Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Tag: rules

Life has been interesting

The blog has been silent for the last several weeks and I apologize for that. I won’t bore you with all the details but life has been interesting and there are just some times when it is best not to say anything. No, nothing is wrong with me or mine — well, nothing that dropping temps below triple digits won’t cure. The simple truth is that I had to pull back from social media for a bit or I was going to do or say something I would regret. This political season seems to have brought out the worst in everyone. Making matters even worse is that it doesn’t seem limited to just politics. It is as if some cosmic force hit most of humanity with a stupid bat. Or maybe a contrary bat. I’m not sure which but I swear almost every ounce of common sense seems to have gone down the drain. So has common courtesy.

So, instead of going ballistic here or on FB or elsewhere, I stepped back. Yes, I’ve been busy. I have to start out by giving kudos to everyone who helped with the Bedford (TX) Library Friends book sale this weekend. The sale was a roaring success and well worth all the hard work everyone put in on it. For those of you who live in the DFW area, if you haven’t discovered the Bedford Public Library, take a few minutes to do so. I think it is the best library around and the staff is the friendliest and most helpful there is.

I’ve also been busy on the writing front. The draft for Dagger of Elanna the sequel to Sword of Arelion (Sword of the Gods Book 1), is finished. I am working on the second draft — which is usually what goes out to beta readers. I hope to have it done by then end of next week. I have also finished the outline (something I rarely do to the detail it happened this time) for a novel that will sort of bridge Slay Bells Ring and Skeletons in the Closet. This novel uses characters from both and brings in some of the supernatural/paranormal elements from Skeletons. I know. I know. My muse is strange but this is the book it demanded I take time out to get the details down before I could go back to Dagger. I also have Victory from Ashes, the final book in the current story arc for Honor and Duty (3 Book Series), plotted out. So there has been writing going on — plus I have been editing a wonderful first novel by a friend of mine. More on that after I send back the edits (hopefully this weekend).

Oh, I have also done a lot of reading. I highly recommend the latest in the Monster Hunter International series. Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge. I had been looking forward to this for quite awhile, ever since John Ringo started posting snippets on FB. Yes, my friends, this is what we have all been looking forward to — and what a certain group of folks have dreaded. John Ringo and Larry Correia have joined forced to product Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge. It is a great read, lots of fun and, while it is definitely Ringo, it is also Correia. I cannot wait for the next book to come out. Fair warning. I am not responsible for any lost sleep you experience because you can’t put the book down, nor am I responsible for any ruined keyboards, etc., caused during the reading of this book. Ringo. Correia. ‘Nuff said.

I also read a series of books by a well-known, non-Baen author. While most were enjoyable, I noticed something that really bothered me as the series progressed. The women in the books, each book featured a different member of a close group of women as one of the two main characters, started out being competent, strong and still women. They weren’t “men with boobs”. Initially, they didn’t need a man to “save” them. But, as the series went on, even the strongest of the women turned into something I kept expecting to have the vapors and faint dead away in an oh-so-ladylike swoon. As this happened, their male counterparts became more alpha — to the point where they weren’t particularly likable.

In some ways, reading this series was like watching a train wreck. You know it isn’t going to get any better but you keep hoping. Then you get to the point where you don’t want to look away. You want to see just how bad it will get. Then, that part of your brain that reminds you that you can learn even from badly crafted writing, you keep reading and making notes so this doesn’t happen to your books.

What I did like was the way the author made the setting and the town itself something close to characters by the end of the series. But I found myself not cheering the leads in the last few books. That’s a hard thing for me to excuse, especially in books where you are supposed to identify with the characters, when you are supposed to hope everything works out for them in the end. Instead, I was really hoping for a precision missile strike.

Characters are supposed to grow. They are supposed to meet challenges and sometimes make mistakes. They have to stumble and even fall on occasion. But you don’t take strong characters and, without explanation or warning, turn them into wilting flowers who need someone to protect them and stand up for them. If, in book one, the main lead is a strong, capable woman — be she a cop or computer nerd or whatever — who doesn’t hesitate to do whatever is needed to protect herself or her family/friends, don’t have her waiting behind like a “good little girl” while the men go off to deal with the bad guy in later books. At least don’t do it without explaining why she suddenly not only lives with a bunch of macho chauvinists but accepts and likes being “put in her place”. If you have a character who is a medical professional and who is willing to risk her life for a stranger, don’t have her agreeing not to do everything she can to save her sister a few books later because it might put her in danger — at least not without a valid explanation of why.

In other words, this particular author set up a world and expectations for their characters and then broke the rules without foreshadowing or explanation. I hate that. But it did serve as a reminder that it is easy to do — especially if you are feeling deadline pressures and decide that taking the easy way out will be okay just this once.

And now I am back — back to writing, back to blogging and back to being a pain in the backside of my muse.

Raising boys

You can thank Yahoo and a link I saw there much too early this morning for this post. (Of course, now I can’t find the link.) It was with a great deal of trepidation that I clicked on the link. Anything that basically says “Here are X-number of rules for raising boys” sets off my internal alarms. As the mother of a grown son, I’ve already raised my “boy” and, if I do say so myself, he didn’t turn out badly at all. Still, I am always curious to see what the current thought is.

For the most part, the advice was solid — and could be applied to boys or girls. I’ll try to remember each of the points, or at least most of them. Of course, my own opinions will be added.

1. There will be bathroom problems.

Well duh. There are always potty training problems with kids. Some will fight bring potty trained. Others will take to it like a gem but will have accidents because they refuse to go anywhere but their own potty. Still others will forget to go and will then strip off their training pants/diapers and go commando. Their poor parent won’t know it until they get flashed or they find — usually by stepping on it barefoot — the discarded wet, or worse, diaper. Sure there are a few boy-only issues but they are to be expected.

2. Boys won’t automatically love to read.

Again, duh, but that applies to both boys and girls. Most children need to have the love of reading modeled for them. If they see their parents reading, if their parents read to them on a regular basis and if reading is framed as something that is fun, boys will love to read just as much as girls do. To imply that boys automatically don’t love to read, or that they love to read less than girls do, is to paint with much too broad a brush.

Now, as boys get older and start looking for books that interest them, well, that’s where another problem might arise. There simply aren’t as many good books for boys, especially middle grade boys, as there are for girls. Then there is the fact that most books being pushed by schools right now are all about the current issue or social stance du jour. Boys, usually, want the derring-do or books about heroes they can identify with. Beyond that, most kids don’t want to read to be depressed or to have a negative world painted for them. Heck, most adults don’t want that.

3. Find an outlet for competition.

Once again, this applies to girls as well as boys. This simply illustrates my problem with lists like this. They make it seem like boys are the only ones who are competitive. Far from it. So, as parents — even as teachers — we have to find a way to channel that competition in ways that will help the child mature and learn to deal with victories as well as defeats.

4. Teach a boy to be compassionate — by letting him play with dolls.

Ooo-kay, this is where my head exploded. My first thought was, “Sure, let little Junior play with dolls and see how often he gets picked on at school.” My second was that was not the way to teach compassion. You teach it by modeling it for you child, boy or girl. You show through your actions and words what it is to care for yourself and for others. You set the example and, when you see your child not behaving in a compassionate manner, you let him know what he did wrong and what the proper response should have been. Simply putting a doll in your child’s hands — again, boy or girl — and letting them play will not teach compassion.

5. Don’t fret over toy guns.

Thank you! At last a note of reason. Toy guns can be used as a teaching opportunity as well. It gives you a chance to talk to your child about proper gun handling and safety, etc. You can teach them the proper respect for a firearm. Hell, let’s face it, we didn’t have generations of mass murderers that almost killed off our species because they played with make-believe guns or other weapons. It’s a modern concern, a false concern in my mind.

6. Don’t buy into the “boys will be boys” excuse.

I’m torn on this one. Yes, boys will be boys in that most are more active and often more “adventurous” than a lot of girls. But excusing bad behavior simply because he’s a boy doesn’t work, at least not with me. However, we do have to recognize that boys are different from girls. Oooh, I know, I know. We aren’t supposed to admit that but it is the truth and I, for one, am glad.

There were others but I can’t remember them right now.

Look, the best way to raise your son is to model good behavior for them. Be there for them. Talk to them and read to them and teach them that there are consequences to their actions. That latter is especially important since our schools, including our colleges, are failing where that is concerned.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén