Monday, January 30, 2012

What's Eating Kim MacCarron?

My only real regret is letting embarrassment about family situations rule my teen years.  Granted, those are the years to suffer silently or roll your eyes when someone in your family embarrasses you, but I still regret letting the little things become so darn big.
My mom was always a bit…um…different than the other moms.  She marched to the beat of a different drummer.  Hell, she was in whole separate parade!  I appreciate that more now as an adult, but I didn’t so much when I was a teenager.
One time during our annual vacation to a lodge in Ontario, Canada, I was playing tennis with other girls my age and a few of the moms when all of a sudden one girl said, “Who is THAT?”  I turned around and saw this woman stomping up through the beautifully manicured grounds with a huge tackle box clutched in her hand, fishing lures hanging off her battered hat and her face beet-red from spending the whole day in the sun.    Classic Marsha.  My mom.
My heart slid to my toes, my pulse raced ten times faster, and, in answer to this girl’s question—a girl I never saw again after that two-week vacation—I…shrugged and looked away.  Yes.   I pretended that I didn’t know my own mother.  I was mortified as only a teenage girl could be.  But, no, it gets worse.  My mom veered off course and headed our way, and I wished with every fiber of my being that she wouldn’t see me.  She came right over to the fence separating us and told me to head back to our cottage and get ready for dinner.  I numbly nodded my head, aware of the horrified looks of those girls and their mothers. 
I always assumed the looks were directed at my mother and her get-up.  Did I forget to mention the scruffy cut-off jean shorts and the dirty tennis shoes, with laces completely dragging behind the shoes?  Well, add those details in.  But, looking back to that day as an adult, I often wonder if they were more horrified that I would pretend to not know my own mother.  What kind of girl DOES that?
I wish I could have a do-over for that day.  When that girl whose name I can’t even recall asked her question, I wish I would have turned around and smiled and waved happily to my mom.  I wish I had said, “Oh, that’s my mom!  She loves to fish!  As a matter of fact, last summer here at the lodge she caught the biggest fish of the entire season!” 
Because when it really comes down to it, my mom deserved a better daughter than the one she had that day.  And, heck, I’ll admit it, many other days as well.  She has always stood beside me, proud to be my mom.  And I slunk away one too many times.  I don’t do that anymore, but I regret the times that I did.
Family embarrassment is a big part of practically any teen’s life.  We’re embarrassed if our dad is fat or thin, a drinker or one who wears his pants two inches too short.  We’re embarrassed if our mom is fat or messy or geeky looking or one who tries to act and dress like our friends.  Everything is an embarrassment at that tender age.
Remember What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?  How the family had to deal with embarrassing situations like an obese mom and a mentally-challenged younger brother?  Or Andie in Pretty in Pink when she doesn’t want Blane to see where she lives?  Or poor little Daniel LaRusso in the original Karate Kid when he has to help push his mom’s car past his girlfriend’s mansion, with her disapproving parents looking on. 
We all suffer embarrassments.  It’s part of growing up.  But, I wish so much that I wouldn’t have let it affect me as much as I did.  When it comes right down to it, our friends will come and go.  Our boyfriends or girlfriends will do the same.  But our family stays with us forever, for better or worse, for richer or poorer.  Those are the ones who truly stick with us. 
After I let go of my embarrassment about my mom, I realized that my friends all adored her.  Sometimes they would call the house to talk to my mom because they couldn’t talk to their own moms.   My mom never judges people.  She keeps an open mind.  She accepts—even embraces—the differences that divide most people. 
She was the person I confided in for my whole entire life.  She was the first person I called in my college dorm hallway when I lost my virginity.  I don’t have a secret that my mom doesn’t know.  And I love that!  I hope that my kids will feel the same way about me.  I’ll probably embarrass the hell out of them through the years.  But, as long as they feel that open communication, I’m fine with having them slink away when their friends are on the scene.
So, tell me.  Let it out.  When did someone in your family do something that embarrassed you to the extreme?  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WELCOME WEDNESDAY: Sandy DeLisle's High School Regret

By Sandy DeLisle

In high school, instead of following my theatrical and musical interests, I followed boys. To be more specific, it was two boys: Bill and John. I attached myself to first one and then the other, and boy, I never looked back. Until now.

When given the opportunity to write a guest blog about high school regrets, I knew immediately I had to write about the missed opportunity to become the next Pat Benatar. That’s what my fellow classmates, the Bannockburn School graduating class of 1981, predicted for me in eighth grade anyway. And, given that I had snagged the lead in our school musical that year and was subsequently asked to be the lead singer in a local band, it may not have been completely unfounded. Though, if I am honest with myself, I never could quite belt out the high notes like my favorite female musical icon, so that prediction was most likely not going to happen. However, that hasn’t stopped me from singing “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” at every karaoke bar I have encountered between 1988 and now.
Even if I wasn’t going to be the next female rock star, I could have at least had fun being a part of my high school musicals or show choir. But, for some ridiculous reason I did not audition for one play or chorus my entire four years of high school! Oh, how I wish I had had High School Musical or Glee to inspire me back then. The musical renderings of Gabriella or Rachel might have pulled me out of my hormone induced stupor. Or, at the very least I might have realized that you could get hot boys like Zac Effron to pay attention to you if you could carry a tune. Unfortunately, though, during my time, people like me were known as theater geeks and being a geek back then didn’t carry with it the cool factor that it does today.

So, what does a person do when she realizes she totally missed out on many wonderful high school experiences? If I were Marty McFly from Back to the Future, I would simply hop in my DeLorean, punch in 1985 and totally rock the Deerfield High School audition for The Pirates of Penzance. Since I can’t do that, I do what all good parents do: Nag their children not to make the same mistakes they made. 
Beyond that, my books tend to have underlying themes related to the importance of pursuing your dreams and being open to new possibilities. For example, in my e-Book, PURE ENOUGH, when Katherine, the protagonist, transfers to a new high school, she has the ability to reinvent herself, but instead, she hesitates, afraid to try anything outside of her comfort zone. Her love interest, Aidan, is a hot theater geek (why didn’t I find one of those when I was in high school?) and persuades her to audition for the school play. Katherine makes the play, and as a result, learns a lot about who she is in the process.

But, back to my future…as it turns out, I don’t need a DeLorean to alter my past mistakes. Twenty-five years after graduating, I landed a walk-on role in my alma mater’s high school musical. All it took was outbidding another frustrated theater geek at a local fundraiser. For seventy-five dollars, I have secured the opportunity to walk across the high school stage in front of an audience. Even if the director doesn’t give me a single line to speak, I won’t care. I am thrilled that the curtain has not closed on my high school theatrical debut. Sometimes life gives you a do-over and when it comes, you better seize it.  I don’t think I could have written a better ending myself.

This is me with the boy I eventually married. I am still working on getting him to sing show tunes with me.


Sandy, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your High School Regret. And for the adorable picture of you and your hubby! I'm sure he's much cuter than either Bill and John ever were!

***GIVE AWAY ALERT!*** The first person to follow Sandy's blog here will receive a free e-copy of her book PURE ENOUGH. How awesome is that?
Now it’s your turn, awesome readers…If you could pay $75 to experience something you missed in high school, what would it be?

Monday, January 23, 2012

...but then again, too few to mention

For weeks I've been stumped by the idea of high school regrets, because as far as I can figure, I only have one and I've already blogged here about it (not standing up for my best friend when I had the chance). But that's it.

Before you roll your eyes and click away, let me clarify. I'm sure if I examined my past long enough I would find things I wish weren't part of my past, things like coral lipstick, rosary-bead necklaces, and clogs. (For the record, I never regretted leg warmers. It gets cold here. Leg warmers were A Good Thing.) But those don't really stand up as things that affect the person you become, and for me, that's what a regret is: something with a lasting effect on your life.

So what do I have to talk about? how oddly disturbing it is not to have regrets. Because it says something about the person I was in high school. No surprise, I was horribly shy. I was the book-loving girl who spent her free periods in the art studio. I had a core group of good friends and very few acquaintances. The school bus terrified me. I was too much of a wimp to ever do anything I might regret later ...

And I sorta regret that.

Don't get me wrong. I don't regret not being the chick passed out next to a toilet. Truly, I do have some perspective.

But I do regret not being this girl:

No, not Anna Paquin. The other one. I regret not being the girl who was willing to take a chance. Not being the one who had the guts to step out of her shell -- or allow someone else to help her with those steps. Or ask for help in the first place.

Straight through high school, through much of my life in fact, I let fear rule me. I was afraid of not being cool, afraid of being mocked, afraid of doing something "wrong" or "bad". Afraid of failing. So I never tried. I never took chances. I never risked. I played it safe, and boring, and silent, and slunk through high school (virtually) unscathed.

Now this little voice in the back of my mind is asking "and that's a bad thing? to never fail? to never be the object of ridicule?" Well, okay, nobody wants to be mocked. But the thing is, never having those experiences? I never learned how to recover from them. I never learned how to laugh off an insult - and each one stings to this day. I never learned how to recover from being stabbed in the back -- and that holds me back from close friendships now. And it took me a really long time to learn how to stand up for myself.

So. That's why I regret not having regrets, why I regret not being brave enough to... fill in the blank with a legal activity *s*. I regret not having a fuller life... and not understanding the errors of coral lipstick until much, much later.

And now the question goes to you. What color lipstick... no, I'm kidding. The question is, have you ever had a time in your life when you were too afraid to take a chance? Was avoiding the situation the right choice, or do you regret missing out? And hey! Keep it clean and legal!

Monday, January 16, 2012

This post is a buzzkill.

Hey, everyone. It's Melissa, the resident lighthearted wiseass. I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer. Trust me. I hate reading dark-n-angsty tales of woe, so I wouldn't ordinarily subject you to one of mine. But this month’s topic is “regrets,” and I couldn’t post on the subject without addressing my teenage pregnancy. Well, I could, but Lorie stole my other main regret, which is allowing fear of rejection to rule my teenage years.

So I’m gonna lay something heavy at your feet. Womp woooooomp.

Before I begin, let me make it clear that I don’t regret my oldest child. She’s a blessing to me in a thousand different ways, and even when I was struggling to make it to class, pinching pennies to afford day care, eating Ramen noodles and dried beans, living in a trailer the size of a shoebox, and wearing my cousin’s hand-me-downs, I never regretted my daughter.

But, oh, how I regret the timing.

Let’s back up a bit. I was a late bloomer in high school Thanks to a rigidly-religious upbringing, I wasn’t allowed to date until after my sixteenth birthday. You know that song Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed? Sadly, that was me. And while I did start dating—and kissing—I held on to my V-Card with a white-knuckled Kung Fu Grip. I wasn’t ready for sex in high school. Actually, that’s an understatement. Sex scared the ever-loving shiz out of me.

But then I went to college and fell in love. Strike that. I didn’t just fall in love—I toppled off a ten-story building and face-planted into love. And those emotions somehow plundered my intelligence. In an instant, I lost 100 IQ points. His opinions became my own. I let him do my thinking for me. I even let him convince me to vote for Ross Perot! (In my defense, Ross did have some pretty impressive pie charts.)

More importantly, I let him convince me we didn't need to use a condom. He said he couldn't get me pregnant.

One month later, I was staring at two pink lines that said he was wrong and I was an idiot.

That’s when my freedom ended, precisely two semesters after it began. I got married (at age 19), gave birth to a daughter, and spent the next few years living in abject poverty—seriously, I sold my plasma for gas money—while doing my best to graduate on time. And my marriage? Let’s just say it wasn’t a happy one. Despite what songwriters tell us, love isn’t enough to make it work.

But it’s not the poverty and heartbreak that fuel my regrets. It’s the loss of my freedom. I missed out on the Selfish Years of my twenties, that magical window to travel, explore my interests, and just be young and irresponsible. And because I started over in my thirties (two sons with a new husband), I’ll never be free. Well, maybe when the baby moves out, but who knows if I’ll live to see that day. Again, I don’t regret the children, just the timing.

I crave those Selfish Years. Hard. And my biggest regret is that I cheated myself out of them.

Okay, enough of my regrets. Now it’s your turn. Did you cheat yourself out of anything during your youth, and do you miss it now?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fab Friday Giveaway!

Happy Friday YA readers! Today I'm excited to give away this fabulous, hardcover edition of the New York Times best selling novel, CROSSED by Ally Condie.

So how can you win? It's easy-peasy, lemon squeezy! You must:

1. Be a follower of this blog. (Click the blue button on the upper right-hand side of the page that says "Join this site.")

2. Leave a comment to this post and include your contact information. (yourname (at) email (dot) com) I promise not to use your email for any nefarious purpose, such as framing you for murder or adding you to a newsletter.

3. Due to the high cost of international shipping, this giveaway is only open to US residents. By participating, you agree to the rules set forth on our contest disclaimer page.

4. That's it! The contest closes Monday, January 16th, at 5pm EST. At that time, I'll assign each comment a number and use to choose the winner. If the winner doesn't respond within 48 hours, I'll choose another winner, and so on.

Feel free to share the news with your friends...just know it won't earn you extra entries. We're all about keepin' it simple here at Honestly YA.

Good luck!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Interview with YA author Eileen Cook...and a GIVEAWAY!

Melissa here! I'm thrilled to welcome Eileen Cook to Honestly YA for our very first author interview. Eileen has a brand-new book out from Simon Pulse, (UNRAVELING ISOBEL), and I'm giving away my copy to one lucky reader. Just follow the simple instructions following the interview. Good luck! 

About our guest: Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in six different languages. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. 

You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at  Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.

Melissa: Welcome to Honestly YA, Eileen! Tell us a little about your teen years. Were you the outgoing cheer captain? The lovable band geek? The student council president with dreams of world domination?

Eileen: Technically, there would be two answers to this question: my view of myself and how I suspect everyone else saw me.  I thought I was a bit of an edgy drama geek. I wore what I saw as sort of funky unique style and entirely too much eyeliner.  I listened to The Smiths and The Cure and had heated discussions about Apartheid. Alas, in reality I suspect I was one of those people that others thought was a bit quirky and quiet.   

Melissa: Which fictional character did you most identify with in high school?

Eileen: I was absolutely convinced that The Breakfast Club was the best movie of all time. I secretly wanted to be Molly Ringwald. 

See? That's Eileen, kickin' it Molly Ringwald style!

Melissa: What inspired you to write for teens?

Eileen: I love reading YA fiction so there is no surprise for me that I also wanted to write it. Teens are in the process of figuring out who they are and what they want from life. I love that intensity and passion. Things matter more at that age. I also think YA readers are willing to push boundaries. They’re interested in reading a wide variety of things. They push me to be a better writer, by wanting better and better books. 

Melissa: What’s the most rewarding part of your job as an author? The most frustrating part?

Eileen: I love the process of writing.  There are few things more fun than unearthing a story idea that is really exciting and getting to dive into it every day.  Although I tend to outline my books before starting, there are still plenty of things that I discover as I write. It’s like an archeological dig without having to leave home.  Also, hearing from readers who liked the book is magical. 

For me, the most frustrating part of being a writer is the amount that is out of my control. There are so many great books out there, but it can be hard to get your book in front of readers. As the author you can’t control a lot of the marketing or timelines.  I try and remind myself to focus on the writing where at least I do have control. 

Melissa: Tell us about the main character in your new release. Would you have wanted him/her for a best friend in high school? 

Eileen: I love Isobel.  She’s a bit quirky (we have that in common.)  She’s not popular, but she’s not unpopular either.  She loves art, values friendships, and is funny.  I think what I admire most is her courage.  It isn’t that she isn’t afraid.  There’s plenty to be afraid of, she thinks she might be seeing ghosts, her step-dad may be trying to get rid of her, and then there’s the fact she may be going crazy.  Despite being afraid, she faces things. To me that is real bravery, being scared, but doing the right thing anyway. 

Melissa: Where can readers stalk—er, follow—you?

Eileen: I spend entirely too much time on Twitter:  Eileenwriter

I have a blog on my website:

And since I still haven’t spent enough time online, I’m also on Facebook:

Melissa: Thanks for stopping by, and congratulations on your newest release!

Now for the fun part. I'm giving away one hardcover copy of UNRAVELING ISOBEL. What’s the book about, you ask? Read on…

Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.
But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.

So how can you win?

1. Be a follower of this blog. (Click the blue button on the upper right-hand side of the page that says "Join this site.")

2. Leave a comment to this post and include your contact information. (yourname (at) email (dot) com).

3. Due to the high cost of international shipping, this giveaway is only open to US residents. By participating, you agree to the rules set forth on our contest disclaimer page.

4. That's it! The contest closes tomorrow, Thursday, January 12th, at 5pm EST. At that time, I'll assign each comment a number and use to choose the winner. If the winner doesn't respond within 48 hours, I'll choose another winner, and so on.

Good luck!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Freak by Design

I have always been drawn toward the freaks of the world. I’m not talking JoJo the circus sideshow boy, but the revolutionaries, the iconoclasts, those rebels who fly their freak flag by conscious choice. I am still afflicted with awe-like admiration for those who dare to stand out as an extension of their unflappable individuality.

ABC Family's Jane By Design, 2012 (they had me at mohawk - or is that more of a fashionhawk?) and Pretty in Pink,1986. Freaks still provide important messages about being yourself.

One of my biggest regrets from high school is that I was too self-conscious to explore my inner freak. I never wanted to fit in, but I was terrified of standing out. So, I remained invisible, timidly ogling those green-haired, mohawked, chain-wearing gods and goddesses of nonconformity from afar.

From time to time, in high school and even in college, I attempted to be like everyone else. I’d don the popular labels, flip up my collars and go forth into the world…only to feel like it was October 31st. I wanted kelly-green Chucks, rips and holes, plaids, chains and piercings. The kicker is my mom was as lenient a single parent as a kid could hope for—so the only thing standing in my way was me. I was a coward.

Perhaps that’s why I still harbor undying, quasi-unnatural gratitude toward John Hughes. Mr. Hughes celebrated the freaks by design. Through movies, he told us it was okay to swim against the masses. His characters made us feel valued and important. More importantly, there was no conformity among his freaks; each character was unique and superior. 

"You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions."
But John saw more...
As a writer, I draw a lot of inspiration from the John Hughes Universe creating characters that are individual, vibrant and always left of center.

These days, I don’t let anyone else dictate who I am or who I’m not. I fly my inner freak flag proudly. But I regret not exploring who I wanted to be and getting to know that girl earlier in life. Maybe if I had, I’d have learned sooner what Mr. Hughes knew: that true individuality comes from that unique and superior spark within the soul that, while hidden at times, cannot be extinguished.

So unfurl that freak flag and wave it proudly!


Over The Rhine - "Happy With Myself"

YOUR TURN: Did you have a strong sense of self in high school? If you could go back, what is one thing you would do differently?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fab Friday PLUS Giveaway!!

Following our own Carey Corp's courageous lead, I've taken the plunge!

Okay, maybe that's not the best metaphor for this one. Hmm... must rethink that. Until then, I hope you'll help me celebrate the release of my first time-travel adventure!

Maybe you want to know a bit about it? What, the title doesn't say it all? All right, I'll expand on the theme. Take two high school freshmen, boys, both members of the History Club -- one eager, one reluctant, total opposites. On the club's trip to a Centennial Exhibition of RMS Titanic artifacts, the boys tumble through time, landing on the decks of the great ship. But hey, these boys know their history. They know what's coming. They know the ship, and hundreds of its passengers, will be at the bottom of the ocean within days. With no way back "home" to the future, Kade and Simon - unlikely allies - need to find a way to change fate of the ship, or risk losing their lives.

I had a TON of fun writing this book and exploring the ship through Kade's eyes. And with the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of Titanic coming up this April, I'm happy to be able to share this story now. In face, I'm sooooo happy, I'm giving away two -- yes, TWO!! -- electronic copies of the book. You know what that means, don't you??? The giveaway is open to overseas...which also might be a bad choice of words, but I'll go with it.

Here's the giveaway rules/requirements/etc. To be eligible for the giveaway you must:

1. Be a follower of this blog. (Click the blue button on the upper right-hand side of the page that says "Join this site.")

2. Leave a comment to this post and include your contact information. (yourname (at) email (dot) com) I promise not to use your name or email to sign you up for travel on ocean-liners or any other purpose outside of choosing winners.

3. Understand that by participating, you agree to the rules set forth on our contest disclaimer page.

Contest closes midnight on January 7. So please, please enter! Help me celebrate this exciting step on my publishing journey!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

WELCOME WEDNESDAY: Rene Pace's High School Regret

High school is filled with things to try and my one piece of advice to teenagers is don’t be shy—try them. When I was in high school I really wanted to join the yearbook and photography class which was offered at lunch so it would have worked for me, but someone made the comment only the nerds do stuff like that. Back then image mattered and no way did I want to be seen as a nerd. Truthfully, I was a nerd. For fun in high school I read science journals at home and wrote poetry. And even back then smart guys were the ones I found cute and sexy. Yes, later in life I married my own math nerd. But I so wanted to take these courses without “really taking it” that I used to hang around in the hall when the other kids were working on yearbook stuff and when I finally got the courage to go into the dark room I loved it.

My other huge regret is that I never once tried out for a sports team. I loved to run but was too shy to try out for track. Looking back I think it was more the fear of being seen as a jock that made me fear trying out for a team. That and failure. I wish guidance counselors talked to high school kids about the benefits of trying new things. I know I certainly would have tried a lot more things but I was so fearful of not fitting in that in the end the only person I hurt was myself. And the funny thing was that I ran 5km every second night, and because seeing a girl running in my community was such a novelty, I learned how to avoid oncoming pickup trucks so I just know I would have been good at track.

Good thing when I left high school and went on to university I started to try everything. 

Renee Pace is a young adult writer who likes to tackle real teen issues in her nitty gritty series. Mother of four children she calls Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada home. She loves coffee, living near the Atlantic Ocean and believes strongly in volunteerism. She is a member of Romance Writers of American, Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada, the Society of Children Writers and Illustrators, and the Nova Scotia Writers’ Federation. To find out more about Renee’s Off Limits, and her earlier release, Off Leash please visit  

Great post Renee! Thanks so much for stopping by Honestly YA. Off Limits is next up on my Kindle and I can't wait to read it.

Your turn: Did you miss out on any clubs, sports or other activities in high school? What would you have joined if you could have a do over? 

***NEWS FLASH*** Renee will give away an e-copy of Off Limits and Off Leash!!!  Leave a comment and your e-mail to register to win one of these great books. How easy is that????

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Nine Lives of Lorie Langdon

Have you ever noticed there are no do-over’s in life?

One of my favorite TV shows in recent years was The Nine Lives of Chloe King. I use past tense because, to my disappointment, the show was canceled after one season. But in case you haven’t seen the show or read the books, the basic concept is that Chloe wakes up on her sixteenth birthday with cat-like superpowers and nine lives.

That’s right, NINE do-overs! And not the lame kind, either. Chloe doesn’t have to fear death. She can take any risk without paying the ultimate price. But even with this superhuman ability, she still has regrets.

Looking back at my high school years, my regrets are vast. But perhaps not on the level of Miss King, who kisses a boy for the first time and inadvertently kills him, or chooses the sorta cute boy with the caterpillar eyebrows over the blonde Adonis with superpowers and a melting British accent. But painful all the same.

Alek or Brian. Was there ever any choice?
 In third grade, I entered the district talent show at my enormous inner-city school. I dressed up like Dorothy and sang my heart out. I won second place. It was the most amazing feeling when the audience jumped to their feet with cheers and applause. The next year, I auditioned for the school production of Annie. But my sweet rendition of Tomorrow couldn’t compete with another little girl with a bigger voice, and everyone in my fourth-grade class made sure I knew it. But I didn’t let that defeat keep me down for long. The next year, I scored the lead in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

The summer after my seventh grade year, we moved. And somewhere on that twenty-minute drive from the city to the suburbs, I lost it—my ability to take risks. I worked hard at blending in with the masses, until my sophomore year when I saw an open audition call for The Sound of Music. I’d been singing those songs with my Mom since I could talk, and I’d dreamed of being Liesl almost as long.

For weeks, I practiced Sixteen Going on Seventeen in front of my mirror in anticipation of the big day. I showed up and sat watching the auditions, my confidence sinking a little more with each one. Until I was one of the only people left in the vast auditorium. When the drama teacher made last call and looked me in the eye, I got up and walked out.

I never went to another audition. Even though I was pretty sure I could’ve at least landed a walk-on or chorus part, I couldn’t risk them telling me I wasn’t good enough for a lead role. Like an infectious disease, this new fear of rejection spread to every part of my life, until I became so closed off and fearful that just walking into the school cafeteria gave me heart-palpitations.
Many years later, a frightening illness made me realize our time on this earth is limited and that there are things far worse than a little rejection. So, I put on my big girl panties and jumped into the writing world without a net.

"I don't need easy. I just need possible."
These days, I eat risk for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a double helping of rejection on the side. And instead of walking away, I face my fears head on and let them motivate me to stand up against seemingly impossible odds and never give up. Unlike Chloe King, I’ve only got one life to live, and I’m not going to waste it on fear or regrets.
Now it's your turn:

Are you a risk taker? What would you do differently if you had nine lives?