February 28, 2018

Thoughts on Responsibility


I feel like there is this totally conspicuous silence out there in the world. A big, yawing void of nothing happening and a big part of the silence stems from a single organization. 

If an organization has a huge platform they should use it, right? So, why hasn’t the NRA and their extensive education program thrown their weight and their voice behind things like supporting the existing, responsible gun laws to make sure that criminals can’t buy guns and to assure background checks are done? Why aren’t they riling up their 5 million members to feel that gun owners/buyers/sellers follow the law or chance losing their individual rights? Why aren’t they being more proactive instead of so defensive? It doesn’t make any sense to me. A far more effective way to protect the 2nd Amendment is to throw your money behind prosecuting and/or rehabilitating lawbreakers. There is no single solution to our out of control problem, but there are very impactful things that can be done to start to make a difference. But something needs to be done. And I can’t help but think the NRA would have 10 million members and their goddamned guns if they shifted their support to safety and responsibility and making and enforcing good laws. It takes a ton of money in the political arena to make laws, and it takes a crap ton of money to enact those laws on the streets. Come on NRA, let’s see your money there.

I work in a school. I had a dream the other night that we had an active shooter situation and I got shot in the leg trying to get us locked into a secure area. I shouldn’t be having those kinds of dreams. But far more importantly, kids should not be living through those situations or dying in those situations. Parents shouldn’t send their kids to school and never see them again. It is absolutely unimagineable why our country’s youth are considered disposable. If you are making excuses in your head right now how doing X won’t make a difference or doing Y won’t change anything, then you consider your gun more important than your child. Or my child. Or your niece. Or whatever child(ren) you have in your life. We don’t want to take away your right to bare arms. We want to preserve life! How can we make something actually happen?

***editing based on news I woke to this morning***

Dick's Sporting Goods have discontinued the sale of assault style rifles from their stores and banned the sale of guns to anyone under the age of 21. Now, before you argue that an angry 18 year old will just go somewhere else, let me say, "I KNOW!" But someone has to start the change and my hat's off to Dick's for doing something.

"We’re staunch supporters of the 2nd Amendment. I’m a gun owner myself," Stack said. "We’ve just decided that based on what’s happened with these guns, we don’t want to be a part of this story and we’ve eliminated these guns permanently."

February 15, 2018

Cover Reveal for Can Dreams Come True? by Krysten Lindsay Hager


Upcoming contemporary YA fiction by Kristen Lindsay Hager Can Dreams Come True? (Book One of the Cecily Taylor Series) 


Check out the blurb here: Cecily has always had a huge crush on singer Andrew Holiday and she wants to be an actress, so she tags along when her friend auditions for his new video. However, the director isn’t looking for an actress, but rather the girl next door—and so is Andrew. Cecily gets a part in the video and all of Andrew’s attention on the set. Her friend begins to see red and Cecily’s boyfriend is seeing green—as in major jealousy. A misunderstanding leaves Cecily and her boyfriend on the outs and Andrew hopes to pick up the pieces as he’s looking for someone more stable in his life than the models he’s dated. Soon Cecily begins to realize Andrew understands her more than her small-town boyfriend—but can her perfect love match really be her favorite rock star?
Pre-order the book now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079S3KJSH
The book officially releases in ebook and paperback on March 20th.
You check out the Can Dreams Come True Pinterest inspiration board here!: https://www.pinterest.com/krystenlindsay/can-dreams-come-true-the-cecily-taylor-series/
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends...Forever?, Next Door to a Star,  Landry in Like, Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2) and Dating the It Guy. True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Bestseller Award for childen/teens. Competing with the Star is a Readers' Favorite Book Award Finalist.
​Krysten's work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News and on the talk show Living Dayton.
Cover art work done by Cora Graphics for Clean Reads.


February 14, 2018

#MeToo - A Call For No Tolerance

Like so many others, the #metoo news that broke within the last week in the children's publishing arena really surprised/disappointed/pissed me off. It isn't just that we write for children and should know how to better comport ourselves, it's that we are grown ups and should know better than to prey on each other.

Even as it sickens me, I'm so glad this conversation is happening on a huge scale. It is absolutely not acceptable to use your position of power or celebrity to take advantage of someone. And it needs to stop. While I'm not comfortable seeing people accused, tried, and found guilty in the comments section of an article, in the media, or online, I am very encouraged that this major elevation in awareness will finally, FINALLY create a safe environment for the victims to come forward immediately. To be heard. And for there to be proper investigations into conduct - without repercussions to the victim.

I know a lot of why this has been allowed to go on unchecked is because the accused are often the ones that bring in the money or notoriety for whatever organization or industry they are involved with. I'm not naive enough to believe this way of thinking will simply go away. Money talks. Sex sells. BUT, I do believe that now victims will be heard. Even if they have to take it to social media. But let's not let it come to that. Let's, 1) handle ourselves with maturity and control so there is nothing to report in the first place. 2) Establish safe reporting policies that protect the victim and then actually follow through with them. 3) Show NO TOLERANCE - even to the money makers.

Believe it or not, when people's bad behavior is corrected, they generally stop the bad behavior. So, correct it immediately.

I'm heartsick by the names that have been named this week. But I hope to hell (you know I'm serious if I'm swearing on my blog!) it acts as fair warning to anyone else who is currently acting inappropriately, or to those who start to justify bad behavior as they gain some momentum in their position. NO TOLERANCE.

(On a lighter note: come back tomorrow for a cover reveal for Krysten Lindsay Hager's upcoming YA contemporary)

February 7, 2018

Revisiting Defining Moments

I originally posted the following thoughts on my old Live Journal blog, back on February 4, 2010. I'm glad I ran across it again. Especially right now as I try to mine a new story idea that is playing hide and seek within my brain matter, but which I can already tell will be special. What is one of your defining moments? Here are a couple of mine.

defining moment

a point at which the essential nature or character of a person, group, etc., is revealed or identified.

–noun 

When I was 13, the family piled into the car and drove a couple hours to Chicago’s O’Hare airport where they waved enthusiastically as I boarded an airplane, by myself. Destination: Bordeaux, France.

I was a shy, shy kid.  On the plane, I was seated next to an older man who tried to make small talk, but I could only nod or shake my head in reply, wouldn’t make eye contact, and I’m sure my eyes were wide with fear and my breathing shallow.  He gave up shortly after take off.

Hours upon hours later, the captain announced our approach to Charles de Gaulle airport.  I pulled out my ticket in order to be well prepared for the plane change I had to make.  I noticed the baggage claim tickets said Rome, Italy.  I stared at it thinking, That doesn’t make any sense. I stole a couple stealthy glances at the old man next to me and determined he hadn’t become an ax murder on the long flight across the Atlantic. Taking a deep, fortifying breath I leaned toward him and asked, “What does this mean?” pointing to the baggage claim stubs stapled to the inside of my ticket.

“It means your bags are checked through to Rome,” he said.

Crap, that wasn’t an answer.  At least not one I wanted to hear. Now, I had to speak, out loud, to him AGAIN! Rapid blink. Gnawed lip. “I’m not going to Rome.”

“Then you’ll have to get that taken care of right away.”

The man explained, in detail thank goodness – because I’ve always been a details type of gal – how I was to go about intercepting my luggage.  I did and my bags made it to the south of France along with me.     

During my extended stay in the small town of Biganos, I wrote letters home.  Apparently I was very honest about just how homesick I felt because at 3:30 one morning, Monsieur Devaud woke me and said, “Your mama is on zee phone.” Unfortunately for the Devaud family, my mom did the math wrong and miscalculated the time difference.  However, I was thrilled to hear her voice no matter the hour.  My mom said I sounded sad and lonely in my letters and that she was really worried.  That was pretty embarrassing actually, so, I started making excuses about why I’d sounded pathetic and assured her everything was really just fine.

Then she made THEE offer.  “If you want to come home, I’ll book you a flight tomorrow.”

Well, when you put it that way…NO WAY am I leaving.  

Two defining moments in my life. Neither of which I knew were defining moments at the time. As a matter of fact, at the time I felt uncomfortable, insecure, scared. But when I look back, I know I made the right choice, not the easy choice. 

So?

When I’m mired in the muck of creating a story, I think about these experiences in my life or others that I’ve been lucky enough to be privy to and I emulate them for my character.  I know what it feels like to be painfully shy but realize I HAVE to ask for help from a stranger.  I can still recall the depth of homesickness I felt, yet as soon as the offer to walk away was pitched to me my homesickness shattered into a million pieces and I knew I wouldn’t miss the rest of my international experience for anything.  That is splendid characterization material!

Isolate your own defining moments. Create a Defining Moments document that you add to each time you remember one.  Then if your character gets stuck in a quandary, read through your own life experiences to inspire a resolve for your character.  Heck, if you aren’t going to employ the acquired knowledge in your day-to-day sensibilities, the least you can do is ad value to your character, right?