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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back: Reflections on 2013

Evening Clouds, Dec. 2013
Most years, I do New Year's Resolutions. This New Year's Eve, I'm not making any. Though I think they're a great idea, I think that for me, going into 2014 would be best spent reflecting on some of the lessons I've learned (and re-learned) in 2013.

Lesson #1: If you've purged yourself of any sort of harmful habit (certain relationships, diet, lifestyle, etc.) and you pick it back up again, expect the results to be the same and sometimes worse this time, and the next, and the next.

Lesson #2: Some people can drink responsibly. Others can't. Either way, it's something that shouldn't be taken lightly. Alcohol is a drug that if mishandled, can ruin lives.

Lesson #3: Being able to balance the way I spend my time is a must. Making memories with my family and friends is more important to me than making money. Along with that, having quiet personal time balanced with social time is important.


I'm going back to grad school in January, and my husband is starting a new job. 2014 will be a great start for both of us. I also turned 30 in 2013, and he'll be turning 30 in 2014. We're entering a new decade of life together. I think you learn things and make resolutions as you go along, not necessarily at the end of one year or the beginning of another. My goal for the rest of my life is to constantly learn and grow as a person and let myself change with the ebb and flow of the tides.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Clouds

I took this picture Thursday evening. The sky was beautiful with its fluffy and wispy clouds reflecting the colors of the sunset.



Monday, December 9, 2013

Snapshot From "Icemageddon"

Twitter has playfully nicknamed the winter storm that blew through on Friday "Icemageddon." Especially in Texas, we don't get nice fluffy snow; we get ICE, which pretty much shuts down the state. Close to 300,000 people lost electricity in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex (me included!), making for a very cold, rather stressful weekend. But I did take this neat little picture up at work yesterday, which shows the more artistic side of this storm I'm talking about.



Pretty neat, huh?


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Why Is Reading Still Important in the Modern-day Technological Culture? (Guest blogpost by author Joshua J. Johnson)

Today I'm hosting author Joshua J. Johnson as a special guest blogger, and he's going to discuss why he thinks reading is still important in our fast-paced, technological culture. Check out his thoughts!

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Today I’m here to talk about a subject that, as soon as I was invited to talk about, I knew it was a topic that I wanted to discuss: why reading is still important even in a technological culture.

The world, technologically, has advanced so much in the last ten, fifteen years, what with the Internet getting bigger,more children having laptops,more television apparently being watched, and so on. During all of this, many a times has the question of ‘But how will the publishing industry survive?’ has been asked.

However, we’ve seen that recently people are reading more and more than they have ever done. Sure, people seem to be leading busier lives, with more commitments and more hectic schedules, and finding the time to read can be a difficult thing to do— but we’ve come up with more ways to be able to read the books that we love. For example, you can read books on e-readers: the Kindle and the Kobo and so on gave us the ability to take hundreds of books along with us on planes, on holidays, on trains, whilst commuting— wherever you are. You can read on your mobile phone, on your laptop, on your iPad, and more.

Not only has reading on the go become more and more popular due to it being easier to do, but it’s allowed more people to buy and read more books. E-books, often, are priced less than a cup of coffee— something that many people buy everyday. Authors can now be connected with on the Internet, on Facebook and Twitter, sharing pictures on Instagram, blogging about their lives on their sites, doing videos on YouTube, and so on and so on. Technology has improved their relationship between the author and the reader— something that we didn’t have many years ago.

But this doesn’t answer the question of why reading is still important in the technological culture. Sure, we have more methods for connecting and reading and talking about books and authors and writing and reading, but that doesn’t mean it’s important. Just because something may seem easier in the modern day, doesn’t make it more important.

And yet reading is important. Parents encourage children to read, teachers do, schools do, libraries do, events do, book fairs do, the Internet does, and even more. Reading has become a popular thing, and— in all honesty— I do think Harry Potter did bring this back. Sure enough, children read, but Harry Potter was a large boom: it introduced so many children to reading, and they grew up with the books. It was the thing that everybody was doing, they were the books that everybody was reading. Eventually, these readers grew up, but they had grown up surrounded by this love of reading, and as soon as the last book was released, they went onto discover new books and grow in their love of reading.

Their siblings followed suit, their friends borrowed their books, reading became more popular. Sites like Goodreads were created— a place where people can connect and get together and discuss books. Authors became more interactive. Fan-sites made books more popular.

Technology enabled this, and it will continue it. Even film adaptations of books— think CITY OF BONES, DIVERGENT, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, etc.— are becoming increasingly popular, introducing yet more people to reading books.

No matter how far technology advances, reading will still be important, because of all of the above. Instead of books dwindling due to technology, technology will instead help to enhance the experience of the reader. It’s human nature that people want to tell stories and read stories and share stories, and I don’t think it’ll die out. At least, I really hope it doesn’t.

Despite the fact that libraries and bookshops have been seen closing down recently— which is very sad— it’s due to the fact that people are getting their books by other methods, not because people are choosing not to read.

To round off, reading is still important, even if this technological culture, and I think it is this technological culture that will help the book industry to grow, and to continue opening up more new experiences for both the author and the reader.

Thank you very much for having me, and I hope you continue loving books just as much as I love reading them and writing them.

Thank you.
***

Author Bio:

Joshua J. Johnson is an author who lives on the East Coast of England. He began writing books after he learned that they don't just randomly appear on the shelf, but rather people actually sit down and write them. When he isn't writing his next novel, he enjoys reading, watching How To Train Your Dragon, and drinking milkshakes. He is also the author of BONES ON THE SURFACE and SOULLESS, as well as the upcoming YA novels THE SWEET LIFE, and THEIR TIME TO GO. You can find out more about him at joshuajstories.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter @JoshuaJAuthor.

SOULLESS Blurb:

Mia and Roxanne have always been the best of friends, supported each other through everything, and always been happy for one another... but that's when things were simple. Fast forward to their teenage years, and life is now full of complications.. but only for Mia. Everything seems to happen to Mia, whereas Roxanne seems to have quite the sweet life-- literally. She has the family, her bakery, and the love of her life-- everything that Roxanne wants. But one day something terrible happens, and Ryan-- her boyfriend-- is nowhere to be seen, and people go missing and bodies are found. Creatures appear in your bathroom, down your streets, and inside your bakery, and along with them they bring blood, action, and hunger-- a hunger for souls. Written from different points of view, SOULLESS will raise questions about each character and humanity as a whole, whilst being packed with action, guns, cakes, blood, kisses, and romance. Because the question is: Who is the villain after all? Maybe it just isn't who you think it is... From the author of BONES ON THE SURFACE, and the much-anticipated THE SWEET LIFE and THEIR TIME TO GO, comes a story like no other...


image.jpeg   Buy SOULLESS -->here<--.