Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Traffic Jam

Today I welcome Melissa Groeling as a guest-blogger. Melissa
graduated from Bloomsburg University with a degree in English. She lives, reads and writes in the Philadelphia region and wherever else life happens to send her. She is a hardcore New York Giants fan and loves chocolate.
Traffic Jam is her first young adult novel. 

Read about it:

When you’re caught in traffic, you’ve got nowhere to go…
Val Delton’s life is spiraling and there’s nothing she can do to stop it. Her dad lost his job, her mom works fourteen hour days to pay the bills and yet somehow there are high-end shopping bags and an iPod in her older sister’s room. Naturally, Val becomes suspicious but her sister’s lips are sealed. Then by accident, she uncovers a dark, dangerous secret hidden behind her sister’s bright smiles and cool indifference. Val has no idea how far and how deep the repercussions of her sister’s secret will reach but she’ll do whatever it takes to keep her family safe. Will she succeed before her sister’s secret destroys everyone she loves?   

Hello, hello Kris! Thanks for having me on your blog! It’s so awesome to be here.  Ever since I started taking my writing seriously, I’ve always thought that the journey would be pretty cut-throat. But all of this blogging and networking has proven otherwise. It’s times like these when I’m glad to be wrong.

So my new young adult novel, Traffic Jam, has been out for about three weeks now and I’m still so excited about it. People have told me they enjoyed reading it and that, my friend, is like a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream on a hot day---oh so good! Of course there will be people out there who won’t like it but hey, you can’t please everyone, right?

The idea of Traffic Jam came to me while I was watching the news which is weird because I don’t generally watch the news. The news is too depressing, too twisted, too everything. But this one time I was watching it and BAM! It was like getting kicked in the head…although I’ve never been kicked in the head…but I imagine it’s a lot like getting an idea for a story, especially when your pages have been sitting empty for a while. So on the news, they were broadcasting a special about human trafficking and I was surprised and slightly sickened to learn that not only does this type of thing happen all over the world but in this country too! The great US of A! It’s impossible to imagine, right? I can’t even begin to understand the despair of being trapped in a situation like that---you’re alone, you have no help, you’re away from your family and friends and  you’re being used…again and again in every conceivable way. It’s often too horrible to think about, which is why it’s so rampant because I think most people find it easier if they don’t acknowledge it. So not only was this broadcast an eye-opening experience but it was also a way to spread the word that sort of misery does exist and it has to be stopped.

Hence, my story.

Not only does Traffic Jam show the effect that human trafficking has on families but it also shows the huge disconnect that families have nowadays. Nobody seems to know what’s going on inside their own homes. Nobody seems to know what’s happening within their own family unit and when they do finally find out, it’s like the biggest sucker-punch in the universe.

As depressing as this topic is, I can only hope that Traffic Jam has the power to make people of aware of what’s going on. Pass the word, dear readers!

Thanks, Melissa. Readers, you can find Melissa here:

Twitter: @stringbean10
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Friday, June 1, 2012

Writing Conference

The Desert Sleuths (Scottsdale, AZ) chapter of Sisters in Crime asked me to post the following material about their upcoming conference:

Writers, the Desert Sleuth’s WriteNow! 2012 conference “CRIMINAL MINDS: Investigating Today's Writing Scene” is open for registration, and this year’s stellar line-up features psychologist and author Dennis Palumbo; publicity guru Dana Kaye; multi-award-winning author Sean Chercover and more on Sat., Aug. 11 at the Millennium Scottsdale Resort & Villas, 7401 N. Scottsdale Rd. in Scottsdale. In addition, acquisitions editor for the Maine-based Five Star Publishing, Denise Dietz, will be accepting a limited number of 15-minute pitches.
There will also be a silent auction fundraiser for the nonprofit Desert Sleuths, the Arizona Chapter of Sisters in Crime, a nationwide organization that exists “to combat discrimination against women in the mystery field, to educate publishers and the general public as to the inequalities in the treatment of female authors, and to raise the level of awareness of their contribution to the field.”
Cost, which includes continental breakfast, plated lunch and afternoon snack, for Desert Sleuth members is only $80 before July 11, and the early rate for nonmembers is $90. After that, member rate goes to $85; nonmembers, $95. There is an additional $15 charge to pitch Dietz on a first come, first served basis.
Conference checks, payable to SinC Desert Sleuths Chapter, may be sent to P.O. Box 9352, Phoenix, AZ 85068.
To register online, visit and click on conference.