Monday, July 1, 2013

Forever ME selected as a finalist for Best YA of 2013. Voting begins today!

Sign up and Vote Here!
To my surprise, I learned my YA novel, "Forever ME" has made it as a finalist in eFestival of Words Virtual Book Fair for best YA of 2013. I was also pleased to see one of my nearest and dearest made the final rounds as well with not only one but two of her books. Michelle Muto with her YA novel, "Don't Fear The Reaper" and her NA horror novel, "The Haunting Season." Congratulations Michelle!

Today the voting begins! There's a link just under the badge above that will take you to the site. You register for free (ignore the AD, it's not part of the process). Go to the bottom of the page where it says: JUMP TO: and select, The Awards Hall and vote for your favorites!  

Thank you everyone who has been so helpful in reading, writing reviews, and commenting about how much they have loved, "Forever ME." 

Cheers and Thank you!
Thomas.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bullies Aren't Always Your Enemy.


Bullying doesn't always come in the form of teenage students making fun of you in the halls of your high school. It's a wide-spread pandemic breeding inside social networks. It used to be if you were being bullied, you at least got a reprieve while you were away from school. Not anymore. Technology has seen to that. Teens are so immersed into social networking that it has become the window that bullies climb through without hesitation. Teens build fake accounts on FB, Twitter, MySpace, or any number of other sites in order to ridicule or taunt a fellow student.
Now the teen can't get away from it at all and girl bullies use tactics that are far more emotionally damaging than two girls pulling hair after school. "Mean Girls" as they've become known in the lexicon of our time, love to send silent threats, where it's what they don't say that can push a teen over the edge causing her to do the unthinkable and end her life. Many don't get the suicide is the only release they know to end the daily suffering. It's sickening that people actually get enjoyment from tearing down another person. Reducing them to the point where they feel so worthless, they are given one of two choices...fight back or give up. 

While I was aware of bullying when I wrote, "Forever ME" I never realized how much I didn't know about it until I began to talk to teens who had faced it head on. Girls are 100% in agreement, that the way boys bully and girls are completely different. Boys it's almost always a physical threat, with girls...the attack is psychological.  The mean girls don't want to just make the teen they are after afraid, they want to demean her, and make her feel like her self worth is less than zero. To them the thought of her killing herself is viewed as a form of entertainment. And should this teen actual give up and commit suicide, these girls will enjoy a brief moment of victory and then as if it were a breeze on their shoulder...move on to the next victim. 

However the one place we don't expect bullies to stalk and taunt us is in our home. More often than not, parents can be worse than strangers, due in large to the fact there is no one there to stop them. They're your parents, you have to listen to them. But before we go further let me say, there's a huge difference to discipline a kid who is out of control and beating down a child simply because you're bigger than they are. Parental bullying often comes in the form of a step-parent. One who wishes you weren't part of the equation and if they have a bitterness towards the absent father or mother then usually the child is the target of their rage. And we wonder what has become of our world. Sibling bullying is another form of terror that often goes unnoticed. The teen who is being attacked often won't say anything because they know eventually they are going to be all alone with the bully and fear the worst. It brought me to the question; "Why don't teens tell someone when they are being attacked?"
1. Fear of reprisal.
2. Telling someone means they are weak and they don't want to be looked on as a snitch.
3. The parent/teacher or adult either thinks it's not serious or thinks they're just trying to get attention. 

What's worse is when an adult tries to put it on the teen to deal with it...with insane instructions like: Just ignore them... Stomp on their foot...(really? Stomp on their foot?) Just avoid them.
When the parent should march themselves to the school and demand to see the teacher and principal together. 

Telling is not as simple as it sounds though. Persecuted teens for some reason feel like it's their cross to bear and they should accept it. This is how guns get brought to school...out of fear, how kids snap and go on a rampage...

Kids get into fights, but the days of two teens getting into it after school to simply settle their differences is over. Teen fights have now become the new Pay-Per-View event, where everyone with a cell phone is there to record it so it can be played over and over again adding more psychological damage to the bullied teen.
We have to find a way to encourage our teens to TELL SOMEONE if they are getting bullied.
There's no shame in telling. I've said in recent interviews about my book "If someone is bullying you and you're scared... PLEASE TELL SOMEONE! If that person won't listen, TELL SOMEONE ELSE! IF no one in your life listens, TELL ME! I will listen!" And I mean that, because it will not go away on its own.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Forever ME Nominated for Best YA Novel of 2013!


One of the great surprises of being a writer is when you see one of your friends get recognized for their work. Naturally you are excited for them, because it shows their quality of storytelling has reached someone and inspired them in a way that it merits being publicly awarded or acknowledged. What's even more exciting when you find out attention has been called to your work as well!

Such was the case for me yesterday. My long time personal friend and fellow author, M.E. Franco announced her book, "Where Will You Run" was nominated for an award with the eFestival of Words Virtual Book Fair, recognizing the best in Indie writing for 2013. She provided a link, like you do when you want people to know, you're not just talking out of your bee-hind. So I looked and sure enough there she was! (Not that I ever would have doubted her word.) So I see the list of nominees and to my happiness I see more author friends being called to attention too. Michelle Muto, For "The Haunting Season" in Horror, (A great book that I loved reading this year.) Muto is also up for best YA for "Don't Fear The Reaper" another favorite novel of mine.

So it was great seeing my friends and their works getting noticed, because without a doubt they all deserve it. They work very hard at their craft and do not slack at all. But then something astounding happened. As I was looking at the YA category I saw MY name and MY book, "Forever ME"....what? Wait? Is that possible? Sure enough it was....Now mind you I didn't even know this organization existed and how I got nominated is a complete mystery to me, but I am grateful, and humbled by it.

When I was in the theatre, I belonged to an organization that competed over 100 theaters against one another and I was privileged to be nominated as an actor many times, but I always wanted to win as a playwright. Because It meant more to me to have my writing acknowledged than it did my acting. Several of my plays were up for an award but sadly I never got one.  I used to think If I could just get that damn award, I would be vindicated as a writer. But my business partner pointed out to me, "You are vindicated every time an audience comes back and pays to see a show you've written. They know it's your show, your name is on the program. When you hear the laughter, that's your award, the applause, that's your award."  He was right!

So this time, I can truly be happy with just being nominated, I don't need to win to know, someone out there believes in my writing. Thank you who ever it was who made this possible for my friends and I and I promise to keep writing the best books I can!

Good Luck to all the fellow nominees, I am honored to be mentioned among you!






Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Forever ME ~ Paperbacks LIVE NOW!

The Paperback version of Forever ME went live on Amazon officially tonight.
Originally planned for a May 6, 2013 release. Thanks to Amazon coming on line about 5 days earlier than expected. So there are three ways for you to get a paperback should you want one.




1. Buy directly from my estore at Createspace for $12.85 + whatever shipping is. 
Createspace E-store CLICK HERE.  (Nice royalty rate applies here.)

2. Via Amazon directly. $12.85 Same price, Shipping will vary based on your shopping.

Amazon Paperback of Forever ME CLICK HERE (Not so nice royalty rate here.)

or 

3. Buy direct from me on my blog via PayPal. $15.00 and you get it autographed
    and the shipping is included!

Forever ME via PayPal CLICK HERE.

Questions or comments please drop me a message!
Thank you everyone who has been so supportive of this novel and its message!



Monday, April 22, 2013

Forever ME re-launch ~ New Cover ~Paperbacks ~ And a word about review reactions

Forever ME has re-launched just over a week ago with a gorgeous new cover by the powerhouse book designer Sarah Hansen at Okay Creations. Huge shout out to Sarah and her company.

Forever ME is a YA novel that was inspired by true events. In October of 2010 I caught a segment on morning television about a group of high school girls from Texas. They had created an organization called, Redefining Beautiful. The idea was to encourage girls to go one day a week without makeup. To get girls to understand they didn't need to look a certain way to be attractive. In a matter of moments I was sold and a concept came to me. Two years later "Forever ME" was published.

I never dreamed I would write YA novel, I was used to writing comedy for the stage, independent television and film, oh and the occasional horror novel. Of course the thought of taking on the idea of writing a novel of teen angst didn't really cross my mind, for me, I had a story to tell and I was just going to write it. Even when I knew I was going to be spending 90% of the novel writing from a female perspective...a sixteen-year-old teen's perspective. Naturally as I began to write, I began to wonder, will anyone read a novel about teen girls struggling with the social issues that plague our schools and the lives of our youth written by a man? A female author very quickly came to my support and, "Yes, it's a little novel called, "Carrie" by a man you may have heard of named Stephen King."

"Yes, but that was 1974!" I bemoaned.
"Teens are still teens." This is something every human being who's sixteen or older can attest to. We all worry, will I ever find true love? Why couldn't I have been born rich? Why do the pretty girls always get everything they want? And so on. (They don't BTW, that's just how it seems.) You may have asked different questions but we all still found those years at best, awkward at times and a time when you're still trying to figure out who you are and what you want from your life.

For me, I always knew I wanted to be in show business. I loved acting and writing. So when it came to writing "Forever ME" for the first time ever I had the entire story in my head within five minutes of watching the segment on morning television. This was a book I loved writing, and I learned a lot about my own emotions and perspectives. But the true test would be....would teen girls like the book? Embrace it? Or would I get tons of hate mail.  Well, to my welcome relief, teen girls are taking the time to tell me they do like the book, they love Hannah.  I have had a couple of bad comments...but they weren't from teens. I see the occasional comment...seems like "Mean Girls"...in my defense...I have never seen Mean Girls...honest! Cross my heart! There was one person however that stated: I didn't know enough about teen girls to be writing about them. They felt It was so exaggerated I was making fun of the girls."  THAT couldn't be farther from the truth. I am a dad. I have a 19 year old daughter who just turned 17 when I began this project. I interviewed teens and asked them directly does this sound right? Teens have no problem telling you if you suck. Their honesty filter is set to wide open.  Which is a good thing. But the comment from the person who was an adult really bothered me...bothered me until....a girl from the other side of the planet sent me a message, that said she read Forever ME and cried on public transport while reading it. Then a teen from the midwest left a message on my FB page that said: Forever ME was amazing! Thank you for your contribution to modern literature and to my life. More and more teens began commenting. "Wish I had been allowed to read a book like this when I was an insecure 14 year old."   THAT was all the vindication I needed. Obviously teen girls are responding to "Forever ME" in a positive way. And just today I saw this note posted on an earlier blog I had not seen before: Hannah is a heroine. More than a heroine. She is real." 

That is all any writer can ask for, is praise from a reader who confirms your writing made an impact on them. I am truly humbled by the girls who have taken the time to tell me, how much they identified with Forever ME.  Thank you girls!

So finally the last news: Forever ME will be in paperback officially on May 6, 2013!
There will be 3 ways to get paperbacks: 1. Amazon.com 2. My Createspace Store and 3. My blog via PayPal. If you notice at the top of my blog there is a PayPal buy button. Copies purchased through my blog are slightly higher priced but they are autographed and the shipping is included on all purchases in the USA.  The button is live now and I am accepting advance orders. But release date will be, May 6, 2013!

Thank you everyone who has taken the time to read the novel, Tweet it, share it on FB and have taken the message of the novel to heart. And once again my fondest thanks to the girls of "Redefining Beautiful" This never would have happened without your heartfelt desire to help girls just learn it's okay to be themselves!

~ Cheers, Thomas Amo




Sunday, April 14, 2013

Write From The Heart


I've read the statement, write the kind of books you'd like to read. I've also read, forget writing from your heart...just write commerically. All authors have one goal in common, we're telling a story. So how do some stories strike like a wicked bolt of lightening and begin flying off the shelves or filling e-readers around the world? 

The answer is—there's no answer. 

The truth is however, everyone buys a book for a different reason and your book not selling doesn't mean your writing is bad, it means you haven't found your audience and or gained enough exposure. While getting on the front page of ENT or Pixel Of Ink will give your book a boost..it's pretty much momentary. As your post slides down the feed and disappears so do your sales along with it. Some sales will lag along..but without taking any action you're pretty much back to 1-20 sales for the month again. 

But back to my topic's title. Earlier this week while watching "The Voice" with my wife, I heard a guy sing the song, "I just haven't met you yet." (That may not be the title) He sang great, he was spot on the notes pretty much, but no one turned around. I was surprised by this unil I heard one of the judges tell him..."All I heard was you singing a song." And I thought...well isn't that the point? But no it wasn't. Anyone can sing a song, good or bad, but it's what you do with those lyrics that are going to make the judges hit that button and spin those chairs or not. Same rule applies to writing. Your judges are readers and even though some never turn their chair, try not to take it personally, consider you might be singing in a genre they don't care for. 

Before I began to write novels, I wrote comedy for the live theatre. Full length plays. Mostly British farces. The shows I wrote from my heart, the shows that made me laugh while writing them, usually were hit shows and audience pleasers. The shows where I forced the comedy and TRIED to be funny, usually fell flat on it's face. The audience knew and so did the reviewers. Readers can tell when you're putting them on. But it's not always bad news to write something that isn't your best work because it teaches what not to do next time and hopefully if you do start to do it again, you will recognize it and avoid it. 

So, my current novel, "Forever ME" is from the heart. So much so I actually cried writing the final two chapters. I allowed myself to become consumed into the world I created and it was an experience that far exceeded my comedy writing. "Forever ME" is inspired by true events, when I learned about a group of amazing girls from a Texas high school who took the subject of how you look and turned it on it's head, I was awestruck. The five minute segment on the morning news was all I needed to be off and running. The book is now just beginning to gain some ground, but at the same time, it's my desire to keep alive the message these young women so boldy embraced. Will this sell more books? Who can say, but if I never sold another copy, I learned and grew as a writer and that is always a step in the right direction.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Between the Lines : Book Review : Forever Me by Thomas Amo

Between the Lines : Book Review : Forever Me by Thomas Amo: Name :                       Forever Me Author :                     Thomas Amo Genre:                            YA GoodReads Rating :  ...