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Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey, and Why Women Repeatedly Put up With Abusive Relationships

Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie adaptation of E. L. James’ erotica, came out this past weekend, spurring millions of dollars in revenues and lots of reviews. I’ve always been vocal about my dislike of Fifty Shades of Grey and its predecessor, The Twilight Saga, which glorifies abusive relationships and aren’t appropriate for adults, let alone the younger girls that Twilight is aimed at as it’s target audience. James, who originally wrote Fifty Shades of Grey as Twilight fan fiction, took author Stephenie Meyer’s twisted Edward and Bella relationship and turned it into an even worse kind of relationship between Christian and Ana. For me, Fifty Shades of Grey and The Twilight Saga isn’t merely just fiction. It’s personal.

I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood. I went to a middle school that was predominantly black. I’m Asian. It wasn’t easy to fit in. From a young age, I was taught that people of the same color usually tended to stick with one another: all the white kids, all the black kids, all the Hispanic kids, and yes, all us Asian kids as well. By middle school, there was more of us so that was great. I didn’t feel so bad then, but before that, it was hell trying to be nice to kids to have friends, to not be alone, and to not feel alone. I spent most of my childhood trying to please other people, which translated into an automatic mechanism that triggers in my relationships later on in my life. The thought process behind that mechanism is pretty much along the lines of, “if I can do this or that for someone, or prove myself valuable and worthy of them, then I won’t have to be alone”. As we can all see now, it’s a really messed up way of thinking, but we all still do it to a degree. We give in to peer pressure and do things we would’ve never done before. We tolerate the subtleties of abuse hidden behind promises and empty words from others that were meant to be nothing but a form of control over us.

It took me a long time to break out of that habit, the habit of letting others do whatever they wanted with me and to me just as long as they’re happy and okay. I’m still not as mean as I’d like to be, but I can now tell people to go screw themselves when I do catch the mind games and realize all the power plays for control of me. It’s all very subtle. Or it can be blatantly in your face like something I read today with a woman who is trying to appease a friend who was upset at her for apparently no reason. While she didn’t understand the friend’s anger, she still wanted the friend to be happy and she still wanted the best for that person, even when they basically told her the equivalent of, “fuck off“.

I’m not a stranger to those words. I used to cry about it. I used to be confused and not understand why someone was being so mean when all I wanted was to make them happy. It all stems back to my childhood and wanting friends which led to low self esteem and an overwhelming dependency on other people’s thoughts of me to validate my self worth. Reading what that woman wrote made me feel bad. I used to feel like that. I used to be the one who would try to make someone smile and think the world of them, even when all they wanted was candy I had or some other material thing. I wanted to say something to her, to that woman. I wanted to tell her the reason why it didn’t matter that her friend was upset, but why it did matter that she move on and not let such people control her emotions nor her life anymore.

It’s almost always about a boy.

Bella sees Edward and immediately starts obsessing about him. It’s not even that he’s into her, it’s that she created an ideal of him in her head simply based on how gorgeous he was. And in her ideal of him, he is actually a big, soft, cuddly teddy bear that wants love just as much as she does.

This is where all of us fail at relationships before there even could be any sort of relationship. We create versions of people in our minds that are suited to us, that are suited to our needs. Unfortunately, love is an incredible need that every person experiences. Love isn’t sex. And sex isn’t love. But because of love, many, many people will suffer abusive relationships all because of the ideal of someone they have clung on to inside their minds.The truth could be rather vocal like the woman and her friend. Instead of taking what was said and what happened for what it was, she held on to the hope that somehow, her love could change them and their behavior towards her. How I greatly wanted to shake her and tell her to snap out of her defeating daydream of someone else and what she hoped they were. It was much different from who they really were.

In Blood Lust, book two of the Turning Vampire Series, Marisa suffers a very controlling and physically abusive relationship at the hands of Alessander. Because he physically beats her, people reading that book can see that it’s domestic violence in its purest form: physical abuse. However, many people don’t realize that abuse isn’t only when someone is black and blue and almost dead from being beaten by their spouse/lover/friend/family member/etc. Abuse is any form of control of another. That could be as simple as convincing someone that they shouldn’t hang around a friend who has never done any harm or as complicated as manipulating someone like how Alessander manipulated Marisa.

One of my friends reading Blood Lust was greatly disgusted by Alessander and Marisa’s relationship. Although Marisa did learn how to stand up for herself and how to stop Alessander from hurting her, she went through all the steps that someone in an abusive relationship goes through. One of those main things is believing all the lies told by the other person. It’s odd how people are drawn to others who say no to them. Edward made it clear that he didn’t want Bella, and yet, she stalks him like a puppy, hoping he’d recant that whole episode where he ran off to get away from her and instead, declare his undying love for her. Christian made it clear to Ana that she was merely a play thing to him, a toy he wanted to use when he wanted and she had no influence in his life at all. He was influencing hers. However, despite all the signs of no, she still believed that deep down inside, he was a tortured soul who needed someone like her who could put up with his punishments and make him happy in the hopes that one day in some far off future, he’d confess his love for her. Alessander is a lot different from Edward and Christian. Instead of pushing Marisa away like how Edward did to Bella and Christian did to Ana, Alessander manipulated Marisa into thinking she wasn’t worth anything to anyone and that no one wanted her. Alessander was everything of the classic typical abuser in a romantic relationship that most people think of when they think of domestic abuse. They think of violence, of fights, of being put down and torn down. They think of male egos and arrogance. Alessander presented only one of the many multifaceted faces of abuse. Edward and Christian presented two more. All three were abusive. Edward creepily watched over Bella while she was asleep and kept tabs on her while she was awake. He listened in on other people’s thoughts to spy on her. Christian downright controlled Ana with his demands and the risk of “losing” whatever semi-resemblance of a relationship they had together. Alessander totally took it over board, but sadly, it’s not very far from the truth of how reality is for many people. Many people will never do what Marisa did. The concept of self preservation, self worth, self anything seems foreign to them.

It all starts in our heads.

As much as everyone wants to blame the more aggressive person in an abusive relationship, abuse actually starts with the person who allows themselves to be hurt. I’m not talking about the people who wake up one day to a black eye and don’t know how their relationship got that way. There’s that too and it’s wrong. I’m talking about us and how we have these expectational ideas of others. The woman believed her friend was simply having a bad day. Although she couldn’t understand why the friend was angry at her since she only strives to make the other person happy, it is well understood that whatever sort of relationship she has with that friend is largely one sided. I can’t really blame her for thinking the best or wanting to think the best about others, but the excuses that she makes for the friend’s behavior is something I’m familiar with. There’s a part of all of us that can see things as how they truly are. We will see bad friends as bad people. Yet, a different part of us holds on to these unrealistic ideas that our bad friend is somehow a good person and just going through a rough time. I was stuck in that circle for a while. I knew exactly what kind of friend my friend could be because I’ve watched her spend time with others, do things for others, be kind to others, share with others, and then, she spends a total of a few minutes saying hi to me and that’s it. She talks longer if she’s hungry and wants me to cook her food. Yet, knowing that she was a bad friend to me, I kept hoping that if I was nice back, she’d eventually act like a real friend. She never did and I had to finally accept that some people are great friends to others, but really bad friends to us. And even then, I still cried about it, because I knew she was a good person at heart. And that’s exactly the dilemma that this woman was having: her friend was a decently good person with a good heart and they were good friends with others, but the two of them didn’t get along well. Yet, knowing this, she still held on to that false hope that maybe that friend will change and treat her better as I thought my friend would surely see my worth and treat me better too. She didn’t.

We often are afraid to lose people for imagined potentials at what kind of relationship we could have with someone in the future.

I remember a girl from my childhood who hated me, but I wanted to be her friend so badly, that I was super nice to her all of the time. To describe our relationship, it was like Cole off of the movie, The Sixth Sense, and the bully Tommy who pretended to be friends with him in front of his mom. This girl pretended to be my friend in front of her mom. We’d get to school and she’d ditch me for all of her other friends. Her mom thought we were best friends. I thought we were best friends too. I didn’t understand that we weren’t until I was much older. That was a bad relationship. We didn’t physically fight. We didn’t hurt each other. But there was still a lot of misleading things and manipulations and abuse. In the end, we weren’t friends anymore and her mom came to my house and gave me back all the stuff I gave her daughter. The sad thing is, I had nothing to give to the woman as something her daughter gave me out of friendship. Back then, I also wasn’t brave enough to tell her mom what really happened. I still cared too much about what anyone thought of me.

Peer pressure is a huge thing for children. Being liked, making friends, feeling lonely…all of that affects everyone at some stage in their life. We can do without all the books that glorify abuse in relationships and tell us that we need someone else’s approval to be worth something. We’ve already told ourselves that enough as children. We hope for a, “I’m proud of you” from our parents and teachers. We hope for inclusion from our friends. And now we have popular books that tell us that independence is a lie and we need someone else to be complete.

The message in today’s world is that we cannot be strong without someone being weak. That’s the wrong message to send out to anyone, anywhere. I saw a meme today where some out of the closet atheist woman said, “I am happy that men wrote the Bible. That means that women didn’t.”

My reply was: “That’s sexist and quite frankly, a foolish thing to say. It took a man in order to birth that woman. It’s cool for men and women to be treated equally, but all this superiority bs simply needs to stop. She could’ve simply said she was an atheist instead of trying to belittle men to make her self worth as a woman greater. It shows that she has no self worth and that’s sad.

The opening poster said: “Oh BooHoo! You missed the point.”

In which I replied, “So I should acknowledge other people’s stupidity for a supposed point? No thanks. If someone’s going to make a stand for what they believe in, there’s no need to bash anyone else to make you or your religion or whatever you believe in as being better. She will die like the rest of us. Every human being will have the same ending: death, and there’s no escape from that.

So the OP responds with, “Freedom from religion certainly angers some folks, eh?

And the last thing I replied on that topic said, “It’s not about religion. It’s about people. Did I care that she was speaking against the Bible and that she’s atheist? Nope. Don’t twist my words into something you want it to be to better suit your own religious agendas. It’s not your freedom from religion that angers me. It’s my freedom of religion that angers you. That’s sad.

It’s really tiring when a lot of my pagan/atheist/non-christian friends talk about Christianity more than I do, and yet, they want to claim that Christians are the ones shoving our religion in their faces. I can’t tell whether they’re trying to convince everyone not to be a Christian by constantly talking about it, or that they’re trying to convince their selves of how they shouldn’t be a Christian by talking about Christianity all the time. Either way, let it go. It’s obsessive behavior and abusive to yourself. It’s not your freedom from religion that angers me. It’s my freedom of religion that angers you. And that is sad.

It’s late. I’m calling it a night. Stop the abuse and the acceptance of abuse in relationships.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Book Reviews, Diary, Movies, Things Worth Fighting For

 

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Salvation and How it’s Not Merely a Christian Thing

Thanks to my good friend John, this journal entry is for you. ^_^

Last night, I discovered the truth about Rebecca Brown MD, author of He Came to Set the Captives Free and Prepare For War. It was disheartening because I believed what I read some odd six years ago when I was given a copy of the late 80’s published books to read.

He Came to Set the Captives Free and Prepare for War recounted the story of how Rebecca Brown, a doctor then, met with Elaine, a satanist and proclaimed bride of Satan, and saved her from the clutches of the wicked one.

My thoughts are pretty much said down below on a status post on Facebook which is below with permission from John for his comments.

Xao Thao feeling disappointed
10 hrs ·

I don’t think I can name one christian living today that is actually a real christian. It’s sad. All the things I believed in were simply exaggerated lies told by people with problems, much like myself. We all need help, but God, don’t offer it to people when you can’t fix yourself.

  • John Behrent Don’t try to be a good Christian, just try to be a good person.
    5 hrs · Unlike · 1
  • Xao Thao That defeats the whole point for me, John. However, I’ll keep trying as I go. I know I’m very far from anywhere “good”.

     

  • John Behrent Well, it may be time to look for a different point, then. Life’s all about change. We often get led in directions we don’t expect.
    2 hrs · Unlike · 1
  • Xao Thao Mortal men cannot corrupt what is holy. I like my God. Thanks.
  • John Behrent Change isn’t always about corruption. Just take it from someone who’s walked a lot of strange roads, noone can see all ends. And if your God can, he’s not giving out spoilers.
    2 hrs · Unlike · 1
  • Xao Thao It’s not about change. It’s about having something tangible to hold on to. When you don’t have anything physically real you can point to or hold on to, then it’s all about faith and believing in the impossible.I read two very old books by a Rebecca Brown MD called, “He Came to Set the Captives Free” and “Prepare for War”. They’re Christian books published in the late 80’s detailing how Rebecca Brown met and saved a “Bride of Satan” named Elaine. Satanists, as I know now instead of from back then, is a lot watered down, which probably made me believe the books even more because way back in history, people were much, much more intertwined with their faiths no matter what that faith was. You had sacrifices. I mean, seriously, no one does that anymore…to an extent. But that’s what I meant, people were passionate back then and they showed that passion through actions.Anyhow, those books were a foundation on a belief I held for a very long time, the belief that not all the lost were damned forever. Granted, I know I’m not any different from any pagan or occultist or wiccan or satanist because I know my faults and I know why I continue to sin, but there was hope that somewhere along the way, if one person could be saved through this whole event, it would be worth dying and being damned myself right now for that one person.I know that probably doesn’t even make a lot of sense, but I believed there was a reason why I I know what I know and that that knowledge could one day help someone which makes it all worth the while. Rebecca and Elaine were like me and my friend Keera. We were both delusional in our fantasies of a world beyond whichever one there was and while she lived it in her dreams, I lived it while awake because I was weird and I did weird things like that. Rebecca abused Elaine plenty, being a doctor who no longer is a doctor now, but much of their testimonies were simple fantasies created by the both of them, and oddly enough, there’s some homosexuality that comes into light in their real lives. While me and Keera didn’t spread our madness beyond ourselves, we were still mad, and for a good long while too. That was like a decade of my life there.

    There were people in my life I truly believed God wanted me to help and I did as much as I could. I remember telling someone once, “when God answers all your prayers, you can be sure that it’s God anymore”. And even with that, I held on to the belief that people were worth saving for. That is was quality over quantity. But the fact is, we all suck. We’re all the same. So what good is quality when it isn’t there to be found? There is no one person greater than the next and no one person who is much more worthy of being saved than the next. The only thing that distinguishes someone saved from someone unsaved, is that the saved person said yes to Jesus Christ. Albeit, that yes could simply just be a lie in itself as well.

    I don’t know anymore, but I do know that I’ve been everywhere else and nothing filled the empty hole inside of me. It is Christ who saved me and I’m happy with Him whether I understand anything or not. I simply wanted to see Christ in the world too, but that’s pretty much impossible.

  • Xao Thao This needs to be a journal entry.
  • John Behrent Xao, be attentive and you’ll realize that LIFE is about change.
  • Xao Thao I do change, John. I change every day. Change, however, doesn’t mean being indecisive and running after the first thing that excites you when your truths no longer work for you. Faith, to me, isn’t a fleeting fancy that I chase after anymore whenever it suits my whim. I used to do that when I was empty. I used to try and find things to fill that vast abyssal emptiness inside. I’m okay now. I’m not empty. I’m merely just a bit disappointed in myself and in humanity as a whole. And yet, I know there are still people worth saving, even those who don’t believe they can be saved. You don’t have to be a Christian to want salvation. Some simply want to be saved from the monsters that they are.
  • John Behrent That’s an interesting view of it all. Might be the start of a really insightful blog.
  • Xao Thao It is! And it’s dedicated to you! With that being said, this is all going in my blog if you have no objections. I’m always good for debates.
  • John Behrent No, that’s fine. Go ahead.
  • Xao Thao You’re awesome! Thanks!
  • John Behrent I just try to make my little corner of the world a little brighter. If I sometimes challenge all the God talk, it’s just in the name of spirited debate to encourage thought, not rudeness.
  • Xao Thao I’m abnormal. Rudeness is making fun of someone or bullying them, not questioning someone’s belief and trying to understand them or trying to make them understand that they know why they believe. I find it interesting that most people don’t even have a clue as to why they follow a certain faith. It’s kind of sad really. Just sheep to the slaughter. It’s always good to encourage thought, whether for your benefit or someone else’s.

What is very interesting is that near the end of this conversation on Facebook, I commented that salvation isn’t only for Christians, that some want to save themselves from the horrors that they are. It makes for a good blog entry, and it’s true. Salvation isn’t simply a Christian thing. Everyone wants to be saved in some way, shape, or form.

I’ll write a different post about it later. I’m about to be very busy. Later.

 

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2014 in Book Reviews, Diary

 

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The NecroDancer by Joanne Boyd

***SPOILERS AHEAD!!!***

Do not read past this if you do not want to know spoilers in The NecroDancer by Joanne Boyd!

 

Upon first look of The NecroDancer by Joanne Boyd, I thought it was a children’s book. Sure, Ella is 15 and sure, there are zombie ballerinas in cute pink tutus. However, I was pleasantly surprised that it’s not quite a “children’s book” for there are no fairy tale happy endings where everyone lives happily ever after.

Ella isn’t your average teenager. She’s a medium, and one of the very few left in the world-or so she’s been told by her Gran. She can see the dead and although that would scare most of us adults, it’s something she tackles bravely because she has a responsibility to help the dead. And the ballerinas? Well, that all happened after her Gran took her to the ballet.

This is a very well written short story about a brave girl named Ella who is vulnerable in her own ways. She’s not superhuman. She has no magical powers (except being a medium which doesn’t give her that much of an advantage in physical reality). She does the best she can with what she’s got.

There were moments of hilarious humor (Ella apologizing to the zombie ballerinas as she smacks them in the face with a shovel, all except for the tutu fiend), and moments of normal reality (Ella meeting the cute boy) although reality centers around her being a medium (the cute boy being a dead ballerina with a girlfriend).

All in all, I very much enjoyed this short story. I’d like to read more about Ella and her Gran and seeing as this is the first book in a series, I can’t wait for the second one to come out!

For my dear friend Joanne, I give her story 5 stars out of 5 stars for The NecroDancer being well written with interesting characters, an exciting plot, and most important of all, realism in the sense that yes, there are probably people like Albertino in the world and what’s scary is that there are probably far crazier people than Albertino in the world. The NecroDancer is a fun and well written read. I’d recommend it for anyone who is a fan of zombies, who have read the Ramona series (who hasn’t?), and for everyone who loves a good bit of humor in their stories.

Thanks, Joanne, for The NecroDancer!

 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ISWZR0K

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Book Reviews

 

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Sneak Peek Summary at Loose Ends, Fourth Novel in the Turning Vampire Series

Here are the summaries of the first three published books in the Turning Vampire series and the soon-to-be published fourth novel, Loose Ends.

The Turning: Seventeen year old Marisa James has never been popular growing up, but after moving into the small town of Sterling, South Dakota, she finds herself at the center of attention of three handsome Russian brothers. Alessander, Demetri, and Ra’vin Arromanovokzja are immortals who are content to lead invisible lives among humans until they are drawn to Marisa. They befriend her in order to learn more about their attraction to her but when they learn of a secret that even she isn’t aware of, they must make a choice that would alter all of their lives forever. Marisa is a vampire, but one not yet turned. A vampire’s turning is a most dangerous event that usually results in numerous deaths. Unable to leave Marisa to face her turning alone, the brothers adopt her into their family in the hopes of preventing a tragedy although they now place their own lives in danger as well.

Blood Lust: Marisa and her three brothers: Alessander, Demetri, and Ra’vin Arromanovokzja, have been called home to the Carpathians by their mother, the queen of the Zjavankas and head of the Council, an elite group of vampires that govern the world. Marisa, however, has a secret. She is twice turned and while she is fully a royal, she is also a Streigos, a fearsome vampire that takes on the physical form of a monster that could appear any day and expose her secret. With the Zjavankas and the Streigos at odds with one another, Marisa finds herself at odds with her new vampire life. When Marisa meets a handsome man named Tristinos, she finds herself thrown into a different world, one that will open her eyes to the lies surrounding her new family and her new life. Who is Tristinos and what does he know about Marisa’s secret? Is she safe by trusting him or will she have only put herself into more danger than her brothers can save her out of?

Masquerade: Joining the Council, an elite group of vampires who oversaw political affairs, was the best decision Marisa and her brothers Alessander, Demetri, and Ra’vin ever made in order to help bring peace between the Zjavankas and the Streigos, two warring vampire factions. Being the only vampire who is both a Zjavanka and a Streigos, Marisa has managed to hide the scarier gargoyle side of her until now. Marisa is turning again and a Streigos doesn’t resemble anything close to human. How will her brothers protect her from the persecution of the Zjavankas once they find out that she’s a Streigos? And what’s worse, her Maker, the demon Streigos himself, is now on her tail and has threatened the Zjavankas with war. Will everything that Marisa and her brothers have worked so hard for all be for nothing? Or is there a way to unite the two groups with the truth of the feud before it’s too late?

Loose Ends: Marisa has chosen to leave her brothers, Alessander, Demetri, and Ra’vin, in order to protect them from the threat of death by Svendios, her Maker and the demon Streigos himself. All Marisa has known since becoming a vampire is left behind as Svendios takes her somewhere far away, separating her and all the ones she loves forever. When a chance to undo the past forces Marisa to reconsider the bad choices she’s made in her life, including the decision to leave, Marisa is led to explore an all too real temptation as she must decide to keep the life she had–mistakes and all, or create a new one, not knowing if that new life comes at the expense of destroying the lives she aimed to protect.

You can find the Turning Vampire series on Amazon here:
http://amazon.com/dp/B00HBKIPUY
http://amazon.com/dp/B00IS9MXN2
http://amazon.com/dp/B00JO16LUY

You can also find the Turning Vampire series at Smashwords here:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/386187
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/415301
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/428766

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2014 in Book Reviews

 

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The Turning Vampire Series Origins, Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga, and God in the Midst of It

Today, I want to talk a bit about my books, The Turning vampire series, about Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga, a bit about how God is involved, and I want to answer some of the comments made by readers who’ve read The Turning.

I wrote The Turning vampire series back in 2009 when I had a lot of free time and there was all the hype about Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books. I read Twilight and I liked it. I read New Moon and it was okay. At the end, when the perspectives changed from Bella to Jacob, I totally got lost and didn’t like it at all. I scanned through Eclipse and the humungous end book, Breaking Dawn, but I didn’t read them thoroughly as I did the first book. I actually stopped reading halfway through Eclipse. I didn’t understand why there needed to be a change in perspectives. For two whole books, the point of view had always been Bella’s in first person. Why change it now? Jacob was in Twilight. Why not had his point of view inserted from the beginning? And Jacob isn’t even the “hero” of the book. Bella’s the damsel in distress and Edward is supposed to be the hero, so why not had Edward’s point of view instead? It was all too confusing. And from there, I wanted to read a vampire series that was better than Twilight. Since I couldn’t find one, I created my own.

The Turning vampire series isn’t Twilight fan fiction. It’s not based on the unrealistic world of Twilight and their sparkly vampires. No. It’s better in many ways that Twilight can’t even touch on. I started out wanting to write something better, and what I ended up with was a world where characters wrote their own stories and taught me lessons on life and love and on being human.

Marisa starts out a bit like Bella, because my idea was that I could have a main character like Bella, but only so much better. I was horribly arrogant at the time that I wrote The Turning and I have to say that I didn’t really create Marisa–she created herself. I made her shy and awkward, but she quickly taught me that she wasn’t Bella and she was her own person. She wasn’t afraid of life. She was afraid of being alone, like she always had been. And that loneliness was the only thing that made her shy and awkward. If not for that, she would’ve found a way to conquer the world without being a vampire.

The Turning vampire series spans a total of ten books written between 2009 and 2012. The first four books were written in one month, each 300+ page book taking a total of a week to write longhand because all I did was eat, sleep for a few hours, and write all day, every day. My first drafts were insane. When I get really excited, I write very, very super tiny. The most I can fit into one regular ruled line on notebook paper is nine lines–nine sentences! (I will scan and upload an image of my longhand writing for everyone to see! Below, is a different story I wrote on unlined paper. It is 246 lines on regular 8 1/2″ by 11″ printer paper. And yes, I can read my own handwriting, even something that small. ^_^ )

SCAN0385

It was incredible to have written these books. I couldn’t have done it on my own. And I credited God to actually being the one who wrote the series. Most Christians tell me that God doesn’t write vampire novels. And I tell them that they underestimate the power of God. He created everything. Vampire novels are not more powerful than God that He can’t write them. I am a Christian. And although unexpected, The Turning vampire series does have remnants of Christianity inserted into them. It’s not intentional. I don’t categorize the series as being Christian and I don’t market it as a Christian romance novel. (It’s actually more erotica once you hit the second novel. And apparently, sex is taboo for Christians because you will not find Christian erotica anywhere! *lol* ^_^ )

The books were not meant to be categorized into something that makes people read them and find it an ideal way to believe, or worse, to worship them. I don’t have better words at the moment to express my feelings. I think they can be summed up in the underlying theme of the series and of how The Turning vampire novels taught me what humanity is like through the eyes of monsters: we all have great evil in us and we all will fail at one point in time or another to that darkness, but what makes us human is the ability to overcome that, in even the smallest measurement of simply living and continuing to live in love with ourselves and with each other.

I’m sure many people don’t understand that sentence, as I’m not totally sure I understand all of it myself, but The Turning vampire series is a story, a world I was blessed to see and capture in words to share. If people can learn something from the novels that helps them better themselves and their lives, then I’m happy for that. But, the novels themselves are not something that people should look towards to find God in because there’s only one book where we can find Him: the Bible. I don’t want people to misunderstand the reasons of me saying that God wrote the vampire books because He did, but people should not worship a creation instead of the Creator. It is wrong.

Back to my novels. ^_^

Whereas Twilight taught young girls and women how important it was to have a boyfriend and do everything for him, The Turning taught people how important it was to have a family and to protect them.

Marisa lost her parents in a horrible car accident where she almost died too. In a flash, her whole world changed. Although her relationship with her parents were by no means the Brady bunch, she’s a young girl who has some issues of her own like any other normal teenager. And what she wanted most wasn’t a boyfriend, but a family and a place where she belonged.

When she met the Arromanovokzjas, the vampire brothers, she wasn’t some human who mysteriously won the vampire lotto for being picked to fall in love with instead of becoming food–she was a vampire, but one not yet turned. Their interest in her wasn’t that she needed someone to save her from her miserable, boring, mundane life, but that she could become a threat at any time to the humans in the town where they lived. A vampire’s turning was considered a most dangerous event in which the one who is being turned is potentially more dangerous than the ones already turned. Their interest in her was to keep the town safe and to keep her from killing everyone, at the risk of their own lives. Every vampire’s turning is different with two things in common: death and blood, and Marisa’s turning was going to be no exception. But knowing that she had no one else alive and no idea of the life she was going to have to lead, they made the decision to save a whole town for the greater good by asking her to join them so they can watch over her turning.

Marisa is by no means the helpless damsel in distress. Impatient for someone to save her, she does most things by herself, even if she ends up making things much worse than they were before. But no matter how many times she’s fallen and she’s given up, she gets back up and she fights. She doesn’t fight to save Alessander, the oldest, whom she loves. She fights to keep the new family that she became a part of. The only reason why Marisa even considered romantic love was because love was the only bond stronger than the bond formed between a vampire and their Maker, the one who turned them. And in order for the vampire who left her for dead to believe that she is dead, she had to form a bond strong enough to not call her Maker to her.

One of the things that I didn’t like about Twilight was how it approached the subject matter of love. It is a romance novel and I’ve actually read more than enough romance novels who do this same exact thing–they teach people that love is an automatic feeling between two people who don’t even know each other. Love is far from that.

Marisa doesn’t automatically fall irrevocably in love with a vampire because he’s so mysterious and he ignores her like how Bella fell in love with Edward, which makes no sense at all because he totally ignored her and Bella became a crazy stalker who gets kind of creepy and waits for him even when he doesn’t show up at school. That’s not love. That’s obsession. It’s unhealthy. It’s ridiculous to teach girls that it’s okay to throw yourself at a guy who doesn’t want you, even if deep down inside, he really does but he doesn’t show it. That’s like telling people in abusive relationships that it’s okay to stay and be abused because their significant other really loves them. That is the worse thing to teach girls and women and it’s sad that many, many romance novels repeat this theme over and over again. That is not love. And it is not an okay way to treat people, men and women alike.

Marisa made a choice to fall in love and that choice was to save them all from a threat bigger than a turning–the Streigos. (The Streigos are a different type of vampire that have actual gargoyle like bodies and wings. They’re what vampires call “monsters”.) She doesn’t take a look at Alessander and thinks he’s sexy so she wants to be with him. No. That’s ridiculous. She doesn’t even know him!

Alessander taught Marisa about love and boundaries, something that many people need to know about. She needed a way to stop the automatic linking between her and the Streigos who killed her first family to stop him from killing the new family that she now had. And romantic love in all its awesomeness was something stronger than that link. She chose to love Alessander, albeit, she’s a bit wrong in her approach because she doesn’t think things through, but she made the choice after considering all three of her brothers–Alessander, Demetri, and Ra’vin. She didn’t blindly fall in love, she considered her options and chose what was best for her and her family.

Love doesn’t work for most people because people have an unrealistic expectation of what love is. That unrealistic expectation is that there’s an automatic attraction and feeling that will last them through decades of marriage. Love isn’t a feeling. Love is a choice. We choose to love someone. And that choice is what carries us through decades of commitment and honor and working together on a relationship.

One of the things that my readers have commented on was the dynamics of the switch in personalities between Alessander and Demetri. One moment, either one of them can be dark and brooding and the next moment, either one of them can be happy and nice. It was commented that their personalities mixed in too much with each other and they didn’t distinguish themselves as being one-dimensional (either dark and brooding or friendly and happy for example).

Granted, Demetri made the attempt to be nice to Marisa which led him to actually getting to know her. In letting down his walls, he became a better person towards her. But, in defense of Alessander and Demetri and their changing characteristics, I honestly don’t know a single person that is one-dimensional. I’ve never met or known a single person who is so miserable all of the time that everything around them dripped in the excruciating pain of their misery. Or I’ve never met and known a single person who was happy and cheerful all of the time despite how horrible their circumstances may be. Real people are not one-dimensional characters. They have weaknesses and flaws and the Arromanovokzjas are no exception. Their personalities are multifaceted and they have weaknesses and flaws as well.

Ra’vin isn’t even happy all of the time. His personality is only stable because he’s young and Alessander made that known to Marisa when they made the choice to watch over her turning. He specifically told her the reason why Ra’vin was the way that he was–optimistic and hopeful, and it was because while Ra’vin hopes in a future that is bright, Alessander and Demetri have lived and seen human suffering and seen wars and death and blood and they know the truth that hope is a luxury for the young who can afford it because they have not yet suffered the truth of the reality that life is not always kind. And that is the reason why Ra’vin is hopeful and optimistic and almost childlike in his ways. Alessander and Demetri have shielded him from both the vampire world and the human world so what he knows is limited to their love and protection of him.

I also understand that there is confusion where Marisa has the hallucinations that look like Alessander and Demetri, but they aren’t her brothers. The Turning vampire series was all written in first person through Marisa’s point of view. It was written in a specific way so that the reader understands what she understands. With that being said, she doesn’t understand why these things are happening to her. She doesn’t understand how she learned how to stop time if the real Alessander and Demetri didn’t teach her that. The hallucinations play a pretty big role in the story and their roles will be revealed later on as Marisa progresses in her life’s journey. As she comes to understand their meaning and why they’re there with her, the reader then also understands and can look back and connect to all the times that things were confusing and can see how all of it makes perfect sense.

I want to say that I am not smart enough to link something in the first novel, The Turning, to something two or three books down the series because I really would’ve forgotten about it by then. My memory is terrible.

Spoiler alert: there’s one sentence that Marisa comments to Mrs. Brukenheimer during her enrollment at school that I overlooked and didn’t realize had any meaning at all until around the sixth novel being written where it mentions the significance of that one sentence. When asked if Marisa had any family, she commented that her grandparents have died on both sides of the family and she was an only child. She remarked that she had an aunt Margaret who is somewhere in Africa, trying to convert the local natives to Christianity and she’s never seen or heard from this aunt since she was born. Margaret shows up somewhere around maybe book five (Knotted Remains)? I’m not sure, but she’s definitely in the sixth novel (Shadow War–coming soon although I’m typing up the fourth one, Loose Ends, into the computer now). When Marisa made that comment and I wrote it down, I was unaware of the importance of what she she said. I presumed it was just some casual way of trying to not get in trouble while wanting to get her high school diploma, but there were forces at work that day to initiate and prepare a remarkable story that I didn’t even know about when I started writing the novels.

I’m revealing this spoiler because I honestly cannot take credit for the incredible world of vampires in this series. I started writing with the intention of creating something I wanted to read, and instead, I was given the opportunity to see a world and to chronicle it not only for myself, but for others to enjoy too. In the end, everything will make sense and for all the people who’ve read The Turning and might’ve been confused as to Marisa’s kind of schizo personality and hallucinations, the end takes everything from the beginning and shows the reader exactly why things happened and for what reasons they happened. The series has a complete ending and I didn’t know that when I was writing the books. I actually wrote, not knowing where the stories were heading or if there was any meaning to anything or an explanation to it all. I was pleasantly surprised that at the very end of it all, everything came together and connected and it all made sense. All my questions (conscious and unconscious) were answered. Not that I’m telling everyone they have to read all ten books to understand what’s going on, but like in life when we don’t understand something, with time, we may come to an understanding of that something once not understood. I’m sure I didn’t make sense there at all! ^_^

Everything that happens in the novels have significance and meaning. I didn’t know that when I wrote them down. The reader doesn’t get to see parts of any of the characters’ past to fill up space and stretch the books to almost 400 hundred pages for no reason. Everything that Marisa learns about her brothers, the vampires, the Nosferatu, the intruders–Heidrick, Anastasia, and Vasila, her new parents–Lillian and Maxwell, the memories of her own past, all have meaning and connections that I didn’t see or think about when I wrote the stories. And all these connections and all these things that makes sense many books later on and ties everything into what I believe is pretty much one big epic fantasy story, is the reason why I believe I truly had help writing this series. I couldn’t have done it without God so my thanks is always to Him first. He is really the one who wrote these books. It wouldn’t have been possible without Him.

It was an incredible pleasure for me to write The Turning vampire series. This isn’t because I’m some awesome author who will be the next famous multimillionaire when people discover how great my novels are, but it’s because I take great joy in these books that has taught me about myself and about many things in life. I really love the characters and their stories and the greatest joy that I have in publishing the series is to share Marisa and her brothers and my love for them with the entire world. That is what makes me happy, that Marisa’s story is told and that people love something that I love as much as I love it. ^_^

Thank you to all the people who read this incredibly long post. And to everyone who has read The Turning or books two and three in the series, Blood Lust and Masquerade, I am proud to share this incredible story and this amazing world with you. Thank you for taking the time to join Marisa and her brothers on their journeys.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HBKIPUY/

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IS9MXN2/

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JO16LUY/

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Book Reviews

 

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Divine Blood: Semester Start by Luke Green

An Incredible Manga Using Words

In Divine Blood, we are introduced to a red headed woman of Asian descent of whom bullets do no harm to her and physical combat doesn’t affect her. Meet Mao Semezou, mother of the Semezou triplets, exorcist, mercenary, and amateur web journalist. She is on the hunt for an American girl who was missing for two days.

Right from the start, we are taken into a world where things are not as they seem and appearances are deceiving. It’s a very interesting blend of different cultures and the supernatural from getting rid of the dead to the use of magic. While the military aspect can be a bit overwhelming, I enjoy politics whether it’s in relation to the actual government or within the characters in reference to where each wants to go and how they each want to proceed forward. The characters are fun and exciting, likable and interesting. The characters are also strong and witty and the humor is refreshing through some of the more serious parts.

Everyone who loves anime should read this book! I would recommend this book for everyone who likes fantasy and science fiction, myths and legends, robots and super powers. And yes, mercenaries.

http://www.amazon.com/Divine-Blood-Semester-Luke-Green-ebook/dp/B006ESG092

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2014 in Book Reviews

 

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Review of Steve LaBel’s Bernie and the Putty

I was first introduced to Bernie and the Putty through a book trailer. I don’t like book trailers at all because I feel like it’s supposed to be a movie, but when I watched the trailer for Bernie and the Putty, I was completely hooked and I was very interested in reading the book. It was the first time that ever happened and I was blessed to be able to receive an advanced ebook copy for review.

The story starts out with an explanation of the World and the Business and the Annual Universe Awards. We meet Bernie, who has forgotten to turn in his application for the Business. Not everyone is cut out for the Business, which is creating worlds. However, when people are interviewed about Bernie’s late application submission, it’s clear that although not the brightest or the best, Bernie is loved by at least those who know him like his lab instructor Caleb and his friend Suzie.

Bernie and the Putty is an excellent mix of fantasy and science fiction. I got lost in a good way in the explanations of how building universes were supposed to be that I started imagining the different possibilities that would make creating worlds possible. The characters are well written and very likable. The story is a very unique twist on creation myths and legends. And the antagonist to our unlikely hero is well conceived in that he doesn’t just bully Bernie for no reason. He’s holding a grudge and determined on getting Bernie fired.

I thoroughly enjoy this novel and would recommend it to everyone who loves a good fantasy. Creating universes isn’t easy and everyone should read this book and find out exactly how universes are built and the difficulties in creating them!

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars! ^_^

Bernie and the Putty is out now! Get a copy at Amazon today!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KKQT1CC

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20566411-bernie-and-the-putty

bernie and the putty

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2014 in Book Reviews

 

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