Sunday, October 16, 2016

You Are Loved.

Bullying is something that everyone experiences during school, and too often it's brushed aside as "kids being kids." It's the snide comments in the girl's room or the shove that sends a younger boy down the stairs, It's the hurtful words on the playground or the whispers in gym class. It shames and diminishes. It robs us of our potential.

But it doesn't have to.  

Bullying plays a central role in my young adult novel THIS MAY GO ON YOUR PERMANENT RECORD. The main character, Sally Clark, finds herself enrolled in a secret prep school focused on World Domination. While some of the students are sponsored, like Sally--they were recommended to the school by an alumni, but they didn't have a family member attend the school--the vast majority are legacies. A small contingent of legacies (led by Justine Carmichael) think that sponsored kids fall in the "less than" category. Less smart. Less capable. Less worthy.

Justine wages war on the sponsored kids using classic tactics. She singles out the sponsored kids by forcing them to sit in a specific place in the cafeteria and making them wear black armbands. Justine uses a small group of older kids to "police" the sponsored kids. They search rooms for "stolen" merchandise and intimidate sponsored kids for being out after curfew. Justine wants to make their lives hell, and for a time, she succeeds.

However, Sally knows this isn't right, and she's going to do something about it. She encourages kids to sit where they want. She takes the black armbands and she destroys them. She confronts people who terrorize sponsored kids. She challenges Justine on several occasions, and eventually (spoiler alert) Sally wins.

A few factors helped Sally find the courage to fight Justine:

  • The school's culture encourages putting skills learned during class into use outside of class. This includes lesson on public speaking, military strategy, and the art of war. 
  • Aduts in the novel repeatedly tell Sally she's worthy and that she belongs at the school. Not only that, their actions back up their words. 
  • Sally's friends are supportive. 

If you're experiencing bullying, you can learn from Sally's experience. Surround yourself with supportive people (sometimes called "finding your tribe"). When others say good things about you, believe them. Remember that you are loved. More importantly, you are worthy of that love.


About the campaign:
#HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.

Please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Hope for the Warriors (PTSD), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Canadian Mental Health Association, MIND (UK), SANE (UK), BeyondBlue (Australia), To Write Love On Her Arms and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

To find out more about #HoldOnToTheLight, find a list of participating authors and blog posts, or reach a media contact, go to

Friday, October 23, 2015

Is This Thing Still On?

So, yeah. I see that it's been almost two years since I've posted anything on this blog.


Well, I've been busy. Moving around Chicago. Writing. Writing for my blog with one of my writer's groups. Keeping up with two writer's groups! Knitting. Adopting a kitty. Exploring Chicago. Making friends. You know. Living life.

I'm brushing the dust off the blog to make an announcement. Silence in the Library publishing is putting out my novel THIS MAY GO ON YOUR PERMANENT RECORD. Sally Clark, a self-sufficient girl with a fatal flaw (she can't lie!) gets sentenced to a school for world domination. Five bucks get you the ebook; $13 gets you the ebook and a trade paperback; $25 gets you the ebook and a trade paperback signed my yours truly. I'm excited to see Sally's story out in the world and hope that readers love her as much as I do.

Check out the kickstarter here. There are other books besides mine, so be sure to check them out while you're there. It's almost gift-giving season, you know. Surely there are readers on your list?

Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Obligatory Awards Post

For those who are eligible to nominate and vote for the various awards including (but certainly not limited to) the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker, here is my list of eligible works: 

  • "The One Where the Dad Dies" from the Heroes! anthology (I'm also eligible as editor for this title)
  • "At Your Service" from the Sidekicks! anthology
  • "A Simple Plan" from the Crimson Pact Volume 5 anthology
  • "The Price of Serenity" from the Coins of Chaos anthology

Nominate at will!

Friday, October 25, 2013

My scariest Halloween

I wore one of my favorite Halloween costumes ever when I was five years old. As soon as I saw it in the store I knew I had to have it and that nothing else would do. Not Cinderella, not Rainbow Bright, and certainly not Strawberry Shortcake. I begged my mom to buy it until she relented. We brought it home and she hung it on a hook in the bathroom.

As soon as mom left me alone in the bathroom it morphed into something horrific. The costume that had been so great in the store, so foreboding-yet-fun, so very-not-girly, had somehow turned into a huge, scary, child-eating monstrosity that would gobble me up and spit me out without so much as a second thought. As day turned to night and the bathroom got dark, it got even worse. The white fabric glowed on the black background as it seemingly hung from mid-air.

I played it cool at first. I just didn't use the bathroom. My dad came home from work. I had to pee but I held it until I couldn't anymore. It wasn't until I was standing at the bathroom door, bawling, that dad figured out why I refused to go in. He took down the costume and threw it in a cabinet in the peeved-and-exasperated way that parents of young children have perfected.

You'd think I'd be too scared to wear the costume, but nope. When Halloween came around we dug it out of the cabinet and I put it one without any problem. It wasn't scary when I didn't have to look at it. Which still holds true, if you think about it.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Time flies when you're having fun

As they say.

This month has been a whirlwind of activity. Meetings! More meetings! Adult decisions about finances! Fun stuff! More fun stuff! So much that I can't believe it's actually fall. It's almost October, people. I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around that.

I've managed to get some writing done this month, though. Mostly on a secret project, but I'm diving into backstory and new outline for the WIP this week. I need to catch up on writing-business emails and work on a submission package for a publisher.

I'd like to get back into guitar lessons and take an improv class, but any time I spend doing those activities takes away from my writing, and that's a sacrifice I'm not willing to make right now. Experiencing life and writing make you a better writer; it's tough to know when to experience life and when to sit your ass in the chair and write.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Prophet of Bones by Ted Kosmatka--book review

For those of you who don't know Ted Kosmatka's work, he has a knack for making hard science concepts accessible through thoughtful blending with fictional elements. In Prophet of Bones, Kosmatka turns the evolution of man on its head; in this world, carbon dating and the study of DNA have proven the creationists were right and evolutionists such as Darwin were wrong. Science and religion are friends, not enemies. That is, until strange bones are discovered during an archaeological dig on the island of Flores. What are the implication of these strange, almost-human bones? When the bones are stolen and people with the dig start dying, the fearless hero Paul looks for answers on his own.

Admittedly, the book started off a bit slow; while there is plenty of mystery and intrigue early on, the plot didn't start to really rock and roll until half-way through. However, the slow beginning pays dividends at the end, and its well worth reading. The world Kosmatka creates is thought-provoking, the science is solid (the author includes a reference section in the back for those who want to delve into scientific papers), and the prose is clean and linear. Fans of science-thrillers shouldn't miss this book.


Sunday, September 08, 2013

The dust has settled

Sort of.

The house is sold, the boxes are (mostly) unpacked, and we're officially relocated to Chicago. Ken and I are getting accustomed to living in the city. It's much different than being suburbanites. We don't have a yard, we barely drive, and our place is half the size of our old house. We don't cook as much because we have dozens of restaurants within walking distance. I've almost kicked my Massive Diet Coke habit because I never want to lug a 12-pack home from the store. I've found a local knitting group that meets at a pub once a month, a group of writers that meet once a week, and I'm searching for fellow geeks to hang out with. I'm hoping to pick up the cycling habit before it gets too cold to ride a bike. It's a different sort of pace, and I like it a lot. If you had told me five years ago I'd be living in the city of Chicago, I wouldn't have believed you. Just goes to show you how rewarding life can be when you open your mind to new experiences.

Now that life is settling down somewhat, I'm getting back into the writing groove. I'm working on a novella, shopping around my latest YA novel and working on its sequel, rewriting a short story, and rewriting a short story I wrote early in my career. I have a few pieces coming out later this year (a story in COINS OF CHAOS and an essay in CHICKS DIG GAMING). As always, my writing career isn't moving along as fast as I would like (impatient Kelly is impatient), but it certainly isn't stagnant.