Monthly Archives: April 2016

Eye-Opening Writing Tips

Damned helpful

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What is Religious Freedom?

I have to be very upfront about this particular article I am about to write. I am not against religious freedom in any way. Except when it infringes upon human rights.

To start, we must ask, what is religious freedom? The State Department says this on the subject; The International Religious Freedom Act defines five violations of religious freedom:
Arbitrary prohibitions on, restrictions of, or punishment for: (i) assembling for peaceful religious activities such as worship, preaching, and prayer, including arbitrary registration requirements; (ii) speaking freely about one’s religious beliefs; (iii) changing one’s religious beliefs and affiliation; (iv) possession and distribution of religious literature, including Bibles and other sacred texts; (v) raising one’s children in the religious teachings and practices of one’s choice.

Now, the State Department will list what they call a Country of Particular Concern if the government is determined to have engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom. A list of examples is posted and reads as;

  • torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment;
  • extended detention without charges;
  • causing the disappearance of persons by abduction or clandestine detention; and
  • other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or security

Now then, we have established that the State Department will list a country for a flagrant denial of the right to liberty. Let’s move on.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 says this;

Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation because of race, color, religion, or national origin. Places of public accommodation are hotels, motels, restaurants, movie theaters, stadiums, and concert halls.
The United States Constitution started right off with religion in the First Amendment and says this;
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
In plain English, that means the First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition.  It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices.  It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.  It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.
The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” This clause not only forbids the government from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another. It also prohibits the government from unduly preferring religion over non-religion, or non-religion over religion.
So the United States Government is prohibited from taking actions that favor one religion over another. Or over a lack of religion.
So, at what point does the State Department list the United States as a Country of Particular Concern? At what point does the Justice Department start issuing warrants for breach of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? At what point does the Federal Government step in and say “Enough is enough! We created the laws that say we can’t do that!”
Mississippi now joins an alarming number of places that provide “Government endorsed discrimination” and do so openly and proudly.
I’m trying hard to understand why. If your religion says “don’t be gay”, that’s fine. Show me where it says to hate those that are not of that religion and are gay. Show me where it says to make life difficult for those that do not adhere to the same religion. Show me where it says, I’m allowed to hate and ridicule others because they don’t follow my religious beliefs.
What I see, is a bill that allows a deeply religious Christian, Baptist, or any other group to say “I own a restaurant (a place of public accommodation) and I refuse to allow gay people (Title 42, Chapter 21 of the U.S. Code prohibits discrimination against persons based on age, disability, gender, race, national origin, and religion (among other things) ) to eat in my restaurant.
What happens if this same person feels a deep resentment towards the Jewish Faith and decides he will no longer allow anyone of that faith to eat in his restaurant either? Or Black Southern Baptists? Under this broad law, the possibilities are endless.
So I return to trying to understand. My faith teaches me to be tolerant. It tells me that all people are my brothers and sisters, and I have no right to judge them or their lifestyles. My religion tells me to be kind and helpful, to care for those that cannot care for themselves. My religion tells me to allow the rest of the world to worship as they please. My religion tells me to be responsible for my own actions.
Yet my religion is attacked on a constant basis. Most likely, if my religion was made public, I would not be allowed to eat in that Mississippi restaurant either.
Apparently, religious freedom in America means that you can follow any religion, worship in any structure and read any religious materials…as long as it conforms with what the states with these Freedom of Religion Acts follow.
Thank God our forefathers had the insite to make laws escaping religious persecution.
Wait…
What do you mean, “which God”???

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It’s Here!!!

Time has flown since I first signed with Snow Leopard Publishing. I put my book The Last Ranger of Sarn in with them. They were gracious enough to accept me and so it all began. I submitted the entire manuscript and it went to the editor.

Now, in my mind, my book was perfect. It was just a good marketing campaign away from being at least in the top five of the New York Times Best Seller list. I sat at home and began counting money before I even got my first edit back. That was about the time reality hit me, and it hit me hard.

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I was pretty sure the lovely woman who started the edits was now looking for a hit man. I had so many red marks within the first 3 chapters that she ran out of ink by the 10th chapter (pretty hard to do on a computer) and she told me to follow her example and re-do the whole thing and then re-submit.

Thankfully, in those ten chapters, she showed me pretty much every mistake I had ever made since I did my first book report in grade school. I pushed the disbelief away and got to work, reworking my book from front to back. When it was done, it was a real book. It looked so much better and read so much easier.

It went back in and I turned my attention towards a new cover. I wracked my brains looking for the picture and thought I found it. I started using the picture for promo spots and got in trouble with the artist. I didn’t mean to use it without permission, but I did and had to scrap that image. I decided to look in the pay-per-picture sites and there it was.

After driving my publishers crazy by submitting at least 2 dozen looks, I finally settled on the cover. So, here it is in all its glory.

The Last Ranger of Sarn2E5

So much thought went into this design, from the front image to the rear and the short blurb there. Everything was designed and tested before any decisions were made. Nothing was left to chance on this.

The cover was previewed a few  minutes ago at the Brain To Books Cyber Con at the Goodreads site. It’s a massive book fair with worldwide submissions from writers and bloggers. Hundreds of them are bombarding the reading community with their wares and I’m no different. Besides the cover reveal, there’s going to be a trailer reveal at 10AM on the 9th and you’re all invited to see it. Just go to the Goodreads site at https://www.goodreads.com/ and join up.

Then, once you’re a member go to https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/151234-brain-to-books and join the group. That’s all there is. Follow the links provided and you’ll be whisked away to the Fairgrounds. Open the map, click on Fantasy and look for my booth, Epic Fantasy ~ The Journals of the Huntress ~ How much can one heart endure? and you’ll be front row for the trailer.

Now, if you don’t want to go through all of that, just visit my site at http://www.edireland.net and click the links to see them. And be sure to visit http://www.snowleopardpublishing.com/#!pre-orders/it36q to buy my book. It comes with a 5% discount, but if you put Ireland15 in the coupon area, you’ll get an additional 15% off. Best of all, you’ll get that 15% on any book they have. Hoping to see you all there.

Have a great weekend!

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