Far Away In Time, Blog Tour

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New Release Feature!

Maria Savva was one of the first author-friends I made online. She is a skilled writer and a great woman with a kind soul.

You can check out her interview on this blog from 2010.

It is my pleasure to introduce her latest publication, Far Away In Time.

far_awaymaria_savva_hs

Blurb/Description:

Our lives are a series of stories, and we are the characters with the starring roles. The memories, regrets, secrets, and struggles that fill these pages are at once unique and relatable. These stories belong to us all.

Eight unforgettable tales reaching out to a place Far Away In Time…

Book Trailer:

Author Bio:

Maria Savva lives and works in London. She studied Law at Middlesex University and The College of Law. She is a lawyer, although not currently practising law. Many of her books and stories are inspired by her years working as a lawyer, although she has not written a courtroom drama to date. She has published five novels, the most recent of which is Haunted, a crime fiction/psychological thriller. Far Away In Time is her sixth collection of short stories. You can find out more about her work at her official website: www.mariasavva.com

Buy Links (Far Away In Time):

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon FR | Amazon CA | Amazon JP

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Author Interview, Brian Whitney

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Interview #80, with writer/editor, Brian Whitney!

Hi Brian! Describe yourself in 5 words:

Aware of who I am.

Cool! Share a short blurb of your work (10-100 words):

am_pleasing

Nate used to deal crack and be naked. Sometimes he wouldn’t put on clothes for weeks and people would come over and buy crack and Nate would just sit there, naked, dealing it out and sucking on a pipe. I mean, let’s face it, that sounds awesome, but how long does the story of a happy naked crack dealer last? Dealing crack and using it is like a monkey trying to sell bananas.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

It wasn’t until a few weeks of living with her that I learned about her hooking business. When I was gone she would take men into our place and give them head for ten to twenty dollars apiece. According to her she never had real sex with them and I’m inclined to believe this because I have been in whorehouses before and they have a certain electricity to them. It’s in the air. I never felt this electric feeling when I walked into my home. ~ Arthur Bradford

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

I am published with three different independents right now and all of them are cool. Of course I am broke as a joke, but I have been lucky to work with people that appreciate the work that I do without either of us having a lot of commercial expectations. [Note from Jess — have you met Cliff Burns? :)]

What is your definition of “good writing”?

I feel it and I know it when I see it.

Well-said. Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Just do what you do. Don’t think for a minute about whether people will like it. Sit down and write.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

https://www.facebook.com/37stories37women

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Much thanks to Brian for stopping by — do visit his website!

BRIAN’S SHORT BIO (in his own words):

I might possibly be the best author ever — and I am managing editor of a new mag. It has national distribution although it is at the grassroots stage. If your work gets in the mag we also do an ad for your biz.

It is an erotic-lit mag for the sexually entertained. So if you send me a photo of a kid and a dog, I am gonna turn you in to the cops.

~ Brian Whitney | December 11, 2013 at 9:11pm

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Author Interview, K.C. Finn

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Interview #75, with “compulsive, convoluted, and complex” writer, Kimberley Finn!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Compulsive, Convoluted, Complex, Consistent and Complicated!

Share a short blurb of your work (10-100 words):

kimberley finn

The Atomic Circus: A Futuristic Mystery

A story is never a good story unless it starts with a murder. The more unusual the murder, the better the story, generally speaking. Meet Caecilius (KAI-KILL-EE-USS) Rex, a young detective in the not-too-distant future, a smog-filled post apocalyptic world riddled with crime and conspiracy.

When a new case quite literally falls at Rex’s feet, he teams up with his neighbour and associate Kendra Nai, an ex-army sergeant recently dismissed, to investigate. Little do they know that the events of The Atomic Circus will be the first step to solving the case of a lifetime.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.

– Oscar Wilde, The Ballad of Reading Gaol

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

The writing process is easily the more enjoyable of the two for me. Words flow like blood when I cut open the proverbial vein of imagination, and there’s nothing better than seeing the page fill up with your newly crafted ideas, even if they don’t all get used.

As a self-published author the publication process is a double-edged sword, because it’s very easy to put your work out there and be excited by seeing your books in print, but you can often feel swallowed up in the sea with the thousands of other people worldwide trying to get their work noticed. I believe that perseverance and networking are the true keys to success here, just as they would be if I was trying to secure a big time publisher, but I would rather be connecting directly to my audience and keeping my artistic freedom to write exactly as I wish.

Nicely said! What is your definition of “good writing”?

It keeps you reading, it gives you an emotional reaction (be it good or bad!), and most importantly it never inhibits your ability to understand or enjoy the story being told, because to me the story is far more important than the writing.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

As a teacher of writing I have five top tips that I give to my
classes, so I’ll share them all here:

* Keep going, even if you don’t think anyone cares.

* If you like what you’re writing, then there’ll be at least one other
person out there who will too, so write for them if not yourself.

* Write every day. And that’s not every day that you feel like it. I
mean every single day.

* Don’t be afraid to big yourself up and make a big deal of your work.

* Take every opportunity that comes at you to show off your work and
your personality.

Cool tips! Your websites/blogs/etc:

www.theproverbialraven.blogspot.co.uk

www.facebook.com/pages/The-Atomic-Circus/148122065353125

www.goodreads.com/author/show/7145212.K_C_Finn

www.amazon.co.uk/K-C-Finn/e/B00DT76UEQ/

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Much thanks to K.C. Finn for stopping by — do visit Kimberley’s Website for more info on her projects!

K.C.’S BIO (in her own words):

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Born in South Wales to Raymond and Jennifer Finn, Kimberley Charlotte Elisabeth Finn (known to readers as K.C., otherwise it’d be too much of a mouthful) was one of those corny little kids who always wanted to be a writer. She was also incredibly stubborn, and so has finally achieved that dream in 2013 with the release of her first two novellas in the four-part Caecilius Rex saga.

As a sufferer with the medical condition M.E./C.F.S., Kim works part time as a private tutor and a teacher of creative writing, devoting the remainder of her time to writing novels and studying for an MA in Education and Linguistics.

Her website is The Proverbial Raven.

NOTE: K.C. is launching a new magazine in August called Indie Book Buffet. Keep a lookout for it as there’s a cool giveaway with the debut issue!

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Interview with Joe Perrone Jr.

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* Interview #74, with mystery writer, Joe Perrone Jr.!

* Note from Jess: Joe was AUTHOR #1 to be featured on this blog in Jan 2010. He’s back with another book in his “Matt Davis” mystery series! One of the books in the series was recently awarded an Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion — you know you’d like to find out which one…

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joe_perrone

Describe your latest book in 5 words:

Victim, no suspects, no motives.

What inspired the plot?

For years, as a guide on the Beaverkill River in Upstate New York, I passed what appeared to be an old abandoned hotel. Finally, I got the idea for the plot from the thoughts of that old hotel.

Ooh, exciting! Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

* Joe’s Comments: In my new book, Broken Promises: A Matt Davis Mystery, an 86-year old woman is found shot to death on the grounds of an abandoned, burned-out old hotel. There are no witnesses, no suspects, and no apparent motive. Here’s an excerpt from when it happens:

broken_promises

“I’m here!” she shouts at last, a broad smile spreading across her face. “I’m so sorry I’m la–”

The man turns and starts toward her, but Maggie doesn’t recognize him. As he moves forward, he trips, and suddenly there is a flash of light and a loud crack like a tree being struck by lightning. Maggie feels a dull thud, then a burning pain in the center of her chest; and in just seconds, nothing.

Share some of your favorite quotations (10-100 words): 

“It’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.”
—Uncredited

“It was beauty that killed the beast.”
—Carl Denham, from the movie King Kong

“The coin don’t have no say. It’s just you.”
—Carla Jean Moss, from the movie No Country for Old Men

“Shut the f**k up, Donny.”
—Walter Sobchak, from the movie The Big Lebowski

“Leave the gun, take the canoli.”
—Clemenza, from the movie The Godfather

What is your definition of “good characterization”?

Good characterization is when an author creates a character that is so three-dimensional and real that the reader actually cries when that character is killed in the book. Really great characterization is when you, the author, cry, too!

What is it about mystery that you find most appealing?

I guess I find writing mysteries appealing because they permit me to use my imagination to the fullest, and they genuinely challenge my inventiveness.

Neat :) What are some of your plans for the rest of the year?

I am putting the finishing touches on the print and Ebook versions of Broken Promises, so I can publish it as soon as possible (hopefully by the end of July). Then, I will be listening to auditions for the narration of the audio book version. Then, my wife, Becky, and I are going to take a two-week vacation through New England and out to Lake Ontario. Rest. More rest. Then I will resume work on a literary novel I began seven years ago while I was in Charlottesville, Virginia. Of course, I am constantly working with other authors, assisting them with editing, formatting, and book cover designs.

Jeez, I’m tired already!

Your websites/blogs/etc:

My website is: www.joeperronejr.com

My author email address is:
joetheauthorATjoeperronejrDOTcom

My Facebook pages are: Author Joe Perrone Jr. and The Matt Davis Mystery Series.

On Twitter, I am @catsklgd1

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Much thanks to Joe Perrone Jr. for stopping by — do visit Joe’s Website for more info on him and his projects!

JOE’S BIO (short bio):

Opening Day was recently awarded an Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion, and in 2011, As The Twig Is Bent was translated into Portuguese as Pau que nasce torto by Rafa Lombardino of Word Awareness, Inc. of Santee, CA. Plans are underway to translate Opening Day and Twice Bitten into Portuguese in the very near future.

All of Joe’s books are available in paperback or in Kindle editions on Amazon.com

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Author Interview, Kristopher Miller

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Interview #62, with unorthodox/quirky/persistent author: Kristopher Miller!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

kristopher miller

Unorthodox, quirky, persistent, morbid, and knowledgeable.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

mazes_amulet

From The Maze’s Amulet:

Elza shouted, “Vargas tull!”

Then the vagrant opened his eyes with a weak gasp. He turned from a tough guy to a scared urchin at the cloudy, bestial face that hissed at him with infernal green eyes. This creature was no longer the woman he and his friend planned to mug and rape. This was an animal with a phantasmagorical mane of hair and a twisted feline face belonging to a lion from hell.

The thug with the knife stumbled back and he dropped his weapon. Elza heard the knife hit the cement with a clatter ringing with the rain but she did not care as she stepped forward.

The thug shouted, “No! Get away from me!” He ran across the street, leaving his friend behind to face the shocking apparition Elza turned into. A car screeched to a stop in front of his friend as he fled the scene.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

This is from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere:

Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar were killing time. Mr. Vandemar had obtained a centipede — a reddish orange creature, almost eight inches long, with vicious, poisonous fangs — and was letting it run all over his hands, watching it as it twined over his fingers, vanishing up one sleeve, appeared a minute later after the other. Mr. Croup was playing with razor blades. He had found, in a corner, a whole box of fifty-year-old razor blades, wrapped in wax paper, and he had been trying to think of things to do with them.

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

For me, the writing process was challenging because I originally had one idea in mind, but the length of that idea needed to be expanded. That required several drafts, several readjustments, and several revisions to get it down to the “right” design and feel. The writing process is often made “easy” by some authors being interviewed, but it is a technical process that requires a lot of steps — and teamwork from editors — to succeed. At the same time, the writing process is rewarding once you realize that an element in the story, whether it be the plot, character development, or the in-story universe’s mechanics, turn out to work the way you want it to and the way that it is conveyed easily to the audience. The writing process is very rewarding because you are able to put your vision on paper. Sometimes it turns out differently than what you expect, but sometimes it is for the better!

As for the publication process, I can say that was easier because we live in an era where people can self-publish their work without having their work being dictated to what a publisher might think would be “marketable.” Self-publishing my work without a publisher would be challenging in that I would not have a lot of promotional resources but then I would also have full control of my work. I’m also a guy who cares more about writing as an art form as opposed to a commercial medium. My stuff is not everyone’s cup of tea, but all I care about is getting my work out there and continuing to make more material that I enjoy creating and what people enjoy reading. This is because writing is a difficult, frustrating, enjoyable, and a highly rewarding activity to partake in.

I love the full control “self-publishing” offers too ;) And it’s always nice to hear about people who aren’t solely motivated by “what $ell$.” What is your definition of “good writing”?

Good writing is writing that a reader can access without having to stumble upon mechanical mistakes and some logic issues that would otherwise ruin a good story. Yes, a good plot is needed, but moreover, the plot with a decent structure, character design and concepts are needed to mesh well in that the reader can access it. But moreover, I think good writing comes from how the author lets these plot and character elements run around before editing them for polish. Good writing is experimentation and taking chances with these elements, but good writing is also making sure that the experimentation works, especially on the readers’ part.

I reject other writers’ notions that the writer is the audience (Cough, Stephenie Meyer, Cough, Mary Sue…) because if it is only for the writer’s entertainment, then it is not really for the reader and this process of writing for the writer’s sake really hinders enjoyment on the reader’s part. I for one have read works in which authors have written for themselves that people have enjoyed but all I wanted to do was bash my head against a wall. One of the most rewarding things about the writing process is creating something that people enjoy and really getting a kick out of their reactions from the manuscript you spent many hours on.

It still takes time to do something worthwhile. In the greater scheme of things, I suppose it also depends on the writer’s motivations (and the type of audience they wish to target). Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Read, read, and read some more. Read stuff that you aren’t familiar with. Read stuff you don’t even agree with. Then write, write, and write some more. Write several drafts of that idea down. Overall: read and write. Rinse and repeat. You will understand how the writing mechanics work when you look at other people’s work.

Yes, it’s important not to stagnate (one of the deadly sins is “sloth,” after all…). Your websites/blogs/etc:

Kristopher Miller’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/catacombsbookshelf

The Catacomb’s Bookshelf, Kristopher Miller’s Official Writing Blog: http://catacombsbookshelf.blogspot.com/

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Much thanks to Kristopher for stopping by — do visit his website for more info about him, his views on writing/publishing, and his books.

Be sure to also check out his guest post for tips on Standing Out as a Self-Published Author!

Author Interview, Kevin Rau

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Interview #61, with obsessive/driven/optimistic author: Kevin Rau!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

kevin rau

Obsessive. Driven. Optimistic. Creative. Fluffy.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

hero_banner

From my book in progress: H.E.R.O. – Gene Front

“Winterfury knew the danger of the brick, but had been warned about the woman and her ability to telepathically control him. He threw the ball of cold at Psystar, who barely opened her mouth in reaction before the sphere hit her. When it struck, a thick mass of ice formed over the heroine. Her body froze in position on the chair. The brick, Mr. Drake, reacted faster than Winterfury expected. He closed on the master of ice in a few steps. Winterfury grew a thick shield of toughened ice over his left arm as the the large man moved in and swung.”

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

By Laurel K. Hamilton:

“Come, Anita, join me on the stage.” His voice wasn’t as good as Jean-Claude’s, it just wasn’t. There was no texture to it, but the mind behind the voice was like nothing I had ever felt. It was ancient, terribly ancient. The force of his mind made my bones ache.

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

Writing is a creative process. Working with the flow of the story and the plot(s). Ensuring each character’s voice is their own. Generally, it’s an enjoyable process.

Publication would depend on what you specifically mean in this context. If you mean the process of converting a book to e-book formats and prepping a book for sale, then for me it involves editing (often tedious reading and re-reading your work and tweaking it, and then sending it off to others to get their input, and then go back and make modifications). It also involves creation of art for the cover, which is a creative process as well, since I create 3D art for my superheroes, and then use that to render an extremely high detail image for use on the cover.

Next, we’ve got the creation of the “back cover text,” which I personally dislike. I write a story for the full story, not to shorten it into a few hundred words. Last are the details of converting the Word document into the right format for e-books, which is minor for me. The true hard part is the marketing afterward, which doesn’t come naturally to me.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

I don’t believe there is a single definition. To me, the point of any fiction is to make a story that someone can sit down and enjoy. Ideally, the characters will be identifiable, and the reader will be able to “put themselves” into the situations in the book. “Good writing” to me certainly aren’t the nitpicky things such as minor grammar issues and formatting. (I pay close attention to these in my work, but that’s an attempt to make my work as professional as possible. However, a “proper English” story can be entirely boring or unenjoyable, and that would fail the “good writing” test to me.)

Yes, that kind of story would fail the “good writing” test to me too (subjective as it is!). Please share your #1 tip for writers:

I only get to give one? Hmm. Since I’m assuming those reading this will be more interested in releasing a story for sale, I’ll advise them to have others edit their work. Few people are truly good at editing out our own stories, we know what to expect, and end up glossing over errors.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

http://www.kevinrau.com is my primary author website and blog.

http://www.facebook.com/herobooks is my facebook page, I put images up here on a regular basis of my superheroes and some villains.

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Much thanks to Kevin for stopping by — be sure to check out Kevin’s website for more info about him and his action-packed books ;)!

Real Writers

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technology

Image from NexusPlexus | Masterfile

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* This post might be a bit disjointed, though perhaps it’ll make sense in terms of “chaotic order.”

One of the reasons I like the cyberpunk genre is the blend of introspection and self-reflection it encourages (it makes us question where we’re headed; it makes us ponder on the interaction/interplay between humanity and technology; so on and so forth).

Dragonsinn.net has been up for almost 13 years, and I’ve been meaning to write a dragon-themed series for some time. I’ve “taken my time” with it because I have high expectations for it [the original version of Dragonsinn was one of the first small dragon websites on the net, first uploaded in 1999 ;)].

Online social media in 1999 wasn’t like what it is now in 2012 (which probably means the scene will be very different once another decade has passed).

I enjoy the social aspects of social media, though I personally would prefer to see more profound or witty status updates and posts. I suppose I may be a little bit of a hypocrite since I don’t post “profound or witty updates” 100% of the time. But I do know that my personal preference is for something with mental/emotional/spiritual depth and variety.

Thinking about the early social media scene makes me think about the independent writing/publishing scene in 2009-2010. Both weren’t over-commercialized or saturated at that point in time yet (though I get that these two factors are “subjective” to an extent).

I’ve never doubted a single word (not even a comma) of George Orwell’s writing. Perhaps the introduction to Orwell’s Why I Write says it best:

From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer. . .When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art’. I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing. . .It is no use trying to suppress that side of myself. The job is to reconcile my ingrained likes and dislikes with the essentially public, non-individual activities that this age forces on all of us.

— George Orwell: Why I Write (Introduction)

I often see the same themes on the blogs and social media platforms of indie authors (exception = poets).

Yes, it’s fun to sail high on the Amazon bestseller ranks and rake in the dough.

Yes, it’s tempting (and comforting?) to convince oneself that quality writing doesn’t matter because the public only cares about entertainment, not technical standards.

Yes, it boosts the ego and “things happen” when someone in the industry contacts you because they can see the commercial value in your book/product and want to make a profit from it.

Yes, publishing is a business and traditional publishers have to do whatever they can to make a profit.

Yes, many people enjoy writing and if they can succeed at self-publishing and gaining an audience for their work, more power to them.

Yes, writing well and being praised doesn’t mean you’ll be able to pay the bills with your writing.

Yes, money is good.

But I like to keep in mind the authors who “write to have a good time” (Ms. Meyer of the Twilight series), versus the authors who write because they’re fuelled by a passion and purpose (like George Orwell).

I know that “you are what you consume,” which is why I’m selective with what I choose to ingest both physically (food) as well as mentally/emotionally (information, entertainment, infotainment, etc).

Writing is a means of communication — I like to produce stories that could be branded as “meaningful” entertainment (versus “mindless” entertainment).

I’m happy carving a niche out for myself, since the mainstream media seems to be infinitely more interested in hype than substance.

And I do know — and am very happy to have met — several indie authors who also have a purpose behind their interest in writing. These people, to me, are the real writers.

For me, at the end of the day, both money/materialism and spirituality are “real” things I have to face and deal with.

But I won’t sacrifice either one for the other (both are important).

I hope to see more people in the indie writing/publishing scene who have a real message to share, and who’d like to make a difference somehow. A lot of people still consider the traditional lottery-ticket bigshot agent-book-movie deal to be the pinnacle of (literary, or general) success. There’s nothing wrong with that (unless you dislike extreme commercialism and/or commodification).

But I like “resisting” systems and ideologies that aren’t interested in making a difference at all. Empires have every reason to maintain the status quo. Obedient sheeple are guaranteed to keep the empires in existence via buying/consuming what they’re told by the media empires is “good” for them.

That, itself, is what I enjoy resisting.

Because when we’re sheeple, who are we as individuals? Where is our sense of self-identity, and dreams, and thoughts, and motivations? Or are all those things defined by an external system that wishes to mold and control us simply for the sake of profits? Surely there is more to human life than being part of a sheeple audience?

Astrologically-wise, maybe it’s because I have an Aries North Node in the First House (psychological ground-breakers Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung both had the Aries North Node). I instinctively resist and put up a fight (in my own way) against anything that threatens my sense of individuality, autonomy and “sense of self.”

Going back to the beginning of this blog post, “corporate control” is a cyberpunk trope I’ve always been drawn to as well. I don’t think cyberpunk is a genre anymore — it’s become an actual reality (perhaps more quickly than science fiction writers actually anticipated).

That is reason enough for me to have some kind of purpose to what I write.

That purpose, in and of itself, is more important than whether I decide to label/categorize certain projects of mine as “cyberpunk,” or whether I consider myself a “real writer.”

And I hope the small but spirited/very motivated group of real “resistors” out there will always be dedicated to their cause.

I’ve this instinctive knowledge that once you stop fighting, you become both in and of the system/The Matrix/whatever you want to call it (the thing that deletes your freedom of thought/speech/action, your identity).

I know that when you stop fighting, you are, essentially, forever under the influence of the hegemonizing “one world, one people, one wallet” mindset of megacorporations everywhere.

As a writer/artist/non-conformist, that really scares me — even if society doesn’t give a damn about where it’s headed.

P.S. I enjoyed the following 3 articles on social media:

1) The Decline of Facebook | Jim Lastinger

2) The unsocial network you can never leave | Martin Utreras Carrera

3) Social Media Smart But People Stupid | Margie Clayman