Saturday, June 2, 2012

I recently completed the novel Thirteen Reasons Why? and of course, loved it!  I loved all but the ending chapters. The voice of Clay made me wish there was a Clay in my life. Someone with strong ideals and not afraid to not kiss a girl.  I waited with anticipation to see what Hannah would say about him, hoping that he wouldn't ruin her life like the others.

Now, the ending chapters.... I'm not sure why the author felt like he had to justify Hannah's suicide with the rape and death of another student.  To me, those two "shockers" could have been left out and the novel would have been complete. I mean, she was empty and willing to give up before those two events, so why have them? To add shock value?

What do you think?

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Recently there were some male high school students who took a sext of a female student and said if she didn't have sex with them, then her picture would go viral.  She was afraid and the young men raped her. The trail has past and some of the young men (I believe their were 4 ranging in age from 14 - 18) are either serving jail time in juvenile hall.  During the trail, another student testified that "everyone sexts" it's "no big deal."

Is this really the case in our era? Is sexting "no big deal?"

Late in the fall, I was asked to speak about cyber-bullying to a church congregation as part of a Sunday morning lecture/preach during their regular worship hour. There were over fifty people, young, old all different backgrounds, colors etc.  To the group, I defined cyber-bullying and sexting.  I was greatly surprised that the majority of listeners voiced their opinion during my definition of sexting.  They felt that sexting was simply an art form between two or more individuals.  That man and woman were not clothed when they arrived, so what is the big deal? "Everyone has essentially the same parts."

Talk about not knowing what to say, I was in some ways speechless.  I recovered with a wimpy reply like, "not everyone wants to share their body." Which was then countered with "then don't."  I tried to say that a brain isn't fully developed until the twenties; kids sometimes make irrational decisions w/out thinking it through which gets a lot of them in trouble (hence the above case -- I AM NOT SAYING THE RAPE WAS THE GIRL'S FAULT --- IT WAS NOT, IT WAS THE BOYS FAULT) and there are times when kids do not realize what is happening.   The conversation continued without being resolved. However, on my part, it was an eye opener.  Here were adults and teens not seeing a thing wrong with sexting,

It blow my mind until this week when the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit model ? Upton appeared in a barely there swimsuit.  My husband doesn't get the swimsuit addition because he thinks it's a type of porn and we don't need it around our kids.  However, because the model's family is a prominent family around here, Ms. Upton's (forgive me, her first name escapes me, but her last name is all over the town so that is what I remember)     picture was plastered all over with several interviews of her and her family.  Interesting that three stripes of cloth totaling maybe six inches is accepted and seen as beautiful but if a teen had sent a picture of herself wearing a swimsuit of that size, it would have been considered a sext ---

HMM, what is society saying about sexting and what is being accepted?

What do you think? 

Thursday, May 19, 2011


One word describes the conference - Are you ready? It SUCKED

I was told my writing is good, but the novel is not.
Yes, I am upset about that but I'm more upset that the agent and publisher tore several writer's works to pieces. Granted, the work was lame, but do you really have to be rude about it? I guess these people have never heard of tact and grace.
 There are several ways to criticize without being rude.  I will not give up, the book will be published, it just might not be my first book published --- what does mean?  Yes, I am actually in the process of writing another book - this time a middle grade sweet book about a girl and her grandmother. It's fun and light, we will see WHEN it gets published... I won't give up...

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Tomorrow I head out to Indianapolis for a writer's conference.  Although I have been to several conferences to meet writer's and swoon over their novels, this is a first for me to go and get my work out there.  I will be talking to two agents along with hundreds of writers who are in the same boat I am... Good? Bad? Ugly? We will see how I fair.

I did get a very encouraging letter from a young man (18) who read my entire script before my hundreth edit.  He told me to not give up, that I had him hooked on the story.  How can I give up now when I have an 18 year old male who really was not my target audience? Not a chance!

I may have to meet 200 agents before I get one, but damn it, I will get one and this book will be published! (I hope those aren't my famous last words!)

I also discovered something else I didn't know before today,  I have said and written that my story is loosely based on the Phoebe Prince suicide case, which is really true... today I learned that like my main character Melinda, Phoebe was a cutter and had several cuts on her when she hung herself...  That's creepy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pitch Contest with Natalie Fischer!
1) Be a follower of the blog.

2) Blog about this contest and include a link with your entry. If you don't have a blog, you may tweet or make a facebook status. But we prefer blog.

3) Create a TWO SENTENCE pitch. And not a massively long run-on sentence either. Two concise sentences that will hook Natalie to your book and have her desperate to read more.

4) Include the opening line of your manuscript.

5) Manuscripts that you submit should be completed. I leave it up to you whether you decide to submit a half finished manuscript. You'll have to deal with it SHOULD Natalie request you send her the full.

6) This contest will be capped at either 150 entries OR will end midnight on the 21st April.

7) Winners to be announced (along with prizes) on 28th April.

8) Any age any genre accepted!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Well, I should have known better than to get my hopes up high.  I sent my manuscript out and it was rejected. It hurt knowing that someone read it and rejected it out flat.  I thought that if someone actually read it, then they would see how important it is and represent me. 

Not the case.  In a lot of ways, I want to give up.  Say screw it, it isn't worth it.  But, it is.  So many people have been hurt by bullying. So many people are like me and feel the need for physical pain to ease their emotional pain.  My story needs to be out there, published.  It is going to be a longer road than I thought.  A lot of bumps, and bruises.  I won't give up yet.  I have two conferences to go to, to pitch my novel.  I have also a private publisher reading my ms and helping me fix my faults.  Writing is hard, getting published is harder, but I can't give up yet.... I just can't!

Monday, March 21, 2011


My cyber-bullying journey started over a year ago when one of my student's wrote a paper on texting.  Then, the Phoebe Prince caught my attention as well as the nations attention.  I looked for YA novels on cyber-bullying and found nothing. It was then that I felt a need to write my own.

I wrote about Jennifer Cast and researched suicide cases of young adults.  I included a boy named Kevin.  At first, Jen was powerful, and taunted Kevin.  Kevin was the loser dude that was going to die.  I listened to my daughter talk about her school and everything that went on it it.  It is a public school and well known through out the state for it's excellence.  I was shocked as she told me what occurred on a daily basis. From the drifters to the students who hung out in the practice rooms to get high to the bullying.

After listening to her and her friends, I realized that Jen had to have low self esteem. What girl in h.s. doesn't struggle with that? Yet, she had to have a friend who was strong on the outside but have a secret flaw on the inside. Hence, Mel was born.  I wrote Mel as just a  friend, not a main character.  At the end of last summer, I had 34,999 words and thought I was finished. 

I was then told that I needed more, much more if it were to be printed as a novel.  I added more to Kevin and started to like him. I added Jen's death and told the grief that her family went through as well as the need for justice for her father.  I ended up really liking Jen.  So, after I completed the novel w/ 50,000 I went back and made Mel commit suicide.  Then of course, I needed a reason for her death.  Hence, Mel's character was born.

The concept of hurting oneself (self-abuse) is a taboo subject.  It has been around since the cave man and has affected millions of people  including this author.  I have read only one novella - Cut - that represented the subject.  It is thought that if someone reads about cutting, they will most likely end up doing it more.  In my opinion, I would rather expose it so people can understand the mind set and obsession. Then, they can get help.  Cutting/self-abuse does not usually lead to suicide unless the person can't release their tension and/or is "pushed" to their limits.  I made Mel start to cut in third grade, 9 years prior to her suicide.I wanted to show that self-abuse didn't lead to her death, but not being in-control - being cyber-bullied lead to her death.

From the Phoebe Prince case, I knew that a rape occurred as well as destruction to her memorial page.  When a person feels so much trama, they begin to dissociate, that is to picture things as if the person were in a movie.  Again, I was familiar with this feeling from my own background of sexual abuse.  It is truly maddening to wake up viewing the world not knowing if you are asleep , awake, or watching a movie.  Sometimes, pain is the only way to tell that you are alive.

Going back to Jen, I wanted teens to know what would happen if they over dosed and woke up in the hospital.  The feeling of having your stomach pump, of having tubes in the mouth.  Of having your family see you.  I wanted teens/ adults to realize what it's like for both sides after a suicide and attempted suicide.

Since my daughter has a romantic side to her, she wanted me to have Kevin and Jen get together.  I knew in reality this wouldn't happen, but they needed a closure. The same is true with the ending.  I know that life for Kevin wouldn't be rosy, he would still have problems, so would Jen.  But, they would see that life is full of problems as well as rewords and if your dead, how can you see the rewards?

Lastly, justice had to be served.  Several cyber-bulling cases are going to trial.  Laws are being brought up to protect people and teens against cyber-bullying. Unfortunately, it will never be enough.  The first cyber-bullying suicide occurred in the late 1990's -- Over twenty years  ago, since that times, hundreds have died.

My novel was a calling for me, something I had to write, something I need to see published.  I have had an agent request the entire novel and I hope she is willing to go to bat and take it to publishers.  If not, I am still going to try and won't give up.  Writing the novel was only a little start, getting an agent is my huddle now.......