Friday, June 29, 2012

I'm No Heroine

"I'm no heroine
At least, not the last time I checked
I'm too easy to roll over
I'm too easy to wreck.

I just write about what I should have done
I just sing what I should say
And hope somewhere some woman hears my music
And it helps her through her day."  ---Ani DiFranco

I'm no heroine. I told my story too late. I told it for the people that can't. Nothing changed. Not really. It still happened. Some people believed me. Some people didn't.

I'm no heroine. I wrote a book about rape. I wrote a story that other people don't tell. The story of what happens when you don't get better after the assault. And what happens to the people who love you. People say it is a brave story. If it is, the bravery comes from the hands that held me up when I wrote it. The people who stayed with me, encouraged me, supported me. The bravery comes from the other survivors in the testimonial writing workshop who stood in front of a room full of strangers and told their stories. The bravery comes from Anne who has never backed down from her mission. Anne who has listened to more survivor stories in the last four years than I did in 10 years working in hospital ERs as a rape victim advocate. 

I'm no heroine. I sold a book. I gave money away so that other survivors could stand in front of a room full of strangers and tell their stories. So that they could learn how to write it down. Because I do believe in the power of writing. But in the end, there is no "undoing" these stories. Horrible things keep happening over and over again. It is all over the press this month. Penn State. Egypt. The Air Force. 

I'm no heroine. I'm mostly just exhausted. And grateful to the people who carry me. My friends, my family, my agent, my editor, my co-workers. They are the ones who help me through my day. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More Songs From TRAINWRECK'S Playlist

Last week, you got the love songs from TRAINWRECK. This week you get to hear what happens when things start to break...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Playlist for TRAINWRECK

So I'm not sure if you all know, but I sort of know nothing about music. I think that maybe the last album I bought was Garbage. And yeah, I just said album. Also, I don't listen to music when I write or edit because I find it very distracting.

It's embarrassing really how little I know about any current music. But we can't be ALL the things. So I have employed the mad musical skills of Mandie Baxter (love her!!!) to come up with a playlist for TRAINWRECK. And she did and it's AWESOME. So even though I may not be all the things, at least I know some good people:)

I'm gonna roll out this playlist a little at a time over the next few weeks. This week features music from before the broken part of the story. I hope you all love both these songs as much as I do.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Kindness Project: On Mentoring

Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good. But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren't feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, starting with a series of inspirational posts. We post the second Wednesday of every month. 

So I mentioned this a little last week and was actually worried that it wasn't the best choice in radical kindness but over the last few days, I have been proven way wrong. Let me back up. When I first started to really think about RADICAL KINDNESS, I had to think what I could possibly offer in kindness. Not that I'm not a kind person, but it's not like I'm a good cook so I can feed home-bound neighbors, I am not the most timely at writing cards to the people I love, I haven't knit a scarf or hat for anyone in over a year. So what was I going to bring to the table?

Then it occurred to me that one of the best things that ever happened to me as a writer was for someone to do a VERY critical analysis of my writing and tell me all the bad first time writer habits I was doing. It changed everything for me. And since I wasn't bogged down in bad writing, I was able to find my voice. 

And I realized that many of the folks participating in the Kindness Project do these wonderful and supportive things for other writers ALL THE TIME. So I thought...well, I *am* an editor in my day job and I *do* know a few basic things that might help new writers get out of their own way and actually write so maybe, maybe, maybe...

And then I met a woman who asked me to mentor her. And then I met a teenager who was frustrated and feeling defeated by her book. So I offered to help both of them. And I didn't really know how it would go because sometimes people seem to want help, but then when you really tell them some concrete things that need to be changed about their writing, they get kind of prickly about it. BUT, it turned out okay. Better than okay, actually. And now I've helped the teenager with her query (and steered her to Matt and Elana as experts in this area). And I'm also working on going through the woman's book for a second pass edit.

This might all mean nothing. It might not help at all. But if it can encourage people to keep trying, help them get a little better, and make them feel like they aren't doomed to fail, I think it's a win. What about you all? Have you ever considered mentoring newer writers? 

The Kindness Project

Sophia Chang                         Sara Larson
Erica Chapman                      Matthew MacNish
Jessica Corra                         Sara McClung
Elizabeth Davis                       Leigh Moore
Christa Desir                          Tracey Neithercott
Sarah Fine                              Katharine Owen
Claire Hennessy                     Elizabeth Poole
Elana Johnson                        Lola Sharp
Amie Kaufman                        Michele Shaw
Liza Kane                                Meagan Spooner                      
Alina Klein                               Carolina Valdez Miller

Monday, June 11, 2012

Interviewing The Teen Boy Part 3

It's been a while and my teen boy interviewee will be leaving for college at the end of summer (weep) so I thought it might be good to bring him back to the blog for more Q & A before I have to go find another teen boy to badger into an interview.

1. I've tried to find the most "boy-friendly" covers I could. Of these four, which is your favorite?

 TEEN BOY: I like Exit Here the most because it doesn't feel cluttered. It's very simple.

2. Watch this movie preview. Would you ever go see this movie? Does it seem like a chick flick even though the main character is a dude?
TEEN BOY: Yeah I might go see this, it doesn't seem like a chick flick to me. I'm sure guys would still go see it too, not only because Emma Watson is in it, but because it actually seems like a good story (yes I would rather watch the movie over the book haha.)

3. Dudes in pink and purple--- yes or no?

TEEN BOY: It depends how bright it is. Plenty of guys wear pink at school, but not as much purple. Either way I'd say it's fine.

4. What one book will you maybe read this summer?

TEEN BOY: I hope to finish The Art of Fielding. It was given to me as a graduation present by a trustworthy librarian. 

5. Would references to older music (not like your mom or dad's but like maybe stuff that's sort of dated) bother you in a book? What about a book that mentioned Facebook? Would you wonder if that will be obsolete in a few years?

TEEN BOY: It depends how I connect to the song. If it was one that I've totally forgotten about and used to like, I would love the reference. I wouldn't be thrilled by a Facebook reference, but it wouldn't ruin anything for me. I feel like FB will still be around in a few years, but it will be interesting to see what's next.

6. Do all your friends still use FB or has it reached the point of annoying?

TEEN BOY: Pretty much everyone still uses FB. There isn't anything else that really has the "fan base" to compete.

7. If someone gave you $100, what would you do with it (no questions asked)?

TEEN BOY: I would probably keep the money in my room for awhile, and then if I ran low on cash I'd get change in 20's and then deposit some of it. A majority of the money would go towards food, most likely Chipotle.

And that's it! I'd like to thank my awesome teen boy for answering honestly and being full of win as usual. Hopefully, we'll get to have him back one more time before he leaves for school. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Inside the Author's Studio with CJ Omololu

I am very excited to have CJ Omololu as today's guest for Inside the Author's Studio because she has a book birthday today!! That's right, her book TRANSCENDENCE comes out today. And one of you lucky duckies will receive a copy of it. All you have to do is comment and will take care of picking a winner. Before we get to the interview, you might want to take a minute to drool over perhaps one of my favorite covers of the year so far.

When a visit to the Tower of London triggers an overwhelmingly real vision of a beheading that occurred centuries before, Cole Ryan fears she is losing her mind. A mysterious boy, Griffon Hall, comes to her aid, but the intensity of their immediate connection seems to open the floodgate of memories even wider.

As their feelings grow, Griffon reveals their common bond as members of the Akhet—an elite group of people who can remember past lives and use their collected wisdom for the good of the world. But not all Akhet are altruistic, and a rogue is after Cole to avenge their shared past. Now in extreme danger, Cole must piece together clues from many lifetimes. What she finds could ruin her chance at a future with Griffon, but risking his love may be the only way to save them both.

Full of danger, romance, and intrigue, Transcendence breathes new life into a perpetually fascinating question: What would you do with another life to live?

And now, on to the questions...

What is your favorite word? Sold.
What is your least favorite word? Review. Maybe that’s just the scariest.
What turns your current MC on? The beautiful boy on the cover of the book.
What turns your current MC off? Selfishness.
What sound do you love?  The ding that says I have a new email. I always think it’s good news.
What sound do you hate? My alarm clock.
What is your favorite YA quirk? (i.e. The Colonel’s desire to give everyone nicknames) Teens who name their cars.
What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Professional singing. Except I can’t. At all.
What profession would you rather bathe in a vat of urine than attempting? Pilot. Just thinking about flying gives me panic.
If John Green exists and sits at your table at a SCBWI conference, what would you like him to say to you? “I love reincarnation stories and I’ll be Tweeting about your book.”
Actually, I met John a few times years ago. When he was promoting Katherines, we were at a signing with just three other people, so we did get a chance to chat and I tried to explain to him that while I LOVED Alaska, I didn’t think it was appropriate for my then 9 year-old (he disagreed).  I’d love to see if his perspective has changed now that he’s a dad. 

Thank you, CJ! Happy book birthday! You are wonderful and write wonderful things. So glad that you stopped by.