Sunday, September 21, 2014

Banned Book Week!

Did you know it is Banned Book Week? Yeah, I didn’t know it existed either. When I went online to learn more, I stumbled across this fascinating website and learned that Captain Underpants was the most challenged book of 2013. Shh! We don’t want anyone to talk or think about underwear even though we all wear them Seriously though, I continued to read and discovered that some of my favorite books and all-time classics had been banned from libraries and schools across America. Books like Farenheit451 and To Kill A Mockingbird. Even Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think everyone in the world should read whatever they want and there should be no censorship but I also don’t think we should throw the baby out with the bathwater. Sometime, we’re so eager to hide from what makes us uncomfortable that we turn a blind eye to what we really need to learn. Yes, Of Mice and Men uses the N-word, not mention a litany of other swear words and we should never ever use such slanderous language in society today. However, if we censored that magnificent story of differences and even racism, we might forget our hard-won lessons of the past. That is one of the best parts of reading; we can into the arena with Katniss, and face fears we never thought imaginable. Or with Atticus Finch, we can walk the streets of a small southern town and feel the outrage for the social injustices of the day or experience any number of other wonderful or terrifying emotions. We can step on their stories, learn from their mistakes to climb higher and be better. Maybe instead banning every book we don’t like or worse, everything we don’t agree with, we can read them with our children and our students (when they are mature enough) and talk about what we’re learning and feeling. And then of course, there is always self-censorship which I am big on. Not everything on the shelves is a gem. Not all written word will elevate our thinking or make our lives better. Some is dark and degrading and has the power to destroy, but I fear if we take away people’s right to choose what they want to read we will become like the people in Farenheit451. They were so dumbed down, so uninspired by the neutrality of it all and if we follow their path we will lose the best part of our humanity, our differences. Our glorious, sometimes infuriating differences. What do you thing about banning books? Is it ever a good idea?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Rediculousness Everywhere

My dad taught me several things. One of the most critical, keep your sense of humor! Because of him, I see humor everywhere. This week I brought a camera with me to Walmart and true to life, found that we as human beings are kind of funny, and sometimes downright ridiculous. Let me demonstrate. When I first walked into the store, I was greeted by this slightly misleading sign.
Actually, it was my sixteen year old son that pointed this one out. Leave it to a hormone riddled boy to notice a sign that could be interpreted as selling ladies for 10.00 instead of the sunglasses below. I found it even funnier that the lady offers 100% UV protection. Not sure how. Definitely don’t want to ask. Who knew Walmart was pimping out the girls. Next I wandered into the cosmetics section. This was a wonderland for crazy advertising. Below are two examples.
Get it, Scandel-eyes.. Who knew that to be pretty your eyes had to have a naught, naughty reputation. What I wouldn’t give to be around the big fake wood table when that one was thought up. But wait, not only are eyes supposed to be scandalous, but apparently based on the product below, you’re not sexy unless your lips are unnaturally huge and you are pouting. Pouting, isn’t that something your mom told you to stop doing when you were like six years old. Isn’t that why you spend a large portion of your childhood in time out? Apparently, she was wrong and pouting is a powerful tool to get you what you want, particularly if combined with your scandalous eyes. Funny, funny people. Finally, I must share with you the best sign in the store. This funny was completely on accident. The picture below is a door the employees use to go into the back room. Look at it carefully and you will learn that repeated hand placement is the difference between you being an associate or just a….. well you can see it for yourself.
I hope you enjoyed my little Walmart tour. It is true; you’ll find humor in life if you only look for it. Most of all, I hope you find something to make you laugh today!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014



cool TWCS logo


A Cover Reveal


Wrong Place, Right Time

by Brooke Williams


Release Date: December 9 , 2014

Wrong-Place-Right-TimePaperback-eBook As the bumbling town TV traffic reporter, Kate Covington is a constant source of entertainment, but Kate sticks with her dead end job because of her love for news anchor Brian Schaffer. When Brian spontaneously runs off to marry his high school sweetheart, Kate panics and quickly follows. She finds herself in a Las Vegas wedding chapel, desperate to tell her best friend how she feels before he makes a huge mistake and marries the wrong person. The mistake, however, is all Kate’s. As the scorned bride runs back down the short aisle, Kate quickly realizes she just interrupted the wrong wedding. The would-be groom, Chad Leida, explains the predicament Kate has caused him…he needs to marry before turning 30 in order to inherit his family fortune…and he no longer has a bride. When Chad asks Kate to marry him and promises her a million dollars for a year of her time, Kate isn’t sure what to do. She has a great deal of debt to her name due to caring for her ailing grandmother, but she also doesn’t want to let go of the idea of love and marriage going together. Kate’s impulsive decision changes her entire lifestyle…and her ideas about love. From Las Vegas to San Francisco and even to the Midwestern city of Omaha, Kate learns that even when she turns up in the Wrong Place, sometimes it is at just the Right Time.  

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IMG_8272PCPV Brooke Williams is an award-winning author and freelance writer. She has written hundreds of articles as well as several novels, including Someone Always Loved You and Beyond the Bars. Brooke has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Morningside College, with a double major in Mass Communications and Religious Studies. She has twelve years of experience in radio broadcasting, both behind the scenes and on-air. She was also a television traffic reporter for a brief time. Brooke and her husband Sean married in 2002 and have two daughters, Kaelyn and Sadie.  



Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Story-less World

The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in. —Harold Goddard

I was up at our family cabin last weekend. The night was pristine and cool and the only noise I could hear was from my closest neighbor. The grandparents, parents and children of three families were sitting around a crackling bonfire talking and laughing. Then it got quiet. It was too dark and too far away to see their faces, but in the still of the night, I heard one voice clear and sweet as a single songbird.  He gathered in the family with his words as he began to tell a story.  I couldn’t help but listen. I was entranced as much as the others. His story was a tale of a soldier during World War 1 and his struggle to do the right thing in a perilous situation. I was struck by the beauty of his tale but also by the magnificence of storytelling in general.  It dawned on me that history is just another form of story-telling and when you tell your kids about things their grandparents did, story-telling. Then there is story-telling in religion. All religions have some form of it. The Bible is a combination of history and parables.  Cough, cough, more stories used to teach and build and warn. Native Americans have used stories as a way to teach and preserve their culture for thousands of years.  Then we have good old fashion made up stories. We sit in movie theaters and cry for someone that isn’t even real but somehow we are touched. We read books and think about them for days afterwards, maybe even weeks. How powerful is that!

Yep, sitting on my porch swing eaves-dropping on the neighbors, I was overcome with gratitude that I get to be part of this awesome thing called story-telling. I’ve gotten emails after someone read Shackled and they tell me that my story changed the way they see things.  So cool!  Best of all, I think the craft of telling a really great tale will never change, nor will the effect be lessened on our lives. I hope so, because I for one, do not want to live in a story-less world. What about you. Is there a story that is dear to you?