Friday, November 30, 2012

"You're Going To Get Murdered"

Sad isn't it?
But, at least I'm saving $40/month
As my previous blog suggests, before I went off adventuring, I told everyone I was going to Boston via a train, and that I'd be there from THIS time to THIS time, and I'd be on time for work Thursday. Their response? "You're going to get murdered. We need to find someone to cover your shift."

The morning of, I found my comfy yet sensible shoes, and drove to close up my storage unit (sad, I've had it for two years), and then waited at the train station where I realized, I really suck at public transportation and I forgot to pack myself snacks.

I was tired when I got on the train. I needed to pee. But I sat next to a kind stranger who was in law school (I told her about my author-ness, and my public speaking-ness, in case some day I need a lawyer), and she offered to escort me to my mysterious twitter friend. I told her I'd be fine, and tried to stay awake. When I got to the point of wanting to gnaw my arm off, I ate some cough drops to tide me over until I could get food.

Soon, we arrived in Boston. I said goodbye to the kind stranger, and ventured off, potentially ready to get murdered, potentially ready for a fun day. Either way, I was holding my breath and trying to keep an open mind because I had no idea what I was in store for.

I looked through the crowd before I figured out that I really only knew what her hair looked like, not her face. (In her profile picture, she's looking to the side.)

Liz (left) me (right) standing
on the Holocaust Memorial
Then some sketchy woman kept walking beside me. But when I looked again, she had blond hair, like in a profile picture, so finally, I said, "Are you Liz?" And she said, "Yes," and is no longer sketchy. I actually hugged her in a greeting (and you all know how I feel about hugs, don't you?)  From there, we went to Dunkin Dounuts and I was given an egg and sausage sandwich and an peppermint iced latte, which was mostly delicious. And then the fun began!

The nice thing about meeting someone who is as indecisive as you is that your adventure turns into a "Hey, this looks cool, let's go here!" adventure. We saw the Holocaust Memorial (heartbreaking, truly. If you haven't seen this, you ought to) and a woman who was preserving the engraved stones. We saw street performers spin on their heads and do a flip over about four people. We walked through a large mall (just to keep warm!) and tried to stop in the Boston Library (except they closed early because the following day was Thanksgiving). After that, we walked past a Barnes and Noble, so of course we went in (and she bought a book, while I gushed about authors I've met in real life, and the ones I follow on Twitter, and how some day, we'll be able to see my book there). Then we had some time to kill and sat at a Starbucks while I trusted strangers to keep an eye on my $800 cell phone (which I did NOT pay $800 for, but only a penny). And then...

We went to the Mother Church.

Not sure if I was allowed to take a picture, but I sure did
We were only able to stay for a little while, but it was fun. Definitely different than the Catholic church I was brought up in, but it was a nice reminder that I need to freshen up on religions I'm not a part of. After that, we took a bus to a restaurant where I met her friends (and they weren't murderers either!) and we had a wonderful meal.

By the time we finished eating (and I talked A LOT), we had to pretty much run to the store (Baxter needed food...we'd run out that morning) and then literally ran to the train where I sat beside a lovely handsome boy who is about to become a certified teacher (so of course I told him I write, and I do presentations). We watched Casino Royal and used my ear buds and apologized about ear wax. It really was a lovely day, with a lovely end.

The moral of this adventure is sometimes, it can be dangerous to meet strangers from the internet. But sometimes, it can be an epic day of adventure. If you do decide to go out, please, please, please be safe!

My new friend, Liz, and myself :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How To Not Get Killed When Meeting People From The Internet

We're in a very digital age. People meet their spouses, people meet friends, people print pictures online. Personally, I get annoyed when people that I know from my real life ask me questions that I've clearly already covered in my blog or on twitter that day. I don't get why they don't just, you know, read about it.

But what happens when that Twitter friend becomes more than just an invisible sounding board online? What about when you want to meet them? Shake their hand? Get some coffee? Well, as much as I'd love to say GO, DO IT! (Because really, I love you guys, and 90% of you I really do want to meet. So if you're ever at the same conference as me, DO NOT hesitate to tweet me, and let's get coffee!)

Sadly, sometimes, that's not the best advice. But chances are, if you really want to do it, you'll do it anyway, so here are some tips I think you should employ if you're going to meet someone from the internet, so you avoid getting killed (sadly, kind of not kidding. A woman from my home state is currently missing after meeting an online date. Scary).

He may look cute and cuddly...
But he may try to eat your face off
1) Meet in a public place
There is nothing better than having a lot of witnesses. Meet in a mutually agreed upon place. You want it to be public because let's face it, you don't know if they're a murderer, and well, they don't know if you're a psycho. Witnesses put both parties at ease.

2) Tell people where you're going
If you're like me, you don't have a lot of family around. You're kind of the lone ranger, drifting from one creepy living environment to the next. But maybe you have employers you can tell. Let people know A) You're meeting someone from the internet and B) Where you'll be (maybe even C) What you're wearing that day)

3) Tweet, Facebook, Social media it
If you're meeting someone from Twitter, tag them. Say, "So excited to meet @ThePersonWhoMayLaterMurderMe at The Coffee Shop In The Center Of Town." You say these things publicly because well...if something does happen to you, people will be able to retrace your steps. It will be a starting point.

Notice the shoes...
Ready to run at any second
4) Wear comfortable shoes
Really, you don't know what you're walking into. You don't know if you'll need to have a quick get away. Wear comfortable shoes because stilettos don't exactly allow for a fast, easy, get away. Plus, it's hard to kick someone in the shin with high heels instead of boots.

5) Be conscientious of age
If you're under 18 and reading this post, I would strongly encourage you to NOT meet someone from the internet. If you really, really want to, maybe bring a parent or a trusted adult. But even then, consider why you're meeting this person. Are they the same age as you? Same gender? Do they play the same sports? But even still, maybe try to bring someone with you. Safety in numbers and all. I trust Twitter feeds more than Facebook because most people on Twitter want to vent about crappy roommates, or weird/funny things that happen. I LOVE my followers. I only friend people on Facebook who I actually know in real life (there is one exception to this and that's because she didn't have an author page to like).

6) Be conscientious of gender and sexual orientation
Personally, I wouldn't meet someone online who is a boy. Simply because he is a boy. I'm a straight female, and as such, I feel meeting a boy somewhere outside my element accomplishes nothing. Maybe if he's a writer, and he attends the same writing conference that I do, I'll maybe meet him for coffee or sit next to him in a panel. But otherwise, I'm more apt to try to meet other women because they seem less threatening to me. But, I could be wrong.

7) Trust your guts
People can warn you all they want that it may be a bad idea. If your instinct is telling you that it is, chances are you should bail out. If you're not comfortable saying "I don't want to meet you now because you asked me to send nudie pictures of myself" just say, "Sorry, this day won't work out." And leave it at that.

We live in a digital age, but we also live in a dangerous age. Even Cosmo has articles about women who get murdered by their boyfriends, by strangers, by friends. Don't let that happen to you. Play it smart, trust yourself, and tell people where you're going and when you'll be back so if something does go wrong (and I truly hope it doesn't) it'll be faster to find and try to rescue you.

With that said, stay tuned for Friday.

Where I met one of my Twitter friends in Boston.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Truths About Dating and Mating

Today, my blog has been invaded by none other than Jaycee DeLorenzo! If you haven't heard of her, hopefully you'll look her up after this because well, she rocks! 

With no further ado, take it away!

Hello, everyone! This is Jaycee DeLorenzo on my book/blog tour for The Truths about Dating and Mating. Today Lynn(e) has asked me to answer some questions regarding how I wrote this and what keeps me motivated. 

In regards to how –
Plotter or pantser? 
I am a plotter.  I write a huge general summary of the story before I get started, and then I just start writing.
Word Count goal? 
Nope!  I just go with it without worry about word count until I feel the story was finished.  The first version of this was 147,000 words, which was waaaaaayyy too long.  I had to get it down to about 100,000. That all happened in the editing process.
How long did it take me to write and what was my inspiration?
Ten years ago – give or take – I was driving home from my husband’s work and listening to Loveline in the radio.  There was a question asked, which was given an answer that I found bland and poorly handled.  I just kind of blurted out my own answer, a little funny and a little sarcastically, but it was accurate.  I was always looking for story ideas, so I thought about it for the rest of the ride, and then free-wrote my first chapter, then forgot about it for a while.  I found the file again some time later, and decided to do something with it, which included putting together my outline.  So, it’s been ten years in the making, but there were plenty of times I’d go months without working on it.  Only in the last year, did I get serious about finishing it.     
As for what keeps me motivated…?
I’ve wanted to be published forever, and I set a goal to do it this year.  Knowing the end of the year was coming up was a huge motivator to get my book done.  And now, today is my release day, so I’ve done it! 
Thanks for having me today, Lynn(e)
The Truths about Dating and Mating
Truths600x900.jpgAuthor:  Jaycee DeLorenzo
Release Date:  November 21, 2012
Spunky Italian coed Ivy Rossini likes to talk and push the boundaries. She gets to do both as she co-hosts Riordan College’s radio program, The Truths about Dating and Mating, alongside her lifelong best friend, Ian Hollister.

Being the only girl who cares to see beyond Ian’s bad boy reputation has its advantages, especially when he’s scaring off the jerks who just want to nail the campus sex-guru. It’s when he’s “protecting” her from the advances she welcomes that she wants to lob him over the head and tell him to butt out. But Ivy’s feels like she’s the one who’s taken a hit when Ian almost kisses her at a party. She knows she should feel relieved when he pulls away, so why is she disappointed instead?

What’s worse, Ivy’s now getting aroused by Ian’s slightest touch and can’t stop entertaining thoughts of a romantic future. But Ian doesn’t do relationships, and she’s not interested in anything casual. In the end, Ivy decides it’s best to keep her growing feelings a secret and hope they’ll pass. However, when Ian begins hinting at wanting to take things to the next level, she’s forced to decide if a chance at something more is worth risking everything they’ve built. 

With their friendship and her heart hanging in the balance, can Ivy follow the advice she and Ian give their listeners - to communicate, be honest, and trust in themselves - or will insecurity, stubbornness, and pride ruin any chance of their relationship getting off the ground?
Buy links:

About The Author:
The super amazing Jaycee!
Jaycee DeLorenzo hails from Tucson, Arizona, on the outskirts of the Saguaro National Park – which she believes to be the most beautiful spread of desert in the world.  By day, Jaycee is an English language teacher to elementary students. By night, she’s a wife, mother, writer, cover artist, website designer, and blogger.  In her spare time, she enjoys reading, cooking, singing (very poorly), catching up on her favorite T.V. shows, and researching.
The Truths about Dating and Mating is Jaycee's debut novel, and the first in a series centering around students of the fictitious Riordan College.
Find me on the web:
Website  |  Blog  |  Twitter  |  Facebook 
Along with my tour, I’m doing a giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 23, 2012

Because I Enjoy The Death of Children

Okay, I don't really enjoy the death of children. But I did enjoy The Hunger Games. So much so that the three books get their own Quick Review.

The Hunger Games
By Suzanne Collins
Rating on Goodreads: **** of *****

I avoided this books for a long while because I hadn't seen the movie. Then my mom sent me a care package, and I got an hour and twelve minutes in, and it froze while Katniss was tying herself to a tree. So I took it to Wal Mart, got a new one, and resumed the following night. I was shaking by the time it ended. Then I only had one conclusion, I must read this book.

I was blown away. Mainly because I was NOT impressed by the writing (I felt like there was too much telling and not enough showing, parts where dialog could have been included when it wasn't, etc), but I still found myself staying up til 2-3am reading. I literally devoured this book. And even though I knew what was coming, I found myself sobbing to the point I had mascara streaks down my face. (Not exaggerating. My roommates told me I looked like crap).

The movie did a good job, but there were some key elements I found left out.

It also rocked because at my local library I discovered the joy of Large Print Books. Don't knock em til you try them. They'll rock your world.

If you have not seen the movie, watch it. If you have not read the book, read it.

Catching Fire (Book Two of Hunger Games)
By Suzanne Collins
Rating on Goodreads: *** of *****

I was going to wait awhile before grabbing this book, but then the librarians told me they had it in, AND it was in Large Print, too. I couldn't exactly refuse.

I wasn't as drawn into this book as I was the first. Somewhat expected as it was a sequel, and my world hadn't been rocked by the movie. It was still very good, but it was a little harder to forgive the telling vs showing issues I had in the first book.

The one thing I give Collins TONS of credit for is her ability to leave you hanging at the end of a chapter. The last sentence always knocks the wind out of you, and forces you to keep going.

By Suzanne Collins
Rating on Goodreads: **** of *****

Katniss went crazy in this book, and I loved it. I appreciated how haunted she was from the first games, because I feel like other authors would have glossed this over. She's a seventeen year old girl, and she's killed people. You don't just brush that off.

This book I thought did a great job of showing how far things got out of control, not really knowing who is the good guy and who is the bad guy anymore.

Another great round of cliff hanging chapters. Still some telling/showing issues, but overall a great quick read. I was more invested in this novel than the second one.

Another Large Print Book. I'm telling you, they're the way to go :)

If you were debating whether or not to read the books. Read them. They're awesome.

Also, are you my friend on Goodreads yet?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Obligatory Thankful Post

Brenda Drake has been having the Thankful Blog Hop floating around, and as Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I guess I should, you know, contribute.

**My friends.

Me and the Penet family.
I spent last Thanksgiving with them :)
Usually here most people say friends and family here but if you know me, you'd know why I'm leaving family out of the equation. My sisters are my friends, and thus, they are included in this broad category.

In the last year, I have tested, destroyed, blown up, rekindled, and started the threads of friendship that bind me to other people. I moved across the country (the north to south way) and with the help of my friends, am now finding my feet underneath me. This feat would not have been possible without people pushing me in the right direction, offering to house my belongings because I can't afford my storage unit anymore, sending me gifts or money, putting gas in my tank, allowing me to crash in their basements while I was homeless, or loaning me $200 when my car broke down.
Without them, I would not be standing right now.

He's not impressed by NaNo

When I got him, it was a bad idea. I spent about four years away from him while my aunt and uncle fed him. Then about two or three years ago, I talked it over with my cousins because I loved Bax, and he loved me. They told me point blank, "Don't ask permission, just take him. If you ask, they'll say no. Just write a note, apologize, and they'll forgive you someday."

That year, Bax and I got pictures with Santa and sent out Christmas cards. Just recently, I wrote my aunt a letter, and still recieved no response. Sometimes I hear about her through my mother, but it's rare. My heart breaks more with each year that passes, but at the same time, I can't come to regret the decision I've made. Like with my friends, without Baxter, I also would not have survived the last year.


It's such a small thing, but when Hurricane Sandy hit Maine, my house lost power for about twelve hours. My NaNoWriMo project revolves around power going out world wide. Because of this, I've come to having quite a few anxiety attacks. I'm happy my computer works, that light switches bring light, that my iPod plays music.

Best. Job. Ever.
**Being a snowboarding instructor

When I started the season last year, I was two weeks off surgery. I was nervous, and scared, and a lesser rider than everyone around me. By the end of the season, I wasn't afraid of rails, I could rock 180s and began 360s. I rode fast, hit ice patches, got a concussion, slammed my surgery scars into the ice, but it was so, so worth it.

Last year someone made the joke, "Oh, is this one of those things you wanted to do your whole life?" and I said, "Yes, actually. I've wanted to do this since 8th grade." And I've finally gotten the chance. It doesn't pay well, the lessons can be hard, but each and every single day I get to be there is a blessing.

**A roof over my head

Even if it's not where I plan to stay forever, it's nice to have a bed to go to, a place where I can shower in peace, and a basement where I'm rarely bothered. It has its cons; like no wifi, sometimes things that make me feel ungodly uncomfortable, but there are people who don't have a place to live. So I'm thankful for mine.

Scary, isn't it?
**My Car

In the years I've had Riley, I've driven from Maine, to Michigan (a couple of times) to North Carolina, to Massachusetts, to Florida, to North Carolina, to Virginia,  to Washington D.C, and Georgia. At the age of 22, without a cosigner, I wrote my name on a line and began making payments. Sometimes they're easy to make, sometimes, like right now, they're not.

The backseat smells like something died. There is more dog hair than I think the world knows what to do with. And then, the brakes went out this week, to the point it was recommended that I stop driving. But I needed to travel to Biddeford, and Fryeberg, and today I'm in Boston. Monday night a friend, without hesitation shelled out nearly $200 so I could get my car fixed. It's amazing to drive it and not hear the screaming death I'd heard for the last month.

**The request I've gotten

It's hard being rejected. but one day, friends, those requests will turn into a deal. You just gotta keep holding on!

And, while there are several other things I'm thankful for this year, because it's oh-so-cool to do, I saved the best for last:

You guys!
**My Followers.
When I started this blog, I told myself I'd be happy with just fifty followers. Most of those were my friends who I harassed on facebook, and they probably don't even check up on this. When I reached one hundred, my jaw dropped. Now, nearly to 150, I am so humbled that you guys have stuck this thing out with me.

You guys stop in. You comment. You're supportive. Some of you have written me emails and asked questions or send further support. Two of you even sent me some awesome presents! (Have I mentioned how much I love free stuff?)

I truly and grateful for your appearance, your tweets, your re-tweets, and the interactions I have with you. Thank you for being around.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. Eat some Turkey for me!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Why You Should Go See Breaking Dawn 2

It's a love story for the generations. Girl meets boy. Girl falls in love with boy. He's a vampire, and gets her pregnant but only after marrying her. Wait, what?

Yep, so that's a lot of the premise for the Twilight movies. There's some blood sucking, some potential murder, and sparkly vampires. Admit it, we've all made fun of it at least once. But here's the truth; Stephenie Meyers made a crap ton of money. However, before all of that, she was a lowly writer, probably doubting that she'd ever make it.

Most of us are in that place. So before you boycott seeing Breaking Dawn 2, think of the writing community. Go out and support it, because someday, it may be your movie, and wouldn't you like it if we went out to see it, too?

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Proper Technique for Hugging

I judge people by the way they hug others...especially by the way they hug me.

This is a good and acceptable hug from my friend D.J.
While this may seem strange to you, have you ever really paid attention to the away people touch you, or you allow them to touch you, when embracing? Ever since high school, I've paid a lot of attention. This past Saturday, I was at the mountain, getting reacquainted with people I haven't seen in six months, and giving lots of hugs. Many, sadly, were sub par.

The No Hug
That moment where someone opens their arms to you, and you step away? Those are the worst hugs. Not only because it's awkward to step away, but usually because there's a reason. For those of you who don't know me, or haven't betaed my memoir, my relationship with my mother is difficult, to say the least.
During one of my trips home for college, she met me at the airport, and went to hug me. I stepped back and said, "Since when did we become a hugging family?"
It's never left me.
Out of all of the hugs you can give someone, the no hug is the worst.

Matty and me
This was the only picture I could
find that'sclose to a one armed hug
The One Armed Hug
You know when you haven't seen someone in a long while, and you can kind of remember them, but kind of not? That's what this hug is like. You wrap one arm around a person, while the other hangs limp at your side. You don't really touch each other when you embrace it's kind of a, "Hey, nice to see you," and flee.
I hate these hugs. They're so impersonal, I wonder why giving them at all?
Though, I do use them as a sort of vengeance. If I don't like you, if I don't trust you, or if you're only giving me a one armed hug, you better believe you only get one arm in return!

Attack huggin my friend Jen
The Attack Hug
They never see it coming. Most times, you're able to catch them off balance, then you topple over into a pile of snow. It's fun, it can be frisky, and if the person has good response time, they hug back, or try to.
Plus, they make for super fun pictures.
Then, as with any attack, you're free to scamper about your business.

The Bro Bump
That weird greeting where two guys see each other, link hands, then bump chests? Yea, that's a bro bump. I love these, but because I'm a girl I rarely get them. Brent, an instructor at the mountain last season, used to bro bump me all the time (after I kind of complained about not getting bro bumps because I'm a girl). It was the highlight of my day. Some thought it was weird.
The bro bump is highly underrated.
Can we make it cross genders, please?

Laura and me at my 23 birthday
The Side Hug
For some reason, you just can't meet face on. You may have tried to give a nice hug, but somehow, I end up hugging your hip. It's awkward, it's probably mildly painful, hopefully it's fast, but if you hug with two arms, I won't hold a vendetta.
But next time, I'll try to angle myself a little better.

Partner in Cime and his gf, Sarah
The 'I'm So In Love With You' Hug
 I'm not going to lie, this is the best hug known to man. It's where both sets of arms wrap around each other, there's usually some eye closing involved, and you fit together perfectly. You fully feel pulled into this person, and for a second, you don't want to let go.
It's a beautiful, beautiful moment where both people know they're safe, and neither pulls away too early.

These hugs are wonderful and reassuring.

The General Two Armed Hug
This by far is the best hug. It usually lasts about three seconds (I'm getting scientific here). It's where both parties wrap both arms around each other, there's some full body contact, and then you smile, separate, and say, "Hi" or "Bye" or "I've missed you" or "Let's get pizza."
It's appropriate for all occasions, and the best part? It makes you feel loved?
It can turn into the I'm So In Love With You Hug, or you can leave it at a two armed hug. Bottom line, if you're not hugging me with two arms, I will complain about your hugging abilities henceforth.

The Multiple People Hug
There's nothing wrong with some group action going on. It's not as exclusive as a two-person hug, but it can still be awesome.

My niece, Mackenzie, and nephew, Caleb

There are a million other hugs to offer, depression hugs, stability hugs, I'm so glad you're alive hugs, but for a general tutorial on hugs, I feel like this suffices.

If you've never considered your hugs, I hope you do now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I'm not usually one to censor things. I'm not usually even one to have tact and keep my thoughts in my head, so much so that Laura is sometimes afraid to go out in public with me. Usually, I'm the one swearing up a storm, even if there's a six year old in front of me.

Last week, I got a nice eye opener.

It feels like someone placing a hand over your mouth
The portion of my memoir that I'd selected to read for my bullying presentation used the f-bomb two or three times. There were also some other questionable things, that after consulting the teacher, we agreed that entire sentences should be deleted, and if not deleted, reworded. When we finished editing, we had what we deemed a PG rated, middle school classroom appropriate, piece of non fiction. Something, completely un-Lynne like.

Then we discussed important things (like politics, before the election).

Days later I arrived at the school, and she printed off my chapter. I read through it (skimming mostly) mildly dejected that my beautiful words had been cut. I felt it took away from the intensity of the piece. As a writer, I was offended that duct tape was being placed over my hands. I've been influenced by strong women like Kerry Cohen who go out and tell their stories to a room full of strangers. Still, I sucked up my pride, did my presentation on bullying, and then I read the piece that we had so adamantly deemed PG.

Me with one of my slides :)
And while I read, I could hear the words through the ears of a sixth, seventh, and eighth grade girl. I saw jaws drop. I saw eyes pop open. I knew their thoughts were mainly, "Am I hearing this in school?" Part of my pausing after reading was so the girls could digest what I'd read. Part of it, was so that I could digest what I'd read.

It turned out that my piece was still intense. It still got my point across. There were no f-bombs. Several suggestive sentences had been taken out. But the piece itself held true to the story, and I was suddenly, very, very happy with the changes we'd made.

Yes, Kerry Cohen talks in front of those strangers. Those strangers are usually adults. The strangers I was talking in front of were young, impressionable girls. Yes, I want them to read what they want to read. BUT, maybe they should be at least mildly braced for things they hear.

I think the moral of this post, is that you should know when to censor yourself, and when to let 'er rip.

Monday, November 12, 2012

School Bullying

On Wednesday November 7, 2012, I was invited to Ms. Varner's ASP class. I prepared for about two weeks, doing minor interviews with friends, doing research on my own life, and assembling a power point presentation. (Somehow, without being in college anymore, I forgot how much I love power point!)

Ms. Varner in her classroom

While the groundwork for the presentation had been laid, I still wasn't exactly sure what I was going to say to the class, how to really offer them that, Wow, this may have been life changing, moment. Finally, when my time came, I stood in front of the class and said, "My name is Lynne. Was anyone here for my last presentation?" A few hands shot into the air, and I smiled. I was suddenly among friends. "Well, that one focused a bit more on my home life. Today, I'm here to do a presentation on bullying."

Osteo-Biflex, Eeyore, and a chapter
from my memoir. The things
that helped me present :)
I talked a little bit about who I am now; how I take Osteo-Biflex, and how since I was like 13 years old, I've had my Eeyore in my bed, or at least in my room, every night.

From there, I told stories, about boys who'd been bullied and turned into bullies. I talked about my sister being called Buckie-the-beaver before she got braces.

I discussed with the girls what they consider bullying, whether or not they think it differs from the way males do it verses females. One girl raised her hand, and told the class about getting calls on the weekends from girls saying, "We're having so much fun at this sleepover, why aren't you here? Oh, that's right, because we didn't invite you!" She finished with, "I don't understand why they were so mean, I never did anything to them." Most of the class agreed that girls are more calculated when they bully, that they truly intend to hurt people, where-as they feel boys are more physical (shoving, pushing, tripping).

Then, I talked about who I was at their age. How my house was disgusting, how my mother was never home. I asked them if they would have been friends with me, because while I looked clean that day, I was probably a mess at their age.

Closer to the end, I read an except from my memoir, A Walk to the Ocean which had to be slightly censored and more PG appropriate (I will cover my feelings on censorship hopefully Wednesday). The segment was about being bullied in college by my roommates and co-workers, to the point I tried to kill myself. The line I finished on said, "When I got home, my roommates continued to ridicule me that night, and for the remainder of the summer," then I paused to allow them to digest what I'd read. "When you say mean and hurtful things to people, you never know what's going on in their home lives. Take a look around the room," (I had them sitting in a half arc so they could see me and each other), "you don't know what's going on, whether or not people are getting along with their parents, fighting with their siblings. You don't know if they're being hurt at home, or even if their parents are home. I grew up in a flea infested house, where maggots were growing in the back room, and my mother wasn't ever home." I paused again as the girls looked around at each other. Some heads bowed, some faces turned red. "I came to school because it was clean, because it was safe. You don't know what will push someone over the edge."

From there, I wrapped the presentation up, challenging the girls. I told them that this is middle school. I know they're not going to get along with everyone, or even like everyone. But, maybe, they can just say hi to someone they usually wouldn't. Maybe if they see someone sitting alone during lunch, they can sit with them.

After that, I went to go see my manager from UNE, and we chatted politics, and results from the election. When I returned to Claire's she had dinner waiting:

This looks like something out of a restaurant ad, no?
I was still smiling from the presentation. She asked for some follow up questions, and told me some that she would ask the following week.

A day or so later, I got a Facebook message from one of the girls in class. We've had a few exchanges since, but she was one of the girls who attended my last presentation. She thanked me for coming in, and also said, "My response to a question you asked is: I can honestly say I would be friends with you if we were the same age."

And for a time, I'm reminded, that this is what it's all about.

Happy Monday.

Friday, November 9, 2012

November Quick Reads

Most of these I read (honestly) in October, but since I know I won't be doing a lot of November reading with NaNoWriMo in full swing, here are some good (and some not so good) reads you may be interested in:

The Truth About Forever
By: Sarah Dessen
Rating on Goodreads: **** of *****

This felt a lot like Anna and the French Kiss, only with a bit more raw depression mixed in. I appreciated that Dessen took on the pressure to be perfect in light of a tragedy  and how distorted things can be when striving for that perfection.

It was a good fast read, cutesy (like Anna) at times. There were a few redundancies that bugged me (like the word innocuous, and the breezes...) but it was a good quick read.

Plus, the writing was beautiful, that helped :)

A Wolf At The Table
By Augusten Burroughs
Rating on Goodreads: *** of *****

Wow. This is right on par with If I'm Missing or Dead, and other memoirs where the parents just suck. It seriously makes me sick to know that parents treat their children like this (though my memoir can relate a lot, because my parents sucked, too.) It's truly heart breaking, even as an adult when they don't change, and you can look someone in the eye and say, "They never loved me."

If you're looking for depression, and sickening amounts of what I deem animal cruelty, this is a read for you. But brace yourself. It's not pretty.

By Lauren Kate
Rating on Goodreads: ** of *****

I debated putting this one up here. My sister said to be a book blogger, I should put up books I didn't like, here it is.

The writing in this was good, I'll admit that. There were some sentences where I thought, "This is so pretty!" but after 400 pages, and wondering when the plot was going to get good, or wondering what the point was, I just couldn't get into it. Pretty writing cannot account for missing plot.

There were a lot of things in this novel I've seen in a lot of other novels, so most of it felt cliche. (Boarding school, love triangle, unrequited love, etc). Even when death became a factor, I wasn't emotionally involved in any of the characters. Sorry to say, I didn't like this book.

Are you my friend on Goodreads yet? You should be :)
Also, stay tuned. I also read the Hunger Games trilogy, and will post those reviews in two weeks!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The #NaNoWriMo Survival Kit


In case you're STILL not ready for National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo) here is a handy survival guide for those of you writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

The very first thing you need is:


It doesn't matter your source. Energy drink, frappe, coffee, tea, but I guarentee you'll need it. Why? Because when you're pulling all-nighters to meet your 2,500 words/day goal, or because you went outside and jumped in a pile of leaves and now you're behind, you'll need something to shock your system back into the OH-MAN-I'M-SO-AWAKE-I-CAN'T-SLEEP-MAY-AS-WELL-WRITE stage.

The second thing you'll need is:


Gone are the days of lengthy prep, and fancy dinners with the family. These days you need food. And not just any food. For the next month, stock up on QUICK stuff; mac and cheese (if you're a cheese eater), raemen noodles, frozen pizza, those frozen meals that have noodles and stuff. Take in those preservatives, because let's face it, time is money. Become BFFs with the pizza delivery guy. That way there's no prep, and no wasted time using the microwave.

Your time should not be wasted on frivolous things like food and bathroom breaks. You've got a novel to write!

 The third thing you'll need is:

Ache relief

This one is for the hangover. Not the self induced, I had too many margaritas hangover, but rather the, I've been sitting on my ass for the last two weeks, in the same spot on the couch, and I think my tailbone may be broken from so much use, hangover.

Your eyes feel like they're bleeding yet? Is your monitor guest starring in your dreams yet? Keep these on hand. Pop as necessary.

The fourth thing you'll need is:


You're only human. You can only stare at a blank screen for so long before you call it quits. It's okay to take some time away from writing. Go outside. Go play. Fifteen minute break.

Or, if needed 2-3 hour break so you can watch Hunger Games, and be re-inspired. I mean, this movie was based on a book! How badass!

Caution: These distractions should NOT be literary. Get away from words, and counts. Go for mindless. The Nintendo DS is excellent for this. As is Connect Four. And reality TV.

The fifth thing you'll need is:

A Plethora of Comfy Pants

Sweatpants, pajama pants, those pants that look like jeans but are actually something else. Maybe a snuggie and no pants? Choose. Maybe don a hoodie. Don't shower. Don't wash your hair. Make a cup of tea. Sit down. You'll be here for awhile.

The sixth thing you'll need is:


Surround yourself with positive messages. Things people have given you that mean something. Remember, NaNoWriMo is fun, it's hard, and you're not alone.

In my stash is a bookmark my friend Claire bought me saying, Careful or you'll end up in my novel, a coffee mug my friend Liz sent me saying, Be Brave Enough to Break Your Own Heart, and a sign my friend Amanda made me saying, Quiet Please, Memoir Writing in Progress. DO NOT Disturb!

Trust me, those days will come where you stare at your screen, your wavering word count, and think I can't do this! Make sure you have supportive things to look at to push you on.

The seventh thing you'll need is:

Someone Who Thinks You're Friggin Great

It doesn't matter who it is; co worker, spouse, significant other, twitter friends, dog, but you need someone who will be your sounding board. Someone you can call and say, "I think I just killed my main character's best friend." Someone who knows you are crazy, and they'll still love you anyway. They know you hear voices. They want to hear them, too.

I called my friend, Peter, the other day (he's a boy, so when I need a guy's perspective, I call him and ask really weird *usually obscene  questions and call it research). He actually let me read pretty darn close to the first two chapters of my UNEDITED novel.

My poor sister has been getting several phone calls a day, with me saying, "Dude, listen to this!" She's helpful because she'll bounce back with, "I don't think this is possible yet because..."

Have people to talk to, people who understand how much this project means to you.

And last, and possibly most important. Number eight on the NaNoWriMo Survival Kit:

A Writing Space

Do you work best in the library? At a coffee shop? In a basement where you've pushed two large chairs together so it somewhat resembles a boat? (If you didn't catch it, that last one is my writing space :) ).

Pick your space. Pick your drink and your food. Go to your space, and shell out 50,000 words.

This is NaNoWriMo, you only have so many days till the end.

Game on. Don't quit. Don't edit. Just write.

Also, if you'd like to buddy me, HERE I am. And if you want it, HERE are some tips for speed writing :)

Happy NaNo!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Can You Pay My Bills?

Because that little header where it says, The Submission Process, warns you that I complain about the hazards of real life, I feel that bills is a very acceptable complaint today.

Not sure you can read this. It says I owe $9,000
This is just one loan.

If you read my memoir it talks about my first and only real home getting repossessed because my mother stopped making payments. After it happened, I made a promise to myself then and there that I would do whatever it took to not be like her. I would always have a roof over my head, always have food to eat...and just...take care of myself. Then, when I stole Baxter back from my aunt and uncle, I swore to him that he'd have a better life with me.

And now we go on adventures.

However, this day and age makes financial stability difficult. The last summer I spent in North Carolina, I worked three jobs: 1) Kitty Hawk Kites, an outdoor recreation company who specializes in Hang-gliding but also offers lots of other fun stuff, 2) Front Porch Cafe, a coffee shop run by evil, evil people (good coffee, horrible job), 3) Meineke Car Care, an oil change place that allowed me to sit a lot, and once almost blew up the engine on my car.

Put too much oil in AND left the gas cap off

Even then, working 60-80 hours a week, I was broke 90% of the time.

After getting my taxes done for the 2011 year, I made another promise to myself; I would start to pay back my student loans. At least some of them. Well, it's October now (actually September when I'm writing this, but by the time it greets your eyes it'll be LATE October). I made my first student loan payment today for $96. I get paid Thursday.

...And I won't have money to eat.

The bills I've incurred in my adult life are made up of the following:

My storage unit.
I die a bit each time I see it
Car Payment-$230
Car Insurance-$85
Storage Unit (very important. I have a lot of crap)-$40
General Credit Card-$50
Credit card so I could get my wisdom teeth removed: $75
Hospital bill from my knee surgery: $61
Student loan: $96
Cell phone: $90

So....let's see what the total of all of that crap is:


That means each month, on my paycheck that usually gets less than $600 every two weeks, I'm supposed to be able to afford gas, food for Baxter, vet visits for Baxter, heartworm prevention, flea and tick treatment, and food for me...then do it again.

Thankfully, Winter is just around the corner. (Mmmmm. Winter. Snow....snoowww.) And I'll be back to working two jobs. In 6 or so months, the Wisdom Teeth Credit Card should be paid off (exciting), but the others...will plague me for many many months. And I just had yet another bill go to the collections agency. Ugh.

It's gotten to the point I regret my knee surgery, regret getting my wisdom teeth out, regret going to college. But at the same time, I'm keeping faith. Because life is hard. But it has to get easier, right?

On a happier note, I went to the mailbox and received this from Laura:

The message reads:
Sell the shit outta those YA Novels. (And then send me some cash monies).
That's the goal, right?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Let's Get Political

With the election coming up, I felt like it's okay for me to get political this once. So if you don't want to hear my views, come back Monday, I'll have a random Lynn(e) post about how financially overwhelmed I am.

Which kind of makes me feel like this

Otherwise, here are my thoughts.

Pretty, fireworks
When I was younger, I never appreciated being a citizen of the United States of America. I'd roll my eyes at football games when we'd play the National Anthem (even though I was in band), or say the Pledge of Allegiance. Sure, I'd take off my hat but the idea was lost on me. When Memorial, or Veteran's Day came up, yep I enjoyed the time off of school, but again, rolled my eyes, not truly appreciating where I lived. Even on the Fourth of July, I was only in it for the fireworks.

Then, in college, I started hearing stories. I heard about countries imposing a population cap (which I'm for) and enforcing sterilizations/abortions if families exceeded this cap (which I'm against). Most recently, I heard about a 14 year old girl in Pakistan who said she wanted to be a doctor when she grew up. The Taliban targeted her, and shot her in the head. Last I heard, she was recovering in another country in the hopes that she'll be safe there.

It's the first time in my life that a news paper article almost made me vomit on my work floor. Yes, things have gotten me emotional before, nauseous even, but this one pissed me off. First of all, if you need to gun down a 14 year old girl to prove how strong you are, you suck. Secondly, I'd never taken in and fully appreciated the fact that I live in America. If I want to be a doctor, a veterinarian, an athlete, an astronaut, a cowboy, etc, I can be. Not only that, but I get to CHOOSE whether or not I want to be a bum, atheist, religious, work at McDonald's, become a physicist, be a stay at home mom, be a prostitute, whatever. My family would support me (except for maybe that first and last one ;) ). I also get to help elect the President, and sometimes, I actually feel like my vote counts. In the country I live in, no one would gun me down for furthering my education, saying I don't like a someone in power, or doing what I want to do.

Somehow, the fact that all countries are not like this, managed and sometimes still manages to elude me.

The fact is, we live in the USA. Under no circumstances should people be FORCED to do things we don't want to do (except, you know, pay taxes. And even then, just go to New Hampshire, because they have no sales tax there). We aren't forced to stop going to school at a certain age. We aren't forced to use birth control, or to not use birth control. Though 18 year old males must register in case the draft comes back, we do not have a draft. Our young men are not thrust into violence. We aren't forced into ignorance, or abortions, or population caps. With the exception of laws (some of which are put in place for good reasons), we citizens live a very free life. All of these things (except for taxes) we get to choose.

As previously stated, I read articles about forced sterilizations, or abortions in some countries. I've also read articles where fourteen year old girls are repeatedly raped, and when the rape results in pregnancy, the girls must carry the child to term no matter if health risks are involved.

There was a storm coming in like 2006.
I really like this picture, still.
We live in a country where the topic of abortion is taboo, or if it's brought up, intense arguments ensue. This is partly why I wrote my memoir, and why I'm writing this post. In the safety of these fifty states, we've been blessed with so many more freedoms than other countries. But as soon as we start restricting those freedoms on things like marriage, or reproductive rights, we become a nation that is no better than those that force the public's hands. No one should force a pregnant fourteen year old girl to have a child. Plus, no one should force that fourteen year old girl to have an abortion, either. The decision should be up to her, possible therapists, and trusted adults. Only. Abortion, adoption, and having the child should all be on the table for her. All three options should be available to pregnant women, no matter their age or circumstance. This is not a ONE CHOICE SUITS ALL country.

As of right now, the reason I love the United States of America is because we get to choose what we want to do with our lives. Currently, we can choose our profession. We can choose whether or not we want to have children, or terminate our pregnancies. We can choose to enlist in the armed forces, or to work from home. None of these things are forced on us. We have all of these options in front of us that no one should be able to take away.

So, as long as I get my registration in on time and all that jazz, I will not be voting against gay marriage, because (according to nearly half of first marriages, 70% of second marriages, and 75% of third marriages end in divorce. Clearly, we straight people know what the hell we're doing. Why not let gays and lesbians allow themselves the chaos that is marriage? Why not offer their partners health benefits so that when their firefighter husband or wife dies, they will be financially secure?

And when I get to vote, I will not be voting for Governor Romney not only because of the infamous 47% comment, but because as a self proclaimed religious man, I fear for women's reproductive rights if he were sworn in to office. We're all aware that Romney is anti-choice, and I fear that he will help with cutting Planned Parenthood's funding, an organization that helped save my life. Not only that, but during one of the debates, illegal immigration was brought up, and he suggested that immigrants should enlist in our army so that they have a chance to become American citizens. Yea, no. Unacceptable. Become a citizen first, find out why you love and want to protect this country, then enlist, IF and ONLY IF you want. Why would you serve a country, die for a country, you're not even a part of?

I'm not saying that Obama is perfect. I'm actually still pretty pissed at him for allowing Shell to try to drill in the Arctic. I'm not even saying that I think you should vote for Obama, because I think you should vote for whomever you feel will do the best as a President of the United States. But I will say that there is a HUGE difference between terminating a pregnancy, thereby erasing the potential for a child, and walking into a four year old's house and stabbing them in the face. (This statement is for those who attack me on Twitter saying that abortion is killing/murdering a child.)

Wonder how long this ink will take
to wash off my hand?
There is a lot at stake this election. Are you ready to cast your vote?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...