Deadly Ever After

Archive for the month “September, 2013”

Reading The Genre You Write

Today’s Brew:  Blueberry Mountain Goodness

by Kristen

Victoria Frances

Artwork by Victoria Frances

I read a lot. I’m not one of those 5 books a week kind of girls, but I devour a few a month. I don’t go anywhere without a book.  And I’m open to trying just about anything, although I tend always leans towards paranormal and a lot of my books come from the YA section of Barnes and Noble, simply because it’s the best merchandised section of the store. Presentation does matter, kids.  I really enjoy biographies and I’m trying to catch up on some of the classics.

Lately I’ve made an effort to read more vampire romances, since my books feature romance with vampires.  As a writer, I look at books now differently than when I read before I cracked open my manuscript.  Much more critically. I’m aware of tropes, character development, and conflict.  I miss just reading without my inner editor pointing her finger at things.

I noticed a few themes emerging.  Tiny, spunky, usually virginal heroines that are master flirts and usually unbearable cockteases.  Big burly vampire kings from Scotland or some other super white place who haven’t had sex since Jesus walked the earth. They are all rich, rich, rich. One doesn’t want the other, but they can’t resist each other.  Once our two heroes finally wind up in bed, somehow our heroine winds up with super powers! She singlehandedly takes down whole army that vampire king has battled unsuccessfully for centuries.

Prologue:  Two years later, She-ra can’t believe that Thor is her actually husband. They look out onto the sunset with their two babes, Baby She-ra and Thor Junior and live happily ever after. Awww.

You guys, this so isn’t my book. My vampires aren’t old,they have sex on the regular, my characters aren’t all white, they aren’t royalty, they try to save the day, but….well, I’ll let you find out what happens.  As publication day looms, I find myself getting nervous about things that shouldn’t matter.  Like, is there a secret formula I’m supposed to follow when I write my book to guarantee people like it? I read like three of these books described above in a row. All by different authors. Do people want to read about characters that are more like them than royalty? Will readers be open to something different?  Will they be mad if they pick up my book, expecting something like that and getting my story instead?

Everyone says they’re looking for something different, yet these are all best selling books, and they’re all very similar. I’m not saying they’re bad AT ALL, I just noticed a very clear theme.

Julie made a great point the other day.  She’s noticed agents are looking for something fresh and new, but publishers want a sure thing.  I think this is where self publishing has the biggest advantage. Books that don’t quite fit in the neat little genre boxes get a chance for the public to know and love them.  Then the public can get what they really want, not what someone else has already chosen for them.

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Paranormal Week; Those Are Some Badass Chicks! Plus a HUGE Giveaway

EEEEEEEEE! THERE’S RUNNING HOME RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE!

Gabi Daniels

WELCOME TO

PARANORMAL WEEK!!!

New folder

We are so excited to celebrate all these amazing authors!

Who is with us!!?? HELL YEAH!

We’ll be talking about all our favs, interviewing characters, SWOONING, 3 giveaways & a contest!!

Day 1 — Some badass chicks! And giveaway

Day 2 — Interview with Brennus from Amy Bartol’s Premonition Series & 2 more giveaways!!

Day 3 — Interview with ❤ Nicholas French ❤ from Julie Hutchings Running Home *SWOON!!*

Day 4 — Character profiles on Daemon Black, Aiden St Delphi, Reed Wellington & Angels, Nickolas French, Jace Wayland, Conner & Sean from the Caged Series, Gavin Blake from Collide & Pulse <– NO, it’s not a paranormal book… but our love for Gavin is on a paranormal level!

Day 5 — Villains we love to hate on Friday the 13th *wah ha ha ha*

AND! A contest! Free ride’s over, folks– time to work for your…

View original post 1,243 more words

Fleeing The Scene and First Grade

TODAY’S BREW: Caramel Apple coffee. Thank you, Target. Thank you very much.

By Julie

I have this time because Bennett, the 6 year old, is in school. THIS IS A MIRACULOUS THING.

The child loves school, loves to learn. And so he was happy as hell to go back, even when he found out that the only kid in his class that he knew was the one who bullies him, and everyone, really.

There are 2 other first grade classrooms, with all the other kids he knows divided up between them. No, I have no idea why this happened. While school isn’t about being in a class with your buddies, I do believe that learning and comfort go hand in hand. There has to be an element of enjoyment and peace to it, or it just isn’t conducive. So for the only familiar face for my boy to see each day being the kid who stole his little kid wallet last year? Not cool.

So, I became THAT parent. I called school….every day….at least once….and calmly and politely welcomed the new principal to school, thanked her for her time and apologized for taking it. And at the end of the conversations, I made it plain exactly how I felt.

WE DON’T HAVE TO FACE UNECESSARY CHALLENGES TO BECOME STRONGER. WE HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO CHOOSE THE  BEST OPTION. AND SOMETIMES, THE BEST OPTION IS THE EASY WAY OUT.

Sure, my boy is incredibly friendly, and could have dealt with this kid, he’s only one kid. And they’re friends a lot of the time, but the overall feeling is that he is a menace. Sure, he could have gotten over this kid, maybe, but if there’s an easier way out, why not take it? First grade is a challenge all in itself. These kids go from 2 and a half hours of school in Kindergarten to zero in the summer, to 6 and a half right away. They’re eating lunch away from home, doing homework, and suddenly school is work, not just building and playing and coloring. Why add another challenge without need? Why make it hard when he has such a wonderful view of school to start out with? The first face he sees when he sits down and the last face he sees when he leaves are going to stick with him, and could erase half of the good feelings he has. Why risk that if there is another, easier way?

Raising kids isn’t about just teaching them to face their challenges and fears. It’s about showing them to look for other choices, and not being afraid to make them happen. There’s a difference between running and stopping. It’s okay if sometimes you just don’t want to. And sometimes, raising kids is about showing them that when they need you, you’ll come to the rescue.

Because at the end of the day, Mama Bear doesn’t fuck around.

 

Flash Fiction Friday: Tony the Bear by Brian LeTendre

TODAY’S BREW: Celebratory Pumpkin Spice Latte, a rarely enjoyed treat. IT’S MY BIRTHDAY, BABIES!

By Julie

It’s my 38th birthday today! In honor of this, most blessed day, I bring to you a short story by our friend Brian LeTendre. This story is so cool, partly because it’s based in truth, and partly because it reminds me of the kind of horror I read and watched growing up. Because yeah, I watched and read horror growing up.

Also, now announcing FLASH FICTION FRIDAYS! Every Friday we’ll be hosting a chosen writer’s flash fiction piece. And when we pick you, we’ll say YOU HAVE BEEN CHOSEN.

Now read!

Tony the Bear

by Brian LeTendre

“How in the world did your room get to be such a mess, buddy?” I asked my four-year old son as I got him dressed for daycare a few weeks earlier. It was hard to believe that a three-foot tall, 28 pound kid could have created such disorder. We had picked up his room together the night before, just like his mother or I did with him every night before he went to bed.

Toys were scattered everywhere, board game pieces all over the place—it looked like someone threw dynamite in his toy box, and what I was witnessing was the aftermath of the explosion.

My son looked up at me annoyed, his blue eyes almost hidden behind his tousled hair. “Dad,” he replied exasperated, “it wasn’t me, it was Tony.”

“Tony who?” I asked, thinking he was just throwing out the name of one of his daycare friends.

“Tony the bear dad,” he replied. “He lives in my closet.”

“You mean like one of your stuffed animals?” I said, pointing to one of several plush bears, wolves dinosaurs and superheroes he had lying around.

He rolled his eyes as if he was explaining something to a baby. “No, dad. A bear. A big, brown bear. Like the ones that live in the woods.”

I smiled, remembering that I too had an imaginary friend when I was a kid. Of course, I grew up in the 80’s, so my imaginary friend was a ninja named Whisperkill. He showed up right about the time I started getting my ass kicked by the neighborhood bullies on my way home from Catholic school every day. I wanted him to teach me martial arts, but he was more into stealth. Mostly, he just taught me how to avoid the bullies. Come to think of it, he kind of sucked at being a ninja.

“Tony the bear, huh?” I mused. “Well you tell Tony that next time he comes over to play he needs to help pick up, too. Just because he’s a wild animal doesn’t mean he can be a slob, too.”

“All right, Dad, I’ll tell him,” he conceded, and then bolted out of the room, arms spread like an airplane and making jet noises all the way.

***

“We need to get out of this neighborhood,” my wife sighed as she flipped through the local section of the Sunday paper the other day. “Seven break-ins over the last three months in our neighborhood. Ridiculous. In this his latest one they even killed an old lady!”

I took a long sip from my cartoonishly huge coffee cup so she wouldn’t see me roll my eyes. She had wanted to move out of the city for years, but I loved it. More importantly, I loved our house. Compared to the duplex I grew up in, the place was a castle. Sure, the crime rate was terrible–it was the city, for crying out loud.

But there was no arguing with her, and wasn’t taking the bait. I stood up. “I’m going to go see if the boy wants to come grocery shopping with me.”

That answer seemed to satisfy her, so I made my escape and headed upstairs. As I rounded the corner of the landing, I could hear my son’s voice coming from his room.

Smiling to myself, I tiptoed over to his door, which was only open an inch.

“I think there’s some pizza left in the fridgerator,” I heard him say. “I’ll try and sneak some when I go to bed tonight.”

I peeked through the crack of the door. My son was sitting on his floor, action figure in hand. He was staring toward his closet, head tilted slightly. Like he was listening to something.

“Okay,” he finally said, and then looked directly at me. Hi Dad!”

I actually jumped a bit. Had he known I was there along?

“Hey pal,” I said tentatively as I opened the door. Scanning the room for who knows what, I found it completely empty, except for my son.

“What’s going on, dad?” he asked. “Do you want to play?”

“Who were you talking to, buddy?” I asked.

“Tony,” he replied casually.

I strolled over to the closet, which was wide open, and peered inside. Nothing.

“The bear?”

“Yeah dad,” he said, smiling. “Tony visits me all the time. He’s even been helping me keep my room clean, just like you told me.”

There was a part of me that was starting to get a little concerned, but the kid did have a point. His room had been spotless since that morning a few weeks ago.

There are worse things than imaginary bears who help kids pick up their toys, I decided.

“Come on pal,” I said as I scooped the little guy off the floor and threw him over my shoulder. “We’re going to the grocery store. Maybe we’ll even grab some snacks for Tony.”

“Awesome!” he exclaimed.

***

Last night at about 2am, I was awoken from a dead sleep by a loud THUMP.

The noise came from upstairs, and in my half-conscious state, I assumed my son had either fallen out of bed or had a nightmare. I looked over at my wife and she was dead to the world, the foam plugs she wore to drown out my snoring tucked into her ears.

“Don’t worry, I’ll get this one,” I murmured as I threw off my covers and stumbled toward the hallway. A bolt of pain shot through my foot as I smashed my toe on the side of the nightstand. “Son of a bitch,” I said through gritted teeth.

I hobbled up the stairs and made my way to his bedroom. The door was open, and by the greenish glow of the night light next to his bed, I saw him stirring but still apparently asleep.

I figured he either put himself back in bed after falling out, or I dreamt whatever noise I thought I heard. I lingered in his doorway for a few more minutes, just to be sure he was actually asleep, and then I shuffled back to bed.

***

Upon waking in the morning, I went up to check on my son and was dismayed once again to find his room a complete disaster.

“I thought we talked about this, pal,” I said exasperated. “Why is this room such a mess again?”

“It wasn’t me, dad! It was Tony!” he replied sincerely. “He knocked all my stuff over last night when he took the bad man out of here.”

Those last few words me stopped me in my tracks—took the bad man out of here.

“What do you mean, ‘the bad man’?” I asked cautiously.

“Last night,” he replied matter-of-factly.“I waked up and saw a man in the hallway. He looked at me and came in my room. I was gonna yell for you and mommy, but then Tony came and took him into my closet.”

I remembered the noise that woke me up the night before, but immediately dismissed the thought of someone actually being in the house. I was now more concerned that my four year old could come up with something so disturbing. This imaginary friend thing was getting out of hand.

I knelt down near the closet and put my hand on the door, looking at my son. “Buddy, I know that Tony the bear is your friend, but he’s just pretend. There’s really not a bear living in your closet.”

I opened the door so he could see inside. “See, pal? No bear.”

“Tony is real, Dad!” he insisted, tears starting to well in his eyes. I stood up and faced the closet. “He’s not, pal,” I said as soothingly as I could. “Tony—”

And then I saw them.

Five quarter-inch wide scratch marks, about six inches long, a little more than halfway up the inside of the closet door.

I looked closer. The marks weren’t deep, but they were definitely made by something sharp. I didn’t remember ever seeing them before, but truth be told, I never really examined my son’s closet that closely.

I started moving the clothes on the rack out of the way, feeling around the space of the closet. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but the walls were all still there. I stood back up, feeling kind of silly.

That is, until I saw the blood on my hand.

I checked my hand quickly for cuts (there were none), then ran over to my son’s toy box and grabbed his tiger-headed flashlight. I ran back to the closet and started poking around, and gasped at what the small beam of the flashlight had just illuminated—a slightly smeared, adult-sized bloody handprint on the side wall of the closet. It almost looked like someone had tried to grip the wall itself and failed. The print trailed off as it met the seam of the back wall.

As I stood there frozen, a wave of horror starting to wash over me. I’d forgotten my son was still there, until he came over and put his hand on my arm.

“See, Dad,” he said. “Tony took the bad man away.”

 

COOL, RIGHT? Now go check out Brian at http://t.co/VN2npjQuvp, and follow him on Twitter @BrianLeTendre.

How I Got My Agent: The Hutchings Way

TODAY’S BREW: More champagne! This is getting to be a habit! Okay, it already was.

By Julie

So, um, it looks like nobody has figured out I’m a hack yet, because I HAVE A LITERARY AGENT. It’s not just any literary agent. It is ERIC FUCKING RUBEN, ESQUIRE. He’s an Esquire, for the love of God and we belong to each other now.

You want to know how I got an agent? (I do love phrasing it this way; I “got him,” like he’s some sort of disease or large fish.) All right, I’ll tell you but you might not like it.

I WAS MYSELF.

I didn’t formulate a query that appeared to be made by the hands of angels and deliver it to him with a manuscript that I claimed would save the world. I didn’t suck up, chase down, play by a bunch of stupid frigging rules to do it. I was me, and we connected. I always knew I wanted an agent that I connected with on a personal level, or I couldn’t really be me. And yes, Eric was the dream agent.

I DESPISE the rigamarole of querying. Trying to tell each individual agent what makes them bright, shiny and special for you when you’ve queried 43 of them that day, and they’ve read 9887 queries is superficial and senseless. Catering to the individual tastes of an agent who you don’t know from a hole in the wall when you come right down to it, is just plain kissing ass. It has nothing to do with your ability.

My queries flopped, every one of them. I had my query read out loud on a projector in front of dozens of other authors and agents and Donald frigging Maass. I live pitched by phone, I did it all. But it wasn’t until I put my work out there in snippets and made a buzz for myself the way I knew how, the way it worked for me, that I caught the attention of the few agents I truly WANTED, and Eric in particular. Being genuine is still the best way to do business.

If you’re looking for tips, I will give them to you. I want you to know that there’s more out there than writing the Golden Query. There’s more than yapping to any agent you can find all day on Twitter. So here are some things I did that made this not a happy accident:

  1. MAKE YOUR BLOG OR WHATEVER IT IS HAVE PURPOSE.  Deadly Ever After was a business plan. We commit to having it say something about us. We watch what our readers like and we post accordingly. If your readers don’t care about your day at the farmer’s market, why do you write a post about it every week? Show that you understand your audience. And plan the thing. If your blog reads like a phone call to your mother, what reason does anyone have to believe that your novels read any better? Also, ASK PEOPLE TO BE ON YOUR BLOG. Writers you know, writers you don’t quite know. Not only have these people become some of my most dear friends in the universe, but I learned from the way they write, and each and every one of them was there for me when I needed help to promote Running Home, which helped to catch the attention of my new agent. All from reaching out and asking them to help out on the blog.
  2. WRITE THE BOOK YOU HAVE TO WRITE, NOT WHAT YOU THINK AN AGENT WANTS TO READ. Don’t tailor yourself to fit into a niche. Write what you have to write, and make the niche fit you. You are the niche. You have the product. Don’t make it what someone wants, make it what you have to give them, and it will stand on its own.
  3. TWEET LINES FROM YOUR WORK. There’s plenty of #amwriting, #waswriting, #hadbeenediting, #willbeoutlining, #editedthenrevisedthenwroteandamwriting hashtags. TELL US WHAT YOU’RE WRITING. Give us something. Trust me, make it the right thing, and it catches the right eyes. I have a habit of making one line at least in every writing session that’s strong out of context, and tweeting it out with the hashtag of the novel’s title and #amwriting. THIS WORKS, PEOPLE.
  4. DON’T ASK QUESTIONS AT #ASKAGENT JUST TO MAKE AGENTS SEE YOU’RE PAYING ATTENTION.
  5. 5.       ASK PEOPLE TO READ YOUR WORK. Don’t make it top secret. I tweeted out that I had just written the grossest thing I ever wrote, and my good friend, Jessie Devine, one of Eric’s clients, wanted to read it. It was just a chapter, out of context, but it caused a stir on Twitter with a couple of the right people, and before I knew it the man himself was asking to read it. TRUE STORY.
  6. 6.       FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, BE YOURSELF ON TWITTER. This does not mean be the ugliest side of yourself consistently. Don’t tell us forty times how much you hate Monday. Don’t complain constantly. Don’t be dull. You swear? Go ahead, swear. Give us a little of the person that throws themselves into that manuscript and comes away feeling like they just made magic. BE THAT PERSON ON TWITTER. Make people listen.
  7. 7.       GET INVOLVED. Eric was speaking about the state of publishing at a Mystery Writer’s meeting. So we crashed it. And we took notes, and spoke to him. We treated him like a regular, awesome guy, which he is. Be the face that’s remembered if you have the opportunity, and learn something along the way.

 

I hope this helps all of you looking for that perfect agent to find them. Know the rules of querying, but know when you fit outside them. Know that there’s more than one way to skin an agent. Figuratively.

 

 

 

Going Back To Square One: Continuing A Series

Today’s Brew: Still The Apple Stuff. Hell, it’s still the same cup.

By Kristen

In a makeup school art class I realized for certain that I just couldn’t follow the rules.  I should have known that to begin with, feeling like a bull in a china shop in my middle management position for a behemoth corporation.  It shouldn’t surprise me that I would march to the beat of my own drummer with my writing as well.

When I’ve asked readers to tell me what other books that mine remind them of, I get a lot of empty looks. That’s good, but it can also be a little scary.  I’m not stupid enough to think I’m blazing new ground, but at least I know I have a distinct voice.  Hopefully, readers won’t think “not this again” when they pick up my books. (Oh, who the hell am I kidding.  Hopefully they’ll pick up my books!)

But I couldn’t follow the rules in my trilogy either.  In Night Moves, book two, I introduced a new set of characters.  I use the same mythology.  We learn things about Talis’ vampire clan from Ryder that Tristan couldn’t share with us.  And it leads us to the junction between books one and three without any spoilers.  Instead of a straight line, we take a detour.

Albert Camus- Debauchery

Now that I’m writing We Own The Night, I need to blend Because The Night and Night Moves into one book, solve all the problems that the first two books didn’t answer, and oh yeah, blend two sets of characters.  It was the blending of characters that I dreaded the most, and caused me to screw around on Pinterest for hours instead of diving into the manuscript.  I write in first person.  You can only really have one first person without confusing the hell out of readers.  It made the most sense to have Callie pick back up with the story.  As you’ll learn as you read it, she’s the one in the driver’s seat. But I don’t’ want to neglect Melanie, Ryder, and our friends from Soul Divider.  They can’t be an afterthought.

Speaking of Melanie and Ryder, I’ve spent the last few months with them, getting to know them and learning their story.  I’ve been writing in their voices.  Now, I’m switching back to Callie and Tristan.  I feel like I have to get to know them all over again.  With a new book, there’s no rules.  With book three, you have to work with the rules you’ve already established.

Now that I’ve finally settled down to write, the ideas are flowing and I’m glad to have my first loves, these characters, back.  A part of me thinks that it’s easy to stick with the same mythology and characters for multiple books, but the other part of me realizes it has it’s own challenges.  These characters have to grow and they have to meet new challenges. It’s like raising children.

I hope that readers love all of these characters enough to want to stick with them for three books.  It’s a lot to ask.  But nothing makes me happier than when someone reads my books and asks for more.

 

Instincts: This Month In Opening Line

Today’s Brew:  Apple Pie coffee, I think? A la mode, maybe?  It was the most fall Kcup I could find.

by Kristen

The Opening Line

Instincts. We all have them, but everyone’s are different.  Much like the stories featured in this month’s Opening Line magazine devoted to the very topic.

My If You Love Someone is featured on page 17.  Twitter friend Kai Kiriyama is the very next story.

Go check it out!!

Big Day, Babies!

TODAY’S BREW: Breakfast Beer! No, not really.

By Julie

IT’S MY BABY’S FIRST DAY OF FIRST GRADE! I don’t feel guilty whatsoever about wanting this child to go to school for 6 hours a day because he so wants it. The boy genius loves learning, and is just not a summer kid. He’s just not. He turns bright pink when it’s like sixty degrees out, and he says “this is the way I like it” whenever there is an overcast moment. Not to mention he is a mastermind reading and comprehending things far above his level, a math whiz, a genius with graphs, and has incredible leadership quality.

I also get to spend some alone time with my three year old, Sammy, and this is something we never really have. I look forward to it and feel blessed to be home with him, and blessed to be home to write!

You know what time it is, suckas? IT’S SEQUEL TIME!

I am overjoyed to announce that I have begun my solid work on the sequel to Running Home! I got up for my beloved 5 AM Writer’s Club this morning, and was able to read over what I have written already and work on it a bit. When I wrote Running Home, it was all in notebooks, and it was super long and I had no idea. I actually wrote 2 books, and with a little doctoring, Running Away was begun. I’m really ready to dive into it with all the positive encouragement I’ve had fueling me. Good thing, because writing a sequel is tough. You have to make sure a first time reader gets it, and you have to not disappoint your not-first time readers, and it sure as hell should make sense.

I’m assuming having 6 hours a day with only one child, the more quiet one and far more independent one, will make this all magically come true. I’ll wake up for 5 AM Writer’s Club with my usual spring in the step and conquer the fucking universe of sequels 5 days a week, and sometimes on Saturdays.

This sequel is going to rock it. I love it already. And not only that, but I’m sure to be readying The Harpy for the world to see, and yes, I have a completely separate idea for a YA novel bidding on brain space, but that thing has to wait. Order! I demand order! All in good time, novels, all in good time.

What I’m saying is, GAME ON, BITCHES. My baby is in school, I have books to write and all the drive to do it, and my good old steady routine is BACK. Look the hell out. Fall has arrived and with it, the will to live.

Back-to-School Pinterest Bitches

I can’t even….I can’t at how funny this is.

Bitchin Sisters

It’s that time of year again. The kids are going back to school, Target is abuzz with harried moms, the beaches are emptying, I’m still not tan and shit’s about to get real on Pinterest:

I went to Ocean State Job Lot and bought my daughter’s school supplies. After washing last year’s perfectly good bag, I packed it very neatly, wrote her a little ‘good luck’ note and felt like a mom rock star. Then this bitch went and did this:

And then her asshole mom friend did this:

Sweet baby Jesus in the sky, why do people have to be so crafty?

I had a glass of wine, felt inspired and worked on this little project. Evidently, you’re not supposed to use a blow torch to melt the Crayons:

Raise your hand if your kids’ last three years of school pictures are somewhere in the bottom of your “To Do” file. #mustmailtorelativesbeforecollege.

I’m just glad that my…

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Room of Horrors: A High School Library

Today’s Brew:  Angry Orchard Apple Ginger Cider. Because two whole days off in a row.

by Kristen

Everyone bitches that kids don’t read enough.  I’m going to include anyone who has yet to graduate from high school in my “kid” grouping for the purpose of my argument.  It’s not so much that we want young people to read fantastic stories. Reading building vocabulary and spelling ability.  It helps foster imagination and curiosity.  It’s the easiest way to learn there’s a big wide world out there beyond your hometown.

All you need to read is the ability to understand the words on the page.  Financial barriers shouldn’t apply. All you need is a library card, right?  Access shouldn’t be a problem.  We should be providing kids with abundant reading material. Isn’t this a no brainer? We aren’t the problem, it’s those lazy kids.  Apparently, I live in a fantasy world and you do too if you think this is the case.

Last week, I worked on a production that filmed in a high school library.  This was an urban catholic school.  Parents pay to send their kids to this place.  If I was writing a check for thousands of dollars in tuition each year, I would want my child to be getting the best education available.  I can’t help to think if these parents bothered to set foot in this library they would be shocked.

Aesthetically, the place did nothing for me.  The books looked old. Now, I since I could have a kid in high school, I can only imagine how uninviting this place looks for the students.  All hard covers, all leaned willy nilly on shelves.  Nothing faced out. No featured reads.  Nothing literary on the walls.  The artwork was candids of the students.  Wouldn’t that be better placed in the cafeteria?  How about some library appropriate posters, like book covers, authors, instructions on how to use the freakin’ room properly?  The shelves were half empty.  The place looked sad. Kids are far more visually savvy than we are, and we have far less time to capture their attention.  This room simply doesn’t work.

The Soviet Union lives on at Arlington Catholic High!

The Soviet Union lives on at Arlington Catholic High!

I love looking at bookshelves, so of course I couldn’t resist checking out a whole room dedicated to books!  What I found made me furious. There were books about Russia from 1958.  A History of the 20th century published in 1980.  And this gem, which isn’t even politically correct.  Isn’t the only current acceptable use of the word “Oriental” in regards to rugs?

Aren't we saying "Asian" now?

Aren’t we saying “Asian” now?

The world moves fast, and no one will remind you of that faster than a teenager.  A teenager has no use for an outdated encyclopedia set.  That’s exactly the type of thing to turn someone off from learning.  If we expect these kids to compete in a changing world and economy, we need to be 2 steps ahead of what’s coming next, not 15 steps behind.

The library featured a large fiction section, but the books were again so outdated that they didn’t even appeal to me.  You know how hot YA fiction has been for, oh, say the last decade or so?  Here’s the YA section.

The entire YA section in a High School library.

The entire YA section in a High School library.

Yeah.  That’s it.  I looked around but found nothing else.

I get it. Everyone is on a budget, including schools.  But this is important.  If you don’t hook a person young on learning, chances are  you will lose them.  We can’t afford any more dumb.

If you have an extensive collection of YA books that you’ve already read that are taking up room on your bookshelves, please consider donating them to your local high school library.  If you are a YA author, please reach out to your local HS librarians.  See if you can donate your books and maybe even talk to some of the students.

Books are badass and everyone deserves a chance to experience them.

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