Friday, July 28, 2017

Adult Bullying

I'd like to take a moment to talk about adult bullying. I know this is long, but please stick with me.

Bullying. It’s a subject that’s in the news a lot lately. I think, as adults, when we hear about bullying we perceive it as something that happens mainly to kids. I used to think like that, too. Only now, not so much. I’ll preface this by stating this is not about the current political atmosphere (because once I start on that, I might not stop). This is personal.

First, I wanted to know if what I perceived as a bullying incident really was a bullying incident, so I did a little research.
This is what I found. There are three core elements of bullying. The first being intentional hurtful action. Second - the action or actions are repeated over time. Last, but certainly not least, involves an imbalance of power.

You still with me?

You might ask what prompted me to check this out (or maybe you didn’t, but I’ll tell you anyway). 

Anyone who knows me well, knows I’m a strong ally for the LGBTQIA community. Several years ago, I found an amazing, close-knit community of authors and readers. There, I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had. It’s a welcoming community, everyone seems so sincere and nice, and mostly it’s true. However, I’ve run across the actions of a few that don’t appear so sincere. Or so nice.

I've seen instances where authors are given a hard time because of the way they choose to wear their hair, or who they have as friends are. I’m not sure why anybody would think they have the right to question those personal decisions. These examples of bullying were posted for the whole world to see. Shameful.

There is another type of bullying going on, too. This bullying is sly, deceitful, and mostly transparent. 

It’s bullying at its finest, which also happens to be at its worst. It’s talking behind people’s backs. It’s the ganging-up on someone by a group of people. In this case, it happens to be authors ganging up against other authors. Why? Who knows. And you know what? Who cares? It’s wrong. Period.

What pisses me off the most is the intentional pain this causes those who are being bullied. What’s happening is a willful attempt to imbalance power. You don’t like someone? Fine. You want to tell your friends your feelings? Double fine. Everyone needs to vent. What is NOT fine is to pressure others into following along with you. Hence, your attempt to imbalance power. Ganging up on or against someone in any way, shape, or form is wrong.

It’s hurtful. To think that your actions don’t damage the human sprit is naive. No one likes to be talked about. No one likes to be excluded from their friends and peers. To knowingly and willingly cause that, in my opinion, is horrific and despicable. What kind of person does that on purpose? The mind set is just beyond me. 

And what’s really despicable is the impact this type of bullying has on a writer’s livelihood. When the bullying among peers is so widespread it affects book sales, it’s clear that this isn’t just a group of people gossiping about their own. They are intentionally trying to thwart a career and destroy a reputation. How would you like that to happen to you as an author? If a group banded together to ruin you?

I’ve seen it in action, and it’s heart-rending, and frankly it pisses me off.

During my research, I found that there are also three types of bullying. Verbal bullying. Physical bullying. Social bullying.
Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. This includes leaving someone out on purpose, telling other people not to be friends with someone, spreading false rumors about someone, or embarrassing someone in public.

Social bullying is what I’m seeing the most of among authors here, and it’s hurtful and destructive. It’s hurtful to those it’s aimed at. It’s hurtful to those who care about those being targeted. It’s also hugely destructive to the community in which I’m so in love with.
Let’s face it, those who participate in bullying look bad. You think readers and other authors don’t notice? Think again. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can, and do, speak for myself. I’ve taken a strong stand against bullying of any kind. I will not knowingly support those who participate in this type of behavior.

You may think that bullying adults doesn’t have the same affect as bullying children, but you are wrong. We all have feelings. We all want to fit in. None of us want to be talked about, excluded, or ganged-up against. For the last year, I’ve watched a malicious campaign against an author or two. The authors don’t deserve what’s happened to them.

I have grandchildren who are school age. They see bullying of all types, day-in and day-out. It is not acceptable to them as children Why should it be acceptable to you as an adult? 

If I don’t take a stand here and now, and show them that bullying is not acceptable in the adult world, what am I teaching them?

Please, if you’re a bully, I beseech you to think about the harm you are causing.

If you’re being bullied, please know that you are not alone. Many of us, myself included, stand with you.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Elpída by C. Kennedy

When I sit down to read a book by C. Kennedy I know one thing for sure. The story will not disappoint. But there was something else I knew when I sat down to read Elpída, the third and final book in the Elpída series by C. Kennedy, as with all the books in this series I knew I was going to be taken on an emotional rollercoaster.

As in books one and two of the series (Omorphi and Tharros), this third book follows Christy, a young man who has been horrifically abused, and his boyfriend Michael. Don’t get me wrong, there are a host of other characters who are integral to the story, but for now, I’m going to focus on Christy and Michael.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to go through what Christy has gone through. Yet I know in my head, and statistics support it, that thousands of children are physically and sexually abused daily. In this series Mr. Kennedy brings us Christy, who is living in the aftermath of such abuse. It’s important to note that while the abuse is discussed in part, there is no actual abuse written on the page. That is huge. Thank you, Mr. Kennedy, for not sensationalizing the horrors these kids go through. 

We read on as Christy works hard to work through what’s been done to him while he fights to build a new life for himself. It is a struggle of epic proportions that will leave you in awe of Christy’s spirit and fortitude. I won’t lie, it hurts. It hurts to know that people can be so horrific to one another. Mr. Kennedy does not sugar-coat the strength of will it takes Christy to work at being happy. And there is happy. This book is full of happy spots that will make you smile and laugh. 

Then we have Michael, who loves Christy with his whole heart. Michael is so kind and so patient. Before reading this series I never gave much thought to those that love, care for, advocate for, and help counsel abused kids. But I have to say, as I read this book I gained insight and respect for those who work to help these kids rebuild themselves. Michael is not perfect, which is part of what makes him so endearing. He’s your everyday high school graduate, with a heart of gold and who is a fierce protector of those he loves.

There are a host of other fantastic characters that are just as important to the story as Christy and Michael and if you’ve read books one and two, you are familiar with many. If you’ve only read this book in the series you are also familiar with most of them. (If I wrote about each of them this review would go on forever! The characters are all that amazing!)

I will briefly touch upon two other characters. In Elpída we finally get to meet Thimi, whom Christy has known forever and who was abused along with Christy. We also meet Zero. Both of these new boys reside at the Wellington Ranch. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I will tell you that more than once, Thimi broke my heart and I literally cried over what had happened to him, but that little guy is a fighter and I have great hope for his future.

That one word. 

Hope. ElpÍda.

Is what leads me to the conclusion of this review. 

Hope. Elpída.

This series was written by the author for the boys he advocates for. This book shows that hope is alive. Sometimes all we have is hope. Isn’t that what we all want? Hope? Hope for a life filled with happiness. Hope for a life far away from pain and fear? This book, no THIS SERIES, supplies that hope in spades. A profound thank you to C. Kennedy for this series of books--We can all use that hope in our lives. 

“Always remember that abuse does not define you. Never judge yourself by what others have done to you.” ~Cody Kennedy, Elpída Series

“While there is life, there is hope, little brother.” 
~Cody Kennedy, Elpída Series

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Splinters by Thorny Sterling

After reading Splinters I must say I’m speechless.  In a totally, overwhelmingly great way.  There are very few (if any) debut books that are as well written and articulate as Thorny Sterling’s Splinters.

The story starts with Allan waking up tied to a wooden plank.  What’s even more disturbing is the fact he has no recollection of how he got there. 

Looking down from astride his mount Duke sees what appears to be a man, bound to a wooden plank in the middle of his range.  Duke has no idea what’s happened to the man or how he got there, but one thing is for sure.  The guy didn’t do that to himself.

From the very first sentence to the very last period Mr. Sterling wove a tale of mystery and intrigue that quite honestly had me engrossed in the story. Not only that, but it was fun.

As I immersed myself in the story of the big city fashion model and Texas cowboy I was struck by how well written this was.  The flow of the story seemed effortless and the pacing was perfect. The author definitely has a special voice when weaving a story.  His words are beautifully sculpted and they created a world that made me feel like I was a part of it, sitting front and center, watching events unfold.

One of the things I loved the most (and trust me, there were many) was how the author was able to show his character’s vulnerabilities without making them look weak.  

I feel this is a talented, up and coming author and I’m really looking forward to reading more of his stories in the future.  

my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️