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Guest Post

Books Can Save the World- Guest post by Tiffany Shand

Guest Post – How Books Gave Me a Career

Books can mean a lot of different things to different people. Some people books are a form of escapism, a way of learning new things or the answer to solving a problem. Ask the person what books mean to them and you’ll be sure to get dozens of different answers.

I’ve been reading books from an early age. One of my earliest memories is of reading books. I used to love reading books about animals. Being an only child, books gave me an escapism. I loved reading about different worlds and seeing places through the character’s eyes. When I was five I started writing short stories – which were mostly about my pets. I especially liked writing about my border collie, Jack and my hamster, Hammy. After reading so much I think writing just came naturally to me.

As I got older books became more a part of my life and I started reading different genres, fantasy always being my favourite genre. When I left school at thirteen due to health problems and became home-schooled I didn’t know what to do with myself. Going from school to home schooling was a big change. Reading definitely helped me cope with the sudden change. I did lose out on the social aspects of school due to always being off sick all the time or going to the hospital to have more tests done. But this also provided me with the time to actually sit down and write.

I mainly started writing short stories in my late teens or short novels that rarely ever got completed. Although I read a lot of different genres including history, romance, crime and adventure fantasy was the genre that always drew me in both the reading and writing. Since there are no limitations with what you can read or write when it comes to fantasy.

After my grandparents bought me a writing course for my 16th birthday, they encouraged me to start pursuing writing more. I did start the course by found the concept of writing professionally pretty scary so I only did the first assignment and then let the course just sit there for a few more years. I did carry on writing and indulging my love of reading over that time. But the course sat there forgotten. I did try going back to a few times but never drew me back in.

Over the past few years as my health declined, reading and writing became an outlet to help with chronic pain and illness. During that time also went to college and started studying law but because of my health problems, I reluctantly had to stop pursuing my dream career. For a while I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life, working in law had always been my main focus. This inspired me to go back to the writing course and start going over the assignments again. Luckily the course provider was happy to let me start doing the course again despite the number of years that passed since I’d first gotten and started it. I had a great and encouraging tutor who gave me some great feedback on my work and where I was going wrong. During that time, I still carried on writing novels but doing the writing course introduced me to other forms of writing. I even started writing non-fiction which was something I never imagined I would do. I always thought I couldn’t write non-fiction and I would be bad at it.

After some encouragement and nagging from my grandparents, I finally decided to go ahead and complete my first proper novel and see about getting it published. At the time, I knew nothing about publication or how books even got published. Luckily, I had a chance to meet another author who mentioned to me about self-publishing. I’d never even heard of self-publishing at the time I didn’t really know what it entailed. One of the hurdles on my road to publication was that typing on a computer became very hard due to having very painful hands so I switched to using a voice recognition software called Dragon Naturally Speaking. Without that, I wouldn’t be able to do any of the things that I do.

I decided to have a go at publishing my first novel myself. I’m a very independent person so self-publishing was the right route for me. Despite a lot of ups and downs with bad editors and bad formatters, I published my first ever fantasy novel in March 2015.

After completing my creative writing course, I later went on to study copywriting, proofreading and social media marketing through the College of Media and Publishing. These courses really inspired me and gave me the confidence the start working from home. I love being an editor and helping other authors to have their work looking the best they can be. This helped me realise that I want help other authors like myself and teach them about the business side of publishing and being an author.

So books can really help change and shape a person and even give them a career when I thought I would never have one.

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Tiffany Shand was born in Essex, UK and started writing short stories when she was a child.

She has always done writing in one form or another and started writing novels in her early teens.

Tiffany loves to read books and discovered her love for fantasy and paranormal romance during this time.

She writes both non-fiction and fiction, but mostly fantasy and paranormal romance.

After doing a creative writing course in her early 20s she is now a freelance writer and professional proofreader. She is currently studying for a journalism degree.

Tiffany lives in Essex with her two spoiled cats and one very nutty hamster.

Find Tiffany on:
tiffanyshand.com
@tiffanyshand on Twitter

Books Can Save the World~Guest Post by Alecia Stone

Thank you for having me as your guest today. My name is Alecia Stone, author of the T.O.E. trilogy (YA Fantasy). I’m here to share my thoughts on the topic of books saving the world – okay, not literally saving the world but rather how they can steer the wheel in a direction that will hopefully result in a brighter future for generations to come. Before I ventured into writing novels, I didn’t really think about the true impact books had on the world. I was aware of the impact they had on people as individuals, whether it be you connecting with characters who are dealing with life experiences similar to your own or maybe you’re inspired to take action, to make a difference to a cause that’s important to you or a loved one, but the notion of how books affect the world never really penetrated my thoughts. After I wrote my trilogy, however, because of the focus of my books, that being Earth and the way in which we perceive the world, I was forced to delve deeper into the significance of books and their role in sustaining a thriving reality. Do books really have a major effect on how our reality is shaped? Do they form the consciousness of our world?

Well, absolutely. There is nothing more motivating or more informative than words. People take books more seriously than almost any other form of writing. After all, Darwin changed the way we think about the world with his book On Origin of Species, not to mention The Bible, the Qur’an, the Oxford Dictionary, to name just a few books that have paved the way for a more detailed exploration of existence, ideologies that we live by today. Could you imagine what the world would be like without these books or doctrines? I imagine you’ll find it hard to visualise a world not conditioned by the dominant philosophies of life as it is being taught today. Just try it. Think of something new. No, morphemes or portmanteaus are prohibited.

To conjure up something remotely original, you’ll have to delve into what you already know. Hence, a world without books is a world without oxygen. You can’t have one without the other. Books are a documentation of life, a timeline of the ages to condition humans towards constant progression. You can always refer to them as guidelines to interpreting reality so we can all communicate and build a world that can sustain our existence. Without books, we would always feel as though we’re floating in outer space, not having a purpose or a destination. Libraries are the earth’s Book of Life. Inside is all the knowledge of the known, and that knowledge allows us to explore the unknown. That exploration into the unknown is what we call change.

Yes, change can be a terrifying ordeal, but, as history has proven, it’s necessary for evolution. That’s not to say I believe that we evolved from apes, mind you. I’m just saying that if we wish to continue with progress (saving the world, so to speak), altering our beliefs occasionally is a necessity. Think about it. If we never embrace change, we’d still be walking around thinking the world was flat. But we’re not. Today, the world is round. Tomorrow, it could be something else. Who knows? If you do, please remember to write it down. Be a part of saving the world.

“All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs. So how do we change? The most effective way is to get your brain to associate massive pain to the old belief. You must feel deep in your gut that not only has this belief cost you pain in the past, but it’s costing you in the present and, ultimately, can only bring you pain in the future. Then you must associate tremendous pleasure to the idea of adopting an empowering new belief” – Anthony Robbins

Books aren’t merely written to inform and entertain. They instill order, providing a foundation for progression. There is no future in chaos. Chaos is all about the now. Saving the world is about continuity, which has been evident in previous civilisations as we’ve seen inscribed on cave walls and historical landmarks like pyramids and other ancient artifacts. The consciousness of today is the reality of yesterday. We are living by the experiences of ancient civilisations, and we need to continue this mindset for future generations. Books are the fruits of our labour that only future generations can experience. If we do not document our life experiences, then future civilisations will be left in chaos, and out of chaos comes extinction. Ask the animal kingdom. They know a thing or two about extinction.

I can definitely say that past generations have influenced me in regards to acknowledging my environment and documenting my experiences, and in vision of today’s consciousness, I have written a young adult fantasy trilogy titled Talisman Of El (T.O.E.), a series that employs both supernatural agencies and scientific theories to better understand how the world is being shaped and to adjust to inevitability. This series of books is my take on this reality, and I hope it will be useful to future generations when it comes to forming an understanding of their own reality.

Thanks for reading!

Alecia Stone

   About the Author:

Alecia Stone graduated with a BA in Film & TV and has worked in television for a short period before branching out into storytelling. Alecia loves anything and everything paranormal. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys going to the movies, listening to music and traveling. At present, Alecia lives in England, United Kingdom with her family. You can connect with her at her website www.aleciastone.com and her book blog www.cbybookclub.blogspot.com.

Books Can Save the World~ Guest Post by Eli Celata

The Embrace of Books

There’s magic in the written word. In an instant, you are transported. I grew up beside Harry, Ron, and Hermione, racing through the halls of Hogwarts. When the One Ring needed to be dropped in Mt. Doom, I volunteered beside Frodo. I’ve fought alongside the Mockingjay. My entire life has been lived in side-quests hidden in the pages of another person’s mind. Fiction held me, and I never doubted the love I felt for those characters. Fantasy bears pathos with ease.

On the other hand, nonfiction has a bad habit outside of biographies of being objective to the point of apathy. Tragedies become facts. Facts may be filed away. Nodded at and recited with idle thoughts. Such objectivism has a purpose. It allows us to acquire information which might otherwise shatter us. However, that same distance may be used to ignore the grievances of others. That ignorance may be used to repeat the horrors of the past. As they say, we are doomed to replicate what has been if we are unaware or unwilling to bear the truth of it.

This, more than anything, is why I find anthropological ethnographies so important. Cultural anthropologies – or the biological who enjoy the multi-disciplinary approach – aim to present fact with the emotive. Personalizing those we would otherwise not meet. Anthropologists are not the only ones to write this way. In fact, the first one I read was written by a journalist – Eduardo Galeano.

While sensationalism storms to mind with most newspapers these days, Galeano used writing to reinvigorate cultural memory. He believed the Americas – specifically Latin America – was obsessed with forgetting. Forgetting – in the end – solves nothing. My first experience of Galeano’s writing was in his work – The Book of Embraces. Parts of it were semi-autobiographical while others mixed dreams, reports, and oddities. Though I enjoyed his musings on his life in Uruguay, it was his repetitions of others lives which I found most astounding.

One story, in particular, sticks in my mind. A pair of twin brothers fought side by side in a rebel conflict. Within their battalion was a photographer. After a battle, the photographer moved around the zone taking pictures and looking for the brothers. The photographer found the two together. One brother leaned against a bullet-ridden wall holding the other in his arms. Their guns were abandoned at their feet in the shape of a cross. It was an ideal shot – a summation of the conflict, but the photographer couldn’t take the picture. One brother likely dead, the other stared blankly ahead. In simple, undeniable facts – Galeano told the anecdote far better than I could herein repeat it, but I saw the twins in my head. I saw the photographer checking the light, lining up the shot, and failing to take the photograph.

Galeano didn’t have to tell me the moral. This wasn’t a parable that needed to be spoken for. This was the photograph. A picture might have projected the image, but its lack thereof embedded the truth within my mind where it will likely remain until my death. There are worlds too powerful to share, but we muscle through and find a way to bear them. Those moments – the ones we dare not photograph – they exist in books. No movie can capture them in full. No picture can convey the third party – the photographer – so well. For in reading Galeano’s words, I bore the agony of all three men: the agony of death, the agony of dying, and the agony of futility. How better could I know this conflict than with that pain? How better could I foster empathy for those afflicted save with that pain? And it was a book that gave that pain to me.

The world is a strange place. One lifetime is not enough to capture all there is to see, to do, to read, but still, we try. Still, we write more. Books preserve lives. They hold them for view and broaden the minds of those who read them. I have lived more lives than I shall ever lose to death in books, and each face I see there is a face I see in the world. They are an inspiration for sonder. Seven billion lives exist on Earth as complex as either of us, dear reader. If a book can remind you of that, it has given you the world.