Rest in peace, Julie

A few weeks ago, I noticed that a woman I sometimes interacted with on Twitter had gone silent. I saw that her account was still up and thought maybe she was just taking a social media break. I looked forward to her return and thought nothing more of it. But I was wrong.

Julie Lonewolf, a delightful woman I enjoyed talking with, passed way from suicide last month. I learned this when her cousin took over her account. As devastating as her death is to me, I can only imagine how her family and friends feel.

What’s worse is that her death seemed to have been spurred on by harassment by certain people in the writing community. Julie’s cousin posted receipts of the harassment on a blog. You can find it here, but huge trigger warnings for racism, suicide, and bigotry. Please read with care.

Our community, the YA community, needs to stop accepting bullies. And I mean the actual bullies, not the victims defending themselves or calling out bad behavior. We need to stop rewarding problematic behavior. We need to stop allowing bigotry to flourish. We need to be better allies for our fellow writers of color. We need to stop allowing them to bear the brunt of the harassment because we white folk have the privilege to look away.

Because when we fail to do all of those things, the stakes are high.

Rest in peace, Julie. You are missed.

 

 

An Unfortunate Year

I tend to write here only when I have something to say and lately… that just hasn’t been the case.

But I’m still alive and kickin’ and hoping all of you are having less existential dread than I am.

On a personal level, life is good. I have two new projects going. One is a new book and the other is top secret for now. They’re both going swimmingly.

How is life for you?

Goodnight, 2016

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I can honestly say I’ve never been this excited to say goodbye to a year and welcome in a new one.

This year has had so many ups and downs. I’ve cried over celebrity deaths and personal ones. I’ve helped welcome new life into the world. I’ve let old friends go and welcomed new ones into my life.

I’ve watched my country divide itself further and further and I honestly don’t see how reconciliation is possible. But hope dies last, and I will fight for love and acceptance until my dying breath.

And two things happened this year that changed me forever.

The first was the Aspiring Writers Workshop with Madcap Retreats. I am a stronger, more fearless writer because of this experience. I’m perfectly willing to burn my work down until only the good remains. Before this, I clung to every scrap of writing even when it wasn’t working. And I have made lifelong friends after getting to know the talented, welcoming people who also attended.

The second was the Strange Escapes: Ghosts of Christmas Passed event held in Gettysburg, PA. Again, I made new friends and I found a new passion to explore. My life isn’t weird enough yet, but I’m hoping 2017 will change that. I want to be braver and put myself out there more to experience new things. Change comes slowly, but I’ll get there.

And finally, there are things brewing in my personal life that I can’t talk about yet, but I hope that soon I’ll be able to share them with you.

So… Goodnight, 2016, and goodbye. I’ll miss the parts of you that were good, but mostly I’m glad you’re leaving.

If it’s safe, say yes

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The view from Devil’s Den, Gettysburg

Ghosts. Spirits. Hauntings. Whether you’re a skeptic or believer, you probably have some strong opinions on the subject, but I’m not here to convince you of anything. I’m just going to relate a story.

When I was in college, my dorm suite was haunted. Other people might have explained it away, but my roommates and I believed that the creepy things that were happening weren’t caused by living humans. We believed so much we had my friend’s father, who is a Russian Orthodox bishop, come to the school and bless our suite. After that, the activity stopped and that just solidified my belief.

I spent this last weekend in Gettysburg, PA at a paranormal conference organized by a company called Strange Escapes. It was a weekend full of ghosts and theories, battlefields and talks, and wonderful camaraderie. It was soul-filling in a strange way and I got to see my writing friend, Christie, which just made the weekend even better.

The most eye-opening talk for me was given by John Tenney. I’ve been mulling over two things he said since Sunday.

The first was that he doesn’t like the word “paranormal” because these experiences are shared by so many people that they are more normal than not, but most people talk about them in whispers. This was mostly just an interesting tidbit that slightly realigned how I see things.

The second he said was that if someone asks you to do something crazy, and it’s safe, always say yes. And he proceeded to tell us amazing stories of things people have asked him to come see.

My life has been pretty routine lately. Work sleep work sleep ad nauseum. I haven’t been saying “yes” to many things lately. Maybe this one line spoken from the front of a crowded lecture room in amongst the weird ghostly happenings of the weekend, is the thing I needed to take away from this conference. I need to hang on to the sentiment and learn how to say “yes” more.

I’m back in the “real world” now and it’s a little jarring. There’s a definite lack of magic in the way I carry out the humdrum of my daily life and this conference really showed me how unacceptable that is.

I want to live a weird, wacky, amazing life. And acknowledging that is the first step, so I think I’m on the right path.

I’ll write more about the actual conference at some point, but this has been what I’ve been thinking about since I left yesterday.

Post-Election Thoughts

I love you. You’re beautiful and worthy and I love you.

This will continue to be a safe space for you. Even if the world is burning outside the window, you can come here and I will make room for you, whoever you are.

Hate is not the answer.

Anger is good. It gets things done. But don’t let it turn you bitter.

I love you. You are beautiful and worthy.

There is so much work to be done. I’m doing what I can. I hope you are, too.

Love is the answer. Always.

Cover Reveal: Hollywood Homicide

I am VERY excited to be participating in the cover reveal for Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett! It sounds amazing. August can’t come soon enough! Without further ado, behold the awesomeness.

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Title: Hollywood Homicide

Book 1 in the Detective By Day Series

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Release Date: August 8, 2017

Book Blurb:

Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn’t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash.

But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim’s life, she wants more than just reward money. She’s determined to find the poor woman’s killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious Hollywood crime spree, Dayna chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes and movie premieres. She loves every second—until someone tries to kill her.

And there are no second takes in real life.

About Kellye Garrett

Kellye Garrett spent 8 years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for the CBS drama Cold Case. People were always surprised to learn what she did for a living—probably because she seemed way too happy to be brainstorming ways to murder people. A former magazine editor, Kellye holds a B.S. in magazine writing from Florida A&M and an MFA in screenwriting from USC’s famed film school. Having moved back to her native New Jersey, she spends her mornings commuting to Manhattan for her job at a leading media company—while still happily brainstorming ways to commit murder. Her first novel, Hollywood Homicide, will be released by Midnight Ink in August 2017. It’s the first book in the Detective by Day series.

Connect with Kellye

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog

You can pre-order the e-book and print edition on Amazon.

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The lovely lady herself! Kellye Garrett 🙂

Bold Moves October 2016

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Okay, this doesn’t really have much to do with this post except that he’s an astronaut and obviously made some bold moves in his life. (Photo by Lisa)

Several years ago, I stumbled upon a blog post written by Kelton Wright that describes a challenge called Bold Moves October. I highly recommend checking out Kelton’s other writing (she’s amazing), but since it’s October, I’m going to talk about BMO.

You can find the details of the challenge at the link above, but basically it’s 31 days of taking chances that you otherwise wouldn’t be bold enough to. Ask the guy out! Send your manuscript to your dream agent (if it’s ready)! Look into a new job if you’re not happy with the one you have!

Anything you can think of that would ordinarily scare you too much to do it… Take the risk and try.

I’ve been trying to make a list of bold moves for myself this month. I’m sure I’ll think of more as the month goes on but so far, I have:

  • Find more social events to go to
  • Make that scary phone call I’ve been putting off
  • Put myself out there some more instead of just sitting home

What are some bold moves you’re thinking about?