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When Gail Z. Martin invited me to post a blog as a part of the #HoldOnToTheLight campaign, I decided to make it personal.

I was one of those kids who was different enough to attract the attention of bullies. A girl interested in science, math, art, fantasy, science fiction, writing, etc. attracted unwanted and negative attention from some of my school mates. Junior high (middle school to you younger folks) was the worse – I was regularly spit on by several “popular” girls on the school bus.

Where are those girls now? I don’t know, and to be honest, I don’t care. The things which made me an outcast then, are the things which I value the most about myself now. But that self-assurance is hard-won.

I’ve dealt with depression and lingering self-doubt for much of my life, because of that long-ago bullying. Which gives me great compassion for those who are different or who feel like outsiders. And though I won’t name names, because it is not my story to tell – I can assure them that many of the writers and artists I’m friendly with have experienced either bullying, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, or a combination of those things.

So what’s my message? First, don’t let bullies ruin your life. They don’t deserve that much power. You are unique and valuable. The problem lies with the bullies – not you. Second, when you see bullying going on, stop it if you can, or get help from an adult to put an end to the bullying. Third, don’t be a bully. Always choose kindness.

One of the best things about the science fiction and fantasy community is their willingness to accept those marvelously unique artists, writers, and fans who might be viewed as “outsiders” in the mundane world. And one of the best things about being a writer of speculative fiction, is I get to create and celebrate characters who are different – whether they have physical, mental, or emotional challenges – imperfect characters are the most interesting to read about. Why? Because they’re the characters most like us.

About the campaign:

holdontothelight-fb-banner #HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.

Please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Home for the Warriors (PTSD), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Canadian Mental Health Association, MIND (UK), SANE (UK), BeyondBlue (Australia), To Write Love On Her Arms and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

To find out more about #HoldOnToTheLight, find a list of participating authors, or reach a media contact, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/276745236033627

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The Golden Egg Fantasy is my favorite genre as a reader, writer, and artist. In my search for input from other writers of fantasy, I stumbled across a wonderful blog, MythicScribes – The Art of Fantasy Storytelling.

Author of the blog, Brian DeLeonard, includes many helpful posts like: “Bridging the Gap Between Author and Character” and “Using Fantasy to Enhance a Story”

I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I do.

(Painting: “The Golden Egg” copyright 2012 Vonnie Winslow Crist. All rights reserved.)

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I’m really excited my newest book, Owl Light, has been published. I’ve added owl information and videos to Whimsical Words, but I need help from my friends and readers to make Owl Light a success.

My publisher, Cold Moon Press, is indie. What that means is their marketing budget is tiny, but YOU, my friends and readers are mighty.

I’ve compiled a list of things you can do (#1 requires spending money, but the rest are free) to help promote Owl Light. (And, if you choose, my other 2 recent books, The Enchanted Skean and The Greener Forest, also from indie presses).

I’ve tried to make the tasks on this list as easy as I can – in some cases, a simple cut-and-paste. But, as easy as these tasks seem, each and every one of them will have a huge impact.

I hope you’ll consider taking a few minutes and choosing one task from this list (or more!) And if you do, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the post for the bribes – ah, rewards – I’m offering. Thanks for your help. – Vonnie

Costs some dollars:
1Buy Owl Light. Of course. Then…
1aWrite a review and post it somewhere (your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, etc.)

Free to do:
2Contact your local library and ask them to purchase copies of Owl Light (and also, The Enchanted Skean and The Greener Forest, for that matter). This is usually pretty simple. In fact, most metropolitan area library systems have an online form where patrons can request a book. Then…

2aCheck Owl Light out, read, write a review, and post it somewhere (your blog, GoodreadsAmazon, etc.)

3Copy one of the below icons, and use it for a day as your user picture on social media, with a post explaining what it is:

For Twitter:
My icon today is @VonnieWCrist ’s new book, Owl Light, a collection of dark fantasy & science-fiction tales: http://tinyurl.com/Owl-Light-Vonnie-W-Crist-Amazn

small owl light

 

 

 

 

 

For Facebook:
My user picture today is the cover of Vonnie Winslow Crist’s  new novel, Owl Light, a collection of dark fantasy & science fiction tales. Check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and elsewhere.

Maybe6 owl light cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Pinterest:
Pin Owl Light or one of Vonnie’s other books.

3a– Post about Owl Light, skipping the icon. That’s great, too.

4Bookmark Owl Light on sites such as Delicious/del.icio.us, Digg, or add it to StumbleUpon, or Reddit:
http://tinyurl.com/Vonnie-Winslow-Crist-Amazon
http://tinyurl.com/Vonnie-Winslow-Crist-B-N

5Freely post this specially-written blog post as a guest post on your blog. You don’t have to ask permission or anything. Just copy, paste, and publish.

6Tell a fellow reader about the book, face to face or in email.

7Chose Owl Light for your readers’ or book club’s selection. Contact me using the form on my website and I’ll be glad to Skype with your group. Discussion questions are on my website, too.

8– Are you a middle or high school teacher or home schooler? Chose Owl Light to read with your students. Discussion questions are on my website. Contact me using the form on my website and I’ll be glad to Skype with your group.

9Organizing a sf/f con or writers’ conference? If you’re nearby, it would be an honor to attend and participate on writer and/or illustrator panels. Or if you’re looking for an Artist Guest of Honor, I’ve had over 1,000 illos published, and for travel expenses, room, and con fees, I’d be happy to appear. Contact me using the contact form on my website and let me know if you’re interested.

10Create! I’d love for you to draw/paint something from Owl Light or create a youtube video dramatizing a story (or the whole book). I only ask 2 things: credit Owl Light as inspiration, and let me know about it (so I can link to it).

11Put an affiliate buy now link for Owl Light on your website, using a program like Amazon Affiliates (doesn’t cost $ and you may make some $).

I’d like to show my gratitude to anyone who does any of the above on my behalf. Please email me using the contact form on my website and let me know!

– If you complete tasks 1 – 4 from the list, I’d like to publicly thank you on my social media, so let me know your handle or user name.

– Complete tasks 1-5, 6, and (either 7, 8 or 9) from the list, I’d like to send you an e-copy of one of my books, and publicly thank you.

– Complete 1-5, 6, (either 7, 8 or 9), and 10 or all 11 tasks, I’d like to mail you a paperback copy of one of my books, and, of course, publicly give you my thanks.

PS. Thanks to Caren Gussoff for the idea for this post.

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Wizard A brand new, myth-focused blog, Mythic Well, is up and running with a wonderful post on – what else? – Sacred Springs. There will be “articles about the myths and legends that inspire us” regularly posted by a group of writers who use myth, legend, folklore, etc. to inspire and season their writing.

So, as you can imagine, I’ll be one of the contributors. When a new post goes up on Mythic Well, I’ll link to it, so those of you who love to read about myths and legends as much as I do will have a quick way to see what’s new.

As for Sacred Springs by Jennifer Allis Provost, it’s a wonderful post filled with photos, facts, and magical information. Jennifer has also included links to some other interesting websites that offer even more information. Thanks, Jennifer, for a great debut article, and I challenge my fellow contributors to keep up the fascinating posts – I’ll sure try to do so.

So here’s the list of contributors – I urge you to check each of them and their writing out: Anthony Francis, April Wood, Darby Karchut, DC Farmer, Jennifer Allis Provost, Kimberly Long Ewing, TJ Woolridge, Sherry Ficklin, and me! 🙂

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