Monday, May 12, 2014

Guest Blog and Giveaway with Chris M. Arnone

Reading Outside the Box

It’s likely a safe assumption that if you’re reading this blog post, you’re a reader. By that, I don’t mean that you are literate, but that you partake in reading fiction on a regular basis. You, like me, consume books by pounds rather than mere pages. 

Recently, a large controversy was stirred up by BookCon when they announced their guest list and it was filled with white people (and Grumpy Cat).* The diversity debate is hot in books right now. Despite the growing diversity in our world and a wonderful push for equality for all people, we still live in a world where a book convention white-washes its guest list and female authors often use pen names or their initials to obfuscate their gender.

At the end of 2013, I looked back on my reading accomplishments for that year. I had read some J.K. Rowling, some Suzanne Collins, and a lot of stuff written by men. I reflected on my own favorite authors, and I found that they were all men. I consider myself a feminist. I speak out about women’s rights and equality. Why, then, were most of my books written by men?

First, let’s be clear that I never went out of my way to avoid female authors. I didn’t even realize I was reading predominantly male authors. Granted, the science fiction and fantasy genres are densely populated with men. I saw that as a contributing factor, but refused to lean on it as an excuse.

So it’s 2014. I’ve purposefully ventured outside of my normal circles of reading this year, particularly in regards to female authors. I attempted to read Ursula K. LeGuin, and didn’t like what I read. I read some Margaret Atwood, and I officially adore her writing. At my wife’s bequest, I’ve read some of the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. It’s not bad, but it’s thoroughly outside of my comfort zone for reading. I’ve also read Lauren Beukes, Tana French, and I’m currently reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

I love my new, expanded horizons of reading. I absolutely do not understand how there can be such inequality in literature. Words are colorblind. Words do not have genders. Words can be a powerful tool to break down the barriers between gender, race, religion, and all that divides humankind.

So look at your books. Go ahead; take a long look at your bookshelf and your to-read list. See some patterns? If you’re a reader, I’m sure you do. Next time you grab a book, think outside your comfort zone. Take a risk. Read outside the box. What’s the worst that could happen?
*BookCon has since apologized and added a small margin of diversity to their guest line-up, though still not enough for this writer.

The Lost and Broken Realm
Things Forgotten
Book 1
Chris M. Arnone

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

ISBN: 9780991397907
ISBN: 9781311266194


Number of pages: 325 print
approx 299 ebook
Word Count: 103,000

Cover Artist: Cassandra Whitney

Book Description:

Gabriel Drake had royally fouled up his life. Before his wife died, he was wealthy, respected, and loved. He pissed away the small fortune he and his wife built, drove away his friends, alienated his family, and even took a few precarious steps on the wrong side of the law. He lost his way. The world had forgotten the man he was, and then a head-on collision between his Jeep and a tree changed everything.

Death would have been easier. Instead, he’s woken up in a strange place where all the lost and forgotten things and people of our world go to rest. The laws of physics seem to be driven more by magic than logic. Cats fly and talk into his mind. He’s in a place where real power has been trampled under the foot of a maniacal emperor, and Gabriel alone has the power to free these forgotten people from the emperor’s iron grip. Which will Gabriel save: these lost and broken people, or his own shattered life?

About the Author:

Chris grew up in Independence, MO. He attended college at Truman State University where he pursued his loves of theater, music, and the written word. Now, he makes his home in Kansas City, MO with his wife Christy and their four cats.

Aside from writing feverishly, he is an avid supporter of the Kansas City burlesque, performance, and arts communities. He is an occasional emcee, outspoken supporter of LGBTQ equality, and King of the Nerds. No, you didn't vote for him; that's why he's king, not president.

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