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horror in real life is why we write horror in fiction

After a week of non-stop horrible, real-life punches in the gut from Boston and West, Texas, I’ve lost enthusiasm for revising my current manuscript.

I write YA—edgy YA—with foul language, violence, terror and gruesome details, when necessary.

But witnessing real suffering all week has exhausted my capacity for such things. Telling stories seems silly. Useless.


But that’s wrong.

In a horrible coincidence, the week before the Boston Marathon Bombing, my daughter saw a woman suffer a “traumatic amputation”. My daughter wouldn’t talk about it, all she did was tell me it happened.

Then the Boston catastrophe occurred. And stories were told through text, video and still picture.

My daughter called. She asked if I had seen the picture of the man in the wheelchair who had lost both his legs. She recounted the story of how the man in the cowboy hat grabbed him up, saved him.

Then she finally let the nightmare out of her head and told me about the day she watched a woman become an amputee.

We need stories.

So tomorrow I will start back again. I will get it all as right as I can.

I write so those who’ve never experienced terrible things can understand those who have.

I write so those who have experienced terrible things can find a way in to talk about it.


author meltdown

My dear friend Laura Manivong wrote a blog that gave me the push to post this evening.

Seems there was an extreme melt-down today on BigAl’s blog when a self-published author did not like a review she got. Not only did she argue with the reviewer, she argued with commenters, defending grammar and syntax that were obviously sub-par. She ended by hurling four-letter words.

The blog owner reacted calmly. In fact, the original review said the story was good. He answered the author’s objections a few times and then left the scene. But the author hung around to engage with the public, and she was no match.

I admit I tweeted what was going on as a lesson in what not to do when you get a bad review. But then I saw the pile-on that happened.

Holy Moses.

You would have thought she’d run over a puppy or something.

The poison people spewed on her, I couldn’t believe.

So I went to see her profile. Part of it reads:

In 2001 my English father, an artist visited me in the USA. Prior to that I hadn’t seen him for twenty years. My parents divorced when I was twelve. My Greek Mother was still traveling to Greece for short visits and visiting me here in America before she passed.

I wonder how stable things have been for her. I wonder how much of a struggle her life has been. I wonder why we think it’s okay for us to do any more than give a brief review of her book and let it go.

I don’t think this will ever happen to me, because I don’t have the energy to go ape-shit like this author did. But I tried to brainstorm what I would do if I created such a mess for myself. Problem is, once it’s on the internet, it NEVER, EVER GOES AWAY. Think twice, type once, and all that.

So help me, guys. What in the world do you think this girl could do to repair her situation?




dirty words: author branding

(There are too many “ings” in this post, but read it anyway.)

Lots of talk about author branding these days.

Oh, Maureen Johnson, look what you hath wrought.

Maureen started it all with a Manifesto declaring herself Author-Branding Free. It’s an interesting story about her encounter with a mindless Facebooker, whose sole purpose in life is GETTING HER MESSAGE OUT THERE and SELLING HER BOOK.

Yeah, I share Maureen’s disdain for the woman and her methods. In fact, I believe the drone is hurting herself. If all she does is bombard people with BUY MY BOOK, she is bo-ring. No one listens.

But don’t go away from reading Maureen’s Manifesto thinking “Yeah! I’m not a brand! I don’t have to participate in any social media!” Because here’s Greg Pincus. He explains what you should be doing–not brainwashing the masses with endless whining about your book, but making connections. Letting the world get to know you.

That’s exactly what Maureen has done. And John Green. And any number of authors who are claiming they aren’t branded. Indeed they are–but they didn’t set out to brand themselves. It just happened while they were having fun.

getting behind each other

You may have heard that I edit this little weekly info-rag called the Sunflower Scoop.  Every week I read An Abundance of Katherines newsletters, articles, blurbs, tweets, innuendos, rumors…and blogs.

I am one jaded internet peruser.

So when I find a stupendously brilliant and generous blog entry by a YA author that is a call to action that we can all heed…

I am going to link the hell out of it.

If you want to support a kidlit book that you’ve heard about, but don’t have the funds to buy, do this.

If you want to support a kidlit book that an acquaintance has written, but don’t have the funds to buy, do this.

If you buy a kidlit book from a friend of yours, don’t stop there, do this.

Many thanks to Lisa Schroeder, author of  Far From You and I Heart You, You Haunt Me.

I think you will agree, she is…

Einstein.  On wheels.

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