February 15, 2018

Cover Reveal for Can Dreams Come True? by Krysten Lindsay Hager


Upcoming contemporary YA fiction by Kristen Lindsay Hager Can Dreams Come True? (Book One of the Cecily Taylor Series) 


Check out the blurb here: Cecily has always had a huge crush on singer Andrew Holiday and she wants to be an actress, so she tags along when her friend auditions for his new video. However, the director isn’t looking for an actress, but rather the girl next door—and so is Andrew. Cecily gets a part in the video and all of Andrew’s attention on the set. Her friend begins to see red and Cecily’s boyfriend is seeing green—as in major jealousy. A misunderstanding leaves Cecily and her boyfriend on the outs and Andrew hopes to pick up the pieces as he’s looking for someone more stable in his life than the models he’s dated. Soon Cecily begins to realize Andrew understands her more than her small-town boyfriend—but can her perfect love match really be her favorite rock star?
Pre-order the book now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079S3KJSH
The book officially releases in ebook and paperback on March 20th.
You check out the Can Dreams Come True Pinterest inspiration board here!: https://www.pinterest.com/krystenlindsay/can-dreams-come-true-the-cecily-taylor-series/
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends...Forever?, Next Door to a Star,  Landry in Like, Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2) and Dating the It Guy. True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Bestseller Award for childen/teens. Competing with the Star is a Readers' Favorite Book Award Finalist.
​Krysten's work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News and on the talk show Living Dayton.
Cover art work done by Cora Graphics for Clean Reads.


February 14, 2018

#MeToo - A Call For No Tolerance

Like so many others, the #metoo news that broke within the last week in the children's publishing arena really surprised/disappointed/pissed me off. It isn't just that we write for children and should know how to better comport ourselves, it's that we are grown ups and should know better than to prey on each other.

Even as it sickens me, I'm so glad this conversation is happening on a huge scale. It is absolutely not acceptable to use your position of power or celebrity to take advantage of someone. And it needs to stop. While I'm not comfortable seeing people accused, tried, and found guilty in the comments section of an article, in the media, or online, I am very encouraged that this major elevation in awareness will finally, FINALLY create a safe environment for the victims to come forward immediately. To be heard. And for there to be proper investigations into conduct - without repercussions to the victim.

I know a lot of why this has been allowed to go on unchecked is because the accused are often the ones that bring in the money or notoriety for whatever organization or industry they are involved with. I'm not naive enough to believe this way of thinking will simply go away. Money talks. Sex sells. BUT, I do believe that now victims will be heard. Even if they have to take it to social media. But let's not let it come to that. Let's, 1) handle ourselves with maturity and control so there is nothing to report in the first place. 2) Establish safe reporting policies that protect the victim and then actually follow through with them. 3) Show NO TOLERANCE - even to the money makers.

Believe it or not, when people's bad behavior is corrected, they generally stop the bad behavior. So, correct it immediately.

I'm heartsick by the names that have been named this week. But I hope to hell (you know I'm serious if I'm swearing on my blog!) it acts as fair warning to anyone else who is currently acting inappropriately, or to those who start to justify bad behavior as they gain some momentum in their position. NO TOLERANCE.

(On a lighter note: come back tomorrow for a cover reveal for Krysten Lindsay Hager's upcoming YA contemporary)

February 7, 2018

Revisiting Defining Moments

I originally posted the following thoughts on my old Live Journal blog, back on February 4, 2010. I'm glad I ran across it again. Especially right now as I try to mine a new story idea that is playing hide and seek within my brain matter, but which I can already tell will be special. What is one of your defining moments? Here are a couple of mine.

defining moment

a point at which the essential nature or character of a person, group, etc., is revealed or identified.

–noun 

When I was 13, the family piled into the car and drove a couple hours to Chicago’s O’Hare airport where they waved enthusiastically as I boarded an airplane, by myself. Destination: Bordeaux, France.

I was a shy, shy kid.  On the plane, I was seated next to an older man who tried to make small talk, but I could only nod or shake my head in reply, wouldn’t make eye contact, and I’m sure my eyes were wide with fear and my breathing shallow.  He gave up shortly after take off.

Hours upon hours later, the captain announced our approach to Charles de Gaulle airport.  I pulled out my ticket in order to be well prepared for the plane change I had to make.  I noticed the baggage claim tickets said Rome, Italy.  I stared at it thinking, That doesn’t make any sense. I stole a couple stealthy glances at the old man next to me and determined he hadn’t become an ax murder on the long flight across the Atlantic. Taking a deep, fortifying breath I leaned toward him and asked, “What does this mean?” pointing to the baggage claim stubs stapled to the inside of my ticket.

“It means your bags are checked through to Rome,” he said.

Crap, that wasn’t an answer.  At least not one I wanted to hear. Now, I had to speak, out loud, to him AGAIN! Rapid blink. Gnawed lip. “I’m not going to Rome.”

“Then you’ll have to get that taken care of right away.”

The man explained, in detail thank goodness – because I’ve always been a details type of gal – how I was to go about intercepting my luggage.  I did and my bags made it to the south of France along with me.     

During my extended stay in the small town of Biganos, I wrote letters home.  Apparently I was very honest about just how homesick I felt because at 3:30 one morning, Monsieur Devaud woke me and said, “Your mama is on zee phone.” Unfortunately for the Devaud family, my mom did the math wrong and miscalculated the time difference.  However, I was thrilled to hear her voice no matter the hour.  My mom said I sounded sad and lonely in my letters and that she was really worried.  That was pretty embarrassing actually, so, I started making excuses about why I’d sounded pathetic and assured her everything was really just fine.

Then she made THEE offer.  “If you want to come home, I’ll book you a flight tomorrow.”

Well, when you put it that way…NO WAY am I leaving.  

Two defining moments in my life. Neither of which I knew were defining moments at the time. As a matter of fact, at the time I felt uncomfortable, insecure, scared. But when I look back, I know I made the right choice, not the easy choice. 

So?

When I’m mired in the muck of creating a story, I think about these experiences in my life or others that I’ve been lucky enough to be privy to and I emulate them for my character.  I know what it feels like to be painfully shy but realize I HAVE to ask for help from a stranger.  I can still recall the depth of homesickness I felt, yet as soon as the offer to walk away was pitched to me my homesickness shattered into a million pieces and I knew I wouldn’t miss the rest of my international experience for anything.  That is splendid characterization material!

Isolate your own defining moments. Create a Defining Moments document that you add to each time you remember one.  Then if your character gets stuck in a quandary, read through your own life experiences to inspire a resolve for your character.  Heck, if you aren’t going to employ the acquired knowledge in your day-to-day sensibilities, the least you can do is ad value to your character, right?

January 24, 2018

When the Wolf Whistles Stop

I admit, when the wolf whistles stopped, it made me a little sad.

Even though I knew that being whistled at by some passing guy wasn’t anywhere near the measure of my worth, I had been brainwashed by society and maybe my upbringing to think it was important that my appearance draw positive attention.

Dudes – we need to stop this culture. It makes me so sad when I see Facebook friends post pictures of their pre-teen or teenage daughters and the responses say things like, “She’s beautiful. She’ll be trouble.” Why does a pleasing arrangement of features automatically equal rebellion, trickery or seduction to some people? What if that daughter is raised with conservative values and has a whole hell of a lot of common sense? What if she has morals? Just because she’s beautiful doesn’t mean she will say yes to lecherous men, but your comment will certainly encourage those lechers to lech.

It is so counter productive to the current women’s movement. We can’t expect men to stop wanting to grab us by the pussy if WE are commenting that beautiful young girls are gonna be trouble. Women – no, ALL people, should be making a conscious effort to change the way they respond to an attractive person. All I ask is that you don’t make their appearance the focal point. Comment on how much they’ve grown up. If you know them personally and they have a favorite trait, highlight that. “And a wicked sense of humor to boot!” Or just say, “Lovely.”

One thing you should know about me is that I’m pretty obsessive about ‘checking my work’ to make sure the things I claim are actually the way I represent myself in the world. So I just texted my daughter and asked (randomly, out of the blue for her) “If you had to guess, what traits would you think I admire most about you?” The poor confused young woman replied, “Uhhhh my independence?” To which I made matters worse by confirming, “Good. So just to be clear, you didn’t first think I valued your beauty above all else.” I can only imagine her shaking her head and laughing at this point. “Haha, uh no?” So, just to be absolutely sure I asked, “And do you know that I think you’re beautiful?” And her response was, “Yes. But I wouldn’t think that would be the first thing that comes to your mind when describing me.” –So, yay! I passed that test. And also, phew! I didn’t start this parenting journey with the intent on making sure my children didn’t focus on their appearance. It might have developed after the wolf whistling stopped, I don’t know. I just know that it was well into the journey that I thought, “Wait. I don’t want them to get to my age and battle the same demons I’m battling. Why should they have to spend any energy teaching themselves later in life that what they look like isn’t among their most important traits?” And see how it wasn’t too late to impart that knowledge on my daughter?

Of course this holds true for our sons, nephews, husbands, fathers, etc, also. “Isn’t he a heartbreaker?” “Those good looks will sure open doors.” How about his skill at crafting metal or solving problems? What about his intellegence? All the years he invested in an education? Why don’t we highlight those instead of his high cheekbones and ability to make girls swoon?


Compliments are fun. They make us feel good. I’m not suggesting we don’t appreciate an attractive person. All I’m asking is that we think about the message we send by our appreciation and that we lean toward highlighting personality traits and intellegence before beauty. And that we NEVER, ever give that beauty power over others, or give others power over that beauty. That is no longer acceptable.