July 11, 2013

TMI Blog Tour: Guest Post

Welcome to my stop on the first part of the TMI blog tour presented by Sourcebooks Fire! Today I have a guest post by the author and be sure to come back on August 7th for the second half of the tour when I review the book!

Author: Patty Blount

Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: August 6, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire


Best friends don’t lie.
Best friends don’t ditch you for a guy.
Best friends don’t post your deepest, darkest secrets online.

Bailey’s falling head-over-high-heels for Ryder West, a mysterious gamer she met online. A guy she’s never met in person. Her best friend, Meg, doesn’t trust smooth-talking Ryder. He’s just a picture-less profile.

When Bailey starts blowing Meg off to spend more virtual quality time with her new crush, Meg decides it’s time to prove Ryder’s a phony.

But one stupid little secret posted online turns into a friendship-destroying feud to answer the question:

Who is Ryder West?

Write What You Know 

Authors are freqently advised to write what you know and I am like Game of Thrones’ Jon Snow – I know nothing – certainly not much that would make a good story! But when it comes to bullying, I’ve got experience in truckloads. First, I was bullied as an adult by a despicable boss. My son was also bullied and as a parent, there is nothing more frightening than being unable to help your child cope.

My childhood was unremarkable except for the inevitable kids who never liked me for no apparent reason. It happens. It’s not easy to accept, but I eventually did and moved on. When I was an adult, however, I had a boss who made my job so unbearable, I had to quit, and still, it took me over a year to make that move. What I remember most is the way he’d quietly say something so hurtful, it was like he’d hammered the words into my heart. I was born and raised in New York and yes, I have a strong accent. He was from Canada and like most non-New Yorkers, finds our accent grating. However, he abused his position as my manager to taunt and insult me. One day, he halted my progress report during a staff meeting to write the word ‘drawing’ on a white board. I pronounce it with an extra R, sort of draw + ring. He broke it into syllables and had me repeat proper diction, drah + ing. Then, he threw up his hands and said I was hopeless.

I tried to laugh this off but my face was flaming.

Shortly after this incident, he informed the team he had to leave early one day to meet with his daughter’s teacher. It was unacceptable that his daughter had been taught to say dog as dawg. No daughter of his would grow up to talk like Patty.

It was incidents like this that took place every day for about a year that slowly eroded my confidence. I can’t believe I allowed this to happen. I was a grown woman. Shouldn’t I know better? But the truth is, bullying hurts no matter how old we are.

Many years later, my son came home from hockey practice, flung himself into my arms and informed me he no longer wanted to live. That was the day I learned a group of boys had been teasing him since sixth grade began. As teasing typically does, the comments grew increasingly more hurtful. Like me, my son had been hearing how worthless he was for nearly a year.

It’s so hard to convey how much damage little taunts do to destroy a person’s self-confidence. That’s its power. Simple stupid little words. Lather, rinse, repeat. No matter how old you are, how smart you are, after a while, you believe them.

My son, I am happy to tell you, is doing well. Sixth grade was torture. Seventh grade wasn’t much better when he was accused of being the bully. But as he grew, he learned – as I did – how to stop listening to the one or two bullies and start listening to all the friends and relatives who loved him.

Friends, trust me -- this is not an easy trick to learn.

I’m happy to tell you I now have a great job where I’m appreciated and respected. When I was asked to investigate social networks and their use for business, that’s what gave me the idea for SEND. I kept thinking during my research, “Thank God these networks didn’t exist a few years ago or I’d have lost my son.”

So, yeah, I guess you could say the Internet is the villain in my stories.  

Thank you for stopping by the blog today and sharing your personal experience with bullying Patty!

Technical writer by day, fiction writer by night, Patty mines her day job for ideas to use in her novels. Her debut YA "Send" was born after a manager suggested she research social networks. Patty adores chocolate, her boys, and books, though not necessarily in that order.

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