Monthly Archives: May 2013

Check Out the New Digs

Well, as you can see, the website has changed a bit. We will be back soon with regular posts, but we wanted to take a moment and bask in the new website smell. If you have a moment, tell me what you think of the look (hate it, love it, either way). And thanks again for even being here.

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The Official Blog of The Reluctant Blogger

Welcome to the official website of both author Ryan Rapier, and his debut novel, THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER, a story about family, faith, relationships…and other things that can lead to therapy.

Author Carol Lynn Pearson calls THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER, “A delightful gift from a skilled writer and insightful observer of life in Mormondom. THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER invites us to the high and holy calling of laughing at ourselves and loving ourselves pretty much at the same time. Highly Recommended!

Eric Samuelsen, playwrite and former president of the Association of Mormon Letters, exclaims, “Man, I liked this book. [It’s] Warm and human and real. I read it in one afternoon. I just couldn’t put it down.”

Get a copy today wherever LDS books are available or by clicking on the links to internet retailers located on the right hand side of this blog.

WARNING: While this blog is the official blog of author, Ryan Rapier, the postings located below do not necessarily focus entirely on his book nor on writing in general. Topics below can range from politics to sports to family life minutiae to…whatever random subject might be on the author’s mind. If you are looking for helpful hints on writing, reviews of other author’s works or anything else in between, there is a large potential for disappointment.

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It’s a Mom’s World

I know I am going to take it on the chin for this one…but so be it.

I serve as 2nd counselor in the bishopric of my ward in Thatcher, AZ. Our bishopric has been in now for just over four years and so we just experienced our fifth Mother’s Day. I love my wife and I love my mother and I have no problem taking a day to appreciate all that mothers do for their families. But as with all good things in this world, even the greatest traditions need a review now and then to make sure they are operating in the most effective way. I think we have arrived at this place with regard to Mother’s Day. My reasoning? Well…

1. Every ward I know of gives away something to every adult female in their congregation. I have no problem with this. But over the last few years, I have heard some grumblings. (Not all of these are necessarily from my ward. In fact, most are not.) Some folks are upset if they don’t get chocolate. Some are upset if they do get chocolate because what are we suggesting? That all women should eat sweets and get fat? Or if we give out potted flowers that can be planted. Why did they do that? We live in Arizona. They are just going to die anyway? Why did they give me a single carnation? Now I have to carry this around all day while trying to get to get my kids to class…

REALLY?

How about we give the mothers in our ward the exact same thing we give our fathers on Father’s Day. BIG FAT NOTHING!!! It’s a free gift of appreciation for heaven’s sake, not an annual bonus.

Now again, I want to emphasize that the grumbling I have heard comes from a small minority. But isn’t that the way this always works? The small minority makes all the noise. Nevertheless, the grumbling is out there.

2. There is a notion that exists that no woman should have to speak in church on Mother’s Day. There is also the feeling among some that Mother’s Day is the worst Sunday of the year for women because every woman in the ward has to sit there and listen to somebody talk about their perfect mother. In comparison, they always feel like they come up short. It can be depressing. Well, can we think through this for a moment.

Little boys love their mothers. When those little boys grow up, they still love their mothers and are very protective of them. Aren’t some of the biggest struggles in many marriages born out of the comparison a man makes between his wife and his mother? So with that in mind, doesn’t it seem silly to say that only men should speak on Mother’s Day? Because what are they going to talk about? Ummm… their perfect mother! I’m just saying, ladies. You might want to rethink the adult female speaking ban.

3. Let’s review the history of Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day was established in 1917. It would be another fifty years before Father’s Day would be officially recognized. Many of the traditions surrounding Mother’s Day were formed in a time when Father’s provided and Mother’s nurtured. In other words, men didn’t do jack at home. It would make sense then, that under those circumstances, it would be a good thing for a man to take on all the responsibilities that were expected of a mother so that every man could be reminded of all the things he was lucky he didn’t have to do on a daily basis. Meanwhile, to give fathers a day to recline in their chair and take a nap, watch sports or just laze around in general was…probably not that different from most other Sundays.

But times have changed. The responsibilities have blurred. If I were to tell my wife that I was the man of the house and therefore I don’t do diapers, don’t fold laundry and most especially never clean the kitchen, I would quickly become the man outside of the house. On the flip side, many mothers now find themselves in the work place and sharing the responsibility of providing for the family. Yet, the traditional ways of celebrating both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day remain fixed.

Maybe for women everywhere, this is fine. Maybe they are happy with the way we approach Mother’s Day. I certainly don’t have a problem with it. I’m happy to continue with things as they are. But can we please stop with the sanctimonious pap about how much women do and men don’t do. (This sanctimonious pap as I call it has never come from my wife. I want that firmly established in the record.) It’s getting old. Most couples I know are attacking the day to day of life and surviving any way they can. When one needs help, they look to the other and are able to expect their partner to be there picking up the slack regardless of whether it is a “man’s responsibility” or “women’s work.”

Now, I’m sure that many will see my rant as anti-female or mysogynistic in some way. I don’t mean it to be. But at the same time, I do have a couple of issues.

As with any kind of type of recognition, I worry we have reached the stage where we have crossed from gratitude to expectation. When a gift is met with, “Why didn’t…” or a request is met with, “I’m a woman and I shouldn’t have to…” I believe something is wrong. I’m not trying to pick on anybody, because this is not an individual thing. This is the expectation I hear the world over.

Also, I’m sorry, but not every man is a worthless lump who is barely hanging on thanks to the herculean efforts of a woman. My wife will do some very nice things to recognize me in five weeks, but society at large? We just went through a massive advertising campaign of, “Shower her with gifts. Get her expensive jewelry. Let her know how much you truly care.” On Father’s Day, pay attention. It will be, “Let dad know he isn’t too bad of a schlub after all. Get him some socks and a card.” End of story. (The obvious exception will be the advertisers for all camping, hunting, fishing and other mancentric retailers, but they will be drowned out by the majority.)

There is a good chance I will regret this post, but, oh well. After five years of trying to please people besides my wife on Mother’s Day, I’m not sure I care anymore.

*****

There is no way to tie this to THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER, and I’m not sure I would want to anyway. But to anyone coming upon this website for the first time, look for my debut novel, THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER to arrive in bookstores on August 13. It is available for pre-order on Amazon.com by clicking here. Please rest assured that my views on Mother’s Day and gender roles in general are not topics in the book.

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Changes for the Home Stretch

One of the pieces of advice I received when I started shopping THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER to different publishers was to make sure I had a blog. At the time, another blog of mine already existed, but it was much more personal and family-oriented in nature. So, I started this blog with the idea that it would serve as my “author” blog.

Once I had the blog up and running, the next piece of advice I received was that I needed to make sure that I blogged on a regular basis. If I went too long between entries, the blog would cease to be effective. Another article I read also suggested that not only should I be active, but I should be predictably active. The idea is that a blog will attract regular readers much more readily if they can know on a regular basis when they should expect new entries.

For about eight months now, I have tried to do this. To be honest, I’m not sure if anybody noticed but me. But I did it because it is an industry norm. Or so I’m told.

Well, the truth is, I have noticed its effectiveness.  When I started this blog, I was lucky if 15 to 20 people read an entry. Now, on average, a typical entry will get around 50 to 60 views on day one and anywhere from 20 to 30 in the next two days following. Numbers that are certainly not setting the world on fire, but pretty decent considering where I started.

Now, one thing I have noticed is that I have been pretty consistent about publishing a blog post on Monday. I haven’t been quite as consistent with blogging on Thursday (sometimes it slips to Friday and sometimes I have missed altogether), but I have noticed that my Monday posts are routinely more widely read than my Thursday or Friday posts. I don’t know why, but they are.

So, taking into account the numbers and the fact that I am running out of things to say, moving forward, I am going to blog each Monday and that will probably be it. (I fully understand that most people’s response will be, “What is he talking about? Does he honestly think we care when he posts stuff? What kind of ego driven maniac are dealing with here?”)

The reason I am putting this out there (to be completely frank about the marketing strategy I am trying to employ) is to hopefully maximize my efforts with those who have become somewhat regular readers. If they know when to expect something, they will be less likely to miss it. Not every post between now and August will be book related, but the reason this is important is that when they are book related, I am then dependent on those regular readers to help me disseminate some of the more “Major Announcement” kind of things that will be coming in the next few weeks as the release for THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER is now a mere three months away.

What kind of announcements? Well, the cover art should be done very shortly. A new look to the website that will more effectively promote the book will be up soon. Short previews of the novel itself will appear in some posts and hopefully announcements of positive reviews (that’s a big assumption, I know) will post here as well.

But here is my huge request. If you are a friend, family member or complete stranger who is marginally excited for the release of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER, I really need your help in the coming months. I realize these requests are unfair as they are favors I will likely never be able to repay. But I ask because as anybody who is trying to make their dream a reality in this new world of social media knows: one extra share or one extra like can be the difference of something going viral or something going stagnant. So here are my requests.

1. Share and like posts that deal with “major” announcements regarding THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER.

2. Invite people to “like” my author page, preferably more than once. (Invite more than once, not like)

3. Hopefully some author signings will be announced. If you are one of those people who doesn’t like to pre-order things or distrusts putting your credit card on the internet and happens to live in one of those areas where a signing is announced, please (yes, I have fully reached begging mode here) take the opportunity to visit that store where the signing is scheduled and request a copy be ordered for you ahead of the book’s release. Currently, only one is scheduled for sure and that is the book’s release party at Bookworms Bookstore in Thatcher, AZ.

4. If you live in a state other than Arizona or Utah, I’m probably not gonna be signing anywhere near you. If you have plans to purchase the book, please consider purchasing the book now as a pre-0rder from Amazon.com. You can do so by clicking here.  Pre-order numbers affect the efforts in marketing the book by the publisher as well as bookstores that will consider stocking a book.

If you are a person who hates to be “that guy” or “that girl” who pushes things on their friends and family, I understand. If you would prefer to not “like” every post or not suggest people follow my page, I get it. I won’t let my kids sell their latest PTO stuff door to door because I don’t want my neighbors to feel pressured. I totally understand. But if you think you might be buying this book, this last request is the request that matters most. If you do pre-order it, whether it be through a bookstore or on-line, I thank you more than I can express. It means a great deal to me.  Really, Thank You.

Lastly, thank you to everyone who has been so supportive. I hope when the final product lands in your hands you aren’t extremely let down. If you have followed this blog regularly, then you probably have a good idea of what to expect from the writing. Except now there will be a story included. I can’t believe it is coming so quickly. Thanks again everybody, for all the support you’ve provided and for anything you may do going forward. You’re great.

For anyone hoping for a less pushy post, all I can offer is my latest post from last Thursday in case you missed it. (It wasn’t a Monday post, so it is likely that you did.)

THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER arrives August 13, 2013. Ryan Rapier the author’s facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/ryanrapierauthor. As noted above, it can currently be pre-ordered on Amazon.com. Just think parents, it will be here just in time for you to enjoy as you send your kids back to school.

 

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This Mail Bag (Blog Post) is a Complete Ripoff

Do you enjoy being frightened? If so, I encourage you to google the phrases, “book blog” or “book reviews”. Go ahead, do it. I’ll wait.

Okay, assuming that your head didn’t just explode from an overload of information you couldn’t possibly process, and you were able to make it back to this post, you are now likely sitting there stunned at the number of people who blog about writing books, reading books, reviewing books they’ve read or some combination of the three. In fact, what you may not have seen, but trust me when I tell you it does exist, are blogs who sell a service known as book blasting where they will coordinate with a number of other blogs on an author’s behalf, so that your book will be featured on a large number of blogs at the same time. To a first time author, it’s overwhelming, believe me.

Now one of the things that is common on a lot of these blogs are “interviews” with different authors.  What this consists of is the blogger providing a list of questions to an author, who then fills out answers to said questions before e-mailing them back to the blogger. These interviews tend to be pretty generic (as one might expect) and often consist of questions like, “Favorite ice cream flavor” or “Dogs or cats”. At least that is what I have seen on the LDS book blogs. Maybe on other blogs, they move into the more provocative questions like, “Boxers or briefs”, but the truth is, I don’t know. I didn’t look.

But a common thing I hear a lot is that you have to get yourself out there, and these interviews are a way to do that. Well, that got me thinking. You know what would be way more fun than answering generic interview questions? Answering questions from all of my faithful readers and followers. It’s a concept that was designed by one of my favorite sports writers, Bill Simmons. But then I realized, in order for this concept to work, you actually have to have faithful readers and followers.

Or do you?

So, in a continued effort to “get myself out there”, I will be answering questions that cover a wide range of topics that interest me that have been submitted by my faithful fans…all of whom I have made up…along with their questions. We’ll see how this goes.

Do you believe it was an affront to Jesus and Christians everywhere when Denver traded Tim Tebow in order to have a chance at signing Peyton Manning?  B. Graham – Charlotte, NC

No, I do not. I believe the Denver Broncos are now the front runners to win the 2014 Super Bowl. If they had kept Tim Tebow, this would not be the case.

Follow up question: Does your lack of faith in Tim Tebow imply that you hate Jesus?

I sincerely hope not. But I will admit to hating all thing associated with the Florida Gators.

Are you a regular user of DoTerra oils?  M. Kay – Dallas, TX

No, I am not. I have heard great things about their products, but my only experience with them was when I accepted a small sample of an oil that claimed to be an aphrodisiac. However, after applying the oil, my wife reported absolutely no difference in my behavior. I apparently was as pushy and obnoxious as usual. In hindsight, maybe this experiment was a bad one to base any kind of judgment on.

Twitter or Facebook?  M. Zuckerberg – Palo Alto, CA

I recognize the possible irony of my answer as this post will go out via Twitter, but I will definitely have to go with Facebook. Maybe I am showing my age, but the whole point of Twitter is kind of lost on me. With Facebook, I feel a little like it is a huge family and school and mission reunion all rolled into one. I can have back and forth conversations with a lot of different people I have known over the years or just choose to peruse/stalk people’s lives that I have an interest in.

With Twitter, it’s different. To me, it feels like I walk into a room where every single person I am “following” is shouting at each other without taking the time to listen to what anyone else is saying. Having said that, anyone who found this post through Twitter, I obviously was not referring to you. So please be sweet and retweet. (As an aside, the best part of Twitter is also its worst feature: the easy retweet. It’s great when I want to share something without much hassle, but there are some people out there who sit and retweet everything anyone they are following has ever said. It’s ridiculous. I once saw someone brag-tweet that they had been cut off for exceeding their maximum tweets for one day. You have to be well into the triple digits to have that happen to you. And to be proud of that? Searching for a life might possibly be in order.)

What is your favorite movie?  S. Spielberg – Hollywood, CA

(Upfront, I admit that this question is barely a step up from “Favorite Ice Cream” but I don’t care, I wanted to answer it.)

When it comes to favorite movie, I think everyone should be allowed to take a Golden Globes approach as opposed to an Oscar approach, in that everyone should be allowed to have their favorite movie and then their favorite comedy or musical. If a comedy is your favorite movie, there is a possibility you may need more depth as a person. Or at least learn how to lie so it sounds like you have more depth.

Anyway, my favorite comedy or musical would have to be Maverick. I’m still despondent that a sequel was never made. As far as my overall favorite movie, for years and years it was The Hunt for Red October. But since 2008, that honor has belonged to The Dark Knight. (Any and all comments regarding my depth will respectfully be kept to yourself.)

Do you believe that the re-election of Barack Obama as president is a sign that western civilization as we knew it is over?  R. Limbaugh – Palm Beach, FL

No. I believe we reached that point when more than 5 people on earth found Kathy Griffin to be humorous in any way.

What was your favorite part about writing a book?  J. Grisham – Oxford, MS

The bitter arguments that nearly ripped apart my marriage when my wife would be forced to tell me that something I  had written wasn’t very good. She was always right, which only made hearing it that much worse.

What is your deepest, darkest secret that embarrasses  you still today?  O. Winfrey – Chicago, IL

That the character of Edward Cullen is actually based on me during my college days.

Follow up: Are you serious?

Of course not. What kind of moron shares their deepest, darkest secret with the world on a blog. Now if it was Cosmopolitan, People or OK magazine, that would be different.

What historical event, that happened during your lifetime, has most influenced your life?  R. Rapier – Thatcher, AZ

Dead serious here, folks. The 1978 decision by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to extend the priesthood to all worthy males, which basically meant black men of African descent. Learning about the history that surrounded this event forced me to evaluate all I ever thought I understood about my faith, my religion and my belief system. Some might suggest that thinking too much about this issue could only lead to a negative outcome, but for me it was just the opposite. I believe my faith is stronger today than ever. However, I now do tend to think about some things a little bit differently. Maybe we’ll revisit this in a future blog post. Maybe not. (Picture me shrugging my shoulders to indicate I’m not really sure.)

If you could change one decision you have made in your life, what would it be? 

I would have started to write my book sooner. I love writing. That’s why I keep a blog. (That and it is highly suggested by my publisher and several other writing friends.) I regret that I never took the time to make this dream a reality sooner. But the truth is, the book that I wrote would not be the same had it been written any sooner than when it was. So now that I’ve said that, maybe that’s a decision I wouldn’t change.

*****

Well, that’s it. My first Bill Simmons Mailbag rip-off. I hope he doesn’t have the idea of bolding the questions and leaving the answers unbolded copywrited. Now if anybody out there reading this has additional questions they want to leave in the comments section or through a message on facebook (you can try Twitter, but I offer no guarantees), I would be happy to produce a follow up post to this one. But again, that’s assuming anybody out there is actually reading this. And for anyone discovering ryansrapierwit.com for the first time, now comes the shameless promotional message that accompanies each post.

Ryan Rapier’s debut novel, THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER, hits shelves and Amazon warehouses on August 13. You can pre-order this book at Bookworms Bookstore in Thatcher, AZ or on Amazon.com by clicking here. Or, you can request a copy be ordered for you in advance of the release date at any store where LDS books are sold.

If you, or anyone you know, enjoys liking pages on facebook for no other reason than clicking that little thumbs up gives you a rush, feel free to visit, www.facebook.com/ryanrapierauthor and give our thumbs up a click. We promise twice the adreneline rush of any other page out there or your money back. If you want, you can also follow my twitter handle @RyanRapier, but…whatever.

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