Sunday, October 14, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday -- October 14, 2012

This six sentences is from Son of Lawless. This is a YA for grades 9-12:

"We went from the howls of coyotes and calls of screech owls to the growls of massive engines and the screams of sirens. The highway calmed down after a while, the trains never stopped. I loved those trains. Every one of them sounded different. Some came in like a wind in the trees. Others screeched like the cars were rolling straight down to Hell." 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

COMMENTARY: October is Anti-Bullying Month

I debated whether to talk about bullying or not, but I figure it's cleansing and perhaps someone will run across this blog post and not feel so much alone.

You're not alone. There may be more of us than there are of them. We all face bullying in our lives in some form or another whether it's the high school team or a boss later in life.

You may actually be better able to deal with bullies if you've faced them early and understand what bullying is about.

I was the kid with the pop bottle thick glasses because I was born with cataracts. My Mom actually had a choice of sending me to the special school for kids with disabilities. She visited the school and said it was sad with all the kids in wheelchairs and the visually impaired kids with white canes.

So she begged the principal of Wilson Elementary to take me.

Was it kind? Was it cruel?  It was what it was. I'll leave the discussion on mainstreaming kids with handicaps to another post.

Of course, I got bullied. A handicapped kid's a target. One girl in particular made my life hell because we shared a common friend. Kim did everything from make snide remarks, bomb threat phone calls, to fake-calling me as boys from the class. Really? You don't sound like David, Kim.

Worse, I developed faster than the other girls. I had a figure in fourth grade, which my Mom did her best to hide. I was a head taller. Worse, I had a period. Imagine that with boys who love/hate girls. 

My situation got better for awhile in fifth grade. Dian jumped me on the playground. I was by myself and I felt something heavy hit me on the back. Not sure how I did it, but the next thing I knew, I was sitting on her with a fist full of hair, pounding her head in the dirt.

Next day, she brought friends. Luckily, I had a few of mine with me....I mostly got left alone after that.

In eighth grade, Chris was getting bullied by Jerry when I passed by. He kept touching her and she said "no" more emphatically with each touch. She was the smallest kid in our class and he was tall for a boy. The third time she said, "No," I stepped to her side and told Jerry to leave her alone. He asked me why--and I said because she said no three times--when does no mean no to you?  He hit her. I hit him back and knocked him about fifteen feet--clear across the hallway to the windows--he left both of us alone after that.

As far as physical violence, I think that story followed me through high school.

This brings up a huge question. Is answering violence with violence the right way to deal with bullying? When you're jumped, you've got to fight back. When someone's hitting another person, you've got to stop them. I hope Jerry got the idea that no meant no before he did something worse than just hitting a girl against her will.

Oh yeah, I still got verbal and sexual crap in school. But around eighth grade, I also started going to therapy and I realized their self-esteem was worse than mine. What they said and did still caused me pain, but not quite as much.

Bullies need work on their sense of identity and self worth. Someone has to show them that they're good people without exercising excess power over others.

Does it get better?  No, you're going to have bullies for your co-workers, for your boss, maybe even a neighbor. You get better. As soon as bullies realize you're strong and capable, they'll think before messing with you.

Then you go and help others.

Rebecca McFarland Kyle, October 2012

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Director:  Olivier Megaton
Writer:  Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kaman

Stars: Liam Neeson, Franke Jansson, Maggie Grace

This is one of those "seems like a good idea at the time," plots.  When the father of the young man who originally tried to steal Bryan Mills' daughter decides to take revenge, he's out for blood. He's going to get the whole family and make them all suffer. 

Seriously?  What was he thinking?  Mills tore up the place the last time they fought...

If you're looking for a good tension releaser, Taken 2  is it.  Is it much more?  You get a bit of character growth for the daughter, Kim, but not much else. If you're not looking for more, this is going to be a great release for a matinee. Or perhaps a good date film if you're hoping your partner will grab on during the tense moments.

I don't plan on buying the film or seeing it again. I enjoyed the one line from Taken. Neeson's always fun to watch, but that was it for me.

Rebecca McFarland Kyle, October 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: Frankenweenie

Director:  Tim Burton
Writers:  John August, Tim Burton,
Stars: Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau

When a lonely kid loses his best friend, he turns to Science to restore him and it works. Unfortunately, his fellow classmates go for bigger and better to compete in the school's annual Science Fair.

Frankenweenie is the rare modern-day cartoon filmed completely in black and white. There's something for audiences of all ages save for maybe the very young. Those of us who remember seeing 1950's and 1960's horror will recognize the tract neighborhoods and the the anti-authority themes from the times as well as some of the monsters. Fans of classic horror will also recognize a few names, too. Parents of today will see some of the issues regarding teaching science classes today. Younger kids are going to love the icky-gory monster film.

The animation is superb as you'd expect from Disney and Tim Burton. They've managed to create a whole new set of cool monsters from the re-animation technique too.

The film's not just scary, though. I sat there in the theater with tears in my eyes at several moments. I've known a couple of dogs and many cats I'd gladly "frankenpet." But, the Mom in this story is right. Once you've loved someone, they are in your heart forever.

There are a whole lot more very wise sayings in this film, but I'll leave this to you to find them. Frankenweenie is one film I will definitely add to my collection on Blu-Ray and I'll probably have it as a Halloween staple along with ParaNorman and Hotel Transylvania. This is definitely a good year to be a kid--or a kid at heart, on Halloween.

WARNING:  Kids under seven will probably be frightened by some of the images. Bring them with care.

Rebecca McFarland Kyle, October 2012

Six Sentence Sunday 10/7/2012

Looking for a change of pace?  Here's a bit from Son of Lawless, the other YA I am working on:

“If you spend your life thinking of all the things you should have done, you will never become the person you are meant to be.”
It felt like he’d engraved those words on my soul.
When I stood up, the Matchbox cars banged against my leg. I pulled them out of my pocket and handed them over to Sheriff Poole.
“They’re not mine, and I can’t keep them.”
“You steal them?”

Monday, October 1, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday 9/30/12

As those of you who've been following my blog know, I've started doing Six Sentence Sunday. It's a way for authors to share their WIP with readers who are interested.

Here's the sign-up if any of you are interested in following other writers' work:

Without any further ado, here are six sentences from Madame President:  

“See what I mean?” Gregory whispered to me while Mr. Clayton took roll. It surprised me that he didn’t like Charles. They were both from the better part of our neighborhood, where the wealthier families lived. “You need to reach out to classes like this, the kids who’ll get out and vote instead of just standing and cheering. You guys killed today at lunch. You keep it up, Crystal will be as well-known as Charles Voss in a week.”

This actually came from Page 66, which I did just for fun because it is Six Sentence Sunday.

Thanks, everyone, for reading!

Rebecca McFarland Kyle, October 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: Hotel Transylvania

Directed by: Genndy Tartakovsky, Written by:  Peter Baynham, Robert Smigel, Todd Durham, Dan Hagerman, and Kevin Hagerman

Stars:  Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez

Dracula's got one fear--humans. In order to keep his 118-year-old little girl, Mavis, safe he's built Hotel Transylvania, a place where monsters can be themselves. No humans are allowed until backpacking Johnny makes a fateful turn and ends up in the midst of Mavis' birthday party celebration.

Oh yes, and we have every kind of monster from vampires to werewolves to the sandman. And magic--there's tables that fly into place, animated villages....Lots of spooky, ooky fun.

The story's designed for younger kids and none of the ones in the audience with us had problems. Just a lot of creepy gross monster fun. While I didn't think this movie was nearly as well executed as ParaNorman, I will be buying the Blu-Ray when it comes out because I love Halloween-type films. Definitely worth seeing--for big and little kids.

Rebecca McFarland Kyle, October 2012