Thursday, March 31, 2011
This entry isn't about writing--exactly. What it's really about is drawing inspiration from tidbits of other people's lives, and allowing our imaginations to tweak our personal realities.
You see, I'm a mermaid. Ah, but to say so now is to buy the fish before the aquarium,but indulge me while I wax poetic.
I came from a family steeped--no, if the truth be told, they were more like marinated--in hard, cold reality. S0 much so that I grew up utterly convinced that I was an adopted child. I squandered quite a few Saturday nights searching the house for evidence that would prove me an abandoned or orphaned mermaid princess.
As I'm sure you've gleaned by now, hard, cold reality bores the ever-lovin' hell out of me.
My father, brilliant man that he was and is, has never held much of an appreciation for my infatuation with stuff of myth and legend. While he's by far the most well-read man I've ever known, Daddy's not given to flights of fancy. He is a pure scientist--he relies on the five senses to provide him with the information by which he, in turn, forms his practical reality.
Being the imaginative bairn, I'm sure you can guess some of the arguments my father and I engaged in as I grew up. By some twisted turn of fate, I was the sort of child who dwelled within. I believed in everything my father insisted could not enter the realm of possibility--Santa, faeries, ghosts, selkies, unicorns. Compassionate politics. World peace. Oh, and merpeople.
In spite of the fact that my father used science to convince me of the error of my delusions, I've always remained convinced that I am a mermaid. My fascination with merpeople has followed me into adulthood, and the picture that accompanies this post is of the last mermaid that followed me home from a day trip to Captiva (Heaven on earth if you've never been there....for both human women and mer-types.) To me, mermaids are real. I cannot, will not contemplate a world without them. End of story, don't mess with me on this. Got it?
You'd think that as an adult woman with four children, I would have found cause to doubt my conviction of my semi-piscean state. Certainly none of my offspring came with fins. Could it be that my father was right?
I might have begun to wonder--just a bit. Until today. You see, I ran across a bone fide merman sighting. Not an ancient one, mind you. Rather a recent one. Which means that I am, at the very least, not alone in my convictions that merpeople live and breathe (respirate?).
Fishermen have claimed that they've spotted an amphibious creature resembling a human in the Caspian sea. Gafar Gasanof, the captain of the Baku, an Azeri trawler, told an Iranian newspaper: "The creature was swimming a parallel course near the boat for a long time.
He went on to report, "at the beginning we thought it was a big fish, but then we spotted hair on the head of the monster and his fins looked pretty strange, the front part of his body was equipped with arms."
According to Mr. Gasanot, this 'man of the sea' has been spotted with increasing regularity since off-shore oil production began in the Caspian. Other eyewitness say the marine humanoid is about 5ft 6ins, of strong build with a protruding stomach, webbed hands and black-green hair. His lower lip is said to join smoothly to his neck above the gills.
OK, so he's not exactly the hunkalicious merman I envisioned, but he's a merman nonetheless. And you know, he *could* be a long lost relative of mine. Maybe he's green because he's seasick, homesick, or just plain heart sick from missing his long lost mermaid princess daughter....moi!
As you can see just reading this little tidbit has my muse working overtime. And I'm sure my Daddy is sitting out there somewhere, wondering how on earth any daughter of his (even adopted) could possibly believe such a thing possible.
The point? Allow your world to enchant you and magic will find you.
*Sigh*. So many stories. So little time.
You are soooo lucky! Did you notice on the sidebar that one of our new Wild Women has volunteered to blog with me on Thursdays? Which means that you get to put up with me again this week, and then you get a break to hear from the lovely Robin Wright. (Don't worry, I'm not at all offended by your squeals of joy *g*)
So, what's up in Maree's world that might be worth sharing? Meh. Not much.
I do have a lovely new cover that I'd love to share with y'all but it's not quite 'official' yet so I'm not allowed. *cue major pouting* Maybe next time. If Anne doesn't beat me to it *g*
I have a hot excerpt from Scent Of A Man coming up in the new Eye On Romance Sizzling Scenes eNewsletter on 16th April. BTW, this excerpt differs from the excerpts up on the Red Sage website and my personal website, so if you're a subscriber I hope you like it!
Other than that, I guess we could discuss the train-wreck that became how NOT to respond to a review over at Big Al's Books and Pals, courtesy of self-pubbed author Jacqueline Howett. (Warning. The comments section may disturb gentle readers... especially those who have an unabiding horror of bad grammar and poor sentence construction.)
Yikes. Dropping the f-bomb and spewing abuse is hardly gonna endear you to the reviewer or his blog commenters, let alone potential buyers of your book. And wouldn't you know it, this whole hot mess has migrated to the Twitterverse and the Amazon discussion boards. Gee, how on earth could that have happened? *shakes head in despair at the state of the world today*
Please. Take Aunty Maree's advice and if you really feel compelled to leave a comment about a not-so-hot review of your book, then fergodsakes do a Carla Cassidy.... like Carla did with her response to a review of her book Pregnesia on the Smart Bitches blog. She handled it with such grace and wit, that she had people rushing off to buy her book and coming back to comment that they'd done so. Now that, people, is a class act.
We could also touch on whether you're a complete nut-job to turn down an OMG FREAKING HUUUUUGE advance in favor of self-publishing your own books. But I reckon Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler might have already said it all on Konrath's blog interview with Eisler.
On the other end of the spectrum, there's Amanda Hocking, who made an OMG FREAKING HUUUUUGE bundle of money from self-publishing her own books. And who has now accepted an OMG FREAKING HUUUUUGE contract deal with St Martins Press.
Good move? She seems to think so -- you can read what Amanda has to say about it here.
And she's keeping her options open, too. You go, girl!
And on a more personal note, what do you think of the social media site LinkedIn? I was finally convinced to join up a few months ago and already I'm seriously considering disabling my account. Why? Well, let me tell you why.
I decided early on I wouldn't be as active on LinkedIn as I am on Facebook and Twitter, simply because I don't have the time. So I set up my profile, sucked in my blog and Twitter feeds, and left it at that. I did a couple of recommendations when asked. I joined a writers group where I lurk more than get involved on a regular basis. And I pretty much accept anyone who wants to link with me.
And here's the thing. Numerous people who've asked to link with me wait till I accept and then immediately subscribe me to their newsletters -- the majority of which I am in no way, shape, or form, interested in. (To put it politely.) Then, I'm forced to waste my time figuring out how to unsubscribe and, to add insult to injury, often cannot unsubscribe unless I give a reason for wanting to do so. DUH! How about because I didn't sign up for your newsletter and it's bloody rude to do it without asking? How about, I don't sign you up for MY newsletter without asking your permission, so is it too much for you to extend the same courtesy to me?
Apparently so. Apparently many people treat LinkedIn as a one-stop shop to harvest emails from people and then spam them with their newsletters.
Don't do it. Please. Because even if you DO have a newsletter that might interest me, I'm that bloody-minded person who'll not buy anything from you and will block your emails and website IP address because you annoyed me by signing me up without permission.
As Jenn said yesterday: Stick a fork in me, I'm done. Woohoo!
See you in a fortnight....
Be careful out there!
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
At the top you'll see our new author pages, so feel free to click to your heart's content and learn more about each of us. I'm looking forward to getting to know these gals, and find out about their exciting upcoming releases.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
As an writer, I realize not all readers are going to view it quite the same way. I've had a hell of a time with one particular scene in No Limits, after the hero, Rhys, and heroine, Genevieve have been together for a while with no commitment between them, no promise of a future. After tasting their own mortality and the sheer amount of hopeless odds stacked against their relationship, he pushes her away. He's convinced he is going to die and doesn't want her to grieve for him or even worse, to die along side him. This is a spin that's been used many times over but the difference here? She does it.
I really have a love/hate relationship with this scene, considered pulling it out of the book several times over. I love it because it's a red hot scene and the other man is sex on a stick. I hate cheating in general and loath it in romance novels in particular. But is it cheating when no one is getting paid and no one is being betrayed? She's hurt, he's hurting, the adrenaline is running high and there are copious amounts of booze and a little empathic intoxication going on.
There is a double standard here because I would never, ever, EVER write the man as the possible cheater, regardless of the situation. For my heroes, it's the woman I wrote for him or nothing. Might as well castrate yourself now buddy boy because the old skin boat to tuna town has sailed.
In the end, I have to accept that this element will turn some readers off. In a couple of ways it turns me off too. But in the end, the story is called No Limits for a reason. I'd be cheating my readers if I held back, whitewashed over the scene out and fluffed up some other external conflict that wouldn't require the copious amounts of soul searching this one act inspires in all of the main characters. And that's a kind of cheating I simply won't tolerate.
Acceptable or way too much? What's your take?
Friday, March 25, 2011
Series: Bad Medicine
Title: Covert Wishes
ISBN : 978-1-60521-568-6
Genres: Paranormal, Futuristic
Themes: Interracial, Magic and Mayhem
Release Date: March 18, 2011
Author: Anne Kane
Publisher URL Changeling Press - Erotic Fiction
Jenna has a secret -- her alien blood makes her completely lose control during sex. It takes a strong man to be able to stand up to her demands, and so far she hasn't found one strong enough to want to come back for more. On the eve of the biggest Sci-Fi convention in the known universe, she makes a wish. Now it's up to Doug, the sexy troubleshooter from the Wishes Gone Wrong department of Wishlabz Inc. to make sure it comes out right. Because a wish gone wrong can be a very dangerous thing...
Thursday, March 24, 2011
It's interesting -- well, I find it interesting so I hope you will, too -- to take a look at something you've been doing for a long time, and see how your process has evolved. How you went about it then, compared with how you go about it now.
If it's a "good" evolution -- something that's more efficient and works better for you -- then you might want to chart the course of that change, and analyze what motivated you to evolve your original process.
Why would you want to do that? Well, because you'd be surprised how you can "map" successful processes across from one task to another. What I mean by that is analyzing your process for doing something that you're really good at, and applying the same techniques you use for that process to something you struggle with.
For example, take a kid who's a pretty good artist, but is never happy with her artwork projects, and inevitably ends up being pressed for time and running close to deadline. Maybe the composition isn't quite right -- it kinda looks like she's crammed everything on the page to make it fit. Maybe there's too much going on in the picture, meaning the main focus of the concept is lost. Or maybe it's a great piece of artwork if you take it at face value, but it doesn't adhere to the parameters that have been set for the project, so it doesn't "work".
Okay, so here's when mapping across could help.
What is she really good at? Writing stories. She doesn't have to work so hard at those. Creative writing is easy for her.
So let's take a look at a story she wrote for a school magazine that she's particularly proud of, and analyze what she did when she wrote that story. She had a concept. She knew her two main characters. She had a setting. She had a beginning scene, a middle, and an end scene in mind. She knew the limits, in this case word length so it would fit on X number of magazine pages. She'd unknowingly planned it all in her head before she even started, so when she sat down to write it, the story just flowed and needed very little polishing or tweaking afterward.
Apply that to her artwork projects:
What she's doing now is jumping in the deep end with only a vague idea of what she wants to draw, and nothing much else. She's getting all excited about her idea, and cutting straight to the final stage because she's eager to apply all the colors and textures and every other technique she's learned.
What she needs to do is plan the drawing/poster/collage or whatever first. Come up with a concept. Choose the materials. Decide the main focus of the drawing. Sketch it out on the page. Tweak it to make sure the composition works and fits the paper. Take a step back and check whether it fits the parameters that have been set for the project. Then go for it.
An owl collage she did is an excellent example. The owl was her "high concept". It was "colored in" with a whole heap of words and phrases that she thought represented her as a person. But it didn't fill the page she had to use, and she had no idea how to use the owl based on the strict parameters the teacher had set for the project. Cue one really frustrated kid, who's running out of time to pull the project together to her own very high standards by the project deadline.
Rather than discarding hours and hours of painstaking work and starting all over from scratch, we got her to think about the owl as a character in a story. What would be the setting? What would the owl be doing? What other characters would be in that story?
She came up with the idea of an owl perched in a tree, watching over a nest of eggs. The tree represented her potential for growth. The eggs represented the things that she loved, things that made her feel safe and happy, and things that she needed to nurture so she could reach her full potential. Once she came up with the "story" for her owl, the rest of the collage came together very quickly. And standing up in English class to talk about her collage was a breeze.
Looking at the "Bio Shock" inspired painting she's doing for her brother's bedroom wall right now, I think she's learned from that collage, and evolved her process. It's looking pretty darned awesome. And, more importantly, she's having fun with it!
Now this isn't some poorly disguised analogy to suggest that writers "must" plot their stories first. Nyah uh. I know better than that!
I used to believe I was incapable of plotting. It was like having my teeth pulled. Without an anaesthetic. By a bad-tempered, sleep-deprived dentist with a huge grudge. I used to believe plotting sucked all the fun out of writing a story. Then I got "stuck" about 1/4 of the way into a manuscript. And after many abortive attempts to "write through the block", my only way forward was to write paragraph-long summaries of scenes, thus plotting the rest of the story. Which made me realize the story so far hadn't been working, and I'd gotten stuck because some of my already written scenes needed to be further along in the story. Shuffle them round a bit and voila! It flowed and as an added bonus, the pace was much, much faster. Then all I had to do was write to fill the gaps between scenes. Not as fun as complete pantsering, perhaps, but a valuable lesson that allowed me to finish writing the damn story.
I’ve since used that kind of plotting technique to help me in the revision process, too. A chunk of the story wasn't working but at that late stage of the process -- deadlines! *shudder* -- I couldn't toss it and completely rewrite the story. So I cut out four or five chapters, and saved them to another file. Then I plotted scene by scene what needed to happen within the already set structure and parameters of the original story. Funnily enough, a large proportion of those cut scenes ended up pasted back in with very little tweaking -- just not in the places I'd expected!
But all this doesn’t mean I’ve embraced the evil ‘P’ word. Plotting is just another technique in my writers toolbox and I use it when I need to. Still, I've been looking at my process lately, and discovered I've evolved from the dedicated pantser I used to be. With my current manuscript, I’ve morphed into what my good friend author Helene Young terms a “scener” – I imagine a scene, and when it’s fully realized in my mind, I sit down and write it.
So pantser, plotter, scener, that’s me -- for now, anyway. Nothing like being flexible, right?
And that's what evolving as a writer is all about. Being flexible. Being open to trying something different if what you're currently doing isn't working. Perhaps looking at something totally unrelated that produced a result you're really proud of, and "mapping across" your process for that to your current manuscript.
Confession time: I did once plot an entire story before I sat down to write it. I'm proud of that one: it's my upcoming Red Sage Secrets Volume 30 anthology story, Kat On A Hot Tin Roof.
And speaking of Secrets Volume 30, the contributing authors (Alice Gaines, Nicole North, Anne Kane and me -- OMG, me... Squeeeeee! ) got together to brainstorm a name for the anthology and we came up with this: Secrets Volume 30: Desires Unleashed. Has a nice ring to it, don't you think? *g*
That's all from me this week.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Only a writer would think this way, but in the midst of my fear while I was packing up supplies and food to take with us during the tsunami evacuation (mandatory, complete with sirens blaring, and my kids were terrified), I remember thinking: "I have to remember what this feels like so I can get it down on the page next time I write an action scene". I know the rest of you writers get where I was coming from on that point.
As we loaded up clothing, blankets, food, water and TP into our rental car, my extended family we'd traveled with were teasing me. They know I hate to fly and that I'm not a big fan of traveling, and in all the worldwide adventures the rest of them had been on, never once had they experienced a tsunami evacuation. Until I came along :) "It's gonna make for an awesome blog post," I said, before climbing into the car and heading for higher ground. Nobody knew how high the waves would be when they reached the islands, or how many of them there'd be. Or if we'd have hotels to return to once it was over. We spent the night parked at 1,000 feet up the side of Mauna Kea, near a place called Waikaloa Village.
Turned out the big island's west coast suffered minimal damage, but just south of us in Kona they lost several houses and a few resorts had to close because of flooding, etc. We were uncomfortable cramped up in our car on the hillside for the night, but at least we were safe. Plus my kids thought it was awesome to be able to pee outside.
So that's what I've been up to, if you were wondering. I also sold another naughty novella to Carina Press, so that should come out sometime this fall or winter. Hey, how come writing erotic romance novellas is so much easier than writing single title romantic suspense?
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Wow! This is me posting On Time! Because I actually had an idea for a post in advance! *excuse me while I fall off my chair from the shock of it all*
So. I've been noticing a few references to Romance Trading Cards on various social media lately. And then, over at the Odd Shots blog -- great blog, BTW. You really should check it out -- Meljean Brook shared the trading card for Demon Blood, featuring her heroine, Rosalia.
Pretty. Shiny. Want!
I believe she designed it herself, too. Clever thing!
But what are Romance Trading Cards? I wondered. And promptly did some digging and discovered that award winning historical romance author Jeannie Lin had this to say:
A chat on Twitter (#romancetradingcards) quickly converged into a fun promotion idea for RT 2011 and RWA 2011. It’s simple — authors print romance trading cards with their heros and heroines and readers can collect them all.
As the questions about design and standardization are beginning to gather so I figured it was time to gather everyone together.
Mmmm. I kinda liked this idea more and more. Only problem was, we no longer had PhotoShop at home, and I didn't think Publisher was gonna hack the nifty little templates that Jeannie had come up with to standardize the look and size of the cards.
But never fear, Jeannie had that covered with GIMP, which just happens to be freeware. Even better, over at the Romance Trading Cards website, she's posted a bunch of videos with step-by-step instructions on how to use GIMP -- a kind of design-your-own-romance-card-using-GIMP for Dummies. Yay!
Cue the most fun few days of procrastination and excuses not to do any actual writing that I've had in a while *VBG*
So here's my first effort at a romance trading card for my novella, Even Demons Get The Blues. This one features Rez, the hero. (First image is the cover of the card, second image is the reverse.)
I think I'm almost happy with them. Just have to figure out where to stick my website address....
I thought I'd do one for Leisa, the heroine of Even Demons Get The Blues, too. And Asmodeus, everyone's favorite totally amoral and devilishly handsome Demon King. Maybe even the angels that got a mention toward the end of the book. Not to mention Brennan and Naamah from the second book in the series. Maybe even a villain or two from that book? Ooh! And let's not forget the delicious Asher AKA Sam Bond, the hero of From The Ashes. And--
Yeah. It's obvious I'd pretty much get right into this trading card thing provided I had the $$ to afford to get them all printed, LOL.
So what do you think of these shiny new collectables for readers?
Another flash-in-the-pan promotional gimmick that will go the way of boring old bookmarks?
Or something fun and memorable that readers might actually want to collect for a long time to come?
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
And in my writing world, there's only one topic that fits that bill; voice.
Voice is one of those nebulous terms writers spend hours trying to define and perfect. It's something literary agents and editors use to distinguish a writer they want to work with. It's something readers recognize even though they rarely define it, a big huge part of a typical author brand, what brings readers back to the same author time and again.
Think of music. I'm going to use Santana's Game of Love as an example here, because I mentioned it in River Rats. Two vocalists were featured in that song, Tina Turner and Michelle Branch. If you've heard both versions of this song you understand that even though the lyrics are the same for the most part, the songs are different. It's the singer's distinctly different voices that make the two songs unique.
In books the same is true. If Saranna, Liane and I were given the exact same plot outlines for a short story, started with the same stock characters in the same exact world and told to meet the same scene goals, you'd still end up with three entirely different stories. And no one familiar with our writing would confuse us.
This is where the how part comes in. Word choice plays a big part in my particular voice. My style is very in your face, let's cut to the chase and any other cliche ending with ase. I'm a minimalist at heart, never use an adverb where a verb will do. I'm heavy handed with the inner monologue in third person and rely on lots of dialogue for first person, preferably the quippy kind.
Voice also includes points a writer chooses to focus on. Something I might toss in as an off the cuff remark, something which to me is worth mentioning but not a focal point, Liane could pick apart and focus on a new angle, creating an offshoot history for the same character. While Saranna might take that same remark and start a whole new conversation with it.
There are too many variables to really describe voice in writing. So I'll give you a quick example from my mystery WIP, Country Fried City Gal.
Almost halfway to our destination he muttered, “I understand why you hate me, Andy.”
My eyebrows went up, shocked he’d dive right in like that. Kyle was a smooth operator, not to the point. Maybe he was just trying to catch me off guard. These games made me tired. “I don’t hate you, Kyle.”
The pure disbelief scrawled across his face was shaded with hope and I hurried to get the whole truth out. “I just don’t want to be around you. It’s a painful reminder of what I lost.”
His Adam’s apple bobbed in his throat. “You mean the baby.”
My shoulders tensed. Even though I thought I’d prepared myself, hearing him say the words still cut me. “No. My faith in innate human decency.”
In this one exchange, I've given you insight into my heroine, Andy, and her history with Kyle as well as her current mindset. I could explain in more detail what's going on, but that isn't the point here. Bottom line, no one could tell Andy's story the same way I could, even if they knew the events that led up to this moment in time.
So that's it, voice is all in the delivery. Next time you read a book by one of your favorite authors try to imagine how much would change if someone else had written it.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Tambra Kendall for Writers Gone Wild
Some days you have to be a wild woman.
Wild varies from woman to woman. There are those like me who are learning how to be wild. I mean by learning boundary setting skills to keep people from walking all over you.
There is such empowerment when you can still be a nice person and say no. The trouble begins when you have some wanker who decides they want to cross that boundary. Many people aren't taught boundary setting skills and the invisible "KICK ME" sign is out there for everyone to take advantage of.
I'm still new at doing this, but I'm fast learning the inner strength I'm gaining in the process. Somehow, this stronger me will show up in my writing making it even better than before.
Not only do I write strong heroines, but I'm becoming one myself.
You see, I'm a survivor and that means I was already strong. Going through so much trauma has filled my well of creativity. It's my job to bring it to the surface in developing characters that resound with readers.
Creativity comes deep from within us pulling out the best the have to give. All it takes is knowledge and skill to polish it and present it to the reader so they can resonate with the stories being told.
Today a fellow author on Facebook told me one of my books came up on the recommended read list. Strong story, strong characters written by Tambra Kendall, wild woman.
Who is your favorite character and why? Can't wait to hear your thoughts!
Daughters of Avalon Publishing
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Nothing too "wild" has happened to me lately. Aside from enjoying the heck out of getting back into dancing again. Oh, and perhaps getting my cholesterol results back yesterday and discovering they're fine and dandy. Which, considering my family history, my lack of exercise & equal lack of care for the kind of food I ate for a large part of last year, is pretty darn good. Go me. Yay.
Yes, to be honest my life is pretty darned standard fare, which is doubtless why I live vicariously through the characters in my manuscripts. And why I have a rather warped imagination. But let's not go there this week *g*
No, this week, let's jump straight into the power of the written word. Specifically, the power of words written by a 12 year old boy, who had been so sorely provoked that he was about ready to lose it and flatten his tormentor.
Here's the set-up:
Kid #1 used to sometimes walk home from school with Kid #2. They weren't friends exactly, more that if they happened to be leaving school at the same time, they'd end up walking together--as you do. And despite Kid #1 being a year ahead of Kid #2, if they saw each other around school, they'd give each other the nod and say, "Hi".
This year, Kid #1 begged and pleaded with his parents to let him bike to school and back. This was a Big Deal, BTW. It meant trusting that he'd not ride on the horrendously busy road, and he'd stick to the bike track along the reserve. It meant trusting that he'd always wear his helmet, and remember to put the lock chain on his sister's bike that he was borrowing for the time being. It meant trusting him because he was growing up and needed to start spreading his wings. Scary stuff.
The first few weeks were fine. No dramas. Meanwhile Kid #2 hooked up with a couple of older kids, and decided it'd be cool to pick on Kid #1. They lay in wait for him and blocked the foot bridge over a patch of marshy reserve so he couldn't pass without running them down on his bike. He thought they just wanted to say "Hi", so he stopped to talk to them. But they had something more "fun" planned. They knocked him off his bike, yelled obscenities at him, and poured water from their drink bottles all over him.
This came completely out of the blue for Kid #1. He thought he was still kind-of-friends with Kid #2. They hadn't had a falling out. He hadn't done anything to provoke this. Now, I have to mention here that Kid #1 is a karate green belt. The very first competition he entered last year, he won a gold medal in kumite (fighting). He's fierce. He doesn't hold back when he's sparring. He could have hurt one or perhaps all of these kids, and he knew it. But he sucked it up, got back up on his bike, and rode away without saying a word. Seems he'd listened when his sensei lectured about only using your karate to defend yourself in dire circumstances, when you're really being being threatened, and that the best defense is to run like hell.
This kind of ambush went on for some time--not every school day, but 2-3 times a week. Kid #1's class often had last minute stuff to finish up after the bell went, meaning they'd be running late. Which gave the bullies time to run down to the bridge and plan their next ambush. Kid #1 never said a word to his parents, either. They noticed that he was leaving for school really early in the morning, but thought he just wanted to get there early to play table tennis with his mates before school. They didn't realize it was because he wanted to avoid these kids in the mornings.
Finally, Kid #1 had enough of being pushed off his bike. Especially since it was his sister's bike, and these kids were damaging it by kicking the spokes etc. So this time when he was pushed over, he got up, brushed himself off, and gave Kid #2 a good solid push right back that landed Kid #2 on his butt. Only then did he hop on his bike and ride off.
And this time, when he got home, he was so angry and frustrated, his mom knew there was something up. His mom, being his mom, would not let up until she finally managed to coax the whole story from him. Turned out Kid #1's biggest frustration was that he knew he could hurt these kids. He knew he could wait till Kid #2 separated from his mates and deal to him and put the fear of god into him. But he also knew he'd get into trouble with his school if he retaliated. (I know, I know. That completely sucks, but that's the way it is here in NZ. If you hit back and get caught, even if you've been sorely provoked over an extended period of time, you're usually the one who cops it.) And with Kid #1's luck, someone would see him and report him, and he'd have no defense because his actions would be deemed as bad as the actions of the kid who was bullying him.
Kid#1 and his parents disagreed on how to handle this. But his parents realized they had to respect their son's wishes and not ride roughshod over him to fix this for him. Because next time he had a problem, he might not come to them for help. And god knows, all good parents want to give their kids the tools to fix things for themselves, but they also want them to know when they need to ask for help... and to feel that they can do so, knowing that their opinions matter and will be respected regardless.
Finally, Mom suggested he write an email to his teacher. She suggested an email because Kid#1's biggest worry was that if he had to speak to his teacher face-to-face, he'd get too upset and leave out something important that he wanted to say.
Writing it all down helped him to formulate his thoughts, and remember everything that had happened, and set it all down in the right sequence. He explained everything that had happened, the lengths he'd gone to try and avoid these confrontations, and admitted that he'd retaliated once because he'd felt he had to defend himself. He didn't ask his teacher to "fix" the problem for him. He merely asked for for a private meeting so his teacher could give him advice as to the best way to handle the situation. Even now, after all that had happened, he wrote that he didn't want these kids to get into trouble with the school. He just wanted to be able to ride his bike through the reserve without getting ambushed by a bunch of bullies.
Without revealing any details, let me assure you that it got handled in a way that satisfied both Kid #1's desire for anonymity and that the incidents be downplayed, and the teacher's determination that no other kids would have to deal with the sort of crap Kid #1 had to deal with.
And, at the parent/teacher interview a couple of days later, I had the distinct pleasure of listening to my son's teacher tell me how proud he was of the "mature" way my son had handled himself, and how impressed he'd been by my son's email. For a parent, it doesn't get much better than that.
Even better, I got to show my son firsthand that there is indeed power in the written word. And who knows, perhaps one day this kid who insists that he can't stand having to do any form of creative writing in class, might become an author. I live in hope.