The best advice on Twitter trolls was written by al-Ghazali in the 11th century

Sarah Kendzior

As I posted on Twitter earlier today, the best advice I’ve seen on dealing with Twitter trolls comes from the 11th century Sufi philosopher al-Ghazali and his text “Ayyuha l’Walad”. Al-Ghazali anticipated our social media problems by 1000 years.

By al-Ghazali’s definition, there are four types of Twitter trolls. Below: a description of the trolls, and his advice on how to deal with them.

Type 1: Jealous haters. Advice: “Depart from him and leave him with his disease.”

Then know that the sickness of ignorance is of four sorts, one curable and the others incurable. Of these which cannot be cured, [the first] is one whose question or objection arises from envy and hate, [and envy cannot be cured for it is a chronic weakness] and every time you answer him with the best or clearest or plainest answer, that only increases his rage and envy. And the…

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Top 10 Indie Books You Should Read in 2016

Miscellany by O

We avid readers are all familiar with the books that are hot right now, aren’t we? When we browse our local bookshops, we head first toward that shelf just up front that house those coveted New York Times Best Sellers spots.

But what if I told you that the books found in the NYT represent only a handful of the great books out there?  That some of the greatest authors of our time may never have the publicity they need to get their title on that list?

I honestly believe that’s the case. I’ve discovered some of my favorite books over the past two years, ever since I started reading indie and self-published books. There are some real treasures out there just waiting to be found. So grab a shovel, and come with me! I’ll make sure to show you where to dig.

1. The Gateway Chronicles by K. B…

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Under these Restless Skies by Lissa Bryan

tudors & other histories

Under the restless skies

Under these Restless Skies takes places in Tudor England, specifically an England ruled by Henry VIII when he’s seeking a divorce from his first spouse, Katherine of Aragon to marry the alluring Anne Boleyn. I’m often very critical of historical fiction (and historical fantasy even more) because the characters tend to be one-dimensional and you have to suspend belief to really get into the story but with this book, not really because the characters were very close to their historical counterparts and the author really did her homework and was very accurate when it came to describing the rituals that men and women had to go through such as confinement, churching, coronation, and she included author’s notes at the end of her tale with a glossary and terminology.

Emma started a bit of a Mary Sue at first but after Anne’s glorious moment, she starts acting more human, exploring the…

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“In the Library” Perfume by CB I Hate Perfume

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The latest addition to my “writer’s perfume” collection is CB I Hate Perfume’s In The Library.

From the description:

“In the Library is a warm blend of English Novel, Russian & Moroccan Leather Bindings, Worn Cloth and a hint of Wood Polish.”

I bought the “perfume absolute” because I like the silky texture of perfume oils and they seem to last longer than sprays. Plus, the alcohol scent of eau de perfume often throws off my nose and I can’t smell it properly for some time.

I’ve also learned you usually can’t judge a perfume based on what it smells like in the bottle, but this one was a little unusual in that regard, because it smelled so faint even in the bottle.

This is the lightest scent of all the ones I’ve purchased in my “writer’s perfume” quest. Very light. In fact, I have to press my nose to my skin to smell it, even when it’s freshly applied. It does smell like paper and I can detect the lemon, and maybe the wood, but not the leather or cloth. (My husband just came into the room and looked at me oddly for having the back of my hand pressed against my nose while trying to describe this aroma.) I can smell the laundry detergent on my shirt collar stronger than the perfume I applied right under it.

It comes in a little glass bottle with a glass plug stopper at the top. The stopper does not form a tight seal, so you’ve got to be very careful with the bottle. It had a plastic shrink-seal on it when it was shipped to me, but that didn’t prevent it from leaking a little. Fortunately, not much seeped out.

Out of all the perfumes I’ve purchased in this little experiment, this is the one I’m least happy with. It was the most expensive, and while I think the scent is a good one, I like to at least be able to detect a faint whiff of a perfume while I’m wearing it. I almost feel like I’d get better results from rubbing a book on my skin.

“Paper Passion” Perfume

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In my quest for the perfect “writer’s perfume,” I bought a bottle of Paper Passion: Perfume for Booklovers.

This is one of the most attractively packaged perfumes I’ve ever purchased. Inside the cardboard box, a hardback book is wrapped in heavy red fabric-like paper. The book is bound shut with the paper ribbon around the center.

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Upon breaking the seal, you open the book to find the first ten pages or so printed with the story of the perfume’s development.

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The perfume is nestled within the rest of the book’s red pages.

I had high hopes. The perfume gets great reviews, and it was created by master perfumers.

I didn’t like the first whiff of it in the bottle. It has a strong smell of alcohol. But perfumes often smell better on the skin than they do in the bottle. It has a watery feeling on the skin, but I’m used to the silky feel of perfume oils.

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When first applied to my skin, it had a sharp, almost astringent, aroma with a bit of  mustiness. In that respect, it was similar to Demeter’s Paperback. Sort of a “new ink, new paper” scent. As the alcohol faded away, it left a complex scent behind, sweeter than Paperback, but still not the warm, rich smell of old books that I hoped for.

The description in the book’s text says the perfumer used a “medicinal, technical” scent for the top notes, then “dryer and warmer” facets below “clean and woody” scents, then rounded it off with a sweet hint of floral.

There’s no doubt this is a complex perfume, and the resultant scent on the skin probably has a lot to do with one’s body chemistry. As the day wore on, I started to smell the sweetness underneath, a hint of a vanilla-like aroma that was like old paper, but it’s faint.

I don’t dislike it. Like Paperback, it’s sort of a “character” scent, something I’ll wear while writing because it makes me think of new books, and I’ll probably come to like it more as I wear it, as I did with Paperback. But Dead Writers is still my lead choice when it comes to something that has the warm, rich scent of old books.

Despite the watery, alcohol feel, the scent was long-lasting. Five hours after applying it, I could still smell it on my wrists, and on the shirt I had worn.

Amazon shipped it very fast. It was delivered only three days after placing my order. Bizarrely enough, Amazon categorizes it as a text book and gave me a promotional credit to buy an MP3.

I Smell Like a Paperback; It’s Not as Great As it Sounds

ImageI think I may have an addiction problem when it comes to perfume. Seriously, I have cabinets and drawers full of the stuff. And the geek in me delights when I see something that is related to writers or books. So, when I came across Demeter’s Paperback, I couldn’t hit the One Click fast enough.

This is a case of the product delivering exactly what it advertises. It smells like a paperback book. I mistakenly expected a perfume with notes of old paper and leather, like my beloved Dead Writers, but Demeter doesn’t go that way with their fragrances. They are not “inspired by” or just “notes of”… They smell exactly like what they’re named and that’s all. No other fragrances blended in.

Paperback smells like fresh paper, ink and glue. It doesn’t have the warm spice of old paper; it smells like a book you just purchased at Barnes and Noble. And while it’s a scent I delight in, especially when it’s emitted from a heavy sack of books just purchased, it’s not a fragrance I would choose as a perfume. I wouldn’t expect someone who catches a whiff of me wearing it to say, “Oh gosh, you smell so good. What is that scent you’re wearing?”

Demeter carries a huge list of fragrances, from food to flowers, and even some very unusual scents like mildew and dirt. I also purchased the caramel, which smells absolutely luscious. The only drawback is it only lasted two or three hours, at most.

That said, I’ll probably end up ordering a few more, possibly in lotion or roll-on form. (They sell quite a few choices for each fragrance.) And maybe wearing Paperback while I’m writing will remind me of my end goal, to see my words in print.

20 Best Gifts for Writers

Sara Toole Miller - Fiction & Non-Fiction Writer

It’s that time of year again.  The time of year you start giving gifts to the writer in your life.  Gift giving? What? Shouldn’t this post have been back in November before the holidays?  Well, yes.  But think about all those gift giving opportunities on the horizon.  Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, June birthdays (I don’t know about you, but I know so many people with birthdays in June.  Maybe people just get frisky when back-to-school rolls around.), and teacher appreciation gifts.  Then there are summer vacations.  I’m always looking for great hostess gifts for the multiple friends who house us on our annual summer road trips.  See, anytime is a good gift giving time!

If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for the perfect gift to put a smile on your favorite writer’s face.  I’ve compiled a list of my Top 20 Best Gifts for Writers.  Enjoy and be…

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