Friday, November 28, 2014

20 random thoughts

Random thoughts. I'm reliving conversations from last night, pondering things I've
seen browsing on Twitter and Tumblr this morning, thinking about the weekend. Granted, some of them you won't understand, just my personal inside musings.

  1. I'm starting resolutions before next year. I'm joining a gym Monday. I really need to make these changes.
  2. There had to be a taser, a billy club...some other option. 
  3. Richard Sherman is funny and a class act. People don't like him because he's the best and he's loud. Well, people outside Washington. And maybe Oregon and Idaho. Maybe Montana.
  4. I'm all about women's rights, but I don't think we need to trash men to get them. We're trying to be equal, right, not superior?
  5. People that go shopping today are CRAY!
  6.  Some of these people on the Tumblr, I really don't want to see their shit.
  7. I didn't realize how much I enjoyed Facebook until I left it.
  8. Peeta and RePeeta were in a boat...
  9. Speaking of...someone told me he thought Mockingjay was boring. I asked where they left off and he said basically they just got Peeta back (who up to this point he thought was named Peter hahaha). And I was like O.o I could see that being boring because NOTHING REALLY HAPPENS until then.
  10. I need to remind my daughter for the millionth time that I am a POOR SINGLE MOM WHO CAN NOT AFFORD TO FEED ALL HER FRIENDS!
  11. I need to buy more Christmas lights.
  12. I hope the tattoo artist can get my design right.
  13. I can't wait to get on the road and get the fuck out of here.
  14. My dreams need to stop toying with me. It's hard to dream about someone you love then wake up realizing they're not a part of your life anymore.
  15. Always ask someone if they want some pie before you eat the whole thing. Even if you were told to take it home and eat the whole thing.
  16. Do I really need to Tumblr when I Blogger?
  17. THERE IS ONLY ONE FUCKING PIE AND IT'S BANANA CREAM!
  18. NaNoWriMo - okay, so I may not finish, but I got a lot accomplished, which is more than I can say for the last two years.
  19. There are 4 kinds of people in your life:
    1. the ones who give, never expecting anything in return
    2. the ones in which you have a give and take relationship and that's okay
    3. the ones that take and never give
    4. and the ones you just want to punch in the face
  20. My dad is awesome.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Time to be thankful

I'm not going to do the usual "what I'm thankful for" post. This has been a hard year for me. I've faced a lot of adversity, some I'm still working through, and so, I want to see the positive side of these hardships I've been through this year.

And first off, I'm going to say to my Facebook peeps, this does not mean I'm back on Facebook. This automatically loads to Facebook from blogger. I don't even have to go there. In case you were going to accuse me of being weak and coming back. :)

  1. Parent illness/aging: I still have my parents. I know a lot of people my age have had one or both of their parents already pass. And I do think about that. All the time, really. I actually do. I'm lucky. I know this. I can only think of one other friend that has both her parents. So, though we've seen some hard times this year, I'm so thankful they are still around.
  2. Break ups: I had a hard break up earlier this year. It caught me by surprise;
    truly, I wasn't expecting it. I'm thankful that it happened though, because he was awesome. That time also made me reflect on myself, because since my divorce, I'd not been broken up with. It made me remember that I'm fallible and maybe it was time to regroup and focus on things other than dating.
  3. School problems: My daughter's school pissed me this year. There were emails passed back and forth, meetings. I'm still not entirely pleased with the situation, but if I want it changed, I need to take action, which I'm going to do. But for the most part, I'm thankful for both my daughter's education. We are lucky to have the resources we do in the United States. Those resources may not be perfect, but I'm thankful my children have access to them in order to learn and grow as little human beings and to choose what they want to do with their futures.
  4. Children: They face challenges through their lives. They challenge you. They
    cause trouble, drama, stress. Children make messes, cost money, don't contribute. So many reasons to dislike the wretched little things. Yet I am so thankful for these little souls I've brought into the world. They're my light. My life. I live for them. Without them, I would be nothing.
  5. Friendships: I've lost one. For now at least. I've learned a few things along the path from this fall out. About me and about her.  I'm thankful for that. I also know now that I have things to reevaluate, and that will be a good thing. It doesn't matter how much time passes before our lives come back together, if they do. I will take that time to take control of some things in my life and reel them back in. I think the break in this friendship will be good for me.
  6. Health: I've been tired, achy, I've had a swollen eye for most the year. I've had
    to sleep, I've not been able to exercise, or keep a clean house, or a nice yard or garden...but I'm grateful to have a diagnosis. To have a goal finally. To finally see if this can go away.
  7. Things I can't talk about: Let's say they're stressful and can be ugly. But the ugly things in life, they educate you, they make you strong. They mold you. It's the hardest things that make you who you are. I don't dislike me. I need some work to be sure, as I'm sure most people do. I've gone through some hard stuff these last few years, but the person that has come out the other end...she's not so bad.

So, that's most of it. These are the things I've struggled with and the positive side of them. I don't want to dwell on the past or beat myself up about things. It's time to move forward. Get healthy, get control. I'd like to write, work, play, in a healthy, atmosphere that is conducive to they way I want to live life - with passion, adventure and wisdom...and maybe just a tiny bit of chaos.

I started last night, reaching out to people I've not talked to in a while, at least some of them, by text, wishing them a Happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving to you too! Enjoy your friends and family see the positive in the negative and the light in the dark. Start the next year off on the right foot.



Monday, November 24, 2014

Good people make mistakes

We are human, and for that reason, we make mistakes. Sometimes they are no big deal, but other times, they're very hard to bear. Why does this happen? Many reasons. Misunderstandings, the failure to act on something, bad decisions.

Many times we have no idea we're making a mistake until the negative outcome manifests itself. Sometimes we know when we're making that mistake and for some reason do it anyway, knowing there could be negative repercussions, knowing it could hurt people.

Why do we make those decisions? The ones we know are mistakes but for some reason can't seem to turn away? Especially when other people's pain will be involved.

I can only answer that question for myself, and I'm not really sure. If I were to guess, I think many times it would have to do with insecurities, stress, envy, anger, coping mechanisms. But it's not purposely. All on a subconscious level.

Then what can we do?
  1. Feel remorse
  2. Apologize
  3. Forgive yourself 
  4. Move on

That's it. The rest is up to them. You can't pressure them to forgive you. If they do, they do it on their terms taking as much time as they need which could be a week or a year or never. And that may be hard, but that is what you've caused and you'll have to live with it.

Forgiving yourself is important. If you can't do that, you'll be a prisoner to this one mistake, and you will let it define you. You shouldn't have to pay for one mistake for the rest of your life(well, unless you've killed someone, maybe then). So forgive yourself, learn to like yourself again, and start over.



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Now I really know...

I mentioned some health issues a couple weeks ago, and though it's not life threatening and other people are dealing with way worse things, for me it's very debilitating. I am a person that is always going, always doing, has 10 things on my plate and a bucket list a mile long. I don't have time for my body to shut down. But that's exactly what it has done.

So after a millions tests my doctor diagnosed chronic fatigue syndrome. Not satisfied with that diagnoses, because you see, there's really nothing you can do about it except wish it away, I went for a second opinion  - to a naturopath.

I swore the heavens opened up and I heard choirs of angels singing because after reading my paperwork and talking to me for a few minutes she seemed to know exactly what was wrong with me. And the thing is, there's a chance I can make it go away. I may not have to just learn to like myself this way and learn to live with it.

Adrenal fatigue. There's some controversy. I've read up. Medical doctors don't really believe in this diagnosis. It's not accepted medical diagnosis because it hasn't been scientifically proven. Doctors are concerned the real cause of the symptoms may not be found and treated correctly. But like I said, I have been tested for everything and they found nothing. So this makes sense to me.

You see, adrenal glands regulate stress (physical, emotions and psychological) through hormones adrenaline and cortisol, and if you have prolonged stress, those glands may not be able to adequately meet the demands of that stress.

You have no idea how much is involved with stress regulation.
  • Immune function
  • Muscle tone
  • Blood pressure
  • Sleep
  • Production of energy
Etc, etc, etc...


Adrenal fatigue could be caused by one big emotional crisis or repeated or constant stress. For me it is the latter. Adrenal fatigue causes

  • Lack of energy
  • Back pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Decreased immunity
  • Hair loss
  • Sleep Problems
  • Skin Problems
  • Increase in allergies
  • Weight gain
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Loss of focus
  • Forgetfulness
  • Crying spells
  • Relationship conflicts

The list continues. I've highlighted all the symptoms that have affected me the last almost three years.

I'm super excited about this new diagnosis because I see an end to my malady. also now understand why I've been sleeping during the day, why I haven't been able to finish the novel(s) I've started. Why I can never find the right words.  Why all of a sudden I have high blood pressure when I never have in my life.

I'm excited to write more, get active again, have a clean house, and have more time to spend with my daughters and scratch things of my bucket list.

I highly recommend if you think you have something like chronic fatigue or Fibromyalgia you go see a naturopath and see if you don't have adrenal fatigue.

If you're interested, here are some articles I found with more info:

Eighteen Overlooked Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue from Natural News
Recovering from Adrenal Fatigue from Natural News
Adrenal Fatigue: Myth vs Fact
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue from Women to Women. This one has an Adrenal Health Assessment you can take as well.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Being Switzerland: Bad Behavior of Book Bloggers vs Authors Pt. 2

I posted part 1 of this blog on Tuesday and talked about book bloggers behaving badly. Today I'll talk about authors behaving badly. This really is nothing new. I came across this  Cavalcade of Literary Jerks, which is a funny, but true post about famous authors behaving badly, such as James Joyce, Charles Dickens and Norman Mailer. I highly recommend the read.

Anyway, as I stated in part 1 of my blog, as a published author and also a Vine reviewer for Amazon, I have been on both sides of this coin with regard to the head butting between bloggers and authors, therefore I am Switzerland.

Here is some examples of how authors shouldn't behave, and again, I'm using no names as the badly behaved and their victims  need no more attention.

Authors:

  • Commenting on bad reviews. There are MANY authors who have done this. Just don't. Whether you're being polite or not, it's just a bad idea (but yeah, especially if you're going to be rude and basically call people stupid). Don't blog it, Facebook it, Tweet it. Back away from the reviews. When you put a book out, not everyone is going to like it. Some people will hate it. It's a fact. Get over yourself.
  • Just because you send a blogger your book does not mean they have to review it. Period. If you do not get a review, even if you were promised one, let it go. Definitely don't post a "hit list" of bloggers on your blog telling people they are horrible people. Do not start a flame war with bloggers. This is a bad idea that will sometimes end with you losing your Goodreads account and some of your credibility and brand you as an "Author Behaving Badly."
  • Always tell your spouse it is not okay to respond to bad reviews in your defense. Especially do not let him call them "psycho" when it is a well thought out and not at all harsh review just because it is a bad one.
    • This same author's assistant then attacked another blogger because she changed her review from 4 stars to 1 after the author complained that it only got to #2 on the NYT list and after what her husband did and stated she would never read her again. Do I agree with the star change for that reason? Not necessarily. But once again the key here is DO NOT ENGAGE.
    • As an author you should probably not let on that you know all the above is going on by posting about it on Facebook.
    • Both author and husband apologize, but blogger now receives threats from rabid fans via email and voicemail. One even told her to kill herself, yet author won't tell her fans to back off. After someone on her Facebook page suggest she make a statement, author refuses and says she doesn't want any more comments about it on her page. O.o
  • Contact reviewers privately upon a bad review and guilt them into deleting the review, amending or raising and then "teaching" authors that this is the thing to do. Also, stating publicly how funny it is that while they may have given you a bad review, you are the one holding their money. Not very classy or ethical. And yeah, someone did that.
  • Don't be an arrogant douche. Don't make yourself out to be more than you are. You can be proud, you can brag, but know when to shut the hell up. Don't tell readers and fellow writers to fuck off.
  • One self pubbed author went on a Goodreads rampage a few years ago apparently trashing those who reviewed her book poorly as well as fellow YA authors. She then created sock puppet accounts (many from what I understand) to give her book 5 star ratings and give other authors 1 star ratings. Then she outed a blogger by posting publicly her real name, husband's name, email address, etc. Yeah, don't do any of this.
  • Seriously, keep comments about reviews off Twitter. Especially with your agent. Especially don't say you're going to go like all the good reviews and get all your homies involved.
  • Know who you can trust or make sure you are sending the email to the right person. One author sent a scathing email about a reviewer to a couple close friends. Somehow the review ended up getting it in her inbox. She was not amused as it called her a stupid cow. She does apologize, but, um er...
  • Don't act like a crazy psycho and ruin your career over bad reviews. I cannot reiterate this enough. Yes, I believe this has been done.
  • Do not stalk a reviewer who gave you a poor review. Then do not post on your
    blog how you did this and actually showed up at her house. Scary.
  • One author actually stalked a reviewer who gave him a bad review, found out where she worked, drove from London to Scotland and physically assaulted her by hitting her in the head with a wine bottle from behind. 
So...the above is behavior you never want to engage in as an author, traditionally published, self published, no matter.  As you can see, all but one of these have to do with receiving bad reviews. I will reiterate this about bad reviews...YOU ARE GOING TO GET THEM. It's a thing. It  happens. Don't contact the blogger, reviewer. Seriously, this is just not a good idea.

The other one, don't treat your fellow authors like shit. We really are not competition. We are in this together. We should work to help each other make it in this crazy and cruel business.

Stay sharp. Stay focused. Stay out of prison.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Winners and Free Books


So, today marks the year anniversary of my novel Dissected. If you've read my blog before, you may know, since publishing it, I haven't had a lot of time to market it, so I'm starting now, on its anniversary.

I began with a contest for a huge prize pack, and picked the winner yesterday. And the winner is...Samantha Gee!!! Congrats!!

See what she won:




I want to thank everyone who entered and those who spread the word.

Don't forget Dissected is free for your Kindle today on Amazon.

It has an average 5 star rating.

Readers have called it "Gutsy" "Powerful" "Raw" "Edgy" and "Intense" so if you know anyone who would be interested, spread the word.

If you decide to take the opportunity to read it, it would be great if you'd take the time to give it a short review on Amazon. Reviews really do help sell books on Amazon.

Thanks for your support! I <3 you="">


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Being Switzerland: Bad Behavior of Book Bloggers vs Authors

Okay, I don't know how people will take this blog, authors or bloggers, but I'm taking the chance in writing it anyway.

You know I'm an author, right? Okay, well, I don't know if you know I'm also a Vine reviewer for Amazon. In fact, I was a Vine reviewer before I was published. I've also blogged and vlogged reviews on blogger and YouTube. That's how I get to be Switzerland. I have been on both sides of the coin. I have given reviews and had the author not be so happy with me. I have received reviews which I thought were a little harsh.

Disclaimer: I believe there is a difference between receiving a low review for your work that is an honest and thought out critique versus receiving a review that is just plain cruel and mean spirited.


Before I get into this discussion, I'm going to say, I love authors, I love book bloggers. There are a few bad apples among us, as in every other walk of life and they can give a bad name to the rest. Disgruntled self pubbed writers that can't handle bad reviews. Carpetbagger troll bloggers that bully authors. There is bad behavior on both sides.

I am okay with bad reviews on my books. Even though I don't like them, the harsh and mean spirited reviews make me laugh now. When I was first published the very first bad review I got stung. Plus, I did think it was kind of mean spirited. I'm over it. I'm over reviews. Yes, I am probably one of the few that still read their bad reviews. Why? Because there may be some validity in them and it will make me a better writer. It will help my skin become even thicker. And if I find no merit in it, it usually gives me a good laugh.

Last thing, I'm not going to use names. The badly behaved have received enough attention and the innocent victims need no more.

Okay, this is actually lastly, as I was writing this, I realized how long it was taking and how long a post it was, so dividing in two. Today, bloggers. Thursday will be authors. 

Bloggers:


  • Let's start with this term carpetbagging. This is when a reviewer will go to Goodreads and one star a bounty of books in a day. These are authors they feel are Badly Behaving Authors (BBA) And when I say a bounty, I mean about 500.  I'll note, carpetbagging with 5 star reviews isn't good behavior either.
  • Gang mentality. Many times if book bloggers feel an author has behaved badly, they will form a gang to harass and carpetbag the author. Some of them have said it's not bullying. I think it is. It has gone to the point in which authors have quit or taken their accounts off of Goodreads, and these gangs are proud and happy with the results. Shame on them.
  •  I read a comment on a site about reviews that basically said that some people will hate you on a personal level for writing a book they hate and you can't control or stop it so writers should just accept it. Um, I can't say I agree with this. If a reviewer can't separate the book from the person, perhaps they are disturbed on some level and book reviewing isn't for them. 
  •  This relates to the above. Dissing the writer for anything except the writing and/or getting personal. Or as some call it, giving a non-review. One author who quit writing because of bullying was given a review basically saying she didn't deserve to breathe the same air as the blogger, much less be born. 
    •  Another blogger on Goodreads had a review hidden because (and was told so very eloquently) the review she gave was of the author and not the book itself.
    • I'll add this same reviewer subsequently had many book reviews removed from Goodreads for the same reason, as well as shelves named things such as "bratty authors to avoid" and "authors who gave themselves 5 stars" The reviewer was warned to cease and desist from similar behavior in the future.
    • Yet another Goodreads reviewer put a book she hadn't even read on 3 trashy shelves, one simply titled "Shit" because someone (the author insists it wasn't him) spammed her for a review. If that wasn't bad enough, her followers followed suit, and then when the author asked that she remove it (yeah, I know, but really, is that fair?) she bashed him as well for "stalking" her, even though she admitted he was probably just looking at his own book on GR when he came upon her shelves. And I am sorry, this one is just a bitch. This guy even offered to sent her the book to read and then be happy if she chose to keep it on her "Shit list."
  • Reviewers that give 1 star without reading a book. If you don't read the book, don't review it. I'm not talking about it being so horrible in your opinion you can't finish it, but judging it on anything but the quality of the product, say not liking the description, or the cover or because the genre is overdone, or the author, etc etc...not fair.
  • I'm also not really a fan of the 1 star rating, no review. Meaning, giving a book 1 star but not saying why. However,  I have been guilty of that myself, so I can't be too critical of it.
I took a break from this again. I can't write any more. Not today. The research I've done to write this is making me want to barf. And believe me, not just because of the bloggers, it's authors too. There are just mean, vile people in the world. Not a lot, but some. 

As a Vine reviewer, blogger, vlogger, here is my only experience with an author that I thought was inappropriate: I read a book. I found it actually pretty intriguing until the very end. The end left me hollow. It felt rushed and like a cop out, as if the author just wanted to get the book over with, and I hated it. That said, I touted how I thought the writer was talented, how I enjoyed most of the book but found some flaws, and I still gave him 3 stars.

The author commented on my review on Amazon (which is no longer there along with a couple other of my very earlier reviews for what reasons I'm not sure). He was displeased. I did not engage back.

I had also vlogged the review and received a response, not from the author, but from someone else. He basically called my review a satire of critics and said I was the worse kind of reviewer for the type of book it was, which was based on the blog of a female young adult. Um...I'm female, I was a young adult, I'm a blogger, er...the author is a middle aged man. Wasn't really understanding that. The commenter even commented on the angles I used in my video. Er. So what who cares?

I clicked on his name and went to his YouTube page and could easily see he was connected with the author, though I didn't know how (was and am still hoping it wasn't the author using a fake name). I thanked him for watching the review and nicely, again, explained that I thought the author was clearly talented and why I disliked the ending.

So as review bloggers, when their friends engage with us, we don't have to turn thug and go full on bitch on them. We can still read their plights and be respectful. If an author engages, I suppose it would be a case to case basis. If they were polite, I would be polite back. If they were rude, I'd simply ignore them. If you engage in rudeness with more rudeness, you're sure to cause a flame war.

I don't do as many book reviews for Amazon as I used to for a few reasons.
  1. I don't have as much time as I once did and it takes me awhile to read a book and get a review out so I'd rather review other kinds of products.
  2.  If I do read a book for review, it's mostly non-fiction, business, cookbook, or something along those lines. Either that or it has to be a book I REALLY want to read, such as I picked up Andrew Smith's Grasshopper Jungle off Vine earlier this year.
  3. Yes, retaliation is a real thing and now that I'm published, I don't need a disgruntled writer ganging up on me (which I will talk about on Thursday's blog because it's happened to bloggers before and can get UGLY).
When I do review fiction, I will rarely review a book I don't deem worthy of 3 + stars.  I know what it feels like to be on the other side of that. Like I said, they don't bother me anymore, but many authors have not developed a thick skin and cannot take it.

However if I do give low stars, even 3 because authors still get bent out of shape about those as I've shown above, I try to be respectful as possible. I think bloggers who think it's funny to trash a book in a cruel or extremely sarcastic way are just mean. Are they wrong? No. It's their prerogative to handle their reviews in that way. But no matter how much I hate a book, I always try to find something redeeming in it, always try to think of someone who might enjoy the book and try to make it as painless as I can for the author.

I really don't understand how someone feels good about trashing someone, going out of their way to embarrass them and at times causing an all out flame war. It's just a book. We are people. Be nice. Both sides should get over it and move on.

Tomorrow: Announcing the winner of the Dissected ginormous price pack.
Thursday: Authors behaving badly from trashing to stalking to physically attacking book reviewers. Bad author!

PS. Don't forget Dissected is free for Kindle tomorrow, 11.12.14.












Monday, November 10, 2014

One day left

 Seriously, the prizes are awesome. I'm not kidding. I want to keep them, but I can't
because that would be totally unethical. Right now, your chances of winning are amazing.

Enter. Spread the word. Show me some love.  You won't regret it. *cue guitar riff*





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oh, and don't forget the Kindle version of Dissected is going to be free this  Wednesday, November 12th. Tell the world.

I'll even add a funny cat video for your viewing pleasure.

 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Are we perpetuating a bully culture?

My eyes were opened this morning.

I posted a Jimmy Kimmel video on Facebook today. The one in which he has parents send in clips of them telling their kids they ate all their Halloween candy, and then the child's reaction. And I admit, I laughed. I thought it was funny.

Until...

I went to a friend's Facebook profile and he had stated that he disliked the video because he felt it was simply parents bullying their children.

My first reaction was O.o. 

My second reaction was shame and guilt. Why? Because you know what, he was absolutely right. Why was it so funny to watch those parents torment their own children and seeing reactions that ranged from crying to screaming to being disrespectful to throwing things?

Answer: it wasn't. Not when I took a step back and thought about it. Granted, there were a handful (3 I think) out of the slew of kids on the video that were fine with their parents eating their candy. The rest of those children were destroyed.

Halloween is one of probably 2 magic nights a year for children and Jimmy Kimmel and their parents, the people they are supposed to be able to trust more than anyone in the world, ruined it, even if it was only for a moment. 

I thought to myself, I would never do that to my kids. Sure, I'd hide a scary clown in a bed or jump out of a closet, tickle them till they almost peed, but taking candy from a baby? Everyone knows that's not right. Okay technically they didn't really do it, but the damage was done and the joke was for their own entertainment and so they could be on television.

What are we teaching our children?

It's okay to just pretend to eat all your candy because you  were only terrorized for a minute?

Um, wait, that can't be it.



It's okay to do mean things if you're getting attention for it?

No, that can't be right either.

Bullying is okay because I'm your parent and you're just a stupid little kid because I said so?

Damn, that doesn't sound right either.

So why? Jimmy Kimmel's little Halloween prank does nothing but perpetuate a bully culture in the worst way possible - between a parent and child.

Love, affection, trust, honesty. These are things children should always be able to expect from their parents without question. To sacrifice this in the name of entertainment isn't just bullying, it's a betrayal of the parent-child bond. Plus, it's teaching a child that as long as something is funny to you, it doesn't matter how it makes the other person feel.

Good job Jimmy Kimmel. Hope you're pleased with yourself. I know a lot of people who are pretty pissed off, aside from the 20 kids in your stupid video.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Understanding Self Harm

My book Dissected is about a girl who cuts herself to ease her emotional pain. I think a lot of people misunderstand many things about self-harm, and that's reasonable given that it's kind of like a dirty little secret that gets locked in the closet or swept under the carpet. In fact, when I was searching for a few statistics for this blog, I even had a hard time coming up with sites that talked about it. Don't get me wrong, there are ways to find out about it, after all, I did a ton of research when writing my book, but you may have to dig a little.

People that self-harm for the most part are not suicidal. They don't want to kill themselves. They are hurting themselves to forget about a larger pain or problem they are feeling, whether they are depressed about something, lonely, or just feeling empty inside. They use the harm as a coping mechanism because they don't know how else to manage their emotions.

Many of them are expert at hiding their wounds for a very long time before being found out. They hide their injuries beneath long sleeves, some of them cause injury to their legs so no one will see them. These aren't just the broody kids wearing black, sitting in the corner. Just like suicide, the cheerleader, the jock, the valedictorian...any one of them could be a self-harmer.

It's more prevalent than you may think. Research says about 1 in 6 teens have experimented with self-harm. In the U.S. 1 of every 200 girls 13 to 19 regularly engages in self injurious behavior. Girls do tend to self-harm more than boys, but boys do engage as well.

Those who self-harm may have a coinciding undiagnosed mental illness. Common ones are OCD, PTSD, Borderline Personality Disorder, depression, Bi-Polar, Schizophrenia, and Eating Disorder. There are others. Self-injurious behavior can have serious consequences as well, such as:
·        Social isolation and poor interpersonal relationships
·        Increasing feelings of shame, disgust, and guilt
·        Poor self-esteem and self-image
·        Permanent scarring
·        Injured tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and muscles
·        Permanent weakness or numbness in certain areas of the body
·        Multi-organ damage and/or failure
·        Infections at the site of self-injury
·        Septicemia
·        Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
·        Accidental, inadvertent death
Parents, don't feel guilty if your teen is able to engage in self-harm for a while before you find out. Teenagers are weird. Who would know the difference between normal teen behavior and something more serious? As I said, some kids are expert at hiding their wounds. Here are some signs you can look for in a self-harmer:
·        Always wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts, especially when it's inappropriate, like in the summer
·        Brushing off injuries as frequent “accidents”
·        Spending a lot of time alone
·        Challenges with friendships and romances
·        Gradual withdrawal from once-enjoyed activities
·        Unpredictable, impulsive, risky behaviors
·        Depression
·        Increased anxiety
·        Scarring.
·        Scratches or cuts
·        Bruises
·        Broken bones
·        Patches of missing hair
If you're a teen that's cutting or engaging in some other form of injurious behavior, your first step is to simply tell someone. That will probably be the hardest part. If you can't tell your parents, find someone else you trust to help you whether it's a teacher, school counselor, a friend or friend's parent, a sibling or other relative. People will want to help.

If you're a parent of a self-harmer, first of all, don't freak out. Stay calm. There is help out there.  Don't assume it's "just a phase." Teens that don't get help may end up being adult cutters. Don't blame yourself or your child. Counseling will get to the bottom of your child's behavior. Don't hide all the sharp objects in your house. That's pretty unreasonable and if a child is going to hurt him or herself, they'll find a way.  Be supportive.

I wish I had advice for educators, but I know all school districts handle these children differently, some well, some not so well. I'd be interested to hear from teachers as to how their schools handle self-harmers when they are recognized at school.

Here are some resources for those who need assistance

S.A.F.E. (800) 366-8288
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  (800) 273-8255
Students Against Depression Website started in the UK with lots of good info.
To Write Love On Her Arms
Seventeen Magazine online has posted a list of resources on its site.

Okay, so, let's move on to happier things. I'm running a giveaway to celebrate the year anniversary of my book release for Dissected. It's a uber giant prize pack. See...
t-shirt, book, SWAG (not shown), all RED gummy bears and a jar of glow in the dark stars.

Visit my Facebook page to enter.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The giveaway is now live and other writerly things


Yes it is. It's live now. It wasn't yesterday when I posted it.  So, here it is.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Your chances of winning are tremendously good because this is only going on until the 11th and the prize pack is HUGE!  You can read yesterday's blog to see pics of the prizes. I kind of want to keep them myself, but that would be really rude.

Here are some links to reviews and whatnot for Dissected, if you'd like a taste before you enter.

Bookish Blog  book review
Offbeat Vagabond book review
Review by author Louann Carroll
Bookraptured book review
Author interview on Spines & Covers Book Blog
Interview for My Writing Process Blog Tour on author Stephanie Feuer's blog

Some of the above are from a book tour I did through Lady Reader, Amy Del Rosso.  Also, the graphics you see were created by Kriss Morton, otherwise known as the Cabin Goddess.

Don't forget I will be offering Dissected for free on November 12th for Kindle on Amazon. Yay!

As for other writerly things...

I'm participating in NaNoWriMo because I'm insane. Yes. I'm actually taking the opportunity to finish the novel I start a bazillion years ago and it's working out famously thus far.  I'm a little infuriated though because their website seems to be perpetually glitchy. Ugh. They usually get it fixed right around the end of November. HAHA kidding. I'm sure it will be running smoothly soon.

I also have a finished manuscript in need of a serious edit. That will have to wait until this one is finished however.

And that is what I'm attempting to do in the little time I have.

Anyone else doing NaNo? What are you working on?

Have a great Tuesday night! Enter the contest, spread the word. Peace.

Monday, November 3, 2014

So, here I am blogging and promoting and giving crap away

It's almost been a year since I published Dissected. Copies have sold. It has great reviews. Honestly though, it has not been stellar. Why you ask? Well, right after I published that book my world pretty much fell apart in many ways. I won't go into all the details of my drama, but I've been busy, I've been dealing with matters that needed dealing.

On top of all the drama, I've also had some health issues that were finally summed up for me last week in as disappointing a way as they could be. Basically, I was told, "This is who you are now, learn to like yourself this way and learn how to live with it."

Yeah, no magic cure.

Don't worry, I'm not dying or anything. I apparently just can't function like ordinary people, therefore any time I have during the day to get stuff done is basically cut in half so I have to choose between activities: cleaning, writing, marketing, working from home, etc. etc. My house is always half messy, my lawn is unmowed, and I've been working on this same manuscript for about forever (trying to finish it during NaNoWriMo).

Now that all that is out of the way, and now that Dissected is almost one and hasn't been nurtured in the way it should have been, it's time to start. And how do we do that?

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yep, I'm giving some crap away. What you ask? Well,  we have a size L got Cassiopeia? short sleeve black t-shirt, a copy of Dissected with SWAG, a 1 pound bag of wild cherry gummy bears and a jar of glow in the dark stars.

How's that for starters? Click on the Rafflecopter link to go to the giveaway. Winner to be picked November 11th, announced November 12th, right here on my blog.

On top of that, on November 12th I will be offering the Kindle version of Dissected free on Amazon for 2 days.

It would do me a great honor if you'd spread the word (of course, some of your prize entries require it, so there's that).

For a short summary of the book and to read reviews, you can visit the Amazon page.

I'll also be changing the look of this blog. I've already updated my Twitter and I'm working on my website, so this will be next on my list as well as my Facebook. I'm growing up, moving forward, keeping on.


I'll be posting more links to reviews and whatnot up until the giveaway/anniversary date, so come back.

You can find me on Facebook and Twitter, and most anywhere authors hang out on the interwebs.

Thanks to those of you who have supported me along my journey. It's been smooth at times, choppy others, but you have to put things into perspective. I suppose as long as I wake up every morning, I can't complain too terribly much.

My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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