Monday, April 15, 2019

Library Workshop - Outlining Your Story

Saturday, April 13, 2019, we had a terrific time joining together as writers to discuss various ways of creating an outline for our stories. Below are a few slides from the presentation along with a couple snapshots. Libraries and librarians are the BEST. 



















Tuesday, April 9, 2019

April Events

I am presenting at quite a few events this month. Below are two of them. Come on out and join me! I'd love to see you. 







Registration is now open for the Idaho Writers Conference (April 25-27) at https://bit.ly/2Fj4HlH. The conference features 15 workshop presenters and 12 main stage presenters.

I'll be teaching:

Revising with an Eye for YA - "The revision process is one of the most important steps in perfecting your overall story. Learn how to examine your manuscript from different angles, exploring and developing the intrinsic qualities that will captivate your audience from beginning to end."



Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Spring 2019 - Young Adult Scavenger Hunt






Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! 



I'm Margo Kelly, and I'll be your hostess for this leg of the hunt. I write thrillers, and I'm excited to share my novel, WHO R U REALLY?, with you during this event! Somewhere along this scavenger hunt, I've shared exclusive content related to WHO R U REALLY?, and clear down at the bottom of this post, I'm giving away a signed paperback copy of it (exclusive to readers of this post)! Yup. That's right. 





(So be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom of this post before you hop off to the next site in the scavenger hunt!)



By the way, you are currently hunting on TEAM GOLD.







This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors ... and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt.

Add up the clues, and you can enter for the prize -- one lucky winner will receive:
one book from each author on the GOLD team! 

But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until noon on Sunday, April 7, 2019!


Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are multiple contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GOLD TEAM -- but there are other teams, each with a different set of books!

If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.


SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE RULES

Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the gold team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 7, 2019, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


SCAVENGER HUNT POST

I am happy to introduce you to the author I'm hosting for the hunt:
KAT ROSS



Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She's the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Visit her at katrossbooks.com



"It's the summer of 1888 and a bizarre killer is stalking the gas-lit streets of New York. But are the murders a case of black magic—or simple blackmail? From the gambling dens of the Tenderloin to the glittering mansions of Fifth Avenue, amateur sleuth Harrison Fearing Pell follows a twisted trail of lies, treachery and madness that leads closer to home than she ever imagined."

Find out more information about the book here!




EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
 from Kat Ross

A sneak peak from her next book, A Bad Breed, which is a "Victorian paranormal monster mash" due in Spring 2019 and Book #3 in the Gaslamp Gothic series:
. . . . .


Tuesday, January 15, 1889

The last rays of the sun were setting fire to the high peaks when it caught her.

She’d run for miles through the forest, fighting the black tide of the drug he’d slipped into her wine. Whatever it was made her feel like she was floating above her body, weightless and disconnected and without a care in the world. If not for the bitter cold, she might have sat down in the snow for a spell.

The hard-eyed, sober part of her mind, which was not yet gone entirely, knew that would be a very bad idea.

So she ran, focusing on the rasp of her breath, the metronomic ticking of her heart. After a while, the sounds of pursuit grew fainter. She dared to hope she’d lost him.

Then she’d twisted her ankle in an animal hole concealed under the snow.

It wasn’t broken, though it hurt like the dickens even through the narcotic fog. At least the pain sharpened her wits.

I am so bloody stupid, she thought for the hundredth time, leaning against a tree. I never should have….

Should have what?

Her green eyes lost focus. What an intricate, miraculous thing snow was. She’d never noticed it before, each crystal outlined with perfect clarity. Deep cold was like swimming underwater….

Her hand squeezed into a fist, the nails drawing blood.

Drunk the wine, that’s what. Bloody stupid of me. Now get a grip.

She studied the woods. Blue shadows gathered beneath the tall pines where the twilight deepened. All was quiet. But she sensed a presence, watching.

There were wolves in these mountains. She’d seen one that morning at dawn, standing on a rocky tor. It stared at her with yellow eyes, then turned and loped away. She’d felt a sublime grace in its presence.

She had no fear of wolves.

Yet her heart banged painfully in her breast as she limped down the path. She wore stout boots with woolen stockings and a high-necked wool dress over layers of petticoats and a

cloak lined with dark blue silk. The path followed a frozen creek, its edges brittle with ice. Frost lay thick on the ground and the boughs of the trees.

The light bled away to full dark as she reached the edge of the forest. A full moon rose, huge and bright. The nape of her neck prickled a warning.

She looked back. A silent shape glided through the trees. Not a wolf. Not a man either, though it moved on two legs.

In the distance, she heard the whistle of a train.

She slid down a steep incline. Her ankle throbbed, but she thought it would hold for a few more minutes.

A quarter mile off, the mouth of a tunnel led into the mountain. The tracks sat atop an embankment and she could see the glossy black engine chugging toward the tunnel. Light spilled from the windows of the passenger cars. The hood of her cloak fell back as she struggled through knee-high drifts. She tore a glove off with her teeth and freed the long iron blade sheathed at her waist.

The clatter of the train grew louder as it approached a curve and slowed down. She veered left toward a frozen field. If she cut across, she might still catch the train before it accelerated into the tunnel. Silhouettes filled the windows and she imagined the people on the train, reading books or sipping coffee, in the warmth and light.

She risked another glance over her shoulder. Whatever came was cloaked in shadow, but she sensed it speeding down the slope.

She was halfway across when the ice cracked beneath her boots. Not a field but a lake—and not solidly frozen. She flung out a hand, scrabbling madly as she slid into the water. She tried to summon her elemental power but it slid away on a black tide of tranquilizer. The train whistle sounded again and then it was swallowed by the tunnel.

The last thing she saw was two golden eyes, bright as the moon, rushing toward her.

. . . . .
For more information, visit the Pintrest page!


* * * * *


Now don't forget to enter the YASH contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me and 19 other authors on TEAM GOLD. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on team gold, and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!



But before you go, you'll need to know that my favorite number is 11, and here is an exclusive Rafflecopter giveaway for you to win a signed copy of WHO R U REALLY?. (This contest is separate from the YASH contest. Only visitors here are eligible.)



CONTINUE THE HUNT

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author: L.H. Nicole



Wednesday, March 6, 2019

IWSG: Whose Perspective - Hero or Villain?

The purpose of the Insecure Writers' Support Group is to "share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!"

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com


This Month's Question: "Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?"

My Answer: Since I write for the young adult audience, my novels are written from the perspective of the protagonist. However, during the drafting and revision phases, I will often write passages from the antagonist's perspective in order to better understand that character and his or her motivations. These passages don't make it into the finished manuscript, but bits and pieces and the essence of the writing filter through to the story.


How about you? Whose perspective do you like to write from?


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Book Review: BAGHDADDY by Lt. Col. Bill Riley (Retired)


I'm always hesitant when asked to read a memoir, because frankly, most of the ones I've read have been slow and boring. However, over the years, I've come across a few treasures in the genre, and because of that, I strive to keep an open mind when a tempting memoir crosses my path. When I was offered an early copy of BAGHDADDY by Bill Riley, my first thought was, "Who would put an image of a child aiming a gun on the cover of a book?" But then I decided the more important question was, "WHY is this child aiming a gun?" I had to read it. Scroll on down for my complete review.


BAGHDADDY: HOW SADDAM HUSSEIN TAUGHT ME TO BE A BETTER FATHER
by Lieutenant Colonel Bill Riley (Retired)
May 7, 2019 - Brown Books Pub Group
ISBN: 978-1612542928

Description from the Publisher:
As a child, he was raised in an unstable and violent home by a mother struggling with mental illness. An absent father with a firm belief in tough love left him with only his sister to understand or comfort him as they faced a home full of harshness, resentment, and physical abuse. As a man, he braved the war-torn landscapes of Kuwait, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Having learned early from his father that only the strong survive, he enlisted in the Air Force after high school and began an impressive military career in intelligence analysis, communications, and supporting special operations, meeting incredible individuals along the way. Baghdaddy is Bill Riley's memoir: an honest and colorful depiction of his journey through a turbulent youth and into a challenging adulthood. This very human account of living in some of the least humane environments delivers the message that no matter how different we seem, we are all trying to make the best of life and learn how to be the best versions of ourselves.


About the Author:
Bill Riley is a writer and retired US Air Force lieutenant colonel with interests in space exploration, coffee roasting, global communication, intelligence activities, and ancient ruins. Bill was an intelligence analyst during the Cold War. Later, he specialized in strategy and communications. During his career, he's worked with intelligence and special operations professionals from every service, virtually every intelligence agency, and several friendly foreign governments. Bill's deployments took him through combat zones across the Middle East where he played significant roles in Kuwait and Iraq, supported joint coalition operations, and helped nations rebuild after wars. He was the first US electronic warfare officer in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom, he led the Air Force's largest network operations and security center, and he was the first cyberspace operations officer to receive the Air Force Combat Action Medal. He holds degrees in literature, public administration, and strategic leadership, and he is a graduate of Air Command and Staff College and the Air Force Space Command VIGILANT LOOK program. Bill lives in Idaho, just outside Boise, with his wife and two sons. Visit him online at: https://www.billrileyauthor.com/



My Review:

BAGHDADDY, by Bill Riley, is a courageous and captivating memoir about a man who survived an abusive childhood, excelled as an Air Force officer, and applied lessons he'd learned to find peace as a father, husband, and human.

The first thing I noticed when reading this memoir was the high quality of writing, which shouldn't have surprised me considering Riley holds a degree in literature. (He earned two other degrees as well!) However, I found this to be an interesting dichotomy. Bill Riley grew up in a violent home, went on to survive violent combat missions, and yet somewhere, somehow, fostered his innate love for literature and writing.

The fact he lived past his childhood was a miracle by itself. Clearly, Riley was meant to live beyond his upbringing -- whether the purpose was to save fellow soldiers in combat, raise children in a healthier environment than he had, or merely to leave a mark of kindness on those along his path . . . Bill Riley is a survivor.

Of course, he didn't survive in isolation. Riley wrote, "I knew I had strong friendships, but I didn't realize, on a rational level, how wrong my life would have gone without them until I started connecting the dots" (page xi).

One of the lines that repeatedly struck me throughout the book was, "Why do they always use kids?" (page 14). Anyone who has endured or witnessed childhood trauma can grasp the depth of this question. Riley was "used" and abused in his childhood. During combat missions, he witnessed other children being used in atrocious ways. The question that repeated in my mind as a reader was, "Would Riley overcome these experiences to provide a better environment for his own children?"

BAGHDADDY by Bill Riley would make an excellent book club choice for any group of readers, because there are so many powerful situations, topics, and philosophies to be discussed.

The pages recounting his childhood abuse are hard to read, but they are so well written, they must be read. Additionally, these pages must be read to fully understand what Riley has endured and chosen to overcome to be the man of peace he is today.

I'm not a military buff, and I was concerned I would find the numerous pages of military stories boring, but I was wrong! Again, Riley is such a talented writer; with great skill, he painted vivid pictures and tapped into emotional wells, that I, as the reader, was compelled to read every word and turn every page. 

Riley's stories about his time in the military gave me a peek behind a curtain I would never have experienced without reading this memoir. And I am thankful for that.

"When I arrived in Iraq, I found myself at the crossroads of who I could be and what I would be, and my time was running out" (page 10).

As if writing a novel, Riley employed techniques often used in fiction, such as knowledge gaps, rhetorical devices, and embedded tension. This type of writing is what makes a memoir compelling--fully engaging the reader.

My only criticism of the book was I wanted more scenes of resolution. If space was a concern, several existing scenes could have been cut without affecting the overall flow or impact,  allowing closure stories from his  fatherhood years. I wanted to know specifics of how he parented differently from his own parents. Did he ever hit his kids, even once? I wanted to know how he took the lessons he learned from his deployments and implemented them into his role as a father. Additionally, I wanted to know what his adult relationships were like with his sisters. I wanted to know if he ever sought out his friend Sarah. I wanted examples comparing and contrasting how Riley's father treated him as a child versus how Riley treated his own sons in similar situations.

For example, one of my favorite scenarios that connected his past, present, and future was when he described hunting rabbits with his father. Riley compared that experience to a combat mission where he utilized hunting lessons from his father to help save the lives of his team, and then Riley contrasted that to fatherhood and how instead of hunting, he taught his sons to fish.

But I suppose, any book that leaves you wanting more is a good book. Yes?

I highly recommend BAGHDADDY by Bill Riley to all readers. After reading it, you'll better understand your own childhood, better understand what the military does for our country, and better understand the value of a quiet night at home, listening to your child sleep peacefully.

Some captivating passages from the book:

"From an early age, I understood there were monsters in the world, but, at the time, I didn't realize how fast they could creep up on you. ... They're fiends who wear the faces of the people you know and love the most. Familiarity gives them the power to hurt you, bad" (page 15).

"The bloody washcloth came open, and ice cubes bounced across the floor. They formed an archipelago of pink islands in a linoleum sea, and my father dragged me from the house by my hair ..." (page 47).

A friend of Riley's discussing future parenthood: "He [your son] won't understand where you came from, so don't even try to explain how good he's got it, because if you do your job raising him, he won't even be able to comprehend the world you grew up in. ... Your world isn't his world. His world is a safe and secure ... How do you explain hungry if he's never been?" (page 193).

"There was something to be said for building relationships one cup of tea at a time, and I saw a different Kuwait leaving than I did when I first arrived" (page 209).

"As I secured my helmet to my head, I turned back for one last look ... the clouds broke, and the flowers blazed in a thin stream of light that cut through the shadows of the ruin. ... Then the clouds coalesced. The light was gone, and everyone turned slowly back to what they'd been doing" (pages 285-286). 

"The larger combat convoys were covered with so much firepower they looked like porcupines that belched dragon fire" (page 310).





[I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.]

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Nampa Library Presentation

Today, at the Nampa Public Library, I met with fellow writers and discussed my "12-Step Writing Process." 

Here are a few of the slides I shared during the presentation:








Here are a few snapshots from the event:





If you'd like me to come and speak to your group, click on the "appearances" tab above for more information, or just click here.

I also offer one-on-one coaching for writers. If this is something that appeals to you, please contact me for more information at: margokelly1 @ outlook . com (without the spaces).

Happy writing!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

IWSG: Creative Pursuits

Each month, I look forward to the first Wednesday, because that means it's time for the Insecure Writers' Support Group posts.


It's fun to visit to other writers' sites and read their responses to the question of the month. You can hop around, too! Check out the full list of participants by clicking here.


This Month's Question: Besides writing what other creative outlets do you have?

My Answer: Creative pursuits like quilting and needlework help me access my artistic brain from another angle, which ends up fueling my writing. 






How about you? What creative outlets do you enjoy?


Monday, February 4, 2019

School Visit - Portland, Texas

Recently, I spent the day at G-P Junior High in Portland, Texas, speaking with fabulous teens and teachers about my novel, WHO R U REALLY?, and the importance of online safety.  It was a terrific day with thought-provoking discussions and amazing students.









If you're interested in having me visit your school or organization, email me at margokelly1 @ outlook . com (without the spaces).

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Book Review: SAY WHAT YOU MEAN by Oren Jay Sofer

The topic of communication fascinates me. Whether between two people in an intimate one-on-one conversation or between a professional speaker and her audience, effective communication is both a skill that can be learned and an art that can be mastered. So when I was asked to review the new book, Say What You Mean, by Oren Jay Sofer, I jumped at the opportunity. Scroll on down for my complete review.


Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication
by Oren Jay Sofer
December 11, 2018 - Shambhala Publications
ISBN: 978-1611805833



Description from the Publisher:
Find your voice, speak your truth, listen deeply—a guide to more meaningful and mindful conversations.

We spend so much of our lives talking to each other, but how much are we simply running on automatic—relying on old habits and hoping for the best? Are we able to truly hear others and speak our mind in a clear and kind way, without needing to get defensive or go on the attack? In this groundbreaking synthesis of mindfulness, somatics, and Nonviolent Communication, Oren Jay Sofer offers simple yet powerful practices to develop healthy, effective, and satisfying ways of communicating.

The techniques in Say What You Mean will help you to:
·      Feel confident during conversation
·      Stay focused on what really matters in an interaction
·      Listen for the authentic concerns behind what others say
·      Reduce anxiety before and during difficult conversations
·      Find nourishment in day-to-day interactions


About the Author:
Oren Jay Sofer leads retreats and workshops on mindful communication and meditation at retreat centers and educational settings around the United States. A member of the Spirit Rock Teacher's Council, he holds a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University, teaches in the Insight Meditation community, and is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and a Certified Trainer of Nonviolent Communication. Oren creates mindfulness training programs for a number of organizations, including Mindful Schools, Kaiser Permanente, and 10% Happier. He is also the founder of Next Step Dharma and Mindful Healthcare. For more information, visit www.OrenJaySofer.com.



My Review:

Wow.

Say What You Mean, by Oren Jay Sofer, captured my attention on the first page and kept hold until the final page.

Before digging into any nonfiction book, I read and research the author's credentials. I need to know why I should trust and believe anything the author has to offer. And I must admit, not knowing anything about Oren Jay Sofer other than what was offered in his bio, I was a bit skeptical. In today's world, just about anyone can call himself a coach or expert and spout psychobabble to earn a buck. So when I read that Sofer is a "certified trainer" and a "practitioner" but saw no mention of higher-educational degrees, I wondered what I was getting myself into with his book. But I'll be the first to admit, my surface judgment was wrong!

Sofer explains in the introduction that the material in the book "is a synthesis of three distinct streams of practice. . . . mindfulness [Theravada Buddhist tradition] . . . Nonviolent Communication developed by Dr. Marshall B.Rosenberg . . . Somatic Experiencing [nervous system regulation to resolve trauma developed by Dr. Peter A. Levine]" (page 4). So while Sofer may not have a PhD behind his name, he draws his material from recognized and respected leaders in their fields. Additionally, early praise for the book comes from many of his expert colleagues in the fields of psychology, communication, and Buddhism.

Oren Jay Sofer's talent as a writer demonstrates his ability to communicate effectively. He has an ability to humbly engage the reader while combining "classical Buddhist training with the accessible language of secular mindfulness" (page 286).

In a word, I was IMPRESSED with this book.

The simple format of the book, as outlined in the table of contents, allows the reader to follow along clearly: 
1: Lead with Presence
2: Come from Curiosity and Care
3: Focus on What Matters
4: Bring it All Together

For example on the topic of presence, Sofer suggests: "Initially, much of the work is simply remembering to be present. One way to support this is to take a few moments each morning to set an intention and then to reflect on how things went at the end of the day" (page 35).

Regarding curiosity and care: "When someone trusts that we're actually interested in understanding them--that we're not manipulating things to get our way, that we're not trying to win or prove them wrong--they can stop defending themselves and just hear what we're saying" (page 75).

Focus on what matters: "In some respect, we can boil the essence of any communication down to one of these two messages: 'Please, meet my need' or 'Thank you, you've met my need.' . . . When we hear one another in this way, our heart responds with two profound emotions. . . . [compassion and gratitude]" (page 132).

Bringing it all together: "Humanizing the other person requires the humility and empathy to step outside of your own story and consider other perspectives. If you can put yourself in their shoes and imagine, even for a moment, what might be going on for them, it can have a profound effect on the conversation" (page 231).

The design of a nonfiction book is essential to readers trying to absorb as much information as possible. Say What You Mean, by Oren Jay Sofer, features subtitles, charts, practice items, principles defined, Q&A, and key points throughout the book, reminding and reinforcing the ideas taught within its pages.

Plus, in the printed version of the book, a sound icon is included next to certain practices indicating that there is a companion guided-audio practice on Sofer's website. This is a great additional feature.

As a huge fan of inspirational and thought-provoking quotes, I loved how Sofer opened each chapter with a quote on the art and power of communication.

Truly, the only point in this book that I disagreed with was the concept of saying no to someone. I'm a true believer that I have a right to say no to anyone for any reason without needing to give an explanation. Sofer advises, "If you say no without affirming their needs in some way, the other person may interpret your response as not caring about them" (page 204). I recognize that I will always have room to grow into a better person, and this may be one of those areas, but for now, I reserve my right to say no without justification.

Some of my favorite lines from the book:

"Our words are carried on a wave of breath, the same breath that feeds the cells of our body with oxygen from the moment we are born until the moment we die. Pause to take this is for a moment: we use the same physiological process to speak as we do to sustain our life energy" (pages 18-19).

"The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place" (page 94).

"When one speaks authentically, vulnerability carries tremendous power" (page 123).


In conclusion, I highly recommend Say What You Mean, by Oren Jay Sofer, to everyone--especially to parents, partners, public speakers, salespeople, teachers, leaders, and learners.





[I received a complimentary copy of this book from FSB Associates in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.]

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Scariest Part: Margo Kelly Talks about WHO R U REALLY?

The scariest part of this novel is the truth inside, because much of the story happened in real life. The good news is: my daughter is fine and thriving. But the bad news is: there are too many teenagers across the nation who go missing every single day because they were beguiled by an online predator. I know it sounds like yesterday’s news, and in some sense it has become boring to adults. But that only makes it easier for the guy trying to lure your child away. And today, there are new avenues to do just that.

My daughter participated in an innocent online role playing game where she met a guy. He seemed nice. He seemed to need a friend. He seemed safe. But in fact, he was none of these things.

Over a year’s time, while I thought she was playing a simple game, this guy manipulated her and had her convinced they were in love. Not only had they exchanged cell phone numbers, but they had also arranged a time and place to meet … after school and before sports practice. That meant he would have had her for hours before I ever even went to pick her up from practice. Luckily, I discovered texts on her phone before anything came to fruition. But one of the scariest things was that she chose to believe a complete stranger over her own mother. He’d swayed her so well. He was an expert at what he did.

The plot of Who R U Really? offers up several fictional characters for readers to suspect as the online predator, and I won’t give away the details of that story here. But I will tell you that in real life, the predator had convinced my daughter (who was eleven going on twelve at the time) that he was a nineteen-year-old boy who needed a friend. In fact he was about three decades older. And because he lived in another state and because I stopped the process before he harmed her, there was nothing the police could do about it. Of course they investigated, but he had not yet broken any laws when it came to my daughter. Even though the police knew exactly who he was and where he lived, they could only watch him. I hope they still are, because as far as I know, he is still online playing games with young kids and trying to lure them away from their parents. He’s even fished around and tried to reconnect with my daughter over the years.

A local police detective said to my daughter, “It is your job to tell others—your real everyday friends that you go to school with—tell them what happened to you, so nothing like this can happen to them.” My daughter agreed. This novel was born with the hopes of helping others spot and unmask internet predators.

Here are a few tips for young adults to stay safe online:
1) Only accept friend requests on FB (and other social media) from people you know in your everyday life.
2) Be transparent with the people in your real life who love you.
3) Trust your parents. You don’t have to always agree with them, but trust that they have your best interests in mind.
4) Keep your actual birthdate, phone number, email, street address, even city private. No one online needs to have that personal information about you.
5) Most importantly, remember that there is strength in numbers. Use the buddy system, and do not ever meet an online acquaintance by yourself. Not ever. Just don’t even play with the idea.

While my daughter did the opposite of several of these above items, she is now my hero for being willing to share her personal choices, conversations, and feelings, regardless of the negative judgment she might receive as a result.

Who R U Really? is primarily a work of fiction, but the essence of the plot is what happened when my daughter was nearly abducted. And that’s the scariest part.

...

“Inspired by her own daughter's terrifying story, Kelly has painted a realistic picture of how a smart girl can get caught up in something dangerous online. Guaranteed to give readers goosebumps—particularly as events heat up toward the end. … A good choice for families to read together.” – School Library Journal 

“Thea’s mistakes, while frustrating to encounter, are frighteningly plausible, and the relationships among characters are well–fleshed out, especially between mother and daughter. Kelly’s first novel is a suspenseful page-turner with multiple suspects, a little bit of romance, and a strong but not overbearing message.” – Kirkus Reviews 


To learn more about Who R U Really? simply click here or click on the tab at the top of the page.