BELATED RELEASE DAY POST DEAD SEA

Yes, I’m very late. And guess what? It is not my fault. LOL.

Yes, I know that’s what they all say, but I’m late because I couldn’t “get there from here”. In other words, I couldn’t get to my Mia Kerick YA blog from my home internet despite the fact that it was still working just fine. (Yeah, weird.)

Well , a week later I reached out to my wifi server and they rebooted my modem and ta!da! My YA website is back.

Dead Sea has done very well since its release. It spent most of week 1 on Amazon LGBTQ+ Teen/YA Fiction Hot New Releases at #2 and #3. This week it’s a little lower on the charts, but is still a popular read! YAY!

I’ve received amazing reviews on Amazon and Goodreads and for that, I am thankful.


And this week, I entered into some literary contests, but I will not hear for a long time. Patience is a virtue.

I’m so happy to finally be inviting you to read my YA Coming of Age Gay Romance Dead Sea with heat and heart and passion and one-of-a-kind characters.

Here’s the blurb:

Standalone Coming of Age Stories

Kyle is a swaggering bully; Lenny strives to be invisible. 
Kyle has been left alone in the world; Lenny is the world’s biggest loner. 
When Kyle saves Lenny from drowning, their lives will never be the same.

After a brutal encounter with school bullies, Lenny swims out into the ocean, determined to let the current whisk him away. Next thing he knows the meanest kid in town is pulling him from the waves, promising to be his Dead Sea, and to never let him sink.

All Kyle wants is to get out of beach cleanup, is that too much to ask? So he goes for a swim, only to come upon the most epic “nobody” in the senior class drowning in a riptide. Lenny’s haunted gaze grips him, and Kyle makes the impulsive decision to save his life or die trying. And through this ordeal, Kyle and Lenny are transformed.

Kyle’s heroic act sets him on the straight and narrow, and he opens his heart to the young man he dragged from the ocean. Lenny changes too but is still unable to reveal the truth of his pain. While drowning in a sea of secrets, the reformed bully and wary victim fall in love. But staying afloat in the Dead Sea is not as simple as it seems.

Trigger warning: One character unsuccessfully attempts to die by suicide as is noted in the blurb. There is further discussion of death by suicide.

And the linkhttps://www.amazon.com/Dead-Kerick-Story-Ballads-Book-ebook/dp/B08VRY4W8V/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Dead+Sea+mia+kerick&qid=1615477798&sr=8-2

THANKS FOR CHECKING THIS OUT!!

<3 Mia

COVER REVEAL DAY of Dead Sea YAY! It took almost five years to get here-Better late than never!

COMMENT CONTEST!!!

What do you think of a bully saving a victim and changing both of their worlds?

$10 Amazon gift card raffle (old fashioned way- drawn from a hat) for one commenter who leaves a response to my question and their email address!

I will draw the winner in one week- on February 17th. Disclaimer: this date is not written in stone.

And if you follow me on BookBub I will send you a virtual hug. (Link below–for BookBub not the hug LOL.)

Today is cover reveal day for my Coming of Age Gay Romance DEAD SEA.

Thanks to Gay Romance Reviews for helping me with this!

It’s been eight months since my last release, but Dead Sea has been a living manuscript for almost five years. In terms of details, the story has undergone many twists and turns, but the underlying plot remains the same.

Kyle is the stereotypical bully. He intimidates teachers and students, so they’ll stay out of his way. Kyle doesn’t trust anyone. His family life is an exercise in survival. He doesn’t trust in society—he has no reason to. But when push comes to shove, Kyle shows decency. He comes upon a student (a victim of his threats) drowning in a riptide and risks his life to save him. And this experience changes Kyle. Profoundly, and for the better.

Lenny is the stereotypical victim. He strives to be invisible at school so he can live his life without ridicule, which is the only thing he expects from other people. He also flies under the radar at home. Thanks to a confrontation years ago with his father, he believes he must keep his true nature hidden–the major part of his identity that exists more in the fictional realm than in reality. When two students discover Lenny’s secret and threatens to expose him, he takes to the ocean and for a moment hopes to never emerge. When the meanest kid in school saves him, the world looks different to him.

I’m excited about the challenge of a new release. 

I’m also excited that I’ve joined some groups and social media that help me to become more involved in the writing community. First, I am the featured February author at a romance readers club I joined, the Gay Romance Readers Club. I have posted on their blog. And I am offering a free and award-winning book—The Red Sheet. I hope you check it out—it’s a story that will make you laugh and cry. All you have to do is join the club to get free gay romance from bestselling authors.

Instagram has been so much fun for me. I’m a little bit addicted to creating cool gay romance posts that inspire me and hopefully many of you.

Here’s my link:

https://www.instagram.com/miakerick/

Okay, BookBub has turned out to be more of a challenge than I expected. So if you read this and like to support an author who is doing her best to get “out there” here please follow.

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/mia-kerick

Well, thanks for listening…

Here is Dead Sea’s official blurb:

Kyle is a swaggering bully; Lenny strives to be invisible.

Kyle has been left alone in the world; Lenny is the world’s biggest loner.

When Kyle saves Lenny from drowning, their lives will never be the same.

After a brutal encounter with school bullies, Lenny swims out into the ocean, determined to let the current whisk him away. Next thing he knows the meanest kid in town is pulling him from the waves, promising to be his Dead Sea, and to never let him sink.

All Kyle wants is to get out of beach cleanup, is that too much to ask? So he goes for a swim, only to come upon the most epic “nobody” in the senior class drowning in a riptide. Lenny’s haunted gaze grips him, and Kyle makes the impulsive decision to save his life or die trying. And through this ordeal, Kyle and Lenny are transformed.

Kyle’s heroic act sets him on the straight and narrow, and he opens his heart to the young man he dragged from the ocean. Lenny changes too but is still unable to reveal the truth of his pain. While drowning in a sea of secrets, the reformed bully and wary victim fall in love. But staying afloat in the Dead Sea is not as simple as it seems.

DEAD SEA releases March 3rd and is available on Kindle Unlimited or is $2.99.

https://www.amazon.com/Dead-Kerick-Story-Ballads-Book-ebook/dp/B08VRY4W8V/ref=sr_1_1?crid=Q5BMOGLD9NIW&dchild=1&keywords=dead+sea+mia+kerick&qid=1612966620&sprefix=Dead+Sea+mia%2Caps%2C148&sr=8-1

Hope you check it out!

<3 Mia

Free Book Not Broken, Just Bent (from my Goodreads M/M Romance Author Self-Promotion folder)

I’m trying to be more active as an author… EVERYWHERE… so I’m hoping this is helpful. And yes, this is an extremely tall order.

Below is the pdf link to Not Broken, Just Bent, as promoted on my Goodreads M/M Romance Author Self-promotion folder. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6474518.Mia_Kerick

I want to get to know YOU, my readers, and to do that YOU need to get to know MIA KERICK as an author.

NOT BROKEN, JUST BENT

The blurb:

Braving the start of high school, longtime childhood friends Benjamin Wells and Timmy Norton quickly realize they are entering a whole new world colored by their family responsibilities. Ben is trying to please his strict father; Timmy is taking care of his younger sisters. While their easy camaraderie is still comfortable, Ben notices Timmy growing distant and evasive, but Ben has his own problems. It’s easier to let concerns about Timmy’s home life slide, especially when Timmy changes directions and starts to get a little too close. Ben doesn’t know how to handle the new feelings Timmy’s desire for love inspires, and his continuing denial wounds Timmy deeply.

But what Timmy perceives as Ben’s greatest betrayal is yet to come, and the fallout threatens to break them apart forever. Over the next four years, the push and pull between them and the outside world twists and tears at Ben and Timmy, and they are haunted by fear and regret. However, sometimes what seems broken is just a little bent, and if they can find forgiveness within themselves, Ben and Timmy may be able to move forward together.

Here is the pdf version of my YA Gay Romance novel.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book. Feel free to post in my Author Discussion page in M/M Romance Author Self-Promotion on Goodreads.

You will fall in love with these guys:

Look forward to hearing from you!

<3 Mia

My Life with Beauty and the Beast

IMPRESSIONABLE YOUNG MIA

When I was a child there were no Disney Beauty and the Beast movie images implanted in my brain, as are lodged in the minds of most young people today. Disney didn’t create the animated movie most of us are now familiar with, the one worn on T-shirts and illustrated on backpacks until 1991 when I was an adult, engaged to be married. 

However, like most children, I knew the tale from bedtime stories and library visits, and I liked it, but I FELL IN LOVE with it when I saw it as a theatrical performance over the summer before fifth grade. That summer, I went with our town’s parks and rec program—in our youthful eloquence we called it “PARK”—to see a summer stock production of Beauty and the Beast at the local historical society that had a small theater in the back building. The Burnham Hall Players—cast and crew made up of area high school students—created and performed a short musical each summer under the directorship of a college-aged theater major. 

Let’s call him TOM

            A handsome young actor with a raspy singing voice and a rascal’s manner played the Beast. I actually remember his real name, but seeing as he is now the beloved drama club director at the high school I once attended, I’ll to keep it to myself, and refer to him as Tom. Even at the tender age of ten, I could sense that Tom was the classic bad boy, both on and off the stage. His performance thrilled me—awakening emotions I’d never before experienced–when he sang in his raspy tenor. Alive in a new and magical way, goosebumps popped on my arms—did you know that only one third of people can experience chills at blissful sounds—but somehow felt deeply melancholy at the poor Beast’s lot in life. And I experienced romantic longing for the first time. I fell a little bit in love with the Beast (Tom) that summer. 

My cousin was the Burnham Hall Players’ pianist. Every time I went to her house for a visit, I begged her to play the accompaniment to the songs that the Beast sang in the play. It brought back the thrill and longing (yes, and the goosebumps). The awareness of the Beast’s desperation—his hope and humiliation—coupled with the budding awareness of myself as a more than just a child caused intense feelings. 

THE MYSTERY BOOK

Years later when I was thirteen, I read a book I’ll never forget, although I admit to forgetting its title and author. (Despite various google searches, it’s lost to me. And I’m NOT HAPPY about this.) Narrated by a girl about my age then, she observed the love affair between her beautiful older sister and a man so (reportedly) physically grotesque that when the older sister visited his castle, he hid. She was only allowed to hear his voice. At times when the couple wanted to hold each other, the older sister allowed herself to be willingly blindfolded in order to be in the presence of the man she loved. The younger sister, who discovers their hidden romance, is astonished that her “perfect” elder sibling could fall so deeply in love with what seems to her to be nothing more than an eerie presence in a huge estate. 

At that point in my life, I identified with the younger sister, rather than the older one. After all, I asked myself, why would a beautiful young woman choose to live her life in a castle of shadows and darkness, never free to emerge into the real world and walk under the sun with the man she loved? Why would she ever choose this? However, the strange and haunting beauty of this concept—her passionate love of her “beast’s” spirit—stuck with me. It was a “Beauty and the Beast” story, although I didn’t realize it at the time. And as an adult romance writer, I have written the opposites attract trope many times.

 MIA THE MOM AND WALT DISNEY

As a young mother, Beauty and the Beast became all Disney-ish for me. Bundled on the couch with my three daughters and young son, we watched the movie. An exhausted mother of four grade school kids, I was happy for a couple of hours of simply staying still—and I forgot all about the depth of meaning the story held when I was younger. Somehow, Belle was too cheerful, too wholesome, and maybe a bit too nerdy, to bring back the haunting feelings I experienced so frequently as a child. Maybe the whole Disney Beauty and the Beast thing was just too commercial to draw out otherworldly feelings.

Secret Confession: I love listening to the original 1991 Soundtrack to Beauty and the Beast. It’s CHILLS-CITY when Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson croon “Beauty and the Beast”! I love to do my Walk-Away-the Pounds exercise video, serenaded by “Be Our Guest”, “Something There”, and Angela Lansbury’s “Beauty and The Beast.”  And yes, I get chills.

I have one more outstanding memory of how I relate to the tale of Beauty and the Beast. When the kids were young, we took them to Disney World in Orlando, Florida every few years. One year, when they were 1, 3, 5, and 7 years old we lost Demi (5) in the rush of the crowd when we exited “Beauty and the Beast—Live On Stage” (gone now) at MGM Studios (not named this anymore). When discussing this horrifying event with the girls over the holidays this past winter, they insisted it was Ali who got lost. I begged to differ—I still have nightmares about losing Demi in that crowd. I know it wasn’t Sisi or Chris—they were in the double stroller.  And Ali was far too well-behave to stray. Whatever, the case, I rarely lost my children when they were little, and I associate it with Beauty and the Beast.

FYI: We found whichever daughter it was within five minutes. I also distinctly remember the relief.

More recently, when my girls and I got together—pre-covid so it wasn’t very recent—we watched the newer Disney Beauty and the Beast (with Emma Watson) all bundled on the couch. It whisked me back to the thrill and chills and danger and self-awareness that the story brought me when I was young. I cried three times.

In conclusion, the story Beauty and the Beast has played a role in my life, but it’s perhaps most significant in that it’s the ultimate romance trope of LOVE IS LOVE, which is essential to all of my books.

<3 Mia

Dead Sea…now looking for a home

Three (or was it four) years ago, I wrote Dead Sea.

Two years ago, I rewrote Dead Sea based on the input of several sensitivity readers.

One year ago, I re-rewrote Dead Sea.

Ooops, I did it again…. I rewrote Dead Sea.

AND I submitted it to publishers. 

Dead Sea is officially out there in the literary world.

Over the course of this book’s longish unpublished life I’ve had many inspirations. My daughter Demi introduced me to “Dead Sea”—the song by the Lumineers—while driving around White Plains in the classic black Volvo wagon when she attended SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance. Songs often inspire my writing; these lyrics gave me the original idea to write this story.

Like the Dead Sea
You told me I was like the Dead Sea
You’ll never sink when you are with me
Oh Lord, like the Dead Sea

Whoa, I’m like the Dead Sea
The finest words you ever said to me
Honey can’t you see
I was born to be, be your Dead Sea

I was also inspired by an event in a young relative’s high school life—he saved a boy from a riptide and was celebrated by the town. 

Combining these two ideas, I came up with this concept:

*Lenny Dubinski is a timid introvert and despises the idea of being “seen” at school. But he is a true eccentric; Lenny lives to create elaborate costumes of his most admired fictional characters. This allows him to adopt and embody the traits that he most yearns for—rebelliousness, independence, bravery, swagger. 

*Lenny takes Mom’s minivan every Friday night to secretly display (yes, wear) his costumes in person at Marco’s Playroom, the local gay bar. (The cool doorman, Gus, lets him in as long as he promises not to drink alcohol.) When Lenny dresses in costume, he calls it “dressing to express”. 

*Two (of the three) most badass high school seniors in a small gang of bullies sneak into Marco’s Playroom and discover “Zip-Lip” Lenny sitting at the bar, flaunting a costume creation—a flamboyant Captain Jack Sparrow getup. They snap a photo and issue a threat: DO NOT ATTEND HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION, or else…

*Having lost hope, the next morning at the senior class beach cleanup, Lenny rushes into the ocean, intending to never come out—but he changes his mind. Too bad Lenny is caught in a riptide and can’t get back to shore!

*Bully number three—the worst one of all—Kyle Larson goes for a swim to avoid cleaning the beach and comes upon Lenny, drowning in the waves. He decides he is going to save Lenny or die trying (very uncharacteristic of him) and promises he’ll be Lenny’s Dead Sea and refuses to let him sink.

*Saving Lenny profoundly changes Kyle’s character.

*Being saved by Kyle profoundly changes Lenny’s character.

*The two boys fall in love, but the bullies’ threats don’t go away.

*Kyle opens his heart to Lenny; Lenny’s lies of omission threaten to tear them apart.

YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS, HUH?

Dead Sea has had COUNTLESS concept editors, sensitivity readers, first ten-page manuscript critiques by agents, beta readers… 

The time finally came to make my move—and I made it!!!!!

I wonder what publishing home Dead Sea will find.

Or is self-publishing a feasible possibility for YA?

Any thoughts, my friends?

<3 Mia

It’s RELEASE DAY of ALL BOY by Mia Kerick! YA LGBTQ fiction with romance.

It’s release day of All Boy, Callie and Jayden’s love story. I’m publishing with an excellent new company, Lakewater Press.

It’s been a long road to the publication of this turbulent love story. First, I queried it to agents and had a lot of interest, but eventually I decided to go with a new publisher, as the owner had done some incredible editing work for me on The Princess of Baker Street. I hoped that she would examine All Boy with her sharp editor’s eyes and help make it into a story that expressed the depth of emotion Callie and Jayden experienced. A story that would draw the reader in and not let go until the last page. She, with the help of her assistant, did this.

We felt it necessary to postpone the original publishing date, as there was some major heat going on in my author’s world. And so here we are, today.

Contained in All Boy is one of the most difficult and painful scenes I have ever written in fiction. I won’t describe the scene (you will know when you read it), but it’s the scene that came to me one night in bed and compelled me to write All Boy.

All Boy is a work of upper YA LGBTQ fiction, heavy on the angst and romance. But it is also an eye-opening book, and in that sense it is important. The two main characters experience devastating fear and pain that can’t be fully resolved because as we all know, profound injury to the heart and soul never fully goes away. But the characters endure. They grow. They learn. They survive.

Warning: You may not like Callie, at least not at first. Her life experience have taught her to be self-protective to the point of insensitive. Jayden’s struggle will make you look at people and love in a new way.

I hope you read All Boy. It is not an easy, fun-filled, light story. But it is one you will remember. I promise.

Comment contest!! I will choose one comment (by the old-fashioned method of drawing out of a hat) and the winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

Mia <3

ALL BOY on AMAZON

Blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Callie Canter knows all about screwing up—and being screwed over. After her so-called boyfriend publicly humiliated her senior year, taking a fifth year of high school at Beaufort Hills Academy is her second chance to leave behind a painful past. But her need for social acceptance follows, and going along with the in-crowd is the difference between survival and becoming a target. Staying off the radar is top priority. So, falling for an outsider is the last thing on Callie’s “to-do” list. Too bad her heart didn’t get the memo.

With his strict, religious upbringing and former identity far away in Florida, Jayden Morrissey can finally be true to himself at Beaufort Hills Academy. But life as a trans man means keeping secrets, and keeping secrets means not getting too close to anyone. If he can just get through his fifth year unnoticed, maybe a future living as the person he was born to be is possible. Yet love is love, and when you fall hard enough, intentions crumble, plans detour, and secrets are revealed.

From multi-award-winning author Mia Kerick, comes a powerful, timely, and life-changing novel, which follows two teenagers nursing broken hearts and seeking acceptance, and who together realize running away isn’t always the answer.

It’s Release Day for The Princess of Baker Street!

When the Baker Street gang hits middle school, the princess is alone…

I have long awaited today–release day of The Princess of Baker Street. It seems like I wrote this story such a long time ago–it has been through many changes, many edits, sensitivity readers. I love the finished product of this story of two children struggling to survive in a world that doesn’t feel safe. A world that, for them, is at times scary and dangerous.

The cover is perfect. The two sneakers, both timeless in style, and in many ways the same-are different at the same time. One is bright and clean; the other worn and soiled. Opposites, yet similar. The appearance of the sneakers gives you a clue as to the teens who wear them, but it certainly doesn’t tell the whole story of the children in part one of the book–Joey and Eric.

I was inspired to write this novel by stories of the many trans teens I have read about in the news and seen on Twitter and Facebook who attempted to, and in many cases succeeded in, taking their own lives. It seemed that story after story, each a tragedy, bombarded me. I cried-and then I researched. I read about the high percentage of trans teens who- for various and complicated reasons- felt that leaving the world was a better option than staying. I wanted to write a story that showed the pain, but also offered hope. And showed that life gets better…

What makes The Princess of Baker Streetunusual, though, is that it is written from the perspective of Joey’s teenage neighbor, Eric. He is severely neglected, and as he watches Joey struggle at school and at home, his own life is falling apart. The language is that of a young teenager-even in his internal thoughts. Readers have reported that it takes a few pages to get used to. But they also say they see the events from Eric’s eyes. What they see is real and it is painful. But in the end, there is hope.

I hope you check out The Princess of Baker Street. I cried when I wrote it and maybe you will cry, too. But some stories need to be told. Kids need to find themselves in stories like these. And others, who are not like Joey but know what it is to struggle, need to read these stories. Maybe The Princess of Baker Street will help to open our hearts.

Pick up a copy today!

YA Female Characters: Do they have to be likeable (24/7) to be epic?

I recently wrote a distinctive teenage female character named Cady LaBrie. She’s not what you’d call “sweet.” She’s definitely not the picture of human kindness. She’s not knock ‘em dead gorgeous, as many female protagonists of books and movies seem to be. (Not that beauty is a redeeming characteristic.) And Cady’s certainly not selfless. If you get to know her, you may not like her… To be honest, sometimes I didn’t, and I created her.

 

Question: Is it necessarily a bad thing to dislike a female protagonist in YA fiction? Or is it okay to recognize her weaknesses, possess a healthy respect for her strengths, and still not be particularly fond of her?

Cady LaBrie is a fierce female character. Despite a secret desire to fit in, she accepts that she doesn’t and probably never will. Unwilling to forfeit the status as her parents’ “perfect child,” Cady has long refused to break the rules—she won’t attend parties or drive too fast or leave her homework undone. But even as she’s following the rules, she can be ruthless. Cady refuses to bond with her twin brother when he returns from rehab because the potential for hurt, if he relapses, is too great a risk to her fragile heart. And she breaks a promise to the homeless boy she and her BFF Cooper briefly take under their wing—for the purpose of completing the items on the Weekend Bucket List—because she sees him as a threat to a possible romance with Cooper.

But within the safety zone of her longtime friendship with Cooper Murphy, Cady is something of a ringleader. She possesses the initiative to dream big and the power to set her ideas into motion. Some of her plans may not seem particularly over the top to you. For example, she planned an acceptable alternative to the junior prom—both Cady and Cooper refuse to dance—that featured eighties music streamed on a boom box, an oversized bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and a spectacular evening view of Tamarack Lake, all to be consumed by her strict 10PM curfew. But for a small-town girl with seriously overprotective parents, Cady’s a mover and a shaker. Once a notion takes root in her brain, there’s no yanking it out. No matter how hard you pull.

 

Don’t get me wrong, Cady may be fierce, but she’s not strong all the time. Sometimes she’s scared and needy, which accounts for a measure of her power over Cooper. I think of Cady as a paradox of strength and fragility. Most of the time, she’s opinionated and brave enough to voice her beliefs, if only to her audience of one teenage boy, and later in the book, two. By being bossy, and even intimidating at times, Cady negotiates difficult and painful interactions at home and at school. She’s come away with the realization that the best defensereally can be a good offense. So, sure, sometimes Cady’s prickly, but other times she’s soft. Cooper lives in fear of her rare moments of tearfulness. I’ll put it this way: Cady’spower faucet runs hot and cold, always hard to predict, leaving a reader wary.

 

In her alternating behavior—cruel and then kind and then cruel again—Cady proves that she is the polar opposite of the traditional, well-behaved “perfect” female character. But then, why should she be? (Yes, we’re back to the original question.) Are female characters obliged to play by the rules? Try looking at it this way: Have you met a teenage girl who doesn’t sometimes recklessly strive for what she wants, even when she knows that it isn’t what she needs? Have you encountered a female teen who doesn’t, on occasion, behave selfishly? Is every female teenager you know a fountain of sensitivity? (Is anybody?) Have you closely related to a teenage girl who hasn’t cut you with sarcasm?

I’ve raised (and am still raising) four teenagers—three girls and a boy—and they have always been as fantastic as they are infuriating. AndIwas a teenage girl once… I still remember how Mom pulled her hair out regularly, but loved me just the same. Teenagers, both boys and girls, are constantly in flux, learning about life through doing things the right way and then screwing it all up quite monumentally. They’re not supposed to be consistent, and we shouldn’t expect them to be perfect.

Time for anew question: Would you even wantto read a book about a perfect teenage girl?

As readers, Cady’s deepest thoughts are accessible to us. And believe me, they’re not always pretty. Beyond that, her actions are, at times—to phrase it delicately—inelegant. Sometimes she stands up and pulls off a good deed, and other times she runs and hides from the hard stuff. We, as readers, see it all.And we judge her—it’s our job. Cady makes a lot of mistakes, so our jobs as judges keep us busy.

 

If we’re fair judges, we’ll note that Cady’s incredible fear of loss drives her to err—to hurt people and to hide from them so that her heart is always just out of reach. Overcoming this intense fear is Cady’s task. But this is also what is most awesome about Cady’s character.Of the three protagonists in the story, the imperfect Cady has greatest potential for growth. And yes, this puts a positive spin on her behavior, which at the start of the story is sometimes truly crappy.

I’m not going to give away exactly how successful Cady is at achieving human growth. (No spoilers from me.) But she tries like heck, and it’s extremely uncomfortable for her. Okay, she hates every second of it. She’s scared to take a risk that could humiliate her, leaving her more alone than ever. But, like I said before, Cady is the kind of person who sets a goal and gets things done.

And sometimes I wonder whether we, as readers, would be more forgiving of Cady if she were a boy. Maybe that old cliché would filter our thoughts—“boys will be boys”—and we’d excuse her bossiness, her avoidance of emotion, her sarcasm, her inelegance. What do you think? Can male characters get away with more “imperfect” behavior?

 

The bottom line is found in this last line of interrogation: Why do we read YA novels?

Do we read YA merely to reaffirm that a nice, sweet, pretty, and well-behaved female characterisquite likeable, and therefore “a good character” in “a good book?” Is a book in which the main female character pisses you off or makes you cry or roll your eyes a lot“a bad character” in “a bad book?” I don’t see it that way. I read YA novels to meet people I don’t know—teenagers I want so badly to hug on page twenty-seven and growl at on page thirty-two. I don’t want to be able to predict every singsong line of pleasant dialogue by a succession of flawless characters. And I crave for damaged characters and a twisting plot to whisk me off to places where a (figurative) knife slices into my gut as well as toplaces I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A character like Cady LaBrie guarantees that I will feel something as I read… and that I will wonder. I don’t have to like everything about her to get psyched when she speaks up at moments I wouldn’t. I don’t have to agree with her entire philosophy of life when she rudely confronts her best friend, harasses the sweet stranger, or backs down like a coward from bullies. Maybe I cringe at her choices, but it’s because I’m feeling something more than “well, that’s nice.” Cady isn’t good or bad. But she isa work in progress—a character who grows before your eyes and makes you consider what you’d do in her shoes.

You can meet Cady LaBrie in my recent YA fiction release from Duet Books, The Weekend Bucket List. Fair warning: you may want to brace yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

VOCABULARY LESSONS with Chance and Emily of Mia Kerick’s LOVE SPELL

 

The language used in Love Spell is colorful. Which puts it mildly.

Chance calls his BFF Emily the Ms. Merriam-Webster of Improvised Language. In other words, she makes up words.After she creates words she uses them constantly and expects Chance to do the same. And he does. Believe me, he does!

And so for today’s vocabulary lesson, let us focus on a series of Emily’s finest words:

First, there’s PIE-STROLL. Pie-stroll is defined as something that’s easy to do, even easier than a cakewalk.

In a sentence: I find singing the blues to be a pie-stroll when compared with singing opera.

Next, is FUCKER-NELLY.  Fucker-nelly is used consistently throughout Love Spell. Chance, at first struggles with its proper usage, but in the end concludes that it is an adverb meaning extremely.

Here is fucker-nelly in a sentence: “Your new camo skinny jeans are fucker-nelly awesome!”

And we have DOOZA-PALOOZA.  Unfortunately, you have one and I have one; it’s defined as a humongous problem.

Today’s dooza-palooza is straightening my hair since the power is out. (Get the picture?)

YAPPER-HALT:
 In short, yapper-halt is a command that means shut up. No, not polite. But at times quite necessary.

Used in a sentence: “Yapper-halt with the Trump quotations, please—I’ve heard enough!”

Next, comes SMEXY.  Smexy is the essence of what Chance longs to be: a person displaying witty intelligence while personifying smoking hotness.

“In your humble opinion, which blood-sucker in Vampire Diariesis the ultimate in smexy?”(I suppose we could say “the smexiest.”)

Now for a practical word: CURIFIED. We’ve all been curified, a time or two, although curified moments are not usually life’s best. It is defined as curious combined with horrified.

You’d like to hear it used in a sentence? Of course. It would be my pleasure.

Curified, I gazed at the accident on the side of the highway; I couldn’t not look.

Next is POOPATUDE. You know when you’re just not your cheerful self—you’re feeling mean and pissed-off, and maybe slightly sarcastic. Well, that’s because you’re displaying classic poopatude, a nasty attitude.

In a sentence: I’ve had enough of your poopatude, dude—do I have to tickle you to get you to smile? (I even added a rhyme for you.)

Let’s look at FRET-LIBERATO. Chance makes a guess at this new Emily-word when she introduces it to him, and he gets close but isn’t right on the nose. Fret-liberato is simply a creative term for relieved.

You’d like to hear it used in a sentence?

I can’t explain to you my fret-liberato when Mrs. Mansfield decided against giving us the pop quiz… I was so not prepared for it!

And finally, STUPI-BOGGLED.  Chance finds himself feeling this way quite regularly. Stupi-boggled is a combination word—stupified combined with mind-boggled.

Kate was stupi-boggled to learn that her BFF was her Secret Santa—she’d never expected it!

Thanks for paying such close attention to today’s vocabulary lesson. I hope you’ll check out my rerelease of this funny, crazy, sentimental story, Love Spell.  You will laugh. You probably won’t cry, but there is a fucker-nelly remote chance of it. And you’ll be stupi-boggled, if not absolutely curified, by the lengths to which Chance goes to capture the heart of the boy of his dreams.

Pick up a copy of LOVE SPELL today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY CRUNCHY LIFE: A BOOK ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS

My Crunchy Life: a Book about Human Rights

By Mia Kerick

Hello, I’m Mia Kerick. My latest YA LGBTQ fiction release, My Crunchy Life,releases on June 26 from Harmony Ink Press. It is a story about identity and Human Rights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We gather tonight in the spirit of love and selflessness, and with the solemn hope that our efforts to serve the community will be sufficient to keep hope alive for those who struggle to obtain the rights inherent to all human beings.”

Yes, it’s quite a mouthful. And it’s what the members of the Rights for Every Human Organization, better known as REHO, recite while holding hands in a tight circle at the beginning of each meeting in the Community House basement.

When Kale arrived for his first meeting, he met citizens concerned with fighting discrimination based on religion, age, race, disability, sexual orientation, and more. By listening to their individual stories, his eyes are opened to the suffering of those around him, and he rightly questions the legitimacy of his own reason for attending. Later in the meeting, Kale meets Julian, who he assumes is attending REHO because he is a gay teenage boy and wants to fight for gay rights. Kale has no idea that Julian is really Julia, a teenage girl who is living as a boy until she’s ready to leave public school for online school and transition to female.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Human Rights are defined by The United Nations in this way:

“Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more.  Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.”

 

My main reason for writing My Crunchy Lifewas to examine teenage questions of identity, which introduces the topic of Human Rights. My hope is that readers will meet Kale—who is struggling with how he fits into the world as a teenage boy—and Julian—who is struggling too, because his body doesn’t match his gender identity. (FYI: Throughout most of the book Julian chooses to live and present as male, which matches his physical body. Although he knows that his true self is female, he refers to himself as a boy temporarily, so I refer to him as a boy during this period. His gender status changes when Julian transitions to Julia toward the end of the story.) I hope readers gain understanding of both boys’ identity issues—to accept them as real and, through getting to know them as characters, experience a sense of compassion toward them. Readers will likely recognize in each of the boys a common humanity, and will realize that no matter how different someone may at first seem, they are more like each other than unlike. This recognition will encourage readers to be less harshly judgmental and instead more open-minded to human differences. And so My Crunchy Life, a book about teenage personal identity and gender identity, leads to the embracing of Human Rights.

I also think readers will experience part of this journey into acceptance along with Kale. Kale grows attached to Julian, first as a friend and then as a romantic interest, which causes him to question his own sexuality. Attracted to another boy, Kale decides that he must be gay. And he is accepting of this. But Julian doesn’t share his intended gender transition with Kale, and when he drops out of school— according to his plan—and reemerges several weeks later at the REHO meeting as Julia, Kale is furious. At first, he is unable to accept Julia as female, mainly because it makes Kale uncomfortable—after all, why is he attracted to Julia, the girl, if he is gay? He again must question himself and his sexuality. As Kale grows to accept and embrace Julia, the reader travels the path beside him.

In My Crunchy Life,after Kale hears each of the member’s human rights concerns…

“Again, I stifle an urge to clap because these are all excellent reasons to be here. And then everybody in the circle is looking at me. Apparently it’s my turn to state my lofty reasons for joining the Rights for Every Human Organization and I know very well that my reason— every self-respecting hippie needs a legit cause—isn’t legitimate at all. I look around into the compassionate eyes of the REHO members and try like hell to come up with something that sounds progressive and benevolent, yet is also remotely truthful.

“I… uh… my reason for joining… is like…,” I begin, my palm sweat blending with Billy’s and the tall girl’s. And this is when I’m saved by the bell, or at a minimum, everyone is distracted from my dumbstruck state. I watch as all the eyes that were fixed on me shift toward the stairs. I feel compelled to turn my head too, to learn what has caused this ass-saving diversion. I see a small, dark-haired person posing on the bottom step, hip jutted out and arms forming question marks in the air.

He glances around, yawns like he’s bored, and says, “Please tell me this is the human rights group, ’cause I’ve been all over the upstairs of this godforsaken place, and the only other creatures I came across were dust bunnies.” His pompous voice brings out goose bumps on my chest, which is unexpected.

As you can see, Julian is a late arrival, but he too is asked to relate his reason for attending the human rights group meeting…

“T-tell us th-the reasons you are h-h-here p-please,” urges the guy named Tom, who stutters unless he’s singing—which he confided just before the start of the meeting is what had caused him to be a subject of discrimination and cruelty when he was in high school, except in chorus.

Julian lifts his chin and glares at the group around him.

“I’ve been told there’s nothing about any one of us that makes us less than anybody else, because we’ve got these things called rights— and we’re due them because we’re people.” Julian’s gaze scans his spellbound audience, but he focuses in on me, maybe because I’m the only one in the group who’s close to his age. “I’m here because I want to change the world for people who are LGBTQ.” We’re staring at each other now—it’s like the most intense staring contest I’ve ever… lost. Yeah, I look away first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you check out My Crunchy Lifeand take the Human Rights journey with Kale. He learns a lot about himself as a son, a cousin, a friend, a boyfriend, and a Human Rights activist.