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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Disregarding the Oracles

I love science fiction. As early as the 1800s, science fiction authors were predicting today’s everyday things like motion-sensing doors and credit cards. Pretty commonplace by today’s standards, but imagine how out-of-this-world it must have seemed when Jules Verne described his “phonotelephote” which allowed “the transmission of images by means of sensitive mirrors connected by wires”. And yet today we take things like Skype and FaceTime for granted.

Other predictions have hit close to the mark as well. H.G. Wells predicted the atomic bomb. Tom Clancy wrote about a terrorist attack that was very similar to September 11. Writers have predicted everything from the World Wide Web to skywriting and lunar modules launching from Florida. So what is my point?

Yesterday I happened on this petition: Writers on Trump. It said many of the same things I have felt for most of this election season, which is, basically, that Donald Trump as president of the United States would be a disaster. I’ve kept my political views off this blog for the largest portion of the election season, but I’m crossing the line now. Here it goes.

This petition, which I did add my name to, is signed by some of today’s leading writers. Bestselling authors. Household names. Stephen King. Amy Tan. Jane Smiley. The authors whose names are bigger than the titles of their works. The ones whose new releases have long reserve list even though the library splurged and bought thirteen copies.

Today’s oracles.

Writers see the world differently. Writers observe, but they also influence. When Aldous Huxley wrote about mood-enhancing drugs in 1932, perhaps it sparked the invention of anti-depressants? But it is very difficult to understand how Jonathan Swift in 1735 could predict that Mars actually had two moons, a fact that was not discovered until 1877.

What are today’s writers predicting? Dystopia seems more prevalent than Utopia these days. Apocalyptic futures abound. Are these prophecies unavoidable, self-fulfilling or just warnings of what might be?

The Writers on Trump petition is pretty damn clear, and here’s the part you may want to pay attention to:

“Because the rise of a political candidate who deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities, demands, from each of us, an immediate and forceful response…we, the undersigned, as a matter of conscience, oppose, unequivocally, the candidacy of Donald J. Trump for the Presidency of the United States.”

Warning or self-fulfilling prophecy? History will decide.

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50 Golden Things…Again

In honor of my parents’ 53rd wedding anniversary, I’ve put a few new touches to the 50 Golden Things blog post I wrote three years ago for their 50th. For their true inspiration of love:

 
image

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Where to buy Out of Time

I’ve been asked where you can get copies of Out of Time. I’ve included a few links below. Paperbacks are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and CreateSpace, the others are ebook only.

Amazon (paperback and ebook)

Barnes & Noble (paperback and ebook)

CreateSpace (paperback)

Smashwords (ebook)

iBooks (ebook)

Kobo (ebook)

OverDrive (ebook)

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