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And check out my joint blog with the love of my life and writing partner Dmytry Karpov: Kimberly ♥ Dmytry

Then his blog: Dmytry Karpov



Saturday, December 25, 2010

VOTE on Cover Design for Reluctant Familiar

The Reluctant Familiar
by Kimberly Kinrade
A

OR

B



 VOTE:
Which cover do you like best for this book: A YA fantasy series launch?

Synopsis:

In a world that expected her to be magick, 13-year-old Agnes was disappointingly ordinary. She fit in better with her human friends than her witchy ones.

Months after having reached her Magicked Phase, Agnes still shows no signs of talent, or of bonding with a Familiar, leaving her prominent family in danger of losing all.

Until a seemingly chance encounter with a flea-ridden alley cat changes all.

When Agnes finds herself bonded to a god named Sebastian, and in possession of powers she never knew she had, her life is turned on its head as she is transported to other worlds to thwart evil and undo damage done by wayward gods bent on destroying her new Familiar.

But will the bond last? If given a choice, will Agnes and Sebastian stay in this unlikely bond, or will they break it for a chance at freedom?

 QUESTION:
Vote for cover A or B below. Also, this will be available via paperback or E-book. Should these have different covers? If you don't like either, vote C ;) And I'll keep working!

This book will be self-published after the launch of my collection of short stories, poems and essays called "Bits of You & Pieces of Me," coming January 2011.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Bits of You & Pieces of Me" Book Launch SOON!

That's right folks, I have been sooo blown away by how many people have requested my work, that I am launching a very special book that has been on my heart for many years.

I can't tell you how much I love all of you who have supported me in my writing. This book is for all of you. I am still working on my YA Fantasies and do not know whether I will publish via traditional or indie routes, but either way this book is for you!

"Bits of You & Pieces of Me" is a collection of short stories, poetry & essays on life. While each piece stands alone, together the chapters tell the story of an idealistic girl in love with love who discovers the demons of a splintered heart when that love turns violent. Through it all, she climbs her way back to Hope and finds that in the end her True Heart remained Unbreakable. Release date this month TBA

It will be available in print and ebook version on many sites. Those of you who follow my blog will get a sneak peak of the cover as soon as it's ready. Also, go like my Facebook Fan Page for regular updates!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Amazing Raffle! Awesome Give Aways!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year right? Also the most stressful. And I know we are all struggling with money and loads of other things. NOT the best time to do a fundraiser.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to pick when my darling 8 year old would most need therapy for serious anxiety attacks and depression. She needs at least 3 months of therapy which will run about $1500. So that’s my goal, to raise $1500 in the next month.

Even if I don’t make it, every penny helps. I’m a single mom with 3 little girls. I write full time and can never tell what my income is going to be from month to month. I do well for myself mostly, but we’ve been hit hard lately by major car repairs, attorney fees and more. I fought like hell to get custody of my kids and ensure their father had supervised visitations until he receives the treatment he needs to be safe with them. This all costs money.  (To read more about the reason for this click on “My Unbreakable Heart”.)

If you are new to my blog and confused, you might find the following posts helpful.
To learn about “Rose,” my  8-yr-old who is amazing, brilliant, talented and ultra-sensitive, read my tribute to her at “The Chicken Nuggets Must Live!”

“Education or Stress: What is school doing to my daughter?” introduces the problems we are facing, and “ 8-year-old Panic Attacks Part 2” delves further into what I’m doing to help her. “Fundraiser Launch Coming Soon: With Prizes” is kinda self-explanatory I think. And now, we’re here. The launch.

So…here’s how it’s going to work.

EVERY DOLLAR you give will earn you a raffle ticket. I will collect these until January 14, 2011. I will then use a random online number generator to pick the winning numbers. (And I am actually going to give you REAL tickets, I’ll even take a picture of the raffle bowl as it fills.)

So far I’ve received  $190 in donations (In addition to the total being kept by the ChipIn program to the right) and I am SOOO BLOWN AWAY by this support. If you’ve already given you are already entered.

What will you win?

Art Magnet Set,  Painted by "Rose"
  • ·         First, everyone who gives will receive a short story written by yours truly about a little girl consumed with fear as her panic attack worsens. It will include artwork by my talented 8 yr old. This is in E-book style and will be emailed to you or made available for download. (You can also receive this just by RT, Emailing, Blogging, or FB this! Any show of support is appreciated.)

  • ·         A select number of givers will receive a set of handmade refrigerator magnets featuring my daughters artwork thanks to the lovely and talented Desirai. Check out her site here.


  • ·         Free web hosting for a year (restrictions apply: web space cannot be used as a file repository)
           - Wordpress installation and set up
- blog migration from blogger, typepad, wordpress.com, etc

  • ·         Free web hosting for a year (restrictions apply: web space cannot be used as a file repository)
- Wordpress Installation with Wordpress theme of choice
Once again, Desirai and her partner in crime Jeffrey are contributing the work on this, and I am giving the hosting.

  • ·         The fabulous Dmytry Karpov is writing a flash, dedicated to a lucky raffle winner based on the subject of their choice. The flash will be emailed to the winner and featured on his blog.

  • ·          Other possible prizes include free books, poetry recordings and another year of free webhosting. Some of these prizes are valued in the hundreds of dollars and I’m SOOO grateful to my awesome friends who have made these donations for my daughter. LOVE YOU ALL!

To give, please click on the donate button to the right of this blog in order to pay through ChipIn. If you’d like to give in some other way, please email me at Kimberly.Kinrade at gmail dot com.Also, email me and let me know which item you'd like to be entered in for the raffle. Thank you!

Thank you all and good luck! I will keep you posted on Rose’s progress.

** To date, she is still suffering attacks, though they aren’t always as bad. I am modifying her date to factor in potential food allergies. 
"Rose's" happy place based on her idea of Belize


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fundraiser Launch Coming Soon! With PRIZES

"Flowers" by Rose, 7 yrs old

My daughter has chosen the pen name of "Rose," based on my decision not to use my children's names and pictures in my writing. You can read about that process in my two part blog series here and here.

Rose is 8 as of Halloween. My first born and definitely a treat. The moment she entered the world she was alert and wise. An old soul. Even after 40 hours of labor and an emergency C-Section. She stared straight into me, and all I thought I knew about love was alchemized into this entirely new understanding in that moment.

From a young age she has been more aware and conscious of the world than most people, young or old. You can read about her crusade to save the earth, and the chicken nuggets, in "The Chicken Nuggets Must Live!" This was a post dedicated to her environmental spirit and commitment to picking up every piece of trash littering the planet.

But her life has not been easy. She is an exceptionally bright, creative child. And exceptionally sensitive. And lately we have seen the darker side of this gift.

For over a year now she has complained of random stomach aches, usually when she is at school, and only since leaving the Waldorf School she attended in Pre-K and K.

The public school system does not support the creative energies that flow through her. Combine that with her father leaving, financial difficulties and several moves, and we are now facing chronic depression, anxiety and full blown panic attacks.

For more on this, please read this and this post on what is happening and what I am doing about it.

She needs help. And help costs money. I'm doing ok, but still have a lot of back log issues from when I wasn't doing so ok. And I'm a full time writer, my income fluctuates and my benefits are slim to none. So, I am having a fundraiser at the suggestion of a friend.

I'm trying to raise $1500 for 3 months of treatment for Rose. Art therapy combined with Behavior Modification and counseling. I'm $165 closer to that goal as of today.

If you don't agree with my methods, I respect that. No one is holding a gun to your head to donate. But I'm not looking for a fight. If you have other suggestions, I'm all ears. I'm combining hypnotherapy, diet modification, essential oils, EFT and other techniques as well. You can read about some of my plans in those posts I linked earlier.

If you've never experienced this kind of panic, it's hard to understand.

She feels like she is dying. Like her body is being consumed by pain and if she doesn't get out of her skin she will disappear into that fear like a black hole. She can't stop it, or change it. She is terrified by it and does not understand what is happening to her. It is a dark place to be. Especially for such a sweet, young girl.

Rose's happy place



But, if you'd like to help, here are some options.

* You can donate money through paypal by clicking on that link over there ~~>

*You can tweet, RT, Blog or FB this to help raise support

*You can donate a service or work of some kind as give aways for those who donate money.

To date I have received a years worth of web hosting, books, and audio poetry recordings. Also, I will be writing a short story with Rose as illustrator to give to ALL who help in ANY way. I can easily track those who give money, but if you help in other ways, please email me at kimberly.kinrade at gmail dot com to receive the story. I want you to have it but won't always know how or where to send it!

I will formally launch this fundraiser at 12:01 am PST Tuesday December 14, to run until 12:01 am PST Thursday December 16. Any donators between now and then will be entered in the drawing for prizes. All prizes collected between now and then will be listed in detail on my Tuesday blog post.

After Thursday I will sell the short story with illustrations for $15 with all money going towards Rose's treatment.

Unfortunately I have no way of taking Anon donations at this time.

If anyone has experience with this kind of thing and can advise me on a better way to do it, I'm open to suggestions.

Thank you all for your support, kind words and love. We appreciate it greatly!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

8-year-old Panic Attacks Part 2

December 3, 2010 UPDATE: 


I am trying to raise $1500 for 3 months worth of treatment for my daughter who is suffering from severe anxiety, depression and panic attacks. 


She needs treatment once a week minimum. 


 Below is more about this story and other steps I am taking. I appreciate ALL of your support, RT, @, DMs, Emails, Comments and love. Everyone who helps (and by helps I mean donates, DMs etc,) will get an E-copy of a short story I am writing from the POV of a little girl in the throes of a panic attack, with illustrations by my daughter. I don't use my children's names or real pics online, but she is a wonderful artist. If you donate I will send this directly to your email if you provide it. I understand that many cannot donate, but I want to give this gift to all who do what they can. So if you want this story, please email me at kimberly.kinrade at gmail.com and I will email it to you as a thank you when it is done. 


Thank you again for your love and support!


And if you want to see my daughter in a different light: how she changes the world with her love of nature and environmentalism, read this post dedicated to her.

"The Chicken Nuggets Must Live!" 

 ORIGINAL POST

I think it goes without saying that I love my kids more than life. Most parents I hope would say the same thing, or something to that affect.

The funny thing is I never planned on having children. My ex wanted kids. I was ‘considering’ his request when I got pregnant with my first two girls. (With the first I was switching birth controls and she snuck in, and with the second I was on the mini-pill AND nursing. They really wanted to be born.) Our third daughter was conceived when he came home on a surprise leave from Iraq after being gone for 6 months. I wasn’t prepared to prevent anything. So Baby Girl #3 came into our lives.

Now, I can’t even remember the world without them. I know I have memories that predate their physical forms, but even these are infused with the awareness that these girls must exist somewhere. I would not be who I am without them. And it’s true, I love them more than life. I would give my life to keep them safe.  

So the fact that my 8 yr old is suffering panic attacks is killing me. (See last post for more on this.) Is it the school’s fault for putting too much pressure on our kids at younger and younger ages?

That’s likely contributing to it.

I got a lot of emails and comments from many readers after that last post. I’m grateful for the love and support you all have shown us. And it has me thinking.

There is the “storm the castle” camp that feels I need to remove her from this school and go to war. I’m all for this approach. And if the meeting with her teacher and principal hadn’t gone as it did, I’d be writing letters and contacting the press as I write this.

But.

They were great. Amazing, really. They have to work in the system. They have to give the tests and remind me of the consequences for excessive tardies or absences (I could get probation and in serious legal trouble!!!), but they also CHOSE to be loving and understanding.

Her teacher wants to help. WANTS to help now! She has stopped correcting her tests in red, opting for black ink so it’s not so demoralizing. She is letting my child finish the timed tests even after the time is out so she feels a sense of accomplishment. She is emotionally supporting my child and attempting to engage her in art and encourage her. I am so grateful.

The principal is also working with me. She understands that I’ve been a single mom for 2 years and it’s not easy. I’m juggling a LOT of balls and not all of them stay in the air. She’s trying to help. To offer resources and support.

I picked my current apartment because of the reputation of this school and its staff. If my kids had to go to a public school, I wanted them in the best one, even if it increases my commute time to work.

I want my kids happy. Healthy. Enjoying life.

So here’s what I’ve learned.

1: My daughter is actually excelling in school. Even math. She only did poorly on one quiz and it’s haunting her. She’s a perfectionist and HATES to fail! Normally her scores are 98% or above.

2: She gets every cold and flu that goes around and is ALWAYS sick. It’s making school life miserable.

3: She is a very sensitive child and is lost right now. Our lives have been hard and she has felt this. So many moves, money problems I couldn’t hide, times when I didn’t know how I would feed them after my divorce. It leaves a mark. As my friend and awesome dad of 3 older girls Tom Chalfant reminded me, it takes a long time for kids to regain the feeling of stability after that first life is broken to bits. Which makes sense, because I’m still scared too.

4: It’s not all the schools fault, but the system is seriously flawed.

I would love an enemy to tear to shreds. A war to wage in the name of my daughter and children everywhere. And I certainly believe we need serious reform in the public school system in this country. But is it the fault of our local elementary school? No. They are doing their best. They are actually going above and beyond to help us.

My little girl is terrified her world will fall apart again. That I will disappear like her daddy. She’s lost everything but me and her sisters and she likely doesn’t trust that we’ll stick around. My heart breaks for her, but I cannot just blame the school.

Don’t get me wrong, the first thing I’m going to do when I become more affluent as a writer is get them back in the Waldorf school. Until then, we have to work with what we have.

So here’s what I’m going to do.

1: I’m saving money so she can work with a Child Psychologist who specializes in this kind of treatment and uses Art therapy. If you’d like to donate to this, I’m adding a donate button to my blog. (Reluctantly.) I’m not a beggar and I’m doing my best to care for my children, but they need more than I can afford to give right now. I do well professionally and make a decent living, but after almost a year of NOTHING! (Literally, we lived on food stamps and goodwill) We are really behind. When we moved into our apartment all we had left was clothes. No furniture or kitchen supplies. I’d already hawked all my jewelry to buy food. All our furniture to pay rent. It was all gone.  We are rebuilding, but it’s expensive and exhausting and takes up all my extra income every month. So, if you’d like to help, I assure you the money will go directly to helping my child recover. I will also post monthly updates on how that money is being used and the effects of her treatment.

2: I’m restructuring my work so that I’m working from home every day and I’m pulling them out of after care. Instead of being gone from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. every day, they will come home after school. Dmytry and I are forming our own company “Karpov-Kinrade Writing & Editing” and will be taking on additional clients. If you’d like to help, spread the word. Link our site. We appreciate it.

3: I will be making more time to spend one-on-one with each of my children. This will be easier when Dmytry moves in this month, as there will be another adult with whom to share the load. Each day my kids will have some private access to share their thoughts or just cuddle.

4: I will stay open to medication should her symptoms persist. I know this is controversial, and as a holistically minded person I abhor the thought. But I received an email from a longtime friend in which he shared his story of severe anxiety disorder. Some situations require more aggressive treatment and I will keep an open mind as I explore all options.

This is the start. I’m also hoping to get her in Art classes where she can express herself more comfortably. Or horseback riding. She loves animals and misses the classes she was in up north. But regardless, I am committed to my children and their health and happiness.

Thank you all for your support, love, encouragement and guidance.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Education or Stress: What is school doing to my daughter?

I’m not a teacher and I don’t work for the school district or government or anything. I’m also not a psychiatrist.

I do, however, have multiple college degrees and studied behavioral science and Psychology in undergrad and grad programs. I am also a hypnotherapist. So…

Here’s the problem I’m having. My 8-year-old daughter, who is in 2nd grade, is having panic attacks.

Not just the normal “I don’t want to go to school, I’d rather play” moments. But full on shaking, pain, shortness of breath.

Panic attacks.

Ever since she switched from a Waldorf School (very nature focused, organic, peaceful curriculum with gnomes and fairies) to the standard California school system, she has been getting stomach aches. A LOT of stomach aches.

I’ve had her checked by doctors. There’s nothing medically wrong with her.  

She is stressed.

It has escalated into the full-fledged terror inducing anxiety attacks that leave her clinging to me like a scared kitten. She doesn’t want to go to school. Doesn’t want to sleep without me. Doesn’t even want to sit in the back seat of the car because she can’t touch me.

Part of it is the pressure of the public school system. All my kids test well above average for their age. But my oldest is a country girl at heart. She’s happiest with animals and nature. An environmentalist and artist. She doesn’t like to be rushed. And these days it’s all about the timed tests.

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!

She feels like a failure when she doesn’t finish the math quizzes in time. She knows the answers, but half her page gets marked in red because she took too long.

This is just one example. With the push for “No Child Left Behind” and the move to force kids into certain levels on standardized testing, schools and teachers are under pressure to perform. And we all know which direction that pressure rolls…

I hate this. I wish I could still afford the private Waldorf schools. Or homeschool. I wish my little girl was happier and more at peace. I wish I knew what to do.

Now in fairness to the school system, there have been a lot of other stresses over the last few years. Moving to a new state, a divorce that has left her and her sisters with less time with their father and a few school changes.

I know none of this has been easy. It’s been hell for me too. So much stress. We had to sell most of what we owned to survive when my ex didn’t pay child support. We moved several times before I found work and a place I could afford. If I’m struggling with my own panic, certainly an 8-year-old with no control over her life would be in a panic too.

But we are stable now.
And we have been for a bit. I’ve got great work and am doing well financially and professionally. We have a nice home in a nice area. They go to a great school with great teachers.

And she is getting worse.

I’m meeting with her teacher, the principal and the school counselor today to figure out how best to support her. I know I can’t change the entire public school system. (Can I?) But I need to do something to help my little girl. I can’t stand to see her so miserable.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

I Don't Do Black Friday.


And I HATE Shopping.


So have fun trampling all over each other in the name of commercialism.


I'll just be here reading a book and drinking hot cocoa while daydreaming about my boyfriend.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Are You Happy?

What's with the cherries?

There’s this book out that’s really quite interesting. It’s all about how we don’t really know what makes us happy. We can’t even use past experience to predict what will make us happy, apparently. According to the studies and all that.

So I’m wondering, as we all gather together for Thanksgiving here in the US, what are we happy for? And do we really get any happiness out of this holiday?

I mean really, most people spend obligatory time with family they’d rather not be around, stuffing their faces with food it took the woman all day to cook, (not me, other women, if you let me in the kitchen I’ll likely burn it down…besides I KNOW cooking DOES NOT bring me happiness, so there’s that) just so everyone can bitch about everyone else when it’s all over.

Can you believe she had the nerve to bring HIM to the dinner?

Wow, she thought that pumpkin pie was the best? Oh dear, that’s bad.

When is he going to tell them he’s gay already? How can they not know?

And so it goes.

OK, maybe your family doesn’t sound like that. And hey, I’m not saying mine does. Nooo, we’re like something out of the Brady Bunch. We sing and dance and solve problems using team work and non-violent communication. Right…

So will I be happy this week as I gather with family?

I don’t know.

I’ll get to see my brother and sister. I’ll get to meet a brother I’ve never met before. (Long story, for another post perhaps.) I’ll get to play with my nephew.

And I’ll have to spend time with people I don’t know. I’ll have to endure a long drive with 4 kids and my parents. I’ll have to say no to anything with wheat, yeast or eggs in it because of stupid food allergies. (Take a moment to contemplate that and you’ll see the real tragedy there.) And I won’t be with the man I love.

I'm allergic to MOST of this
As much as I love biscuits and pumpkin pie, it’s the last one I’m most heartbroken about. I’ll miss Dmytry. Even though he’s a million miles away, I’ll miss having computer and easy phone access to him.

And I swear, this better be the LAST holiday I ever have to spend without him.

So screw the research in that book. I know what makes me happy. He does. Living with and loving him and my kids. That makes me happy. Oh, and writing. I dig that too. (And in case you’re a random agent or publisher or magazine editor, I write a lot and would love to buy you coffee. Call me…)

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. Hope you find that elusive happiness we all talk about and dream about.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

To Post or Not To Post: The Verdict Is In


I am Ninja Stealthy
Turns out, I’m scary good at staying hidden. I’m not easy to find, even if you know some stuff about me and are a pro at locating people online.

Apparently, random last name changes and frequent moves, while simultaneously failing to properly register to vote or drive, allows for a lot of privacy. Who knew? I should start my own Writer Protection Program.

Now the story as to why I do all this is more convoluted and has absolutely nothing to do with trying to keep off the radar. That was just a happy side-effect.

When I posted last week about using my kids’ names and pics in blogging, I already felt pretty confident in my verdict. I would use them. Maybe not constantly, as they are not the primary focus of my blogs, but yeah, I’d use them when the post called for it. What’s the harm?

Turns out, people who know more about this stuff than me know what harm there is.

Now maybe I’m being paranoid. Maybe they are. Maybe the whole world is mad. Whatever. I’m a mom first, and my kids’ safety takes priority. Yes, they are ridiculously cute. Yes, I want to show them off. No, I do not want weirdoes to fixate on them. I may be hard to find, but still.

Right now, I’m not totally famous. (I know, it’s a shock to me too each morning when I wake up from my Twilight meets Harry Potter dreams, but it’s true. I’m not.) But let’s just add a ‘yet’ there for fun, shall we? Because, who knows? I mean, I am a writer. And if you’re reading this, then you hopefully don’t think I suck. I’ve got books that are almost ready for the light of day.

See? Mommy first!
And, I’m a big picture kind of girl. Always have been. Now, J.K.Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, they hit the spotlight immediately, it was not a building up process. They did not blog their way to fans and fame. So their lives (and children) weren’t spread all over the internet when they hit stardom.

Mine would be. If I posted as planned. Then what? My few hundred or few thousand blog hits and followers could skyrocket. And my little girls would get more attention. And the creeps would come crawling out of their hidey holes.

No. That’s not going to work for me. Not at all.

So here’s the deal.

·         You can be found by a non-privatized URL. (They can see your name, address, email and phone number just with one click, for free. Seriously, I saw mine. But the number and address and name were all wrong, ‘cuz I’m sneaky like that!) So, pay the nine bucks or whatever and privatize.

·         Keep your Facebook stuff private for just close friends and family. Or delete the kids’ names and pics. Think about it, with a name, a picture and a way to find your address, predators can become “friends” with your kids in no time. They can even look at your Facebook family tree and say “Hi , I’m a friend of your Aunt . How are you? Want some candy and a puppy?”

·         Don’t use your real birth date, age and current location online. (Apparently, you can be found easily this way. Also, if they know your age and birth month, they can get the year and search you out. Unless you’re sneaky like me. But very few are. I’m thinking of offering a free consultation to the FBI.) This is my favorite, because I just became a 23 year old woman living in the South of France. Cool eh? Easiest move of my life.

This is not where  I live
·         Be careful not to mention specific locations of where you going on a daily basis. If I live in New York, and don’t want you to know it, but I’m always references the New York Public Library, well, that might be a giveaway, don’t you think?

·         Watch your online activity. Google yourself once a week and scrub any info that points a big red finger to where you live. (Like commenting on too many local blogs.)

·         Keep an unlisted phone number and put your utilities in a different name if possible. (I know, we’re starting to sound nuts here, but this is just for extreme measures if you’re like, Stephen King or something. Though, he’s so scary I doubt he gets many stalkers.)

And finally *drum roll please* don’t use your kids real names and pics in your blogs.

Life Is A Play
There, I said it. Happy? My kids are all picking “stage names” to be used by Dmytry and I when we blog about them. I will no longer use their pictures and am in the process of changing my Facebook setting and removing things. (It’s also good to note that if you have an open FB page, you can privatize an album and only make it available to certain friends, which is what I’m doing with our kids’ pictures.)

Is this too extreme? Maybe. I had to look at my life, my priorities and where I see my career headed. Also, I’m raising kids with a man who will also be famous someday. Two famous writers in one house? That’s a lot of attention. We need to keep our kids safe. So, we will take most of these measures.

Thank you to all who have shed light on this subject and given me advice. It was well-received and appreciated.

Tell me what you think. Am I going over board? What has been your experience with this?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To Post or Not to Post: Children’s Faces in Private Places

Love Blog

Dmytry Karpov and I just launched our brand new blog together,Kimberly ♥ Dmytry: Breaking the Mold in Life and Love.”

We are so giddy with excitement over it, it’s kind of embarrassing. Except we’re so happy in love that we can’t be bothered with being embarrassed.

Up until now, any blogging I’ve done has been about my own journey spiritually (the early days of my journal-blogging months), or, lately, writing about different subjects and issues that spark a rise in me.


But now, this blog with Dmytry will be more family focused. On us as a couple (the unique experiences of a dramatic age-difference, living with and loving my writing partner, etc.) and us as parents.

I have three little girls: 8, 6 and 4.

They will feature in our work from time to time.

In the past I have used their pictures in my blogs, and even included my oldest daughters name, as the blog was dedicated to her and her commitment to the environment in “The Chicken Nuggets Must Live!”

But I didn’t give it too much thought.

Until Now.

So my question to you is this. To post or not to post?

Do you use your children’s names and pictures in your blogs? Why or why not?

I know some awesome bloggers with decent followings who routinely feature beautiful photos of their children and include names.

And I know some awesome bloggers who don’t.

I know people who feel it’s risky and invites predatory type people into their lives.

And I know people who don’t agree. Who feel the demographic doesn’t really give rise to this problem.

Also, for those who do use them, do you worry about negative affects?

For those who don’t, what’s the worst that would happen? Is it a real life concern? That a predator will stalk you in the flesh? Is it a virtual concern? That they will use these innocent pictures for not so innocent intentions?

I guess I don’t understand the dilemma. I’m inclined to go the way of those who use pictures and names. I don’t see the harm. It’s unlikely anyone seeing that picture will be able track me down where I live, even if they should feel so inclined. And really, would they?

Maybe I’m not being as cautious as I should. I don’t know. That’s why I’m opening it up for discussion. A lot has been posted on other blogs about this, but I’m still undecided.


What’s your take on the subject? To post or not to post, that is the question.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Power of the Tweeple!

Yesterday I saw a tweet in passing that changed my whole day.

It linked the phone number to Amazon.com so that we might call to get a pedophile's book taken off the shelves. Wait...WHAT?

I linked to the site and was horrified at what I read. "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Romance," was being sold as an e-book on Kindle through Amazon. I shuddered at the thought that my beloved Kindle could download something so obscene.

I made it my personal campaign to get this book off the shelves. I tweeted and FB'd and Blogged. <== Click here if want to read the blog from yesterday that explains more on the book and the outrage I (and many) felt.

I was not alone in this. 

Through various means, the story got out. Enough people sent enough tweets and blogs and whatevers to get Amazon to listen. I tried calling them and couldn't get through. I did, however, get through to an agent at FBI headquarters and filed a formal complaint against Amazon, and this man, for this book.

As of this morning, the book has been taken off, and our efforts to do so have received intentional attention. The BBC this morning reported on the controversy surrounding Amazon's choice to sell this book. (and subsequently profit from any sales...just consider that for a moment...profiting on sales of a book designed to teach pedophiles how to engage with children in a way that will lighten their sentence if convicted. WHAT?)

This has truly shown me what can be accomplished when people speak out. And the impact the social media has. The change it can create.

But not everyone is happy with this.

I blocked two people from my Twitter site because they would not stop harassing me about either:

A: My contribution to the destruction of the 1st Amendment and all civil liberties ever known. This person used sarcasm to make his point. It's just SOOO fun to have a friendly debate with someone dripping in disdain, don't you think?
or B: This book is just a distraction from real evil and by getting one book pulled from the shelves we are not really making a difference. How does this stop all violence everywhere? *HUH?* Why do we only care about white girls? *WTF?* and on it went.

I do not believe Free Speech is the trump-all card of cards. There are limits. As one person commented on yesterdays blog, you can't yell FIRE! in a crowded theater. It's illegal. When free speech endangers the lives of others, it's no longer protected. This book endangers the lives of children.


I have not, nor will I, read the book.

But here's a really interesting article from MSNBC.com They read the book for the purposes of research and thorough reporting. I won't rehash their comments, but it's worth reading. And worth noting that contrary to rumors floating around, this is not some innocent self-help guide for the nice pedophile who just wants to love children in a platonic sort of way. No. It is Not.

It also brings up another sad point. The attention generated from this outrage led to the sale of many more books. Until yesterday, only 1 person had allegedly purchased it.

I can only hope that many of those sales were people like MSNBC trying to do research. I don't know. I hate to think that my small part in this campaign led to more money and attention for this sick man and his horrid book.

But what is the alternative? Do we say nothing for fear of drawing more attention to this? Children go on Amazon everyday to buy books. I don't want MY children seeing a book like this online and thinking it's ok. Do you?

I'm glad it's off the site. But Amazon still has a lot to answer for. As my friend Liza Kane wrote in a blog letter to them yesterday, this is not the first questionable choice they've made. And it's not even clear yet who removed it, Amazon or the publisher.

Amazon won't publish porn, which is legal, but will profit off the sales of this? As of now, my boycott stands. And my Kindle is still in retirement.

BRING IT

What are your thoughts? Have we crossed the line into book burning? Are there certain lines that are just off-limits? Does freedom of speech trump all? Have we done more harm than good by bringing attention to this book? How do we fight that which threatens to destroy our children and society? I want to hear from all of you. Bring on the debate!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Pedophile's Guide to...WTF?

OK. I'm a HUGE fan of the 1st Amendment and Free speech and all that. Seriously. I'm a writer. Just try to shut me up.

BUT...There are LINES people. Lines that DO NOT get crossed. I tripped over a huge line today when a fellow Tweeter alerted me to Amazon.com 's sale of the most hideous book I've seen to date.

The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure by Phillip R Greaves 2nd (Kindle Edition - Oct. 28, 2010) - Kindle eBook

A Product Description as written by the author:

"This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certian rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter sentences should they ever be caught."

REALLY? Like, SERIOUSLY? Are we really allowing this to pass for free speech?

Amazon has defended its right to sell this book: 

"Let me assure you that Amazon.com does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts; we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions."

"Amazon.com believes it is censorship not to sell certain titles because we believe their message is objectionable."

This does not take into account a few things:

1: The right of a private company to choose what to sell.
2. The right of anyone to ban the sale or promotion of literature that actively promotes illegal activity. 

The Definition of Pedophilia

: sexual perversion in which children are the preferred sexual object

And According to Wikipedia:

As a medical diagnosis, pedophilia (or paedophilia) is typically defined as a psychiatric disorder in adults or late adolescents (persons age 16 and older) characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (generally age 13 years or younger, though onset of puberty may vary). The child must be at least five years younger in the case of adolescent pedophiles.[1][2][3][4] The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) defines pedophilia as a "disorder of adult personality and behaviour" in which there is a sexual preference for children of prepubertal or early pubertal age.[5] The term has a range of definitions as found in psychiatry, psychology, the vernacular, and law enforcement.

Now that we're clear on this, how many feel a How-To-Guide is good for society or our children?

Does Free Speech trump all? 

Does the slippery slope argument give a get-out-of-jail-free card to all disturbed persons who want to promote this kind of sickness?

I had some strange Tweet exchanges on Twitter that ran into this problem. Things such as "We only care about white kids..." and "But let's not be naive and ban a pedophilia book when the US condones/loves *many* other forms of violence. It's inconsistent, logically."

HUH?  Yes. You're right. We shouldn't fight one kind of evil because other forms of evil exist. Perfectly logical. Ummm? Not.

Here's the deal.

Have sex with whomever you want. However you want. Write about awesome gay, lesbian, bi and hetero love affairs. Celebrate that however you'd like. Embrace age differences and non-traditional relationships. I would even debate various state laws about the age of consent, as it's legal in some areas for 16 yr olds to consent to their sexual partner and not legal until 18 in others. There are shades of gray there somewhere. I don't know the answer to this.

Sex can be a violation if an older man or woman manipulates or forces a younger partner. If a person in power uses that to gain sexual access to someone. Or if a teenage boy rapes a girl, woman or grandmother. These things happens. The victims and perpetrators of sex crimes come in a whole assortment of ages and, well, I guess just the two genders. But you get my point.

HOWEVER

Prepubescent children are off-limits. Period. End of Story. No negotiating that line. At ALL! And that is the definition of a pedophile. I haven't read the book. And I'm not putting money in this man's pocket to do so. But the title and description say it all.

Meet Nook
I am boycotting Amazon.com until they remove this from their site. BarnesandNoble.com will get my business. My Kindle will be laid to rest as I save for a Nook. I have also called the FBI at 202-324-3000 and they led me to a site IC3.gov to file a formal complaint. Which I did. I hope you will take action.

Blog, Tweet and FB this and other blogs like it. File a complaint. Complain to Amazon. Boycott them. Alone my voice is nothing. Together, we can make change.

I am linking like minded blogs to mine. If you have written a blog about this and would like to be added as a link, please email me at kimberly.kinrade at gmail dot com.

Thank you!

UPDATES 

My Follow-Up Post "The Power of The Tweeple"


BLOGS TO READ 



"The Pedophile's Guide To Shutting The Hell Up!" friend and awesome writer Tom of The Curse of Future Tom


Amazon is Right: A post from the awesome TellingDad
"Update: What now?
- I’m now told that Amazon hasn’t officially removed it from sale…only pulled it for a re-review. If they allow this to be sold then I’m done with them and any subsidiary, sponsor, or co-marketing partner. What kind of person would be able to review that book and approve it? They have the right to reject products. They are a corporation, not the sponsors of our Constitution. We’ll see if they side with children or profits soon enough."

Awesome blogger with regular updates on this issue


Hold Amazon Accountable for Pedophile Guide by Brandon Layng
A thought provoking look at the legal and moral implications in the Free Speech debate.

Amazon-What are you thinking?

A video challenge to boycott Amazon

Parents vs. Pedophiles

Dear Amazon...

MORE ON AMAZON

An AP Article on the outrage

Monday, November 8, 2010

Love, Sex and the Question of Age PART 3: Kids


What SHE SAYS:

There is a progression to life that we humans like to see followed. Man and woman meet. They fall in love. They get married. They have kids. They live happily ever after in wedded bliss, with a house, a few cars and a few maxed out credit cards. Oh wait, I think we deviated from Disney there. Sorry.

The point is, when you don’t follow this progression, people get concerned. Then worried. Then downright panicked. They’ve been dating for years, when ARE they going to get married? They’ve been married for years, when ARE they going to have children?

So when a younger man dates and commits to an older woman, questions arise. Dmytry and I addressed some of those in the first two posts of this series. But there is now the question of children.

He doesn’t have any biological children. I have three little girls. Will I want to have more children with him? Is it fair to deprive him of this opportunity to reproduce his own genetic material in such a wonderful way?

First of all, I’m in my early 30s. My children are still very young. While I am perfectly content with the kids I have, If Dmytry wanted a child that badly, I would be happy to experience that with the man I love.

However…

I can’t have any more children. I had an abdominal hysterectomy after my third child, for health reasons. Unless my uterus spontaneously regenerates, we will not be making baby Dmytrys anytime soon.

He knew going into this that he would be daddy to three amazing little girls, but they would never share his DNA. Is a younger man able to make that kind of choice without fear of regret? I don’t know. Are any of us ever able to make choices without that fear? Many couples struggle with infertility and don’t have the choice beforehand, nor do they have the built-in family we have.

I don’t know if he’ll regret his choice in 20 years. What I know is this…he has many years of fatherhood ahead of him. My girls love him and want a daddy that lives with them and loves them. I trust Dmytry with this responsibility because I know he will be an amazing and much needed influence in their lives.

They need him. Just as much as I need him.

Also, having three kids is a great natural form of birth control against the need for more screaming little ones.

And…we are writers. I know this sounds like a non-sequitur, but hear me out. The creative process is a birthing process. An idea builds inside us, gestating until it can survive on its own. We give it birth and set it free into the world, carrying a piece of our soul as it goes. Isn’t this really at the core of our desire to have a baby that’s genetically linked to us? That sense of sending into the world some part of ourselves that will live on?

Well, we have that in our work. And Dmytry is the best damn writer I know and will be giving birth to serious brilliance over the years. His work will live on. And through it all, he will have a full family life with all the joys and perils of fatherhood. Is this really such a sacrifice? Let’s let him decide.

I’ve asked him to comment on his feelings about stepping into the role of father for three children that are not his by birth, and how he feels about not being able to have one of his own. We each wrote our own response at the same time, without knowledge of what the other would say. Here is his reponse:

What HE SAYS:

On this Issue of Child-rearing:



Raising Angels

Parenting. The word makes me shiver and beam at the same time. I mean, it involves raising children with care and watching them grow with pride. (Ah, such lovely images.)

But...it involves raising children with care and watching them grow with pride.

And if I fail, I will never forgive myself.

You see, fatherhood had always been a fleeting thought in my mind. Sure, I wanted kids. And I was going to have them some time in the future. The far off future.

So, I didn't think much about parenting. Wasn’t burdened by that fear of such enormous responsibility and the consequences of failure. Life was good.

Then I fell in love with a woman who has three daughters, and that little thing that was so far away hit me straight in the face.

I’m going to be a dad. Soon! I don’t even get the standard 9 months to prepare myself.

Can I handle the pressures of raising three kids? Of being a role model? Of providing for them? Can I do all of this at an age when most are still growing up themselves, without children of their own?

Answer: I have to.

Not only for Kimberly, but for myself. I have to prove to myself that I can handle raising kids. That I can confront my fears.

And though I have only recently, due to my young age, found independence from my family, I feel like I can keep one together. And, honestly, I miss being part of one. A close one. One that eats dinner together and watches movies before going to bed. One that you can come home to everyday of the week.

So, am I worried about being a daddy to three little girls? Yes.

Do I want to be a daddy to three little girls? Yes.

And I will do anything to make sure I raise them properly. I will endure any stress, pain, and subsequent headaches in order to raise them properly.

But yes, I'm scared. I mean, what does properly mean anyways? Kimberly has informed me they didn’t come with an instructional guide.

But whatever. I’m committed to this. To them. And I will not let them down. Of that I am sure.

On the Issue of Biology:


Giving Birth to Creation

There is something special and unique about having your own biological child. It means a piece of you is going out into the world, continuing your legacy.

I can't have that with Kimberly.

Or can I...

Sure, there will be no physical part of myself going out into the world through our little girls. But what about the psychological? The emotional? The Spiritual?

My girls will carry the morals that I teach them, the knowledge that I share, and the emotions that they feel for me. Is that any less important than the physical?

No. It's even more important.

Almost any man can be a biological father. Few can be a real father, truly treating their kids as part of themselves.

That's what I'm going to do. And I can't wait to do it.

I feel blessed that Kimberly's daughters, including being adorable and brilliant, share a common interest with me: writing.

When I heard that they scribble down stories and discuss characters my heart melted and my jaw dropped. (There might have even been drool.)

My brother and I have never shared interests with our father, and I could see how a part of him was always saddened by this. Not disappointed. But sad.

And I wondered: when I had my own kids, would they enjoy writing? Beacuse really, that's my biggest passion in life. That’s where most of my knowledge resides.

And I must admit that if my kids hated writing or, god forbid, even reading, I'd be sad. I’d still love them and raise them to be strong in their own talents, but I would worry they would feel the same disconnect to me that I have always felt with my father. The same disconnect I know Kimberly often feels with her parents.

But Kimberly's children love writing and reading. They are bright and creative. And I'm happy.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love them and raise them as my own regardless of their artistic and creative inclinations. But isn’t a big part of wanting your own child motivated by that desire to see a part of yourself in them?

I see that in our girls. And I’m more confident now, knowing that I can relate to them. I can give them something even their own biological father can’t. A love and understanding of what makes them tick, or how they think and the kind of temperament they have. They need creativity, play, flexible structures that allow them to think outside the normal boundaries. I get that. I relate to that. So I can more fully appreciate and relate to them.

So, is it better to have a biological child and risk different interests, or to adopt another one who shares your passion?

I don't know.

But I do know that I love Kimberly's daughters. They are everything I could ever want or need. And I'm hoping that, one day, I can be that to them as well.

That I can be their father.

AND…Back to Kimberly:

Dmytry’s love of and passion for my children is overwhelming to me. I love him all the more for it. I had long since given up on believing a man like him even existed. A man who understands me so completely and loves me uncondtionallly. A man who shares my worldview, passions and interests. A man to whom I am sexually attracted and by whom I am creatively inspired. A man I love in return in all these ways and more. And a man who loves my girls just as much, and is willing to step up and be a true father to them.

There are men twice his age who would not want to take on that challenge.

So you tell me. Have we really missed out on anything? No. We haven’t. We’ve been blessed with more than anyone I know. And for that I will be forever grateful and in awe.


What’s next with Kimberly and Dmytry:

We’ve been blown away by the love, support, comments and stories we’ve received over the last several days. What started last week as a “hmmm…maybe we should blog about this whole age difference thing…” has become so much more. One post became two, became three…and now…

It is becoming a whole blog of its own. That’s right folks, we are starting a blog devoted exclusively to our life together. Each week we will write anywhere from one to three posts together, dealing with issues ranging from age, to children, to sex (in a PG style so we don’t have to reset our settings…), to our work as writing partners.

We’d love for you to join us on this journey. This isn’t going to be a blog about older women dating younger men. It's going to be about us as a couple and how we live, laugh and love our way through life together.

We hope our journey will inspire you on yours. That the lessons we learn will add value to your life, and that we can engage in a dialogue with you as we explore what it means to really love.

But we need a name! So we’re taking suggestions. A blog name and URL name (if different.) Keeping in mind that we are both published writers looking to land book deals (meaning our names will be, hopefully someday, well-known). We’re looking at variations of our names (Kimberly Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov) or some other thing entirely. Post your ideas here or contact us directly at KimberlyandDmytry@gmail.com.

And thanks for reading. We love you all!

Love,

Kimberly and Dmytry