Bullying is NOT a spectator sport

 When I was sixteen years old, my mother hounded our family doctor into putting me into the hospital for a week. To say she was concerned was an understatement. She was downright scared. She and my father had to physically force me to go to school every day. Once there, I did my best to hide in the band room during breaks and free periods (my tormentors found me in the library at school once…it wasn’t pretty). When I was home, I stayed in my room, headphones on, nose stuck in a book or a pen in my hand as I went away. I was afraid to go out in public in case the tormentors’ parents saw me, because they were just as bad as their kids. I was ashamed to be alive. I hated myself, stopped singing, dancing, playing and making friends. I started carrying a knife in my pocket and would take it out, testing the edge of it against my skin, working up the courage to just slice the wrist and get it over with. My mother was terrified that she was going to lose me. But I was lucky. She fought for me when I had given up.

What was so bad? What did my tormentors do that was so horrible? Was I beaten on a regular basis? No. That was too easily recognized and my tormentors knew that they needed to hide from the adults. What did they do instead? They glued my locker shut. They set a fire in my book bag. They chanted and shook as if in an earthquake whenever I walked from class to class. They yelled every name in the book as I walked by (I was a slut, fat ass, wide load, bitch, trailer trash…). They pushed me into walls and lockers. They knocked things out my hands as I walked by. They spit at me, put gum in my hair, chew their food and threw it in my face. They slapped me, they pinched me, they tripped me when I walked on the stairs. They threw things at me in the classrooms when teachers backs were turned. Rigged desks to explode and break when I sat down on them. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. For four years I didn’t want to go to school in case I ran into these people. I didn’t want to be told I was worthless.

But I could have handled it. Really, I could have. I could even have handled their parents stopping my parents and saying some of the same damn things at the Fire Hall or pulling things out of our cart at the grocery store because it was ‘part of the problem’. I could have dealt with the teachers saying that bullying builds character, that those were the good kids and they wouldn’t do anything like that. I could have dealt with it if somebody, anybody, had just called my tormentors on their shit. If one person had said, sincerely, that what they were doing wasn’t right. Instead of laughing along with the bully. If one person, besides me, had turned to them and said grow up.

Thanks to my mom, I made it out of high school alive. I went on to university and graduated with a teaching degree.  And then, because I remembered what had happened to me, I went back into the trenches. I call the bullies on their behaviour. I tell them to grow up. But it feels like I’m fighting a losing battle. I need help. It doesn’t have to be hard. When you see someone being bullied, say ‘that’s not okay’ and TURN AWAY. Don’t let girls call each other sluts and bitches in front of you and laugh at it. Don’t spread rumors about people and when you hear rumors, squash ’em (ask where they got their information, how can they know its the truth, what would they do if someone said that about them? Call them on it!). Call an adult in private if you don’t want to be involved and TELL THEM WHAT IS GOING ON (do this with multiple people), get involved with the person being bullied, don’t let the victim walk away feeling like you approved of what the bully did. Don’t let them think you agree with what the bully was doing. You don’t have to make friends with them, just tell them that they didn’t deserve that treatment, that no one deserves to be treated as worthless. Even the bullies. Don’t watch it happen like it’s reality television (and BAD reality tv at that) and gossip over it. It’s not entertainment.

And don’t, for heaven’s sake, think that just because you do it on the internet it means you can say ‘Just Kidding’ or ‘I wanted to get a rise out of people’ and that makes it okay. Make the world better, not worse. It’s easy to tear someone down. What’s hard is building someone or something up. Be better than the bullies. Be better today than you were yesterday.

And for anyone being bullied out there, hang on. It does get better. Stay with us. We need you. Please. 

Writerly thoughts…

Based on the Laura Numeroff book…If you give a mouse a cookie

 

If you give a writer a pencil, she’s going to want a piece of paper.

If you give her a piece of paper, she’ll probably want a computer to print it out neater.

If you give her a computer, she’s going to want the internet, so she can do research.

If you give her the internet for research, she’s going to want an email account, so she can sign up for twitter.

If you give her a twitter account she’ll spend a lot of time on the internet, and she’ll want a cup of tea.

If you give her a cup of tea, she’ll want a scone. Which means she’ll have to go out to buy one.

If she goes out to buy a scone, she’ll want to take some paper along with her, in case she thinks of an idea.

And you know, if you give a writer a piece of paper, she’s gonna want a pencil to go with it.

Taryn’s Chat with Zrinka Carolyn Jelic

And in her own words…

Zrinka Jelic lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two children. A member of the Romance Writers of America and its chapter Fantasy Futuristic &Paranormal, as well as Savvy Authors, she writes contemporary fiction—which leans toward the paranormal—and adds a pinch of history. Her characters come from all walks of life, and although she prefers red, romance comes in many colors. Given Jelic’s love for her native Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, her characters usually find themselves dealing with a fair amount of sunshine, but that’s about the only break they get. “Alas,” Jelic says, with a grin. “Some rain must fall in everyone’s life.”

 

Find me on: Facebook Twitter 
Watch the book trailer: Bonded by Crimson
 
And without further ado…

1.      Who was your first author crush and why?

I’m not sure if crush is the right word since most of the authors I like are women. First one that comes to mind is Colleen McCullough author of “Thorn Birds”. I think I was thirteen or fourteen years old when I read the book and just wept. I’ve also read quite few books by Danielle Steel and until today my favorite one was “Kaleidoscope”.

2.      What was your first clue you were a writer? Was it a long journey or a short one? Have you always known?

I always liked writing but had no clue I’d become one. My teachers always praised my written assignments. It was easier for me to express my thoughts if I wrote them down, rather than to verbalize them. When I decided to put my stories onto the pages, I too made beginners’ mistakes. Even as an avid reader, I never heard of POV, telling vs. showing, backstory, info dumping and all those other writer’s lingo. So after a numerous writing workshops and courses, I kept perfecting my craft and my hard work paid off.

3.      What are some of your writer-esque quirks (do you have to be in your pjs? always facing the door? Do people look at you after something funny happens and say ‘that’s going in a book, isn’t it?’)?

I’m not sure if I have any quirks. Other than listening to my music. For some songs I have to crank up the volume to the max so to not to disturb hubby while he’s killing zombies on his laptop, I have to put headphones on. Which is ok, they block other noises (kids including) and I can work undisturbed.

4.      Finish this joke: A clown, a priest and a writer all get onto an elevator… by the time they get off, the writer has two more books in making.

5.      Speed round: Without giving it too much thought, pick which one you favour over the other: 

Chocolate                    or         flowers = flowers

Talk                             or         Text = talk

Mountains                   or         Beach = beach

Cowboy                      or         Marine = hmm… Marine if I must

Wine                            or         Beer = wine (a bit)

Cats                             or         Dogs = cats but allergic so dogs I guess

Ebooks                        or         Paperbacks = eBooks (addicted to Kindle)

Pantser                                    or         Plotter = Panster

Batman                        or         Superman = Batman (Superman’s too in love with Lois)

Ability to fly               or         Power to be invisible = Invisible

Prius                            or         Hemmie = Prius

Follow the rules          or         Break the rules = break, but will get into trouble

TV                               or         Movies = Movies

NY                              or         LA = Can I pick Dubrovnik?

Vampires                     or         Angels = Vamp

Fall                              or         Spring = Fall

Neat                            or         Messy = Neat

Werewolf                    or         Genie = Um, both

Tell jokes                     or         Pull pranks = jokes

Home cooked meals    or         Go out to a restaurant = home cooked for home body
 
Thank you for hosting me on your blog today. It’s always a pleasure to reach out to new audience and readers. My debut novel “Bonded by Crimson” has been released on January 28th, and it is available in all formats at Black Opal Books, Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and All Romance eBooks
 
BLURB
Love isn’t in the cards for her…
After her short failed marriage, Kate tries to rebuild her life and takes a position as a nanny to three small boys. She quickly grows to love them, but their father, terrifies her, while igniting a passion she didn’t know she possessed. Disturbed by his distant manner with his sons, Kate struggles to make him more involved in the boys’ daily lives. Her efforts are mysteriously supported by an entity that cannot really exist. Or can she? And if she does exist, is she really trying to help Kate, or just take over her body?
But when he deals the hand, all bets are off…
Six years after his beloved wife passed away, Matthias is still trying to become the father she wanted him to be. Not an easy task for a three-centuries-old immortal. His search for the ultimate nanny ends when Kate Rokov stumbles to his home and into his arms. The immediate attraction he feels for her seems like a betrayal of his dead wife, a love he’s harboured for over three hundred years. But when Kate is stalked by a deadly stranger, life he clung to in the past begins to crumble and break down. Can Matthias learn to trust and to love again in time to save his family from disaster, or will his stubborn pride destroy everything worth living for?
 
EXCERPT
Kate left her mother’s small apartment and passed through the Bridge Gate under the steep medieval-defense walls then continued on to the Forum. A central market and public area during Roman times, it lay in ruins for almost two thousand years. Now it was a tourist attraction. Unable to resist the temptation, she ran through the remains and pretended she was a child again, playing hide and seek.
 
She crossed the square to the Church of Saint Donatus. Religious services had not been held here for centuries, but the place made her feel as if she had stepped out of the busy modern world into an unchanging, ancient realm, wrapped in a shroud of mystery, waiting to be awakened again someday.
 
A few tourists, fascinated with the unusual round structure of the building, oohed and aahed at the entrance. She paid the admission and strolled across the three apses cloister. An amateur sang an unrecognizable tune on the small stage. Anywhere else in the world, his singing would sound like strangling a cat, but the stark interior provided acoustics that made his voice bearable.
 
The steep stairs took her to the first floor arcade where she walked around, looking down on the ground level until she completed the circle. This was her little ritual each time she visited here.
 
The thick, stonewalls kept the heat out. She took a deep breath, sat, and pulled the laptop out of her bag. So, what else was new here, besides the marble floor? She scanned the interior while her computer booted, taking note of the plexiglass coverings on the windows. Good, it kept the pigeons out.
 
Street noises mixed with the clunking sounds of guys setting up chairs on the lower level for the concert venue of the Annual International Festival of Renaissance Music.