Happy Friday! Out of Time Giveaway

Happy Friday! Let’s celebrate…Out of Time style. I’m giving away 20 Kindle copies to lucky random winners on Amazon. Check it out here: Out of Time Amazon Giveaway

And just in case you need more convincing, here’s one of my personal favorite excerpts from the book to whet your appetite for romance and adventure:

Out of Time Excerpt5-page0001

Oh! And the awesome book trailer by Farah Evers Designs:

What are you waiting for? Go enter! Out of Time Amazon Giveaway

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Colorblinded for Two Voices

A few months ago, inspired by current events, I wrote the poem “Colorblinded” and published it here because I’m not enough of a poet to think I should bug publishers with my stuff. However, I love poetry—writing, reading and teaching it—and I’m currently researching poems for multiple voices. And I wanted something to demonstrate two points of view, so I decided to rewrite “Colorblinded” so it reflected the other POV as well as mine. I’m not sure how good it is, but with National Poetry Day coming up in October, I thought I might share this one here. Since I am hopeless about formatting blogs, it’s in jpg format, but if you’d like to blow it up a bit for easier reading, click on this link: colorblinded-for-two-voices

colorblinded-for-two-voices-page-0

 

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In defense of Ms. Shriver: Cultural appropriation in writing

Lionel Shriver, author of 13 novels, was criticized this weekend for speaking out in defense of cultural appropriation. “Otherwise all I could write about would be smart-alecky, 59-year-old, 5-foot-2 inch white women from North Carolina.” NYT: Lionel Shrivers Address on Cultural Appropriation Roils a Writers’ Conference

Shriver is right, of course. It’s our job as writers to imagine life from all different points of view. Because we were given the ability to do that. Currently, I—a five-foot-tall white woman from North Carolina—am trying to write from the point of view of a six-foot-six tall Elf from another dimension who finds himself in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the company of a young Cherokee woman. Not really comparable to Shriver’s cultural appropriations of the homeless, African Americans, the elderly and others, but different from my own life, nonetheless.

Imagine if all writers wrote exclusively about their own culture—would the temptation not be for those stories to be consumed by those of the same race and economic class? And would that not contribute to narrow-mindedness and, eventually, prejudice that your way is the only way?

As a librarian, I strive to incorporate stories from all cultures in our independent, globally focused school library. As a writer, I try to keep in mind that the world is a very big place with lots of ideas in it (some would say that my biggest stretch would be to take the POV of a Trump supporter…), and try to channel those ideas through my writing. This is important for me as a writer, as well as you as a reader. Don’t condemn cultural appropriation in the books you read. Celebrate the fact that the author has made an attempt to broaden horizons (their own as well as their readers).

And if we get it wrong…be gentle.

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In honor of National Book Lovers’ Day

It’s National Book Lovers’ Day, and I’m obviously a book lover. Whether I’m writing them, reading them, editing them or cataloguing them, nothing, in my opinion, is better than a book. I love giving books to people, I love finding books for people and I love, love, love when someone gives me a book. There is no better gift.

When I wrote Out of Time, I wanted to express some of the gratitude I feel for those who helped foster my love of reading and books in my acknowledgements. On this day of all days, it feels appropriate to share that here. I hope some of the people who I mention might see them and know how much they meant to me. I hope others who read these acknowledgements will think of those who’ve helped put books in their hands at one point or another. And mostly, I hope we’ll all think about how we might get more books into more hands in the future. Because if you create a book lover, you’ve done the world a huge favor.

From Acknowledgements, Out of Time:

I always want to say something splendid in the acknowledgements of my books. It’s kind of like writing a note in a birthday card, though. If you’re not careful, you’ll write yourself into a corner, but you just have to keep going…

As usual, I want to thank the friends and family who support me and believe in me. My parents and in-laws and brothers and, especially, my husband, Chris and children, Josh, Ben and Jessi (to whom this book is dedicated). And the members of The (most) Flye Street Team. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Strangely, however, with this book, I feel I need to add a thank you to some other people who don’t know me, some of whom are dead now. Maybe it’s because this book, which is so different from others I have written, comes closer to what I feel I was always intended to write. A fantasy that sort of reflects my belief that there’s way more poetry in our prosaic world than at first meets the eye. So a special note of appreciation to the following seems in order.

Thank you to the owners of Highland Books and The Book Nook, where I spent many hours reading science fiction and fantasy books I couldn’t afford to buy when I was a kid. I know you saw me in the corner of your store, but you never once asked me, “Are you going to buy that book?”

Thank you to the ladies of the Transylvania County Library where I “worked” on Saturdays during my teenage years. I know you know I spent a good amount of my shelving time browsing the books, but you never complained.

Thank you to the innumerable science fiction and fantasy authors who have provided me with hours of enjoyable reading. You don’t know me, but I have lived in your worlds, whether it be Pern or Narnia or Middle-Earth…

And thank you to you, my readers. Whether you’re hiding in a corner of a book store or browsing the shelves of a library, or reading on your e-reader, I hope my book can take you somewhere beyond the reality of normality.

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There’s something rotten in the marketplace of ideas

rotten2c_moldy_and_decaying_oranges

By Downtowngal (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I was trained as a journalist. I didn’t practice long (about a year and a half), but I remember some of what I learned in the journalism school I attended.

One of those things was the theory called “the marketplace of ideas”. It’s the cornerstone of freedom of information. It’s the idea that out of a vast mix of many ideas, the truth will emerge. In other words, truth is the idea that gains the most traction when all ideas are allowed to be expressed.

This is a great concept, and I thoroughly support it for the most part. But every now and then, in this huge marketplace, the smell of rotten fruit is overwhelming. I smell it most strongly on social media, where far left and far right media are quoted as facts.

I worry that the marketplace of ideas was not intended to be placed next to today’s information superhighway where people are too busy to pay attention to the fruit they pick up. Is that fruit actually something they want to consume? Or was its sweet smell concealing something much more rotten?

In today’s age of too much information presented too quickly, you need to be careful what you believe and what you pass along. Ask yourself: Is the information you pass along based on real fact? Where does it come from? What other ideas has that source put forward? Are you passing it along because it sounds like truth or because it sounds like the truth you want?

Treat the marketplace of ideas like you treat any roadside stand you may stop at to pick up fruit for your family. Look at each piece of fruit carefully. Examine it for rotten areas. Think about where it comes from. Because wormy ideas are causing a great deal of sickness in this world.

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What now?: The in-between

I just finished the full first draft of Time Being, Book Two of the Synchronicity series. As usual, I’m feeling at loose ends. I know it wouldn’t be a good idea to start editing Time Being immediately, and I’m not quite ready to start on the last book in the series (although I’m very excited about where it’s going). And so, I wait.

It’s hard, this waiting thing. This in-between books thing. I know it’s my breathing moment, but I never feel quite right if I’m not writing something, but writing is such an all-consuming thing, I often let other projects go while I’m involved in it. I do have other interests…

So I’ll work on those now. If you need me, I’ll be processing a backlog of books for my kids’ libraries, going to Zumba class (I just started and really like it), following the Presidential election (closely and with great trepidation), maybe take up line-dancing (I saw a flier…). And when it’s time to sit back down and start writing and editing again, I’ll know.

And I’ll keep you up-to-date. In the meantime, if you haven’t read Out of Time yet, there’s still time to get it for 50% off on Smashwords. Click on the link below and use the code SSW50 until July 31.

out-of-time

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Colorblinded in troubled times

My last post was a political one. This post is not. At least it is not intended to be, though race relations have been politicized to the point where it is difficult to separate the two. Over the past few days I have seen so many tragedies in the news, however, useless killing on the streets of my country. These killings deeply wounded the black community and the blue community. My heart goes out to both, along with my fear and worry for the future of our world and our country if we can’t find a way to mend attitudes and live together. When I tried to put my feelings into words, this is what came out. I don’t write poetry very often but this feels like poetry to me.

 

Colorblinded

By Michelle Garren Flye

I am not colorblind.

I see you. I see your differences. When I pass you on the street, I see you aren’t the same as me. Your skin, your attitude, your music, your life. You are different. I see you, and I don’t know you.

You are a mystery.

I am colorblinded.

Do you see me? Do you see the mother, the artist, the poet, the person who is me? Can you see past my skin, or does it blind you? Do you see only a white, privileged, raised-in-the-South woman who doesn’t understand?

I don’t think you see me.

I think you are colorblinded, too.

Tell me what would happen if I reached out to you. Tell me what would happen if white skin touched black…and black touched back. If hand held hand in a long, long line of red and yellow, black and white…

Could we be colorblind together?

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