I Forgot To Share Some Great News!



Remember the manuscript critique we were auctioning off last week to raise money for victims of sexual assault in the Speak4RAINN campaign? 

The winning bid was a whopping $3750!!!!

Thanks to everyone who bid and who spread the news about the auction!

We have 16 days left and need to raise about $11,000 more. So please tell everyone about:

The SPEAK creativity contest, fundraising in schools,  and the way to bring me in for a school visit.

That a $75 donation will make you feel great and earn you a signed copy of SPEAK.

And that $10 – less than the cost of a decent pizza – helps a victim of sexual assault get the help and support that she or he deserves. Plus, it will make you feel good. Rightfully so.

Thank you!

Another Hard Thing About Being A Parent, Part 1



It is hard being a parent. Wicked hard. Exhausting, terrifying, mind-numbing, expensive, and occasionally soul-crushing. It is also a little bit more awesome than it is hard, which is why the human race did not die out several millennia ago.

Brace yourself. It just got harder.

I am looking at you, my fellow parents. It is time for us to put on our big-girl or big-boy pants and talk to each other and to our children about the meaning of sexual consent.

(Now you are scrunching up your nose and your tummy hurts. Bear with me. You made it through toilet training. You can do this.)

We must teach our sons and daughters the laws and our moral code about the kind of permission one is required to get and give before engaging in sexual activity. We must teach them the consequences of breaking those laws. They have to know that if someone hurts them, they can come to us for support and help and healing. And we have to teach them how to act if they are a bystander to a sexual assault.

Parenting is so much easier when the biggest problems are dirty diapers and lost blankies, isn’t it?

my_parents_are_exhausted_infant_bodysuitimage from http://www.cafepress.com/mf/35174837/my-parents-are-exhausted_bodysuit


It’s hard to talk to kids about sex for most people, because their parents didn’t talk about it, or talked about it so awkwardly that it left scars for life. I’d probably be in the same boat, except that I wrote SPEAK and then spent a decade speaking about the book and sexual assault to more than a million high school students across the country.

Yesterday I spoke with Neal Conan on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” show. (Which was a lifetime highlight for this NPR nerd!) The topic was “How Parents Talk To Children About Consent.”  Click on the link to listen to the show. The other woman on the show with me was Shannon Bradley-Colleary, who wrote a letter to her daughters telling about her own sexual assault.

The show was overwhelmed by callers and email from people wanting to talk about this. It’s time.

The shocking gang-rapes and subsequent viral cyberbullying of the sexual assault victims in Steubenville, Nova Scotia and Saratoga CA should be your wake-up call. Two of those three victims committed suicide. Not only were they repeatedly raped, but they were tormented and threatened online by their schoolmates, male and female.

(Please, please read this post by Rehtaeh Parson’s father. She was the victim in Nova Scotia.)

Our hearts go out to the victims and to their families, of course.

But we must do more. We must look in the mirror.

Those boys could have been our sons. The kids who did the cyberbullying could have been our kids. At the very least, the kids who stood by could have been our kids. And if you can’t face any of those realities, you must acknowledge this: our children interact daily with kids who did and who are capable of doing all of those sick, twisted, illegal things.

Suck it up, fellow parents, and talk to your kids about sexual assault and consent. A great way to start  is to make a donation to Speak4RAINN to help victims get the support they deserve. Show your kids your donation. Talk to them about what happened in Steubenville, Nova Scotia, and Sarasota, CA. Show your love for them by finding the courage to talk about the hard things.

You can do this.

Please share your thoughts and experiences below.


EDITED TO ADD – Part 2 of this post will compile suggestions for how to have this conversations.






This is my favorite flashmob video ever. It makes me dance and cry every time I watch it. Did you see the babies and little kids? See the smiles on their parents’ faces?


I want everyone to be able to laugh like that. To dance. To smile with friends and feel safe and to enjoy that all life has to offer. I know how hard it can be if you are a victim of sexual assault, and you don’t know who to turn to. That’s why I’m working so hard to help RAINN. RAINN is the best organization for sexual assault victims in America. They operate an anonymous hotline (and online chat) and they educate people about this crime.

Please donate to RAINN right now. Help sexual assault victims find their joy and strength. Help them become survivors!


Critique Auction ending soon – time to bid!



Breaking into publishing today is harder than getting an advanced degree in neurology.

Back in the old days, a writer would submit a novel and, if the editor saw potential, she’d work with the writer thru several drafts until it was good enough to be published.

That doesn’t happen anymore. Sadly.

The big publishers have cut so far back on their staff that editors don’t have time for that kind of early career nurturing. If a manuscript is less than perfect when it comes in, it gets rejected.

Some agents have taken on the role of early editing, but you have to have an agent to get that treatment. A number of former big-publishing-house editors now freelance. They charge between $2,000 and $4,000 to work with new writers.

To raise money for RAINN, I am offering to critique up to a 300-page manuscript. We have set up an auction for this critique on E-bay. Right now (4/10, 4:30pm EST) the bidding is at a paltry $1,007. I know that’s a lot of money, but it is barely half of what you’d pay a freelance editor.

And if you are the winning bid on the RAINN auction, 100% of your bid goes to the charity that helps sexual assault survivors speak up and become survivors.

Plus, it’s a tax-deductible donation to a charity.


Think of this as money you are spending on professional development. Tuition. Dues. Think of it as a life-saving contribution to the best charity in America, because it is. Call your family and your friends – everyone who is supporting you as you reach for your writing dream – and ask them to help pay for this opportunity.

Bid now! Bid often! The auction ends at 6:30pm, EST, Thursday, April 11, 2013, aka TOMORROW!

PS – If you really don’t have the money to bid on this, please contribute $10. Those smaller contributions are just as important  because they give one more victim of sexual assault much-needed support and hope. Thank you!

Happy Birthday Kristen Stewart! And Thanks!




Happy Birthday, Kristen Stewart!!

Celebrate Kristen’s birthday by making a $10 donation in her honor to RAINN.


When she was only 13 years old Kristen, played Melinda in the Showtime/Lifetime film version of SPEAK. Here’s the movie trailer.

Say Happy Birthday To Kristen by making a $10 donation in her honor to RAINN.


She recorded a PSA for RAINN that ran after the movie and brought in a record number of calls from sexual assault survivors to the hotline.

 Say Happy Birthday To Kristen by making a $10 donation in her honor to RAINN.


She continues to reach out to survivors, as in this new PSA about safety on college campuses.

Say Happy Birthday To Kristen by making a $10 donation in her honor to RAINN.

At the end of this fundraiser (the end of April) I’ll send her a thank you note and tell her how much her fans contributed. RAINN helps victims speak up and turn into survivors. When you make your $10 donation, be sure to include “In honor of Kristen Stewart” in the text box labeled “Message to RAINN” at the bottom of the page.  Please help us make our world safe for everyone.