“4 Ways Music Can Enhance Your Writing”: Guest Blog Post by Dan Buri

4 Ways Music Can Enhance Your Writing

by Dan Buri

If you find your writing is becoming stale—and let’s face it, we all find our writing is stale from time to time—sit back and enjoy music. I mean that quite literally. Lean back in your writing chair, turn on a song you love, close your eyes, and enjoy the music.

Music has a way of seeping into the soul more viscerally than any other form of art. Let music inspire the words you are writing.

In my recent book, 40 Tips on Creative Writing, I provide an inspirational guide for writers aiming to write their first, second, or even twentieth book.

In any creative endeavor, we all have moments of keen inspiration and moments where our well of creativity seems all but dried up. I wrote the book because of reader requests to consolidate some of the tips and tricks I use to continue to find daily motivation in my writing.

Music is a tried-and-true way for me to find my motivation on days when I find it might be lacking. When I’m not listening to music I’ve purchased and downloaded on my devices, I gravitate toward a couple of different streaming services, including Pandora and Spotify. Here are 4 Ways Music Can Enhance Your Writing.

1. Music Taps Into Our Creative Mind-Wandering Mode.

In Daniel J. Levitin’s book, This is Your Brain on Music , he describes the brain as having two primary modes: (1) paying attention closely and (2) mind-wandering. It is believed that most creativity happens when we are in mind-wandering mode.

This shouldn’t be surprising. When do you usually stumble upon your best ideas? If you’re like me, it’s not when we are laser focused on a task, but instead, when we’re in thoughtful, unorganized contemplation. It’s during these times that our brains will connect two seemingly disparate things and a spark of creativity will occur to bridge them.

There are plenty of ways to get yourself into mind-wandering mode, but as Levitin says, “Music is one of the most exquisitely effective ways of allowing you to enter the mind-wandering mode.”

If you’re looking to inject a spark of creativity into your writing, listen to music you enjoy. You will find your mind entering a realm of creative ideas.

2. Music Increases Verbal Intelligence

In a 2011 study published by the Department of Psychology at York University, researchers found that 90% of children had a significant increase in verbal intelligence after only one month of music lessons. Sylvain Moreno proposed that there is a transfer effect that happens in our ability to understand language from music training, particularly for kids.

What writer wouldn’t like to have a better grasp of language? I know my writing could use a boost in writing and reading comprehension. The more I can increase my verbal intelligence, the better I’ll be as a writer to see the big picture and connect all the dots for my readers.

3. Music Lowers Stress

We now know that music helps to open up creative avenues in the mind, but it also lowers stress levels (just like spending time in nature does). Let’s face it: we writers find ourselves in a variety of stressful situations, like, a deadline is rapidly approaching, or we’re unable to find a journal or website to publish our latest article, or our book is not getting into the hands of readers. If it’s not one stressful encounter in our writing life, it’s another.

A large number of studies have found that listening to music that you enjoy will decrease levels of cortisol—the stress hormone—in the body. One 2002 study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that active participation in music produces a significant boost in the immune system.

Sing away, my friends!

4. Music Enhances Memory

I keep a lot of notes. In fact, my wife often gives me a hard time about the number of journals I have floating around the house at any given time. If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it. I have to jot it down so I can refer back to it later. I now know, however, that my listening to music is helping me remember things as well.

Researchers have found that listening to pleasurable music activates areas of the brain implicated in emotion and reward. They discovered that there’s a correlation between listening to music and our ability to remember or memorize things.

Want to be a smarter writer? Want to increase your vocabulary? Listen to music!

Dan Buri (@DanBuri777 on Twitter) is a trusted resource for writers to gain insight into the difficult world of indie publishing. Dan is a founding member of the Independent Writers Guild, a worldwide organization of writers and publishing professionals dedicated to promoting the interest of indie writers by encouraging public interest in, and fostering an appreciation of, quality indie literature. His website (<a href="http://www.Nothinganygood.com&quot;http://www.Nothinganygood.com<) provides quality advice for all stages of the writing process, from the brainstorming and writing process, to becoming published, to marketing your writing and reaching readers.

Dan Buri’s latest book, 40 Tips on Creative Writing, is currently available in ebook and print formats. His first collection of short fiction, Pieces Like Pottery, which has been recognized on multiple Best-Seller lists, is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption.

His nonfiction works have been distributed online and in print, in publications including Pundit Press, Tree, Summit Avenue Review, American Discovery, and TC Huddle. He is an active IP attorney in the Pacific Northwest and lives in Oregon with his wife and two young children.


Dan Buri email: danburi777@gmail.com
Blog for Indie Writers: Nothing Any Good
Books: Pieces Like Pottery and Newly Released 40 Tips on Creative Writing
Twitter: DanBuri777
Goodreads: Dan Buri

“5 Crucial Tips to Consider When Writing Erotica,” by Guest Blogger, Cassidy London

5 Crucial Tips to Consider When Writing Erotica
by Guest Blogger, Cassidy London


If you would like a copy, contact the host, Sally Ember, Ed.D.: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com with a valid email address in your email or as your return address and you will receive it as a MS Word attachment.

“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?


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!

by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Audience: Young Adult
Realistic Fiction


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.

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:

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/

An Open Letter to my Earlier Self about #Book #Reviews and #Reviewers Guest Post on The Book Cove goes LIVE today

An Open Letter to my Earlier Self about #Book #Reviews and #Reviewers Guest Post on The Book Cove goes LIVE today, 12/1/14, and is part of a series.



Check on Mondays, 11/24/14 and 12/8 and 12/15/14 for the rest of the series! http://www.thebookcove.com

An Open Letter to my Earlier Self about #Book #Reviews and #Reviewers Guest Post on The Book Cove goes LIVE today

An Open Letter to my Earlier Self about #Book #Reviews and #Reviewers Guest Post on The Book Cove goes LIVE today, 12/1/14, and is part of a series.



Check on Mondays, 11/24/14 and 12/8 and 12/15/14 for the rest of the series! http://www.thebookcove.com

5 Ways to Deal with Writer’s Block Guest Post by Samantha LaFantasie

Whether you’re deep into NaNoWriMo or your regular writing schedule, this post promises to help you KEEP GOING! Thanks, Samantha, for visiting my blog and offering these great tips! Best to you all with your writing!

5 Ways to Deal with Writer’s Block

Guest Post by Samantha LaFantasie

Yes, I’m a sufferer. I know there are some writers out there who claim they don’t experience this phenomenon, calling it something different or saying they never had it, but I’m here to bet they have. They’ve just come up with some killer ways to overcome it. So, in their mind, writer’s block isn’t an issue.

I suffer from it on an occasion (typically at about the 30K mark during NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month] and at least once for each WIP [Work-in-Progress]) and never could find that magic wand method that some writers seem to have.

I do have some pretty interesting and sometimes fun ways to combat writer’s block, though. Here are 5 ways to deal with writer’s block.

  • 1. Prompts.
    Seems like a no-brainer now, but wait until you are wading through sludge-thick block up to your belly button. Remembering this gem will be difficult. But an easy way to combat this is to keep a stack of notecards handy with your favorite Prompts on them. Having them in view helps to call on them when you need.

    Sites like: http://writingexercises.co.uk/firstlinegenerator.php,
    and even http://www.writersdigest.com/prompts
    could help get through the block.

    And don’t worry if it doesn’t fit the story at the time. The idea is to work past that block and get the creativity going again.

    I’ve heard of some authors who write these on Popsicle sticks, color coding for theme, concept, action, etc. The possibilities are endless and completely up to you.

  • 2. Books.
    I don’t just mean reading, though that has helped me out of the funk at times. I mean books that are written specifically for writer’s block.

    Some good ones are: http://www.amazon.com/The-Writers-Block-Jump-Start-Imagination/dp/0762409487
    The Writer’s Block, by Jason Rekulak

    The Writer's Block book

    and http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-prompts
    Writing Prompt Boot Camp, which is a free download from Writers Digest magazine.


    There are many good books like these.

  • 3. Apps.
    If you use the Android market, hit up the Google Play Store (for Apple, use iTunes) and do a quick search on Prompts or writers block. You’ll be surprised at how many Apps there are to help you through this wicked time. But be warned! Some of these Apps are cheap [shoddy, not just inexpensive] and not worth the time.

    If you can, go for free first, research the App, play around with it, then decide if it’s something that will help you out. Reading through some of the reviews couldn’t hurt, either.

  • 4. Story Cubes.
    I discovered these by chance during a shopping trip to Target. You can search there or go here: https://www.storycubes.com/. I use these specifically for the purpose of getting out of writer’s block. I have made easily accessible notecards with Prompts based on some of my rolls with these die.

    Story Cubes

    They are fun and creative and really do help!

  • 5. Writing Sprints.
    I belong to a group on Facebook called Word Sprinters. It’s a private group I was invited to by an author friend and use it as often as I can. Does this work? You bet! How? By forcing you to write as much as you can, as fast as you can, in stints of 20-30 minutes each. It’s not a competition so much as it is the practice of just getting the words to paper (or screen).

    Much like any other method of getting out of the block, it doesn’t matter if what you are writing actually fits into the story. You can edit that out later. The idea is to get the writing going. Eventually, you’ll discover where you need to go and the block will be cured.

    You don’t have to belong to a group to do this. You can invite a friend or challenge yourself.

I’m sure there are a dozen other ways to get through writer’s block. These are the 5 methods that I have tried and work best for me.

The important thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong way to get out of writer’s block. Find a method that works for you and use it.

Good luck and may the dreaded writer’s block never bring you down again!


samantha lafantasie

Kansas native Samantha LaFantasie spends her free time with her spouse and three kids. Writing has always been a passion of hers, forgoing all other desires to devote to this one obsession even though she often finds herself arguing with her characters through much of the process. She’s primarily a fantasy writer but often feels pulled to genres such as sci-fi, romance, and others.

Echoes of Memories v2

Samantha became a bestselling author with the Pandora Boxed Set (which includes Made to Forget: Nepherium Novella series–Part One) on both Amazon and USA Today.

Made to Forget

Samantha loves to take time to enjoy other activities such as photography and playing her favorite game of all time, Guild Wars 2.


Want more from Samantha? Keep up with her at any of her digital hangouts:

Site: http://samanthalafantasie.com
Twitter: http://bit.ly/1a3Rer3
FaceBook: http://on.fb.me/1bC27MJ

Guest Post: “Why Gender Identity? Why Now?” by Connie Dunn

I am honored and excited to continue this week of highlighting two ground-breaking children’s books in the areas of gender and sexual orientation identities (two topics dear to my heart since my doctoral research centered on them) by giving you a chance to meet another author and get to know her work: Connie Dunn is guest posting on my site, today. Welcome, Connie!

Why Gender Identity? Why Now?

by Connie Dunn

connie_dunn photo

In a world where bullying has gone online and children and youth, who act or look different, are more likely to get bullied, is it any wonder that gender identity issues cause those individuals to be at a higher risk. It is concerning and the statistics prove it….

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24. Suicide attempts by LGB (Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual) youth and questioning youth are four to six times more likely to result in injury, poisoning, or overdose that requires treatment from a doctor or nurse, compared to their straight peers. Nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives, and one quarter report having made a suicide attempt. LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.

from http://www.TheTrevorReport.com

Hate crimes continue to grow. In Oakland, CA, a teen, who identified as female, wore a skirt to school last November and another teen at the school set the skirt on fire. The teen had second and third degree burns. In Cleveland, Ohio, two trans-women (MTF or Male to Female) were killed in two different incidents, both were considered hate crimes. Hate crimes in New York, San Diego, Canada, and many other places identify gay and lesbians as the victims. The trend of increased hate crimes now show that anti-gay crimes and anti-racial crimes are about equal, according to Brian Mustanski, Ph.D. in an article published in Psychology Today (June 2013).

When I first introduced my new book When Panda Was a Boy: A Collection of Stories on Gender Identity for K-8, I was joyfully surprised that it was met with:
“This is so needed in the world!” “Where have you been?” “I wish I had this book when I was young.”

I actually was prepared for people’s negative responses over what can be a controversial topic. Instead, I have been pleasantly greeted with open arms, which definitely says a lot about how LGBTQ people of all ages are being met by the larger community. But make no mistake; this is still a “hot button” issue.

Panda- Cover

BUY HERE! http://publishwithconnie.com/whenpandawasaboyonamazon

When I first decided to write these stories, it came from my heart strings being pulled. I just couldn’t imagine anyone throwing out a child over their gender identity, whether that be trans (transgender, transsexual, or gender neutral), bisexual, gay, or lesbian. Our gender choices come from our DNA. No one wakes up one day and says, “Hmmm, I think I’ll be a ‘trans’ today.” Instead, it’s something that brews within their core being. Children as young as 2 ½ may begin showing tendencies toward the opposite gender than what their genitalia mandates. It doesn’t mean that they will ultimately be a trans. If a child is supported for who they are in all capacities, they will grow up to be who they are supposed to be.

One hurdle our society must get over is that people who are LGBTQ don’t seek it out as a rebellion; it is part of who they are. It’s in their DNA, which is not changeable. There are no choices to override DNA; it’s simply who you are just like your eye or hair color is part of who you are.

More youth and young adults are supporting trans by identifying as trans, which can be transgender, transsexual, or gender neutral. While most supporting people may be heterosexual; they also want to buck the binary system. There are many people who just don’t want to be “genderized.”

When young children begin to explore who they are between three and five years of age, sometimes as young as two-and-a-half, they explore gender. What happens is that our parents redirect us toward a stereotypical gender based on acceptable societal standards. When a little boy starts to play with dolls, a parent or other adult may say, “Boys don’t play with dolls!” So, they learn: “it’s not safe to be who I am.” These children stuff down these feelings. They don’t really go away; they just get pushed down inside of us. When a little girl wants trucks and cars, a parent will usually say, “Girls don’t play with cars and trucks, they play with dolls.”

Then, when these children go through puberty, another “who am I” comes up for them. This identity extends into gender but also includes their spiritual, religious, political, fashion, virtuous, non-virtuous, and so many other things. Gender is a huge part of who we are and what role we play in family and society. Again, these teenagers explore, but some will again be redirected to stereotypical gender roles. Once again, these youth learn: “It’s not safe to be who I am.” Maybe when these people get into their 20s, 30s, or even into midlife, they will again explore to find “who they are.”

This is also why I wrote When Panda Was a Boy. Young children explore gender, but they don’t often see themselves in storybooks unless they fit into that stereotypical role. Parents do not have the communication skills to deal with these issues, because it just isn’t discussed in most parenting circles. There are few role models in society, so my stories help parents find the right responses to support their children through their gender identity searches.

The stories in When Panda Was a Boy “are gentle stories and I approach the stories in a natural and age-appropriate way.

  • In “Amara’s Birthday Request,” Amara asks her mother for a penis. When Mom explores this with Amara, she finds out that Kamal, a boy at school, has told her that girls cannot sail a ship. Her mother assures her that she can do whatever boys can do. That’s all Amara needed to know.
  • In the story, “When Panda Was a Boy,” Lisa doesn’t want to have a tea party with Grandma, even though Grandma is wearing her fun tea party hat. Instead, Lisa wants to jump in mud puddles with Panda, her stuffed bear. When Grandma encourages the tea party, Lisa tells her that she’s all done being a girl. Lisa is very adamant about not doing any girl things. She tells her Grandma that she’s going to be a boy. Lisa finally asks Grandma if she will still love her if she’s Max or Fred. Grandma assures her that she loves Lisa even if she is Max or Fred.
  • In “Charlie Is a Girl,” we explore some of the obstacles that Christina faces in becoming Charlie. She takes charge in talking with the principal to make it all work out for her to start her school year as Charlie. She even takes a copy of the law that was passed giving her the right to be Charlie, but she finds the biggest item on the agenda was what “restroom” was Charlie going to use? They even worked that out by giving Charlie a key.

Handling things in age-appropriate ways are best, as long as that doesn’t mean stereotypical talk, such as “boys don’t dance, they play football” or “girls don’t play football, they dance.”

These types of statements may seem harmless, but what the child cannot say back to you is that he or she doesn’t feel that gender on the inside. We actually harm kids by telling them what is appropriate and what is not appropriate for their gender. Some crossover is natural. Sometimes it is a sign that there are tendencies toward being trans. Time always tells. Being supportive in this growth is just as important as helping them learn to walk or ride a bike.

When children feel guilty that they cannot be the child that you, the parent, wants them to be, they often cope with these feelings by trying to commit suicide or committing suicide. As parents, we want to help our children to become the best they can be. Why is it so hard to not see being lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender as part of who our child is? To ask them not be who they are is to reject them. Our children try, but failing in that, they move on to depression and manic depression and suicide. No one really wants that for their child.

Children who have a bad self-image, which LGBT children are prone to have, are at higher risk of being bullied. This behavior can also be fatal. A fragile child may not be strong enough to battle with a bully. Again, suicide is often what they see as their best choice, “so no one has to deal with the outcast.”

It is my hope that When Panda Was A Boy will help children in grades K-8 to feel normal about their gender choices, both in to whom they are attracted and to what gender they are inside. No matter what gender is on the outside, children as young as four or five may express their inner gender. Parents can help their children by being supportive and following their lead.

Connie Dunn is an author, speaker, and book writing coach. Her book, When Panda Was a Boy: a Collection of Stories on Gender Identity for K-8, is available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon.com (http://publishwithconnie.com/whenpandawasaboyonamazon).

Connie also teaches people to write and publish their books. You can find other information about her, her books, and courses at Publish with Connie (http://publishwithconnie.com/)

To receive a FREE Parent’s Guide: 10 Tips for Parents on Talking about Gender Identity to Your Children Sign up at: http://whenpandawasaboy.publishwithconnie.com.