Friday, February 28, 2014

In Sickness and in Health

O.M.G. I'm actually going to discuss writing and books on my blog today. I don't think I've done that in awhile because my life has been in such chaos lately, but yes, here I go.

Tonight I head up to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference (AWP), which happens to be in Seattle this year, as tomorrow I will be on a panel titled, In Sickness and in Health: Writing about Illness and Loss for Young Adults.

"Sick - lit" as it's been so charmingly nicknamed has been quite a hot topic in the last year and the subject of controversy. Some people think we as writers have a cavalier attitude toward the dark subjects such as death, suicide and self-harm, and we are doing teens a disservice by writing about these subjects during a time when they are more apt to go through them.

Yet others believe that teen should be reading about the issues that they are sure to relate to at their age, that reading isn't purely about escapism, it's also about thinking and feeling and having characters you can relate to.

What is your opinion on the subject?

I think you know where I stand as someone who has written about death and
self-harm. I also have an unpublished book about a school shooting. Life isn't always pretty and it doesn't always have a happy ending. Are we doing our teenagers a favor by shielding them from the hard things in life? Things they will have to face, whether it's them, one of their friends or family members.

Shit happens. You can't hide from it, so why not face it head on.

If you're attending AWP, my panel is from 1:30-2:45 at the Washington State Convention Center, Room LL5, Western New England MFA Annex, Lower Level.

Other panel members are Roberta Borger. She is the one who assembled the panel. She is pursuing my MFA in Creative Writing at Chatham University. Selene Castrovilla, Jolene Perry, and Katherine Ayres.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The World is not Perfect

Sometimes when things are going good, the universe needs to balance itself out remind you that life cannot be perfect.

My daughters, I know they are not perfect, but they are beautiful and talented in their own ways and they are doing the best they can in school. They are weird and funny and inappropriate most the time and I love them for it.

I have a boyfriend who brings me flowers once a week and rarely lets me pay for dinner. When my vacuum breaks and he can't fix it (and he can fix mostly everything) he brings one to my house and tells me it fell off the back of a vacuum truck, then proceeds to vacuum half my house to check it out.

The work I do at my day job is awesome. I get to write and be creative and work part time so I can also write and be creative at home and try to continue to work on my goals of becoming a full time fiction writer some day.

I live in a lovely home, in a quiet neighborhood with a big yard, close to the girl's school.

Yes, that is all good. But then there are faulty memories and car accidents in life. There are delicate situations handled improperly by people who are supposed to care.  There are those who do not know when to shut their mouths and leave well enough alone and those who do not speak up when they should.

Balance. The Yin and Yang of life. It's necessary I suppose. Without it, what would we
be? A bunch of vapid, wastes of oxygen with no personality or purpose?

The balance, the struggles, the hard stuff, it challenges us, molds us, gives us character. I've faced many struggles in life and I wouldn't be who I am today without them, and I kind of like the me I am right now.

Also, adversity, it is a test of our strength. How much can we take? How much are we willing to take for the ones we care about, because sometimes the challenge isn't about us, sometimes it's in the name of our parent, child, or a complete stranger. Sometimes we have to be strong for someone else.

I'm not really a religious person, but all this reminds me of a quote from Mother Theresa:

So, I say bring it world. I thank you for all the good things I have, but I'm ready for the challenges too. I've been through worse. I've felt pain, I've seen death, I've hit rock bottom. It may be hard, I may cry, I may yell, but I'm pretty sure I can handle anything that comes my way.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Never let the bureaucracy get you down

The last couple of weeks I have found myself dealing with one of our local bureaucracies. I suppose, outside government, I've never really thought all that much about policy and practice, red tape, and bureaucrats, getting the run around and discrimination because, well, I haven't had to. It's never really applied to me.

Now it has.

I'm not going to get into the specifics of my problem, only that it has had a great effect on me (and not only me, but we'll just talk about me today). It's been frustrating to the point that it's driven me to tears. It's affected my focus, therefore the work at my day job, my writing, also its been physically draining so I've been fatigued and my body aches. It's made me take time out of my day to try to solve this problem that should have never occurred in the first place. It feels like my soul has been sucked right out of me.

Some of my questions have been skirted around rather than answered. They act like they are trying to help, but it feels more like they are just pretending in order to appease me.

When this first happened I searched their policies and found nothing that warranted their actions.   I called them on it, quoting their own policies as well as Washington State legal code and demanded that they fix what they'd done. I was told they would find the policy and show it to me, but their hands were tied because  it was the call of the higher ups, but they would confer with them and get back to me.

When my answer came back, I was told that, well, it's not actually policy, but more of a "practice." To me this means there is nothing in writing to allow/excuse what they've done. They also said they would still try to work with me though and that a "support team" of "very important people" who are "very busy" doing "other things" are going to make the time to have a meeting to try to solve my problem (yes that's basically the way it was told to me like I'm supposed to be thankful).

The problem is they still aren't seeing the big picture I've been trying to point out to them. 1) this should never have happened in the first place. 2) they should have a set policy for this type of thing because according to them it happens more than you'd think. 3) their "practice" in dealing with this situation is uninformed, ridiculous and I would think discriminatory and illegal.

Even if their "support team" comes up with a solution, I'm told "these things take time." My resolution is already coming up next week, so putting all these talking heads together seems to be futile, and like I said, just a way to appease me.

I've decided to make it my mission to force these people to install a policy so this doesn't happen again. I don't want anyone else to have to go through this.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Those who give you strength

I have been tested much in the last three years, but I think none as much as I have in the last three weeks. I cannot give you all the details of my struggles, as some are very personal and some involve people I love very much. But today's blog isn't really about that it's about those not directly involved in those struggles. It's about the people in life that give you strength.

It's so important to have people in your life to lift you up when you're feeling low, to pick you up when you've fallen, to keep you going when you think you can take no more.  I'm very lucky to have people like that in my life.

Anyway, I just want to dedicate today's blog to those people and thank them, and hope that I too am that person to them.

You know who you are.

Here are the Friday Scribbles for your entertainment...

Pandora queue: Landon Pigg, Falling in Love in the Coffee Shop. LOVE

Book of the Week: Allegient by Veronica Roth. I like it, not as well as the first two, but's getting better.

Netflix of the Week: I started watching Sons of Anarchy again. For some reason I stopped right before the first season ended. I just lost interest. When I say right before, I mean at the very last episode. When I started again, I didn't know why. Pretty good.

Quote of the Week: “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I am not a social media addict...

At least according to this article here. I would say at one time in my life there was a certain writer's forum I could not take my eyes off of, *cough* ABNA *cough* and perhaps there was a time that Facebook meant more to me than oxygen(I mean, who really needs to breathe, right?), but hey, I've found there are other things in life than virtuality (yes that is a word, I'm pretty sure I just made it up) and reading random posts from people, most of which you'll never meet in real life (though I will say I've been very lucky to meet some of my virtual friends in my reality too).

Here is my defense to this social media addiction blog:
  1.  I only keep one Twitter app on my phone for my ONE Twitter screen name...okay, admittedly I have three Twitter screen names, but the others different aspects of my life that are rarely touched.
  2. I don't ALWAYS check myself in when I go somewhere. Sometimes I forget.
  3. My children don't always have to tell me not to Tweet the crazy things they say. I'm more of a Facebook user.
  4. Posted on the gyno's table with feet in the stirrups? I think not. Though the dentists chair isn't out of the question.
  5. I've never shed a tear that Pinterest wasn't around before I got married. I've always prided myself on being a great party-thrower. Although now, I admit, with all those pictures, it's so much easier to steal other people's ideas.
  6. And I'm not into taking pics of my food, especially since I eat popcorn for dinner about three nights a week. I've also never heard of Diptic. Of course, there are all those selfies...Diptic...Where have you been all my life?
  7. Instagram as a verb? Please! Of course. And Facebooked, Twittered (I make up all sorts of words for Tweeted), Tumblred...any of them can be turned into a verb.
  8. Yes, I own multiple chargers. I have one at the office, one in my car, one
    plugged into my computer, one in my bedroom, one that can never be too sure when there might be an emergency update to post. I know where there are outlets, AND wi-fi. I do not see this as a problem.
  9. My mom has never called to see if I'm okay because I haven't Tweeted. She doesn't even KNOW how to Tweet. However if my dad doesn't see me on Facebook...
  10. An Android user as a wannabe...pish posh.
  11. Oh yeah, those iPhone users are snobs. Any time I complain about my phone it's always, "You should get an iPhone. They're perrrrrfect." Douchebags.
Pttthhhh. See, totally not an addict. I can take it or leave it. Quit any time I want.

Have a great day. I have to go check my feeds on Facebook and Twitter. And I should probably update my Tubmlr, and maybe post some pics on Instagram, and perhaps...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pushed Blog Tour: Remy Looks Like Who? - The Cast of Pushed

I am happy to be participating in the official blog tour for my fellow 2k12er and  all around great gal, Corrine Jackson and her novel Pushed, book two in the Sense Thieves trilogy. There is just over a week left of the tour, so if you want to hop on, you'll find the full tour here.

Today we're going to talk about Pushed character Remy, and who Corrine may have had in mind when developing her physical attributes, but first, let's give you a little taste of's an excerpt from the novel.

Gabe Blackwell never saw me coming.
In the tick of a hummingbird’s wings, I had launched myself at his back, taking him down in a tangle of arms and legs. Our bodies hit the blue mat in the middle of the Blackwells’ gym with a thud that shivered from my teeth to my backbone.
Gabe’s breath hissed out when Asher, leaning against a rack of weights, laughed at his older brother’s defeat at the hands of a gangly girl half his size. I took advantage of Gabe’s distraction to wrap an arm around his neck, putting the whole of my weight into pinning him. My height rivaled his, with me close to six feet and him just over, but he had a good sixty pounds of muscle on me. Unwilling to loosen my hold for even a second, I considered biting him in retribution for the thousand times he’d insulted me. And then I wondered if I might have given away my abnormal speed. I really hoped not.
“What is it you’re always yelling at me?” I pretended to think about it, enjoying my little victory over my boyfriend’s brother. With his sculpted features, Gabe never lacked for company, and he never let anyone forget it. I savored any opportunity I had to take his ego down a notch. “Oh right. I remember now. Never turn your back on the enemy, Protector.”
Gabe cursed and cut my amusement short when his muscles tightened and gathered under me. He might look twenty to my eighteen, but Gabe had lived more than a century, and his experience with our powers surpassed mine. Too late, I tried to strengthen my grip. The thought had scarcely occurred to me when I found my face planted in the mat with his knee bending my spine like a bow.
“I also told you to concentrate instead of getting cocky.” The cheer in Gabe’s proper British voice grated on my nerves. “Now, be a good little mortal, and say it.”
His humiliating version of saying “uncle,” he meant. Ten minutes ago I’d bet him that I could take him down in a fair fight, and he’d agreed with terms of his own if I lost.
“Come on, Healer. Say it. Tell me I’m the greatest Protector who ever lived.”
His knee pressed harder, as he settled in with more of his weight. Grunting, I tested my range of motion and felt an electric storm of agony gathering inside my body. Powerful energy, but not enough to turn the tables. Almost there, you smug jackass.
“All right.” Defeat colored my tone, and my body went limp. “You win. I’ll say it.”
I could picture the smirk on his carved, handsome face, and I used the anger to steel myself against the coming pain. In an explosion of movement, my body jerked backward, forcing his knee to dig in that little bit more I needed. A disk popped in my spine and slid sideways. The tempest exploded out of me, firing my pain into Gabe. Another pop and he collapsed with a thump next to me, his back now screwed up, too. Poetic justice. In the quiet that followed, I pressed my cheek into the cushioned mat and studied my nemesis, curled up in the fetal position next to me.
My voice came out weaker than I intended when I declared, “I am the greatest Protector who ever lived.” 
Now, let see what Corrine has to say about Remy...


 “Remy looks like WHO?” -  The Cast of PUSHED” 

Remy doesn't look like any actress you know because I didn't base her appearance on a star. When I started writing the Sense Thieves series, I didn't use reference photos. That was a mistake because the longer I worked on TOUCHED, the more lost I got in what Remy and Asher were supposed to look like. Finally, I had to give in and find photos to reference. I happened to be flipping through a magazine when I saw this photo:

The model is tall, long-limbed, and she has the wavy hair that borders on curly. I wouldn't exactly describe her as typically beautiful. But there's something so striking about her features. She became the Remy I pictured in my head, except Remy was more blond than brunette. 

Asher was a different story. I had a more difficult time imagining what he looked like until I came across this photo.

 A young Orlando Bloom. He has the chocolate brown hair, high cheekbones, jawline, and lanky build that I pictured for Asher, except Asher had greener eyes. Add some muscle, a couple of years, and broader shoulders to Orlando and you'll have how I pictured Gabe.

These pictures now how you saw the characters? The great thing about knowing how an author pictures their characters is that you can entirely dismiss it. I do this all the time with covers, preferring to imagine characters as I see them in my head. Who did you imagine playing Remy, Asher and Gabe?


Well, if Asher looks like Orlando Bloom I know I for one will need to get my hands on these books, and here's one way to do it...

Corrine is having an AWESOME giveaway. She's giving away 2 signed copies of her upcoming release, Ignited, and 20 (yes, I said 20) signed copies of Pushed. Enter right here!! *points down*

 Don't worry, if you don't win, you can always buy the book (and all her books of course).

Buy the Book: 
Add to Your Shelf: 

About Corrine:

Young adult author Corrine Jackson lives in Sand Francisco and has over ten years experience in marketing. She has bachelor and master degrees in English, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. Her novels include If I Lie (Simon Pulse) and the Sense Thieves trilogy (KTeen), comprised of Touched, Pushed, and Ignited (5/27/14). Visit her at or on Twitter @Cory_Jackson.

My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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