Thursday, July 20, 2017

Gaining Exposure Through Book Awards #OurAuthorGang

How To Gain Exposure Through Book Awards

By Mackenzie Flohr

One of the ways you can help your book get more exposure is through book award contests. These contests help get your materials out to people who may have never known about you or your book, and can ultimately lead to a frenzy of media exposure.

It gives your book a new sense of creditability. For example, it may perk a reader's interest, who otherwise would have skipped over your book due to you being an unknown, enough to give your book a try.

This can lead to more sales and even bestseller status. And, if you end up one of the winners, it can also lead towards finding agents, publishers, movie/television offers, as well as help convince book sellers to carry your book in their store(s).

What To Watch Out For:

Before applying, make sure to do your research. While it may seem like entering multiple contests is a great idea, you want to make sure these are:
  1. Not one where everyone automatically earns a badge/prize because they entered.
  2. Has a high cost to enter.
  3. Is reputable and real. 
For example, my first book award contest, which shall be nameless, was a contest where the winner was supposed to be announced at a conference.
To this day, I still don't know who won. There were no badges, no announcements of runner ups, nor any congratulations mentioned on any of this site's social media platforms. It was as if this contest never existed. (Maybe it really didn't).

Contests The Rite of Wands Currently Appears In:

Some of the contests I'm excited to be participating this year include: 
  • Golden Quill Awards (I'm a semifinalist)
  • 2017 Summer Indie Awards
  • Reality Bites Magazine 2017 Book Awards
What Are Some Good Contests To Enter:

According to Scott Lorenz, President of the PR and marketing firm, Westwind Communications, some of the top book awards contests in 2017 for indie authors include: 
  • The National Book Critics Circle Awards
  • Indies Choice Book Awards
  • The National Indie Excellence Book Awards
  • IndieFab Awards

Where to get your copy of The Rite of Wands signed next:

(Left to right: Carol Ochadleus, Mackenzie Flohr at Fenton Open Book)

Mackenzie will be taking a hiatus from #OurAuthorGang blog for the next couple weeks as she travels to Rust City Book Con (Troy, MI) , Once Upon A Book Con (Frankenmuth, MI) , Swartz Creek Art Fair (Swartz Creek, MI) and Kerrytown Book Feast (Ann Arbor, MI) to sign copies of The Rite of Wands.  

Where You Can Purchase My Book

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tips to Promote Your Book #OurAuthorGang

Picture credit: free image from

Book Marketing: Three Tips to Promote Your Book(s)
Without Alienating Readers

By N.N. Light

You’ve just published a book. Congratulations! You’ve done something that many have tried and few have succeeded. Give yourself a pat on the back… then put on your thinking cap. It’s time for the next step: promoting your book.

Book promotion is something most authors dread. I get that and I’m here to help. Being an author myself, I know how overwhelming it is to sell and market your book. In today’s publishing market, both traditional and indie authors are expected to promote and be active on social media.

As my first post on A Small Gang of Authors I thought I’d share some book promotion tips with you today. Who am I? My name is Mrs. N and I’m one-half of the pen name N. N. Light (my husband is the other half). I am a social media marketer by trade and I have the social media reach of over forty-five million. I’ve been in the book industry for over twenty-six years and I specialize in matching books to readers. In addition, I’m the author of four books (with more on the way) and I firmly believe in authors helping authors succeed.

Below are my three tried-and-true tips to promoting your book(s) without alienating readers. The key to effective book promotion is to balance your selling of your wares with connecting with your followers/readers.

Tip #1:
Be a real live person. In the digital age, robots and automation are everywhere. Don’t be a talking billboard on social media. Don’t scream at the top of your lungs, “BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK!” Instead, connect with your followers and take an actual interest in their lives. Say hello and talk about things that interest you.

When I first joined Twitter, I had no followers. I started following people who shared similar interests. I soon had a following and made connections. I built a trust with my followers and laid a foundation that’s more valuable than money. Sure, it was a slow process but these same followers are still with me today.

Love to bake, shop, hunt, travel or another hobby? Talk about it online. Intersperse news about your writing and books with what you like to do in your free time. Your following will soon grow and readers will connect with you, the person.

Tip #2:
Pick three social media outlets and be consistent. Every day, a new social media outlet pops up. It’s hard to keep up. I mean, who has time to tweet, pin, facebook, tsu, post pics on Instagram, etc? I surely don’t. Readers want consistency so here’s my advice: pick three social media outlets that work for you. For me, it’s my blog, Twitter and Pinterest. I post to my blog every day (Monday through Friday), tweet 24/7 and add pins to my Pinterest boards at least once a week.

My followers know that if they want to connect with me, the first place they do it is Twitter. It’s my go-to platform and I’m always on there. I’m a social butterfly and I love how Twitter is like a global social club. I meet people from all over the world, get news I can’t get elsewhere and connect with people I’m interested in. I can share my thoughts on a topic without having to explain myself. If I have news to share (whether personal or professionally), it goes out to my followers and even strangers (when I use the right hashtags).

My blog is my secret weapon. Secret weapon? Yes! Every day, I create new content online and Google grabs it, sorts it and ranks it. Through SEO (Search Engine Optimization), I’m able to help Google get my writing into the hands of readers. Since I started blogging, my followers have sky-rocketed.

Authors underestimate how powerful a tool a blog can be. Not only can you have one place where you can promote your book(s), the more you write, the higher your blog gets ranked by Google. Think about it for a second. Every time you post something on your blog, your writing goes out into the world. If you post twice a week for a whole year, that’s 104 sales pitches for you as a writer and author.

Sales pitches? 

Yes, sales pitches. Each time you write a blog post, it’s a sales pitch for someone to read, secretly disguised as an inspirational thought, writing tip, recipe, book review, vacation memories, holiday remembrance, etc. Someone who’s never heard of you will run across your blog post and read your writing.

What happens next will be up to your writing. If your writing inspires/moves the reader, they’ll comment, follow your blog or even check out your book(s).

The best thing about using your blog to showcase your writing is that it’s absolutely free. It doesn’t cost you a thing and the results will astound you.

Remember one important thing about social media: be consistent. No matter what social media platform you use, be consistent. You don’t have to post every day like me. Find what works for you and do it. If it’s only once a week or once every two weeks, that’s fine. Just let your followers know what the schedule is so they’re in the loop. If they think you’ve abandoned them, they’ll leave and won’t come back.

Tip #3:
Use graphics in your promotion. Studies show that 76% more readers will click-through to check out your book(s) if a graphic/photo accompanies your blog posts/tweet/update. Readers are visual creatures and one way to pique their interest is to create a quote graphic.

Find a compelling quote that will draw readers in. Create a graphic using one of the many software applications available (Photoshop, Adobe, Canva, etc) and save it to your computer/device. I have a folder with all the graphics I’ve used for my books so it’s easy to post to Twitter/Pinterest/Blog.

I can’t stress this enough, use graphics in Twitter and on your blog. Trust me, you’ll get more readers intrigued with a visual aid than by saying you have a book for sale.

Readers will be more likely to buy your book(s) if you have established a connection and they trust you. I’ve built trust as an authentic author/blogger/reviewer and readers trust me when I tell them something is great.

I hope these tips have helped you to see that book promotion is not only essential but fun, too.  You’ve done the hard stuff, writing and publishing the book. Promotion is sharing your writing with the world while building your brand.

Sharing Time: What do you struggle with the most when it comes to book promotion? I’d love to hear from you. I’m happy to answer any and all questions, too. If you prefer, you can email me.

Author Bio: N.N. Light is the best-selling husband-wife writing team, commonly known as Mr. N and Mrs. N. Mrs. N. has been creating stories ever since she was little. Her grandfather remembers when she was two years old, she would stand at the top of the stairs and tell him a story filled with emotion (and in a language foreign to him) with her hands on her hips. Let’s just say she was a born storyteller.

They’re blissfully happy and love all things chocolate, books, music, movies, art, sports, trains, history, cooking and baking. Their mantra is to spread the Light.

Most of the time you can find them on Twitter or getting new ideas on how to spread the Light on Pinterest. They’re a proud member of ASMSG and Independent Author Network.

Subscribe to their author newsletter and you'll be eligible to win $5 Amazon gift card monthly:

In addition to being authors, they’re also book promoters/reviewers, social media marketers/influencers and the owners of N. N. Light Author Promotions. They both love books, have ever since they were young. Matching up books and readers is something that gives them great pleasure.

They’d love to connect with you either via email or via these various social media sites:
Amazon Author Page:
Independent Author Network:

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My Hometown, Sarospatak #OurAuthorGang

Sarospatak will always be my hometown
no matter where I choose to live.
by Erika M Szabo

I grew up in this lovely historical town, Sárospatak, in northern Hungary of the Bodrog river valley.
The area has been inhabited since ancient times and Sárospatak was granted town status in 1201 by King Emeric. Today the town is a tourist attraction and an important cultural center.
The Rakoczi var's ground was one of my favorite playgrounds when I was a kid. We played the wargame with my friends and defended the castle against the Habsburgs with toy swords and muskets.

The cultural center was beautifully rebuilt after I moved away. I have fond memories from my childhood researching in the library and enjoying the wide variety of programs in the theater.  

I found this picture of people relaxing in the cultural center's plaza. 

The waterpark is a major tourist attraction today. When I was a kid, there was only one pool where people relaxed in the hot thermal water that is known to ease arthritis pain. 
There is a beautiful tradition every year when the town celebrates the patron saint, St. Erzsebet's life. People dress up in costumes and reenact Erzsebet's life from birth to her death.

Hungarians have a special bond with horses and there is rarely a celebration without them.

Even Santa comes to town with the Krampuses on horseback.

The novella I published last year plays out in Sarospatak. Jayden, an archeologist from New York is fascinated by Hungarian history and participating in an important dig in Sarospatak. His sister, Emily, decides to spend her summer vacation from medical school in their grandmother's home and joins her brother. By coincident or fate, she meets her childhood playmate, Daniel, at the airport. Daniel never forgot his first love and they rekindle their bond on the long flight to Budapest. Emily meets her excited brother and Jayden tells her that he found a leather book in his grandmother's secret room. the book was written in 426 by a shaman. Emily can read the ancient runes, and they learn about their family's curse. They also find out that the curse cast by their ancestor remains unbroken, it will bring tragedy and ruin their lives as it destroyed many of their ancestors' lives for centuries. Will they find the way to break the ancient curse? Could Emily find happiness with her childhood friend, Daniel?

Find this eBook in online stores:

Or download the eBook from my bookstore:

Excerpt from the novella:
Emily woke from a jumbled dream about the happy summers she spent with her grandma and Daniel. In her dream, she saw bits and pieces. For a few seconds they were riding the neighbors’ horses in the woods, and next, they were swimming in the river and rescued the tiny kittens that a cruel woman threw into the water. They played soccer on the field with Daniel’s friends and then snuck out of the coffee shop without paying for the pastries.

Emily turned to Daniel who was looking at her, smiling, and asked, “Do you remember the cream puffs? We never paid for them.”

Daniel laughed, “Oh, yes! I felt so guilty that the next day I broke into my piggy bank and went back to pay for them. Good morning, by the way,”

“Where are my manners? Good morning,” Emily replied.

The flight attendant started serving breakfast and announced that they would land in about an hour.
The time passed quickly, and, sipping their coffee, they felt the great plane begin to descend. Soon they saw Budapest from bird view, and the Danube River separating Buda and Pest. Daniel handed his camera to Emily and asked her to take a few pictures as the plane circled the city before taking the position for the final descent to the airport.

The landing was smooth and everyone thanked the captain and flight crew for the safe flight by clapping and cheering. After the plane had taxied into the arrival deck, the passengers started gathering their bags and left the plane.

After getting their luggage, Emily turned her phone on and texted her brother. “I’m here.” Jayden texted back. Emily, feeling a slight disappointment about parting with Daniel, texted back, “I’ll be out shortly.”

She turned to Daniel and said, “Jayden made it. I guess I don’t need to take you up on your offer.”

“Too bad, I was hoping we could ride together, but can we have dinner at my house? I’ll cook,” he asked with a smile.

“I’d like that,” Emily answered, and with a twinkle in her eyes, she said, “You cook? You’re a keeper, then.” She blushed as soon as the words left her mouth, “I mean… I didn’t mean to make it sound like that; it was just grandma… she always said that a man who cooks is a keeper.”

"I remember your grandma’s wise words and her wooden spoon too.” He laughed and continued,       "She was very quick about slapping our butts with her long-handled spoon when we stepped over the line of her rules.”

“Yes, she was strict.” Emily giggled and said, “But we learned to follow her rules quickly.”

“Emily!” She heard Jayden’s voice, and when she looked in his direction, she saw her brother standing by the door, unshaven and disheveled in faded jeans and dusty sneakers.
Emily hugged him and then took a step back, “I guess you didn’t have time to shower. You stink!” She grimaced.

“Sorry, I didn’t want to waste time,” he said. And then he noticed Daniel standing a few feet from them asked, “Who’s the guy?”

Emily motioned for Daniel to come closer, “This is Daniel. Do you remember? He was grandma’s neighbor, and we played together when we were kids.”

“Oh, yeah!” Jayden extended his hand, “How are you doing man?”

Daniel accepted his handshake, saying, “I’m doing fine. We ran into each other at the airport. I’m going to start medical school in the fall in New York.”

“Great, nice to see you,” Jayden answered hurriedly and turned to Emily, “Let’s go. I have so much to tell you.”

Emily and Daniel exchanged phone numbers. Emily promised to be at Daniel’s house at seven, and then they parted.
Jayden hurried toward the parking garage, pulling Emily’s luggage.

“Slow down, Jay,” Emily cried out as she lagged behind with her carry-on bag. “I can’t keep up if you’re running like that.”

“Sorry.” Jayden looked back and slowed down, “I’m so eager to show you what I’ve found.”

“What is it?” Emily tried to catch her breath.

“It’s a kind of book, leather sheets sewn together. It’s written with ancient runes. I think the letters were burned into the leather. I should’ve learned from Grandma to read it, like you did.”

“That’s so exciting.” Emily started walking faster. “Did you bring it with you?”

“Yes, it’s in the car, I thought you could start translating it on the ride home. Here is my car in this row.”

They reached the old Porsche that was their grandma’s car and Jayden packed Emily’s luggage into the trunk. He reached into the back and pulled a duffel bag from the back seat. He opened the zipper and took out a package wrapped in old-looking leather sheets. When Jayden unwrapped it, inside she saw what was indeed a book, made of leather sheets sewn together.

Jayden handed it to Emily and asked, “What do you think?”

She fingered the soft leather, “It’s old and still so pliable,” she mused. “Look, the Sacred Turul is burned into the cover.”

“May the sacred Turul guide and protect us,” they chanted the ancient line that every Hun whispered when they saw a falcon, alive or in a picture. The spirit of the falcon called Turul in ancient Hun mythology is the protector of the Huns for eternity.

Emily got into the passenger seat, opened the book, and scanned the pages. Jayden started the engine and pulled out of the parking space. The traffic was heavy in the city, but soon they were driving northeast on the smooth highway.

“So, what do you think?” Jayden asked.

“Wow! Let me read it.” Emily turned to the first page and started translating.

I am Zoan, the humble Shaman of the Roaring Falcon tribe. I’m going to write Aisa’s story in details with the hope that the descendants of Aisa could read this and break the powerful curse in the future. It happened on the third moon of the year 426, the events that led to Tuana’s curse. The day Aisa was forced to leave her happy childhood behind and take the reality and responsibilities of adulthood.
Emily lowered the book to her lap and turned to her brother, “Jay, could this be written so long ago?”
“I think so, or rather hope so. Please read on.”

Emily lifted the book, and said, “I’m winging it here because I’m not familiar with this word átokja, but I think it is the old version of átok, which means curse. Also, there is another phrase— akarata erősségje. I think it means powerful.”

“Just do your best and you can do a more detailed translation later.”

“Okay, here it goes.”
Aisa, unaware of her fate, gave her horse a gentle squeeze with her knees, to run faster. Willow zigzagged between the jurtas that were lined up in a semicircle, leaving a broad plaza in the middle. Aisa glanced up at the tall wooden pole that stood in the center of the square. It had intricate designs carved into it and was painted with brilliant colors. On top of it was a giant carved falcon, standing with wings open wide, as if it was getting ready to take flight. Oh, I’m so late; my mother is going to kill me, she thought and prompted her horse to run faster. An old woman who was carrying firewood stopped and shook her head in disapproval. “These youngsters are riding like demons,” she mumbled, looking after Aisa.

Aisa reached her home. She slid off the mare’s back in a hurry and fastened the horse’s rein to a wooden pole. Her breaths came in short puffs, and her rosy cheeks glistened with perspiration. She patted the horse’s neck, gave her an armful of hay, and poured fresh water from a leather bag that hung on the pole into a clay bowl. She whispered, “I have to hurry, but I’ll be back soon, Willow, promise.”

She hurried up to the entrance of the tent-like building, called Jurta, with a few long strides. She parted her kaftan-like dark blue overcoat, pulled up her baggy trousers, and smoothed her white tunic that her mother had adorned with delicate flower designs. Aisa pulled the leather entrance cover aside with a heavy sigh, and she braced herself mentally for the long lecture that she knew she must endure.

As usual, she was late for her herbal lessons with her mother, a beautiful, statuesque, dark-haired woman who slowly rose from a curved sofa-like piece of furniture. Soft light coming from the opening at the ceiling shone on her green, delicately-decorated calf-length tunic that she wore with loose black trousers. Her hair was braided with thin leather thongs and hugged her shoulders.
Aisa took off her boots and placed them by the entrance. She winced when Mara’s high-pitched, angry voice hit her like a whip. “You are late, again, young lady! Didn’t I tell you to be home by the time the sun reaches the head of the Falcon? Look!” she pointed at the pole through the door.

Aisa quickly let the leather curtain slide back to cover the door, dutifully bowed, and whispered, “Yes, Mother. Sorry, Mother.”

She always wanted to please her mother, she really did, but she could rarely live up to her expectations. Luckily, Mara’s anger and lectures were as brief as summer storms, so Aisa obediently stood by the entrance and lowered her eyelids to hide the playful twinkle in her eyes. Her long, black hair, which was braided in two rows, slid off her shoulders as she bowed her head, and she adjusted her delicately-woven horsetail headband that kept the stray hairs out of her face. Aisa took a hesitant step forward on the thick, wool carpet that covered the dirt floor of the Jurta.

“Where were you?”

“We were… I was… I got some herbs, too. Look!” Aisa hoped that she could divert her mother’s attention, so she quickly opened the leather pouch that contained some flowers that she had collected. Lying wasn’t in her nature, but concealing the truth a little by trailing the conversation away from the sensitive subject was widely used in her tribe, especially by teenagers.
Emily looked at Jayden with suspicion in her eyes. “Jay, where did you get this?”

“I found it in a secret room in grandma’s house. It was wrapped up and hidden in a wooden trunk with a bunch of other books and stuff. When I opened it I saw it was Hun writing and it made me angry that I couldn’t read it.”

“A secret room?” Emily mused. “I thought I knew every nook and cranny of grandma’s house. How did you find it?”

Jayden gave her an excited look and said, “A few days ago Aunt Julia asked me to fix the leak on the roof when the ceiling in the corner of the living room got wet after a long rain. When I was trying to figure out the location of the leak on the roof, I noticed that above that corner of the living room the guest bedroom seemed too small. So, after I fixed the shingles on the roof, I looked around carefully in the room. I couldn’t find anything, but when I knocked on the wall, it sounded different in one area about the size of a narrow door. So I kept searching and the only promising thing I found was a round shape, a darker spot about the size of a dime on the wooden floor close to the wall.”

“And?” Emily urged him, her interest peaking.  

“So, that small dark spot wasn’t smooth. The impression of a flying falcon was carved into it.
I pressed it with my finger and when nothing happened, I tried to push it and tap on it with different tools. I almost gave up when I remembered the ring that grandma gave me.” Jayden extended his left hand and showed it to Emily. “See? It looks like a seal and it has the Falcon on it. So, I pulled the ring off my finger and tried it. It perfectly fits into the grooves of the dark spot on the floor and when I turned the ring, the hidden door in the wall opened.”

“Wow! It’s so exciting! Did you tell Aunt Julia about it?”
“Nope, I searched when she went shopping.”

“Maybe she knows… So, what else is in the room?”

“There is a lot of stuff in there. Old clothes, bows and arrows, and I saw a beautiful leather saddle and statues. Lots of statues.”

“Why didn’t you take the book to the Museum?”

“Maybe one day, but it belongs to our family and I want to know what’s in it. You can translate the pages a whole lot faster and more accurately than anyone employed by the Historical Society.”

“But if you don’t submit it, you can’t even have the book dated. How can you be sure is authentic?”

“My girlfriend works at the lab and I gave her a piece of the leather covering and a corner of a page two days ago. She said she could run the test and keep it a secret.”

“Can you trust her?”

“Oh, yes. We met last summer when I was working here. I asked her to come with me to New York when I went home in the fall, but she turned me down. She said that she couldn’t leave her home and family. We kept in touch as friends and when I came back and we found out that neither of us had started a relationship with anyone else, we started dating again. Anyway, her future with the group depends on her keeping it a secret because she’s not allowed to do unauthorized tests. So, she will keep it a secret, trust me. Anyway, she doesn’t know what it is. I told her that I found the small pieces in grandma’s attic. I asked her to do the test as a private testing and don’t document it anywhere.”

“Are you sure she wouldn’t tell anyone?”

“I’m positive. She could lose her job doing unauthorized tests anyway. Would you read more?”

“Alright. Let me see.” Emily turned the leather page and continued reading.

Find this eBook in online stores:

Or download the eBook from my bookstore:

Thank you for reading my post. If interested,
read about my books in my author magazine:

Enjoy some ancient music

Monday, July 17, 2017

Bastille Day celebrations

 by Cristina Grau

View of Paris from the Eiffel Tower
A few days ago we celebrated Bastille Day. 

As I mention in a previous post, I am in the Alps Maritimes, in the middle of nowhere. So, the celebrations here were nothing to talk about. They had nothing in Puget Theniers, which is the closest village to where I am staying. In the next town, they had fireworks, and that was it.

I was fortunate to have been in Paris in 2001 during Bastille Day, and what a great experience that was.

Bastille Day celebrates the uprise of the Parisian people against the monarchy.

Paris was rioting around the Bastille, which is a fortress used as a prison. Parisians had to pay exorbitant taxes, leaving them with no money for food or necessities. well most of the time, they did not even had the money to paid the taxes. They were starving, and they were sick and tire of living that way, and they blamed the monarchy (with good reason) for all their sufferings.
On July 14, 1789, the population was demanding the release of all the prisoners in the Bastille. And a bloody fight resulted in the overthrow of the monarchy. And this was the beginning of the French Revolution. 

And hopefully, you all know what happened to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. They both met their destiny under the guillotine. 

The French revolution lasted until 1799, when Napoleon Bonaparte led a Coup d’État, but that is another story.

In Paris, the celebrations start the night before with fireworks and the ball of the pompiers. = firefighters.

The hostel I was staying is in the Latin quarters, and on the 8th floor they have a big terrace with a 180° view, from Montparnasse to Montmartre, with the Eiffel Tower right in the center. Obviously, we all watched the fireworks from the terrace. And what a perfect spectacle it was, seeing the Eiffel tower lighted up in red, blue and white, and the display of the fireworks was beautiful.

Every fire department hosts a dance, and it was great, I danced the whole night till 5 am. After the dance, a shower, some breakfast and to attended the parade at 10 am. After that, it was very difficult to decide what to do. They had so many free shows, and they were all great, but I could only go to one, so I choose Swan Lake. And it only took about three hours in line to get a seat.  The ballet was great, even that by then it was difficult to stay awake, but I made it. 

It was a great experience and so much fun. 

After being up for two days partying, I slept all night and all day, but it was worth it. 

Arch of Triumph
 Palace of Versailles
While Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette lived in opulence, the country was starving.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Guest Author Walter Rhein #OurAuthorGang

Our Guest Author today

Walter Rhein

Walter Rhein is the author of Perseid Press release Reckless Traveler, an expat novel dealing with his adventures living and traveling in Peru. He runs the blog StreetsOfLima, and writes for Silent Sports and other print and online publications. He can be reached for comments at:

What inspired you to start writing?
Writing is a compulsion. If I don't get up in the morning and write for an hour or so, I don't feel like the day is complete. It's a nice ritual of keeping your life in order. Writing helps you to organize your thoughts and, eventually, make sense of them. If you are unable to make sense of them, you can at least arrange them in a fashion that is pleasing to look at. Sometimes the nonsensical result ends up being the best.

What genre do you write?
Dystopian Fantasy, Heroic Fantasy, Humor

Book Links:
The Reader of Acheron
Reckless Traveler

Excerpt from “The Reader of Acheron”
“Did you know there once was a time when all children were educated in a great variety of subjects?”
Kikkan shook his head.

“That building we were staying at was such a place.  It was called a school.  Every day children were brought to similar buildings in their village and separated into groups.  They were then instructed in subjects such as writing, mathematics, and history.”

“It sounds like a significant undertaking for children.”

“Concepts were simplified.  Subjects were separated and the children worked on relevant concepts for an hour or so before being dismissed to the next lesson.  These dismissals were signaled by a bell.”

Kikkan marveled at the ingenuity of it.  “It must have been wonderful.”

“It could have been,” the old man admitted, “but it wasn’t.”

“But I thought you had respect for the concept of education.”

“I do.  But these schools were not truly about education.  You see, it was all a grand deception.  Learning the skills of reading, writing and arithmetic were secondary goals.  The real purpose was to trick the children into thinking they were obtaining something useful, to get them to submit to the necessary conditioning to make them a functional workforce.  The schools were not really designed to expand the children’s minds or encourage them to embark on grand new thoughts.  No, the true purpose was to give them the most basic level of competence at rudimentary skills then train them to work in groups, conform to an hourly schedule, and obey a central authority figure.  The whole system was designed to proliferate the submissive mentality necessary for maintaining an industrialized nation.  The goal was never to create packets of individual, creative, maverick thinkers.  The system was designed to make followers not leaders; drones who willingly bowed to a higher authority – any higher authority.”

“Why was that bad?”

“Because a need for a central authority figure is an unnecessary remnant of primitive, semi-savage civilization.  Adherence to that misguided need creates a cultural ceiling that results in the prolonged, unnecessary suffering of every member of the society.”

Adam spat the last words to emphasize his disdain.

Kikkan found his head was spinning, he found he needed something to connect to.  “Were the slaves taught as well?”

“There were no slaves,” Adam replied.  The question seemed to take the wind out of him.  Then he laughed.  “Well, not officially anyway.”