading related topics, on reviews and cover reveals, and on teasers and interviews.


  • Firstly, Keystrokes and Word Counts will go from being updated twice a week to once. I have to be realistic on time management the ability of appropriate topics. I’m picking Wednesday, smack dab in the middle of the week, for the posts.
  • Secondly, sometime this year, hopefully sooner rather than later, I will get a dedicated author website up and running.  It will link back here to the blog so followers, new and old, can keep in touch. It will be for news, book information, contests, etc.
  • Third, I will finish editing and submit my newest work, Driven, in the very near future. Be on the lookout for upcoming teasers!
  • Fourth, I will finish and publish at least one other work in progress this year. I’m leaning towards Errand Girl of the Undead, but Power of the Stars has been calling to me as well. We shall see who wins out. Maybe both!
  • Fifth, read more! I’ve definitely been in a slump when it comes to reading lately. Things just don’t seem to be catching my attention. I think, perhaps, it has more to do with what’s being going on in my personal life.
  • Sixth, attend a convention or two and/or readings and signings. I really need to get back out there and get involved in workshops and conventions. Writing may not be paying the bills right now, but when people ask, I want to be able to say I’m an author and these are the things I do.

I think these are all completely obtainable goals and great things to work towards. I hope you guys will help hold me accountable!

What are your writing/reading related goals for the new year?

Reading Slump


reading bored dog_thumb[1]After all this time, I don’t think it’s a secret that I love books and I love to read.   A few scant years ago, I was reading between 150-200 books a year.  That’s a whole lot a books!  I still love to immerse myself into a good story, to get lost and forget my own issues, but lately, I’ve been having a read hard time settling down and getting into some of my favorite authors.  It’s not that the stories are bad (they’re not!), in fact, many of them I’ve been waiting years to read! I just can’t seem to shut off my mind and all the other shit going on in my life to throw myself into a good book.

I’m very much an advocate of writers being readers.  I think we learn from what we read, whether it’s what to do or what not to do.  I think, as a writer, you need to know what’s out there in your genre. Frankly, I don’t understand writers who tell me they’re not readers.  It just does not compute with me.

So how do I get out of this slump? Do I have to wait until all my life issues are resolved? Until my brain can settle down a bit?  I don’t know that that will happen any time soon. Do I have to give myself a deadline or make a schedule?  Does anyone want to get into a summer reading competition with me? Maybe we can come up with some cool prizes!

Ideas and suggestions welcome!

I read YA week!


COLL014113-001-I_Read_YA-Spring_color_ways-02Thanks to the lovely ladies at I Heart Daily, I learned this week is I read YA week!  YAY!

As I’ve discussed in the past, I’m all for everyone of any age reading young adult books.  Teens can identify with many of the characters as well as learning about diversity and romance and different things that they may be sheltered from in their own lives.  Adults can reminisce about when they were teens and also learn how things might be different today for the young adults in their lives, allowing openings for discussions with their teens on topics that might otherwise be difficult to breech.

The writing is not dumbed down, it often deals with difficult topics and has an expansive vocabulary to challenge even advanced readers.  The stories spread through the genres of sci-fi, high fantasy, paranormal and more.  I promise, it’s not all romance.

I love seeing the diversity in young adult literature these days.  I grew up reading Nancy Drew, the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley books. They were fun reads and I devoured them at such a rate that my folks couldn’t keep me stocked with enough new stuff to read, but they were all pretty much happy ending books where everything worked out for the best, and everyone kissed and made up and went on with a good life. There were significantly less stories that touched on important and controversial topics.  Today is there a much wider range for teens to delve into, that will make them think and feel and possibly act after reading certain books.  I think that’s a great thing.  There is certainly still a place for the happy ending (and I still love them) but I can appreciate that there are stories out there that are more true to life as well.

Why do you read YA?


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How Do You Find New Books to Devour?


I’m always curious on what prompts a reader to pick up a certain book.  My own process is typically a combination of things ranginggeeky books 4 from recommendations, blurbs and reviews to startling covers and general curiosity.

These days, I’d have to say reviews are what prompts me the most on whether or not to pick up a book, but it wasn’t always that way. Before the birth of digital books, I would spend hours in the library or the bookstore skimming the stacks, looking for the cover, jacket or title that would catch my eye and have me plucking the book off the shelf to read the back cover blurb.  While I love being able to carry  300+ books in my purse and not throw my back out, I do have to admit that I miss those days.  I still buy the occasional book in print and I love, love, love to get the books my author friends write in print. I have them all gathered together on my bookshelf so I can tell people, Hey! I know those authors!

Browsing the digital way is not as easy. I do enjoy Amazon’s feature that shows what customers who bought this book also bought.  That often leads me to finding similar stories to read, but if I’m looking for something completely different, it’s much harder to browse unless I am looking for a specific author.

The lack of browsing definitely hurts the indie/small press author as well because it makes it all that much more difficult for readers to find your book.  That’s why reviews, whether it’s from people you friend on Goodreads or from book bloggers you follow, is my current go-to process for finding new books to read.

How do you find something new to read? Are you old school, hitting up the library and few remaining bookstores? Do you search for new books by authors you already know? Or are you scouring the web for reviews and recommendations?