The Weight of Blood Book Review

Bullying is, unfortunately, part of the school experience. Though it may seem normal, the after-effects can linger long after we have grown up.

The new novel, The Weight of Blood, by Tiffany D. Jackson, was published at the beginning of the month. Essentially, it is a modern reboot of Carrie with the added weight of racism.

Madison “Maddy” Washington has been a social outcast for as long as anyone can remember. Raised by her fanatical Caucasian father in a small Georgia town, no one knows that she is biracial. That is until a storm reveals the truth and Maddy becomes an ever bigger target for the popular girls/school bullies.

When a video of this incident is leaked out, the administration has some serious explaining to do. The leaders of the student body (one of whom is Maddy’s tormentors) devise a plan to hold an integrated prom for the first time in the town’s history. Feeling guilty for everything that has happened, Wendy, the class President, knows that something has to be done. She asks her African American quarterback boyfriend to ask Maddy to the prom.

For the first time in her life, Maddy starts to believe that she will be like any other teenager. She does not know that her peers have one more trick up their sleeves. But they don’t know that she has a secret of her own, which could be deadly if and/or when it is unleased.

I loved this book. Jackson does an amazing job of being true to the original text while taking the narrative to another level. In adding racism to the already heightened story of a girl who is teased and humiliated by her classmates, she speaks of the short-term and long-term damage that both create.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely. In fact, I would say it is in the top ten new books of 2022.

The Weight of Blood is available wherever books are sold.

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Flashback Friday: Early Halloween Post-Carrie (2013)

Every genre has its star, the writer(s) who the symbolize that specific type of narrative. In the world of horror, one of those writers is Stephen King.

In 2013, a reboot of one of his most famous books, Carrie, hit theaters. Starring Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde, and Chloë Grace Moretz in the title role, this adaptation (as in the book and the initial film) tells the story of Carrie White. Carrie White is a shy teenager whose is hit by a one two punch that would ground anyone into literal emotional dust. In school, she is being bullied at school by the popular girls. When she gets home, her mother forces her into a sheltered and religious lifestyle that is equally as bad. After discovering that she has telekinetic powers, Carrie unleashes revenge on everyone who has put her down.

The problem is not with the movie itself. As remakes go, its decent. Carrie White is one of those characters that we can all relate to. The issue is that it was not needed. The original 1970’s film is just so dam good that it still holds up nearly fifty years later.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Carrie Book Review

Bullying in school is an age old experience. But few writers have used that as a basic narrative as Stephen King.

In his classic 1970’s novel, Carrie, Carrie White is having a teenage experience that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Socially awkward and quiet, she is bullied by her peers at school and by her ultra-religious mother at home. When she is humiliated at a school dance, her telekinetic powers come forward and all Hades breaks loose.

I have a confession to make: this is the first time that I have read Carrie. I have seen the movie adaptations, but I have yet to read the book. What I liked about this book is that King takes an unorthodox approach to the narrative. He tells Carrie’s story not just from her perspective, but also from the perspective of the wider community that is affected by her bullying.

I recommend it.

This Is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World Book Review 

No one ever said that writing is easy.For every Danielle Steel and Stephen King, there are countless writers who wish, pray and work for the writing career that seems so elusive.

In 2013, Kerri Majors published This Is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World.

Containing real world tips, advice and experience this book is aimed at young writers.

I really liked this book. Despite the fact that desired reader is under 21, the advice provided is applicable to aspiring writers of all ages.

I recommend it.

If You Love Writing

The clip above, to me, illustrates why many of us write.

For every Danielle Steel and Stephen King, there many writers who do not have that level of professional success.

Many of us have full time “real world” jobs.

But we do it because we love it.

We love writing because it gives us a sense of freedom.

We love writing because our characters can speak and act in ways that we may feel unsure about doing in our own lives.

We love writing because we have a story that we want to tell.

We love writing because we long for adventure, but we feel stuck in the modern daily grind.

We love writing because we can truly be ourselves when we write.

We love writing, because to borrow a quote from Charlotte Bronte “because we cannot help it”.

Begin By Looking To The End

Regular readers of my blog know that one of my hobbies is Muy Thai Kickboxing. I’ve been taking classes at my local dojo for nearly 2 years and I’ve been pretty happy there.

After class, the instructors will give a a short talk encouraging the students to continue with the program.

This week’s talk is about beginning something by looking to the end.

In layman’s terms, when we start something, always have the end goal in mind.

I think it makes perfect sense. When something is new, whether it is a job, a relationship or just a new situation, mistakes be made and there will be challenges that have to be overcome. Were going to stumble when starting something new, that’s only natural. But that doesn’t mean that we lose sight of our end goal.  It could be starting a new job and having an end goal staying at  the job for years, or starting a new relationship and working to make that relationship last  or surviving a new situation that has come up.

I am a writer. Like any writer, my goal is to see my work published and earn a living through my work. Ask any writer and they will tell you that their hard drive is full of half started stories and their email is full of rejection letters from editors. Even if the piece I start doesn’t go any where and sits half written on my hard drive (as most of my stories do), but that’s fine. Stephen King and Danielle Steel did not write best selling books overnight. It takes time, we have to learn our craft and keep pushing ourselves to write.

I encourage everyone of you to keep going and keep the end goal in mind. No matter, keep that goal always in the back of your mind and you will reach it, someday.

Why I Write

Ask any person who is creative (art, dance, music, writing, etc) and they will tell you that it is not for the potential of fame and fortune (as gratifying as it is, if it comes to pass), but it is for pure self expression.

I’m sure that any writer will tell you that for every story or piece that they have completed, there are four or five (or even more) half started drafts sitting on their hard drive or in a draw if they write via more traditional means.

One my favorite books on writing is called Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. She has a chapter called Shitty First Drafts. I highly recommend this book for every writer, regardless of the genre that they are writing in.

Ask any writer and they will tell you that it is not easy. Writing, unless your working with a partner required solitude and concentration, which is not easy in this always on the go 24/7 world that we live in.

Will we all become the next Stephen King or Danielle Steel? Probably not.

But I know that I always feel better after I have written, even if turns about to be just another shitty first draft.

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