Blog Navigation →

It’s Banned Books Week! You Can Help! By Banning Mine!

With apologies to Sir-Mix-A-Lot ‘I like Banned Books and I cannot lie.’ This week is Banned Books week. And as I do every year, I’m here to give you my annual take on censorship, banning books, and to also ask you why, why, why none of you people will ban one of my books. What’s up with that? I know that sounds like a contradiction. Let me explain.

There is no time. Let me sum up.

I believe in freedom of speech. I would gladly die for that freedom. Freedom of speech is a hard concept for people to comprehend. Even those who live in this country and enjoy its benefits. It means exactly that: speak freely. Unless what you are saying directly endangers someone’s life (the “yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater” example we all learned in civics class) you have the freedom to speak out on any issue.BBWLogo

But for freedom of speech to work it has to be truly free. Where we run into problems in this country is that some don’t understand this freedom applies to everyone. Every. One. And that means bigots, racists, homophobes, and fans of One Direction. They get to spew whatever crap comes out of their mouth without fear of being hauled off to prison or being muzzled or stifled.

The great flip side is that freedom is a wonderful concept that works both ways. Because I have the freedom to call those people morons. And even better, I have the right, one that I exercise with more and more frequency, to ignore them. But I don’t advocate censoring them. In fact, I don’t want any person, government or agency censoring anyone.

Why?

Because I don’t want anyone censoring me.

That’s how it works. For there to be true freedom it must mean freedom for all. Even the stupid and idiotic. The flat earthers. The religious zealots. Even the people who seek to ban and remove books from libraries and schools. Whether you or I agree with them or not. Everyone has the right to be heard, and to express their concerns. It must be this way.

Unfortunately, we live in a media driven world of shouting. If you watch the ‘news’ you’ll see everyone yelling at every one else. Right vs. Left. Red vs. Blue. Each side thinking the only solution is to silence the other. But it doesn’t work this way. Our freedom of speech has given us big giant blowhards like Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher. But you have the freedom to do what I do. Ignore them both. I have the right to wish that all the shouters would just go somewhere else and shut their cake holes.

It doesn’t mean I don’t participate in our democracy. It doesn’t mean I don’t have convictions or values. It doesn’t mean I don’t stand up and speak out and let my voice be heard on important issues. But I wish we lived in a more polite society. I choose not to shout my beliefs from the mountaintop.

In college, I took a Political Science course on the U.S. Constitution and learned about ‘expressed and implied’ rights. Expressed rights are those written down as law. Implied rights are those our courts say the law grants us, even if they are not written down. In my opinion, the most important right in the Constitution is one that is implied. It is the right to be left alone. To not be bothered. To proceed through life without being hassled by anyone. And that includes the right to read whatever books you would like.

So my advice is this. Stand up against censorship. Disagree vigorously with those who would ban and censor books, but do it respectfully and politely. If you are a parent, you should have control over what books your children have access too. You should have control over everything your child has access too. That’s a parent’s job. No argument from me.

But you should not have control over the books other parents choose to allow their children to read and enjoy. If you’re uncomfortable with a book, worried about the age appropriateness or whatever, then tell your child you don’t think they’re ready for it. You’ll let them read it when they’re older. But please don’t try to prohibit others from reading it. Maybe their child is at a different level emotionally or intellectually than yours.

The irony in all of this is that those who chose to ban books often achieve the opposite result. Much like ‘shouting’ about other issues, we only bring attention to the ignorant and profane. When someone spouts racial epithets or bigoted statements, try letting them drown in the silence of their own ignorance. Giving them attention only strengthens their voice. Who will these people speak to if no one is listening? You do not solve disagreements by shouting louder.

You change the Keeper-of-the-Grailworld by winning hearts and minds. By actions and words. By careful, conscientious, well-reasoned, fact based and thoughtful arguments.

Banned Books provide us with a perfect example of this phenomenon. When a booked is banned or challenged, it becomes an irresistible forbidden fruit. It’s sales usually rise. People want to see what all the fuss is about. As Mark Twain once said in a ‘thank you’ letter to a library that had removed one of his books from its shelves (and I’m paraphrasing) “One banned book insures the sale of one hundred of it’s mates.”

Which brings me to my books. Please ignore everything I just said and ban them. My books are dangerous. Subversive. Some of them have swear words. And those are the children’s books. (Okay, technically, ‘arse’ is not a swear word but it’s right there in The Youngest Templar). Heck, in Killer Species, one of the characters almost uses the word ‘crap’ in a sentence. He only gets to killer_speciesthe ‘cr…’ part, but still. If I were you, I would go to the local bookstore and buy every single copy of one of my books and burn them. Seriously. All of them.

Just let me know where. I’ll bring hotdogs.

 

Your Authorness

 

Friday The 13th and The Knights Templar

Today is Friday the 13th. Not only that it’s also 2013. Numerologists everywhere are passing out from the tension. Many people of the superstitious sort consider Friday the 13th to be unlucky. There are people who wear good luck charms all day and some who go so far as to refuse to leave home, lest something unlucky happen to them.

Keeper-of-the-Grail

But many don’t know that one legend of the origin of Friday the 13th as unlucky comes from the persecution of the Knights   Templar in the 14th Century. On Friday, October 13th, 1307, King Philip IV of France, in league with Pope Clement V ordered  all Templars to be rounded up and thrown in prison. The Knights were accused of numerous crimes including heresy and treason. For two hundred years the Knights Templar had been the most dominant force in Christendom, but after their defeat at the Siege of Acre and the loss of the Holy Land, their influence began to wane.

Yet they still held enormous power and great amounts of wealth. Pope Clement sought to merge the Knights Templar with the Knights Hospitaller another powerful order at the time. Neither group found such a merger ideal. And despite the loss of the Holy Land, the Templars were still a part of of everyday life in the Middle Ages. Their houses, churches and farms dotted the countryside throughout Europe. It provided employment for thousands of people. They started an international banking system that allowed nobles to deposit funds and valuables for safekeeping. And in what ultimately led to their downfall, they occasionally helped finance wars.

Philip IV borrowed enormous sums of money to finance a war with England. A poor king and an even worse military commander, Philip was easily defeated. He saw a way of both currying favor with the Pope and eliminating his huge debt. On that fateful day of Friday, October 13, 1307 he ordered all Templars arrested and their property seized. The Grandmaster of the order, Jacques DeMolay was thrown in prison along with several other high-ranking members of the order.

Their ‘trial’ was a farce. The Templars were charged with heresy, worshiping false idols and other crimes against the church. Many of them were tortured until they ‘confessed’ to their crimes. Refusing to capitulate, Jacques DeMolay would not confess and Philip ordered him burned at the stake. In 2007 the Vatican issued a proclamation declaring the Templars innocent of their alleged crimes.

The Knights Templar, which had dominated medieval life for two centuries, was no more. Unfortunately for Philip, the Templars had learned of his planned treachery before hand. Many of them escaped and their vast stores of treasure were hidden from the King’s soldiers.51prCMicvML

Another legend that has also persisted is that Jacques DeMolay, the last Grandmaster of the Order, cursed both Philip IV and Pope Clement V, as he died. Whether or not you believe in curses, both Philip and Clement died within months of DeMolay’s death.

My Youngest Templar trilogy, Keeper of the GrailTrail of Fate and Orphan of Destiny is set in the world of the Knights Templar. With legends and myths surrounding both their origin and their demise, they make irresistible fodder for a novelist. The Youngest Templar trilogy follows the story of Tristan, an orphan who becomes the squire to Sir Thomas Leux a Templar Knight, as he travels from England to the Holy Land and must undertake a secret and deadly mission.

Friday the 13th. Sounds like a good day to start reading!

 

 

 

Your authorness,
Michael P. Spradlin

Be sure to like my The Youngest Templar page on Facebook

And like my author page on Facebook

Follow me on twitter @MSpradlinAuthor

orphan-of-destiny

Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters and Killer Species Free Book Giveaway!

Dear Readers,

Big news for Killer Species: Menace From The Deep!

killer_species

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you heading out see Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters at the movie theater this weekend? If you are planning to see it at Showcase Cinemas and you’re a member of the Showcase Cinema Popcorn Club, then you could win a free copy of Killer Species: Menace From the Deep!  Showcase Cinemas will be giving away books at all of their locations while supplies last. Quantities may vary at each location but 2500 copies total will be given away this weekend! Don’t miss out!

KillerSpeciesv1

Visit the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Website!225px-PercySeamonsters

Like Killer Species on Facebook!

Follow me on twitter!

Like my author page on Facebook!

Follow me on Google+

And don’t forget to reserve your copy of Book 2 in the KILLER SPECIES series KILLER SPECIES: Feeding Frenzy!

9780545506731_p0_v1_s260x420

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ll see you at the movies!

 

Your authorness!

 

 

 

KILLER SPECIES: Feeding Frenzy…It’s swimming your way soon!

Dear Reader peeps,

It’s hard to believe it’s already August. I mean I know it happens every year. An August. But still. How did that happen?

It doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that you’ll soon be going back to school. And at school you’ll soon be having your Scholastic Book Fair. And at your Scholastic Book Fair you’ll find the next book in the Killer Species series, KILLER SPECIES: Feeding Frenzy will be featured at your school’s fair. And it will be available in bookst9780545506731_p0_v1_s260x420ores everywhere October 29!

In KILLER SPECIES: Feeding Frenzy time has passed since anyone’s heard from Dr. Catalyst. Emmet and Calvin have even begun to think that the crazed scientist might be gone for good. But then, on a snorkeling trip off the Florida coast, one of their friends is nearly drowned by an underwater monster with endless rows of razor-sharp teeth. No one is quite sure what they saw. Was it a moray eel? A giant barracuda? There’s only one thing Emmet knows for certain. Dr. Catalyst is back. And this time, he’s out for revenge.

If you missed KILLER SPECIES: Menace From The Deep you can pick up a copy at any bookstore. So be sure to keep watch for KILLER SPECIES: Feeding Frenzy. 

Also, speaking of scary critters, another great book at your Scholastic Book Fair this fall is CHUPACABRA by New York Times Bestselling Author Roland Smith. It is the next installment in his Cryptid Hunters series. A mysterious creature, a missing girl, and danger at every turn . . .

CHUPACABRA, the riveting sequel to TENTACLES and CRYPTID HUNTERS, reunites Marty and his unusual uncle, cryptozoologist Travis Wolfe, as they search the world for Wolfe’s daughter, Grace. Grace has been 17381994kidnapped by her grandfather, the ruthless and dangerous Noah Blackwood, who has also stolen the two dinosaur hatchlings Wolfe was raising in secrecy. Now, with word that the mysterious creature known as Chupacabra has been sighted again, Wolfe is torn between his obsession with finding cryptids and his desperate need to rescue his daughter. With trouble at every turn and a dangerous journey ahead, will Marty and Wolfe come face-to-face with the mythic monster? Even more frightening, will they reach Grace before it’s too late?

Don’t forget that Roland Smith and I are teaming up to co-write the next adventure in his thrilling I,Q Series. Our first collaboration I,Q: The Alamo is m_9781585368228shipping to bookstores now. So make sure you pre-order a copy from your favorite bookstore!

 

There you go! A whole year’s worth of exciting new book news! Read on!

Your authorness,

Michael P. Spradlin

Back To School Shopping…Help Me, Help You!

Those of you who have read my books, my blog, or follow me on Facebook or Twitter, have probably come to the realization that I have a pretty wacky sense of humor. It’s true. I believe that unless you have a serious medical issue, happiness is a choice. I choose to look at life through a lens of the absurd. I choose humor as my coping mechanism. That’s how I roll. And let’s face. Life is funny.

And as I age and my children have grown into young adults I find myself very nostalgic for, what for me, was a very special time of year. I’m not talking about the holidays or birthdays, which are no doubt important and enjoyable. I’m talking about shopping for Back To School supplies. Or as the very funny Staples commercial from a few years ago called it: The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.

You see, I love a good office supply. A tape dispenser. The smell of new notebooks full of college ruled lined paper. And my never ending quest for the perfect pen. I loved taking my kids shopping for school supplies. I miss it. So much that my now college age daughter allows me to visit the campus bookstore with her when we drop her off for the fall semester. She shares my office supply love.

So I thought in my never ending quest to provide you with services beyond just reading what I hope are enjoyable books, I would provide you with my picks for ten great Back To School supplies you can pick up for your little, medium or young adult sized students. And don’t bother to thank me. It’s my pleasure. (Plus you’ll find that some of them fit in with the themes of some of my books. This was not intentional).

1. Zombie Pencil Case

Everybody needs a pencil case. Where else will you keep your pencils? Think outside the pencil case this year and go with the zombie theme. You won’t be sorry. You can buy it here.

 

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 9.10.53 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Zombie Gel Pens. Yep. You heard me. Zombie Gel pens. They can be purchased here.

 

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 9.23.58 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Remember that you need to have a raincoat. You can’t go to school if it’s raining without a raincoat. So it might as well be a really cool pirate raincoat. Which you can buy here.

 

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 10.01.20 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Your student will need notebooks. Avengers notebooks will remind them to take notes and do their homework. Nuff said. Set of two can be bought here.

 

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 10.43.56 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Once school starts there will be sleep overs. So you’ll need a Batman sleeping bag. Batman will keep the messing around at sleepovers to a minimum.

 

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 10.22.07 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Your K-2 students will be working on learning the alphabet. The Monster Alphabet will teach your children well. It’s my list. I get to put my books on it if I want.

 

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 10.25.33 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Your student will probably have to do a book report. KILLER SPECIES: Menace From The Deep is perfect for a book report. It has issues like the environment, invasive species, and big scary critters. Like I said. Perfect.

killer_species

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Your student will also need pencils. Nothing beats the Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencil. Many other pencils have tried and failed. It is the Ferrari of pencils.

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 10.29.33 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. The lunch box. Or as they are called now lunch tote. Very important. So many choices. I think you’re going to want the Iron Man Lunch Tote. It’s just a guess.

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 10.33.26 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. The backpack. Also important. Think outside the backpack. Go with the Zombie Silhouette Backpack. It’s cool. No one else will have one. And it matches your pencil case.

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 10.35.57 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember. Back To School school supply shopping is fun. And now I have made it easy. Enjoy!

Your authorness