Please sign up for email alerts at my new site!

Hello there…

Lately, there have been some wonderful folks signing up for e-alerts for web updates but unfortunately, old lingering WordPress links from past articles and blogs  are causing a little confusion and you are signing up for updates from this now defunct site.

Please visit www.chriskuhnauthor.com and scroll down to the bottom (or the side, depending on your device) and sign up for e-alerts there. You’ll receive notifications whenever new blogs are posted. I sure would love to have you interact with me over there. So please follow the link and join me at my author site/blog.

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaasssssssseeeeeee!  😀    Thank you for your support…always!   *blows you a kiss

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CHRIS’S CORNER Welcomes Guest Blogger Tamie Burdick of Bookish Temptations: Genre Trends

This week’s guest blogger holds a special distinction and place in my heart, and is not actually aware of this herself. Tamie Burdick at Bookish Temptations is the first book blogger I began following after I discovered the contemporary romance genre, and in particular, the incredible writings of one Mr. Sylvain Reynard, quite possibly…no, definitely…my favorite writer in the genre. It was her book blog that helped me get swept up in sharing the excitement with other fans of his work as well as the similarly awesome writing of such masterful authors as Colleen Hoover, Tammara Webber and others.

Tamie started the site in October 2011 after working with another book blog, and soon realized she could add greater reach and value for readers by building her own team committed to passionate book discussion. Now this trusty posse of very diligent and busy cohorts invites readers on a daily basis to engage in a dialogue about their favorite books and authors, with each other, with the bloggers and often with the authors themselves.

I’ve since begun following a number of other excellent book bloggers, as well, who go out of their way to keep readers updated on the latest author news and offer access to cool contests and exclusive book information. If you’re a reader, you know the service that book bloggers provide, and if you’re an author, you recognize the influence and weight their opinion can potentially carry. With Bookish Temptations garnering nearly 10,000 blog followers, I thought Tamie was the perfect person to share a little insight on what she’s seeing as trends in the genre she (and I) and so many readers have fallen madly in love with…contemporary romance. Swoon. So take it away, Tamie…

And you can follow Tamie and Bookish Temptations on Twitter here.

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BookTempt

When Chris asked me to share my thoughts on trends in the contemporary romance genre, and the direction it may be headed in, I was honored. It’s the genre I read and review/spotlight the most on Bookish Temptations. It’s a topic near and dear to my heart.

As far as trends go here’s some of what I’m seeing…

The line between romance and erotica is getting blurrier by the day. They really were very distinct genres not that long ago. I’m a fan of the incorporation for the most part. I enjoy both genres as long as they’re well written.

That’s the tricky part tho. I’m afraid many authors feel the need to write more graphically than they are comfortable with. What can start as a great story becomes awkward and uncomfortable to me as a reader when this happens.

Throwing in sex for the sake of sex, or using sexual words does not a good story make. It takes a certain skill to balance the romance of a story and to include really great erotica.

My advice to authors is simple. If you aren’t comfortable writing it…then don’t. You can make and develop an extremely satisfying sensual scene without the explicitness. I have many favorite authors that do just that. As a reader and reviewer, I’m far happier with that than feeling like I want to flounce on a book because the author is chasing a certain audience.

Two trends that may or may not be related? The prevalence of series and the shortening of books. Series books aren’t new of course, but it sure seems like there are less and less stand alone novels and more stories that are being made into sequels, trilogies, and beyond. At the same time novels seem to be getting shorter, and I have wondered if authors are being encouraged to write with that in mind.

It’s no secret that I love lengthy stories and series as well, so I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. I’m all for authors telling the most complete story they can, and it’s hard for me to leave some characters behind. I’ve read some novels that actually needed a 3rd book, but I’ve also read some recently that could’ve been told in 2 longer books.

Epilogues…no, they aren’t a new invention, but I see them more and more and more and…I FLOVE this trend. I’m actually starting to get disappointed when I don’t see one at the conclusion of a stand alone or at the end of a series. It’s the perfect way to end with a peek into what happened to our favorite and beloved characters in the future.

Finally, let me cheat just a little…this really can’t be considered a trend, but I have to give a standing ovation to all the fabulous books being written in the New Adult genre. Some of the very best books I’ve read so far this year have come out of this newer classification and I’m thrilled about it. I think this is going to be a huge market for publishers and self- published alike.

Thanks for inviting me to write this guest post , Chris!

CHRIS’S CORNER Welcomes Guest Blogger Cameron Lincoln: In the Zone

I couldn’t be more excited about this week’s guest blogger. I first bumped into author Cameron Lincoln back in March in the Twitterverse. By April, I had gotten an opportunity to enter a fascinating dialogue with him and a few other talented writers in a genre I had never thought about exploring before: erotica. Since then, I’ve read multiple titles from him and some other writers within the genre, and quickly recognized that my own interpretation of what “erotica” meant did not take into account a talented writer’s ability to put his own spin on it.

In Cameron’s case, it was for me a surprising romantic element that weaves throughout the Holiday Heat novella trilogy Waves of Passion, Tides of Lust and Oceans of Desire, as well as his ability to create believable female characters, something that perhaps I unfairly did not expect from a male erotica romance writer. (Now who’s fault was that really…um, the person stererotyping perhaps…MOI?)

Recently, Cameron announced that he’s embarking in another literary direction, as well: a paranormal romance and his first full-length novel. I asked Cameron if he  would mind stopping by my blog this week and as expected, the always charming and ever gracious writer agreed to do so. Cameron sheds some light on what it can be like for a writer building a repertoire in one genre while wanting to scratch that itch to try others. Thanks so much, Cam, for sharing your thoughtful words with us. I’m so happy you could be a part of the Friday series!

You can follow Cameron Lincoln on Twitter here.

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CamLincoln

 

My name is Cameron, and I’m a writer.

So, what kind of stories do you write?

 

The kind with words, generally. They’re usually made up, but not always. The people in them are just like you and me, even if they’re from Mars, or fighting inter-dimensional robots or going at it like unbridled animals on an office desk. Especially then, in fact.

I mean, what kind of stories.

I write erotica and romance. Romantic erotica, really…

I knew it! You’re an erotica writer!

 

No, I’m a writer. I just happen to be writing erotica and romance a lot at the moment. I’ve written other things. Thrillers, sci-fi, horror…

But you’re an erotica writer really, right? That’s your comfort zone.

 

Umm…

When it comes to writing, is there really such a thing as a comfort zone? If you ponder the moments in life that you’re truly comfortable, you may be romantic about it, picturing being safely ensconced in the arms of the one you love; or, if you’re more of a realist, then you’re sitting in your undies eating cookies straight from the pack. Or perhaps I’m revealing too much there. Let me tuck it back.

As a species, we like to see people doing things they’re good at, and if you establish yourself as being good at something, folks generally like to see you do that thing forever more. Admit it…when your favourite singer made a go of being an actor, you cringed, right? Though probably not as much as when your favourite actor picked up the microphone. For every Fresh Prince, there’s a Bruno.

People don’t forget, and readers have mental bookmarks to save previous chapters of their favourite writers’ lives. Stephen King, regardless of whatever book he has just released, is known for horror. JK Rowling will always be ‘the Harry Potter lady.’ Nothing E.L James creates from now on will ever be spoken of without restraints and floggers coming up. But is writing about adolescent witchcraft really Rowling’s comfort zone? Is that – as epic and rich as it is – the only story she ever wanted to tell? Heck no. But it’s the one people expect her to tell, over and over again.

I love stories, as any reader does, and I love them in all their forms. The lyrical beauty of poetry and the rich tapestry of a novel; the heartwrenching majesty of a song that speaks directly to the soul; the pulse-pounding transcendent thrill of a great movie or the bombastic pizzazz of a comic book. I love the flop sweats and shivers brought on by horror, the mind bending delights of science-fiction and the dreamy fantasies brought on by romance. I live for storytelling, and I want to turn my pen to every last genre and medium that gets me excited.

My comfort zone is writing. Creating. Fabricating lies that ironically, must tell the absolute truth. Whether you’re telling stories for yourself or for others to read, there’s a never-ending itch that no end of scratching will cure. To tell more stories. To try new things, to explore new genres, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly… Wait. That’s someone else’s story. Damn, I want to tell one that starts just like that…

I’m recognised now for erotica, but I’d hate to think that was what was expected of me until my fingers drop off. My next big project is a novel in the paranormal genre with a heavy focus on romance. After that, who knows? Either way, accompanied by the relentless clack of the keys – and a big supply of Hobnobs and boxers – I’ll be perfectly comfortable in my zone.

 

A Bit of Book News and My Incredible Best Friend, Why?

It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged. I’m sure you’ve had those kinds of weeks, too. Where everything took a little longer than planned. And when you needed things to be finished, they kept creeping back into the picture as unresolved. I owe a handful of some tremendous people my heartfelt thanks and the greatest virtual backrubs imaginable for their help in keeping me afloat. Muddled through it, all because of you.

Some have asked me what the latest is with my book, so I thought I’d share here. At least what I’m able to at this time.

My book The Muse Unlocked is still on target for a June release. I should have a date to share in a few weeks but it’s appearing to be closer to mid-June or late-June.  And of course, a little cover reveal might be headed your way in a few weeks, as well. So stay tuned for that. I have been quite the badger to my poor publicist about it. She knows if I had my way I would blanket the skies with one now. But I am quickly learning through this process that patience is indeed a virtue.

About time I got a little of that. Heh.

I’m excited that I’ll be able to share with you so many new places that we will be able to hang out together beyond here and Twitter that are all currently in development. But I promise, I will have links for you very soon. In just a matter of weeks.

Holy cow, it really is just a matter of weeks.

<Crickets.>

I might need to go lie down for a bit. Felt a little woosy suddenly.

However, before I do,  just a reminder that tomorrow is Guest Blogger Friday and I’m so excited about this week’s guest who will bring a fresh perspective on a subject that I think will especially be of interest to other writers but hard-core readers, as well. So I look forward to sharing that charming person with you then.

I’d like to leave you with a little thought. This past month, I’ve had many wonderful opportunities to interact with other readers and writers, and in particular, I’ve been able to grow closer to some fellow scribes who I could “talk shop” with and in some rare instances, perhaps be helpful in some small way…from extending a hand to help someone pull themselves out of a creative well, encouraging others to step into a new path or simply cheering them on to grab the laptop by the USB cords and take control of their dream to write before it scurries off or runs around haphazardly and pokes someone’s eye out.

Whether you’re an aspiring writer, a published one stumbling a bit or perhaps a reader who appreciates words and has some other dream that you just — can’t — seem — to — catch! Whew — tiring stuff, that aspiration…ironic word since it does leave most of us breathless, huh? Anyway, regardless of your pursuit, the one piece of advice I have for you is

QMark

NEVER

FORGET

WHY.

Why you want to write….

I was asking this of one good writer friend last night. And it’s quite possible he was ready to block me for my persistance and inability to hold my tongue. But this “why” is the simplest for us to forget, because we let it. We allow ourselves to make excuses and let things and people become distractions that impede our forward motion. You can get busy. You can get fearful. You can even temporarily find yourself in a creative abyss, finding nothing imaginative even remotely near your grasp. But your reasons for writing, your reasons for pursuing your dream, they never go away. They might get buried, blocked, smothered but they never go away. So we must cherish them, keep them safe — keep them pure. Let them be about your love of language, your drive to speak out, your desire to inspire, amuse, entertain, educate, scintillate… CAPTIVATE. And whatever you do, never feed them after midnight. Oh wait, that’s Gremlins. But you get the point.

NEVER

FORGET

WHY.

Why you feel this need to do it…

When you stay from words for awhile because you’re too busy fulfilling your “day job” or tending to other personal needs, do you feel that loss? Are you experiencing a little guilt? Let that be less about flogging yourself for what you haven’t written and more about pushing yourself forward to write more. Excite don’t incite.  Pull don’t drag. Tickle don’t taunt. Remind yourself of all of those many reasons you chose this conduit for letting it flow in the first place.

NEVER

FORGET

WHY.

Why you interact with other writers…

Though I’m confident it’s our magical, sparkling personalities, I’m sure, there is more to it than that. We are your soundboard. We are your cheerleaders. We are your lifeline. Never forget to reach out. I’m the biggest culprit of this one myself, old Ms. Self-Sufficient over here. But sometimes, you need that other voice, you need that long, poking finger on the shoulder reminding you that you are not alone. Not really. Even when it may feel that way sometimes. When you hit a snag, don’t look in the mirror and find all of those reasons you failed, look to your informal townfolk who make up the Village of Championing You and call a town hall meeting. We’ll get to the bottom of this thing. We will. Together.

There is no better quote to leave you with than this beauty. And if you’re not a writer, don’t think you can’t apply it to the significance of your own direct pull on the Earth’s axis and all that you must do, that you were meant to do.

“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.” ~Vladimir Nabakov

Happy reading,
ck

Impressionable Words

Writers have their sources of inspiration, their muses. They have their baggage, too – who are we kidding?

Let’s face it, most of us creative types are about three steps away from rubber walls, and if we’re being honest with ourselves, we know this… (Imagine what it’s like for the people who have to live with us.)

We’re also the product of the many influences that built our early reading experiences and eventually, writing experiences. The authors, playwrights, poets and screenwriters who helped us sculpt our own voice.

I thought about this the other day while having a conversation with a friend…what leads us to where we are. I’m sure an athlete can look back to their first team sports experiences or winning a big game in high school, a performer can reflect on past plays or concerts and remember the first time they read Death of a Salesman or picked up  a musical instrument.

I can pinpoint little things that felt big at the time – essay contests, working for the school newspaper, the first time a paper I wrote was hung on the door of the classroom by the teacher for all to see. The very first time a teacher took the time to tell me that something I had written was well-crafted. Damn. Nothing surpasses that feeling. You’re certain you could soar to the moon. Those are fun moments, proud moments, and they were delicious days that only made me fall in love with words even more than I already did.

But where I truly fell in love with words was not behind the pen but with my head flopped over a set of pages – someone else’s words.

I remember uncovering a true passion for dialogue and falling in love with Tennessee Williams’ fiery characters and heat-drenched words at the age of 13. Letting myself get luxuriously lost amid the perplexing yet intriguing conversations of Edward Albee and Eugene Ionesco. Feeling the emotions well up inside and personalizing the character’s storylines in S.E. Hinton and Judy Blume.

TheStranger

In time, the likes of Harper Lee, J.D. Salinger and John Steinbeck left their mark on my heart. When my mind ached to think outside the box, Albert Camus and Fyodor Dostoyevsky allowed me to stretch my brain to new contemplations and more closely examine the drive and intentions behind my thoughts and actions. As I became more adventurous and seeking new sights, sounds and textures, I uncovered the strange worlds envisioned by Aldous Huxley, George Orwell and Anthony Burgess, and yes, most affectionately, Douglas Adams.

I was hooked.

And it didn’t take long.

I wasn’t moved by Ernest Hemingway like the critics. Charles Dickens simply bored me. And you could keep your Lord of the Flies and Heart of Darkness. Not my cup of tea. I’d much prefer to stay locked inside the pages with Joseph Heller’s Yossarian or Vladamir Nabakov’s Humbert. Well, maybe not Humbert. He can be a little creepy. Of course, at the time I read it, I was much older than what he went for — had to be at least 17 or 18 — so I suppose I would have been safe.

As I grew older, I moved into more non-fiction fodder – the satire and observations of George Carlin, Bill Maher and Al Franken – film biographies and music, TV and cinematic almanacs. Then somewhere around the age of 35 or 36, I started to want to feel again when I read. Not sure what happened exactly. Perhaps it was my own mortality reminding me to tap into those experiences that once touched me profoundly and I returned to reading fiction. Out of nowhere. I gravitated toward the moody and emotionally-driven, that brought me back to my tearful laments over Ponyboy, Sodapop and the gang.

Like much of the world, I discovered the Twilight series (haters, stand back – don’t start with me). It helped tap into something again, and to Stephenie Meyer I’ll be forever grateful. I kept on reading… the Hunger Games series, The Time Traveler’s Wife and within a matter of several years, a little series came out – Fifty something or another – and that not only brought me back to a consistent reading habit again, it led me to go forth and explore other writers. (Again, E.L. James haters, stand back — I don’t want to hear your lashing, either.) I owe her a lot, too, because it introduced me to the likes of the work of Sylvain Reynard, Colleen Hoover, Rebecca Donovan, M. Leighton, Tammara Webber, Tiffany Reisz, and so many more terrific writers.

I was again…hooked. But now, as an…ahem…slightly older me, I found myself more drawn to matters of the heart. Perhaps years of happiness and love after some serious heart ache led me to appreciate that side of me more. For years, I think I tried to hide that. Call it self-preservation. It was hard to let others in. Now, I try to stay open to beautiful things that come along. Life’s too short. Don’t want to miss anything. Aah, the wisdom of Ferris Bueller, I suppose, having its lasting effects.

Books are a beautiful place to get lost. They are also a bountiful garden that any aspiring writer tiptoes through carefully and handpicks those elements she appreciates most, that fill her heart or stir her mind. And she then plants her own little garden and hopes something magical or special might sprout.

I have a book coming out in a little over a month. It’s called The Muse Unlocked. I’m fairly certain it won’t be studied in English honors classes for years to come, and I’m fine with that. I’m just trying to tell a simple, little love story for those willing to listen. And hopefully, there will be some ribcages rattled by a series of chuckles, a mind or two stimulated and maybe a few hearts touched.

One can hope.

CHRIS’S CORNER Welcomes Guest Blogger Kim Jorgensen Gane: The Judy Blume Project (Part 2)

Yesterday, I handed the reins of my blog over to blogger and writer Dana Talusani as part of my Friday guest blogger feature CHRIS’S CORNER. She and her colleague Kim Jorgensen Gane have launched an ambitious endeavor to capture the widespread love and adoration of female readers everywhere across generations for the soothing words and life lessons so gently and thoughtfully doled out by young adult author Judy Blume. Their plan to collect this positive feedback and put it into a lovingly wrapped anthology of heartfelt gratitude is called The Judy Blume Project.

In Part 1, Dana talked about what led to the evolution of the Project. Today in part 2 of this week’s guest blog, Kim picks up with the story and shares what kind of support and feedback have been received so far and how readers can potentially participate in the special anthology tribute.

You can also follow Kim on Twitter here.

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KimJorgensenGane

It took six days. And the Judy Blume Project was born, and we’ve had some wonderful support from people like Chris, in offering us this opportunity to be guests on her blog and wax poetic about our delicious collaboration.  We had a fantastic break from editor, Heather Clisby, of @BlogHerLife with the recent feature of Kim’s post on the CALL FOR SUBMISSION. 

And why has our little #JudyBlumeProject resonated with people?  Because Judy Blume has impacted the lives of so many angst-ridden tween and teenage souls out there, and the soul never forgets.

We remember how Judy helped us deal with puberty and confusion in ways that made us feel like we were neither crazy nor abnormal.  We vividly remember that Judy helped us understand our raging hormones, first love, how fleeting it is and the fact that it was perfectly reasonable for that to be the case, and what to expect when “Ralph” made his first appearance.  Judy helped some readers deal with the loss of someone close and very special to them, and how many different emotions are awakened and that those feelings are perfectly acceptable.

Most importantly, we remember Judy’s unfailing honesty in the face of just about any experience, and the fact that she didn’t talk to us like we were kids.  Like the favorite aunt that slips you Boones Farm Strawberry Hill for the first time, and holds your hair when your puke smells of the putridly sweet stuff, Judy Blume listened and was there any time you could smuggle a flashlight beneath the covers—honesty without the side of judgment.

Chances are if you’re reading this, you feel the same way.  There is no wrong answer, there is nothing too poignant or too horrific or too funny to share with us about your memories of the works of Judy Blume, and how they impacted you, rescued you, saved your sanity, or made you laugh.

So here’s what you need to do:

1. Write the damn thing! (Around 500 words, but we’re not picky.)

2. Grab our cute little badge from Dana (source code is listed below this #2 entry), apply that and the links to either or both Kim’s or Dana’s CALL FOR SUBMISSION posts (this is so that all posts are cohesive and recognizable, and of course so that your friends and followers can find us and participate as well—the more the merrier!).

center><a href=”http://thekitchwitch.com/2013/03/the-judy-blume-project-update/“><img border=”0″ src=”http://thekitchwitch.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/blume-button.jpg“/></a></center>

3. Post it to your blog (if you have one, if you don’t, email it to either Kim or to Dana).

4. Post the link for YOUR #JudyBlumeProject blog post/submission to OUR Facebook page.

5. Tweet, retweet and promote the crap out of it on Facebook, too (using the #JudyBlumeProject hash tag, @thekitchwitch and @KimJGaneWCPosse—we want to TREND on Twitter), and implore your followers and friends to join in the fun. Persuade them that they do NOT have to be a writer to participate! They need only have a vivid memory of and love for Judy.

6. SUBMISSIONS are OPEN THROUGH THE END OF JUNE 2013…but please don’t make us wait that long!

7. Selected submissions may be subject to light editing, and participants can expect to be contacted sometime in July as to whether their piece will be included in the finished anthology. For some, this could be a first official author credit!

 

CHRIS’S CORNER Welcomes Guest Blogger Dana Talusani: The Judy Blume Project (Part 1)

Last week, I launched a new #FollowFriday-inspired feature called CHRIS’S CORNER. Every Friday, I ceremoniously hand over control of my blog to a special guest whom I feel has a message or expertise of interest to my readers and blog subscribers. In the inaugural edition, author and blogger Carrie Bailey of Peevish Penman introduced herself and shared wonderful advice on what to expect if given the responsibility of being a guest blogger. Seemed an appropriate enough topic, and one met with enthusiasm from readers.

Today, I’m excited to touch upon a very different subject— the impact and legacy that one woman’s work can have on generation after generation of women of all ages, ethnicities, social backgrounds and geographic locations. (No, this blog is not about E.L. James.) Her name is Judy Blume and for most women ages 18 to 50, she has served in any number of prestigious roles, from second mama or big sis to guide, counselor or friend. Her books have reached many of us at a time when trying to understand what was going on within our minds, our hearts and especially our bodies was far more difficult to comprehend than any subject in grade school.

I recently came upon two thoughtful and witty writers who learned of just how far-reaching Blume’s impact has extended and an intriguing and global endeavor they’ve taken on to capture that impact in one loving, affectionate anthology, a love letter of sorts, to an author who has left an indelible impression.

It’s called The Judy Blume Project, and the women behind it are bloggers and writers Dana Talusani and Kim Jorgensen Gane. I even blogged about my discovery of the project earlier in the year. I asked them if they would share the story of how the project evolved and what my friends here reading this blog can possibly do to take part, should they feel a special kinship with Ms. Blume and her legion of fans worldwide.

Here in Part 1, Dana shares the impetus behind the Project. Tomorrow, Kim will share in Part 2 exactly what you can do for a potential opportunity to participate.

You can also follow Dana on Twitter here.

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DanaTalusani

On a warm evening last September, I failed my ten-year old daughter.

Don’t get me wrong—I’ve made mistakes a-plenty since the day she was born—but somehow it always shocks me, this coming up short.

I should have been more present, more prepared. But I wasn’t. I wasn’t prepared on the morning when she shyly asked me to shave her underarms. I wasn’t prepared to discover that there was hair sprouting in other places, too. I wasn’t prepared to see the stretch marks—red, angry tiger stripes—on her budding breasts. I thought I had so much more time.

True, I’d bought her 3 cute sports bras last year and stealthily placed American Girl: The Care and Keeping of You on her nightstand, but for puberty to swoop down and snatch my daughter in her vicious, whirlwind talons seemingly overnight?  Seven kinds of wrong.

I couldn’t decide how to feel…angry or proud or panicked or cheated or sentimental. Turns out, it was all of those things.

So on a September evening, I sat next to my daughter on the front porch, grasping for my bearings, my breath, my words. I didn’t know an elegant way to explain the mechanics of things to a ten-year old and I didn’t expect to bungle it so badly. I didn’t understand that I needed to be okay with her growing up before talking to her about growing up.

She kept her gaze firmly focused on the rabbits scampering in our front yard, squared her jaw,  jiggled her legs staccato-fashion, and did not want to hold my hand.

It hurt when she didn’t want to hold my hand because I really, really wanted to hold hers.

Instead, the hand that I coveted went militantly into the air.

“Mom. Mom. Just stop talking. STOP. Stop talking, okay? I’d rather read about it in the book.”

So I let her go, my little rabbit, back inside to safe territory. I remained on the porch, dug my fingers into my scalp and wept a little. I wept and thought, “Dammit, where is Judy Blume when you need her?”

At that moment, I desperately wanted Judy sitting next to me on that porch, extending her hand. She’d know how to make this all better.

Judy Blume:  Surrogate mother of my generation.  Sparing no detail, she explained the weirdo stuff happening to my body— stuff that I was mortified to broach with my own mother. She made me not so frantic about the roaring in my head and in my heart. She gave me a compass when I was convinced I was lost in the woods. And here I was, a grown woman, fumbling through the woods again; needing guidance.

It took me a few days to lick my wounds before I could write about failing my daughter.  It was a hard and humbling piece to write, and I wrestled with myself before hitting “publish.”  But I did.

I hit publish because it wasn’t just a piece about puberty suckage and my parental failure. It was also a love letter of sorts; a love letter to a woman who meant so much to me in those tender, thundering years. I thought Judy deserved that kind of tribute.

Turns out, a lot of other women agreed. A lot. Almost as soon as I hit that publish button, comments and emails and texts came tumbling in. From women of many nations, of many faiths, of many colors. Women raising their hands in a collective roar of “Me too! Me too! She meant so much….”

I wasn’t necessarily surprised that Judy Blume shaped many women, but I was surprised at the willingness of women to respond and open themselves—many of them women who didn’t know whodahell I was or whatdahell my blog was about or wheredaheck to find me. But it didn’t matter, because none of these women were strangers. We were all connected by the Sisterhood of Judy.

One of these unknown sisters read through the responses/comments on my post and said something to the effect of: “Wouldn’t it be great if *someone* brought all of these voices together? Maybe in anthology form? GOOD LUCK !”

 

Thought #1: Who is this chick?

Thought #2: She is clearly mentally unstable or at least teetering on the ledge, because this idea is crazy.

Thought #3: But what if?

So I emailed Probably Weirdo Crazy Lady.

She responded:

#1. I am Kim and I am a mom and writer who lives in Michigan.

#2. I am only a little mentally unstable. I am a mom, after all. But isn’t life a little richer with a bit of crazy?

#3. What if, indeed. You are onto something here. You should go with it.

Email to Kim: Umm, I don’t think you understand. I am a nervous small dog of a person and just the idea of something this big makes me crackerjackbatshitcrazy.

Email to Dana: I like small dogs. Plus, I am more of a Saint Bernard kind of person, so I can bring you rescue whiskey and carry you on my back down the mountain if you pop crackerjacks.

Email to Kim: Dude, this is not something I can do. I’m a quitter. I am afraid of everything.

Email to Dana: Didn’t you just share a parental  fail on the Internet? You’re not as afraid as you think. This is going to go somewhere. Do it.

Email to Kim: Look man, I’m not going down alone. If I’m gonna fail, I’m taking you with me.

Email to Dana: Let’s Go.

*Some woman* on the internet who just so happened to read my blog and who firmly believes in helping other women to find their voices, their confidence, their bliss and to recognize their true potential, whom I’d never met or talked to in my life, offered her hand and strangely, I found that one hand is sometimes all you need.

One hand. One matchstick can set a fire. 

It took six days. And the Judy Blume Project was born.

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…to be continued tomorrow with Part 2 and how you can get involved with The Judy Blume Project. Stay tuned!

Happy reading!
ck