Another Mountain State Vampire Giveaway!


To show my appreciation for everyone who has bought “The Source” – even if it was a download during a free promotion – I’m giving away another signed physical copy.

Here’s the deets – between now and the end of February, post a review on Amazon and e-mail a link to the review to stilwell.jb@gmail.com. That’s it! I will take all of the submissions and randomly pick (with the help of Maya) a winner from the proverbial hat. Whoever wins – I will contact you to make arrangements to mail (at no cost to you) a signed copy of “The Source.”

Good luck and fang on! v–v

FREE Vampire Book!


Love vampires and all things paranormal? It’s your lucky day because “The Source” is FREE on Amazon in ALL Kindle stores January 16th and 17th. Sink your teeth into this awesome story that spins a different light on the vampire myth.

“The Source” has 4.9 stars on Amazon, 17 5-star reviews and 45 Amazon Likes. You can’t go wrong in taking a chance with this first installment of the forthcoming Mountain State Vampire Series.

From an Amazon review:

“The premise of this book is one of the most original, clever, and believable takes on the vampire mythos I’ve read thus far. It was also a delight to read a paranormal story that was set in my home state, West Virginia. Appalachia is an area historically stepped in mystery and plenty of superstition, and I hope that more authors like Ms. Stilwell begin to see what a great setting it can be.

Can’t wait for the next one!”

Life’s not fair


In the past couple of months I have been rather perturbed to observe certain questionable situations where another individual explains things by saying “life isn’t fair.”

This irks me. It has always been a pet peeve of mine. Seeing this phrase thrown around so much recently, I’ve tried to look within myself to understand the true reasons why such a blanket argument grates my cheese so much.

My initial issue with using “life isn’t fair” as the pinnacle of one’s argument is the impression that it’s not really an argument at all. It doesn’t provide any adequate explanation of events that can be intelligently weighed against individual experience and knowledge – nor does it provide any viable solutions to a situation. In fact, it seems to be the ultimate acceptance of things, of maintaining the status quo.

The latter part leads to at least two possible perceptions of such an argument – either the person agrees with the current circumstances or is too lazy/apathetic to do anything about it. Now, as I’ve stated in other posts, silence + complacency = permission. By refusing to take action – for whichever reason – you are symbolically saying through your inaction that such circumstances are socially allowable. On the other side, depending on how you view a given situation, you may also agree with the current circumstance and resolve to end a debate/argument with “life isn’t fair” and leave it at that.

Regardless of the reasoning, what still bothers me about use of this phrase is the acceptance that it’s a rational answer to everything. This is what I have found to be the basic reason why it is so disagreeable to me. Not only does it imply that the person using it doesn’t take action, but it also implies a certain amount of idiocy on a person who does take action. Also, what this catch-all argument implies is that we are not actors in our own existence; we are pawns who are affected by circumstances that are always beyond our control as if the actions and behaviors of others that create the platform for a set of circumstances should be completely ignored and said behavior can in no way be influenced one way or the other.

At the risk of sounding snarky, I’m reminded of a Stephen Hawking quote: “I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.”

If life’s not fair, such as the way certain people suggest it, then what’s the point in doing anything…say even voting? Life’s not fair so you shouldn’t complain about injustice…sure, because that has nothing to do with the actions and behaviors of others, right? It’s all just part of a grand, mysterious scheme that acts upon all of us instead of “life” actually consisting of a series of dynamic and sometimes symbiotic relationships where action in and of itself is a basic element of our very existence because of the uniqueness of free will.

Now, I will agree that “life isn’t fair” if we are taking the definition of fair to be as it says in the Merriam-Webster dictionary: “a : marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism.” This would mean that life, being the negative of this definition, is partial and dishonest, NOT free from self-interest, prejudice and favoritism. I can definitely agree with “life isn’t fair” in this instance because what this really suggests is that the circumstances of life – characterized by that which makes us animate (our actions) – is partial, self-interested and prejudiced. And how do we know? Because we can observe it in the behaviors of the very animate beings I’m talking about – HUMANS.

Many humans – and this really does depend on your point of view as to who fits this description – are partial, self-interested and prejudiced. Many of us struggle during our lives in dealing with the biases we have developed from childhood. What’s dangerous is the person who doesn’t recognize it and allows such biases to inform actions that negatively impact others.

Readers, THAT is the problem and the basis of why explaining such things away with “life isn’t fair” is not a valid argument to me.

I still don’t fully understand it. If you can explain the reasoning and support it with any type of empirical evidence as to why this statement should be accepted as valid, please comment…I would really like to understand.

Teachers are an Inspiration


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We wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for teachers. They help shape us, mold our world views and develop us into the people we become as adults. Behind the family, the most significant vehicle for socialization are schools. Teachers and peers are added to the social roadmap of a child’s life. Teachers have a hard job in this because the influence of peers has proven to be a greater impact on behavior – something that teachers and administrators have the painstaking task to mitigate on top of being responsible for the educational development of ALL of their students. This has to be one of the most difficult jobs in our country while being one of the the most thankless and least paid. The current structure of schools systems speaks volumes of how we view teachers. A foreign observer with a 30,000 foot view of the state of education could only assume that learning just isn’t that important to us. Add to this perspective the fact that many other countries have better educational success than the U.S. and we shouldn’t be surprised at the scientific, mathematical and business advances of other countries. In the most recent OECD data, the U.S. ranks below the top ten in many categories in addition to being below the OECD average in many instances. One thing that many have said – and I agree along with some critical asterisks – is that we need to invest in education and increase funding. If you look at the data, expenditures on education in the U.S. tend to be more than the countries that are outperforming us. This begs the question, and would require further analysis, of what we’re actually investing in and where the money is going.

We know that teachers and education are of great importance to the future of our children. Acceptance of this fact does not absolve us from critically assessing how our children are treated within the school system. It also doesn’t absolve parents from being directly involved in their children’s educations. If anything, teachers and parents should be partnering together for the betterment of the child. Unfortunately in a world where both parents – or the only parent – has to work excessive hours just to make ends meet, many parents are not as involved as would be ideal. There are parents who have no involvement although they are capable. It’s sad to see a lack of interest in the development of a child and it’s beyond me how a parent could be so deliberately irresponsible – and it’s no wonder that a teacher’s job is even that more difficult!

Teachers on a whole provide inspiration to the students they teach. Just like there are some parents who are unwilling to be involved in the process, there are some teachers who, for all intents and purposes, shouldn’t be part of the process. Thankfully, teachers like this are few and far between. Anyone who commits his/her life to teaching and perseveres after experiencing the struggles has within him/her the type of passion for learning that we should all hope for in the lives of our children. But when you are confronted with a so-called educator who has an agenda that is not in line with the best interest of your child, you would be remiss for just accepting it and explaining it away with the morally weak excuse of “life isn’t fair.” Just another reason why a parent’s involvement in the education of the child is of the utmost importance. It would be wonderful to live in a world where I can send my child to school and blindly accept that all is well, which statistically, it is. But teachers are human – which means they’re fallible, not perfect, and some are downright deplorable. Again, you would never know unless you’re involved.

If you are involved and are confronted with a situation where your child is mistreated, bullied, abused, discarded, passed over, ignored, bored, ostracized, humiliated, discriminated against, rights are violated or learning is impeded, rage against it, y’all. Don’t be quiet. As I’ve said in other instances, silence + complacency = permission.

I would like to close this post with a shout-out to the inspirational educators I’ve had in my lifetime that have had a huge impact on who I became as a person – first and foremost, always and forever, Mr. Wheeler, in addition to Mrs. Collins, Mrs. Hill, Mrs. Wheeler, Mrs. Martin, Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. Keatley, Mr. Maddox, Mrs. Cooke, Mr. Cooke, Mr. Nuckols and Mr. Sherman. I’m sure there are others, but these individuals are the first that come to mind for the positive impact that they had not only on me, but on other students as well.

Happy New Year Megan!


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Happy New Year to everyone – and a special happy new year to Megan! May 2013 bring healing and good health!

Show your support for Megan’s continued battle against AML leukemia. Check out Megan’s Musketeers on Facebook for updates on fundraisers and events or to even leave a personal message for our special girl!

Also, when you purchase “The Source,” 80% of the royalties will go to Megan and her family. Cancer treatment is not cheap and this family could use all the help they can get. This is Megan’s second fight against leukemia, so finances are even tighter. “Twilight” may be Megan’s favorite vampire series, but she appreciates every copy of “The Source” that is sold. Show your support today!

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