Showing posts from February, 2018

What Have You Learned About Teen Suicide?

Today I'm delighted to welcome Jane Mersky Leder to my blog. She's the author of Dead Serious: Breaking the Cycle of Teen Suicide--a book for teens, adults and educators. And she's here to explain how suicide has affected her, and what she has learned in many years of researching the topic.Thank you so much for joining us Jane, and I'll hand this over to you: Jane Mersky Lederm author of Deadly Serious I’m not a stranger to  suicide . My mother’s first cousin took her own life, but the cause of her death was listed as an “accident.” Three days before my wedding to my ex-husband, his aunt took her own life. Didn’t know whether or not to cancel the wedding. We went ahead. My brother took his life on his 30th birthday. He stuck a hunting rifle in his mouth and pulled the trigger. And so began my journey to try to understand why 44,000 Americans—more than 5,000 of them teens—decide that life is not worth living. I wrote a book about  teen suicide  in the la

How real is real?

I've just finished reading Subliminal by Leonard Mlodinow , and now I'm turned upside down. Are the decisions I make based on real analysis, or do they bubble up from a biased subconscious? Do I dream of being a writer because I'm any good, or just because I want to be one? Are any of the judgments I make about myself worthwhile, or are they all just a product of inner desires? Ah, but then he points out that none of us would persist without our subconscious prodding and praising us. Great writers would never work long or hard enough to be great. So I guess there's still hope. Meanwhile there are some truly fascinating experiments and results described in the book (some pretty depressing ones too). It's a smooth easy read, even if, like me, you're not sure you agree that every experiment was correctly analysed - don't ask me to choose which jam I prefer when two are offered me; I might like them both. Enjoy with some smooth easy-drinking three-star coffe

Why Can't She Stay?

Today I'm delighted to introduce Annette K. Larsen with an excerpt from her just-released new novel, If I Could Stay, and a great giveaway! Hi Annette. Please would you introduce yourself and your book: ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I was born in Utah, but migrated to Arizona, Missouri, and Virginia before settling in Idaho. Though I dabbled in writing throughout school, being an author seemed like an unattainable dream. It took me seven years to write my first book, Just Ella. During that time, I taught myself how to write a novel. Not the most time effective method, but it gave me an education I wouldn’t have received from a class or a how-to book. Something about the struggle of writing without a formula or rules worked for me. I write clean romance because I love it. Jane Eyre is the hero of my youth and taught me that clinging to your convictions will be hard, but will bring you more genuine happiness than giving in ever can. I love chocolate, Into the Woods, ocean waves, my hus

When did you learn to love mythology?

I had just started high school. We had to borrow books from the school library, but there were rules. We had to borrow one fiction and one non-fiction book every week. And we were meant to read them. Anyone who knows me knows I love to read. I read quickly, and I'd happily have borrowed way more than two books. But... one non-fiction book! Every week! No way! The trouble was, I really didn't enjoy reading non-fiction. Then I discovered the "mythology" shelf. I couldn't believe my good fortune. Here were all these wonderful short stories and novels, all those amazing fantastical words, all these great characters, and they weren't fiction! I was hooked. I've loved mythology ever since. And so I couldn't possibly resist when someone suggested I try reading a middle-grade novel called Minotaur, by Phillip Simpson . It's a wonderful reimagining of the familiar story, with mostly human heroes and monsters, beautifully researched history, and fascinat

Does Your World keep Spinning Round?

The library's tidy. The books can be found. And the world keeps spinning around. I'm enjoying the delight of a son's bedroom now repurposed as a home for all my books, and the benefits of last year's flood that engendered this repurposing. I'm still regretting the books I lost, and staring anxiously at bottom shelves, four inches above ground level, just hoping that will be enough if the worst comes to worst. But we have water detectors now. As long as we're home when the worst comes to worst, I shall hear a loud noise and come down to rescue my world... ...which keeps spinning around. The books on my review list for today are a very curious mix--the only thing they might have in common is that curiously spinning world... and the fact that they create their own worlds made of words... T he Nut File by John Skoyles presents an almost real world in almost a series (or sequence) of essays, very short stories (sometimes only one sentence) and ponderings, and

Corridors of Time in the City of Paradox

Today I'm delighted to introduce author Vinay Krishnan, who is touring the internet with his upcoming book, Corridors of Time, a novel set in Bangalore--city of paradox. Corridors of Time by Vinay Krishnan Blurb: Corridors of Time tracks the story of a sensitive young man who grows from carefree childhood to eventful manhood - one who stumbles before learning to stride through those dark and dense passages. Set in Bangalore - a city of paradoxes. of gardens and garbage heaps. of technology and traffic snarls. of friendly people and failing infrastructure. when bungalows had gardens and pavements were meant for pedestrians. this is a narrative of the human spirit. Rohan, an idealistic young sports lover experiences rejection, dark dejection and isolation and hurtles down the path to self destruction. Shyla, attractive and successful is everything his heart yearns for and his body desires, except, she is married! Chandrika, simple and devoted fails to understand the ma

Can a picture have a purpose?

Some picture books are for adults, some are for children, and some are for both to share. Some picture books are serious, some are just fun, and some tell a story with a message, making them both. Some picture books are black and white; others are vividly bright. Some take their pictures from photographs; others try to seem real; and still others make no pretense, adding cartoon imagination to every scene. I kind of suspect picture books should be faster to read, but it's not always true, since thinking takes time (as does laughing or crying). But pictures and picture books can certainly have purpose. I think mine do ( ), and I think some of these do too. Where did my friend go by Azmaira H Maker PhD is a bright colored picture book with photographs nicely edited to evoke the story's mood. The text is deceptively simple with just a few sentences per page. And it's a powerful conversation starter for any child afraid

What makes you you?

I wandered the aisle of the bookstore and saw books on the brain, the unconscious mind, etc; and I realized it was time to read some more non-fiction. I got the story of the Gene for Christmas. I acquired Science Held Hostage from a church book sale. And I bought Dan Eagleman's The Brain from that very aisle... which raises the question; why did I choose those books, and why did I choose to read them now? Eagleman devotes a whole chapter in the Brain to how we make choices; how the emotions have to feed into them, helping us imagine a future after each option; helping us weigh those imagined futures with feeling so we can decide. I enjoy a close relationship with someone very indecisive, so that chapter deeply intrigued me. I also have autistic relatives, so the question of why we need other people intrigued me too. And the thought that, just for a while, John Robinson knew the pains of empathy. Plus, I know I remember things differently from other members of my family - not jus

What makes a character real?

I share a love for Jan Karon's novels with my mother. We can talk about the characters as if they were real, asking each other why this and how that, and generally driving the male members of our family crazy. But what makes these characters seem so real to us? Perhaps it's the fact that we've read about them so often, seen them grow up or grow old through so many books, enjoyed their conversations with each other and remembered pithy quotes... But how does that apply to other books where the characters feel like friends (or neighbors, or enemies)? While Mum reads other well-remembered volumes, I've been reading books I've never read before, and finding myself enthralled by characters who feel just as real as the inhabitants of Mitford, if not more so. I hope the characters in my own novels have the same sense of reality. But perhaps I'll never know if I can't work out how authors create it in their own books. I'm thinking the protagonist in a memoir s