Thursday, June 28, 2012

New Voices: Tahlia Newland

A novella that empowers bystanders to stand up to bullying

On the blog today I have author Tahlia Newland to talk about her new young adult novella, You Can’t Shatter Me. Tahlia writes magical realism and contemporary fantasy for young adults & adults. You Can’t Shatter Me is a heart-warming magical realism story that will inspire and empower teens and adults alike with its solutions for the bullying issue. She has two short stories available free on kindle for a limited period, Not Me, It Can’t Be from 28th June to the 2nd July and A Hole in the Pavement  from 3rd to 7th July.

What’s the novella about?
It’s about a sixteen year old girl called Carly who wants to write her own life and cast herself as a superhero, but when she stands up to a bully, the story gets out of her control. Dylan, a karate-trained nerd who supports her stand, turns out to be a secret admirer, and Justin, the bully, makes Carly his next victim. While romance blossoms, Dylan faces attacking words, an unreliable movie director, a concrete habit that requires smashing, and an unruly Neanderthal. Meanwhile, the bully’s increasing harassment forces Carly to deal with flying hooks, unflushable cowpats, and deadly dragons. An old hippie shows her an inner magic that’s supposed to make her invincible, but will Carly learn to use it before the bully strikes again and Dylan resorts to violence?

What is this novella’s contribution to solving the bullying issue?

Ways to deal with bullying are embedded in the story of a girl and her new boyfriend who stand up to a bully and then have to learn to handle his retribution. The books tells us that
  • standing up to bullies takes courage, but  we all have to do it if we want a world free of bullying.
  • there are ways to handle being bullied, and ultimately, if you feel good about yourself and strong inside you’ll be able to handle it okay and you’re more likely not to be bullied.
  •  The book provides, as an integral part of the story,
    • analogies as a way to help people remember methods for handling the bullying and the anger that comes from it.
    • meditation instructions as a way to practice staying calm and clear-headed so you can do it even in the face of abuse.
  • Bullies are often bullied themselves. They bully because they aren’t happy in themselves. They feel weak and powerless and they pick on those they feel are easy targets. To stop the bullying in the long term, they need to be helped to feel better about themselves, treated with kindness not hatred. They are not bad people, they just behave badly. They are sick, not evil.
  • to cure the problem in the long term, the victim and the bully both need the same thing. They need to develop a good self esteem. Feeling good about yourself is like an immunisation against the disease of bullying for both sides of the problem.

The biggest, and for some probably radical, contribution that this book makes to this issue is that it lays out a method of gaining self esteem on the deepest level, a self esteem that doesn’t require a person to be good at anything, simply to learn how to feel their inherent goodness. It even offers a way to strengthen this natural inner warmth, or empathy, into love, a force powerful enough to change the way you relate to others and them to you.

Do these solutions work?
Yes. I’ve used the analogies and the viewpoints they represent to help my daughter negotiate the trials of the school ground and also various teens at the high schools I’ve worked in as a teacher. I’m constantly amazed by the immediate positive effect they have.


Book Links

Purchase links

Files for all devices:

The paperback will be available via all major book retailers worldwide. If you would like to be notified when it’s released please fill in the form here.

Author bio & links

Tahlia is an avid reader, an extremely casual high school teacher, an occasional mask-maker and has studied philosophy & meditation for many years. After scripting and performing in Visual Theatre shows for 20 years, she is now a bone-fide expatriate of the performing arts. She lives in an Australian rainforest, is married with a teenage daughter and loves cats, but she doesn’t have one because they eat native birds.

Don’t forget to pick up one of Tahlia’s free short stories for your kindle, Not Me, It Can’t Be from 28th June to the 2nd July and A Hole in the Pavement  from 3rd to 7th July.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A writer's guide to patience

Does such a guide exist? If anyone has written it, please tell me where I can pick up a copy.

Whoever said patience is a virtue must have been talking to a writer. I used to think I was a very patient person, until the self-publishing venture proved otherwise. Everything that relies on the actions of someone else now makes me devolve into a muttering lunatic on the verge of temporary (?) insanity. He probably forgot all about the project. Should I check in to make sure she got the manuscript, or at least, she isn't dead? Why isn't the bloody proof available yet? When the hell am I going to get paid? What's taking so @#$%^&* long!? 

Lack of patience must be the curse every writer endures. Even with the knowledge that publishing moves slowly, somehow, the dream of a quick turnaround hasn't completely vanished. Any hope of improvement for my impatient state flew out of the window, as I contacted the Turkish agency handling the translation deal for Sultana and Sultana's Legacy. Since they sent confirmation of receiving the signed contact five weeks, the publisher must have also signed by now. Yes? No, actually. Goddammit!!

It's not as if there aren't other things to do. There's the family and work I've benignly neglected for months while working like a madwoman on The Burning Candle. Surely, the family understands. Right? I may still have friends who'll talk to me after my weeks of self-imposed solitude - better check in now and let THEM know I'm not dead. The chapters of Sultana II - Two Sisters are going well, thanks to years of research and a detailed outline, but the first draft isn't complete. The final details of the party planning need my attention (really should talk to those friends and family soon, or no one will attend).

I'm left with three choices - throw myself enthusiastically into these other tasks, become a stark raving lunatic, or end up like that guy in the image above, waiting impatiently. If past behaviors are any predictor of the future, I can guess which way this will go. Can you?

Time flies when you're having fun, or writing novels.

It's been a tremendous twelve months. A new job and health issues have impacted my writing time, but I'm still at it, trying to wrap...