Today and tomorrow I’m giving my blog over to my good fellow author friend, James Crawford, who has recently re-released his Young Adult novel, Caleo. (Blurb and links to follow after his guest blog.)
If you’re an avid YA fan, and curious to learn more about the secret world of leeches, and the life of the young social outcast, Caleo Anima, you’ll definitely want to grab your copy of Caleo stat! (Check back tomorrow for an excerpt from the book.)
James’ blog tackles a tough subject for the young and old alike: bullying. Please read this personal account on the subject, and show James a warm reception in the comments following the blog.
Without further ado: James Crawford!
By james crawford
So my good friend David Beem invited me to his blog to talk about why I started writing my book Caleo. Well as always, I started writing one thing and it ended up in a different direction. So here is what I came up with…
I know this may not be a big surprise to most of you but here it goes… Hi! My name is james crawford and I was bullied.
They say, “that which does not kill you only makes you stronger.” Well, that’s a load of bull. I was always the small skinny kid in school and seemed to have the words “Easy Target” printed across my forehead. Life was hell. I hated school.
The abuse that I suffered ranged from name calling, property damage, physical attacks, and lastly…death threats. All this was even before my fellow classmates knew that I was gay. Now I know the smart thing to do was to talk to my parents and teachers, but like so many of you, I was let down. “Boys will be boys” or “they’re just kids; they are not being serous,” are just a couple of the excuses the grownups used as they swept the incidents under the rug. But with every excuse, the tormenting increased.
Now let’s not forget about the wonderful advice everyone likes to give. “Don’t take it, stand up for yourself!” That got me knocked to the ground a few times. What about the afterschool special, “stand your ground and the bully will back down”? Yep you guessed it, knocked back on my ass with everyone laughing. This advice might be helpful for some, but for a skinny boy, these sayings are lies and will just get your butt kicked more. But don’t worry. Did you forget, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”? Well it didn’t. It made me damaged. My self-esteem levels were at rock bottom. I would avoid looking in mirrors because I couldn’t stand the loser I saw. I would dress in bright ridiculous color camouflage just so people would pick on my choice of clothing rather than picking on me directly. I thought I was worthless. I hated myself and thought of “ending it all” daily.
There was only one thing that stopped me…and that was the love of both my family and the few friends that I had. If it wasn’t for my them telling me how much they loved me, constantly reminding me of my good qualities, and just being there to talk to when I needed to know I wasn’t alone, I would never have made it to discover life actually does get better. (Never underestimate how much just being there to listen can do for someone.)
I recently went back through my high school year book and looked up some of the bullies on Facebook. I know it’s not good to measure your success on other’s failures but… that day I wanted to email them all “LOOK AT ME NOW, B####es!!!!” but my mother raised me better than that. (Thanks again for taking all the fun out of things, Mom.) Instead, I took the high road and sent them a friend request saying, “Hi, hope everything is going well” and silently forgave them.
Blurb from Caleo
Every High School has their social outcasts. The band nerds, the math geeks, the chess club, the girl that chews her hair, but at Butler High, even the creepy nose picker in the chess club is more popular than Caleo Anima. No matter what he did, his pale skin, snow white hair, and piercing blue eyes always made him an easy target. He used to think that the only way things could get worse would be if someone found out that he was gay, but that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg of problems after a mysterious stranger shows up and changes Caleo’s life forever.
Hidden amongst our society, a secret and magical race of people known as ‘Leeches’, have been engaging in civil war for decades. Both sides are desperately searching for a weapon with unlimited power that will give them the advantage they need to rule their world. This wouldn’t mean anything to Caleo, except for one problem…He is that weapon!
Forget making it through High School. Caleo has bigger problems! As the search for him goes on, the world is quickly crumbling around him. He’s now fighting for his life and the life of what little family he has left. With the help of new friends, he has little time to try and master his newly found powers as he tries to figure out who he can trust, who is trying to use him, and who just wants him dead. One wrong step and being the awkward pale outcast will be the LEAST of his worries.