your soul.


your story.


new worlds.


outside the lines.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Letter to a Bullied Girl

Okay, so I'm kind of freaking out a little bit. I received an email from a follower of this blog. I tried to email her back, but her account wasn't accepting emails. The girl said that she was being bullied and that she has tried to commit suicide several times and that she knows she will again. She also asked for help on writing about her experiences with being bullied and wanted some advice.

The fact that I can't reach her is scaring me, so I'm posting the email (of course, I'm not using her name) I sent back to her. Hopefully she reads this and doesn't go through with any more suicide attempts. And hopefully this gives hope to others who might be struggling with the same thing.

In any case, I hope this letter finds the right person at the right time. (And please don't mind the long-windedness and emotional repetition -- I was very anxious to get this out to someone who was hurting, so I didn't take the time to self-edit.)

Dear ______,

Thank you so much for reaching out to me. First of all, I'm so sorry that you've gone through such terrible times with bullies. If you have taken the time to check out my latest anthology, DEAR BULLY: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories, you will see that you are in some excellent company. So many of my author friends (many who share their experiences with bullies in the book) have gone through terrible bullying situations. I was bullied when I was in college and I thought that my situation was bad, but when I heard other stories, I realized that so many have gone through much, much worse. And they've all come out the other side. The fact that some of the most successful authors today were victims of bullying should give you some hope. They used their pain, their stories, their experiences to become the brilliant writers that they are today.

You need to join them and become one of those important voices. 

The fact that you've had so many suicide attempts saddens and frustrates me. You are a voice that we need to hear. The world needs to hear you. Don't take that away from us. This part of your life will feel so small and so far away if you can just get through the next few years. And then you will laugh at those who treated you badly, because you will be better than they ever were. You will be stronger, smarter, more resilient than your bullies EVER will be. 

Times like these when it feels like there is no end in sight to the bullying is when you need to turn inward and focus on yourself. Read. Write. Find others who share your passion. So many writers who were bullied as kids turned to books for shelter and escape.  Some of them said that at times they felt like books were their only friends; authors were the only ones who truly understood them.  And then they grew up and started writing for teens who were just like them -- giving them the lifeboat that they received when they needed it most.

My suggestion to you is to write, write, write, read, read, read. That's the best thing you can do right now. It will give you a sense of purpose and an escape from what you are going through right now. Once you have left those bullies behind, you will go on to do great things. But why wait? Do it now. Start writing your stories. Think about what you are going through right now and imagine that you are giving advice to a young girl, younger than you. A beautiful, talented, smart girl who was bullied so badly that she wanted to end her own life. Write to that girl and give her the strength to pull through and come out the other side. Stories like that are invaluable. Many of the authors in DEAR BULLY found themselves writing to their younger selves, giving them the advice they wish they had when they were your age. Most of them felt the process was therapeutic and wished they had done it earlier in their lives, so that it would help to heal old wounds. 

The wounds from bullying never really go away, just as the wounds from any traumatic experience linger. But they make you who you are. They make you stronger. And soon (very very soon) you will be at a point where you can look back at this time in your life as something that happened to you, but did not conquer you. You will not lose this battle. Don't let the bullies win. The wounds are there, but they have no power over you. Only if you let them. And you are stronger than that, I can tell.

So from one creative writing spirit to another, I'm wishing you all the best on this journey. You will survive this. You will overcome. And I look forward to meeting you on the bookshelves one day in the not-too-distant future.

Sending you one great big hug and the strength to wake up each morning and take on the day (and those hateful, mean-spirited bullies) no matter what. 


P.S. Please don't ever try a suicide attempt again. We need you, your voice, your heart, your spirit in this world. Think of all the people you can help with your words, the lives that you can impact and ultimately save.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Amanda Bynes Identity Crisis?

I know that I typically only post about writing related topics, but for my next novel I've been doing a lot of research on mental disorders and juvenile delinquents. Now I now that Ms. Bynes is not a teen and has not been officially diagnosed with a mental disorder (though many speculate that drugs are behind her sudden apparent craziness). And yet, I have noticed another interesting aspect about this young star. She seems to be physically morphing into other young stars.

See if you can tell the difference.

1. Amanda Bynes or Lindsay Lohan?

2. Christina Aguilera or Amanda Bynes?

3. Olsen Twin or Amanda Bynes?

4. Ke$ha or Amanda?

5. Miley Cyrus or Amanda?

6. Amanda or Blac Chyna?

Whatever the case, we all want to see the former fresh-faced Nickelodeon star as she was seen here at the MTV Movie Awards. She was a beautiful, healthy girl once and she can be that girl again. 

Until she figures out who she is and comes through this identity crisis (and whatever else might be affecting her mental state), Amanda Bynes may just end up being another unfortunate casualty of the the Hollywood Child Star syndrome. I really hope she pulls through this.

Friday, April 5, 2013

"I’m sorry Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language."

These were the words used by one of the editors of the San Francisco Examiner newspaper when rejecting one of Rudyard Kipling’s short stories.

Think of how many authors today would be discouraged and would just completely give up writing if they read those words in a review or a rejection letter. I came across a list of famous authors who were rejected (often repeatedly) by agents, editors and publishers. 

Read this list the next time you receive a rejection letter or particularly painful review and it should give you the strength to carry on.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dear Bully is featured on front page of NY Times Arts section!

Here is the link! I will be scanning and posting here shortly! Though I don't love the headline "Publishers Revel in Youthful Cruelty" (what?!?! Really?!, it's an honor to be included and I feel that the bulk of the story shows how the publishing world is rallying together to tackle this growing issue.

In any case, CLICK HERE to read the article and ENJOY!

Monday, March 11, 2013

I've made promises I couldn't keep, but...

this time I mean it when I say I'm going to update my blog more often. No more excuses.

So I'm starting off with a question. Does anyone know how to link or add a Tumblr widget to Blogger? There are Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, GooglePlus and many other widgets available to add to Blogger blogs, but I have yet to find one for Tumblr. Are they in competition? Is Tumblr the one last thing on Earth not owned by Google or Amazon? Hmmmm....

In any case, even though this doesn't look like a blog, it's just a really jazzed up version of a regular Blogger blog.  I taught myself some HTML and made this thing look like a real website. On my homepage, some of the pictures are all smushed together and I need to figure out how to fix that. There are some random adds and widgets that have run amuck all over the place. But, overall, I'm pretty happy with how this has turned out.

Can you tell I'm procrastinating on my next novel?

And what is going on with my latest novel, you may ask? (Or maybe not, but I'll tell you anyway.)

I'm about 200 pages in on my first draft and I'm at that crucial 3/4 mark that I always hate. Why do I hate it so much? Because I'm one of those writers who doesn't really know how it's going to end until the reader does (just about). I like to think that if I can surprise myself by the ending, then the reader is really going to be for a surprise.

But, more than that, as I started researching the topic for this latest book, I got really intrigued by larger, complicated and infuriating issues surrounding it.  I'm keeping this topic hush-hush for now, but as soon as I've finished, you can bet that I'm going to be VERY loud and forthright with my opinions on this particular subject. I know that is hard to imagine, given how quiet I've been on the whole bullying situation.

And, yet, this issue has me even more riled up, even angrier and ready to shout even louder about the injustices.

But, I digress...

So, as I'm nearing completion of this book, I will be seated here at my computer more often and before I go posting on Facebook or Tumblr or Twitter or whatever other social media outlet designed for procrastination, I'll make every effort to stop here first and jot down a note or two about what it's like being right in the middle of the writing process.

Thanks for sticking with me. And feel free to follow me via any of the widgets lister above. I'm also on Tumblr. Which Blogger won't let me post or link to. Not sure why.  If someone can explain it to me, please do. Especially since one of my writer friends informed me that teens now think that Facebook and Twitter are for old people. Tumblr is the new hot place to be. And if you don't believe that, just ask MySpace how it feels when teens leave you in the dust. Not too much fun.  So check me out here at