Announcing the Blog Tour for Deadly Design!

Here’s the blog tour schedule. Check it out for Give Aways, Reviews, Interviews, and Guest Blogs!

Monday, May 25 – Once Upon a Twilight

Tuesday, May 26 – Fangirlish

Wednesday, May 27 – Fiktshun

Thursday, May 28 – Nick’s Book Blog

Friday, May 29 – Reading Lark

Monday, June 1 – The Compulsive Reader

Tuesday, June 2 – Mundie Moms

Wednesday, June 3 – Page Turners

Thursday, June 4 – Addicted 2 Novels

Friday, June 5 – Reading with ABC

Monday, June 8 – Winterhaven Books

Tuesday, June 9 – A Dream Within A Dream

Wednesday, June 10 – JennRenee Reads

Dear Teens, Please Survive

This past week was a frenzy of graduations — high school, college, even pre-school. During this same week, I officially withdrew my youngest daughter from public school for reasons most people who have walked the halls of middle school are familiar with.

In today’s society, the only people who ever seem to say that it’s okay to be different, are people standing in front of podiums receiving Oscars.

They’ve made it. They’re safe. They’ve not only survived being ‘different’, they’re able to lift their heads up and say, “Hey, this is why I’m here. My life is amazing because I survived being the kid who got belittle and insulted and stared at. I’m here because I’m unique. My mind doesn’t work like everyone else’s. I have an amazing imagination. I see the world for all its possibilities. I hear music in the wind and the rain. I hear characters whispering their stories to me. I care more about social injustice than I do about who will win the football game, probably because my life has been full of social injustice.”

We are a society filled with sheep. We’re told to think the same thoughts, to wear the same clothes and hair styles, to listen to the same music and believe the same beliefs. But that’s what society says and we, as individuals, are bigger than any society. We are individuals, each with unique minds, unique passions.

I was one of those kids who ate lunch alone in the auditorium. Not because I was anti-social, but because there was no clique– no table designated for dreamers.

My daughter has always been unique. She’s had characters and stories bouncing in her head since thoughts could first form there. She’s never really cared to conform but the pressure to do so has been crippling over the past year. The stares when she dyed her hair black, the boy who asked her if she was a satan worshipper because she wears My Chemical Romance T-shirts.

Graduation speeches are filled with fortune cookie advice. But here’s mine.

Survive. Don’t let society define you. Don’t be yet another sheep. There world has enough of those.

I won’t lie and say that it will be easy. The stares won’t stop. The whispering that happens both outside your head and inside won’t go away. But fight. Fight for the right to exist in a world made up of the vibrant colors of your imagination. Fight for a world with music that pounds in your chest and makes you feel something. Fight to stay different and alive so that one day you can touch the world with the magic that’s within you, because that’s why you’re different.

You have something others don’t have. I don’t know what your particular type of magic is — maybe it’s stories, maybe it’s music or photography or painting or creating new comic book heroes who fix social injustice or maybe it’s you fixing it. Whatever it is, it’s precious. It needs protecting. It needs to be safe.

So survive. Graduate not just with a diploma but with the freedom to be who you are and to leave your mark on the world. We need you so please, just survive.

Florida Book Signings

Hi Follow Book-lovers,

If you happen to be in Florida the first week of June, I’d love to see you at one of the following locations to discuss Deadly Design and sign some books.

Tuesday, June 2nd – Tampa, FL
Inkwood Books @ 7pm
216 S Armenia Ave, Tampa, FL 33609
Friday, June 5th – Ft. Myers, FL
B&N #2711 @ 12 pm
13751 Tamiami Trail, Fort Myers, FL 33912
Saturday, June 6th – Miami, FL (Coral Gables)
Books & Books @ 7 pm
265 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134

There’s no crying in writing!

We all have stories of people who encouraged our efforts to write and some who discouraged our efforts. My story is a combination of the two. Years ago Richard Elman came to Wichita State University and taught a course on creative writing. It was a tutorial course, one in which individuals met with him weekly during which time he would critique our work.

I gave him a short story that I was somewhat proud of. The next week I arrived at his office with my fingers crossed that he would see some talent in it — that he would say something encouraging to fan the tiny, feeble flame that was my writing ego.

I sat down across from his desk. We greeted each other in a nice cordial manner, then he threw the manuscript on the floor and said, “If this was the only copy that existed in the world of your story, and it suddenly combusted, I wouldn’t waste a drop of my spit trying to put out the flames.”

I didn’t cry, well, not until I got to my car and contemplated whether or not I would ever go back to his office. But then I asked myself why I was going in the first place. I was going to learn to be a better writer. That was the whole point and if anyone could teach me about writing, who better than a man who obviously had no regard whatsoever for my feelings.

I went back the next week and the next and the next.

Mr. Elman was, to some extent, ruthless, but he was exactly what I needed; he was a great teacher. I wish I could remember everything he taught me, but when it comes to any art, the lessons are evident in the work. They are seen on the page; they are heard in the nuisance of words.

I was sad when I learned of his death just a few years after he’d taught me so much. He taught me to be tough and to remember that the quality of writing is all that matters. There’s no crying in writing (at least not in getting critiqued)!

He also taught me to be present in the writing, in every word, and like all great teachers, I know he lives in the writing all of those he taught.