The FREEdom of Art #MondayBlogs

It all started with this status on Elizabeth York’s Facebook page.

Wow! I am completely speechless. I had seen one of the books purchased were returned and then I noticed more… Didn’t think anything of it until I got a email. I don’t even know how to reply.

Hang on to your shorts, people. The email is a doozy.

“Ms. York, I wanted to tell you that your books are above par and you should be proud. I was able to read them all, but sadly I returned them all because they range from $0.99 to $2.99 and that is just too much for me to spend on a ebook. Can you please make all your books in the future free so that I do not have to return it?”

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Um, okay. I had to read it a few times to really let it sink in that she was admitting to stealing from both Amazon and the author. As you can imagine this post went crazy and was shared by authors, readers and bloggers. It’s almost too crazy. Could there really be people like this out there? Baffles the mind.

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But wait, there’s more.

Another post from Elizabeth shows up.

Yesterday I had to walk away from Facebook. I had to take a deep breath, count to ten, and then turn it off. You all rallied behind the injustice and some even told me of the same message, but I had to shake it off my own way.

I walked a line of whether or not to post what she had sent me because I have been yelled at previously for screenshotting people, but at the same time I felt what she had said and done was going to happen again and again. Sadly, she admitted it has.

I blocked her, but had a feeling she wasn’t gone when a friend request hit with a similar name, and then I got the following message. Due to the fact that Amazon is “investigating” the incident I will not disclose her name, but because she is someone’s beta I won’t hide the profile picture.

I seriously doubt this person will ever learn a lesson the easy way, or come down off her high horse, but I am not going to let her drag me down anymore.

 Here are screen shots of the follow up message from the “give me free books” emailer. Foul language warning. 

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Cover art, editing, interior formatting for ebook, interior formatting for print,  copyright, and marketing are services I pay for every time I publish a book. It ain’t cheap. To break even on expenses I have to sell close to 500 copies The lower the price of the ebook, the higher the number of books I need to sell. This is to BREAK EVEN.

This doesn’t factor in the time I spent working on it which is several hours EVERY day. Sometimes I miss meals, I lose sleep, I can’t enjoy much leisure time, and my family doesn’t get my full attention. I can’t get this time back no matter how many copies I sell.

Putting out a polished product, the best I can deliver to readers, is the goal so I am happy to pay it in money and time. It’s not really a hardship because I enjoy my readers. They give me the greatest reward with their love of my characters and the world I am building. I juggle being a mom, wife, and author but I cannot imagine doing anything else.

Would you go to the theater and not pay? Do you walk up to the redbox kiosk and yell at it to spit out a DVD without putting any cash in? No. Because services are paid for. Entertainment is a service and it deserves to be paid for so you can enjoy it. I pay the same way everyone else does for my own escape from reality.

To close, I’d like to share this picture someone posted to Elizabeth. I feel like it perfectly sums up the situation at hand.

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Family of the Heart #MondayBlogs

 

This post is going to be a lot more personal. I hate when people beat around the bush so I’ll just spit it out and go from there. My father in the biological is a donor number but the man in the picture below is my Daddy, and he loved me more than anything else in this world. 170545_1751310897555_526108_o

My parents were married in the seventies and tried to have kids for several years. When nothing happened they made an appointment with a specialist for fertility testing. The results came back that both of them were contributing to the problem. Mom might be able to become pregnant, but it would be a hard road. Daddy was told he couldn’t. They were devastated. Daddy told Mom on the way home after they received the news that he would let her go so she could get married and have a chance to be a mom with someone else. Mom didn’t marry him to have kids, she married him because she loved him. Whatever happened in the future with children, they would face it together.

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They came within minutes of adopting a baby girl. Mom and Dad waited at the hospital, fully expecting to meet their baby. As sometimes happens, the birth mother changed her mind and decided to keep her daughter.

I don’t know how they got onto the idea of artificial insemination, but I am glad they did. A donor would be chosen with similar physical features to my dad. His sperm would be used along with a lot of fertility medications for mom. Even still, it was over a year before they finally had a positive pregnancy test.

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Daddy was asked if would be happy being a father to another man’s child. His response is one that fills my mom with pride to this day.

“Any post pubescent male can be a father. I am going to be a daddy.”

Here are the things I know about my donor.

  1. My donor’s sperm was used to help conceive at least three siblings. I was the last.
  2. He was a medical student with light skin and light hair.
  3. A handsome monetary reward was given to him in exchange for his contribution.

Here are the things I know about my daddy.

  1. He attended every award ceremony, sporting game I cheered or danced at, recitals, competitions, tryouts, and parades. Fought for me when I was unable to stand up for myself and helped me learn to fight my own battles. Cried when I cried. Laughed when I laughed. Suffered through the girl drama and teen angst with me by being a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear. Made every Christmas, birthday, vacation, and special occasion memorable.
  2. What more could I possibly need?

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Daddy got to walk me down the aisle when I married Mr. B. We lived with him for the first year of our marriage because he had a big house and we were very poor newly weds. When Mr. B was away at boot camp it was Daddy who told me to ensure I wrote him a letter every day, and I did. It was what kept Mr. B going. Daddy wrote him letters too. He was proud of the man I married and got to have experience what having a son would’ve been like. When I called to tell Daddy I was pregnant he cried and laughed at the same time. He shouted, “I’m gonna be a grandpa!”

Sadly, his health declined and he passed away five months before his grandson was born.

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All over the world people are being raised outside of what biology calls family. Why should science get to tell me who my heart can call family? Unless we’re talking about genetic code, then science doesn’t get a say. My father is the man who cheered me on and loved me every day from birth until his death. His mother, sisters, nieces and nephews, etc are my family. There is family of the blood and family of the heart.

 

 

Science sided brain has the dumb. #mondayblogs

Have you seen any of the millions of YouTube videos where they mess with molten or red hot materials?  You can watch molten copper poured into a coconut, molten aluminium dumped in a swimming pool, molten glass/tar/lava onto an iPhone. Destroying iPhones looks like a popular one. There is also a whole channel dedicated to a red hot nickel ball. Viewers send in whatever they want the host to put the RHNB on. I watched floral foam, styrofoam, and gak (remember that stuff?). As I am watching I am reminded of a personal defect; I touch things I know I shouldn’t.

Four year old me laid a hand on the hot stove burner because Mom said it’s hot, don’t touch. So I touched it.

At eight I grabbed the end of metal sparkler after it burned out. Still hot, quite painful. Don’t recommend it.

On the lake when I was fifteen I was done in by a fishing hook in the finger. I’d like to say it was an accident because I grabbed the fish wrong but no. There wasn’t even a fish. Found the hook, touched the sharp part.

There is a voice in my head and it is science/common sense dumb. Hot stuff can’t really be that hot if it isn’t on fire, right? Facepalm with me, dear readers. Since I know I cannot be trusted and there isn’t enough supervision in the world to save me, I avoid certain things. Pretty much any scenario I think could devolve into an episode of World’s Dumbest starring yours truly is off the books for me.

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Leaving the science to Neil. 

My children think I am nuts when I tell them not to grab certain things.

“We know. We’re not gonna touch it. Seriously, who would?”

Me. I would.

Now, if you will excuse me I think it is time I watched this video again. It’s for preschoolers, because they have it together better than the science sided part of my brain.

Reality? What reality? #mondayblogs

For this week’s edition of #mondayblogs, let’s examine my full immersion into the fictional world. Maybe you can relate.

I have a small issue with reality. Events and characters from fiction are real to me. Not in the sense I need therapy to help me differentiate flesh and blood people from actors playing roles/CGI/’people’ in books. My problem is I take the experiences to heart. This is a 50/50 deal because the emotional payoff can be GLORIOUS or it can turn me into a shuddering mess of snot and tears.

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Being selective and spoiler friendly minimizes the risk of a nervous breakdown. The Fault in out Stars is probably a great book. I will never read it because I need to be able to function as a human being afterwards. Minimal exaggeration here. I can’t cry it out and move one. No, the trauma will bury itself in my soul and cause be to burst into tears at random times until the day I die. A few times I have managed to escape by refusing to believe the fake reality. For example, I refuse to believe any Alien movie after James Cameron’s film exist. So, two movies and then the rest are just a non canon fever dream. Why? Because Hicks and Newt. You want to tell me I’m wrong because there is just no way Ripley could have gone on to live a happy life with Hicks and Newt? Prove it.

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Bioware is a company known for producing the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises. They are also synonymous with ripping your heart out of your chest and laughing while you bleed out on the ground. The stories of Bioware heartbreak are many. For some, it helps us to cope by sharing our pain with others who understand. Beware of spoilers in the video below.

With every choice, even in previous games, effecting future events you gamble with your chances of a happy ending. I don’t know anyone who played through one time and got it all ‘right’. Maybe you don’t care about that kind of thing but for me it is personally vital to my sanity. Yes, I’m striving for the fluffy bunny and magical unicorns of joy conclusion. If you think it makes me a loser, you can bite my magical unicorn ass.

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Love is never going to the grocery store alone. #mondayblogs

Love is being married to the same man for 40 years and he still enjoys giving me goosebumps from kissing the back of my neck, every year he remembers to buy me Cadbury eggs at Easter time, and he always whistles when I walk out of the shower. – Pamela

When I married Mr. B he was unemployed after his company folded up shop. He spent months looking for a job but no luck. He was either overqualified because of his IT work history  or under qualified without a college education. My retail job kept our heads barely above water as bills piled up. Mr. B’s self esteem took a huge hit. Since the age of sixteen he had a job and now he had a wife he couldn’t provide for. He decided to join the United States Air Force. Insurance, paychecks, and a chance to go to college came with the job once he signed on the dotted line. He went to basic training in San Antonio and I prepared for seven weeks apart. My dad told me to write him a letter everyday. “It’s rough in basic. Those letters from home have a way of making the worst day feel bearable.”

I sent forty-nine letters, one for each day we were apart. Not many letters came back from him, but when they did it was wonderful. He kept a running journal of each day, just a few sentences. My first letter from him came with the three page journal. I recently re-read the letters and feeling his stress/anxiety through them was sobering. His flight was the F-Troop, so bad they got one instructor reassigned for his failure to train them.

At twenty-three, Mr. B was used to freedoms his eighteen year old counterpart were not. Home sickness was his biggest issue along with the fear of being ‘washed back’. This is when you have to start over in basic. He was so worried about it he kept an injury hidden and performed minor self surgery to avoid the Med clinic. (I was not happy about that one, at all!)

Looking back over his letters one sentence sticks out in my mind. “My first letter from Bridget came today and I cried when I read it.”

Mr. B is a strong, silent type. Very stoic. I can count his tears over the last  seventeen years on one hand and still have fingers left over. Knowing a letter from me hit him so hard told me a lot. A little gesture that spoke volumes. I started thinking about other times one of us has done something small in scale but meant the world to the other gestures are beautiful but I really think it is the smaller gestures I enjoy most.

Love is when he rubs your back and massages your aching hands while you talk at night. Love is when he brings you your favorite chocolate because you’re feeling stressed. Love is when you stroke your child’s hair and sing her to sleep every night at bedtime. Love is being there for someone when they need you, love is listening without judgment, love is accepting someone as they are, love is giving of yourself, love–real love, comes without any expectations or conditions – Liana

On facebook I asked people to define love in small gestures. They had to finish the sentence “Love is…”

 

 

Love is…

not complaining about my cold feet in the bed – Jasmyn

34 years together and my man stills makes me giddy when he smiles at me! – Angela

morning cuddles – Sara K.

having that 1 person that can make you smile even on the worst days – Sara D.

still getting butterflies whenever he takes me on a date – Alexis

knowing to be there when needed even if you’ve not been invited – Lavern

Finding out your husband of 11 years listens to Kelly Clarkson at work because her songs make him think of you – Bonnie

Cutting 3 inches off crutches and piecing them back together for your short wife with fractured foot. – Robin

buying ice cream for your girlfriend when shes feeling down – Amanda

giving you the last bite – Stephanie

The door handle on my truck broke and my husband refuses to fix it. He said he likes to open the door for me – Jody

Peeling the pistachios for me because I don’t like to mess with the shells. – Amber

being treated with respect – Linda

when I’ve had a really bad day and her arms are there to wrap around me.- Amy

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Sara Feiss Art – shop her Etsy store here

Love is not having an appetite for days because an old hag’s comment made your self esteem go down but going into your bag to get your laptop to find he placed a baggy of your favorite snacks and a note that says “For my beautiful wife. I need you alive” – Lisa Marie

Life throws up for a loop and suddenly your day turns to night. Hopefully, it only lasts a day.

Love is being selfless, being kind, loving beyond fault, putting your children, your spouse, and God first before yourself. Love is staying by your sick child’s beside day and night, day after day, month after month, in a horrid Cancer battle and holding said child in your arms as he died. – Mary

Sometimes love is painful. I once heard it said that the opposite of love is not hate, for hate is the absence of love. No, the opposite of love is grief. When the mortal vessel love lives inside has reached it’s end, grief in others is the proof it existed. For this reason, grief is a beautiful celebration of love. Don’t fear grief, though it is painful, because without it you can’t know the joy of real love.

Life is hard, when you really have someone who loves you that makes the load easier. I hear a lot of people say that love should be easy, where did that idea come from, you have to work at the things you want, why would you do less for the love of your life, it requires maintenance and work, you have to tend it everyday. – Linda

We live in a day when relationships don’t stand the test of time, according to statistics. We’re told true love is a magical experience that just happens.

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We work for everything in life, why wouldn’t we work for love? Work doesn’t have to mean back breaking endeavors. Little things count big time. Don’t waste a day without showing your loved ones why they matter; family, friends, spouses/significant others, etc.

If you’re unsure how to go about doing this I think Christy W. summed it up well when she answered my post with “Love is everything.”

I don’t get the hype. Please don’t kill me.

You can’t please everyone. It’s a global truth. When something comes along that every person on the planet seems to like but you, suddenly you find yourself on the outside of the trend. When it happens to me ask myself, “What am I missing? What don’t I get that everyone else does?”

I asked my readers to give me an example of a book or movie they didn’t understand the draw of. The most popular were…

  • Fifty Shades of Grey (book and movie)
  • Game of Thrones (book and movie)
  • The Walking Dead
  • Outlander

Walking Dead and I are very close. I’m a horror fan but it is the character development over the seasons I’m invested in. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, I’m looking for a Daryl.

Game of Thrones. #TeamDany all the way. I enjoy several story lines in the series but I won’t lie. They could rename it Mother of Dragons and have nothing but Emilia Clarke’s character and I’d be stoked.

I am 50/50 on Fifty Shades of Grey. Outlander I get in theory. The story sounds great when others talk about it. I’ve tried to read it several times and watched the first season of the show. Beautiful story of enduring love but so painful. My heart doesn’t like tragic love. I will dwell on it fo’eva.

My name is Bridget Blackwood and I am a Outlander quitter.

Sorry Jaime.

 

No, Jason. Just stop it.

Today was my wedding anniversary. Mr. B and I began dating on November 4, 1998. Four years later we were married on November 4, 2002. Seventeen years together and thirteen years of wedded bliss. For me, this is the most romantic day of the year. As I was skipping through one of my favorite days of the year I heard Whatcha Say by Jason Derulo come on the radio. I’ve never paid much attention to it but a few of the lyrics stuck out. Next I was searching the song to read all the lyrics. It bothered me. A song about a man who cheated and is saying he’s really sorry, ok fine. What irked me were these lines…

‘Cause when the roof caved in and the truth came out
I just didn’t know what to do
But when I become a star
We’ll be living so large
I’ll do anything for you

Wait. Wait. You cheated on me but I should know that it’s okay because you’ll be able to buy me all the material crap I want once you make it big?

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Is this the popular mentality? No. NO. People, I write romance. I like to believe that romance still exists. This song hurts me deeply. What kind of love do you have when unfaithfulness is made better by dollar bills? tumblr_mxf15oNRrX1rziwwco1_500

“I’m sorry I disregarded your feelings, acted on lust, and broke your trust. I know you’re in a lot of emotional pain and our relationship will be forever changed. If you can shake it off then I promise to buy you something pretty.”

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You did not just try to bribe me with junk because you’re junk was in someone it shouldn’t be. You wanna know how much money you have to throw at me to stick around if your apology is in the same sentence as monetary gifts? No one has that much.

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*This might seem like a very naive post to some because infidelity is never simple. I mean no disrespect to anyone. This post is simply my feelings on a song and the mindset of the world.