Art Exhibit, 6/3 – 7/31: “Hidden Messages: The Subtlety of Oppression,” St. Louis, MO USA

Art Exhibit, 6/3 – 7/31: “Hidden Messages: The Subtlety of Oppression,” St. Louis, MO USA

My most recent #author guest on CHANGES conversations between authors Darian Wigfall (Episode 49, 6/1/16, on Google+ https://goo.gl/OYRt1H or YouTube https://goo.gl/x5IxVZ), is also an artist, activist and community organizer in St. Louis County. His #art is part of the exhibit that opens TONIGHT, 6/3/16, and runs through July 31, 2016, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA (yes, where #FERGUSON is), with that of many other #artists whose work interacts with #oppression, #activism, #intersectionality and #hope.

GO! TELL OTHERS! Free & open to the public during gallery hours.

Grand Center Arts & Entertainment District
501 N. Grand Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63103

(Closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
Wednesdays 11 AM – 6 PM
Thursdays 11 AM – 6 PM
Fridays 11 AM – 9 PM
Saturdays 10 AM – 5 PM
Sundays 12 PM – 5 PM

June 3 EXHIBIT OPENING, 6 – 9 PM

Poetry and interpretive paintings by Emily Timmerman exploring oppression in the areas of race, class, and gender.

About:
Oppression is being exposed all over the world. From the Arab Spring to Black Lives Matter, people are waking up to the fact that we are being oppressed by those who have the money to control the narrative about people and how they are punished.

These paintings are interpretations of the messages that our oppressors have handed down to us to keep us under control. Over time we have adopted these messages for ourselves, reinforcing and perpetrating the oppression against ourselves. The last piece in the 4 stanza poem is a warning that our comfortable lives will be destroyed by the forces that create the artificial comfort we enjoy.

Darian alone
Darian Wigfall

Darian art
image from gallery’s website

http://kranzbergartscenter.org/calendar/current-events/item/hidden-messages-the-subtlety-of-oppression

The Kranzberg Arts Center is a non-profit organization located in the heart of the Grand Center Arts and Entertainment District at 501 N. Grand Blvd. It houses three distinct, multi-use spaces: a gallery space dubbed the Kranzberg Arts Incubator, a flex-seat 100 capacity black box theater, and a 100 capacity cabaret/lounge performance space with pro audio & lights. The basement of the KAC is home to the Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design Education Center while the Black Box is the home of resident theater companies UMSL & Upstream.

Connect:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kranzbergartscenter
Twitter/Instagram: @KranzbergArts

For Inquiries: chris@kranzbergartscenter.org

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Bookworks’ Featured Author: Sally Ember, Ed.D., 4/27/16

Interestingly and unexpectedly, Bookworks decided to make me the Featured Author today, 4/27/16, my mom’s 84th birthday! Happy Birthday, Carole Harris!

Bookworks Featured Author-badge
https://www.bookworks.com/members/sallyember/

Go visit, comment, make purchases, visit other authors’ pages, join! https://www.bookworks.com/

Thanks, Bookworks!

AND…If you’re in St. Louis or southern Illinois on May 7, stop in and visit me and previous guests on CHANGES conversations between authors guests, Deborah Manber Kupfer, George Sirois and many other local authors and hear me do a public reading May 7, 2016, at the St. Louis Indie Book Fair at the downtown St. Louis Public Library on Olive St., 10 – 5 PM Saturday. FREE! I read at 11:18 AM (or thereabouts) for about 10 minutes. http://shoutout.wix.com/so/eLFPj6yY#/main

“Should You #Write What You Know?” Guest Post by Krysten Lindsay Hager

I am excited to welcome back a previous guest blogger for today’s post, someone who was also a guest on Episode 15 of #CHANGES conversations between authors (see below for links), and who is an award-winning #YA and middle grades #novelist, #blogger and nonfiction author, Krysten Lindsay Hager!

Read her insights into what an #author ought to write about, below, and please comment here, http://www.sallyember.com/blog and on her site (see below for all her links).


“Should You #Write What You Know?”

What makes a person go back in time to those #teen years to relive all the awkward, cringe-worthy moments of growing up, crushes and trying to fit in while juggling homework and friendships? Was I crazy even to think about writing about that?

Probably.

Yes; most definitely, yes.

But, then again, sanity is overrated…or so I’ve heard.

Back when I began #writing seriously, I had been taking creative writing classes and even did a one-on-one independent study with my English professor. This is the first time that I finished a young adult novel. I liked my finished book, but I felt there was another story I needed to tell.

I tried different ideas out, outlined, free-formed it, scribbled on napkins and in journals, but nothing felt quite right. I had heard the phrase, “write what you know,” but it didn’t resonate that strongly with me. However, when I heard, “Write the book you would want to read,” well, that one hit home with me.

desk one

I decided that instead of trying to write for the market or what I thought people would want to read, I would write a story that I wanted to read. I told myself this story was just an exercise for me and there was no pressure to submit it or even finish it.

You know what happened? The words began to flow. It wasn’t so much about form and structure as it was about enjoying the process again. I’d soon learn that the writing reflected that.

A few months later, I had heard somewhat late about a writing conference that gave writers the opportunity to sign up for a critique. Since it was first-come, first-served, I had been waitlisted.

However, when I arrived at the conference, I saw that I had a spot in the critique queue. I asked the woman behind the counter how was it that I suddenly had a critique time assigned? I’m not saying she winked or anything, but she told me “they had found a spot” for me.

I didn’t question anything. I just said, “Thank you!” and I went to my appointment.

I went in, anxious and about to throw up. Those of you who have read any of my Landry’s True Colors Series or remember the scene in Next Door to a Star with Hadley getting ready for her first day of 10th grade, are now thinking, “Oh, that’s where Landry/Hadley gets her feel-the-fear-but–do-it-anyway bit from.”

The editor went through the chapter with me and then she came to the part in which my character has been left out by her two best friends and has to get up and walk across the room and ask another group of girls if she can join them. The editor looked at me and said: “My heart was in my throat as I wondered: would these new girls accept her? Would they let her sit with them?”

As she told me how she felt emotionally connected with the character, it hit me–—that moment I had written about was based on my own feelings. Way back in middle school, I had done that incredibly long walk in the cafeteria to another table to see if someone would let me in their group after my own crew had stopped talking to me for a day. (Who knows why, and, at the time, it seemed catastrophic to me.) That awkward, uncomfortable memory that I wasn’t even sure I should write about had brought up something in this woman who was reading it for the first time.

It was then that I realized that writing honestly about my character’s (and my) vulnerabilities was the only way to bring truth and authenticity to my stories. The fact that this person was so interested in this story’s world made me realize that I had something that someone wanted to read.

desk two
Krysten’s Writing Area

I found out that when I focused on the story I needed to tell and had written from a different place inside of me, that all brought my book to life. It made me realize the importance of writing what is in your heart–—the story only you can tell.


Krysten’s new release!

NEXT DOOR TO A STAR
by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Audience: Young Adult
Realistic Fiction

★ SYNOPSIS ★

Hadley Daniels is tired of feeling invisible.

After Hadley’s best friend moves away and she gets on the bad side of some girls at school, she goes to spend the summer with her grandparents in the Lake Michigan resort town of Grand Haven. Her next-door-neighbor is none other than teen TV star, Simone Hendrickson, who is everything Hadley longs to be–—pretty, popular, and famous—–and she’s thrilled when Simone treats her like a friend.

Being popular is a lot harder than it looks.

It’s fun and flattering when Simone includes her in her circle, though Hadley is puzzled about why her new friend refuses to discuss her former Hollywood life. Caught up with Simone, Hadley finds herself ignoring her quiet, steadfast friend, Charlotte.

To make things even more complicated, along comes Nick Jenkins…

He’s sweet and good-looking, and Hadley can be herself around him without all the fake drama. However, the mean girls have other ideas and they fill Nick’s head with lies about Hadley, sending him running back to his ex-girlfriend and leaving Hadley heartbroken.

So, when her parents decide to relocate to Grand Haven, Hadley hopes things will change when school starts…only to be disappointed once again.

Cliques. Back-stabbing. Love gone bad.

Is this really what it’s like to live…Next Door To A Star?

Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnLXsu2c43k

Next Door to a Star
NextDoor Cover

Excerpt from Next Door to a Star:

The school year should end right after spring break, because all anyone can focus on is summer vacation. You can’t learn anything new because all you can think about is all the fun stuff you’re going to do once you don’t have to get up at the butt crack of dawn. Summer always seems full of possibilities.

Nothing exciting ever happens during the school year, but maybe, during summer vacation, you could run into a hot celebrity and he’d decide to put you in his next music video. Okay, it wasn’t like I knew anybody that happened to, but my grandparents did live next door to a former TV star, Simone Hendrickson, and Simone was discovered in an ice cream parlor one summer. Of course, she lived in L.A. at the time and was already doing plays and commercials, so the guy who discovered her had already seen her perform. But hey, it was summer, she got discovered, and that was all that mattered.
Amazing stuff didn’t happen to me.

You know what happened to me last summer? I stepped on a bee and had to go to the emergency room. They’re not going to make an E! True Hollywood Story out of my life. I didn’t go on exotic vacations—–like today, I was being dragged along with my parents to my cousin’s graduation party. Most people waited until at least the end of May before having a grad party, but Charisma was having hers early because she was leaving on a trip to Spain.

I was dreading this party because I didn’t want to listen to everybody talk about how smart and talented Charisma was–—making me feel like a blob in comparison—–but my mom RSVP’d even though I said I’d rather die than go. My death threats meant nothing.

But still, for some strange reason, I had a feeling this summer was going to be different.

About Krysten

Krysten Lindsay Hager
(author photo courtesy of Shannon DiGiacomo)

Krysten Lindsay Hager is an obsessive reader and has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and humor essayist, and writes for teens, tweens, and adults. She is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series and her work has been featured in USA Today and named as Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values and Virtues Fiction and Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. She’s originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and southwestern Ohio. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Connect with Krysten Lindsay Hager

Website: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/krystenlindsay
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHagerAuthor
Twitter: @KrystenLindsay
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8298036.Krysten_Lindsay_Hager
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/e/B00L2JC9P2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Book trailer for Landry’s True Colors Series provided by Videos by O.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFp2fPFbvTQ&feature=youtu.be

Buy links:
Amazon USA: http://www.amazon.com/Next-Door-Krysten-Lindsay-Hager-ebook/dp/B0149HTAK0
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Next-Door-Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/dp/1680582690
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/next-door-to-a-star-krysten-lindsay-hager/1122588304?ean=9781680582697
Nook UK: http://www.nook.com/gb/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&%5Bs%5Dkeyword=krysten+lindsay+hager
Books-a-million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Next-Door-Star/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/9781680582697?id=6130980443153
itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/author/krysten-lindsay-hager/id890673226?mt=11
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/search?query=Krysten%20Lindsay%20Hager&fcsearchfield=Author&fclanguages=all

If you enjoyed this post, please comment/like it here AND go visit Krysten’s sites.


Krysten Lindsay Hager was my guest on Episode 15 of CHANGES conversations between authors. Watch conversations with my previous CHANGES guests any time:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbfKicwk4dFdeVSAY1tfhtjaEY_clmfq

Learn more about and get yourself or recommend someone to be scheduled as a guest:    https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/


Want to be a guest blogger on my site? Visit my “Guest Bloggers Hall of Fame” to review other guest posts and read my guidelines. Then, contact me if you’re interested: http://www.sallyember.com/guest-bloggers-hall-of-fame/

“Family-Friendly” is a Thin Disguise for Discrimination: They are on the Wrong Side of History

“Family-Friendly” is a Thin Disguise for Discrimination:
They are on the Wrong Side of History

Who else is on the “wrong side of history” regarding expressions of and legal sanctions toward and behaviors sourced by prejudice, bias, discrimination, hatred against ethnic, racial, religious, gender and other social identity groups?

Adolph Hitler. Austria and Germany. George Wallace. Richard Nixon. Phyllis Schlafly. Anita Bryant. The United States of America. Several Catholic Popes. Margaret Thatcher. Great Britain. Mao Tse Tung. China.

The list is, unfortunately, endless, if we keep going into history and across the globe. Humans seem to have an unlimited ability to be irrational and small-minded.

Fortunately, we do learn. We do grow. Some more slowly than others, as we see all too often, but change we do. One of the main ways people change is through exposure, a personal “eye-opening” moment that educates them (“leads them out”) away from their irrationality and biases.

The other way is through enforcement, such as the enlightened few and the majority collaborating to change the laws that require citizens to change behaviors accordingly. When behaviors change, minds can follow: not always, and not completely, as we see with the laws of integration and other civil rights for Blacks in the USA NOT eliminating racial biases and racism, but these are certainly steps in the right direction.

The current social and political landscapes—right here, right now—are changing rapidly with respect to fairness, acceptance and legal rights for those with all sexual orientations and gender identities exactly as they did with racial intolerance in the 1960s.

As usual, some are being dragged, kicking and screaming, into this new way of being. They are simply not keeping up, are they? Laws often get “ahead” of some people’s mindsets. AREN’T WE LUCKY? The haters may keep on hating, but they have no legal, moral or individual “right” to impose their “opinions” any longer.

Some definitions, for those unclear on these concepts:

3definitions
from: http://littlelaughter.wordpress.com

bias-prejudice-discrimination-5-638
from http://pt.slideshare.net

Current circumstances:
I am an author who publicly proclaims myself a feminist. Anyone who knows me or reads me online or reads my books also knows I am Buddhist, Jewish, and bisexual, and I am vocally an anti-discrimination, anti-oppression activist.

I am also a reader who occasionally does reviews. Therefore, I do agree that each reviewer has the right to refuse to review any book we do not want to review. We do not have to give reasons, either.

However, I do not agree with the opinions, prejudices and biases this reviewer expresses when she gives some (but not all) of her reasons for discontinuing her reading of and refusing to review my book.

In fact, when we allow such actions to be fueled in these ways, not commenting, not confronting, we are aiding and abetting the institutional oppression rampant in literary circles. “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” is never truer than in these circumstances.

Some would say that she would have been off not saying anything, but since she did, here we are.

Read below and comment, please! http://www.sallyember.com/blog

After finding me on a reviews-seeking site, this reviewer emailed me, saying that she wanted to review all three books in The Spanners Series. She wrote a few days later, saying she had started and was liking my first book.

Then, the next day, this potential reviewer sent me this email:

From: xxx

I will not be able to review your books. I have just come to a part that is [sic] conflict with my site. I have a family friendly blog and your book contains content that my readers would find offensive. It would also put at risk some of my advertising spots on my site that demand only family friendly content.

I understand that you were just trying to get across the point about non-discrimination but your content concerning sexual affiliation will not work with my site.

Best of luck to you,

xxx

“Hi, xxx,

“I have no idea what you mean by ‘not family-friendly’ or ‘offensive,’ since my books are accepted by ‘[Facebook authors’ group],’ a strict group on Facebook which promises readers fiction that won’t make them recoil. For example, I use no swear words stronger than ‘damn’ or ‘shit,’ there are no explicit sex scenes, no gratuitous or obvious violence, and no traumatic scenes in my books: they are PG-13.

“If you are objecting to any mention of or acceptance of alternative sexual orientations and gender identities to heterosexual or straight people or cis-gender people, if that would be something you or your followers find ‘offensive,’ then, please: DO NOT READ MY BOOKS.

“And, by the way, discrimination, bias and prejudice are NOT ‘family-friendly’ to any families I would want to be connected with, ever. Use of that terminology to describe what you are perhaps claiming is absurd.

“Since more than 10% of every population of humans on this planet are actually gay, lesbian or bisexual and at least 5% are transgendered, whose families are you ‘protecting’?

“If what I am assuming, in fact, are your positions, I find your views to be extremely offensive, and so would most of the rest of the world, at this point in time. Marriage equality and sexual identity acceptance are legal in many countries, including this one, and discrimination is NOT.

“I welcome you and your readers into the 21st century any time you’re ready to come.

“If I have misunderstood, I apologize. Please explain. I would welcome your further description of what, exactly, is ‘in conflict with’ your site and specifics as to your presumptions about your advertisers’ objections to the content of my books.”

Sally

She responded:

From: xxx

What is offensive is that you mention any sexual affiliation at all. I would not blurt out in a book that I was heterosexual. I would not refer to sex at all. It is irrelevant and has no place in a family friendly book. You can have any sexual orientation you want and that is your business but I don’t have to and will not promote it on my site. The fact that you felt you needed to make a political statement with your book is your business but I won’t be a part of it.

As I said Good Luck to you but I will not be doing this review.

xxx

Curious as what others who might be “in her camp” would say, I posted our email exchange on the group site I am part of, the one I mentioned, above, and asked for opinions.

I received the following anonymized responses (I didn’t include them all; some are repetitive or off-topic).

Then, I wrote a few responses, below.
Why do I bother? Because Education.

stop_prejudice_now_prop_watermark
from: http://teachersteachfromtheheart.blogspot.com

“Need[ Facebook Group members]’ opinions, please! Just had this exchange with a potential reviewer and I’m burning mad. (She approached me, BTW, asking to review my books via a [reviews-seeking/reviewers-finding site] last week!).

“She emailed me this earlier today…” (same as above, posted)

FB group’s responses:

From AAA:
“She has the right to her viewpoint, and I don’t think she should be dressed down, scolded, or insulted for it. I thought your words were rather condescending and insulting.

“OTOH, she should have done her research first before approaching you, and rather than try to take YOU to task for what she didn’t agree with in your books, she should have just politely said ‘sorry, I was wrong, it’s not going to work out this time.'”

From BBB:
“The old saying I’ve tried to remember is not to lower oneself to another’s level in order to argue or debate. It’s not ever worth it.”

From CCC:
“It’s her site, she can do as she wishes, just as you are able to write about anything you want to. This enters into the forbidden realm of writers who snap at reviewers for not liking what they wrote. She didn’t give you a bad review on her site, which she could have. She simply declined to review at all. It could have gone a LOT worse for you.”

From DDD:
“Sally, I totally get where you’re coming from, having experienced this kind of reaction (my books include gay characters who are treated as normal people). I’m living vicariously through your email because I’ve wished I could say something like that to reviewers who’ve one-started me because of it. smile emoticon But I’m inclined to agree that it’s better to steer clear of these rhetorical boondoggles. I’d just let this go and get on with writing. Your audience is out there, but it’s not this lady or her blog followers.”

From EEE:
“It’s her site. She is entitled to her opinion and the way she manages her site. We have our rules here, but IMHO, even shit and damn are not family friendly. She was polite. I’m sorry that you were not.”

From FFF:
“I have to say also, the reviewer could have gone ahead with her review, as she’d promised you one. She could have been completely open and honest about her opinion, and put it on her public site.
“Instead, when she saw it was something that she didn’t believe she could endorse, she privately messaged you, letting you know that she’d have to back out.
“This was gracious of her to do.
“So to be treated badly was not something that I feel she deserved.”

From GGG:
“PG-13 does not constitute ‘family-friendly’ in my mind. I have a 9, 7 and 4 year old, and I don’t even let them watch most PG movies.”

From HHH:
“Unfortunately, I have to agree with what many others here have commented. In addition, I have to point out that you ASSUMED her problem with your book was the fact that there are gay characters. She simply wrote that she came ‘to a part’ that conflicted with her site. The thing that may have bothered her could’ve been profanity, or whatever else is in your book. It can be dangerous to reprimand someone for their stance – especially since she could always turn around and decide to write a poor review, or even one-star your book.

“On a personal note, I write both Christian AND secular stories (things that would give Junot Diaz a run for his money in the department of shock value). So I can honestly say that even the words you listed are not ‘family friendly,’ meaning appropriate for all ages. As far as homosexuality is concerned, I have a #LiveAndLetLive philosophy on life. That means that I do not judge someone else for their lifestyle choice. However, that doesn’t mean I want my six year old reading about it. Again, it’s a subject not necessarily appropriate for all ages.”

From Me:
to HHH: “She came right out and stated what her concerns were. I didn’t assume what she objected to at all. I assumed her reasons, because she did not state them. Also, I did not expect any 6-year-olds to read this book; it’s way too complicated and sophisticated. PG-13 is the rating i always state. Thanks for your comments, though.”

From JJJ:
“Wow. And she was so polite…”

From Me:
“Since when are expressions of bias, prejudice and discrimination ‘polite’??? If her objections were obviously about my having Jewish or Black characters, would you be defending her ‘family-friendly’ smokescreen???”

From JJJ:
“She made her reasons for choosing not to include your work on her site clear to you in a very polite manner. Tolerance works both ways.”

From Me:
“To JJJ and others here: I appreciate all your comments, but for some of you, I am disappointed. SOME don’t seem to know the difference between being ‘impolite’ and being against someone else’s being discriminatory, Number 1.

“Number 2, it is not the job of those who are not being tolerated to return such intolerance with tolerance. I was not ‘impolite’ to her: I was direct and I expressed my thoughts and feelings. I did not call her names, I did not insult her.

“Remember: she VOLUNTEERED to read my books and had already sent me an email prior to this saying how much she was enjoying the first one. Then, she came to a part she didn’t ‘tolerate,’ which she and her groups, of which some of you are obviously members, seem to think it’s just fine to insult and demean. That is plain wrong. She doesn’t have to like it. She could have just said “It’s not for me” and DNF or not even written me. But, she chose to ‘explain.’

“Those who are not heterosexual or cis-gender do not deserve to be treated as if we are threats, are wrong to be ‘this way,’ or by our very existence, are ‘problems’ for ‘families.’ We ARE in families!

“I will defend to my dying day the right of all who are discriminated against to object strenuously to such discrimination, wherever it appears, however ‘nicely’ it is phrased.

“Maybe some of you are too young or didn’t have these experiences, but I grew up in Missouri under Jim Crow laws. I grew up with signs on stores and country clubs that said : ‘No Dogs, No Jews, No Niggers Allowed.’ Should I have greeted those racists with ‘tolerance’????? I am a Jewish, female bisexual. Our country is in the exact same place now with LGBT rights and biases as it was then with Jews and Blacks.

“Remember when women weren’t treated as ‘humans,’ weren’t allowed to vote, sit with men, drive, own property? Would you all be so ‘tolerant’ if she had said her ‘family-friendly’ group doesn’t want to read books with autonomous female characters, that all women be subservient to their families’ males to be considered ‘family-friendly’? Whoever doesn’t see the connections, here, I’m sad for all of you.”

From JJJ:
“Comments about the relative politeness of exchanges of views are not an automatic acceptance of intolerance or prejudice. In fact they are no comment at all about the relative merits of the content of the exchange – just the manner in which comments have been delivered.”

From Me:
“Thanks for all of your ideas, comments, and responses, here. Group. I am sorry that some of you still believe that strongly worded disagreement is ‘impolite,’ but we’re going to have to agree to disagree, there. Best to you all.”

hate-crimes-305
from: http://www.calgary.ca

Okay, Followers/Readers and Other Peeps: Weigh in! What do you believe/do?

Please leave comments on this blog! Thanks! Best to you all!

1) Should we authors all just “be polite” when confronted with reviewers’ prejudices?

2) Should we authors “be silent” when potential or actual reviewers express their biases and refuse to “serve” us at the “review” lunch counter because our books or characters don’t meet with their “approval” (don’t have a right to exist)?

3) Is it incumbent upon us all not to allow any reviewer to give or imply that their personal, political, religious or other biases as/are sufficient “reasons” for refusing to review a book? Or, do you recommend letting that go unchallenged?

4) Does simply having LGBT characters make a book “unfriendly” to “families” and/or inappropriate for youth?

“Trust the Process,” Guest Post by Krysten Lindsay Hager 

I am excited to host today’s post from another previous CHANGES conversations between authors’ guest (Episode 15; see below for links), blogger and author, Krysten Lindsay Hager

“Trust the Process”

Years ago, whenever I’d go to writing conferences, workshops, or critique groups, there was always one particular type of writer that showed up and made me feel anxious. I would wonder what I was doing with my life and/or career. It wasn’t that this person’s success made me question my work; they’d say something that seemed to imply that if we were not getting our work published, then we didn’t count as “real writers.”

I joined a critique group a few years ago that got me back into enjoying the very act of writing again. I found that having regular meetings was keeping me accountable and I enjoyed getting constructive criticism and feedback. I also appreciated talking about the story with people who were on the journey with me and my characters.

Then, another person came along with the constant talk about all the agents and editors they had met and often dismissing anything that wasn’t “hot” in the industry at the moment. I’ll never forget the day I brought a chapter of my young adult novel to read and I was excited to share it, but right before I went to read, this person declared that no agent or editor would ever be interested in my novel because it was written in first person. Her tone very dismissive, as if I shouldn’t even bother. I sat there feeling so small. I went on to read, but even I could hear the insecurity in my voice. I sounded like a little kid who had been reprimanded.

I went home that night and started to think about my story, how writing it and editing it had brought me so much joy. I had begun to rewrite that novel during a difficult time for me. I had gotten sick and was dealing with a whole new way of life. That story had brought me back, so to speak.

It hit me that the point of the writing process for me hadn’t been whether or not this piece got published, but the enjoyment I got from writing and working on it and sharing it with other people who enjoyed it as well. As I folded laundry that night (doing laundry is my stress reliever), I realized that there was more to writing than just getting to what some called the final destination—-publication. It was about the journey for me.

So, a few weeks later, I returned to the group, determined not to let this person into my head. They again put out little comments about how I shouldn’t bother with a first-person narrative, but this time I took it as an opinion and not the final word.

That night, I started reading a book called The Creative Call, which talks a lot about how it’s not about what the work can do for you or getting it published, but what the work can do for others. Reading that took the pressure off.

However, when I mentioned this very thing to my writing group a few weeks later, some of them weren’t receptive to it. A few of them had publication as their only goal. That’s fine, but for me, this was what I choose to believe: that I would do the work and leave the outcome (and my ego) out of what would make this story successful in my eyes. Even if the book were never published, I felt that writing, finishing, sharing and enjoying it would be enough for me.

A week after I finished reading The Creative Call, I realized that maybe I should send out my young adult novel, True Colors, to see if it would be something that might help teens dealing with the similar self-esteem/self-image and other young teen issues that my character faces. I knew that trying to navigate through upper elementary and middle school while attempting to fit in as well as dealing with frenemies and mean girls would resonate with many readers. I submitted the story.

True Colors Krysten

In less than two months, I got a contract for the book. I remember sitting at my computer staring at that acceptance email and I felt a calmness come over me. It felt as if a weight had been lifted. I guess I had always assumed I’d be dancing around the room, but it was more like a confirmation that writing was the right path for me. I knew that I was supposed to share my novel. Receiving the contract and knowing that the book (my first book in the Landry’s True Colors Series) was going to be published ended up not being about me at all, but more about what I could share with others.

The books I have written as part of this series are the ones I would have wanted to read at that age. The first one was now going out there into the world, which said to me that maybe there kids out there who need to read about these issues.

A lot of people go into writing wanting fame, money, etc., but I think that takes away from the purpose of writing a book. It’s not what you can get out of it, it’s what you can give back. For me, it has been about those messages and comments I’ve gotten from people who say that, when they see my character, Landry, and her insecurities and worries, they feel less alone in what they are going through. When I heard about a teen who had been upset about dealing with being left out by people she had called “best friends,” then she had read my book and gotten perspective on the situation, well, that made me happier than I was the day I signed that first contract. It made me feel that I had a purpose.

Sure, it took me a while to get to a place where I saw the benefits of enjoying the journey and not focusing on the end goal or numbers. However, it has been so gratifying to appreciate the writing process more fully and to feel connected to my greater purpose.

About Krysten:

Krysten Lindsay Hager
(author photo courtesy of Shannon DiGiacomo)

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. She is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series. Originally from Michigan, Krysten has lived in Portugal and South Dakota; she currently resides in Southern Ohio, where you can find her reading and writing, when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Connect with Krysten Lindsay Hager:
Website: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/krystenlindsay
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHagerAuthor
Twitter: @KrystenLindsay
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8298036.Krysten_Lindsay_Hager
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/e/B00L2JC9P2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Book trailer provided by Videos by O.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFp2fPFbvTQ&feature=youtu.be

If you enjoyed this post, please comment/like it here AND go visit Krysten’s sites.

Here is the cover of Best Friends Forever, Book Two in her Landry’s True Colors Series:

BestFriendsForever Krysten 2


Krysten Lindsay Hager was my guest on Episode 15 of CHANGES conversations between authors. Watch conversations with my previous CHANGES guests any time:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbfKicwk4dFdeVSAY1tfhtjaEY_clmfq

Learn more about and get yourself or recommend someone to be scheduled as a guest:    https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/


Want to be a guest blogger on my site? Visit my “Guest Bloggers Hall of Fame” to review other guest posts, read my guidelines and then contact me if you’re interested: http://www.sallyember.com/guest-bloggers-hall-of-fame/

First-Year Ebooks Author Stats: Sally Ember, Ed.D., and The Spanners Series

First-Year Ebooks Author Stats: Sally Ember, Ed.D., and The Spanners Series

Just completed my first full year (plus 11 days) as a published sci-fi/ romance ebooks author (2 pubs, Vol I, 12/19/13; Vol II, 6/9/14) in the 10-book The Spanners Series, on Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, nook and Kobo (and Smashwords’ affiliates).

Thanks to all my readers, fans, followers, reviewers and downloaders as well as friends, family and connections in the global authors and readers communities!

Overall Stats, 12/31/13 – 12/31/14:
AZ Author Rank, overall: 182,741 – 468,671
AZ Kindle ebooks, all Combined Rank: 295,000 – 313,420
AZ Sci-fi/Fantasy ebooks Combined Rank: 23,167 – 25,127
AZ Sci-fi ebooks Combined Rank: 11,687 – 12,645
AZ Romance ebooks Combined Rank: 27,206 – 29,043

Sales Ranks and Stats:
Vol I, This Changes Everything (released 12/19/13; permafree since April 1, 2014)

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

figures for 12/20/13 – 12/31/14
Total Paid Sales: 85
Total Free Downloads: over 1,100 (figures for free DL not available from all sites)
AZ Sales Rank: 129,665 – 12,539
iBooks: unrated rank (not enough sales)
nook: 481,550 – 471,792
Kobo: 1,429 – 8,732

AZ Actual Sales: 61
AZ Free Downloads: 940
Smashwords Sales: 4
Smashwords Free DL: 45
iBooks Sales: 6
iBooks Free DL: 85
Kobo Sales: 13
Kobo Free DL: 60
Nook Sales: 1
Nook Free DL: 8

Vol II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever ($3.99, released 6/9/14)

final cover print

figures for 6/30/14 – 12/31/14 only
Total Paid Sales: 10
AZ Sales Rank: 480,464-1,559,867
iBooks: unrated rank (not enough sales)
nook: unrated rank (not enough sales)
Kobo Sales Rank: 4,836 – 5,223
AZ Sales: 6
Smashwords Sales: 3
Smashwords Free DL: 12
iBooks Sales: 0
Kobo Sales: 1
Nook Sales: 0

ALWAYS appreciating REVIEWERS for both/any Volumes, especially Volume II/the newest.
Ebooks free to reviewers in any ereader format via coupon on Smashwords.
Contact: sallyemberATyahooDOTcom

Look for Vol III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, and
Vol IV, Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude, in 2015!

Thanks to my amazing cover artist for The Spanners Series, Aidana Willowraven

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