Thursday, June 29, 2017

Hockey-Loving Princesses and Lumberjanes

Last Autumn I began a new job as a nanny to two wonderful children. With this job comes a lot of reading children's books, so I'd like to review a couple of them:

I Am A Story by Dan Yaccarino

On Mondays, my weekday off, I tend to run through the library and grab random books on my way through based strictly off of the cover art. This was one of those books, and I'm so glad I grabbed it. This beautiful book is a history of storytelling, broken down for children. It covers everything from cave paintings to kindles, and even sparked a conversation about book burning and censorship with one of the children I read it with.

Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

Bruce is a grouchy loner of a bear, who ends up adopting a flock of baby geese when they hatch before he can turn them into breakfast. This book is for children, but has enough entertaining adult jokes to keep the rest of us interestedHotel Bruce is just as fun.)
. (Also,

The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas by Tony Wilson

This prince doesn't want a whiny princess who complains all the time about things like peas under mattresses and dinner that's too cold. He wants a tough princess, who can handle an entire package of frozen peas under her mattress, and also it's best if she likes camping and hockey.

Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke A. Allen

The children I nanny aren't old enough for this yet, but I have a couple of nieces who will likely end up with copies of this graphic novel in the near future. Lumberjanes is about summer camp, it’s about being a girl and it’s about being a little weird.




The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

I think I’ve shared the short film of this book before, but if not click here. This book is a love letter to books. I read this one by myself, not just with children.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Book Update: Politics and Feminism and a Book about a Book

What I just read:

Nation by Terry Pratchett

I’m relatively late to the Terry Prachett world. Why? I’m not really sure. I should have been here decades ago! At this point, though, every Terry Pratchett book I’ve read has been an entertaining insightful examination of our world. This beautiful book explores the path of a tribal boy becoming a man after a tidal wave wipes out his entire community. He befriends a woman named Daphne, and as they learn to speak each other’s languages, they also learn who they are and what their role in the world is.

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

I picked this book up just after the election thinking it was time for me to read something light and beautiful that would distract me from the horror of the political election. About thirty pages in I realized that this book was not going to distract me at all. It’s a penetrating examination of prejudice, holocaust and otherness. I’ve always had a minor fascination with the job of a book restorer, and this book is about those people, along with book creators, book saviors, and people who have been willing to live and die for a book.

What I’m Reading Now:

Our Revolution by Bernie Sanders and First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Laura Bush by Betty Boyd Caroli

Aside from making my way through the Game of Thrones series, I’ve also been reading about politics. Many of you know that last year I was a Bernie Sanders Delegate at the Maine Democratic Convention. I learned so much about politics this year, about how our system works and how a person can make change.

One of the things I’m fascinated by is how the women married to our past presidents have made change, most notably (currently) Hillary Clinton, who did a lot to reframe what the job of the first lady is.

With these two books I’ve been exploring these thoughts further and exploring my own role as a voter and socially-conscious person in this country.

What I just added to my To Read Shelf:


The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein

Notes From a Feminist Killjoy by Erin Wunker


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Jeff Messick Interview & An Upcoming Event

I was recently given the opportunity to interview author Jeff Messick, but first I want to tell you about an upcoming event!

As the new Creative Director of BGP Publishing, my first big project is to host our first big event! The first BGP Publishing Facebook Book Crawl.

The event will take place on September 22nd as a tour of Facebook pages. I will start the evening off with a live reading from my book By The River on the BGP Facebook page. At the end of my reading I'll provide a link for viewers to go to the next author, who will do a reading on their own Facebook page, and then link you to the next, and so on. The length of the event will depend entirely on how many authors are interested in participating.

If you're an author interested in participating email me at kraysaulis@gmail.com to get sign up information. Stay tuned and closer to the event I'll have a full itinerary of the event.

Alright, Jeff Messick's interview. Jeff is another Pandamoon Publishing author. His work can be found at his website. Here is that conversation where we discuss books we love, writing advice, and what it's like to work with an indie publisher like Pandamoon.

Me - What are you currently reading?
Jeff - The Warlock Case Files by Juli Monroe,
Stephen King's Mercedes Man series and Revival
Me - Is Warlock Case Files fantasy?
Jeff - Paranormal modern day.
Me - I enjoy those. I also love Stephen King. He's always good. What has your writing career been like? When did you start writing?
Jeff - I started writing when I was really young, before it was writing, it was daydreaming and storytelling. Maybe four to six. I excelled in creative writing classes in high school.
Me - What's your favorite genre to work in?
Jeff - Anything besides romance. I'm a storyteller that is beholden to no genre, though I have a soft spot for paranormal and fantasy.  Read Lord of the Rings at eight.
Me - Tell me about your work. Anything you think particularly stands out in your writing?
Jeff - I try hard not to jump heads in scenes. Multiple perceptions in a scene is bad. I also pride myself on dialogue.  Both of these things i got from Lary Crews,  an instructor and novelist. I also have penchant for morals and self reliance,  plus honor and responsibility.
Me - Lary crews. What did he write?
Jeff - He wrote three mysteries in the 80's, taught in America online, now writing novels again. He was also in movies. He wrote the Veronica Slate mysteries. He also recently released an updated publication of novel secrets, which is the book ideas he used teaching novel writing online.
Me - Lovely. Tell me about Pandamoon. How has publishing with them worked out for you?
Jeff - It has been incredible. As an indie publisher, their approach is very different, starting with the percentage paid to their authors. There are incentives too. They also train their authors on branding, social media use, and marketing. It is more a family than a publishing company to me.
Me - That’s so lovely to hear. I’ve heard a lot of good things about them from Pandamoon authors I’ve interviewed.
Jeff - Zara Kramer is building something special and I'm excited to be with her company.
Me - A lot of people who are new to writing seem to find their way to my blog. any advice for them?
Jeff - Never stop writing and never give up.  Write for your audience of one. Please yourself with what you write and the rest will follow.  Learn the industry. Did I mention...WRITE. Reading is also critical.
Me - Great advice. Any cool projects you want to plug or talk about?
Jeff - Just plugging away at Priesthunter,  book two in my new fantasy series. Trying hard not to be the overly proud dad,  but it's difficult.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

#BrockTurnerRapist

I have tried to write about this. I tried to vlog about this. I've been able to do nothing but tweet. And boy have I sent out a lot of tweets about this... Because the Brock Turner sentencing makes me so angry I can't see straight. And it should do the same for you. So, here's what I can choke out on the subject.

The Stanford rape victim's letter. This letter went viral this weekend. Though the case was talked about a bit back when he was first arrested in 2015 (primarily people debating whether or not the victim carried some of the blame for getting drunk) but this incredible letter from the victim is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, one of the most important things you will read this year. It does require a trigger warning because there are details regarding the assault and her recovery process in it, but please, if you're able to, read this. A few times over, even. Ashleigh Banfield spent a large chunk of her show reading this letter aloud. 

The sentencing and what it means, from the New York Times (including the father's sickening letter of excuses. This letter is everything we need to know about white privilege and how men like Brock Turner are created. In a post on Facebook a friend of mine wrote "This is why I need feminism. I want my son to grow into a world where this culture no longer exists. And I feel helpless to work towards that." The key thing to remember as we read about these horrible cases is that we aren't helpless. We've made changes before. But we have to stay vigilant and serious about this subject in order to keep those changes going.

A history of rape and rape culture. It's really important that we, as today's feminists, don't forget that we are where we are because of women who came before us. It's important to recognize flaws in feminism of the past, the way it has marginalized lesbians and people of color, but it is also important that we look at and learn from the way past feminists have benefited today's society. One of those ways is certainly in legislation regarding rape, and this case is a step back (or a step sideways?) that needs to be shouted about and we need to make sure this never happens again.

The petition to recall the judge. This judge, who also happens to be a Stanford alumni and former athlete, is up for reelection, however he is running unopposed. This petition is an attempt to recall his position. The judge ruled that a harsher sentence would have a "severe impact" on Turner. All I can say is... of course it would! And it should. Judge Persky has a history of being lenient on other rapists. He does not deserve his position.

The mug shot. This was and should remain a big source of discussion. It's been over a year since his arrest and yet Brock Turner's mug shot has only been released within 48 hours of this post. Every rape case that hits the newspapers shows a mug shot, yet this case has persistently included a smiling, suit and tie photo of a white college athlete. This is not okay. This is never okay.

I can't say much more except that this case is all the inspiration I need to know that the term "post-feminist" does not yet apply to our world. We have so much work yet to do and I am so ready to get my hands dirty doing it.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

There's a Giveaway in This Post

What I Just Finished Reading:

The Death Pit by Tony Strong. It's been a couple of days... I'm still not actually sure how I feel about this book. It's not great... it's interesting... I don't know. You read it. Tell me what you think. It's stumped me.

How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel. I've read such mixed reviews about Paula Vogel. It seems critics either love her or hate her. I love her. This play, which touches on subjects of rape, sexual abuse, incest and alcoholism, is easily one of the best things I've ever read.

What I'm Reading Now:

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. I've only just begun this, but after reading Paula Vogel this seemed like a good place to turn.

The Feminist Bookstore Movement: Lesbian Antiracism and Feminist Accountability by Kristen Hogan. If you're interested in intersectional feminism in any way, I would consider this a must read. I'll have a full review for it when I'm done, I'm sure.

What I'm Listening to:

Popaganda & Backtalk from Bitch Media. This podcast bounces between pop culture and current events, and they discuss absolutely everything.

Vagina Chronicles Podcast. You know the consciousness raising groups of second wave feminism? This is that, only in a podcast. 

What I'm Watching:

She's Beautiful When She's Angry. FANTASTIC summary of the second wave of feminism, and sure to spark some critical discussions of where the "third wave" needs to go. Also, this is a healthy reminder of what works in any social movement, and why it's important to stay vigilant and keep a close eye on where society is headed in regards to marginalized people.

Warrior Women. Grace O'Malley is one of my favorite historical figures. She was a pirate and a chieftain in 16th century Ireland. Lucy Lawless telling her story is one of my favorite things. She always discusses Mulan, Boudica and Lozen.

What I'm Doing:

The next ten people to add me as a friend on goodreads and send me a message about this blog post will get a free ebook of By The River. 

Also, for the next week I'm abandoning my own Instagram and taking over BGP Publishing's account. Expect lots of photos of the orange cat and the naughty ferret.