birthday memories · Life experiences · Writer · YA Author

Pierced Ears, Blue Shoes, and a Punch to the Gut

It’s Lakewater Press’s 2nd birthday, so to help celebrate my awesome publisher’s big day, we have been asked to share our favorite birthday memories.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m naked without my earrings.  And I’m not a studs girl. What’s the point of wearing something you can barely see? I’m a “the bigger the better” hoops girl.

hoop earrings

So my most memorable birthday is my 14th, the day I anticipated from the time I was little—the day I could join the throng of girls with pierced ears.  In my eyes, earrings were a symbol of maturity, beauty, and a little defiance too. Putting holes in one’s body was still considered taboo to many people, a downright sin to others. But I didn’t care what other people thought, this was my right-of-passage to endless ear fashion, and I couldn’t wait.

Lucky for me, my 14th birthday fell on a weekday, so Mom took me to the mall the weekend before to indulge in some early birthday shopping and to receive the present I had waited for my whole life. Not only was I getting my ears pierced, the coveted act was happening four days early. The anticipation I felt while I sat in the chair, waiting for “the gun”  piercing gunto shoot a piercing stud through my lobes, rivaled any Christmas morning. I was gonna rock those earrings, right along with my 80s hair and Levi’s 501, buttonfly jeans. Life was good.

Waltzing in the door to my home, I never felt prettier. I had on new blue flats, just like my older sister’s, a new outfit in a bag, and bling in my earlobes. I tucked my hair behind my ears, strode up the stairs to the upper level, and was met by a glaring sister. She took one look at my shoes and punched me in the gut.

punched in the gut

“Get those off,” she cried. “I never gave you permission to wear my shoes.”

With tears streaming down my cheeks, I clutched my stomach and yelled that these were my shoes, just bought for my birthday.

She took one look at my ears and glared. “Well that’s what you get for getting your ears pierced early.”

I don’t remember if she got into trouble, but she definitely felt justice was served. The pain was worth it. I had joined the ranks of women all over the world who donned glorious earrings. My life would forever be changed, my lobes forever decorated in metallic glory.birthday cake

 

 

Happy birthday to me! And a very special happy birthday to Lakewater Press!

 

 

Rebecca Carpenter

Author of the award winning YA, Butterfly Bones

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Happiness · Life experiences · Writer · YA Author · YA Book · YA contemporary science fiction · young adult · young adult novel

My First Year as a Traditionally Published Author

A First-Time Published Author’s Year-in-Review

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November. One year ago my young adult contemporary science fiction, Butterfly Bones, was released to the world. It was one of the highlights of my life. I had worked toward the goal of becoming a traditionally published author, as well as revised and perfected my book, for five years. The rush that followed was a tidal wave of adrenaline and pure happiness. I had an amazing launch party at our local botanical gardens and butterfly house. A few days later I sat in Barnes & Noble for a book signing. The sky was the limit.

But then another book signing fell through—and then a date to speak with teens at a local school library was canceled. Nothing my fault. Just a conflict of schedules. My hopes weren’t crushed. I had many more opportunities to look into. But between my sixty-hour-a-week day job and the reality that due to state regulations I have to be in my classroom at all times, my opportunities dwindled—right along with my spirit.

That’s okay. I can move to social media. I can turn this around.

In came a wonderful publicist to help, hired by the press that signed me. The woman had wonderful, proven ideas: blog monthly; set up a newsletter for followers; interact on Face Book, Twitter, and Instagram; Look for any opportunities to swap blogs with other writers and do promotional giveaways; Enter my book into contests; Set up an Amazon author profile, as well as one on Goodreads; Interact with people on those sites; Create an author brand; The list went on and on.

At first I tried to do it all. I busted my butt as much as I possibly could, even having the publicist comment several times what a great job I was doing, but I couldn’t keep up with everything, and slowly, little by little, I gave up on everything. I was a failure. And with that failure came depression—the worst I’ve ever experienced in my life.

But that’s not the worst of it.

Not only do I work 60 hours a week, I also work part time as a copy editor and do the final edits on all books coming through the press, and I was writing my second book in the series. On top of that, I have a spouse who is in poor health and can’t be left alone for long periods of time. But that’s still not the worst of it.

In my drive to sell myself and my book, I became bitter and cold—pushing aside my husband, my children, and my beautiful grandchildren—all because I was “too busy.”

The depression settled even deeper. I found myself in a black hole, choking, sputtering for any semblance of a life—of happiness. I no longer liked who I was. Even my husband said I had changed.

And he was right.

At rock bottom, I determined the only way to find myself again was to step back from everything and reevaluate my life goals, separating the things of most value from those of least importance. It was during this process that I was slapped across the face with a “Ghandi” moment: I’m the hero of my own story. I determine my own happiness.

With this newfound outlook, I created a plot twist. I put my family where they need to be—first. I lessened the amount of copyediting jobs that I’m taking on each month, and I try not to feel guilty about turning down opportunities if they aren’t right for me and my family.  I still have a long way to go with marketing myself, but I decided in order for me to move forward without becoming “overwhelmed” again, I’m going to take one thing at a time.  And I’m not going to punish myself for what I can’t do.

The most important thing an author can do to sell more books, is write more books. So that’s my focus. The rest will fall into place.

So have I had a stellar year of book sales, and did I become a famous author? Not even close. But I did find myself along the road, tattered and beaten, and I pulled myself up, brushed myself off, and now I’m moving in the right direction. The journey might be slow, the path difficult, but it’s my journey—my story.  Baby steps. And I’m totally fine with that. #writer #writerslife #sundayblog #amwriting #yalit

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Life experiences · Writer · YA Author · YA Book · YA contemporary science fiction · young adult · young adult novel

New Year’s Resolutions and Other Stupid Ideas

Everywhere I look, people are blogging and posting about their New Year’s resolutions and goals. Through some unforeseen alien force, even I was sucked into the Twitterverse and brainwashed into tweeting my 2017 writing goals. And I must admit—it looks super sparkly all typed out and pretty like that. But overall, my general feelers about making New Year’s resos are… blah, blah, blah.  Not because I think it’s stupid, but because I know me.

I make ‘em.img_4478

I break ‘em.

Every. Dang. Time.

I  have good intentions—I want to accomplish my goals—but life always gets in the way. And life can be stupid.

Whoever said being an adult is awesome should be shot.

No matter how much I juggle or rearrange responsibilities, or cut out sleep, there just isn’t enough time in the day. And in the next few weeks I’ll be adding more to my overflowing plate of responsibilities–a  college class (maybe I’m the stupid one).

So why make New Year’s resos?

Why set myself up to fail?

Because setting goals isn’t stupid, it’s a worthy investment in myself and helps me to focus on priorities. Regardless of whether or not I meet the goals—at least I’m trying. And honestly, sometimes the process is more important than the product—the journey than the destination. Because whether or not I reach that “big pot of goal” at the end of the rainbow, I’m developing habits along the way which will last a lifetime.

Maybe I won’t finish a book this year (don’t worry Butterfly Bones readers, it’s just an analogy). But If I’m writing daily, whether ten words or ten thousand,  I’m honing my skills, practicing craft, becoming a stronger writer, and I will eventually complete the story.

So will I meet all my goals for 2017?

Probably not. But I sure the heck am going to enjoy the journey.

So buckle up, 2017. Let’s go for a ride!

Butterfly Bones, available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

Author Page for Rebecca Carpenter

 

My Books

Life experiences

Bullying Stories

How often do we see bullying and aren’t sure what to do? It happens every day. We write it off as not our problem or not our business. Or maybe, like in the following example, the bullying takes care of itself–until the next time.

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So what’s missing in this interaction? Respect. To gain respect, one must first give respect.  Bullies respect no one. That’s why they put down others–to make themselves feel better. The best teachers are those who see their students as equals–an equal opportunity for learning both ways–thus the teacher becomes the student and the student the teacher. It’s a beautiful exchange.

Respect. Give it. Get it.

Stop bullying. Start respecting.

 

Life experiences

Bullying Stories

School. A place where we send our children for an education. But are they receiving a “social” education beyond social studies? According to Stopbullying.gov.org, most bullying takes place in school, on school grounds, and on the school bus. img_4779

Here’s one mom’s story of advice she gave to her daughter in regards to being bullied and how to deal with it.

 

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Life experiences · Uncategorized

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

To bring awareness to the problem that is bullying, I have decided to post stories of bullying from anyone who’d like to share their experience, offer advice, or just join with us in an effort to end bullying.

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As an early childhood educator, it comes down to one important word: RESPECT

This a lesson I teach to my 4 and 5 year olds–and if they can get it, anyone can.

(sung to “Respect” by Aretha Franklin)

R-E-S-P-E-C-T find out what it means to me.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T break it down what does it mean?

R is for Rainbow. We are all different, just like the colors of a rainbow. But when the colors combine, they create beauty, and even more colors.

E is for Empathy. I care about others’ feelings and how I make them feel. Is it hurtful or helpful?

S is for Sharing. If I have more than one, you can have one too.

P is for being Polite. Manners show respect.

E is for Everyone. We include everyone.

C is for Caring. Kindness begins with me.

T is for Talking. I can solve my problems by using my words.

Want bullying to stop? Then we must teach respect.

Fellow author, SM Rose, shares his #bullying story with us.

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Thank you, SM. For some, the need to feel better about themselves drives them to bring others down. Sadly this doesn’t always end with the teen years.

Be strong. Be informed. Join the movement. Stop bullying.

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Life experiences · Teen Pregnancy

Child Abuse

When I think of April, happy children engaged in Easter egg hunts surfaces. But some children won’t get to enjoy Easter this year. Why? Some will be lying in the hospital recovering from their injuries. Those are the lucky ones. Others will be laid to rest, in small coffins, never to enjoy another Easter. Sobers the mood, doesn’t it? So why this depressing post? April is child Abuse Prevention Month.

“The results in poor choices in a boyfriend or spouse often lead to physical abuse and even death of a child.

The odds of abuse are a staggering 33 times higher if a child’s mother has a live-in boyfriend. The child’s risk of abuse is 6 times higher from a step-father. But the gravest risk for children comes from their mother’s poor choice in a partner. Boyfriends are more likely to be the perpetrators in child abuse deaths. Unrealistic expectation of the child are typically the reason for abuse. These include minor infractions such as: the baby wouldn’t stop crying; the child wet the bed; and misbehavior. In other words, normal child behavior.

The safest environment for a child to live in is one where the biological parents are married and stay married.  That isn’t my opinion, it’s a fact. Living together doesn’t change the risks. Of course not all children of teen mothers will be abused or killed, but the risk factors are dangerously high.”

Let’s keep children out of the equation! Be strong. Be informed.  Read The Total Deconstruction of Chloe WilsonThe_Total_Deconstruc_Cover_for_Kindle

http://www.cdc.gov                                                                                                                                    http://www.hhs.gov                                                                                                         http://www.childdeathreview.org