Saturday, January 25, 2014

Leave Bieber Alone! (How We Create Monsters & Then Trash Our Own Creations)

"I will not quit this game because of what the media has done to me."-Michael Jordan

First off, let me start by saying that in no way am I a "Belieber" or a superfan of Justin Bieber. The only song I own by him on my iTunes is his debut single "Baby". But apparently, this is enough for me to defend him. 

If you don't know by now, Bieber has been getting himself into a load of trouble lately. He's been on the front page of every celebrity news site and if you turned on your television you've probably seen him on every news channel. Now, the problem I have with all of this is that instead of helping him and giving him the space that he needs, the media is demonizing him. Everyone has something to say about his behavior but no one wants to lend a helping hand. Everyone's a critic but no one wants to make their criticism constructive.

Before you attack me with "he's doing it to himself" or "he deserves it all", the truth is he doesn't deserve any of this. No one deserves this. When are we going to learn that sticking a camera in someone's face while they're going through their trials is never a good idea. Since when was it okay to post videos of someone in court and pictures of their mugshot for everyone to see? Just because his job is to be in the public eye doesn't mean that his personal life shouldn't belong to him.

I am not defending his actions but I am defending his right to privacy and his age. He's a 19 year old boy who drinks and party (why doesn't this sound out of the ordinary?). The only difference between Bieber and the average 19 year old male is that he has a large sum of money and fame to go with it. Underage drinking is illegal but how many of you out there has done the same thing when you were in college (and even before that)? And drag racing for a young boy isn't anything new (just ask why insurance rates are higher for boys than girls). Besides, it's already been stated that he wasn't even racing his car, it was just another story that the media needed to run with.

What I'm trying to say is let's not be too quick to judge. He's not an angel but he's not the devil either. Seeing all of the pictures and videos, not to mention the horrific comments about him brings me back to 2007 and seeing what they did to Britney Spears. It's like Charlie Sheen all over again. Most people are afraid that the more attention you give him, the more he'll lash out because he wants the attention. Maybe that's not the reason why he'll lash out more. Maybe he'll lash out because the attention and the constant hate is all too much. Imagine if every mistake you have ever made as a teenager/young adult was photographed and video taped, then posted on the internet for everyone in the world to see? How you would react? How would you feel? You can't tell me that you haven't done anything remotely close to what Bieber is being demonized for. Again, not saying that what he is doing is right but how can we judge someone we know nothing about.

What worries me more is that Bieber's action could be a cry for help as opposed to "give me attention!" We're always so quick to judge and throw dirt on someone and the moment they have a mental breakdown we go down the "sorry" route. "I'm glad he's getting the help that he needs", "Stay strong Bieber" will be the comments once it's announced that he's been checked into a rehab facility or worse. Then we'll be waiting for a grand comeback and make him out to be bigger than life itself. We have to stop building monsters and then spitting on our own creations and blame them for malfunctioning. The media and the general public condones this and then wonder why it becomes a trend for young stars.

Now, many people are worried that he'll influence their children or his loyal beliebers but the truth is, people know right from wrong. If your kid doesn't know that underage drinking is bad by the time they're 15 you should probably be questioning your parenting skills. If they do know but still choose to do it, don't be so quick to blame a celebrity who has no power in your household. What I've learned in life is that people are going to do what they want at whatever age. I've seen many great and awesome parents have children that turned out to be exactly what they were afraid of. You know why, because after a certain age you can no longer choose what you want your child to do or believe in. Bieber isn't going to make your child drink or smoke before they're will do that. He's not going to make them lose their virginity before marriage...hormones will do that. We should stop placing the blame where it doesn't belong. 

I don't mean to get all "LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!" on you guys but in reality we should leave Bieber alone. Maybe alone time and zero attention is what he needs at the moment. Maybe some time to make mistakes without there being a camera flash is the answer. One thing is for certain, demonizing him isn't the way to go. 

I don't want to see Bieber become another child star gone wrong...someone who had the world in his hands and then drops it completely. Sadly, I think the world would rather see him fall until they're ready for him to rise again...IF they're ever ready. It saddens me when I see people who once loved and supported him turn on him so quickly. It just proves that there wasn't any love there from the start...just infatuation. You don't leave someone when they need help the most and you certainly don't kick someone when they're already down. Let's stop the name calling, pointing fingers, and the ugly comments. It's not helping anyone in the long run.

"People are already beaten down enough by life. Don't contribute to it. Use your words to encourage someone."-Damien Echols

Friday, January 24, 2014

YouTube Links!

I feel like A Tragic Heart has so many themes that one focus isn't enough to give you an idea on what the novel is about. I will be making trailers throughout the week based off of the many themes of the novel. Here are two links to two of my new book trailers on YouTube:

Self Harm Theme:Trailer #1

Love Triangle Theme:Trailer #2


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Silly Agents! Self Harm is for Emos!

"All the writers keep writing what they write
Somewhere another pretty vein just dies
I've got the scars from tomorrow and I wish you could see
That you’re the antidote to everything except for me"

The last time I posted a blog it was about literary agents and their lack of diversity when it comes to accepting manuscripts. If you didn't already know, I published my first novel, A Tragic Heart through Amazon's CreateSpace and now I am seeking representation. Well, I've already been rejected over 20 times even though every reader of A Tragic Heart agrees that the novel is more than worthy of the public's attention. My reason for being rejected so many times is solely based on marketing.

Marketing. Such an ugly word that every writer must learn or either pull the plug on your career.  I've received so many rejection letters via email because agents believe that books that touches upon self-harm and suicide doesn't really have a market. They believe there's no way to promote it. Hahahaha! I'm seriously laughing at them and their uneducated ignorant minds! Have these people never heard of Fall Out Boy or Paramore? Better yet, have they never heard of one of the biggest charity organization that goes by the name To Write Love On Her Arms? The whole freaking organization is a suicide prevention charity! Yet, they say that there's no market!

The topic of self-harm and suicide is an untapped market mostly because everyone is too afraid to go there. No one ever speaks about these issues so it seems like everything's fine. The truth is we all know someone who either self harms or contemplated suicide at one point in their lives. In some cases, that person is us but no one talks about it so the common belief is that majority of us are okay. We're not.

Did you know statistically speaking that every one of us has thought about suicide as an option? If this is true, why don't we speak about it? I'll tell you why, because the world is afraid of anything that isn't sunshine and rainbows. Not everything is a love story, not everything is a mystery or a horror. A true writer writes what they feel and what others are afraid to even think. That's what makes writing good. Some things need to be spoken about. 

The common belief that books about suicide, self harm, and drugs are only for emos is a myth! If it's marketing that these agents fear, then maybe they should quit their jobs because who wants to live in a box full of misconceptions and ignorance? Well, thinking twice, maybe some of them do...

I don't mean to make suicide or self harm a marketing scheme but to say that theoretically no one would care to read books about these topics unless they're for medical research is absurd! I'm sure parents of children who struggle with these issues would love to understand what their children are going through or what they may be thinking on a day to day basis. Heck! Even brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles of these people would like to gain a better understanding. 

Growing up I felt like no one understood me (actually I feel like this now on a daily basis) and maybe if there were more books available that talked about these things, the people around me would have started to question their misconceptions about me. The world has learned to label anyone struggling with these issues as "attention seekers". No one ever thinks to say something or try to dig a little deeper. 

We're always told that "we think it's all about us" and that "it's not how the world works". Do you honestly believe we want all of that attention? Why would we want the world to revolve around us when all it would do is turn us into an even bigger freak show?

I thank writers like Ellen Hopkins, Jay Asher, Cheryl Rainfield for writing about real issues and not being afraid. I also thank the public for turning them into bestselling authors, proving those literary agents wrong when they say there is no market for such things. If their success isn't proof enough for you, then you remain ignorant.

Just search the hashtags #selfharm, #suicide, #emo, and #cutter on Twitter and Instagram, then tell me what you find. Shocking right? Now if you add #depressed, #scars, and #nohope to the list your heart may break. No one caters to them because everyone is looking from a business standpoint and us emos aren't included. We don't matter. Our "market" isn't big enough to be addressed. 

There are millions and they don't deserve to be noticed for marketing reasons or money, they deserve to be noticed because they should know that it can be better and whatever they do affects everyone else around them. By ignoring their "market" you are essentially ignoring them. 

A Tragic Heart isn't all about self harm and suicide attempts. It's much more than that. There a love story, humor, and depictions of everyday life for teenagers and young adults. It goes beyond a young adult novel and crosses over to adult fiction. It's something in it for everyone and it shouldn't be aimed at a market. It's for anyone who has ever felt anything at all.

Sexual abuse happens (just ask the brave and beautiful red head, Rachel Thompson) so it should be talked about. Drug addiction and teen prostitution take over lives, just talk to Ellen Hopkins about it. Suicide hurts...Jay Asher gets that.

Sexual abuse happens to more than a market of people. Drug addiction isn't something only felt by the underprivileged. Teen prostitution doesn't only touch those involved. Self harm and suicide isn't only for emos.

"Wearing our vintage misery
No, I think it looked a little better on me......"So broke our spirit, " says the note we pass"




Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Native Tongue: A Post for Literary Agents

"Living in a city of sleepless people
Who all know the limits and won't go too far outside the lines
Cause they're' out of their minds."

"Generally the agents seem to dislike anything too violent or depressing, and stress that writers should "sell a solution, not a problem." This is a comment under a literary agency's information. A few days ago I expressed over Twitter and Facebook how I find it troubling that agents shy away from topics such as suicide, rape, and drugs because these are real issues that happen to real people. We all don't live in a fairytale land where the leading character finds love in the end and the only issue she had to deal with was bullying (not that bullying isn't a serious issue). No one wants to go there. Everyone wants to play it "safe" and not cross the line that will possibly cement them a spot in history. 

Another troubling aspect about the comment above is how do they know if the author is selling a solution or a problem if they're not reading the material? I sent in a query letter along with sample writing at 11:51 am and by 12:12 pm I had my 12th rejection letter in my inbox (by the way, I received #13 a couple of hours more and I'm tied with J.K. Rowling). You would think these literary agents would have learned their lessons by now. If you were to go to you can see how some of the most iconic writing pieces were rejected and slammed by literary agents and publishers only to leave them kicking themselves on their backsides in the end. Want to know the real problem? They don't know what the people want and they only go by the "standards" they were taught in school. A true visionary and writer can see past "school standards" and know that crossing lines is necessary sometimes. Sadly, all of my rejections have said the same thing: "I'm not enthusiastic about the concept", "I can't grasp the concept", "You deserve an agent who is passionate about your concept".


So you're basically telling me that my writing skills, plot, setting, OR character development are NOT the reasons you're rejecting me but because I choose to share a personal experience in a fictional manner that touches on issues needed to be spoken about? See, I can write the generic love story and get bashed by "the people" and I can become a basic "writer" like most but I choose to take risks because I believe in building my own voice. I'm not here to write about what you want me to write about, I'm here for MY art and eventually someone will like it (actually NOT ONE reader has been disappointed...and that's what matters most). I refuse to change my topic or story because the world is simple minded and unoriginal. You see, I can be generic...but that's not me! To quote my favorite band, "I got a light that won't go out, been burning since the day I was born! So I cry just a little then I dry my eyes 'cause I'm not a little girl no more!" Basically, basic isn't in my vocabulary and neither is generic or safe. I always liked the wild rides anyway.

"They think we’re crazy ‘cause it sounds like noise to them. Ain’t it strange all the things you hear when you sit and listen?"

But really, imagine all of the things you can hear and learn when you sit and listen? Maybe if these agents gave something a little outside of their comfort zone a chance, they would love it. Or maybe they just don't speak the same language as some of us. I wrote this for myself but I also wrote it for all of the broken ones out there. A Tragic Heart was meant to give others something to relate to. There weren't (and still aren't) many books that talk about self-mutilation, depression, or any mental illness for that matter. Why should I change my story because they can't speak our language? Maybe if they read more stories like it, they can speak emo too (hahaha, but in order for them to read those stories they would have to start accepting them...oh, the irony!). 

We feel like no one understands us, like we're the only ones in the world going through it even though we know logically it's not true. All I can say is that it would have helped a lot if I had more books like A Tragic Heart, Scars, Impulse, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower growing up. Haven't these people heard of Cheryl Rainfield and Ellen Hopkins? They're best-selling authors who saw success through writing about some of the most touchy subjects. The reason why they were so successful: people related. It's simple, really. 

Nicholas Sparks is a great writer but how many of us can honestly say we lived The Notebook or The Last Song? I'm sure more people felt the way Charlie did in The Perks of Being A Wallflower. If everyone accepts the same things how can anyone find room to be different? Rejecting taboo topics is like rejecting life and people's personal struggles. It's like saying "your experience isn't good or interesting enough". It's like saying "your hardships and conquering isn't something worth writing or telling about". It should be common sense that feelings of rejection, loneliness, and unworthiness are things that should be written and spoken about. 

Now, I'm not saying that all literary agents are generic and close minded because there are a few that speak my native tongue, I just have to find them (or maybe they will find me). As Paramore says, "...if you give up, you get what you deserve!"

"How can they say that it’s one way when it’s the opposite? And how can they know the end of the story before I tell it?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Art of Giving Up

"22 is like the worst idea that I've ever had. There's too much pain, it's too much freedom what should I do with this? It's not the way you plan it, but how you make it happen!"

"Encouragement gets old," those are the words that came out of my mouth around 9:50 this morning. Do you want to know why I uttered those pessimistic words? Simply because it's true. If you haven't noticed I'm not in a very encouraging mood today and I honestly haven't been for a while. After Australia, Dubai, and Italy, life came down a lot...more like crashed and burned because fantasy life was over.

I don't want to encourage anyone today, that's what my previous posts are for, instead I want to be honest about how much life sucks and it's more than okay to admit that at times. I've always joked that the title of Paramore's song "For a Pessimist, I'm Pretty Optimistic" is the best way to describe my personality. I've always been the downer and the "dark" one in the crowd so my recent posts of light shedding is a rare thing. Maybe I was on a vacation high. Maybe something has gotten into me...who knows? All I know now is that twenty two really does feel like the worst idea that I've ever had. 

Life is hard when the high is gone and cloud 9 evaporates into thin air. This is what happened to me in the recent weeks. I knew that life was hard from past experiences but just when it seems to get better, reality hits and it gets worse. Does it ever really get any better or do we just learn how to deal with the pain as time goes by? 

Lately, rejection has been the reason why I feel like I want to give up. I've been getting rejected from almost everything in my life. It's to the point that I'm surprised my dog even still looks at me as a valuable person. Ever get that feeling that you're simply not good enough? Yeah, well, that's been the feeling I've had for a long time. My biggest fear has always been becoming a failure by my own standards and lately my life has been heading in that direction. 

In the beginning, I honestly thought that I would beat the odds but now I'm not so sure. I don't want to be mediocre or average but I'm afraid that's the road I'm driving down. No matter how hard I try it seems like every sign is pointing to the exit that reads "mediocrity". I don't want to live my life struggling to live or make it day by day. I want to be the one who excels and passes by all of the bumps in the road. I want to be special and stand out from the crowd. No matter how much I want to, I can't seem to give up because of my fear of failure. Do you know how exhausting it is to not even be good enough to give up? You may not believe it but giving up is an art.

It takes a lot to give up when you once wanted something so badly. It takes a lot of dedication to never return to the thing you once loved (or still love). First you have to convince yourself that it you don't want it all that much, that it's simply just not worth it. How do you do that when you've only dreamed of success? I never saw myself as anything less than that person I want to be. Then after you convinced yourself, you have to entirely forget about the past you that had a crazy dream that didn't come true. Last, you have to force yourself to become content with your current position in life. In other words, you have to get comfortable where you are in life and it's really hard to get comfortable in a place you don't want to be. I've always heard that it's easy to give up and it's easy to get comfortable but it wasn't until recently that I learned the art of giving up and I'm still not so sure that I'm ready to go there. On the other hand, I don't know how much more rejection I can take.

I had to write on my Twitter page as a reminder to myself that in life you will always hear the word "no" more than "yes" but we must hold on because all we need is one "yes" to get us going. But what happens when you get the feeling that you're just wasting your time and you'll just be another number in the crowd with a story of an old dream that never happened? What do you do when you feel like there's no point in trying for that one "yes". Encouragement gets old and it no longer works. After a while it just sounds like a bunch of cattle manure that those annoying optimist use to hear themselves say something so they can continue feeling important. Like, really, who smiles that much anyway? 

I thought maybe if I wrote something honest that I would feel a lot better. Well, I guess I feel better...just not a lot. The feelings are still there, but the truth is they don't go away that easily. There's not much that anyone can say or do that'll change how I feel. I don't want to be a failure so I continue to keep going but it's getting harder everyday. It's exhausting and discouraging. I keep holding on to hope but I want to let it go because hope makes a fool of us. The only thing left to do is choose. Do I want to be a fool or a failure?