Amanda Thrasher, Article, author, books, Cereal Authors, Life, Literary, Sharing, Social media, writer's life, YA

BACK TO SCHOOL – BULLIES DON’T CARE

Back to school is right around the corner; some kids have already started the new school year, while others make final preparations. Usually, it’s an exciting time, but some kids dread the thought of going back to the place they feel the most insecure or where they’re an easy target for others entertainment. Bullying comes in all forms such as verbal, physical, isolation, and bullies themselves are often hard to identify. Sometimes they’re the stranger in the shadows, others, they’re the most popular kids on campus, and sometimes they hide behind being kind and respectful. But these days any kid given the right circumstances such as being in a group egged on by their peers, hiding behind a device, can feel empowered, and  become hateful or bolder in their word choices than they normally would to others.

Social media has played a huge role over the years desensitizing kids to bullying acts that occur both physical and verbal. Behavior once considered unacceptable has slipped into the realm of socially acceptable, not only in teenage circles but often in households all across the world. Watering down meanness and turning it into humor is unsettling to me as a parent.

Outrageous name-calling or verbal onslaughts for the sake of the latest trend or lingo, can often turn conversations into subtle attacks that can cause harm and inflict damage in less than ten words. Especially if one has no idea how fragile the other person on the receiving end might be. Words and rumors causing reputations to be ruined, individuals isolated, and unfortunately, too many times we’re witnessing the unthinkable when tweens, teens, and sometimes even adults take their lives without a solid punch ever being swung. Weapon of choice these days? Phones mostly, but bullies aren’t limited to those, tablets, and the ol’ desk top still works as well. 

Teen language and lingo is so foreign to me, it changes daily, and I have two teens still at home. It often sounds like slang bombardments with laughter attached. “I hate you.” “Everyone hates you.” “No one likes you.” “Drink bleach.” “Kill my self.” And I hate this one, “Kill yourself.” “Do it!”

If questioned the standard answer is the same, “I was just kidding,” or “It’s a joke.” Alternatively, “I didn’t mean it!” But unfortunately, fragile teens will take those type of words literally to heart. It wears on them and breaks them down. One has no idea of the fragile state of mind of young teens, many who are legally medicated without others knowledge.

According to the CDC, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year. However, for every successful suicide, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Unfortunately, many of those are related to bullying. Cyberbullying is experienced on some level by many kids today. Kids are killing themselves because the bullying is torturing them and affecting them to such a degree they’d rather be dead. How disturbing is that! Again, no one can tell how the fragile state of mind is of the child on the receiving end. Disturbing.

I was inspired to write a book that addresses bullying and teens, The Greenlee Project, it’s a MCA® winner for YA and General Fiction and has been named among the best in family-friendly media, products, and services by the Mom’s Choice Awards®. It also won for YA and General Fiction at NTBF. The Greenlee Project demonstrates the effect of using social media negatively. How it affects the victim, family, friends, communities, and even the bully or bullies that are sending the damaging texts. So-called good kids, unexpectedly, become the so-called bad kids. How? Easy, one touch of a button; send!

During my research for The Greenlee Project, I observed teens on different campuses, sat at football games and in cafeterias with the teens. Visited libraries, and interviewed teens, teachers, parents, and counselors. I have teens of my own, and my house is often full of kids. But I can honestly say I was shocked about some of the things I learned during my research.

We all know that bullying has existed for years, but no one will argue today it’s a different world. Social media can put the victim on a public platform delivering the maximum amount of damage within seconds. It spreads like wildfire. 

We can’t take away nor do I suggest taking away devices. But be vigilant. Watch your teens. Bullies pick on kids of all sizes and economic status. They do not discriminate and most victims, once tweens or teens, do not openly share their feeling of being abused by other kids. If you’re looking for a book that will open up a conversation about this topic, girls, and boys, read The Greenlee Project with your teen. I gurarentee emotions will brought to the surface and a discussion will start. There are even discussion questions in the back of the book to assist with the topic. Don’t wait. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes.

Greenlee Lynn Granger is about to find out the meaning of technology used as a malicious tool: a normal teen one day, and ruined the next. Who knew a boy’s affections could turn her life into such turmoil? Becoming a designated project, a joke in front of the whole school, turns Greenlee’s life upside down. What she does next is shocking. An emotional glimpse into the reality of cyber bullying : cruel betrayal of such magnitude devastates Greenlee. Greenlee knows her choices will determine the future of her abusers. Her relationship with her family and friends strained, she’s forced to make mature decisions. Cyber bullying affects the victims and everyone who surrounds them. What a waste: what path will Greenlee, her persecutor, and family take?
We have all seen the devastating and lasting effects upon children, teens, their families, and the community as a whole, due to bullying and cyber bullying. This book sheds light on the impact that the bullying act has not only on the victim but also on the families of the victim and the bully, teachers, communities, friends and the person acting as the bully. Greenlee’s strength, courage and determination to stand up and right this grievous wrong is encouraging and inspiring. Greenlee could be any girl, anywhere, in America. And Clay Monning, a star athlete, could be any parent’s great kid. Peer pressure, bad decisions with horrific consequences, changes everything for both of them. Good kids, turned bad. How? Social media.

Reviewed by Stephen Fisher for Readers’ Favorite

The Greenlee Project by Amanda thrasher is a brilliantly written story about a selected few students who are considered to be the B.P. (Beautiful People) who truly believe that it is they who run the high school that they attend in today’s electronic society. The story begins with Greenlee Granger, a fourteen-year-old girl who is going through a huge social dilemma at school. After her father drops her off at school, instead of going inside, she decides to take a long ride on a public bus. Time doesn’t seem to exist until she finally gets let off, God knows where, in a town 20 miles away. She finally gets back to reality and calls her father to pick her up.

From here the story unfolds as you get to know her circle of friends and social status, as well as the cute new boy that just transferred to her school. Clay joins the football team because he was the star quarterback where he came from. Now he has to prove himself and make the team. When it comes time for him to be initiated, he is allowed to decide the ritual, and sets out to make it a memorable one, so he proposes “The Greenlee Project.” The only people that can know about the initiation are his new team mates. That is until queen bee, Laurel, sets her sights on Clay as well.

Amanda Thrasher does a superb job of describing the intense situations that arise when the elite crowd’s attention is threatened by those that they feel are beneath them. Ms. Thrasher also delivers the pressures that the B.P. experience to maintain their status quo. All of her characters are well developed and, by the end of this powerful story, Amanda adds some unexpected surprises that really put a twist in the outcome. The Greenlee Project is an eye opening, powerfully written book that I highly recommend for teenagers, faculty, and parents. Well done!

Author Website Amanda M Thrasher

The Greenlee Project

Book Trailer

Cereal Authors, Dellani Oakes

Character Quotes from Shakazhan by Dellani

Shakazhan frontWil focused his eye on the beast, searching for the most vulnerable target. Motioning the others back, Wil took a few steps forward. The cat lowered its head, eyeing him with both anger and hunger. Wil’s feral grin spread slowly as he faced down his foe. His lip twitched in a snarl of his own.

“That’s right, you big pussy. Come and get me,” Wil growled as he crouched.

The cat snarled, glaring at the puny human crouching in front of it like wounded prey. Shaking its head, it roared the challenge, revealing a second set of teeth.

“You must have a hell of a dentist bill,” Wil quipped. “Come get me, bad boy. Your mother’s a carpet!” He bellowed. “You’re gonna look great on my floor. Come get me, you walking trophy!”

It didn’t really matter what he said, it was the defiance in his voice that he counted on.

“Come on….” he urged quietly.

The big cat circled, making up its mind. Wil saw a flicker of decision in the large, amber eyes.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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books, Cereal Authors, Fiction, Karen Vaughan, Mystery, review

A LOOK AT LEFT FOR DEAD BY KAREN VAUGHAN-ONCE A CORPSE MAGNET ALWAYS A CORPSE MAGNET

Left for dead 2 for Amazon  Things are really starting to heat up in the Fitz family. Gerry’s cousin, and best buddy is left for dead after a beating. When the thugs responsible find out he didn’t die, the game is on to keep Pete safe until he has to testify. After finding a body on a mountain trail in cottage country Laura helps a local police officer solve the crime while waiting for the birth of her first baby.

WHAT ONE READER SAYS ABOUT LEFT FOR DEAD

Left for Dead by Karen Vaughan, is witty and intelligently told mystery story. It’s the 6th in the Laura and Gerry mysteries series and a delightfully penned book.

It seems even pregnancy will not stop Laura Fitz from being a corpse magnet, as she stumbles yet again onto another dead body. While Laura is talking to the police, she receives a phone call from hubby. Apparently, Laura’s gift or curse for discovering the dead and becoming embroiled in the nasty affairs of the murder has rubbed off on to Gerry, for he has found his cousin near death.

The Fitz’s have once again become entangled in murder, mayhem, the lives of others along with the danger it entails. But, through it, all Laura remains her witty self. Gerry doesn’t fair as well as his love for Laura and their coming baby upset his judgment at times. After all, it is difficult to be objective when the life of one’s wife is on the line.

REVIEW FROM AMAZON BY MARTA MORAN BISHOP

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AVAILABLE AT AMAZON FOR $2.99

Cereal Authors, Character Quotes, Karen Vaughan, Laura & Gerry series

A SHORT EXCERPT FROM DEAD TO WRITES BY KAREN VAUGHAN(UNPUBLISHED W.I.P)–LAURA HAS A CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH SOMETHING STRANGE!

pizap.com14711837548421   A SUCCESSFUL AUTHOR IS KILLED IN HER PRIME TO KEEP A NASTY DEED FROM BEING EXPOSED! 

A NEW TENANT WITH A SPECIAL SET OF SKILLS!

LAURA ADJUSTS TO MOTHERHOOD AND PETE AND ELAINE MAKE IT OFFICIAL.

AS USUAL COOKIE THE CORPSE MAGNET HAS HER HANDS FULL.

The door wasn’t closed well so I stepped in and called out, “Myrna, are you here?  It’s Laura.  Can I come in?  I just wanted to check on you after we talked yesterday.”

 

There was still no answer.  She might have been napping but I wanted to be sure.  There was no one in her room, but I could hear chanting from the second bedroom.  Maybe she was meditating.  The door was slightly ajar and I could see her standing there in front of some sort of altar.  What surprised me was that Myrna was buck naked, holding a scepter over her head in her left hand, and doing God knows what with the other one as I couldn’t see it.  Part of me did not want to disturb her ritual, but I just had to know what was going on.  Maybe Mrs. Rodriguez was right thinking that Myrna might be a witch.

 

I knocked a bit louder this time.  Myrna jumped and turned around, startled.

 

“Oh damn, you caught me!  This is most embarrassing.  Can you wait in the living room while I get dressed dear?”

 

“Sure.”  I backed away uncertain whether I really wanted to know, but me being the curious one, sat down in her living room trying to pull myself together.  I remembered then I’d left Maggie in her crib, so I yelled out to Myrna,  “Just meet me down in my apartment.  We can have tea and talk about it then, okay?? I have to go check on Maggie.”

 

“Okay Laura” she hollered.  “I’ll be right down.”

 

I ran to the elevator.  Maybe I should just forget this whole thing, but the image of a septuagenarian standing naked in a room chanting was a lot to take in and some things just cannot be unseen.

 

I was holding Maggie while getting her bottle warmed when Myrna knocked and walked in.  I put the kettle on for tea and deposited the baby in her bouncy chair as she drank her bottle.  Myrna sat at the table but didn’t say much until I brought the teapot and the cookies over.

 

“I am so embarrassed,” she said.  “I didn’t realize my door was unlocked.”

 

“That’s okay Myrna, I really should’ve come back later.  I was concerned about you after you talked about seeing and hearing Larry’s spirit in the apartment.  I just wanted to check on you, to make sure you’re okay.”

 

 Myrna looked at me.  “Oh sure he’s there, but I’ve just accepted the fact that I kind of have a roommate.  I’m just hoping that Roger doesn’t get jealous.”

 

I just had to ask.  “Myrna, are you Wiccan?”

 

She just looked at the table and nodded.

 

There’s nothing to be ashamed of Myrna.  A lot of people practice that but I’m just not really sure what it involves.”

 

“Well, what I was doing there, not too many people practice.  I was having a conjugal visit with Roger.  I might be 75, but I still get my urges every now and then.  He might be dead, but I’m not.  The scepter I was holding was a representation of his phallic symbol and I was… well, you get the picture.”

“Let me get this straight.  You were having sex with the ghost?”

Myrna smiled at the memory.  “A very spirited one at that!”

COMING SOON AS SOON AS I FINISH IT.

Cereal Authors, Character Quotes, Karen Vaughan, Mystery

AN EXCERPT FROM DAYTONA DEAD MEECHAM DECIDES TO GO STRAIGHT.

Front cover of daytona deadDAYTONA DEAD WAS ONE OF MY FAVE BOOKS TO WRITE –OK WHO AM I KIDDING THEY ALL WERE.  IN THIS EXCERPT CREEPY COP DAVE MEECHAM IS ON A MISSION TO GET THE 40’S CHEVY OWNED BY KILLER T FORD SPECIALLY CLEANED. HE TAKES HIS WIFE ANNABEL WITH HIM AND THE HAVE A HEART TO HEART ABOUT KILLER T. FORD HER BROTHER AKA DUANE.

Meecham and Annabel were having fun in Jacksonville. He explained that Duane needed the car looked at, to make sure it was up to snuff for an upcoming vintage car show. While waiting for the Chevy to be worked over and cleaned up, Annabel shared a few thoughts about Killer T Ford that she had never told anyone before. 

“I’m amazed he trusts you with his special baby!” 

“Don’t you think I am trustworthy?” Meech looked at his wife and frowned.

“Yes, Dave, you are, but Duane doesn’t trust anyone with anything.  You have no idea, about a lot of things about my brother, Dave.  He ran a numbers racket out back of the car shop while in high school, played craps in the boys change room and had a sex club going with the cheerleaders.  I found out about that when we found the peep hole in the shower room by accident.  We didn’t tell anyone at first till we got proof for sure, but one day we taped the guys talking about taking Ruthy McNab, a junior cheerleader behind the bleachers. Skill Norton admitted to the rape.  My brother is not exactly honesty personified. He knows he can’t be trusted and therefore, he trusts no one.”

“So what happened?” Meecham was incredulous that Ford would sink that low.

“After hearing about Ruthy we understood why she left town suddenly. Later we heard she and the baby died in a botched abortion. So we took the Dictaphone to the school principal and subsequently the sheriff’s office. Skill did time for the rape. My brother got expelled from school for the sex club and the numbers racket and he testified against Skill”

“How do you know all this?”

“David, for the love of Pete, I lived with the toad for the first fifteen years of his life. He’s my baby brother, but he is a dog with the women, cheats at cards and he ran a chop shop out of daddy’s garage. He learned to race stock cars by stealing them. Mike Fowler, our daddy caught him one time and nearly killed him for taking off with one of his prized babies. It was a vintage 1929 Nash roadster. Papa had him buck-ass naked when he found him driving that car ‘hell-bent for leather’ up in Tallahassee. I came home from school one day in my senior year to find daddy tearing Duane a new butt-hole. My brother was begging for his life and swore up and down on a stack of mama’s Bibles he would never steal again if dad would stop beating on him. Dad did stop. Duane turned around after yanking up his pants and cold cocked daddy and left home that night. He changed his name from Fowler to Ford and never spoke to dad again.”

Annabel gave her husband a look and warned him not to get dragged down into Duane’s world. “I know you have done some things for Duane, Dave. Things you could lose your badge over, or even worse get your sorry ass killed by my brother. I can’t prove it but I just have a feeling he is into some things pretty deep and I don’t want to risk us getting hurt by his actions. Go back to Miami and try to join forensics again. Let’s get the hell out of Daytona before we both end up very dead.”

“You’re serious about this aren’t you Annie?”

“Yeah, Dave, I am.  I need you alive. My brother is a fantastic driver; a genius with cars, but deep down he is still a bastard.  Mama nearly died after he left, and Daddy never told her why.  It would have killed her if she knew the crap her baby boy was into. Daddy and I kept that secret ‘til daddy passed on. Now it is my secret alone. I don’t dare even tell mama that he lives nearby.” Annabelle placed her hand on her husband’s arm and pleaded for him to get out from under Ford’s thumb.

Annabel was weeping by now and Dave hugged his wife and promised her all would be well and he vowed to himself to stop being a bastard and help nail his brother in-law, provided he himself didn’t get caught.  At that moment, he had never felt closer to his wife.  Sure she could be a nag, what woman wasn’t? But then again he was no prize either.  He now knew more of the Fowler/Ford family dynamics than he ever had before, even after fifteen years of marriage. Duane didn’t come around to family gatherings and BBQs.  And Dave sure didn’t invite the brother in-law to events where his law enforcement friends and colleagues would be invited, as he wanted to keep the connection between them unknown.  He really didn’t want people to figure out that he was criminally connected. This was going to change as he had plans to better his station in life and get out from under Duane’s thumb.

AVAILABLE FOR SALE AT AMAZON IN PAPERBACK AND KINDLE

Cereal Authors, Dellani Oakes

Character Quotes from Star Gazing by Dellani

character-quotes-image“I’m a rat, G.H.,” Greg sighed.

“I see. It’s to be that sort of conversation, is it? Well, fetch us both a strong coffee, and unburden your heart. Great-Uncle Henry knows and sees all.” He sounded like a bemused psychic. “There’s no problem we can’t fix or overcome.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Cereal Authors, Dellani Oakes

Character Quotes from Ryder Bradley by Dellani

character-quotes-imageThis story hasn’t got a proper name yet, it’s just labeled for the main character.

“Just what Della is going to tell us,” Karen said, smiling at Della as she walked in the room.

“They had a big turnover at Ravenwood. One doctor murdered, killed by a colleague, another implicated as an accomplice. In all the kerfuffle following, a few patients, who had been up for review, were released by mistake. Her doctor was the one killed. Someone else went through his notes, spoke to the patients and, not knowing them like he did, released them. Three got out. Two are back. Vena, supposedly the least volatile, is still wandering around.”

“Least? What are the other two, ax murdering father rapers?” I yelped. “She’s Satan’s Mistress! Psychotic Hellspawn! She’s like napalm and C-4 all mixed together.” I shuddered, putting the cold bottle against my head. “For God’s sake, Ralan, find her fast, please. Or I will have performance issues out the ass, dude. And I just started dating someone new.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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author, Cereal Authors, Excerpts, Fantasy, Fiction, Life, paranormal, Romance, Ruth Davis Hays, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized, YA

So New, It Doesn’t Even Have a Title

A work in progress:

The juice box was definitely against me. Its resistance was punctuated by a taunting titter.  My efforts to open it were futile, it mocked.

 

WIP copyNo, wait. The snickering was not the juice box. It came from down the lunch table.  I didn’t even have to look their way. I knew who was laughing, and I didn’t want to see if it was me they were laughing at.  In my heart, I knew it was.

 

I continued to stab at the little cellophane covered hole with the sadly beveled end of the hard plastic straw like Van Helsing at the climax of a bad B movie. The final strike bent my straw, but rewarded me with a squirt of lukewarm apple juice in the face. An arterial explosion worthy of the best special effects artist in the business.

 

The laughter from the perfectly coifed girls at the other end of the table could not be ignored this time.  My life was not a bad horror movie; it was a comedy and I was the hapless victim of a situational shtick.

 

Staring down at the lunch tray, I watched the juice drown my stale, rectangular pizza slice.  At least, I wasn’t hungry anymore anyway.  My appetite was ruined by the whispered jokes about me destroying the little paper box with my brute strength.

 

I closed my eyes and swore that if I heard one more comment from those four makeup-slathered, social media celeb wannabes about me being a “she-male”, I’d flip this table on their heads.

 

Not that I hold any direct animosity for She-males, or what have you, but I do resent lies being spread about me.  And, I resent those who start the lies.  Namely, Brittany.  My mom says I spend way too much time worrying about Brittany, her crew, and what they think or say about me.

 

Mom says it doesn’t matter what others think, only what I know about myself.  Yeah, she’s full of inspirational poster stuff like that.

 

Sorry, Mom.  But, it’s hard not to see myself reflected in the eyes and jeers of my fellow students.  My peers.  What a joke.  I have so very little in common with them that I hesitate to call them peers of any sort.  Alas, for the next year or so, I must.

 

Of course, using the word ‘alas’ in casual conversation is one of the things these girls would tease me about.  Can I help it if my grandfather read Shakespeare to me for the last fifteen years of his life?

 

The siren-like bell blared from the hall to announce the next class would begin in five.  I gathered my sloshing tray and stood, never glancing at Brittany once.  Fifth period was next.  Gym class, right after lunch.  Brilliant scheduling.

 

When was this nightmare going to end?

*****************************************************************************

I woke up the other day recounting my dream several times as I did to try and remember it. The sights, the feelings, the familiar trappings of high school. I often dream that I’m back in school, but never had I wanted to write them into a story. This one was fun.  Well, to me, running for my life and fighting creatures while possessing an unnatural strength in a dream is fun.  Others may call it a nightmare.  Either way, it spawned this new character. This is a little beginning snippet from what I will call my first Urban Paranormal Young Adult story.

It is such an infant at the moment that it has no name.  Heck, I just came up with the protagonist’s name this morning.  I hope you enjoy!

Cereal Authors, paranormal, Rachel Rueben, Uncategorized, Writing Process

Where On Earth Did Miss Mary Come From?

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Image via Pixabay

Last month I shared an excerpt of my recent novel Miss Mary Mack and I’m sure some of you are really confused.  I understand after Fedelta, Miss Mary seems very different and maybe even strange but I followed the muse and she took me in a different direction. A very different direction.

Miss Mary was based on an experience I had one hot, summer’s night.  In fact it was so hot that I decided to sleep with the window open and as I was falling asleep, I heard giggling and a little girl singing, “Miss Mary Mac, Mac, Mac all dressed in black…”  At first I thought I was dreaming but it was just some silly neighborhood kids who had snuck out and were playing around at 1 a.m.  Yeah, I live in that kind of neighborhood.  When I realized what was going on, I was angry but also, inspired.  I wondered, how would these kids have survived back in the days before child abuse was considered a bad thing?  What can I say, I was having a Stephen King moment!  As my mind swirled, it was then that I saw her.  A woman, standing at the end of my bed and she was dressed in a matronly 1930’s style dress with granny boots.  As she looked down on me, I could see the scowl on her face and I knew immediately what was going on.  The muse was speaking.  So I got up and scribbled on a piece of paper the words: Miss Mary Mack and went to bed.

The next day, I did write a brief paragraph outlining the idea but did nothing with it.  At that time, I just started writing for this blog and Fedelta was born, I was also finishing up Eternal Bond, so I didn’t have the time to start yet another project.  But fate has a funny way of making you do things because over the next few months, I started hearing stories about Orphan Trains on Youtube as well as ghost stories from the Civil War.  The spark that lit the flame was a story I read about a woman by the name of Rosa Carmichael who ran an orphanage and was alleged to have abused the children in her care.  So I sat down and grudgingly wrote a few paragraphs which I finally shared last month.

I don’t have any idea as to where this story is going, but I know it’s going to lead me down paths I’ve never explored before.  Most books do.  What a lot of readers don’t know is that sometimes our stories surprise us (the writers) as much as it does them.  Actually this is the fun part of writing where characters become real, and situations uncertain.  In any case, I hope you stay tuned for the next couple of excerpts from the book because something tells me that Miss Mary is going to be one of my most challenging characters yet.

Bio: Rachel Rueben is author of YA, supernatural as well as romance books.  Her work can be found her on the Cereal Authors blog as well as Wattpad.  She is also a blogger at Writing By The Seat Of My Pants where she discusses self-publishing and rarely refers to herself in the third person.  😉