Thursday, December 1, 2016

Victims of Domestic Abuse Deserve Better

As a young child, I had to watch my parents fight in the most excruciating of ways. I'll never forget the pain and isolation of not being able to do anything to help. Thankfully, they divorced after eleven years. My mother, a tower of strength raised us, and being an immigrant from Greece, English wasn't her first language it was a struggle. 

This very important message from Open Educators. I hope this will help others.

Although domestic abuse has seen a decline in recent years, there are still millions — millions — of Americans who endure it each year. Not only is it a terrible way  to live — domestic violence victims never deserve to be abused, period — it’s behavior that should never be tolerated.

To show our support for those in abusive relationships, we wanted to share some helpful articles that we hope will provide some hope:

If you are a victim of domestic violence, please know that you deserve better, and there are many ways to get the help you need. If you’re not comfortable contacting your local law enforcement agency, consider reaching out to an anonymous hotline:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Book Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James. (Dark Gifts #1)

(A repost of my review from the Kidliterati blog)

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts, #1)Gilded Cage by Vic James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One family is torn apart by Equals, aristocrats with mysterious powers, and held captive.

Luke Hadley, sixteen-years-old, is ripped away from his family and sent to Millmoor, the dusty, grimy low down, work camp everyone spends ten years, to fulfill societal obligations. While his two sisters and parents are sent to work for none other than Lord Jardine, ruler of the most powerful family in Great Britain. Thanks to his sister Abi’s smarts, the rest of his family works underfoot, serving their time, and his ten-year-old sister is in charge of caring for Heir Jardin’s illegitimate new baby.

ID chipped, and living in Millmore, the country’s oldest slave town. Luke meets a few unusual suspects and joins in the plans for a revolution.

Back at the Royal Family’s in Kyneston, Abi is falling for Jenner, Lord Jardine’s polite, and handsome (UnSkilled) son, while working together to organize the offices.
Baby Libby’s father is Gavar Jardine, heir of Jardine, and his anger is explosive at best. Ten-year-old, Daisy, has come to trust him, against the family’s best interests. And there’s the Young Master, Silyen Jardine, whose “gift” makes Abi’s uncomfortable, if not downright ill, the way he enters her head and sees everything.

Lords and Ladies, torment, and secrets and possible revolution, a dystopian world that feels familiar but oh, so different, and the likelihood of it being feasible are quite frightening. Gilded Cage, is told in multiple POVs, which kept the pace flowing and the tension tight. I was hooked from the start, the pace, and the author’s imagination is extraordinary, the end (chill bumps!) leaves you wanting more.

A magical, YA fantasy. I hope this book becomes series, for years and years to come. Outstanding YA debut for all ages.

Expected publication: February 14th, 2017 by Del Rey Books

*There’s a Goodreads Giveaway for this book until mid-December.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

We Are The Resistance

I am in shock. 

All I can think about are the results of the election, fearful for my most vulnerable friends, and what’s in store for the United States of America.

United, now divided.

Fear of being a woman, where rape and demoralizing are being sent to the highest office of this country.

I fear for my Muslim, Mexican, POC, Disabled, and LGBTQ friends, being targeted. My cousin is afraid, being a woman and autistic, she’ll be beaten up in her back alley.

I’m afraid for the artists, the poets, the professors, and the thinkers.
Scared for the environment, the future of climate change and science, the animals, the water we drink, and the food we eat.

What the hell have we done U.S.A.?  We’ve been sent into a glitch, back 50 years.

What’s our solace, recourse? 

Living in New York City, where it’s good to know intelligence prevails. (NY voted blue) But we can’t sit inside our state forever. Neither can you! Showing by example is the only thing that works. Share the diversity. Read widely, talk to people outside your circle.

There’s something I heard years and years ago about this century, from the writings of Edgar Cayce, the sleeping profit, was that early in the 21st century the purists would rise up!  

Rise. Rise. RISE   

A coalition is building, one of love and strength in kindness. We are the resistance!


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Reading Old Diaries And Preparing For #NaNoWriMo

I finally spent time this weekend cracking open and reading a few of my old journals. They sat in a vintage suitcase, deep in my closet. After 20 years, I first opened the suitcase in June, took a photo and ran away. Yesterday, gearing up for my #NaNaWriMo draft I began reading the first journal. 

Asking the oracle why I feel so poopy. Ha! Good question.

1988, my first year in New York City, when I was twenty-one, the year I lost my virginity and became pregnant. It was emotional. I knew it would be. Inside the suitcase, I found old Tarot readings I read for friends, which helped me learn the cards, found old poems and unfinished short stories, (very kind) class notes from my poetry teacher, at the New School. One journal left me hanging with an unwritten year! I couldn’t believe the suspense.
I’d forgotten most of that life and found it funny how I kept talking to future me:
“I just have to write through this pain so I can learn from it later".

 -- Oh, how I wish I could talk to young Karen. You FOOL! Poor kid. J I laughed and laughed. The voice alone was worth the read. It felt like time travel and such a head-trip. I recommend each of you, writer or not, keep a journal.

I’m sorry I’ve given up the habit. Writing novels and short stories has taken most of my writing mojo. I’ve tried and purchased a journal only to lose the motivation. I’m going to try again, inspired by what I’ve learned reading about the way I saw the world then. My memory alone wouldn’t have been accurate. 
I thought about posting an excerpt from a poem I wrote then but I’ll save that for another post.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What's My Next Step?

Today I have a film crew swarming around me. It’s a little hard to focus on my regularly scheduled writing work, so here I am on my blog. I do love when the film crews come, there’s always someone to talk plots and TV shows with.

It’s the second time this crew has been at my family club, the ZINC BAR, filming parts of the GYPSY television series with Naomi Watts. I haven’t seen her. My husband stays for the shoot into the evening.

With NaNoWriMo around the corner, (I love me some NaNoWriMo sprint-race-writing. Messy drafts are all the rage!) and a project ready to draft, writing notes on index cards and Scrivener, gathering resources, and using KM Weiland's incredibly helpful plot and writing tips. Helping Writers Become Authors >> Check out her blog!  Thank me later. 

And I have a YA historical project ready to query that could use more eyes on it. However, I'm concerned with taking too many opinions to heart. I’ve done this before. Destroyed a beloved project through several online workshops and contests. I like to learn the hard way, apparently.

I’ve also come to an impasse. My cancelled MG book has not hooked an agent after 76 query passes, and 59 no responses, for the grand total: 135. What’s my next step? Do I shut GLITCH out—(That name is changing, btw. My life has been rife with glitches) put it in a drawer with its drafted option book? (that I LOVE) Or do I begin searching for another book publisher? I’m just not completely sure. Being creative you see SO MANY OPTIONS. They all sound pretty good. After the year’s worth of editing for GLITCH, it’s hard to think about rewriting at this point—though I do have ideas. Ideas are everywhere.  

In other news: THE UNMOVING SKY, my young adult, contemporary, thriller, will have an audiobook soon! Stay tuned for more details. And--my good friend, Sheriff Bob, is busy mixing an MP3 of a song I wrote and sing from Brianna's POV. She's Jackson's girlfriend. It’s her story now. I DON’T BLAME YOU is coming soon!! Can't wait to hear it myself.  

Are you doing NaNoWriMo 2016 this November 1st?  I'll be on the sidelines because I already have five chapters drafted, but I'll be rooting for you!  #WritersRock  

Find me on Twitter and say hello! And if you're in the Village, stop in at Zinc Bar/Cafe during November, and I'll buy all NaNoWriMo writers a coffee. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Book Review: It Started With Goodbye by Christina June

It Started With GoodbyeIt Started With Goodbye by Christina June
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A reblog from Kidliterati. 

I received this ARC for an honest review.

Christina June’s young adult book IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, charmed me from the start, and I found myself sitting comfortably in the author’s beautiful writing, like an old friend sharing a story. Familiar, and relatable, this was a fun contemporary take on the Cinderella story, which explores finding your place in life, even when it feels everyone’s against you.

Falsely accused of a crime, sixteen-year-old, Tatum Elsea (TLC) winds up under house arrest. Her father leaves town, leaving Tatum with her step-monster, Belen, and perfect stepsister, Matilda, who won’t even look at her, much less speak. Her best friend, Ashlyn, has been sent to a boarding school since the criminal charge and isn’t writing back. Tatum tried reaching out to her. It wasn’t Tatum’s fault. Ashlyn’s questionable new boyfriend, Chase, got them into serious trouble, and now they face grand larceny charges.

“In terms of life events, my getting arrested was either pretty horrible timing or pretty perfect, depending on who you were talking to.”

Sentenced to probation and community service, Tatum’s thankful it’s the end of the school year, and wouldn’t have to listen to the rumor mill blow everything out of proportion for long. Maybe it would help her focus on the budding graphic design business, new friend Abby suggested, after the great work Tatum did on her blog.

Abby encourages Tatum to find more clients. Tatum’s inspired. When her stepsister, Matilda, the ballet dancer has a recital, she takes the opportunity to leave the new business cards at the school that didn’t accept her art portfolio. She literally bumps into a mysterious and keen-witted boy, and the two have an inspired conversation while critiquing the art on the walls. Tatum flees before either catches the other’s name. A student from her stepsister’s school, she wouldn’t dare tell either, wanting to stay anonymous. She also wants to keep her budding graphic design business under wraps for now.

Waiting for her best friend Ashlyn to write back, and with her stepmother watching every move and calculating her car’s mileage, the boy at the gala fades into the background. Tatum begins corresponding with SK, her latest client. Leaving her business cards at Matilda’s school proved fruitful. He plays cello and she begins work on creating the perfect promotional flyer for him.

But Belen, the stepmother, pulls the reigns in tighter, and the only recourse Tatum has, is her step-grandmother, Blanche, who came to stay and help Belen keep tabs on her. She has wise words to share, compliments of The Golden Girls. A breath of air in Tatum’s otherwise suffocating life. Blanche lessens the blow of her daughter, Belen’s unreadable demeanor. Tatum soon discovers she’s not the only one in the house, keeping secrets. A wonderful young adult debut for all ages, and I look forward to the author’s next work.

Expected publication: May 9th, 2017 by Blink/HarperCollins

View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Ask and You Shall Receive?

This is my weakness. Suppose I always knew and previously believed it made me stronger. After all, I’d rarely, if ever, ask my parents for anything. My mother couldn’t afford much, aside from her love and attentive ears. My father has never been particularly interested in my life. I went to college at 17 and left college for New York City when I was 21. There were no nets. If I failed in New York …

Luckily, the city caught me, shinning her pretty promises. I believed, and this attitude carried me through.

Many jobs and a few apartments later, I still haven’t mastered the art of asking. Which brings me to today. After several creative pursuits, writing fiction won! I have a novella published with Leap Books, Shine imprint, an ebook. My publisher says they’ll print the book—if sales are high enough—in the autumn sometime. I’m still waiting on the news. Do I ask, again?

There are so many questions in this business and without an agent, I often feel like I’m flopping and flailing out here. I’ll keep writing, the only thing I (still) have control over. Lost in the excitement of my stories keeps my heart beating with passion and life. It fills me with creative control. Many other creative pursuits, I’ve dabbled in depended on others. Hence, the asking would be paramount. If I pursued Jazz singing, I have to ask musicians to join and barter their payment.

I need to figure out how to erase this little glitch in my thinking.

Authors have to ask for a lot of things. None of which I’m very good at. I’m always ready to jump in when someone else needs help. That’s’ easy. We ask people to read our books, we beg for reviews, we single out successful authors and ask for book blurbs. In a few minutes I’ll update my query list, and perhaps nudge (ask) if they’ve read my submission.  So many questions!

As authors, we have to exercise this muscle, a lot. Does it get any easier?
If you have any fabulous techniques, please share in the comments.