Tag Archives: memoir

#AmReading Why Do You Read?

8 Feb

Tune in to ECAV Radio interview at 2:00 p.m. (CDT) today for my latest interview! We talked about dinosaurs, book covers, and nightmares. I even read a never-before-read poem! You might get an exclusive sneak peek of upcoming novels too.

Every Monday, I take an old post and I recover it with new thoughts and ideas. Today, it’s all about why we read, rather than why we write. You can read the original post here, but this week, it’s more or less the same since my reasons haven’t changed, but I did expand on those reasons in the second half. I read and I write because I love them, but that love stems from two different life experiences.

I always write about why I write, but I never write about why I read, even though I read more than I write.

At first, the reason seems simple. I read, because I like to; it’s entertainment. But then it gets more complicated. Why reading? Why do I prefer to be entertained by reading rather than by listening to music, watching movies, or something else entirely?

When I really started thinking about it, I realized I started seriously reading at a very young age, and it was generally on the road. My family moved around a lot, especially when I was a kid. As of now, I’ve already moved twelve times, including six states. Between moving, we traveled a lot—mainly because my family was spread across the country, and we drove to make visits. This meant hours–sometimes days–spent in the car with nothing to do…until I started bringing books with me.

This is actually a photo from Barnes & Noble for an upcoming signing you can read about below.

This is actually a photo from Barnes & Noble for an upcoming signing you can read about below.

To this day, I’m pretty blessed to be able to say I don’t get nauseous when I read in cars or airplanes, and I believe I fell in love with books somewhere along those roads. I was traveling in novels while I was traveling the country, and the new characters became my friends as I did so. After that, I would say my reasoning for reading changed, but it depended on what I was picking up. If it were fiction, it might have been to visit a new world. If it were a memoir, it was to understand another, to learn about someone else’s life. If it were poetry, it might be to challenge myself or even to learn about my own life.

I could expand and say I read because I grew up in a reading household. While my brother and father definitely don’t read, my mother was an avid reader, and I wasn’t allowed to watch TV. On rainy days, reading was practically my only option, and my mother always encouraged us to pick out whatever we wanted at the bookstore. I found independence in it. I found exploration and admiration in it. I found myself in it.

Today, I read when I’m relaxing, when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m sleepy, when I want to learn something, when I want to be around someone but have no one to see, when I want to be challenged.

Reading has fit into so many aspects of my life it’s impossible to name all of the reasons, but the main reason comes down to love.

I love words.

I love reading.

So why do you read? Has your reasoning changed from when you first started to now?

~SAT

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Come get your books signed on February 13, from 1-3 PM during the Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas at Bradley Fair. Come meet Tamara GranthamCandice GilmerTheresa RomainJan Schliesman, and Angi Morgan! If you haven’t started The Timely Death Trilogy, don’t worry. Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, is free!

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

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What Going To The Bookstore is Like

9 Dec

It’s December…which means cold weather…which means an extra excuse to go into the bookstore when your friends are shopping to…get warm…and get coffee and cookies ::cough cough:: I’ll only be five minutes. I promise.

My piece of heaven

My piece of heaven

I love books, obviously, but I also love going into bookstores just as much. There’s just *something* about the entire experience. Whether it’s the smell (the lovely smell of Starbucks and new books) or being around fellow book lovers, I love it all. I cannot wait until the next time I go on a trip to the store. So much so that I’m slightly weary of ordering online. Even though it’s convenient, I want *that* moment. Hell, I’ll make a whole night out of it. Bookstores bring a lot of peace to my life, so before I share what going into a bookstore is like, I want to share my Barnes & Noble. They bring a lot of love to my little writer’s life…and this is exactly how it plays out.

Oh! Look. A Barnes & Noble. 

I’m just…going to step in for a…minute. Just a minute.

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It smells like cookies in here.

Until I eat all of them, that is.

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And coffee! I need both.

Especially after that Barnes & Noble Membership discount.

I’m never going to leave.

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Okay. Books. I want all of them.

Time to get serious. This is what you came here for.

This is where your plan comes into action. You know your plan. It starts at new fiction, wraps around the young adult, circles to the poetry, and ends at memoirs.

200-4Okay. So maybe not that book.

Just not for me. That was…something though.

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There’s seeing a book you’ve been wanting.

Yep. The entire staff just heard you squeal.

They also saw you dance while you waited for someone else to move out of the way.

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And there’s seeing the book you’ve been waiting over a year to release.

Sweet Jesus. Yep. They definitely saw and heard you again.

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You try to apologize, but everyone understands.

We all have an inner Matilda.

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In fact, you might just read it right now

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But bookstores close…so you have to leave…

I’ll just get one. Or two. Or…screw it. I want all of these.

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But when you get home, you have your favorite place to read.

Does anything get any better than this?

200-11~SAT

Also, because we’re sharing gifs and other funny moments, I just did an interview with YouTuber Drew C. Ryan on his channel The awkWORD. (A hilarious channel by the way.) We talked about fandoms, video games, Disney, Sailor Moon, and more! Check it out.

Inspirational Meet: Robert Rebein

15 Apr

Website Update: 3:00 p.m.: My Twitter hit 2,000 followers today 😀 Thank You! 

16 days until Minutes Before Sunset release! 

One of my favorite parts about attending the University of Kansas is when I get the opportunity to meet authors, poets, and other writers in general. The English department (or creative writing) program here is pretty great that way. There’s always someone speaking on campus, but, even more so, authors sometimes come directly into our classroom.

On Wednesday, April 10, that is exactly what happened in my NonFiction Writing I class.

Rebein hasn't lost his Midwest chivalry either. When I walked up and told him how much I appreciated his time, he gave me a signed copy of his book. Couldn't be happier towards this experience.

Rebein hasn’t lost his Midwest chivalry either. When I walked up and told him how much I appreciated his time, he gave me a signed copy of his book. Couldn’t be happier towards this experience.

Robert Rebein, author of “Dragging Wyatt Earp: A Personal History of Dodge City,” came in, and, instead of taking the time marketing his own novel, guest taught us how he wrote nonfiction. He also answered our questions, elaborating on many aspects of writing we–as students–were wondering.

Specifically, other than truly enjoying his novel, he talked about how a writer should look at  nonfiction writing. He explained how he writes under the philosophy, “Everything is in service of theme.” As an example, he talked about an location-themed essay. He then said you write about that place, but you always stay under the umbrella of what the place means to you (rather than adding frivolous that may not have anything to do with why it means something.)

I really enjoyed his advice. He was very relatable, and he easily adapted to our class (he is a teacher) in the sense that many of our students generally write fiction, and he compared the elements of fiction and nonfiction. He even admitted that he learned fiction, decided to take elements from it, and then moved over to nonfiction. Like James Baldwin’s personal essay’s, Rebein creates a memoir-essay that responds to life honestly, using personal ethics to bring life to the life he lived so many years ago and the history of the Midwest that lived so many years before him.

Robert Rebein is a great author to check out. Just in the first few pages, I had one of my favorite quotes:

“If the Old West was about blood and money, the New West is about return” (6.)

I definitely recommend his work if you enjoy nonfiction. By clicking any of the links, you will be sent to his page for more information.

~SAT

Relax & Read: T.L. McCown

28 Feb

Website Update: I’ve combined Novels & My Poetry Collection pages. There is now a drop-down menu for their individual pages. I’m doing this for exciting reasons, and, if you want a hint, join my brand-new Facebook Author Page by clicking here. You’ll get the latest updates, and my current status has a surprise that isn’t on my website yet! I’m REALLY excited, so check it out, and you’ll get an advantage on other readers when I offer an upcoming competition ;]

P.s. I hit 4,000 followers Tuesday; thank you!

During Tuesday’s post, we–meaning Kansans–were buried beneath a blanket of snow (only four days after being buried before.)

This is my husky, Shadow. He loved the snow like me, but, unfortunately, he passed away in 2007.

This is my husky, Shadow. He loved the snow like me, but, unfortunately, he passed away in 2007.

Ever since I lived in Green Bay, Wisconsin, snow hasn’t been that big of deal to me. However, here in the Midwest, we get more ice, and I HATE ice (especially driving in it. Fact of the day: In February, 2010, I totaled my first car by hitting black ice on a bridge.)

So what’s my favorite part about snow? Being snowed-in.

I love taking the extra time to snuggle up with my cat, Bogart, and  read–which reminded me of two memoirs I wanted to share with you all: Not only because it is beautifully written, but because of the importance of the topic, and how life-changing the author is.

T.L. McCown, author and instructor at Columbia College, is STILL the only author to write about the Saudi Royal Family from first-hand experience. Her two novels–Shifting Sands: Life in Arabia with a Saudi Princess & Creating Shamsiyah: Staging the Saudi Feminist Movement–are inspiring, challenging, and a vivid collection of culture in Saudi Arabia. These memoirs, as shocking as they can be to read, are essential if you’re searching for a memoir that truly (and honestly) faces the threat of terrorism while also embracing her love for the women in Saudi despite cultural and religious differences.

I cannot stress how much her novels have touched me, and I cannot respect T.L. McCown’s bravery enough, let alone her ability to share her story.

Visit her website here. (If you click the novel names above, you will be sent to the Amazon pages.)

~SAT

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P.S. If you’ve read my Events page, then you know I had the AMAZING opportunity to meet and work with T.L. McCown in May, 2007. Seriously. She’s an angel. I couldn’t be more grateful to share my writing passion with such a successful (and passionate) author.   

My Undergraduate Reading

11 Feb

9:00 a.m. update: I’m in the University Daily Kansan! Read this article about my experiences here.

I REALLY wanted to record a video of me reading what I read at the Undergraduate Reading Series (that way, you could experience what the audience did) but, just as I said on the 9th, my camera isn’t working.

An actual picture from the event.

An actual picture from the event.

So what do I do?

I’m uploading PDF files of what I’ve read :] If you click any of the links below, it will open, and you can read that particular piece.

At the event I read nonfiction, poetry, and fiction. I did this, because I love experimenting in genres outside my norm (so anything that isn’t sci-fi/fantasy YA fiction.) I think trying new genres is really important for learning, and, because of this, I’ve studied nonfiction, poetry, fiction, and screenwriting at the University of Kansas (and in my free time, of course.)

But, without further my rambling (because I could), I’ll introduce my nonfiction piece:

From my memoir “To become a (woe)man” I explain how being motherless since 11 years old has effected my life up until now. I’m really excited to be sharing this piece, because it’s currently competing in a publication competition, not to mention some of the most important moments of my life. This particular scene is the day after my mother died.

Read my excerpt from “To become a (woe)man” here: NonFictionExcerpt

My poetry was read next. I’d rather not explain what they are about, however, because poetry is a genre that thrives within interpretation. My three pieces are below:

You

Hom-ouses

Injuries

After poetry, I read from a fiction piece of mine. In reality, this fiction piece is from a fantasy novel, but, from the excerpt, you will not be able to tell. I did this on purpose. Readings don’t always give you enough time to explain the setting or the characters, so you have to adjust to your audience. I decided to read a small romantic scene–one where my protagonists are looking at the stars. Read it here: FictionExcerpt

I hope you enjoyed reading my pieces as much as I enjoyed sharing them!

Have a great Monday!

~SAT

Relax & Read: The Orchard

12 Dec

Although I love YA fantasy the most, I find myself returning to memoirs often.

I found my love for memoirs in middle school when we were, ironically, forced to choose one and write a review over it. I read a memoir written by a woman spy, but I cannot remember the title. However, I’ve returned to the biographies/memoir section of my local Barnes & Noble ever since.

The Orchard by Theresa Weir is my recent find. orchard

Growing up poor, Theresa Weir works in her uncle’s bar where she meets Adrian Curtis. The two immediately begin dating, and three months later, they marry. Theresa moves to Adrian’s cursed farm, realizing his life is much more dangerous than she expected while also falling more in love with Adrian every moment.

This is a beautiful tale written with delicate compassion and painstaking truth.

So check it out here, and let me know what you think.

P.S Based on all of your suggestions, I’ll be checking out ‘Divergent’ as soon as I beat the flu (Ick)

~SAT

Relax & Read: History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life

19 Oct

Yesterday, after posting on my website, I returned to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites where I was swarmed with this name:

Amanda Todd.

If you’ve been on the Internet recently, then you know exactly what I’m about to talk about.

This 15-year-old Canadian, posted a video to YouTube about bullies, and—five weeks later—she committed suicide because of her personal experiences. However, I am not posting about my personal take on this tragedy, as I do not know this young person or the details of her death, but I’m really here, instead, to discuss suicide.

Whenever an event like this happens, sadly enough, I am taken back to every tragedy I have personally witnessed. Even then, I am struck by other tragedies I have seen my loved ones suffer with.

So how should we cope? What do we do to understand? To accept? To continue to live while loving their memory?

I, as an avid reader and writer, seem to submerge myself in both reading and writing to understand. When I was struck with grief, for whatever reason, I have found that one novel in particular sticks out of my memory in regards to suicide:

History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life by Jill Bialosky. 

A memoir of Bialosky’s life before and after her 21-year-old sister committed suicide. Bialosky goes through every grieving phase, contemplating all possibilities, and ultimately studies suicideology. This touching memoir is both dark and comforting, sweet yet saddening, endearing but questioning. And I truly believe History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life can help others, not only cope with suicide, but understand the repercussions of said actions and the love that everyone deserves.

Whatever your opinion on Amanda Todd may be, I am not interested. What I am interested in, however, is the possible prevention of suicide and comforting the victims of suicide (the survivors—the loved ones—the family and friends) who have lost a dear one.

Click here for Amanda Todd’s official website.

Click here to read more about the novel.

 Click here for suicidal help. Or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 

Remember: “I suppose no one is truly dead when we go on loving them” (Bialosky, 31).

~SAT

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