Don’t be an A-hole

In this great country we have freedom of speech. We have the right to express ourselves. We have freedoms and rights up the wazoo.

That having been said, my question is:
Just because we can do something, we have the right to, should we?

I recently had a conversation with a teacher about a thirteen-year-old student that physically lashed out at another student for calling her fat. When you first read that you may think, well that sucks that she was called fat but hitting is excessive. But what if I told you she was called fat in front of the whole class, twenty-five students, and they all laughed at her? Does that change your perception a bit? So the teacher called her parents to tell them what happened. So I said, “Did you call the parents of the name-caller too?” The teacher said no. Hmm. She explained to the so-called “fat girl”, that in life people are going to say things you don’t like and you just have to learn to deal with it.” I think that’s the wrong message.

I write for young adults. What they say to each other matters. What they post about each other matters. So what I say to them or about them matters. What I say about other adults also matters because the young people I write for, and live with, are always watching, online and in person. Always.

Should you punch everyone in the face that talks crap you don’t like? No. You’ll go to juvie or jail. But on the flip side of that, let’s make the name callers accountable too. Let’s hold each other accountable.

Social media is BANANAS. I live in the Northeast but because of the internet I have the opportunity be friends with all sorts a peeps all over the world, young and not so young 😉 Bananas!

But it’s not all love and sunshine through these cable wires and satellite dishes. It’s gotten a bit ugly out in cyber world. This past week I have read some awful things written about a YA author. I do not wish to comment other than to say just because you can write something doesn’t mean you should.

I’m not talking about censorship. If I want to write about a gay, purple-shoe-wearing, elephant-riding, hippo, that’s my right and you can’t tell me not to. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it. But written opinion about an actual person is different.

YA and MG authors write for young people. We tell them NOT to be bullies. We use examples of cyber-bullying that results in suicide for plot lines to drive home the fact that words matter. What you say counts. You can’t just swing your verbal blade and not care whose head gets cut off or whose guts spill out onto the floor. Well, you can, but that makes you an asshole. I prefer not being an asshole as much as possible.

So here’s the thing. We teach by what we do. So if we’re online being creeps to each other what are we teaching the very people we write for?

I’m no angel. My mother is probably saying a rosary and making the Sign of The Cross in my name right now as you read this. My anger has gotten the best of me more than a time or two. I can do better. But the big balls that are displayed in the hit and run posting, is not cool. Not cool at any age at any time.

Calling someone names and getting a class of twenty-five to laugh at someone sucks. Calling names on the internet where thousands if not millions get involved is beyond sucky.

I live with two amazing teenagers. My husband and I tell them every day; don’t let the assholes get to you today because there are a lot of them out there. My husband says “jerks” because his potty mouth is not as extensive as mine.

My point, without getting too preachy, is let’s not be the assholes. Young, youngish, and old as dirt, we can all do better.

PEACE…Spread it like fertilizer and watch the love grow.

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2015…BRING IT!

Happy New Year fabulous people!!

Sorry I was MIA for a bit. I was stuck in a funk but I’m done being funky.

Rejection is the suckiest of all suckishness. My finalist #PITCHARAMA status is officially over. The editor who was interested in JESSICA MARCO PI has passed on the project. There, I’ve said it. I was sad. I was distressed. There was a day or two of immature pouting, kicking, rolling around on the floor. It wasn’t pretty. I’m over it. Overall, it was a really GREAT experience. The editor, Katie Teller at Curiosity Quills, was helpful in getting the book into the shape that it’s in. Now I just need to find the agent/editor that it is right for. Although this project wasn’t right for Katie, I would definitely submit to her again . If you’ve got a story, hit her up. She’s super cool.

Don’t go feeling sorry for me. This is the game I’ve chosen. It’s just part of the process and I learn from every experience, even the ones I don’t particularly like.

Let’s move on! *fist in the air. feet marching*

While I’ve been away the holidays came and went… Happy Happy, Merry Merry EVERYTHING! (((Hugs Abound)))

I spent some great time with friends and family– eating, drinking, watched awesome movies, read fricktastic books, spent a day at the zoo, and visited an indoor trampoline park TWICE! I have no pictures of the amazing back-flips I did without killing myself or any small children in my vicinity– you will just have to take my word for it.

Some of my writer friends are choosing a word for inspiration in 2015 instead of resolutions. Cool with me. I pretty much have the same resolution every year: Be a better me. If I’m a better me, hopefully I’ll inspire you to be a better you. Better me. Better you. Better world. Simple.

Back to my word problem. What word will I choose? Oh, the pressure *back of hand to forehead* Good Lord there’s so many! Triskaidekaphobia? Not a great choice for inspiration since it’s the fear of the number 13. I don’t want the fear of anything. Fear is a real friger!

Fear can frig up the best of plans.

“I want to draw but I’m afraid no one will like it.”

“I want to take a dance class but I’m afraid I’ll look silly.”

“I want to talk to that person I think is da bomb but I’m afraid they won’t like me.”

“I want to write a book but I’m afraid I’ll suck.”

Before even trying, fear can beat you into nothingness. I don’t know about you, but I’ll pass on nothingness. I want to be lots of somethingness. I’ll get back to this.

I want to share some of the books I read.

The first is called Finding Out by Sheryn MacMunn. I had the pleasure of having tea with Sheryn, who is a self-published author, and has had huge success with this debut novel. It’s a story about a young woman in the corporate world whose life falls apart and gets help putting herself back together from her neighbor, a Holocaust survivor. Sheryn marries two very different stories in a cohesive interesting tale that I really enjoyed. She shows how the human spirit can endure and overcome just about anything. I personally find the spirit to be an amazing thing and love to read stories that show that. Check her out at sherynmacmunn.com.

Another book I read is Because of Low by Abbi Glines. I was especially interested in reading this book because it is in the New Adult genre just like my JESSICA MARCO PI and because I heard Abbi speak at the NYC 2014 SCBWI conference. LOVE her! It’s a romance with a great backbone. What do I mean by that? It’s not all about sex. It’s a great story about overcoming some crappy life circumstances told from the POV of the two main characters. Again, it’s that human spirit, that amazing power we all have to overcome. Abbi uses two very distinct voices so you see it clearly from each angle. She even had me sympathizing with the jerk in the story! Find her at abbiglines.com.

And the last book is called Every Day by one of my favs, David Levithan. LOVE! Imagine waking up everyday in a different body. You are always the same age but some days you’re a girl, others a boy. You have no control over who you land in whether they be obese, a drug addict, gay, straight or suicidal. Totally about the spirit of each of us who is really who we are anyway. The body is just a vehicle. It’s like a car for the soul. Trippy right? This book is awesome! For me this is what writing fiction is all about. Being able to step into the shoes of a character and bring you along for the ride. Did I mention LOVE? David has way too many other books for me to mention the love for, so go to davidlevethan.com. Be in awe. Come back when you’re done…. I’ll be here.

Welcome back!

So. My word for 2015? You probably guessed it-

FEARLESS

Fear is the stop before I start. Fear is paralyzing. Fear is anxiety producing. Fear of failing will keep me from ever being published. Not havin it. Don’t have time for it.

Are there an abundant amount of things to be afraid of? Hell yeah, just watch the news for five minutes. Will my worrying about any of it help at all? No. Am I telling you not to be afraid of anything? No. As my mother always said, “a little fear will keep you safe.” If you’re in a house that’s on fire– RUN! There’s a difference from being fearless and being stupid. Don’t be stupid. All you stupid people should be reading some other blog. Everyone else… Be fearless with me in 2015!

Until later this month,

PEACE, LOVE, AND A FEARLESS 2015.

 

 

Isla’s Inheritance by Cassandra Page

Looking for something to read this Halloween season? Nothing says Halloween like a séance and a Ouija board!

I’m talking about Isla’s Inheritance by Cassandra Page – Book Blitz & Giveaway!

IslasInheritanceBlitzBanner

I had the good fortune of meeting Cassandra on Twitter this summer when she picked me for her team in the #pitcharama contest which has put my novel in the hands of an editor, who is at this very minute considering publishing my work!!!  I love the internet! If it weren’t for the Twitter contest I would not have met Cassandra nor would I be reading her FABULOUS book! Not just because she’s a debut author but the chick lives in Australia and I’m here in CT. Not much chance of us running into each other at the mall.

Now I have the pleasure of throwing some writer-love her way! Isla’s Inheritance, released on October 9th, is her AWESOME debut novel. A full review to come but for now just a few words—hooked from page one, chill-a-licious, intriguing, secret-reading-in-bathroom-at-work! Secret reading is always a good sign 😉

Check out the Goodreads description, a teaser excerpt AND giveaway below! Feel free to ask a question or leave a comment. Cassandra will be checking in to answer.

Teaser Excerpt

“I’m not sure which is worse,” I whispered to Hamish, stroking his fur, “believing I killed my mother, or believing she abandoned me…and Dad lied about it.” Hamish didn’t answer. He was already asleep. “Well, you’re no use.”

Against all odds, the steady rhythm of Hamish’s breathing lulled me into a doze. It seemed like no time had passed when I awoke to a change in light: my father’s large frame was in the doorway, blocking the light.

“Isla? Are you awake?” His voice was tentative.
“Yes.” I sat up, rubbing my eyes. Hamish grumbled a protest.

“Can I turn the light on?”
“Sure.”

I blinked and stared at my father. He looked dishevelled and his eyes were wide, like he’d seen a ghost. He was holding the gift bag he’d given me on my birthday. “You left this at the restaurant the other week, when you went out for dessert with that boy,” he said, his voice strained.

As confused and resentful as I was feeling right now, I still loved him, and his appearance worried me. “Dad, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” he said. He was an even worse liar than Sarah. He came into the room and sat on the edge of the bed. “Here.” He tried to hand me the bag. Vomit burned the back of my throat, and I flinched back.

He saw the flinch, and his face grew even more drawn. “Isla, take it.” There was an urgency in his tone that I neither understood nor liked.
“No. Dad, what’s going on? You’re freaking me out.”
He looked around the room. “Do you have any of my work in here?”

The question confused me. I felt my cheeks warm. “Um, I’m not sure.” The answer was no. Pretty much every piece of ironwork he’d given me was in the shed. The rest I’d given away to friends.

“Here.” He upended the gift bag. The heavy iron circlet tumbled into my lap.
My stomach twisted with nausea so severe I clenched my teeth, afraid I’d throw up. Where the iron touched my thighs through the denim of my jeans it felt ice-cold, and yet it burned at the same time. I gasped, shoving it away from me and onto the floor. It singed my hand.

“What the hell are you doing?” I jumped to my feet. Hamish leapt up too, yapping.

Dad said nothing but the look on his face was wild, despairing.
“You’re crazy,” I cried, fleeing the room.
“Isla, wait,” Dad yelled after me. But I ran, snatching my bag from the hallway before rushing out the front door.

I ignored the bite of tiny rocks on the soles of my feet. I had to get away from him, from everything.

 

Isla

 

Goodreads:

Isla was content to let her father keep his secrets, but now she can’t stand the touch of iron and her dreams are developing a life of their own. She must discover the truth — before it’s too late.

Seventeen-year-old Isla Blackman only agrees to participate in a Halloween party séance because Dominic, an old crush, wants to. She is sure nothing will happen when they try to contact the spirit of her mother. But the séance receives a chilling reply.

SHE IS NOT DEAD.

Isla doesn’t want to upset her father by prying into the family history he never discusses. When the mysterious and unearthly Jack offers to help her discover the truth, Isla must master her new abilities to protect her loved ones from enemies she never knew existed.

Enter to win a $50 gift card at Amazon or Barnes & Noble – winner’s choice (open internationally) click link below. Good luck!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d0425123570/

Purchase:
AUTHOR BIO:
Cassandra Page is a mother, author, editor and geek. She lives in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat — which is ironic, as she’s allergic to cats. When she’s not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up?
Author links:

**SORRY FOR THE REBLOG…ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES!**

 

Don’t give up. Like, ever.

Hello! I’m back. Sorry I missed last week but I was doing something called #PitMad. It was an all day twitter event done by Brenda Drake, @brendadrake, where authors pitched their manuscripts in 140 characters to agents searching the feed. Well, let me tell you, it was not an easy task! BUT it was a great experience. I really had to dig deep to tell my 77K story in basically two sentences. It went like this:

Everything Emily knew about this world was a lie. Now she’s torn btwn a life she wants and one that’s imprinted in her genes.

Even though I did not hook up with any particular agent that day, I learned a lot and got a ton of new leads. Super excited!!

But, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t bummed at the end when none of the agents asked to see more of my work.

So that night I settled in with my copy of

January/February edition, and I came across an article labeled “success story”. It was about author, Augusta Scattergood. She started writing a book in 2001 and after nearly ten years of conferences and workshops she met her agent in 2008 at a summer conference and had her first book published January 2012, Glory Be (Scholastic, 2012). And in 2013 that same book received a Crystal Kite Award.

For all non-writers, that’s pretty badass in the world of writing. This wasn’t even the book she pitched that day! It goes to show, you never know what can happen. For more info on Ms. Scattergood please check out her website at http://www.augustascattergood.com, and most definitely check out her books! I was so inspired by her story that the next day I put my big girl pants on and got right back to work writing my next book. *fist pump*

The successful people in the world don’t have magic wands. They have oodles of passion and a boat load of tenacity.

Passion is a crazy thing. It’s the driving force behind my dream that pushes me, every day, one step closer to achieving my goal. Can you imagine if Ms. Scattergood gave up in the winter of 2008? She would have missed fulfilling her dream by just a few months and not even known it. But this is not just about writing. It’s like that with life too. If you give up on something just because it’s hard, you’ll never make anything happen. And if you’re not happening in life, life will happen to you like a leaf blowing in the wind, never in control of where you end up.

Reach out to other people who may be in the same situation as you, whether it’s trying to get into the college you want, going for a new job, struggling to write that first story, learning to play that instrument, getting healthy, whatever it is, don’t give up. Your next NO may be just one step in front of your YES. So even when it’s hard, and believe me I know, don’t give up. The journey to your success is worth the journey.Take a class. Read a bunch of books. Research. Strive for greatness. Don’t settle for less. Do what it takes to make it happen for you. You have what it takes. We all have what it takes inside of us. We just have to dig deep and pull it up to the service. WHO’S WITH ME??

Peace My Friends 🙂