sit with us

October is National Bullying Prevention Month.

This is important.

My National Bullying Prevention Month hero this year is Natalie Hampton. She created an app called Sit With Us. Sit With Us helps you find people in the cafeteria you can sit with so you don’t have to sit alone at lunch.

This is outstanding.

Sit With Us by Natalie Hampton

As someone who endured the horror of sitting alone at lunch in high school, I know how devastating sitting alone is…and how the trauma of this harsh ostracism can affect you for many years.

Sit With Us is improving lives everyday. It even has the potential to save lives.

This is phenomenal.

Sit With Us is on Twitter @nobodyeatsalone. Connect with them.

For those of you in school, please be aware of anyone sitting alone in the cafeteria who would be immensely grateful to sit with you. Be an Upstander and invite them over to your table! You have the power to save lives too.

help wanted 5 – fear

TGIM! Here’s some Monday Motivation from me to you.

Is there a big dream you want to make reality, but fear is stopping you from following your heart? Do you want to break out of a bad situation you’re stuck in, a negative group of friends, a job you don’t like, or habits that make you feel worse about yourself? My Help Wanted 5 video is all about overcoming fear to create your dream life.

Fear is like an indicator pointing you toward a better life. Breaking out of your comfort zone will allow you to make the big changes necessary to improve your life immensely. Here’s how you can start turning your dreams into reality right now!

Stay gold, friendly neighbors❤

rock the vote

I want to tell you about my first time.

My first time had issues with mechanics. I didn’t really know how anything worked. But there were instructions in explicit detail. So those helped.

There was too much background noise. It was hard to concentrate. Climate control was a problem. It was too hot…or maybe I was just nervous.

As part of the YA community’s #firstvote16 initiative, I made a video telling you all about my first time…VOTING.

Thanks to E. Lockhart and team
for organizing this fantastic Rock the Vote campaign! You can register to vote here and join the convo about your first time on Twitter with #firstvote16.

Do it. Share how you feel about someone special…with the whole world!

java stop

One of the most frequent questions authors get is this: Do you ever put real experiences in your books?

Heck yeah we do.

For example. There is a scene in Lost in Love where Sadie has a meltdown/rant/enraged fit over a new store on Bleecker Street. She grew up in that neighborhood. The West Village is the only home she’s ever known. One of the things she loved about the West Village is how it was a community of artists and musicians, filled with mom-and-pop stores that had been there forever. But the West Village, like a lot of New York City neighborhoods, has changed. It’s no longer the boho creative enclave of the 60s and 70s it once was. Sadie observes that Bleecker Street is kind of looking like an upscale strip mall these days. Case in point: this one artisan soap boutique that has, um, leaves inside.

Bleecker Street leaves

Sadie’s meltdown/rant/enraged fit is sparked by a certain Coffee Shop That Shall Not Be Named. The new coffee shop muscled in after a mom-and-pop record store that had been there for 17 years got pushed out by an outrageous rent increase. Which is why a lot of older stores are closing all over Manhattan. The rents are crazy. Sadie sees the shiny new coffee shop and has what I hope is both a passionate and hilarious fit in front of the store. She even makes a protest sign out of some recycled cardboard and a borrowed marker from Rocco’s. Darcy records Sadie’s rant and they post it online. You’ll see what happens in the final book of the City Love trilogy, Forever in Love, coming out next May.

What does Sadie’s fit have to do with experiences IRL? I had the same exact fit.

I was walking down this block of Bleecker Street I hadn’t seen in a while. When I lived in the West Village for nine years, I walked down that block all the time. But it had been a while since I was right there. And when I saw that our beloved record store had been replaced by the Coffee Shop That Shall Not Be Named, I lost it. I freaked the eff out. Just like Sadie did. Minus the protest sign.

Of course my meltdown/rant/enraged fit had to find its way into a book. The City Love trilogy was the perfect place for it.

At first the Coffee Shop That Shall Not Be Named was named. But my editor made the wise decision to change the name. You know. Good vibes only. So I came up with Java Stop, which I’d never heard of before. Or so I thought. Almost a year later, I was watching Singles, a dope film I hadn’t seen in many years. And what was the name of the local coffee shop?

Java Stop.

Was this another fun non-coincidence? Maybe. Had I ever even noticed the name of that coffee shop before? I don’t think so. But maybe I did and I forgot about it on an obvious level. The brain is a fascinating thing. Our memories are there, just not always accessible. Whatever the reason for coming up with Java Stop, it makes me smile to know that Sadie’s fury over its rampage of bullying smaller shops like a big bad boogeyman is making readers smile too.

Keep smiling. And remember to look up.🙂

legally blonde non-coincidence

TGIM! To keep this Monday Motivation train zipping along on a gray day, I thought I would share a non-coincidence with you that, at least to me, speaks to the power of positive energy.

You might be wondering what a non-coincidence is. Excellent question. A non-coincidence is an example of awesomeness in the universe I wrote about in Something Like Fate. I was writing about the concept of fate and to what degree we are the architects of our own destiny. And about other fascinating things we can’t explain. Like this one time when I had a dream about two people I had not spoken to in years, and the next day they both called me. Or how I was taking a subway line I never take at a time of day I never ride the subway and looked up from my book at this one stop for some reason…and a friend I hadn’t seen in forever got on who didn’t even live here. These are non-coincidences. Why do I call them that? One of the quotes I included in Something Like Fate is by David Life: If you believe in coincidence, you aren’t paying attention.

Do I think everything happens for a reason? I do. Do I think that if you live your life in positive energy and work toward your goals with determination and dedication, everything will unfold as it should? No doubt. And do I think that non-coincidences can enrich our lives if we are paying attention? Absolutely.

Here’s a recent example of a fun non-coincidence. I have this DVD of Legally Blonde. When I first got it over ten years ago, it played like a DVD should. No problems at all. Then one day, it stopped playing. Just gave up and called it quits. Given how much I enjoy that movie, I was understandably a bit devastated. I thought about mailing it to the manufacturer to request an exchange. Or just going out and buying a new one. But something kept stopping me. Every time I was like, “I am going to send Legally Blonde back today!” I never did. Which is really unlike me. When I say I am going to do something, I freaking do it. I can’t explain why I held onto this busted DVD.

Legally Blonde

So my Legally Blonde DVD would not play for years. Years, people. At least five, probably more like seven. I tried to get it to play so many times, hoping each time would be different and it would magically play despite the ever increasing evidence to the contrary.

Of course it never played.

Then it was May 11, 2016. I had recently turned Fabulous at 43. And I woke up that morning determined to make some changes. Things I had been working on for years suddenly were DONE. I was done entertaining negative energy in my life. All negative energy had to go, as I was a positive energy only zone. I decided in that moment that my word for Fab at 43 would be STRONG. I called my crazy busy doctor who I could never get on the phone and insisted on speaking to her directly after several attempted distractions by her intimidating staff, who usually wore me down so much I gave up trying. I spoke to her, then found a new doctor because no patient should be treated like that. I threw down a schedule that would protect my workout time. I shimmered in my Knowing that the new book I was working on chose me to write it. Positive energy was abundant…and powerful.

It was the perfect time to try playing Legally Blonde again.

But this time, I made an executive decision. If it didn’t play (as it hadn’t for the past 32 times I tried over 5+ years), I would toss it and order a new one. That was it. I was DONE.

Guess what happened?

The DVD played.

To me, this non-coincidence reinforced the power of positive energy. I believe that our energy not only affects other people, but also affects every living thing. And even, in mysterious ways, inanimate objects. I know how wild that sounds. But I’ve seen enough evidence in my lifetime to know that the energy we radiate can change the entire world. Including everything in it.

Whatever you want to achieve, whomever you want to become, whichever path you choose to follow, remember this: Positive energy is the key to creating your dream life. This was just a fun non-coincidence I shared, but positive energy is a catalyst for epic non-coincidences on a much larger scale that can change your entire life.

Embrace the power of positive energy. Then go out there and get your DVD to play.