Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year 2011

Happy New Year everybody!
I hope 2011 brings you all you hope for in writing and personal goals.
See you next year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I am an E-Reader now!


I am finally an official e-reader! Yep, I got a Kindle for Christmas and  I absolutely love it. I've already downloaded two books (not including my own book, Do You?, in e-format) and I started reading last night. And here it is, here's a picture of my baby, my new kindle.


So will I continue to buy paper books? You bet! Some books I will need to have in my collection as actual books, my favorites. And as I've mentioned before, I love bookstore and I cannot spend time in a bookstore without buying something, and usually its more than just something. Remember that trip where I came out with two huge bags of books? Exactly! 

So what did I download so far to the Kindle? Well, this is the coolest part. I was able to download a copy of Midnight Sun from Stephenie Myer's website. You know, Twilight from Edward's perspective. Since someone had pirated the book before it was complete, Stephenie decided to make the draft available to fans. So that's what I'm reading now.

The Unsuspecting Mage: Book One of The Morcyth SagaThe other book I have waiting for me is The Unsuspecting Mage by Brian S. Pratt. This guy's personal story is amazing and I HAD to download his book to see what all the hubbub is about. Here's a blurb about Brian's success from Smashwords founder Mark Coker.
"...Pratt began publishing with Smashwords in early 2009. His first quarterly royalty payment was $7.82. While most authors would find that number discouraging, Pratt was encouraged. It was a start.
In the quarters since, Pratt’s earnings have grown, and in recent quarters he’s become a veritable breakout success. Last quarter, he earned over $18,000 from sales across the Smashwords retail distribution network. This quarter, with three weeks to go, he’s on track to break $25,000. He’s on track to earn over $100,000 in 2011 at Smashwords, and up to $200,000 total when he includes his projected Amazon sales."
Here's a link to the full article on Teleread if you're interested: Smashwords Author Brian S. Pratt to Earn over $100,000 in 2011

And there are so many more books I want to add to my Kindle. Squee - I am super excited!



Products mentioned:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review - Matched

I originally bought this book for one simple reason, the author, Ally Condie, got a seven figure deal for three books and  I was curious - what kind of books can garner such a deal? And now that I've read it, I know why. Not only is this first book intriguing, but it is also well-written. I couldn't put it down. The characters are well-defined, the society, which at first appears perfect, is gradually revealed as a dystopian tyranny that is starting to lose its grip on its citizens.
Matched

And yes, there's romance, but so well done. It's not like a lot of YA stories where its more about the extent of the passion that can fit between the pages, here the affection is subtle, because this is a forbidden romance by the ruling body.

Matched will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games with less of the overt violence and more elements of carefully crafted romance and  rebellion.

I highly recommend this book for all ages of YA and as an adult crossover.

Monday, December 27, 2010

What Are You Looking to Accomplish in 2011?

The countdown is on to the new year - what are you most hoping to accomplish in 2011?

For me, this is the year to sign with an agent and start the inital stages of publication. I'm just putting it out there into the universe, calling it into being. My revisions are nearly complete on my current manuscript and I feel really good about the novel as a whole. Once its ready, then I will polish the pitch and start submitting. I also anticipate finishing revisions on my next manuscript, the one I started during NaNoWriMo. So I plan on 2011 being a big year. So what about you, what's your focus for 2011?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Judging Books by Their Covers

CBS' Sunday Morning did a segment last weekend entitled, Judging Books by Their Covers. I thought I'd share the link: Judging Books by Their Covers

A book cover's image can be worth a thousand words - and more, if it entices you to buy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What Book Are You Most Anticipating for 2011?

I have one book at the top of my list, but what book are you most anticipating for 2011?

Across the Universe

For me it's Across The Universe by Beth Revis. I mean how can it not be on the top of the list, have you read the first chapter?!

So what about you - do you have a book that you just can not wait to read in the new year?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cool Product - AquaNotes

How many of you have had major epiphanies in the shower? I mean the kind that pulls all of your story plotlines together. 

me! me! me!

But then by the time the shower is done, you have to scramble to jot down all the ideas before you lose them. So what if you could jot them down while you're in the shower? 

Well have you guys seen this? This is the coolest thing ever...a waterproof notepad that you can keep in the shower. Oh boy do I want one of these!

Write It!

"AquaNotes® is a waterproof notepad that allows you to record your great ideas while you're in the shower. It's so durable you can even write underwater. They're recyclable, environmentally friendly, and the notepad is printed with soy-based ink." - as quoted from the AquaNotes website


What a cool idea!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Revisions and My Cat

I'm working on revisions for page 127 of my manuscript, and my cat, Felix, is keeping me company. Isn't he just the cutest writing mascot every?!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Have You Ever Wondered?

Have you ever read a book that was a bestseller and wondered why?

Or better yet, have you ever read a book that wasn't a best seller and wondered why not?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Book Review - No Mercy by Sherrilyn Kenyon


No Mercy (Dark-Hunter)This was my first Sherrilyn Kenyon book so I didn't know what to expect as far as story and writing style, and immediately found myself immersed in a world of paranormal romance & urban fantasy. No Mercy is a New York Times & USA Today Bestseller.

Here's my take on some of the Pros and Cons as a first time reader of the Dark Hunter series.
Pros: I enjoyed the attraction between Dev & Sam and found myself wanting more of that element of the story. The sexual tension is well-done and its nice to see a strong female character in the lead role.
Cons: There were moments in the story that I felt were rushed and could have been explored in more detail. I also found it hard to keep track of so many characters with such varied and complex backgrounds, but since this story is an offshoot of so many other stories, followers of Ms. Kenyon's work would probably not have the same issue.

As a side note, I found the author's story inspiring. To see someone who has been able to rise above the challenges and prove the naysayers wrong gives the rest of us hope that its possible. And for that, eventhough this book has not made it onto my favorites list, I would pick up another of her stories in the future.

Note: This book is not for younger readers as there is strong sexual content.



Monday, December 13, 2010

Contest Alert - Writers Digest Poetry Awards

Only a couple days left before the deadline of the 2010 Writers Digest Poetry Awards. So if you've got some poetry sitting in a drawer and nowhere to send it, maybe consider this contest.

FIRST PLACE:
A trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City, $500 cash, publication in Writer’s Digest, and a copy of the 2011 Poet’s Market. Enter the only Writer’s Digest competition exclusively for poets. Whatever your style—rhyming, free verse, haiku or something else—as long as your poems are 32 lines or fewer, we want them all!
DEADLINE: DECEMBER 15, 2010
For more information, or to enter the contest, go to: WritersDigest.com/poetryawards

Friday, December 10, 2010

Anatomy of Discovering New Books & Authors - Advertising to Purchase

Anatomy of Discovering New Books & Authors - how do you find the books you add to your reading list?
Precious and Fragile Things 
This is going to be a recurring segment in my quest to better understand the ways that books make it to their readers. As a prolific reader myself, what better way to understand this then to analyze how I discover new authors and books that make it to my reading list.

So, I opened my email this morning and discovered an ad from Publishers Weekly, dedicated to a book called Precious and Fragile Things by Megan Hart.

Here's a copy of the ad:
I had never heard of the book or of its author. The first thing that caught my attention was the cover. It was beautiful and haunting and drew me in. The type & title suggested a story that might interest me. I wanted to know more. So I read the blurb in the ad. Interesting. I clicked the link to read an excerpt and was immediately brought to Megan Hart's website which led me to a longer blurb about the book. I liked the premise, sounded like an interesting storyline, I was curious to see how this story might play out. I clicked the link to read an excerpt.  I liked the writing style, and the excerpt help to illustrate the relationship between the two main characters. And that's where I was hooked. Once I read the excerpt I knew I wanted to get the book. From there I clicked the link to find out where the book could be purchased and found that it's not out until January but available for preorder. And the book is now on my "to read" list.  

So from advertisement to ordering, this book had just the right things in-between to give me, as a reader, what I needed to want to read this book. Without the proper blurb, or even without the excerpt, I think I might have said "interesting" but maybe not taken it to "must-read". This was an important lesson in understanding how every little portion of a book's online presence (and even the book cover and writing style) are so important in attracting readers.

In addition to adding the book to my reading list, I even posted a link on twitter and added the book to Goodreads. And I'm talking about the book here. So that's advertising dollars that are going even further. And that's the kind of perpetual marketing an author wants. That's the kind of marketing that even an advertisement can't track, but is so important in getting the word out to as many potential readers as possible.


To order from Amazon: Precious and Fragile Things


Monday, December 06, 2010

Books - Cornerstones Of Our Life

I was perusing my bookshelves the other day, and my eyes stopped at two books sitting side-by-side, the earliest books in my collection, ones I've had since I was little. My parents used to read Aesop's Fables to me; it's the only book I remember hearing as a child, and as you can see from the picture below, it's worn and falling apart. And now I've started reading it to my son. It's stories continue. The other book is called "The Lord Is My Shepherd". This book was a great comfort to me during some difficult challenges in my childhood. Religious or not, the book on its own has been important to me. And I now pass down its messages to my son as well.

Great stories and sentimental value, these books are cornerstones of my life. And isn't that another element of what books offer, they are like stops on a timeline of life. Each book can store memories that we instill into it because of what was happening to us at the time of its reading. And if we pass the stories on to our children, and lessons and memories along with it, then we connect the dots between the present and the past.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Book Review - Torment

Torment by Lauren Kate
Torment (Fallen)
This is the second book in the Fallen series. In this book we are still left with many unanswered questions about Luce and her true part in the struggle for good and evil. And it seems we'll have to wait for the third book (Passion, released Summer 2011) to finally get some of the important questions answered.

In Torment, Luce is moved to a new school for her own protection. We see less of Daniel here as he is off protecting Luce from those who are trying to kill her. In his absence, Luce develops a strong friendship with a new character, Miles as well as other new characters from the new school. Luce is curious about her past and in her quest to learn about her past lives, she makes some decisions that affect her safety and the safety of the friends that surround her. The Announcers play a larger role in this book as well.

Overall I enjoyed the book although the pacing slowed down a bit in the middle. The battle towards the end was done really well and the way it was resolved was very creative.

I'm looking forward to book three.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Publication - Dying, On The Snow

Woo-hoo! I'm so excited! My Poem "Dying, On The Snow" has been published in the literary journal, Dark Eye Glances. For those curious to read my write-up in the journal and read the poem, here's the link.


Dark Eye Glances logo

Dark Eye Glances is a quarterly literary magazine of dark poetry. To read the works of other poets in this issue, click here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gift Ideas for Writers

Don't know what to get for the writer in your life? Check out these ideas:

15 Gifts for Writers and Readers- For the Holidays or Any Day! (Ideas for Your Writer-Reader

By Allena Tapia, About.com Guide)

The Writer's Toolbox: Creative Games and Exercises for Inspiring the 'Write' Side of Your Brain
Writing Gifts at Shakespeare's Den  Find the perfect writing gift. Keep the fine art of writing alive by inspiring someone you know to keep on writing. From glass pens to journals, from elegant to humorous, you're sure to find perfect gifts for the writers on your list.



18 Gifts for Writers (By Jen Leo at Written Road)
 
Gotham Writers Workshop: Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide From New York's Acclaimed Writing SchoolTop 11 Gifts for Writers (Holiday Gifts for Writers, By Ginny Wiehardt, About.com Guide)
 
Gotham Writers Workshop: Gotham Writers' Workshop - online classes and on site in NYC and Gotham Shops Gifts for Writers

Writing Magazine subscriptions: Poets & Writers, The Writer Magazine, Writers Digest

Christmas Gifts for Writers - Creative and Unique Present Ideas for Aspiring Authors, by Rebekah Richards

Amazon - Books & Tools for writers
 
Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4036 LED TruBrite 14-Inch Laptop (Black)Zazzle - Gifts for writers
 



And finally, just remember that the best way to support a writer is to buy their book!

Monday, November 29, 2010

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. I was lucky to spend time with family, enjoy some great food, and share some special traveling time with my husband and son.

And once I got home, I was also able to put in the final words I needed to complete NaNoWriMo for this year.

Yah!

My goal in doing NaNoWriMo this year was to create a rough draft of my next novel so that once revisions were completed on the current manuscript, I'd have a next novel to start right away. And now that NaNoWriMo is done, I feel confident that I have the foundations for a great second novel.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

25 Blogs Every Aspiring Novelist Should Read

Just a quick post today to pass on a link. This was brought to my attention  and I wanted to pass it on.

25 Blogs Every Aspiring Novelist Should Read is a strong compilation of blogs that are focused on writing and the publishing industry.

I hope you find this as helpful as I did.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My NaNoWriMo update

36,749 words for NaNoWriMo so far and I'm still on track to complete by November 30th. How is everyone else faring?


Monday, November 22, 2010

Book Review - Fallen by Lauren Kate

Book Review - Fallen by Lauren Kate

FallenThis book took its time building the characters and creating a normal teenage existence within the story before it revealed much about the celestial elements. Readers learn the details only when Luce, the main character, learns about them, and this follows all the way to the end of the book when it appears there is much more to learn. 

The character development of Luce, in particular, is well done, and it was interesting that the second main character, Daniel, doesn't come into play as much until the end. The story is essentially about fallen angels and the battle that is being waged outside of heaven, but this book felt more like a foundation for the furtherance of that story in book two.

There is a sense that a lot is left unresolved in the story, but my hope is that those things will be addressed in book two.

I enjoyed Fallen immensely and liked the character development most of all. Before I had even finished this first book, I bought book two, Torment, as I knew I'd want to continue the story right away to see how it plays out.

Great read, but one that definetly needs to be continued to book two (which is a great thing for those of us that love engrossing stories that continue on!).

Recommended read for anyone who enjoys young adult supernatural love stories.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kirkus Reviews 2010 Best Books for Teens & Children


Kirkus Reviews launched it's annual list of Best Books for Teens & Children yesterday. I've included the links below. The first thing I did for myself was mark off the ones I've read and the ones I need to add to my "to read" list.

2010 Best Books for Children

2010 Best Books for Teens

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Writing Tool - wallwisher

I stumbled on this and wanted to share. It's called wallwisher and essentially it allows you to create a wall of post-its on your computer. The post-its can even include pictures and headings. This could be useful for brainstorming, character development, chapter overview, etc.



Here's the link, check it out.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Writing Spaces

There are a myriad of places I go when it's time to write, some more common than others.  Here are some pictures of my most common and favorite writing spots. 

This is my writing area at home...


 
...and my writing board with notes on the current
manuscript as well as ideas for future stories.


 
This is Felix, a common contributor to my work . He's
been known to add his own lines by walking over the keyboard.



Yes, that's me sitting with my laptop during a lunch
break cranking out as many words as I can in an hour.
Luckily this spot gives me a great view of the park and
lot's of inspiration.

Camping and writing - a great combination!
Every year I go on a family camping trip and one of my
favorite places to write is by the crackling fire.

Starbucks is another one of my favorite spots.
This is me working on revisions, and a Chai Tea Latte.

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Book - Night Star - Available November 16th

Night Star (The Immortals) Available November 16th from St. Martin's Press is Alyson Noël's latest release in her widely loved 'Immortals' series, 'Night Star'.


"Night Star continues the epic love story that has enchanted readers across the world. In this installment, Ever and Damen face down bitter rivals, jealous friends and their own worst fears—all in the hope of being together forever. Night Star is guaranteed to mesmerize fans and leave them breathlessly awaiting the sixth and final book!"


Immortals Series Website
Immortals Series Facebook Fan Page


And I am lucky to have access to the book trailer and share it with you. Here it is:

Friday, November 12, 2010

What Are You Reading?

With such a varied group of people following this blog, I'm curious to see what everyone is reading right now. I usually fly through books, but I have to admit that my reading has slowed since NaNoWriMo started.

Fallen

Anyway, I'll start...I just picked up Fallen by Lauren Kate, and can't wait to devour it. Your turn, what are you reading?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

All This Talk About NaNoWriMo

There's a lot of talk on the web about National Novel Writing Month(NaNoWriMo), the month long event where the goal is to write a novel that is 50,000 words or more. Some folks are for it and praise the event as a great way to crank out a novel in 30 days, while others say it ecourages writing that is unstructured and just plain trash.

Here's a piece from the Los Angeles Times written by Carolyn Kellogg titled, "12 Reasons to Ignore the Naysayers: Do NaNoWriMo" . In Ms. Kellogg's article she counters one naysayer in particular, Salon writer Laura Miller in her rant titled, "Better Yet, DON'T Write That Novel."

And here's another advocate for the event, Marjorie Kehe from The Christian Science Monitor: "NaNoWriMo: Five Reasons Why You Should Participate".  And then another opinion on the down sides by bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater, "My NaNoWriMo Anti-pep-talk".

Lot's of opinions on the subject; the above are just a sampling. For me, I think the event has a lot of great qualities & potential drawbacks, the best I've listed below:
  • -Benefit: For writers trying to break the "edit as you go" habit, NaNo is the perfect framework to do it. It forces you to simply draft a story with little care for anything but story development. This could include character develpment, scenes, world building, dialogue, etc
  • -Drawback: Words on a paper do not a story make. In other words, if you think that you'll have a completed novel on December 1st then you've missed the whole point. NaNoWriMo creates a draft, a very rough first draft. Alot of work lies ahead in order to shape up that draft into a cohesive, well-written novel.
  • -Drawback: If you don't write smart, most of your novel will end up in the recycle bin, which could get frustrating and make you question the validity of doing such an event. What do I mean? Just because you put all these words on paper, are you still thinking about what makes a good story? You need to make sure you're working on the elements of a novel. The title of the event is National NOVEL Writing Month. Not National Dribble Writing Month. Don't write words for the sake of writing words just to get your word counts up and reach 50,000 words. Winning NaNoWriMo by doing that doesn't benefit anyone, least of all you. Your goal should be to have a drafted novel, something that can be revised into a book that could be published. So remember what makes a good story, and don't get so trapped into word counts that the novel doesn't get written.
  • -Benefit: NaNo forces you to set daily writing goals. This is important for anyone serious about making writing into a career. You must have goals and force yourself to write even if you're not in the mood to do it, even if you feel uninspired. Those are the times you need to write the most. You wouldn't go two weeks without going to your job would you? No, because you wouldn't get paid. Same for writing, except here all the work is frontloaded, and if done right, the pay-off comes at the end.
  • -Drawback: It's easy to get discouraged when some participants crank through their novels and you're still moving along at a slow pace. If you're not careful you can sabatoge not only your motivation in this competition but also in your other writing as well. Compare yourself only if it helps you get where you need to be. Understand your writing capacity and set writing goals to match it. Perhaps you can crank out more words on the weekend than you can during the week - set your goals accordingly. No two writers think alike, write alike, or approach a novel the same way.
  • -Benefit: There's a great community of writers drawn to NaNoWriMo. Writing is a lonely endeavor, so to be able to connect with others who share your interest is a rewarding feeling. Befriending NaNo writing buddies could help you forge relationships with writings that could become critique partners for the rest of the year. Also, the community offers encouragement on days when the doubts creep in or your word counts are low. Many of the regional/local NaNo groups offer links to tools like Name Generators and schedule local write-ins.
  • -Drawback: The community can easily become distracting, and this can take you away from the actual point of the event which is writing. So be careful not to devote excessive time to your buddy list or local NaNo Facebook page, find the balance that works for you.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Writing Practice = Adapting & Changing

Usually I'm terrible at writing anywhere other than in an absolutely quiet room. But lately I've been overcoming that handicap and now I'm finding my brain a bit more flexible when it comes to cranking out the words.

On Saturday I had a writing session with a friend in Starbucks and I was able to write for 3 solid hours without getting hung up on the surrounding noise. Now it could be because I'm drafting a new story as opposed to revising - that might be the difference. But, I just found it interesting that the more I write, my writing styles adapt and change along the way. Just wanted to share!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Contest Alert - WD Short Short Story Competition

11th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition

$3,000 Grand Prize

Deadline: December 1, 2010
For guidelines, prizes and to enter online, click here.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

NaNoWriMo is Underway!

NaNoWriMo is fully underway! After the first day I'm right on target. I logged in 1697 words on the new story and I was able to squeeze in about an hour of revisions on my current manuscript too.

Who else is on this crazy roller coaster ride for November?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Signed R.L. Stine Book Contest - Winner Announced

Let's start with the title of the book that everyone was trying to guess in the "Win A Signed R.L. Stine Book Contest" from last week, and that title is, "The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight". It seemed appropriate for Halloween with the pumpkin head picture on the front cover.

The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight (Classic Goosebumps)And now for the winner. Since the title was not guessed correctly, the winner's name was drawn at random from the participants that commented with a guess. Drum roll please...and the winner is...Terin Tashi Miller!

Congratulatios Terin! A signed copy of "The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight" is on it's way to you.

Thanks to everyone who participated. And watch the blog for more contests in the future.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Win A Signed R.L. Stine Book

In honor of Halloween this weekend, I'm running a contest here on the blog. The prize is a signed copy of an R.L. Stine book. The first person to guess the title of the book wins the prize. Easy right! But of course there are a few rules:
1. Only one guess per person. But, I will allow guesses by friends for you as long as they comment on the blog under their name. If they become a winner, they can let me know where the book can be sent (directly to you if needed). So if friends post answers for you it makes your chances at winning unlimited!
2. Answers can be submitted by commenting on this blog
3. If no one guesses the correct answer, then the names of everyone who places a guess will be gathered and a winner will be drawn randomly from amongst them.
4. Answers will be accepted until someone guesses the correct answer or October 31st at midnight (whichever comes first).
Hints:
1. It's a children's book
2. It's not a title that has been previously mentioned on this blog before.
Good luck!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

3 days until NaNoWriMo

Three days! Three days to NaNoWriMo and I'm freaking out a little bit. Why? Because I have officially decided to devote November to both crafting the first draft of a new book AND revising my current book...at the same time! It's going to a challenge and I'll have to push myself a lot particularly since I do work full time, and work a freelance job, and take care of a son and a husband as well as a cat and 4 fish. Phew! It's going to be exhausting. But if I can pull it off, it will be a great month for writing.

Good luck to all my fellow NaNoWriMo participants!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What is an author's "voice"?

I came across a great post this morning and wanted to share it here. If you haven't read this one yet, it's a must read for all writers. Ever wondered what it means to have an author's voice? Well, this post tackles that question and explains what "voice" means as deciphered from several perspectives.

So check it out, "Authorial Voice: the many hued definitions".

Monday, October 25, 2010

Revision Frenzy

Last week I slacked off a bit and didn't get nearly as much writing done as I should have, so this week is going to be a Revision Frenzy. I am determined to get a huge chunk completed by October 31st.

And can I admit I'm a bit torn about what to do come November 1st. I want to create this rough first draft for my next book during NaNoWriMo and yet I still have this huge task of finishing revisions of the current novel. My husband thinks I should skip the new story and stick with the old story. And he has a valid point. I DO want to get it done already. But last year's NaNoWriMo proved to be such a huge success for me in that I had this great first draft in 30 days. My plan this year was to have the next book at least in rough draft form so once I start submitting book 1 to agents, then I can already be starting revisions on a book two at the same time.

And then I started thinking, well can I do both? I must be crazy. C-R-A-Z-Y! To even think that. Both projects on their own are time intensive enough.

I'm not really sure what to do, other than revise like crazy this week and see where I'm at on Sunday.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Why Don't More Adults Read?

I love books; love to write them and love to read them. And because I surround myself with people who enjoy the same, I found it surprising when I came across the following statistics from the book, THE ODDS What Are The Chances by Thomas J. Craughwell.
  • 14% of adults with a grade school education read literature
The ODDS - What are the Chances?So that got me thinking...why? Why don't more adults read when reading is a great way to learn and a great way to escape. And then I found these statistics that may help explain it, scary as they are.
Ok, here's the glincher:
  •  21 million Americans can't read at all, 45 million are marginally illiterate and one-fifth of high school graduates can't read their diplomas. (statistics listed by The Literacy Company)
Yowzer! So how do we change this? There's got to be a way. The statistics just leave me baffled.