Observations from an author’s perspective

I have been pretty busy with my day job lately. I wanted to share two lines from my current project, The Bully’s Way, on Facebook yesterday and noticed the last update I made to the manuscript was August 3rd. It bummed me out.

It isn’t that I haven’t been able to write. I did get the Monday Morning Blog written and published for two and almost three Mondays since then. But haven’t had the time to get the edits done for my second book.

The writing projects I have in progress right now, my WIPs, are for middle grade/YA readers. So, I would say that some of my best storyline ideas come from observing teens. Not only in day to day life, but also on television and on the internet. I have two teens living in my household and have spent a lot of time at baseball games with them and their friends. I was also a teen once, so I can probably speak from experience.

As a teenager, I don’t know how aware I was about how my actions impacted my life path. As an adult, I can see those kinds of things with our kids and their friends. It is the angle I chose to write the books in The Way series from. To show a teen the kinds of situations they would come across and the choices they may have to make. I want to give them some things to think about when they are given a decision to do or not to do something. Teens may not have as much life experience at the time, but they can always use some additional information to help them out.

There are so many moments as a young adult when I finally figured out the value in what my parents told me. It was all good advice, it just didn’t fit with my life experience at the time to understand its value. It is something I remind myself as a parent when I talk to our kids about things. They may not get in now, but they will.

Peer pressure is one of those situations teens must deal with. The Hard Way is about a kid named Paul, who is put into a situation where he must make some new friends in high school. He finds out he may have picked the wrong crowd to hang out with. Find out how he deals with it in the first book of The Way series.

Be sure to pick up your copy of The Hard Way! It is available on Amazon.com and in both paperback and e-book. And on BarnesandNoble.com in paperback.

The Hard Way Thumbnail

Here is the Amazon link! The Hard Way

Here is the Barnes and Noble link! The Hard Way – Barnes and Noble

Writing Prompt #4

Back at it again. I decided to pick another prompt from the book 642 Things to Write About. Here is the one for this week.

Write an anonymous letter to a stranger detailing the things you have you’ve learned about life.

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Selma and I have been on this earth for almost forty eight years now. When I received your question about what I’ve learned about in life, I thought about the many things I have confronted and observed in my life so far. There are many simple lessons learned, but here are a few of the bigger ones and my thoughts about them.

My right is not necessarily someone else’s.

We all place judgement on what we see. To me the color may be blue, to you it may be teal. We do the same thing with people, even though we don’t think we do. We see things through our own life colored glasses. The how and why we do something is based on historical knowledge and present facts. I’m the type of person who grew up always doing the right thing. I think I did it to impress people, but also so I wouldn’t get into trouble. From that angle, I think I learned that the right thing is always right. Other people have gotten to the same place I am on a different road. What was right for them may not have been right for me. And that is o.k.

Teenagers are going to make bad decisions.

As much as we want to direct them to do the right thing (or what we might have done), they are going to make bad decisions. Decisions are made from life experience. Most teenagers haven’t done much living to have a base to make their decisions from.We can all look back on our lives and see things that we could have done better or smarter. Sometimes when these things are done, we don’t have the life experience that we need at the time to make the best decision. Teenagers aren’t necessarily the only ones who suffer from that problem.

Accept and appreciate each other’s differences and what they have to contribute.

This is one is really showing itself in how we relate to people today.  I struggle with what slavery did to the black and poor endured servants. Even though we may have different colored skin or more money, doesn’t mean that anyone is better than anyone else. I see that the blacks in American experienced what most people shouldn’t be put through. Most of them were brought here as slaves and treated badly by many white slave holders. I think this has created a feeling of retribution and anger that we still feel today.

I wish that we could start talking and listening to each other more. Hear what bothers us and others and see what we can do to fix it. Instead, people are reacting to and perpetuating this anger. For example, when it seems that someone is killed just because they were  black, and not because they did something to be shot, the anger is only seeing one side of what happened. Or, innocent families are being killed because of this anger and the killer just wants to make them pay because they happen to be the other color. Not everyone feels this way. There seems to be a minority from both sides perpetuating this negative view of the other group out of anger and retribution. By talking and listening, I think we can try and make this better.

People can be mean.

What people say to one another can be hurtful. Kids and teenagers do this to each other all of the time, since they don’t have the nuances on how to say something yet or they think it sounds cool. There’s even a movie called Mean Girls that shows how this phenomena has been happening in schools. I was teased in high school and even shunned by my friends because they decided that they didn’t want to be around me. They judged me to be a lesbian, even though I wasn’t. They carved the word “IT” into my band locker door so that they could show the world what they thought of me. Were they trying to be funny? Maybe in some ways, since they didn’t know how this would eventually affect me. It happened during my senior year and forced me to find new friends to hang out with just before graduation. It changed the whole way that I thought my high school career would end. On a sad note. They came back to me a year later and wanted to hang out. I didn’t do it, I couldn’t figure out why they would want to. Guilt I’m sure. This is the same kind of story that goes on in kids lives everyday, and in some cases have led them to commit suicide. I still deal with abandonment and trust issues to this day because of what they did. It made a major impact on me and the way that I am today.

All of these lessons have something to do with how people are and treat others. I’m the kind of person who has gotten hurt by people by being too nice, not setting enough boundaries, and giving too much benefit of the doubt. I’ve kept the hurt to myself so that I don’t make others feel bad and out of fear that they will walk away from me, like my friends in high school. I don’t think that I would change the way that I am, but I wish that people would be able to communicate with each other, find out what is wrong and try to fix it. Don’t be mean just to prove that you can. And don’t be afraid to ask for help when you aren’t sure what to do.

We all walk on different paths in life. The choices that we make and the things that we do are determined by our experience. We can make changes to make our experience either better or different. Don’t be afraid to do it if it can make things better.

Hope that this letter helped to answer your questions. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Have a great day,

Selma