What's a girl to do when she fractures her wrist? And she's a writer. Who needs her wrist to type. Does she swear off the computer for a week to give it a rest? Of course not! Does she hunt and peck any e-mail, article, blog, FB status update etc. until the pain subsides? No way! Well, apparently she wraps it in an ACE bandage to stabilize it and then continues to use her injured hand to do all her work. Because really, if you're a writer, the other options just aren't really feasible.
So, yes, I fractured my wrist. Yes, I did it by dropping my blender on it while making myself a peanut butter banana smoothie (they're my current obsession; totally better than a milkshake!). And yes, I waited five days to get it checked out.
And now I look like a hot mummy.
Ha! Just kidding. Sort of. I do kind of look a bit mummified. But at least the bandages will help to minimize the throbbing. And I just may get some sympathy perks in the meantime (my boyfriend did the dishes last night!), so I guess all's not lost after all.
So, in honor of my ass-kicking by blender, I wanted to talk a bit about my new favorite movie, Kick-Ass! This weekend, I popped in the DVD, thinking I was about to watch a cute flick about teens dressing up like superheroes and trying to save the world. Which it was. But it's really so much more than that. In fact, I'm not sure it even really fits into any movie categories. It's certainly not a teen flick (on account of all the swearing and crazy violence), and it's a little too goofy to be a grown-up's movie. Throughout the film, I kept thinking to myself, "I can't believe this is happening!" But in a good way.
If I had to describe it, Kick-Ass is a cross between Spider-Man, Superbad and Kill Bill. I liked the idea behind it: that everyone at some point has wanted to be a superhero and that all of us have the ability to do heroic things. That's pretty inspirational if you ask me. But then, they've mixed in all these inappropriate fight scenes. Well, they're more like slaughter scenes. But it's all very funny. They've got this 12-year-old girl doing most of the ass-kicking and watching this sweet kid slice and dice the bad guys was truly entertaining. In fact, she's so bad-ass that I sort of want to dress up as her for Halloween...Check out a clip of Hit Girl in action below, and then try and tell me she's not a bad-ass.
Anyway, if you're looking for a good, funny movie that is unlike anything you've seen lately, Netflix Kick-Ass today. After all, you only need one hand to operate a remote control.
When Matt's boss first told me about the site they were launching called Dream Mining, I thought it was a beautiful concept. Dream Mining is a place where kids can go to develop and nurture their dreams. When you first log on to dreammining.com, you're introduced to the Dream Mining girls. There's Lilly, who loves to sing but has a bit of stage fright. Ella's passion is film, but her classmates don't quite get her. And Sarah wants to be a fashion designer, but has some big fashionista shoes to fill.
All three girls have very different dreams, but each face obstacles in their journey to attaining them. And none of them give up.
And that's what Dream Mining is all about. It's a place where young people can go to discover their dreams and passions and they'll be encouraged to go after them. I think this is so important for young people: to feel as if there are no limits to what they can achieve. That any dream, whether it's to become an Olympic athlete, a famous actress—or yes, even a published author—isn't out of reach.
That's why I was so quick to jump on board the Dream Mining express. That and the fact that they were planning on producing original books based on Lilly, Ella and Sarah—and were looking for writers to pen their visions.
If you haven't already guessed, Dream Mining is the company that will be publishing my first book. I wrote a few chapters of the Ella book (which is at the printers now) and have been hard at work ironing out the details of Sarah's story (from what we have so far, I know you're gonna love it!).
Though my involvement in the company sort of makes me a little biased, I do have to say, the site is really fun! It's geared toward 8-12 year olds (however, I just spent over an hour on there myself, creating an avatar and playing dress up and makeovers; check out TheBookSlayer avatar here! Is it sad that my avatar is cuter than me?), and users can enjoy a ton of stuff while there. There are videos, games, avatars that you can dress up and more! Of course, in my mind, the best part are the books—and the cool thing is if you buy a book for $4.99, you win 500 dream dollars! Dream dollars that you can spend on avatar clothes and accessories!
I know what you're thinking...A book and dream dollars?!?!? No way!
So if you know a young girl who fits this age group, tell them about Dream Mining. It's a family-friendly, safe place for kids to discover their dreams. And they have really cool books, too (go on and buy one. You know you want to. And if not, at least buy one to help support my writing career! Think of it as a win/win.)
On Friday, I was lucky enough to spend the day with Alexis Jordan. This 18-year-old is the first female solo artist on Jay-Z's label RocNation and let me tell you, she's one cool character. I was excited but nervous to hang out with the former cheerleader, not because I thought she would be anything but sweet, but because this was one of the first times I've had the opportunity to shadow a celeb for an interview. I'm used to talking to stars over the phone, with my trusty list of notes and my recorder capturing our convo. But doing an interview face-to-face...that's a whole other thing entirely.
Nonetheless, I was excited for the opportunity. Over the past six months, I've been trying to challenge myself with my writing. My latest book, Painless, was darker and angrier than anything else I've written. I've taken some leaps with my features at work, really trying to stay away from what's comfortable and thinking outside the word document. So, pushing myself into a situation that made me a little nervous and meeting it head on was exactly what I needed.
To start out the day, my co-worker, Jess, and I met Alexis, her mom and her agent at Good Day NY to watch her play a bit of her first single, "Happiness" for a segment that aired on Sunday. A clip of it will even be shown in cabs from now until Labor Day. We got there just in time for her to tape the show, and had a chance to listen to her sing acapela.
All I can say is: The girl's got talent.
After that, the day went by in a blur of performances, sound checks, interviews, meet & greets and one very interesting lunch. It was really cool getting to know this talented girl and even more impressive that she's able to handle the crazy schedule that accompanies a singing artist on the RocNation label. It definitely got me thinking about whether or not I'd ever be able to handle that kind of life. You know....up at four, going from one thing to the next, being "on" all day, the public scrutinizing you all the time. By the end of the day, I was exhausted. And it wasn't even all about me; I was just along for the ride.
But that doesn't mean I don't think I could handle being a published author. Traveling around and doing book signings, author interviews, meet & greets—THAT I'm pretty sure I could get used to. Now all I need is that darn book deal....
Yesterday was an especially eventful day at American Cheerleader. It was announced that I was promoted to Managing Editor! Can I get a Woo-Woo! So, that was super exciting. But what had me a jumble of nerves was the fact that I was interviewing actress Shiri Appleby of "Roswell" fame!
I know! How jealous are you?!
Anyway, being the big WB fan that I was, I totally watched the alien-centric teen show when it was on in 1999 (this was back when Katherine Heigl wasn't winning Emmy's and starring in romantic comedies), so talking with Shiri about her acting career was a treat for me. Now she plays Cate Cassidy on The CW show "Life Unexpected," a 30-something who is reunited with the daughter she gave up for adoption back when she was in high school. In real life, Shiri is a 30-something actress who's dealing with a lot of the same issues that her TV counterpart is going through (minus the shocking teen lovechild).
Shiri was really great to talk to! Her personality was totally laid back and she seemed really zen about life—but not in a wack-job kind of way. It was more like she's started to realize the kind of person she wants to be and is working toward it. During our convo, Shiri mentioned that she wants to be a woman of grace. She also said that she tries to take a step back with many things in her life, so she can see the bigger picture. That sometimes the fight isn't worth it, meaning, you've got to pick your battles otherwise you're wasting a lot of time and energy on things you can't control.
The only snag in our conversation was when I asked Shiri about her love life. It's always uncomfortable for me to ask anything too personal during an interview and it's rare for me to bring up a celeb's love life. Mostly because it's not really any of my business and I don't want people to associate me with the rag mag "reporters" who are just out to gossip and destroy. With so much smut being published where the entire point of its existance is to tear others down, I can understand why people would be wary of journalists. So, when I asked Shiri about her love life, she let me know that she wasn't talking. It was like a record scratched and the music turned to silence. Then, it was awkward for a few minutes, but eventually we were able to get back on track.
In the end, the interview went well! Shiri had some pretty amazing things to say; you can tell the girl is really intelligent and has her shit together. I can't wait to transcribe the interview and be able to put something together for the magazine!
Today I'm off to hang out with another celeb! Alexis Jordan is the first female artist on Jay-Z's RocNation label—and a former cheerleader! I'm super psyched to spend the day with the 18-year-old and get a chance to know her and her music better. We're starting off at Good Day NY, moving on to a sound check for the Arthur Ashe Kids Day Performance where she'll be opening for the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato and David Archeletta. After that, we're heading to the J&R Music Festival for a meet-and-greet and then for a performance by Alexis. And all the while, I'm going to be interviewing her and listening to some awesome music!
What an exciting day!
When "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" went off the air several years ago, I remember being heartbroken to find out too late that the studio had auctioned off memorabilia from the show. "Buffy" was my favorite show of all time and the fact that I'd missed out on the opportunity to own a stake possibly used by Sarah Michelle Gellar (or any of the other cast members) was totally frustrating. I mean, how cool would it have been to be able to hang Mr. Pointy over my fireplace (if I had one...I live in a studio apartment in NYC, remember?)?! But needless to say, I missed the boat (or crossbow) on that one. I did, however, manage to snag myself some suspenders from the old "Sex and the City" set when that show wrapped. Have I ever worn them? No way. Will I get rid of them? Hell no.
So, when I heard that the owners of J.D. Salinger's old house in Cornish was selling off some of the house's original items used or touched by the famous author, I totally got it. Among one of the top items? A throne to fit a literary King.
That's right folks! You could be the proud owner of the toilet where the Catcher in the Rye scribe parked his hiney on a daily basis. Who knows, he may have even done some of his writing in there, too!
So how much will this keepsake cost you? A whopping $1 million dollars!
No, seriously. One. Million. Dollars. For a toilet.
Is there really anyone out there who'd spend that much money on a toilet? I mean, besides a billionaire eccentric or a museum, of course. Or is the owner of the Salinger house just kidding himself?
Personally, I'd never spend that much money on an item that's seen more booty than a Sir Mix-A-Lot video, but then again, J.D. Salinger might be someone else's "Buffy." And if that's the case, then can you really put a price on history?
What kind of keepsake would you be willing to spend a million on? Leave your must-haves below!
Okay, okay, so maybe Peter Pan didn't kill any of the lost boys (imagine the story if he had—maybe a little Lord of the Flies meets The Hunger Games I suppose), but police are thinking his creator might have. Cops recently found the mummified corpses of two infants in the basement of an L.A. apartment building. The bodies, which were hidden in a trunk embossed with the initials JMB, were discovered wrapped up in newspapers from the '30s, alongside a membership to the Peter Pan Club in the name of Jean M. Barrie. The name of the Scottish author who penned Peter Pan? That would be James M. Barrie.
Coincidence or conspiracy?
Dealing with the death of children is never easy, but the fact that the same guy who invented the tale of the boy who refused to grow up might also be the one who prevented others to do the same is more than a little creepy. The police are investigating whether this was a crime or if the Peter Pan author was even involved at all. They're hoping that DNA testing and the clues left behind in the trunk will help investigators close this cold case.
But suppose they find that James Barrie did have something to do with the deaths of these two infants...will that change the way people view this beloved story? Would parents still choose to read this fairytale (if that's what it is) to their children, given its back story? Or would the sensationalism that our society seems to feed on send consumers flocking to the stores to pick up their copies? And in that case, how much longer would it be before someone wrote a tell-all entitled, The Peter Pan Murders?
Then again, history (and a few cursed authors) have already painted a much darker picture of Barrie, and Peter Pan still managed to make it past Disney's censors.
What do you think? Would a scandal like this hurt or help Barrie's sales?
Ever since I knew I wanted to write books, I was also quite aware that I'd most likely need a day job to pay the bills. And let's face it, even now as a magazine editor, I sometimes feel like I need another day job to support my current day job...but that's a whole other story. The point is, I was never under the (misguided) impression that writing books was going to make me a millionaire. A little bit famous, maybe, but not rich.
In fact, it wasn't until J.K. Rowling blew up the literary universe with her little novel about a teen wizard that I actually realized that authors could be rich. And we're not just talking not having to have a day job rich. I'm talking I-could-buy-a-new-house-every-year-for-the-rest-of-my-life-and-I'd-still-have-money-left-over-to-go-to-Disney-World-if-I-wanted-to RICH. Does it make me sort of sexist that I especially love that the world's first billionaire author was a woman? It does? Well, what can I say—the girl is freaking awesome!
Another reason to love J.K.? Well, according to Forbes List of the Ten Highest Paid Authors the British Book Maven managed to make $10 million dollars this past year for not even churning out a new book! Now THAT'S talent.
Wonder how other authors stacked up to the competition? Take a look at the rest of the list:
1. James Patterson ($70m)
2. Stephenie Meyer ($40m)
3. Stephen King ($34m)
4. Danielle Steel ($32m)
5. Ken Follett ($20m)
6. Dean Koontz ($18m)
7. Janet Evanovich ($16m)
8. John Grisham ($15m)
9. Nicholas Sparks ($14m)
10. JK Rowling ($10m)Still think authors can't hit the big payday?
Hey all! I just had to share this with you Hunger Games fans! Here's author Suzanne Collins reading the first chapter of the third (and final....tear) book in the Hunger Games series, Mockingjay. What do you think? Are you going to be the first in line to get it tomorrow or wait until it's out in paperback?
I was wrong.
Ever since I heard people say how great My Bloody Valentine was because of the 3D, I've wanted to see a horror flick this way. So, when I decided we were going to see Piranha, it was because I was expecting things to be flying at the audience: spears, piranhas, body parts. You know....everything that makes a horror film great. However, there was none of this in Piranha 3D.
Well, I guess there were some body parts flopping around the screen...In fact, I think a Girls Gone Wild video probably has less nudity in it than this movie did. I thought at least the acting would be okay though, since it was starring Jerry O'Connell, Elisabeth Shue, Ving Rhames and Jessica Szohr, but the actors never really had a chance. The writing was that bad. Still, I loved seeing Elisabeth on the screen again (I adored Adventures in Babysitting growing up) and I have a total girl crush on Jessica (I'm trying to get an interview with her for AC!). I've been a fan of Jerry O'Connell in the past (even loved him in Scream 2; an actual scary movie I might add), but in Piranha 3D, he plays a jerk who produces nudie spring break videos—a real sleezeball.
So, if you're thinking Piranha 3D is going to be one of those films that's so bad it's good, think again. It's just bad. But hey, if you DO decide to go, and are forced to sit through the whole thing, you'll at least get to see Jerry's man parts bitten off by the toothy little creatures of the sea. And apparently he wasn't all too happy with the size of the prosthetic.
Something peculiar happens when you've been dating someone for a considerable amount of time. You get to know them. Or at least that's the point. After nearly three years of dating, Matt knows exactly how I take my coffee. I know that he doesn't like it when you talk to him during "The Daily Show." But, this past week, there were two different instances in particular where I was reminded of just how well Matt has grown to know me.
The first situation happened when I got a little case of the panic attacks one night earlier this week. Well, as soon as I told Matt I was feeling funny, he could tell I was anxious, and you know what he did? He turned on "America's Funniest Home Videos" and cuddled with me until I felt better. Why the silly home video show? He knows that when I'm feeling like that, I have to watch something that's either comforting ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") or funny ("AFHV" or "Friends") to get my mind off...well, my mind. It was the perfect response given the situation.
The second example came up Monday night, when Matt knew as soon as he got home that I was sick with the flu. Yeah, yeah, I know, real romantic, right? But he didn't mention me looking sick in a, "you look like crap" kind of way. He explained that my "sick eyes" are different than my "tired eyes." Now, you know that someone really knows you when they can differentiate your eye "looks."
So, how well do you know your significant other? Are you still in the early phase of loverdom or do you practically finish each other's sentences? Take the quiz below to find out.
1. Your boyfriend is in a bad mood. You:
A) Leave him alone until he's ready to talk about it.
B) Force him to tell you what's wrong and then try to fix it.
C) Try to figure out what you did to make him mad at you.
2. If you and your man were to go on a gameshow it would be:
A) The Newlywed Game
B) Family Feud
C) The Amazing Race
3. It's his birthday and you want to get him the perfect gift. You:
A) Buy him that Nintendo Wii he's been coveting but would never get himself.
B) Plan a weekend away...somewhere you've been wanting to visit. Hey, I'm sure he'll have fun too.
C) Give him a gift certificate to Amazon so he can get something he really wants.
4. Your boyfriend's biggest fear is:
A) Do you mean this week or last?
B) Are you kidding? He's not afraid of anything.
C) Clowns. It's the nose. Or the makeup. Or maybe the creepy laugh...
5. His favorite weekend activity is:
A) Going out to dinner, watching a movie or heading out for some Pinkberry. As long as you're together, it doesn't matter what you're doing.
B) Letting you make the plans.
C) Hitting the latest party
6. You're the only one who knows:
A) What makes him cry
B) His favorite movie
C) His middle name
7. When it comes to his family, you:
A) Spend every holiday with them and go home for birthdays
B) Still call his parents Mr. and Mrs....mostly because you don't know their first names.
C) Can't help but be nervous around them
Okay, now figure out which letter you got the most of and find out just how well you know your luvah!
MOSTLY A's: Congratulations! You and your man are like PB&J—you were meant to go together. But even with good chemistry, a couple has to put the time and attention in to attain a solid connection. And you've had your eyes and ears open. You know everything there is to know about him: his favorite color, what he's like when he's cranky, even the last book he read. Keep bonding and you'll be on your way to Couple of the Year.
MOSTLY B's: You're so caught up in the awesomeness of your relationship that you can't quite see what's right in front of you. Or who. Instead of taking the time to get to know your honey, you're dead-set on fast-forwarding to the good parts. Don't rush things. Slow down and you may just find that you're closer than you think.
MOSTLY C's: You've got a great man who loves being around you and everything's going swimmingly...so, why are you worried all the time? You're so busy trying to make him happy and comfortable in the relationship that you're not allowing yourself to actually enjoy the time you spend together. You've got to trust that he's with you for a reason and start saving that brain of yours for counting the ways you're perfect for each other.
Sometimes I can't help it. I just look at my reflection and think....Ew. Like I said, it's not all the time, but I certainly have my off days. Those days where I think I'm a little too out of shape, my face looks fat, my skin's starting to wrinkle, I have bad breath, and an antelope nose—those days are the worst. And everyone has them.
Usually when I'm having one of those days I try to avoid mirrors, so as not to remind myself I'm feeling like shit thus making me feel even worse. But 24-year-old Caitlin Boyle wants you to look at the mirror. Look at the mirror and change the way you see yourself.
It all started one day when she was having a particularly bad day and decided to write an inspirational note and leave it for someone else to find. "I wanted to do something nice for a stranger to lift my own spirits and wrote 'You are beautiful' on a Post-It and put it on a public bathroom mirror," says Caitlin. "Then, I took a picture of the note and blogged about the experience on my personal blog, www.HealthyTippingPoint.com."
What started out as a good deed, is now changing the world. Caitlin's book, Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-It Note at a Time (out now!), shows just how beautiful people can be.
Caitlin: I began receiving emails from women that began with, “I found a note and I feel like it changed my life...” These powerful messages convinced me that one small note really could make a big difference!
Caitlin: I think it’s so effective because if you find a note, it’s unexpected and surprising. To know that a stranger wants you to see yourself in a more positive way can really make the negative thoughts stop. When posting the notes, I think people are really writing the messages to themselves. And it’s impossible not to be positive when you’re flooding yourself with positive messages!
Caitlin: My favorite story is Vit’s. Vit was a teenager in Canada and was in a treatment center for severe anorexia. Her doctors were concerned that it was eventually going to kill her. She slipped into the bathroom to throw up and found an Operation Beautiful note on the stall. The simple message, “You are good enough the way you are,” made her pause and reconsider her destructive behavior. She followed up with me a few months later and said she was out of the hospital and healthier than ever. Vit knew a stranger had posted the note, but she felt like the timing was a message from God.
Caitlin: The biggest mistake we make is beating ourselves up for not looking like models or celebrities. Ninety-nine percent of the images in magazines are photo-shopped in some way. It’s time we stop emulating or striving for a type of perfection that doesn’t even exist in the real world. It’s OK to look human!
Q: How can one person make a difference?
Caitlin: A little kindness goes a long way—you never know the impact one little note or kind word will have on another person. It can literally change their lives.
I challenge every reader of this blog to go out and leave your own Post-It with a positive message for the next stranger who needs it. And for the full interview with Caitlin, visit americancheerleader.com
Call him crazy, but Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury isn't as psyched about the rate that technology is advancing these days. In fact, when the soon-to-be-90-year-old author was asked on three separate occasions (oh, to have those luxury problems!) to allow his works to be published on electronic reading devices, he's told each of them to go to hell.
I mean, I know some authors are purists when it comes to books (I'm not sure I'll ever choose to read a novel off the Kindle or Nook rather than holding a paperback in my hands), but it sounds like Bradbury really has some issues here.
How about you? Would you prefer to read your books in paper or e-form? Leave your comments below.
I just read about this book called Other People's Rejection Letters edited by Bill Shapiro and I've gotta say, I kinda love the concept. Shapiro got the idea to collect other people's rejection stories back when the economy tanked, because he thought that "looking at rejection letters would be a really good way to look at what so many people would be experiencing and feeling" at the time. And I don't know about you, but hearing that other people have had their own moments of rejection on their way to accomplishing their dreams really does make me feel better. Not in a "I like reveling in other people's pain" kind of way, but more like "This makes me feel less like a loser." It's nice to be reminded that even Jimi Hendrix was nearly discharged from the Army because his supervisors said he "couldn't carry on an intelligent conversation"—this was before he became the big rock star we know and love, of course.
Other people's stories of rejection gives me hope that though I may be rejected today, it doesn't mean it'll always be this way. Eventually there will be an acceptance. And then I can publish my own book full of all the rejections I received before I became a best-selling author.
In the meantime, here are a few of the rejections I've received so far...some are good, some are bad and some are pretty ugly. Enjoy!
My rejections have ranged from long and thoughtful:
Thank you for seeking us out. We appreciate each author who takes the time to send us a query letter or email.
We recognize that our perspective on the marketplace is subjective. You may well find that another literary agent will react with enthusiasm for your work.
We send you every good wish for success with all of your writing endeavors, and thank you again for contacting us.
Sincerely, Agency X"
Thank you very much for considering me, but I do not feel that I am the best agent for your work.
All my best, X"
And then there are others who won't even bother hiding that you're wasting their time. Five words...that's all this guy could give:
"Not for me—Thanks anyway."
So, next time you get that emotional smackdown from someone who thinks their opinion is the only one that matters, just remember: Even Andy Warhol's work was denied entry into the Museum of Modern Art in NY back in 1956. And now people are making movies about him.
I'm just saying.
There's a little something I've been keeping a secret and I haven't told my blog-iverse yet, mostly because nothing's been set in stone...until now.
On Wednesday, a chapter book is being delivered to the publishers at IDW (famous for its comic books, including G.I. Joe, Angel, Transformers and Star Trek), and two of the chapters in it were written by me! So, yes, my writing is soon to be published. Now granted, I only contributed to this particular book, but I'm working on an outline for another book for the same company and will be co-authoring it with another writer within the next month. And then, if things go as planned, I will be writing a third book on my own.
Now, I'm simply being commissioned to write/contribute to these books, so they're not my creations. But they will consist of my writing. And that makes me a published author.
So what does that mean for me and my writing? Well, I'm hoping that it will help me to finally land an agent (cross your fingers). I finished re-writes on Painless this weekend and will be handing it off my superiffic editor, Marisa, to do her magic. Then, after I make her changes, it will officially be ready to send out to agents for consideration. My hope is that they will see that I've been commissioned to write these chapter books and it will give me some serious book cred, which will result in them being willing to take me on as a client.
So now you know. As soon as I hear more, I'll be sure to pass along the updates. And as soon as the company that I'm writing for has launched (supposed to be this Wednesday), I'll give you the details on that, too!
So, last night I heard someone say something incredibly profound and I just had to share it with my faithful blog followers! The topic was jealousy and someone asked how they could stop themselves from comparing their lives to others and getting upset over it. Now, I've been in this particular position of wanting what somebody else had and didn't handle it all that well, so the topic hit a little close to home for me.
Curious to hear what others had to say about it, I remained silent and waited for someone else to answer. Finally, this guy I know said something that completely blew my mind. He said:
"You know, the world doesn't have a finite amount of happiness in it."
He went on to explain that it's not like if one guy is lucky in love and gets himself into a great new relationship, that that's it for love in the universe. Just because he's found love, doesn't mean he's taken the possibility of finding love away from you. In other words, there's enough love to go around.
And he's totally right. Let's say a friend gets a raise at work and you're still experiencing pay cuts at your place of employment. Sure, you may feel that twinge of jealousy start to creep up, but it's important to remember: your friend isn't getting a raise instead of you (unless, of course, your friend is also your co-worker and you're both applying for a raise...then, this example wouldn't apply). Your friend might have worked their ass off to get that raise or maybe they were just lucky. The point is, his getting the raise doesn't mean he's taken up all the raises in the history of raises.
When you think of it that way, it sort of makes it silly to be envious of anyone...just because someone else got there first, doesn't mean you won't be next in line for happiness. So, wish others well, congratulate them on their good fortune and then wait for your own to come rushing in.
P.S. Happy Friday the 13th. My favorite Holiday EVER!!!
P.P.S. Congrats to my dear friend, Darcy for getting engaged! Lots of love, sista!
The other day, I logged on to find a friend request on FB from someone that I knew once-upon-a-time, but who I was never really friends with. The last time I even talked to him was over four years ago and although I by no means hate the guy, I wouldn't exactly consider him a friend. When I first signed up for FB (hesitantly, I might add), I made a decision only to friend people I actually wanted to keep in touch with. I'm past the point of accepting friend requests just because. This means that when some random person who went to the same high school as me, but never spoke to me once while I was there friends me, I don't feel obligated to say yes. So, I don't. I usually only hit accept if it's someone who's really A FRIEND. Or someone I want to be friends with at least.
So, keeping with my self-imposed FB rule, when this person sent me a friend request, I hit ignore. I didn't mean it as a "screw you," it's just that FB can be a scary place if the wrong people have access to you. So, I hit ignore. A day later, I received this message:
"Hope you are well. I'm sad that you rejected my friend request, but I'm sure you have your reasons."
Are you kidding me? Who does that? To be honest, I was dumbfounded. Who confronts someone for not accepting a friend request?
That got me thinking about online etiquette...what's appropriate and what's not. Is it OK to not accept a friend request of someone you know if you aren't really friends with them? After all, it's your prerogative to choose who you surround yourself with, right? Why shouldn't this extend to online friends. And I've heard other people talk about the horrors of being de-friended...apparently it's the equivalent to publicly breaking up with someone in a humiliating way. And what about the dreaded status change from "In a Relationship" to "Single." Is that an online No-No?
What do you guys think? Do you accept any friend request or are you selective about who you let into your online life? Should I have said yes to the request or better yet, should he have left it alone when I didn't add him? Leave your best Facebook faux pas in the comments section and you could win one of four copies of the book Taken Away by Ehi Ike!
I was recently impressed when teenager, Ehi Ike, contacted me and told me that she wrote her first book at the age of 13. I wrote my first book when I was 16, after waking up in the middle of the night with the whole outline for the book in my head. The difference between the two of us? She's published.
So, I decided to ask Ehi what the secret is to getting published. Here's what she had to say about that, being a young author and where she got her inspiration for her novel, Taken Away.
Q: You were pretty young when you wrote Taken Away. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Ehi: My book was published when I was 14 and I just turned 15 in June. I’ve wanted to be an author since I was in elementary school. I remember making an illustrated book in first grade. I really got into reading Junie B. Jones books and others like it and wanted to be able to create my own stories. In eighth grade, an author came to our school and spoke with us about how he published his first book in middle school. After that I knew I could publish a book at my age, too.
Q: Being that you're so young, how difficult was it to get published? What was your experience like?
Ehi: It wasn’t hard for me to get my book published at all. I just looked up publishing companies and sent a manuscript in. A publishing company sent me a contract and after that we started editing the book and going over the cover design. I didn’t know it took so long to get a book published but everything moved pretty fast.
Q: Do you ever feel like the publishing world or even the literary world, looks at you differently because you're a teenager? Do you think they treat you better or worse because of your age?
Ehi: If anything they treat me better because of my age. People are pretty amazed at the fact that I'm only 15-years-old and have published a book. They might be more interested in buying the book and the publishing company knows that.
Q: The subject of Taken Away is really interesting. Can you tell us a little bit about the book?
Ehi: Taken Away is about a girl named Mimi Jones, who is taken away from her home, along with many of her friends, because Congress passed a law saying that any parent making less than $50,000 a year isn’t capable of taking care of their children. The children are supposed to go stay in facility where they'll get a better education and lifestyle, but really the world is too over-populated and they're planning on killing them.
Q: Where did you get the idea for the book?
Ehi: I was in American History class in eighth grade and my teacher asked us, “What would you do if you were taken away from your home?” After she said that, I immediately thought of Mimi Jones and started coming up with the plot.
Q: Do you think something like what happens in Taken Away could really happen in the world as we know it?
Ehi: It's realistic fiction, so yes, I think something like that could happen. We've seen things like that before in history, like the Trail of Tears, the Holocaust and even what’s going on now in China. With the Holocaust they were discriminating against race but in this book it’s a different kind of discrimination. It’s discrimination against how much money someone makes and you don’t really see that too often.
Q: Your main character's a bit clumsy, smart and the leader of her group of friends. How much of you is in her?
Ehi: Well, all my friends who've read my book say Mimi is a lot like me—especially the clumsy part. I didn’t really mean to make her like me, but I think subconsciously I made her similar.
Q: Is writing something you enjoy? Are you working on any other books right now?
Ehi: Yes! I definitely enjoy writing! I've always wanted to be an author and now I am. I hope to continue to write more books in the future. In fact, there's going to be a sequel to Taken Away, so hopefully you'll see that in the next year or so.
Q: What do your friends and family have to say about your writing?
Ehi: My friends have been so supportive! They come to my book signings and one of my friends from Chicago even started a book club and made Taken Away her first topic. I'm grateful to have such supportive friends!
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Ehi: I love Meg Cabot, J.K. Rowling, and Dan Brown. The Mediator series from Meg Cabot is amazing. And of course I love the Harry Potter books. I love the way Dan Brown writes...Angels and Demons is one of his best books. I also love this book called Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Nqozi Adichie!.
Q: It's pretty clear that Mimi was totally into Alex. Was this part of the book based on your own experience with first loves?
Ehi: In The Host, Stephenie Meyer said the best story is a love story. So I tried to create some kind of romance in the book. It’s the subplot and isn't based on my own experience.
Q. Besides writing, what else do you like to do in your spare time?
Ehi: I'm on the pom squad at my school and we cheer and dance at basketball games. I've also been running track since fourth grade. I'm a sprinter. I also usually hang out with my friends if I'm not busy doing homework or something academic.
Q. Any advice for aspiring teen writers?
Ehi: Not just for writers, but for any teenager: Follow your dreams! If you want something badly enough, it will happen.