Carnations Do Matter by Nikki Roberti
Apr27

Carnations Do Matter by Nikki Roberti

It started when I was 12. My parents moved me to a Christian private school because my brother had issues with a local middle school and had thrived from his own move their two years prior. However, my brother and I were very different people, and while the move was great for him, it nearly killed me. On multiple levels. There were only 19 kids in the whole seventh grade…and 15 of them were girls– girls who had mostly grown up with each other in the same class since kindergarten. Here I was–new. New and “weird” according to them. They’d spend hours arguing over whose shoes were the whitest. Mine weren’t even white. Obviously I was a freak. I was the kid who enjoyed school and got good grades and had horrible fears over breaking the rules. It started small at first. Any time I’d open my mouth, I was met with an eye roll. But then the whispers started to grow and paranoia set in. I was assured that I went to school with nice Christian girls. It couldn’t all be bad. It must be in my head. But then girls put Elmers Glue in my hair. When I asked why, a girl responded, “I didn’t think it would hurt you” and acted like I was crazy for questioning her at all. When I cried, they told me they’d “pray for me.” Yay Christian school. When we were all standing on a stage during some down time, the girls were doing impressions of movies. I chimed in with my favorite line from “A Bug’s Life” saying, “I am a beautiful butterfly!” (in the funny caterpillar’s voice and everything!). But instead of joining in on the fun like I had hoped, I was met with a girl on either side of me, grabbing me by the arms shouting, “You’re not beautiful!” as they threw me off the stage. I decided the only way to deal with this sort of environment was to remove myself from it. At first I made friends with the few boys in the class, but the girls ruined that by doing the classic “you must be in love with her” type shenanigans and all my guy friends refused to talk to me too. So, I hung out with the older students–some as old as juniors who thought having a pet seventh grader to protect was charming. But somehow the mean girls in my seventh grade class tried to ruin that for me too. I’ll never forget on Valentine’s Day when the carnation fundraiser was delivered and I somehow had the most flowers in the class....

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Setting Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … sign up now!
Apr27

Setting Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … sign up now!

We’re holding a SETTING workshop with some of our wonderful Pitch Wars mentors during the month of June! They’ll critique 500 words from any part of your manuscript to help bring your settings to life. Critiques will be posted daily on my blog for the month of June. This is for MG, YA, NA, & Adult manuscripts. Your manuscript doesn’t have to be completed and it doesn’t have to be a manuscript that will be entered in Pitch Wars. We have 20 plus spots available. All you have to do is sign up for a chance to win one of the spots on the Rafflecopter below. The critique will be posted on my blog, so if you’re squeamish about posting your work, please don’t enter. No names or email addresses will be included in the posts. It’s for any category and genre. Your manuscript doesn’t have to be completed and you don’t have to enter Pitch Wars with it. I’ll draw names on May 5th at 12PM EDT (NY time) so be ready to submit your sample for critique immediately after I announce the winners. You will receive an email with instructions. If you don’t send your sample in before the allotted time  expires as specified in the email, you will lose your spot. Make sure to check your spam for the email. Sign up by May 5th at 12PM EDT now! a Rafflecopter...

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You are Beautiful, You are Strong by Janet B. Taylor
Apr27

You are Beautiful, You are Strong by Janet B. Taylor

Today, I am so grateful to Brenda for allowing me to participate in this extremely-important topic. We hear a lot about bullying these days, and that is wonderful and amazing and every time I read about or see a post that speaks against this type of behavior, I cheer and fist-pump! See, I’m a *tiny bit* past school age now. But back when I was in school, there was no outcry against bullying. It was just considered a part of life. Something one had to deal with. Almost a rite of passage. There were no posters, no website or conferences, no celebrities on TV speaking out on against bullying. People who were hurt like this back then just had to sink or swim. The sad part is, it’s difficult to say how many actually didn’t make it back to shore. I was a chubster all through school. Though I slimmed up some when I went through puberty, I was never a size 2 like most of my friends. It’s never, ever easy to be the chubby kid. Even now, everyone is doing so much better, being politically-correct with most issues. Sexuality. Race. Creed. And that is a wonderful, positive thing. But for heavy people, there is still no umbrella of protection. Big people are still fair game. Wow. Read the above paragraph again. Did you notice that I used four different terms that mean the same thing? Chubster. Chubby. Heavy. Big. I didn’t plan that. I used those words subconsciously because even now—at forty *cough* years old—it still hurts to use or hear the word ‘fat.’ Such a simple word. Just three tiny letters. Doesn’t seem like something that small could cause people so much pain, does it? It’s kind of astonishing to me that in this day and age, with all we know about the terrible consequences bullying can cause that it’s still got so much power behind it. But I’m here to tell you—as someone who’s been there/done that–that YOU are beautiful. YOU are strong. YOU are a miracle. And NEVER let anyone, EVER tell you differently.               Janet B. Taylor Website  |  Twitter |  Facebook  |  Tumblr I’m a reader and fan first and foremost! I’m also the author of the upcoming YA Time Travel series, INTO THE DIM (coming 3/1/2016 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). I’m also a total, fangirl, book geek…. member of the SCBWI and the fabulous debut author group, The Sweet 16s. In addition, I’m a member of–and have done author interviews for–the Historical Novel Society. I’m also the previous author of the popular CBS affiliate-fansite BigBigBrother.com . I’m thrilled...

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