the kylo ren problem

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Unless you’ve been under a rock since late 2015, when The Force Awakens came out, you probably know about Kylo Ren. He’s the whiny, inspired-by-nazis, bratty man child who tons of women in their late twenties and early thirties are in love with… and all his behavior gets hand-waved away by these fans because he’s “attractive” (excuse me for having good taste in men, but no, he’s really not), because he “had a bad childhood” (excuse my language but SHOW ME THE FUCK WHERE?), and also because of one very important fact…

He’s white.

“But Cade!” I hear you saying. “What does that have to do with anything?”

Look me in the (metaphorical) eyes and tell me that if a man who tortures, injures, is based off a Nazi, whines, throws temper tantrums, killed a bunch of people would be loved by everyone if he was, for example, played by a black dude.

“People like that guy from, ummm,” you say, spinning a wheel to find a villain of color whom everyone likes. I’m gonna guess you can’t find one who’s done everything Kylo has. If you have found a villain who’s murdered, tortured, whines, throws temper tantrums, is a Nazi, and happens to be a person of color, congratulations!! You’ve hit the jackpot!

You know what your reward is?

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motivations, values, & all that fun stuff!

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When I wake up every day, my motivation is to get out of bed, get school/work done, and talk to my friends. And, hopefully, to get some writing done! Pretty much everyone has some kind of motivation – whether that’s to succeed at school/work, spend time with their family, etc.

And in fiction, motivation is VERY important. Without it, where would any novel go?

Take Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, for example. Early into the book, Percy discovers he’s a demigod – the son of a Greek god and a mortal mother. His mortal mother is captured by another god, who thinks Percy stole something of his. Percy’s motivation is to get his mother back, no matter the cost.

In The Hunger Games, Katniss’ motivation is to keep her family fed and safe. When her sister’s name is reaped for the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers so that her sister isn’t harmed – even if that means that Katniss will probably die. She loves her sister and wants what’s best for her.

Now, both of their motivations change over time, but still keep the same core – they want to protect someone. Percy eventually ends up at the center of a prophecy that could change the world, and Katniss at the heart of a rebellion. But both Percy and Katniss want to protect their families, their friends, and the people around them.

This is a value.

Both Katniss and Percy value their friends and families – their relationships, if you will. So their motivations largely center around their values.

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why is diversity so important?

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In all my time as a writer and reader, I’ve heard a lot of people ask why diversity in books (and tv shows, and movies) is important. Whether it’s for people of color, disabled people, mentally ill people, or lgbtqia+ people, people want diversity. And a lot of people don’t get why.

From about age 7, I had a role model in a book series that I liked. Like me, she had brown hair. She was white*. She liked books. She liked learning. And if you can guess where this is going, her name was Hermione Granger.

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review: the hundred lies of lizzie lovett.

Sometimes, there are books that look REALLY good, and turn out not to be very good at all. Sometimes, there are books that don’t look very good, and turn out to be one of the best books ever. And sometimes, there are books that sit somewhat in the middle – either they look good and are okay, or they look bad and aren’t too bad at all.

This… is kind of one of those books. It was okay, but it wasn’t good. It wasn’t bad, though. It was pretty… interesting, and had a really authentic voice, and a few other things ( but I’ll get into those when I start the actual review. ) Plus, the cover matches my blog aesthetic! #important

There will be some minor spoilers below! I haven’t quite figured out how to hide spoilers, so please forgive me on that area. More major spoilers will be colored white, and you’ll have to hover over them to read them. Because for some reason you might want to read this book.

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is fanfic a compliment?

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In my years as a writer, I’ve noticed there’s a HUGE… well, not dislike, but I guess that’s the closest word? of fanfiction. Like Anne Rice and George R. R. Martin.

“Every writer needs to learn to create his own characters, worlds, and settings. Using someone else’s world is the lazy way out.” – George R. R. Martin.

“I do not allow fan-fiction. The characters are copyrighted. It upsets me terribly to even think about fan-fiction with my characters. I advise my readers to write your own original stories with your own characters. It is absolutely essential that you respect my wishes.” – Anne Rice.

“OK, my position on fan-fic is pretty clear: I think it’s immoral, I know it’s illegal, and it makes me want to barf whenever I’ve inadvertently encountered some of it involving my characters.” – Diana Gabaldon.

Honestly, as a fanfic writer, that kind of makes me feel weird. I started out writing fanfiction when I was younger, on the Warrior Cat Forums ( the authors of the Warriors series encouraged it, from what I can tell. ) And without writing that fanfiction, I never would’ve been told I was pretty good at writing, to the point that I decided I wanted to write my own original works. ( I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember, I just started off writing fanfiction. )

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5 series I will always talk about.

Fun fact: I wanted to title this ‘5 series I will never stop screaming about’ but that wouldn’t fit.

Everyone has their collection of books that they love. And then there are people who have books that they scream endlessly into the void about and try to recruit everyone they know into reading. Because sometimes there are books you feel a very strong need to share with every single person in existence, even if they don’t like reading that genre of book.

( Though, to be fair… I tend to read fantasies. And that is not everyone’s slice of cake. )

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romance novels I’m excited for.

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It’s that time of the year again: it’s February. And you know what that means… Valentine’s Day. Chocolate, flowers, cute couples getting dinner at ultra fancy restaurants, half off chocolates the day after February 14th, lots of pink and red and lace and stuff… yeah, there’s a lot of romance going around.

Me, I have nobody to spend Valentine’s Day with ( unless you count fictional characters, of course. ) I am very much single. Which is fine, because I am not in the market for a boyfriend at the moment. However… I am in the market for romance novels!

So, I went through my Goodreads TBR pile ( which has over 700 books in it… dang I need to delete some of those ) and pulled up a few romance novels I can’t WAIT to get my hands on. They look absolutely awesome. Plus, reading a romance novel gives me an excuse to eat chocolate!

So with no further ado,

ONCE AND FOR ALL, by Sarah Dessen. I am a HUGE Sarah Dessen fan. I have read all of her books. I own several of her books. And this one is about a wedding planner’s daughter! I already know this is going to be a good book. Sarah Dessen has never disappointed me.

WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI, by Sandhya Menon. Described as a “laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.” First off, the cover looks really nice. I’m a huge fan of arranged marriages. And also!! Diversity!!

ROMANCING THE THRONE, by Nadine Jolie Courtney. To be honest, novels like this are my guilty pleasure. Scandals! Secrets! Heartbreak! Princes! Plussss, it features around a pair of sisters. I am part of a pair of sisters. This looks really good. Also, the cover reminds me of Fangirl for some reason.

WHO’S THAT GIRL, by Blair Thornburgh. I love a well written “singer falls for person and writes song about them” novel. Which is weird, as I am an avid not-fan of all of the One Direction self-insert fanfics on Wattpad. Ahh well. Anyways: it doesn’t have the greatest cover on earth, and it looks like it’ll be a love triangle, but hey! It looks good!

A QUIET KIND OF THUNDER, by Sara Barnard. This one already came out, but it still belongs on this list, I think. I’m not entirely sure it focuses solely around romance. But it’s about Steffi, who’s selectively mute, and Rhys, who is deaf. It looks like it’ll be cute and I hear it’s been getting a lot of good reviews around the blogosphere.

SEVEN DAYS OF YOU, by Cecilia Vinesse. First: this looks like a romance doomed to end in heartbreak and I am a fan of angst. And it’s also set in Japan. And the main character has seven days left in Japan when her ex-something moves back to Japan. I can tell where this is going!!

Are there any specific romance novels you’re looking forward to in 2017? Or are you not really one to read romances? Tell me in the comments !!

best-wishes

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