Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Impact of Bullying.

October is lot of things, a month to celebrate Halloween, a month to raise awareness for Breast Cancer, as well as watch the trees change color and welcome in Fall. But the one thing that hits closest to home for me is the fact this is Anti Bullying Awareness Month.

As a long time victim of bullying growing up, and even some as an adult, I strive to try and take part in the Anti Bullying campaign in some way. Last year I was proud to be a part of a campaign online that allowed authors to have guest posts and give away books. I couldn't do that sadly this year, since my former publisher closed so I am posting on my own blog about it, and telling you how bullying has impacted my life and writing.
I went to three different schools growing up before attending high school. At each school before ninth grade, I was picked on and bullied. Granted, in elementary school it wasn't as bad as it got in middle school. I was actually physically hurt once I was in middle school, getting my hand slammed in a locker, a triangle was thrown into my eye in Industrial Arts class which sliced it open and required a trip to the ER, and I had a basketball thrown in my face on a bus. Yes, everything was reported to the school officials about each incident, but nothing was ever done to the perpetrators because, and I quote my sixth grade homeroom teacher, "They came from a broken family." That was the excuse that made it perfectly fine for them to assault me.
I did manage to have one or two friends throughout all this at each school, even though they acted embarrassed to be associated with me at times. But between the few friends I did have, and my writing it is what kept me sane throughout my childhood. The same goes for me today.
Due to the bullying, and the anxiety I have acquired since, combined I have developed severe depression over the years. I also had epilepsy as a child which affected the emotional part of my brain. Some days for a long period of time, it's a struggle for me to even function as a normal adult. Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand this and constantly expect me to have a smile on my face even when I feel horrible. Therefore, instead of having an understanding friend to talk to, I get someone who just brings me down even more and criticizes me for feeling the way I do. It gets to the point that I am afraid to even voice my opinion online for fear I will have someone coming down on me. I have had others tell me in the past not to be so negative, but when you get in these states it is very hard to be positive. All I need sometimes is just someone to listen and pray for me.

I always try to be there for my friends when I feel like I can be mentally, and it hurts when I can't have the gesture returned. All this has built up over the years to the point that I feel like really all I truly have is my writing. It is what makes me happy, disappearing into a whole other world and dealing with other's problems that are a lot worse than my own.
I cannot stand bullying, and it sickens me to see where it's gone all these years. With the internet it's even easier now to make a kid's life a living hell, and for what? A laugh? Because you're bored? And it's not just kids now, it's adults! My own generation. Authors bullying other authors. Give me a break, people!
It's a horrible issue that should not even be an issue but I have a feeling it will be for a long time to come if more people do not take a stand. For now, all people like me can do is blog about it, take part in a campaign, have a special giveaway to raise awareness, and write about it. I have a few ideas in my new series for a cyber bullying storyline, as well as perhaps a school shooting stemming from someone who has been bullied for way too long while parents and officials did nothing about it.
For now, in the words of Ellen, "Be kind to one another."
Seriously, is it really that hard??

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Inspiration behind Island of the Zombie King, coming soon from Ellie Potts.

Thanks Jennifer for asking me to popping in today. Happy October everyone. I am a fall baby, born in November but it is October I love. When the changes of fall are all around. The temperature is falling; you can wear thin long sleeves, well here in California anyways. Of course October brings thoughts of pumpkins, candy, baking, and of course Halloween. But to me October brings my favorite movie time to TV! 31 days of Horror movies.

I have always been a horror nut. I love the scary. I love a good scary movie that will make me want to cover my eyes, or that gets me to jump. I would have to say that it all started with my dad showing me Night of the Living Dead when I was around four. Zombies terrify me to this day, but I cannot look away! I need more. MORE. But as the zombie craze comes and goes, so does the good and the bad. It is okay though, sometimes even bad movies are fun to watch to make fun of.

For your enjoyment I wanted to share the first chapter of Island of the Zombie King which will be released in 2014:
The World of Decay. . .

Hungry and in need for fresh water a young man is driven from the safety of his apartment. He sneaks out, the sun making him shade his eyes briefly. He hadn’t been outside in over three weeks. The sun felt nice on his skin. He hadn’t seen one of the undead for over four days. He thought they were all dead as he walked. Today he was finally going to get out of this virus infested city. He had walked all day in thought. He saw the bridge. And then behind him came the moans. Had he heard them earlier?

He turned. His cotton candy pink hair flapped in the coastal air filling his nose with the stench. There they were. All his optimism bottomed out. A huge group of men, women and children slunked after him. Their skin no longer living, torn, ripped in colors of off-blue and greens. The bites or wounds that had caused them to be one of the undead clearly showed under the clear sky. He did all he could think of and started to run. He had made it to the middle of the Golden Gate bridge, stopping suddenly.

In front of him came another horde of the undead. He was trapped. There would be no way to fight his way out of it. Dead no matter what. He went to the edge of the bridge, and looked over at the rough waves below him. He would have one last choice on how he died, and climbed over the edge. The moans of the dead got louder as they got closer. He closed his eyes and said a small prayer of forgiveness. His hands let go of the railing, and he fell, eyes still closed.
There was no life before his eyes, or bright light at the end of the tunnel. Blackness. The rough saltwater waves ate him. Tossed and turned his dead body. When the body was faced up, the dead eyes stared up at the sky now clouding over. And something darkened in them, not much, but a small spark. And his mouth opened filling with saltwater. All memories of who he was gone, and now he was just there. It craved flesh, but the water sucked him under. It could not swim, and as the body moved slowly the ocean current pulled it out.

A woman screamed. The high pitch shriek filled the empty city, echoing off the empty buildings. New York, once loud and filled with people, lay in ruin and death. The undead walked the streets, moving to the scream. She thought her plan would have worked, but it hadn’t. There was just too many of them. Her screams died off as the zombies pulled their own piece of her away to eat. Blood covered the streets and windows of the empty store fronts, and moans filled the air as the sun started to fall.
The world now lay in ruin, the dead bodies of millions waited around for movement. Waited to feed. They walked around the north, as the winter clouds threatened snow and rain. They walk around the south where the government had dropped a bomb hopping to stop them. But it didn’t, they walk around the desolated area. The dead owned the world. No more fighting based on religion or race. Beautiful wonders left to ruin. A race left to extinction. A world left to the dead to crumble away just like them.

For more info on Ellie and her work check out her blog:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Making of Revelations: How it Came to Be.

The Making of Revelations: How it came to be
The idea was born many years ago. Over forty, actually. When I was a teenager. Back then, it didn’t have a name, and it had no real shape. But I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to tell the story of Judas Iscariot. The trouble was I didn’t know how.
What drew me to Judas, is probably what you’re asking yourself, and that’s a valid question. Ask anyone else who Judas is and you’ll get answers that are probably all variations on a theme of betrayal. I’m not sure exactly when I began to question that, but I do know that when I saw Jesus Christ Superstar performed live back in 1971 (or thereabouts), I had an epiphany regarding him. I saw him, not as the bad guy as often portrayed, but someone who not only believed in Jesus but was willing to do what he needed him to do. For without Judas’ “betrayal” of Jesus, the story would not have worked out the way it did. It needed to happen that way. And if you read the Gospel of Judas, he was the only apostle who trusted Jesus enough to do that for him. Gives one food for thought, doesn’t it?
Very interesting, but where’s the story, I wondered. Was I going to take an historical perspective, research the man and his life? Easier said than done, especially back then. We had no Internet. We didn’t even have computers. Research was all done through books. Libraries had card catalogs, a far cry from today when you can log onto your library website and browse their selection, then request what you want. So I looked and I found bupkus (nothing). I had the Bible, of course, but it tends to be limited on information, as well as a bit biased.
So nothing was written, and I let it go, as my thoughts formulated in the back of my head. In the meantime, I was reading, watching… and learning. King of Kings was my first Biblical movie, and I loved it. Jeffrey Hunter’s portrayal of Jesus is very moving, and I was very enamored of the film. Jesus Christ Superstar – I think I know all the words, I’ve listened so many times. I liked the stage version, but the first film not so much.
Besides watching these things and others, I read. Christopher Moore’s Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. What a fabulous book! I loved it! So much I bought the special edition. And I read The Gospel of Judas! Forty years ago I’d never heard of such a thing. Of course I read the DaVinci Code, and watched the movie. And everything began to percolate inside my head…
Then one day it happened. Judas spoke to me, for the first time. And I simply began to write it down, not knowing what he might say, or where his story might lead. It turned out to be quite the story and took me on quite the journey, and led to places that I didn’t expect it to. If he’d have spoken forty years ago, I would not have been ready to receive his message. But my life up until the moment that I first heard him speak prepared me. And the result is Revelations.
The original title was Kyrie Eleison, a tribute to the Mister Mr. song, Kyrie. Kyrie eleison means Christ, have mercy on us. But then fellow author Marie Sexton, who was reading Kyrie for me at the time, suggested a simpler title. A better title. Revelations. So Revelations it became.
I know there are people who will not like Revelations, and by extension, me. People who will not see the message it carries, only that it does not follow what they believe. But ultimately, no matter what you believe, Revelations is a story of love. Love is the message, and love is something that binds us all together.
Revelations is love.

Thank you for having me here, enjoy your day!
Judas has never been very popular, not in any incarnation that he and Jesus and the others have lived through. But he doesn't care about that. All he cares about is following the instructions of God as set forth in the script that they follow. And Jesus. For Judas has secretly loved the son of God for over two thousand years.
But now he decides that enough is enough, and he's tired of watching Jesus die far too early, and for what? This time Judas is determined to see that Jesus lives a long and happy life, no matter what price he has to pay to accomplish matter if he has to make a deal with the devil himself.
Revelations is a story of what could be, told by those who play it out, time after time after time, unbeknownst to the rest of mankind.  They've come back again, for yet another round.  But this time is going to be different.  


Prologue: God
            It's not always easy to sit on the sidelines and watch what is happening, to resist the urge to intervene in his best interest.  My son's that is. Jesus. But I do so, because I know it's for his own good.  As well as for the good of mankind. I can't let my concerns as his father override my vested interest in the fate of man. But sometimes that is easier said than done.
            This morning I am not alone. Someone else is with me, someone with his own agenda, although we are not as diametrically opposed as some would imagine us to be. Good and evil aren't the simplistic concepts some would portray them as being—there are more grey areas there than you might think. And rightly so.
            He smirks. Too much for my taste, I have to admit, but sometimes he does have his moments, and he too has a part to play in what is happening in the world of men. Someone needs to fill the role of the villain, after all.
            The stage is being set for the third act, the scripts have been handed round, and the actors are taking their places. Will this time end any differently than the others? That depends on my son, on Jesus. I'm thinking this will be the time when he'll make the change.
            "He'll change nothing," Lucifer interjects, although I've asked him nothing, certainly not inquired as to his opinion. 
            I glance at him. He's dressed to within an inch of his life, and wears the most ridiculous sunglasses I've ever seen. I decide not to comment on his fashion sense. "I think he might, this time. I think he's ready for change."
            Lucifer snorts. "It's been two thousand years, and neither one has exactly caught on yet. Why should this time be any different?"
            "Care to put your money where your mouth is?"
            He eyes me carefully. "I would, but you see you have this whole mystic omnipotent God thing going on. Personally, I don't care for those odds."
            I arch an eyebrow. "I may be omnipotent, but Jesus does have free will  and he does possess the ability to make his own decisions. You think I'd stack the deck in my son's favor? Just to win a bet with you?"
            "Let's say I'm taking no chances." He smiles. "Tell you what, though—give me free rein.  Let me do what I want, and you not say anything or do anything to interfere with me? As far as they're concerned, that is."
            I open my mouth to object, he hastily interjects. "No killing, I swear to it."
            That's better. I still have some measure of control over the serpent.
            "So be it." I agree, turning my attention back to where it had been, to my son.  I'm smirking now. Openly.
            O ye of little faith, watch and learn.

Julie Lynn Hayes was reading at the age of two and writing by the age of nine and always wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Two marriages, five children, and more than forty years later, that is still her dream. She blames her younger daughters for introducing her to yaoi and the world of M/M love, a world which has captured her imagination and her heart and fueled her writing in ways she'd never dreamed of before. She especially loves stories of two men finding true love and happiness in one another's arms and is a great believer in the happily ever after. She lives in St. Louis with her daughter Sarah and two cats, loves books and movies, and hopes to be a world traveler some day. She enjoys crafts, such as crocheting and cross stitch, knitting and needlepoint and loves to cook. While working a temporary day job, she continues to write her books and stories and reviews, which she posts in various places on the internet. Her family thinks she is a bit off, but she doesn't mind. Marching to the beat of one's own drummer is a good thing, after all. Her other published works can be found at Dreamspinner Press, MuseitUp Publishing and coming soon to Torquere Press. She has also begun to self-publish and is an editor at MuseitUp.

You can find her on her blog at, and you can contact her at

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