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30 day challenge-Five Problems with Social Media

I’m not going to lie, I looove social media!

Since my first book was originally published in 2013, social media has allowed me to connect with so many wonderful readers, reviewers, bloggers, and artists in every avenue. My world has expanded to places I’ve never been to and to people I’ve never met in person. I’ve made wonderful friends and become aquainted with many incredible and interesting people. It has allowed me to connect with old friends, far-away family members, old and current employees, and people that otherwise would’ve been a long lost chapter in my life. As a reformed pen-pal from youth, I find that social media feeds the need within, to explore the world, from my home.

But as with anything, too much of a good thing, is not, and I do find that there can be problems with being too connected.

  1. Internet Balls. Let’s get that one out of the way first. When people are tying in front of their computer, they often act as though it’s an invisibility cloak so they say and do whatever they want to whomever they want, with zero consideration. I’ve seen such ugliness on social media because there in ugliness in all of us, that sometimes begs to come out. Most sensible people push down the ugly and remind themselves that they are intelligent and sensible, then act in rhat manner. For this reason, problems arise where there were none and people get hurt for no good reason. Social media gives people with internet balls an avenue to say and do the ugly things they NEVER would in person. It gives cowards an outlet, and that’s the ugly truth.
  2. It’s too easy of a distraction from life. If you don’t want to talk to your spouse, your family, your kids, or your friends, it’s a great way to avoid them. If you don’t want to face reality, spend a few hours looking at cat videos on social media. It’s easy, accessible, and available 24/7.
  3. People share entirely too too much and lose their filter. There are certain things that I don’t want to see or know. I’ve seen pictures of things that I can’t unsee because it showed up on my feed. I’ve been informed about intimate details of people’s marriages, bodily functions, and personal lives … that I feel are best shared with people who know them deeply, intimately, and completely … not with me, your Facebook friend of eighteen days.
  4. Creepers. Creepers. Creepers. I’m a middle-aged woman who’s had two kids and am way past my prime. I know this and I’ve accepted it. So don’t like my picture from 2011 that tells me that you just went through ALL of my pictures and don’t tell me that you want to get to know me better. I don’t even friend men anymore unless we have a TON of mutual friends and they can vouch for them, or unless I know them personally. I know that I’m Asian but I’m not your potential Internet bride. Gaaaaaah.
  5. Social media makes us awkward. We sometimes forget how to interact or connect with real people. I’m friends with people on social media, but when I’ve met them in real life, I’m hesitant because I’m not sure if it’s them. I know my profile pic has an awesome filter on it that makes me look really young and awesome! 😆 Unless people are naturally extroverted, social media makes those who are more introverted even more awkward when meeting and interacting with people in the flesh. It challenges our social skills because we are often putting our best foot forward with our keyboards, but unsure of what to do about the awkward pause. It can cripple our growth and stunt our ability to truly connect with people face to face.

Despite all of these issues, I’m definitely a fan of social media. It’s expands my world, opens my eyes, and connects my heart those I would otherwise never have a chance to know. I stay away from the five negatives every chance I get and try to drive a positive approach everyday. I’ve learned through the years that you attract wonderful people by being positive and trying to make people’s lives better and fuller through social media.

Come hang out with me if you’d like. I guarantee that if we use our powers for good, we can make social media a much better place!

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Birthdays, McDreamy, a Book Signing, a Book Release, and an Excerpt

Last week was a HUGE week! HUGE, GINORMOUS… EPIC.

Not necessarily in this order, this is what happened

  • My youngest son turned eight
  • Derek Shepard died on Grey’s Anatomy
  • We had our first sleepover with the birthday boy’s friends
  • I worked a full work week in a new position that I love, with a company I love
  • I hosted a Book Release Party for Leaving Eva
  • Leaving Eva was republished through Booktrope Publishing
  • I attended the Cleveland Author Event for the second year in a row as a signing author

It would’ve been enough for one week if only Derek Shepard would have died, but then you throw in the rest of it, and it was indeed an insane week with A LOT of things happening. I’m not surprised that I’m still exhausted from all of it, which believe me, I’m not complaining at all! I’m lucky, happy, blessed, and excited that my life gets to be this full on a daily basis.

The funny thing is, baseball season for the boys hasn’t even really gotten into full swing yet, which I’m thankful for. I don’t know that I could’ve possibly fit anything else into this past week. I barely had time to shower and wash my hair!

I never understood this before, but as a writer, my brain is constantly going, and I do mean constantly. It drives my husband nuts because I can’t ever just sit.  I’m always looking at something, reading something, or doing something. On the rare occasion that I can just sit and relax, we simply spend time as a family enjoying one another’s company, watching B-movies, or hanging out. It’s the only down time I have, but the only down-time that will sustain me and not make me crazy.

Republishing my first book with Booktrope has been a wonderful experience. My team has been great, the process has gone well, and I couldn’t be more proud of the book. I loved the story to begin with, all of the characters a part of me, the good ones and the bad ones. And while I’m not yet as prolific an author as I would like to be, I’m happy with my work and excited to get to share, hopefully with a broader audience. I’ve finally defined myself as an author, writing women’s fiction (and fantasy, but that’s for later), with a beautiful brand that I love, and a story that I’m excited and happy to tell. And I feel as though I am finally settling into a life that seems to make sense for me, yet not too anxious to get comfortable yet. There is still so much to learn and experience, and I’m only now touching the top of what is to come.

I blame it on the writer brain, always in motion, never resting. 🙂

In celebration of the Leaving Eva book release, I’m going to leave you with the first chapter of the book. I’m hoping you’ll find it interesting and intriguing. Hopefully so much that you might want to share it or read more of it. The response and the feedback from readers who have read it has been unbelievable and my hope is that I’ll get the opportunity to continue sharing it with as many people as I can. I’m still such a minnow in a huge pond with millions of authors and books out there, which is daunting, but a wonderful challenge at the same time. Life isn’t easy for anyone, but if I can survive this past week, I think I can make it through many things! After all, surviving a bunch of boys ages 8-10 for a birthday party/sleepover can be a monumental feat to say the least! But I get to be a mom, an adventurer, and an author and all of this is exciting and fun so I consider myself very lucky to get to do all of this.

I’ll post on my adventures at the Cleveland Author Event in a later post. It was an incredibly fun time and I got to meet so many wonderful readers and authors. It honestly couldn’t have been any better. Even the death of Dr. McDreamy didn’t cast a shadow on the week which may be because I stopped watching when Dr. McSteamy was killed off a few seasons ago, which was devastating and I swore I couldn’t go through it again. So if I want to see Patrick Dempsey, who ironically reminds me of the MC in Leaving Eva (Dark thick hair, handsome, beautiful eyes), I’ll just google him or think of him as Adam in Leaving Eva.

Leaving Eva-Leaving Eva is the heartrending story of one woman’s battle to overcome her tragic childhood and the abandonment and abuse that haunt her. Caution: Eva’s story is contains graphic violence, strong language, drug abuse, domestic abuse, and child abuse.

In this dramatically dark novel, Jennifer Sivec, author of women’s fiction, delves into the selfishness and depravity of human nature, and begs you to question whether happiness can ever truly be attained once you have been deeply scarred.

http://amzn.com/B00VUA2GQK

Stupid Girl

Daddy. No!

 

Daddy, please stop!

 

Daddy, you’re hurting me!

 

She never saw it coming. She didn’t even know he had hit her until her right cheek and eye were exploding. With so much rage on his face, his anger emanated toward her, dangerous and hot.

She’d never seen Daddy so angry before, not even with Mommy.

She was stunned, her feet frozen in one spot. She wanted desperately to run but was unable to move. It was almost as though she was trapped in a bad dream and couldn’t wake up. Her heart was pounding hard in her chest, and her mind was racing. Daddy’s massive body was blocking the way, and she thought wildly that maybe if she didn’t move, he wouldn’t hit her again.

She was wrong.

He smacked her again, hard across the mouth, and she could feel blood pouring from her bottom lip. The saltiness of it made her want to gag. He reached out, grabbing her small thin arms, squeezing them so hard they felt as though they may break in two. He picked her up until her feet were dangling off the ground and threw her down, hard. Her head snapped back and hit the wood cabinets. The cracking sound resounded in her ears, and there was an instant blinding pain.

She knew she was crying, but couldn’t feel any tears. She was afraid, and it was a strange familiar, haunting feeling that she knew she had felt sometime before in her seven and a half years. Daddy was never overly affectionate or kind, but he had never hurt her. She had been with them for three years, and during that time, he had barely ever touched her, good or bad. But now, he was intent on hurting her for reasons that didn’t make sense.

She begged him to stop, trying to come up with the right words as they tumbled out in between the sobs. “Daddy, please! I–I–I–I’m sorry. I’ll be careful. I’m s–s–s–sorry.”

“You should be sorry! You need to be more careful, damn you. You ruin everything you touch with your filthy little hands!” He growled, grabbing hard at her long dark hair, pulling some of it out sharply at the roots. He yanked on the ponytail as she reached out blindly trying to get him to ease his grip.

Daddy’s blue eyes were dark and full of something that she didn’t recognize at all. His face was distorted, almost trance-like, looking through her as if he weren’t seeing her at all. She struggled away, but his grasp on her hair wouldn’t let her escape. She felt trapped and helpless, like a mouse in a cage. Without any effort, he grabbed her again and threw her back down to the ground.

The girl was crying so hard, her small body trembling in fear of what would happen to her next. “No, no, no, no,” she cried over and over. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it.”

She crouched down tight against the cabinets, and she pulled her body in, hoping to shrink. Maybe if I’m small, I’ll be hard to get, and he will stop. Maybe Daddy will stop!

He kicked clumsily at her sides with hard steel-toed work boots. “Damn stupid kid! Why do you have to be so clumsy? Jesus Christ, you’re ALWAYS spilling and dropping things.” His voice was so loud, and he was spitting as he hovered over her.

The girl was trying to remember why he was so mad and then she remembered the spilled iced tea all over the floor, soaking into the beige carpet like a sponge.

“I’ll be more careful. I’ll be more careful! PLEASE DADDY, you’re hurting me!” She was screaming, but he didn’t hear.

“I work my ass off to provide for you and your mother, and this is how you repay me! I should never have let your mother convince me to buy you, you stupid Bitch!” Daddy’s voice was ugly and full of hatred. The girl didn’t know if the pain from the blows or the mean words he spoke hurt the most.

She raised her hands over her head futilely as a shield. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m so clumsy and bad! Please, Daddy, please. Her head was pounding, and there was pain everywhere.

 

One, two, and then three more times Daddy hit her. There had been so many that she had actually lost count. His hands were open one second and closed the next. There were blows coming from every direction, first hitting on the head, then the arms, both sides, and occasionally the face.

The smell of whiskey was hanging above the tiny girl in a large cloud, curling her nose with its sweet insipid smell. She was gagging and crying at the same time, and it was hard to breathe. She was choking on her own stupidity and carelessness. Mommy keeps telling me to be more careful. I’m a bad girl. I’m too loud and stupid, and I always spill things. Mommy will hate me now, too. I’m a bad girl!

She dared a glance upward and could see that Daddy was starting to pant, his face red while sweat poured down his forehead. Please God, make him stop. Please help me be more careful! Why can’t I just be a better girl?

“Please stop, please,” she cried desperately, in a small, frightened voice that she hadn’t heard before. Daddy doesn’t love me because I’m stupid. Daddy hates me. I hate me, too. I’m so stupid.

He looked at her, his gaze slicing through her. “You’re the reason your mother hates me! It’s all your fault, you stupid useless brat!”

It was true. Mommy has me so she can’t love Daddy. She told me. It is my fault!

 

It felt as if he had been hitting her for so long, but after only a few minutes, he was spent.

He finally staggered backwards clumsily, not looking her way at all. Daddy didn’t look well, his skin pale and wet with sweat, the rage replaced with confusion and shame.

“Go to your room, right now, Brynn!” His voice was barely audible as he looked away.

Brynn stood feeling unsteady for a moment, her body shaking uncontrollably as she willed her legs to move. I’m going, Daddy. I’m going.

 

Daddy turned and staggered out to the porch and lit up a cigarette. The cool night air came in with a welcome gust soothing her burning face, and she forgot about the pain momentarily. The danger was still palpable in the air, and Brynn realized that she needed to get to her room.

The journey up the stairs was difficult, but she finally made it, falling onto the bed with relief. Brynn buried her face into the pillow smearing bright red blood and tears on the crisp white pillowcase.

 

He hates me! He hates me, and I’m so stupid. It’s my fault. I’m so clumsy and stupid. If I run away, maybe Mommy will love him and then he will love me. I ruined everything! I wish I had never ever been born!

 

After what felt like hours, she stood up, carefully walked into the bathroom, and locked the door. Brynn looked in the mirror and searched all over for bruises. The right cheek and eye were swelling and turning purple. The split in her lip was also swelling at an alarming rate as the blood was starting to crust and dry up. Her eyelids were swollen from crying so hard, and there was nothing but pain in her ribs, back, arms, and legs from all of the kicking they endured.

 

Brynn wished Mommy would hurry home. Mommy, where are you? Mommy, I need you!

Daddy had never been this mean before. He was to Mommy, but not to Brynn. He yelled occasionally, but had never kicked, hit, or swore at her. Daddy never kissed or hugged her, but Brynn always thought he loved her. After all, he bought her things from time to time, like big lollipops and candy from the store. He gave her presents for birthdays and on Christmases. My Daddy hates me! He wishes I were never adopted. He hates me more than anything in the world.

What if Daddy hits me all the time? The thought struck suddenly. I should run away.

Brynn knew Mommy couldn’t protect her. Mommy couldn’t even protect herself. While Daddy had never hit Brynn before, he hit Mommy. He even shook Mommy hard making her flop all over the place like Brynn’s favorite doll, Betsy. Mommy said it wasn’t Daddy’s fault. She said it was only because of the alcohol. Today, Daddy was drinking a lot of alcohol, and Brynn noticed that it was a lot more than usual.

The “special” glass was filled up five times, full to the top. Usually, Daddy only had Brynn fill it two or three times, and then Mommy did the rest after bedtime. Daddy never filled his own glass because he said it was their responsibility. “I put a roof over your heads, and give you food to eat, and clothes to wear. I buy everything!” He reminded them of this often.

Even though Daddy was mean to Mommy, Brynn still loved him. You’re supposed to love your Daddy. That’s what happy families do. They love each other. She wanted to have a happy family more than anything. Even though her only friend, Stacy, had a sad family, families were supposed to be happy. Mommy didn’t like Brynn to have a lot of friends because she didn’t want her away from the house much. Mommy always made her come home so she could spend time with her. Mommy said that she missed Brynn too much when she was gone.

Brynn was sad because Mommy didn’t love Daddy. Mommy told her repeatedly, even if Daddy was in the room, that she didn’t love him. She always whispered it loudly, pretending that it was their little secret. Brynn knew that Daddy could still hear. But Daddy was quiet like he didn’t care, even though he had a funny look on his face. Mommy and Brynn were best friends, and Mommy told her everything.

“We only stay with him because he takes care of us, Brynn. I only love you,” Mommy always told her. Brynn thought that maybe Daddy loved Mommy. Why else would he take care of them? Maybe Daddy will stop taking care of us now that he is hitting me, too. Brynn was afraid of what would happen to them.

There must have been something wrong with her or Brynn’s real Mommy would have wanted her. Brynn picked up the picture of her and Mommy Rose that sat next to her bed. It was a picture of them right after her “Gotcha Day.” Brynn looked very different then, so skinny and scraggly with a permanently sad expression on her face. She thought about her real Mommy, and again wondered where she was and why she left her. Brynn wondered if her real Mommy ever thought of her and what she looked like. Would my real Mommy care that Daddy was hitting me? Would she save me?

Brynn reached up carefully touching her cheek. It felt big and was throbbing and stinging. She felt hot. She lifted up her shirt and saw the skin on her sides turning red and purple. Her arms were tender and painful to the touch and there were handprints bruising her skin.

She moved slowly to her bed and waited for Mommy Rose to come home. Every part of her face was burning, and her lip kept bleeding. As hard as she tried, she couldn’t stop crying, salty tears burning the open wound on her lip. How could Daddy be so mean?

 

Mommy! When she finally heard the car in the driveway, her heart leapt for joy. Brynn dared not leave the bedroom for fear Daddy would see her.

Mommy will come kiss me good night. Brynn waited for Mommy to come up. When Mommy saw her face, she would know what Daddy had done. Brynn was ashamed that Daddy had to punish her.

Maybe Mommy won’t love me anymore either, she thought suddenly. She’ll think I’m too clumsy, too. She hates when I spill things because he always yells at me. Maybe she will hit me, too. Brynn was suddenly afraid. She hadn’t thought of that before.

She waited anxiously. When Mommy’s light footsteps echoed in the hall, Brynn held her breath, waiting for the door to open. Did Daddy tell her what I did? What if she hates me, too?

The door opened slowly and Mommy walked in looking like an angel. Mommy’s brown eyes were very serious as she looked at Brynn. She didn’t say anything but instead, walked over to the bed slowly, and hugged Brynn. Brynn held her tight and sobbed into her chest.

“Oh, Brynn,” Mommy said in a soothing voice. “What did you do? Why were you so clumsy? Why can’t you just be more careful? It will be okay.”

Brynn couldn’t speak. She couldn’t say anything between the sobs.

Mommy gently touched Brynn’s swollen cheek, tears forming in her own eyes. She started to reach toward Brynn’s cracked lip and stopped before touching it.

“Brynn, you have to be more careful. Daddy doesn’t like messes. You can’t spill because he gets really mad.” Mommy scolded gently. Mommy didn’t look angry like he had. Instead, she had a different look on her face. It was a look that Brynn didn’t understand. Brynn breathed a sigh of relief. Mommy didn’t hate her like Daddy did.

She held Brynn close. Mommy smells like flowers. Sweet.

For the first time that night, Brynn felt safe. Mommy went to the bathroom, got a washcloth, ran cool water over it, and washed Brynn’s tearstained face. She wiped Brynn’s swollen cheek and gently swabbed her bloody lip. She was careful as she tried to clean up the crusted blood. Mommy spoke gently, soothing, as she did when Brynn was much smaller. Then she tucked Brynn into bed and kissed her first on the forehead and then on the cheek. Brynn winced in pain and then smiled weakly, relieved that Mommy was home.

“There will be no school until your lip and face looks better, sweet girl,” Mommy said attempting a smile. “We’ll stay home and do puzzles together all day and drink hot cocoa. We’ll have a ‘girl’s day’.” Mommy stroked Brynn’s hair lightly, “But you can’t tell anyone about Daddy hitting you. If you do, they will take you away from me.”

Brynn didn’t want to be away from Mommy. She loved Mommy.

“I promise, Mommy, I won’t tell,” Brynn said, her voice small and serious.

“You’re a good girl, darling,” Mommy said looking at Brynn with adoring eyes.

“No, I’m not, Mommy, I’m a bad girl. I took your love away from Daddy. It’s my fault you don’t love him,” Brynn cried. She wanted to confess because she didn’t want to keep a secret from Mommy.

Mommy’s face got angry and then she suddenly smiled, showing her pretty white teeth. “Oh, Brynn. It’s not your fault I don’t love Daddy. I never loved Daddy. I only married Daddy so that I could find you one day. Even if you weren’t here, I still wouldn’t love Daddy.”

Brynn was relieved. It wasn’t her fault after all, but then she was sad. Poor Daddy. Not to be loved was so sad.

“Is Daddy going to hurt me again? It really hurt, Mommy,” she said sadly, trying not to whimper.

“No, Brynn! Mommy won’t let Daddy hurt you like that again!” Mommy said. But Brynn was still afraid because Daddy hit Mommy, and nothing could stop him.

Mommy answered without Brynn asking, “I know Daddy hits me, but we can’t leave because he takes care of us. We need him. I’ll talk to Daddy and I won’t leave you alone with him again.”

Brynn was relieved. She wasn’t alone with him much, but if it were never, then he couldn’t hurt her again.

“Thank you, Mommy!” She loved Mommy so much. Mommy was pretty and nice, and Brynn loved her with all of her heart—to the moon and back, “I love you so much, Mommy!”

Mommy gave her baby girl a sad smile. She bent over and tucked Brynn in, leaving the night light on.

“Go to sleep, sweet girl. I love you, too,” she whispered softly.

Brynn closed her eyes and got as comfortable as she could. She moved around trying to get more comfortable despite the pain. All of her muscles hurt and her lip were stinging. She didn’t realize how tired she was, and she quickly started to drift off.

Mommy went downstairs, and just as Brynn fell asleep, she was jolted awake by the sound of Daddy yelling. Daddy was yelling at Mommy!

She covered her ears tight trying in vain to block out the voices. Mommy was screaming, and then there was a slapping sound. Something made a loud cracking sound, like the sound of wood splintering and breaking, which made her jump. Mommy cried out loudly.

Brynn huddled up tight in her bed and squeezed her eyes closed as she felt tears running down her face. Daddy, please don’t hurt Mommy. She wanted to run downstairs, but she was afraid. What if he hits me again? Mommy, Mommy! Brynn grabbed her dolly, Betsy, and hugged her until the screaming stopped. Then there was an eerie silence in the house. She tried to stay awake, because she was terrified that her door would open, and then he would come in and try to hurt her again. She strained to hear Mommy’s voice, but there was nothing but quiet. She listened hard for Mommy to make a sound, but she didn’t hear anything in the house. Her eyelids started to get heavy and she finally fell into a restless, painful sleep.

I’m a Troper!!!

I began this writing journey many years ago beginning with a story that I penned with a girl in my fourth grade class. The story was short, simple, and contained the “f” word.

And it was terrible!

My oldest son is the same age I was when I wrote it and I’m still perplexed with my younger self. Yet, it was my first foray into a lifetime of writing and honing this beautiful craft. My stories and style have improved tremendously over the years (thank goodness), but that cringe-worthy story remains folded up in the corner of a drawer reminding me that while I wasn’t always prolific, I have always loved to write.

My writing journey has been a long one. I didn’t release my first book until nearly two years ago, and when I did I was filled with such fear and trepidation. It was like standing naked in front of a sold-out stadium, baring everything as I held my breath and waited for the laughter. I have always been a fairly private person, sharing only with people when I completely trust them. I’ve been this way all of my life, with only a few people who I allow into the realm of my secret craziness, completely.

In fact, I am just now becoming comfortable talking about my writing with others because it’s so personal. Writing about my writing always seems so much easier. Writing about everything has always been easier.

But I have loved everyday and every moment of this journey. Now, I get to take another step.
I’ve been accepted by the hybrid press, Booktrope. To say that I am ecstatic about having a publisher is an understatement. I LOVE self-publishing and the Indie community is absolutely amazing, but the Team concept of Booktrope has an allure that I can’t ignore. To engage with others and work toward a common goal, everyone sharing in the success, is a theme that I am all-to-familiar with in my grown-up job so this is a natural fit. Sharing my writing has helped me to become a creature who is more comfortable sharing out in the open, unlike the closed-off, impersonal person I once was.

I feel privileged to have been recognized and accepted by such a great group of people, and I am so ecstatic about having the opportunity to have help building an audience for my books.  This is where you can help.

I’ll be looking for a launch team who will help me when the time comes, to share, tweet, Facebook, blog, and inundate their news feed and everyone they know with news about my books or about new releases. If you are interested in being on that Team, you’ll receive certain perks which may involve getting advanced copies of my books before anyone else, being a part of a private Facebook group, having direct access to me AND the opportunity to receive some fun stuff in the mail, as well as have input on projects I’ll be working on (such as… what will we name this group?). In return, I’ll ask you to read my books, write HONEST reviews (even if you don’t like the book), and share, share, share!!

I hope you’ll consider joining me and being more involved in this amazing journey!! When the Team has been assembled, you’ll receive an email to let you know you are in. We may add Team-members later if the need arises, but only the first select will receive all of the perks! Join early because the early bird will get cooler stuff.

Sign up here… http://eepurl.com/bf9ugH

 

Racism-Black and White And A Little Yellow

A local news reporter said an incredibly stupid thing today on the morning broadcast, and in reading the tweets and Facebook posts, you would think she was the biggest racist on the planet. There are comments calling for her immediate termination, referring to her as a racist (or worse), and maligning her character. Maybe she is a racist, but it’s highly doubtful because by all accounts, she and her family are very good people who are not racist in any way.  Although her comment was extremely ignorant, it doesn’t appear to be malicious or intentional, yet many tweet that it doesn’t matter.

I know I may draw some negative backlash for even saying that, but this called is called “Inside Jen’s Mind” so I’ll say what I think. And what I think is that racism is a funny thing, something we are always looking for in everything. It’s not funny-haha, but funny-strange, because it’s often assumed but not always true, though it is always divisive.

First let me tell you a bit about me. I was adopted from Korea when I was around the age of two. Abandoned by my own parents, I was adopted by a Caucasian couple who couldn’t have children of their own, neither of them having a racist bone in their body. My dad taught me that racism was stupid and that people of every race could be jerks, and he was right. I remember when I would come home after someone made fun of my race and instead of getting upset, Dad would say “They make fun of you because you can take it. If they’re picking on you, then they’re leaving someone else alone.” So I made that my mantra, knowing that I was strong enough to take it, even though I was a small little girl with slanted eyes and olive skin who didn’t look like anyone else I knew.

I went to school in an era when they were integrating the schools to ensure there was diversity. It didn’t matter much to me, because I had probably met two people in my entire lifetime that even slightly resembled me. So instead of going to school five minutes from my house to go to school with kids that didn’t look like me, I was bussed thirty minutes from my house to go to school with kids who didn’t look like me. Diversity didn’t mean much to me at that time. I was as diverse as it got, neither black, white, or hispanic and there were many times when I was out-of-place and felt very alone. I would love to tell you that all of my experiences were positive ones, but they just weren’t.

People were ugly, adults and children alike. A relative who I never really knew asked my mom if I was going to have surgery to ‘have my eyes fixed,’ and most of the time people just assumed I was “Chinese.” Often-times kids would make strange ignorant noises that were supposed to resemble Asian people speaking, and the questions like “What are you?” were asked often, even into adulthood. When I was little, I used to feel my eyes beginning to slant even more when faced with those situations, unable to hide the fact that I just didn’t look like everyone else. Today they call that “bullying” but back then it was just “kids being mean” and I knew I would have to face it all of my life because there was no surgery to made my eyes ‘less slanted.’

Looking back, I think Dad saw something in me that I had yet to see in myself, because I was strong enough to take it, and I did. Aside from elementary school, those events rarely drove me to tears, and most kids chose to pick on the girl with the lisp and the unibrow instead of the girl with the slanted eyes. As I grew older, kids weren’t as mean to me, and by that time I had made enough friends that I was usually left alone.

When I was growing up my family was white, my friends were a mixture of black, white, hispanic, Asian, and my best friend from seventh grade through high school was black. My race wasn’t important and it didn’t make me special, better, or worse, than anyone else. Nobody cared that I was Korean and I found myself finally fitting in and finding my place in the world.

But the world is very different now in countless ways. It’s more hypocritical and full of hatred which I think makes it difficult for us to look beyond our outward appearance, because our differences are constantly being highlighted in the media. The social climate is uptight and unforgiving, and nobody seems to be able to laugh at themselves and we are obligated to be offended by everything that happens in the world. We assume everything is meant to be offensive, so we oblige. I realized the world was changing when it became taboo to call an Asian person ‘Oriental’ or when the term “politically correct” became gospel, rather than policy.  Instead of coming together, we push apart, expecting and waiting to be pissed off about something… anything.

So says the Asian girl.

The scars of being teased and made fun of because I was different, certainly run deep. You can’t imagine what it’s like to have someone say horrible and ugly things to you just because of how you look, unless it’s actually happened to you. As a child and even as an adult, I’ve had people of all shapes, sizes, color, race, and nationality call me names, make ignorant comments, make gestures, assumptions, and even make their eyes slanted so they would look like me. But I call that ignorance and stupidity, and I refuse to let it change my heart or make me a prisoner. If you know me, you know that I’m not above telling someone to “screw off” if the situation calls for it, and I believe racism is one of those situations that certainly calls for it.

My youngest child came home from school after being “bullied” by another child, larger and older than him. My youngest, is my mini-me and not only looks identical to me when I was younger, but is just as stubborn and just as apt stand up for himself. What really broke my heart about the situation is that the other child jumped right to calling him a “little Chinese boy” as a way to put him down and told him to “Go back to China where he came from.” It brought back flashbacks from my childhood, but it also made me incredibly angry not just because my youngest is my baby, but because this other child obviously doesn’t know my son at all. My son is laugh-out-loud funny, irreverent, inappropriate, and incredibly charming. He’s the boy who will break the girls hearts because he won’t be tied down. He loves to play games, technology, and electronics of every kind, and did I mention that he’s funny as Hell? But this other boy just saw him as that “little Chinese boy” and I thought how sad it is that the world hasn’t really changed, after all.

Instead, we live in a world where not only are we still incredibly ignorant and say stupid, stupid things. Do I think that little boy is a racist? Absolutely not. I do think he’s ignorant, and while I hope his parents set him straight, I’m also realistic and understand that he may get that from home. Yet, I’m not offended by the situation and we’ve talked about it with my son because I’m sure it’s not the last time he’ll ever hear something like that again. I’m not teaching him to be tolerant of ignorant behavior, but hopefully he’ll learn to just see things and people for what they are. Hopefully it will motivate him to be his best, regardless of the stupidity that may surround him.

I’m not naive and I know racism exists and is alive and well and toxic in our world. But I don’t believe that we live in a world where everything and everyone is racially motivated. I do believe we live in a world full of moronic, stupid, ignorant, idiots who say the most ridiculous things and I think it is important to differentiate between the two.

We are living in a world that lacks levity because we are entirely too sensitive, and all that ends up doing is dividing us and breeding contempt, and more hatred. As a society, we are always looking for a scapegoat, an answer to our problems but the easy answer isn’t always the right one. We need to stop and learn to see things for what they are. Racism isn’t always so obvious, isn’t always so black and white, and  in simplified terms I think Webster’s still gets it right.

Racism-Webster’s dictionary

noun
1.
a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.
2.
a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
3.
hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

Rodney King~”Can we all just get along?”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sONfxPCTU0

The Beatles~All You Need is Love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydfH7iuLR0I

Marvin Gaye~What’s Going On https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydfH7iuLR0I

Getting Ready CAE…

I said I would blog every day before the Cleveland Author Event, which was clearly a big fat lie.

I have probably blogged LESS than usual for the same reason I haven’t been able to write “the end” to my current work in progress, I Run to You. It’s just a little thing called LIFE.

Writing soothes and strengthens me, but it’s not all of me. It doesn’t completely define me, though it’s always been a driving force in my life even when I didn’t know it. Anytime someone is passionate about something in life, I believe it unknowingly propels them forward in life. And while I desire to write daily, it just gets too crazy to write the way I wish I could.

And I’m okay with that.

The Cleveland Author Event is in one week and one day, and I am a lot less freaked out about it than I was a month ago. I have a dress, shoes, books, swag, a banner, pretty pens, and chocolate (a must). As I begin this blog entry I am sitting under a hair dryer getting my hair done, then nails after. I’ll be all beautified by two of my favorite women, Drema and Brenda.

So I believe I’m ready.

And I’m so excited! I’ll get to meet people I’ve only ever talked to or communicated with in emails or via social media. To be able to put names with personalities and faces, will be an extreme pleasure. I can’t wait to spend quality time with such talented and successful authors, many of whom have answered questions and been so supportive, even though they probably thought I was some mad stalker in the beginning.

This past year had been such a wonderfully amazing year, full of so many new experiences. Between writing, releasing two books, blogging, interacting with so many incredible new people, and becoming more open to the world, it has truly been a whirlwind. But I’ll take it! I’m much happier than I’ve been with myself in a long time as I’ve struggled to reach my potential. While life is this constant journey, it often feels as though we’ll never get to where we are going. We are always searching for the destination instead of just enjoying the road.

I’ve blogged before about how writing a book was on my bucket list. And now that I’ve almost completed my third, I realize I’m definitely enjoying the road, for the first time. When I finished writing my first two books, I had this incessant urge to start the third, as well as a fourth. I see now that as long as I continue to have a passion for writing then I will write, the way I’ve been doing it. Around my marriage, my children, my career, and around life. I’ll write because I get to and because I understand how lucky I am to do so many things I love.

I just had a lovely lady on my Facebook page tell me I am “on her list” of authors to visit! I don’t think I’ve ever been on anyone’s list before, so I am super excited to meet her. It’s my first big signing and I am beyond ecstatic to get to be a part of it!

I’m sorry I lied and didn’t blog every day. I think I must have been crazy or drunk when I said I would because there is no way it was ever going to happen. But I’m happy I get to do it now. And if you’re at the Cleveland Author Event, please stop and say Hi :). Even if I’m not on your list, or you’ve never read any of my work, if you’re reading this post then I would love to meet you!

So… I’m ready.

But first, to finish planning a seven year olds birthday party that is in two days…

Who I am…

I’ve been struggling to find time to write, lately.

The holidays are upon us and everyone is so busy. The end of the year brings other challenges with work and life, and everything in between. I’ve decked the halls, trimmed the tree, and started my Christmas shopping. And this year, I’m even managing to make peace with some of my demons which has been a feat of Herculean proportions.

It hardly seems as though there is time for much else.

I’ve got two books sitting, waiting, and wondering if I’m ever going to back to them. I’ve got characters with unfinished business, lovers who are wondering if they will ever kiss again, and a little girl trapped in a well with a talking serpent-like creature. All of these plots and ideas for character development are swimming around in my head, and there is no time to attend to any of it.

The frustrating part, is that as I go about my daily life, the writing calls to me. I’ve learned to ignore it, but only temporarily. Part of me fears that it will stop calling me, one day. I fear that I will lose the pull as I once did when I became “too consumed by life” to simply just write.

I know that if I would have continued writing throughout the years, and not stopped, that I would have maintained a better sense of myself. I would have remembered what was important in my life because writing balances me out. It reflects the words into my heart like a mirror, reminding me of who I am, and what I want to be. Perhaps if I had continued to write, the lessons that I had to learn, wouldn’t have been so hard because I wouldn’t have forgotten how to prioritize or who I was to begin with. Instead, I abandoned what I loved and lost a piece of myself in the process…

Part of me is afraid that I will get too caught up in life and I will stop writing again. It’s easy to forgo your passion when there is laundry to do, dinner to cook, homework to oversee, and a full time career. I have a family to love, a house to run, and a wonderfully challenging career. Yet, I still have numerous characters calling out to me, plots to both create and finish, and fictional lovers to reunite.

So who says that I can’t do all of it?

After all, I’m a Wife and Mother, and a vicious multi-tasker. I brush my teeth and read a book at the same time. I kiss my children while I pack their lunches. I Facebook while I stand in the deli line. Most importantly, I know when to STOP multi-tasking and just “Be” in the moment. I’m creative, fearless, tireless, and loving.

The beauty of writing, as an Indie Author, is that I can do it on my own schedule. I don’t have to give up telling a story because life is too busy. I love that I can still be passionate about my family, my career, and writing. I love that I can stay in touch with who I am and also, what I love to do.

Even though I’m having a hard time finding the time to to write, the characters and stories are swimming around in my head. They are growing and evolving, and thankfully my children aren’t starving because I did manage to feed them tonight! I know that there will continue to be days when I feel that I didn’t do enough, or that I’m not enough. I don’t expect that will ever change because there just aren’t enough hours to do it ALL, every day.

I know that being a Wife and Mother means that I can’t always be a writer, and that having a career means that I can’t always do everything. But I think that I am better at recognizing what matters, because I don’t let the moments pass me by. I see them and I recognize them in a way that I never did before. And when I’m lucky, the Wife and Mother in me gets to write the love for her family into her book, and the creativeness within, give me success in my career.

For the first time in my life, I realize that I don’t have to sacrifice being one thing to be another. If I am thankful for the gift of getting to do all of these things, I can do them.

Then I can truly embrace who I am.

Blog Challenge Day 25-My 5 Favorite Blogs

The beautiful thing about writing is that you get to meet so many wonderfully talented people who share your love of words and telling stories. Blogging has been a wonderful experience for me and I have enjoyed it tremendously.

The best part has been reading so many amazing blogs and meeting people who have so much to share. My 5 favorite blogs have been:

http://khmazzola.wordpress.com/
Kristen is a very sweet, generous writer who shares her work and the work of others with the world. Her blog is both fun and inspiring and reflects her passion and love for all things writing.

http://novelgrounds.com/category/books/
Novel Grounds (Megan Gallt) was one of the first Blogs to give this new Author a Spotlight on her blog. Her enthusiasm and support were both encouraging and supportive. It’s a wonderful growing blog that updates almost daily with new books and authors.

http://www.roomwithbooks.com/
This is also a growing blog, which I have come to love and appreciate. Patricia’s (Green) words of encouragement and her positive approach is refreshing. She also wrote a review on Leaving Eva, which was both thorough and definitive which was much appreciated. She has some wonderful books and reviews on her blog which are interesting and enlightening.

http://candysraves.com/
This is a great blog, which much more than books. Candy’s (Beauchamp) chose Leaving Eva out of numerous books on her TBR pile and gave it a very honest, frank review. I appreciated that she gave me her true opinion, which was positive with some much needed constructive criticism, which I have since applied. I was drawn to her website because she’s a busy mom who passionately shares her opinion about whatever she chooses, and makes no bones about the fact that it’s her website, her opinion.

http://crystalsmanyreviews.blogspot.com/?zx=227046bb6ab95d38
Crystal Marie gave me one of my first reviews, and I loved her honesty as well. Her blog has grown tremendously, and I love following her on Facebook and reading her reviews. She reviews different genres and her reviews are funny and fresh. I’ve really enjoyed reading her work.

There are so many wonderful writers and reviewers. I also love:
http://authortlgray.wordpress.com/
This blog is imaginative and thought provoking. I’ve enjoyed every blog I have read here.

AND

http://projectlighttolife.wordpress.com/
SImply put, this blog is inspiring and beautiful! A great read when you are feeling low in life.