Thursday, March 14, 2013

What's In A Name?

I have frequently changed my mind about what my Official Author Name is going to be. At some point, I'm going to have to actually make a final decision and stick with it.

So I was kind of hoping that you guys could help. I created a survey (it'll probably take you all of a minute to complete it) with the different options I've considered over the years. If you could please choose the one you think sounds the best (and there's the option to tell me why you think it sounds the best), I would greatly appreciate it.

Click here to take the survey.

Thank you!

Monday, March 11, 2013

On Bullies, Apologies, and Making A Real Difference

I'm going to take a break from my normal posts to talk about something that's very important to me. It's a tad long (even for me), but I hope you'll stick with me. 

Here goes. 

I had a dream last night that surprised me. I was at a bookstore near where I grew up, signing books. And that's not the surprising part. I have dreams about that sort of thing often, and they're always wonderful. That's what every writer dreams about, right?

No, the surprising part was that a boy (now a man) who made fun of (bullied, teased, tormented, tortured) me in elementary and middle school showed up. He smiled and said, "You don't remember me, do you?" So I gave a small, polite, embarrassed smile and asked his name. Recognition and anger flitted across my face when he gave it, and he said, "I guess you do remember me."

"Yes, well, it's hard to forget the person who systematically destroyed your self-esteem for six straight years. So, you know, there's that." Insert not-so-polite smile here.

And he winced, and said he was sorry, and that he'd come to apologize. That he'd wanted for years to apologize for what he did to me, but he didn't know how to get in touch with me until he saw my picture on a poster at the book store. I told him Facebook would've maybe been a better option than showing up at my book signing, and that he was holding up my line.

Yes, there was a line. Because it was my dream, and in my dreams, I always have long lines at these things. ;)

So I woke up, and as I clawed my way out of the haze of sleep, I found myself wondering what on earth had caused this dream. This is a person I haven't spoken a single word to since eighth grade. Seriously, guys. That wasn't even in this millennium. But apparently my subconscious isn't ready to let the past go, even if the rest of me is.

And I really am ready to let it go, though that wasn't always the case. For the longest time, I intended to be published under my maiden name. It was a pretty unusual name, and I wanted all of the people from my past to know that I'd made it. That I'd done something with my life. That I was somebody.

Then a little over a year ago, I found myself wondering why I care. What does it matter to me what people I don't know and haven't seen for years think of me? It's not as though I think of them. (Except, I guess, in my subconscious, but I didn't know about that until I woke up this morning.) It's not as though I need their approval for anything ever. I didn't become a writer so that I could get back at people who were mean to me or to prove anything. I became a writer because I've wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Since before people decided I was fat and needed to be laughed at and embarrassed and made to feel like garbage on a daily basis.

So why am I dreaming up apologies from my former nemesis? Would that help? Would it really change anything fifteen years later? Because, honestly, I don't think it would. What good does that do? How does that help me? I don't need apologies to feel good about myself. Not at this stage in my life. 

However, I couldn't seem to let this dream go. I couldn't help thinking about what I would actually do if such a thing came to pass. And I figured it out. I would tell him that apologizing to me doesn't do anything. But if he has kids, or nieces and nephews, or God children, or anything else, he could try to teach them not to do to others what he did to me. That he could teach them to respect other people. Even if those people are overweight, or unattractive, or don't have nice clothes, or aren't super smart, or are gay, or are "different" in any other way you can imagine.

Trying to help me is a waste of time. I figured shit out on my own. And with the help of some amazing people, including the best friends I could possibly have, and the most wonderful husband I could ever have imagined. So no, I don't need an apology. I'm already good on that front. At this point, I don't need any help.

But there are plenty of people who do. People who feel like they'd rather die than have to go to school and face everyone. People who are constantly on edge, knowing that insults and barbs are coming, and it's only a matter of time. People who cry every single day, because they're hurt in some way every single day.

There are kids being bullied and teased and made to feel like shit about themselves right this second. So what would I say to this person if he magically showed up and apologized? 

You want to make up for what you did? Do everything you possibly can to keep it from happening again. Even if only one other person doesn't have to go through the crap I put up with, the world will be a slightly nicer place. That's what would really make a difference.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My Very First Blog Anniversary

So I realized this morning that I completely missed my blog anniversary! For shame! And I didn't just miss it. I missed it by a good two and a half weeks.

On a similar note, I can't believe that I've actually been (more or less) regularly blogging for more than a year. This is actually my third foray into blogging, but the only one that has succeeded. The first lasted for about 10 posts, and the second for about 3. And I never got any readers that weren't in my immediate family.

Anyway, to celebrate my one year blog anniversary, I'm going to play a little game. And I want every single one of you to play along with me. More on this in a moment.

So the game is the 7 Line WIP Game. I was tagged to play by the awesome Rachel Horwitz (you can read the seven lines from her YA alternate history mystery here). Here are the rules:

Go to either page 7 or page 77 of your manuscript. Count down seven lines and paste the next seven lines in a post. After that, name seven more authors to come out and play.

So to start, here are the seven lines, from page 77 of Luminary:

Closing my eyes, I leaned my head against the rough bark. I'd made it. 

I had only a few seconds of relief before I heard voices again. My eyes snapped open, and I started moving further into the forest, wanting to be safely away before they came even with me. As I had the last time, I rushed from tree to tree. I was moving between my fourth and fifth trees when I started understanding their words. But I didn't pay them much attention until the deeper of the voices asked, "Did you hear something?"

Now onto the part about how I want you all to play along with me. As I said above, the rules say I need to tag seven more authors to join in. So I definitely want to tag my two other CPs, both of whom are working on amazing books. 

Delia Moran
Veronica Bartles    

So hopefully they both agree to participate so you can get a glimpse at what they're working on! And I want all the rest of you who are writers to play, too! I want to learn a little more about what each of you are writing. So please, if you haven't played this little blog game yet, join in and put a link to your post in the comments. And if you've already played, give me a link to that post so I can go check it out!