PJ Sharon here today! I know it’s not my usual day to post, but I’m filling in for one of my lovely Scribes sisters. I hope you won’t mind seeing me twice in one month.
Now that we’re all crawling out of our turkey comas and forging on, I thought I’d share some love with my pal Tahlia Newland, the woman who put the “Awesome” in Awesome Indies. She’s here today to talk about her latest release, PRUNELLA SMITH:WORLDS WITHIN WORLDS; part thriller, part magical realism, and part stress management instruction manual. She’s going to touch on one aspect of her new book that affects us all these days…cyber-bullying.
Please give a warm welcome to our guest, leave comments, ask questions, and feel free to follow her on social media or check out her books on her website.
Post by Tahlia Newland, award-winning magical realism author. Read more from her on her blog. You can also join her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+ and Linkedin.
Take it away, Tahlia!
How would you deal with a cyber-bully?
Have you ever been bullied or had to deal with nasty comments online? How did it feel? What did you do?
The anonymity of the internet makes it all too easy for those who might never say something nasty to your face to say it online. Cyber-bullies can hide behind a false identity and vent their anger without concern for the kind of repercussions they might get otherwise. They can live on the other side of the world, but their venom can come right into your home and shout at you in black and white from your computer or mobile device. And no matter how hard you try to ignore it, it’s an unpleasant experience, and one that can, if you don’t have the skills to deal with it in a stress-free way, cause a lot of anguish, both mental and physical.
Dealing with this reality is the focus of my latest book Prunella Smith: Worlds Within Worlds. Prunella Smith is a book reviewer, and an author unhappy with her review of his book begins systematically abusing her online. The recent publicity over a case where an author upset by a negative review actually located and physically assaulted a reviewer makes this theme all too real and raises questions for those who review books, especially if they are an author themselves as Prunella is.
When the bully and his friends leave negative reviews of Ella’s own book, she experiences the situation from the other side—as an author, rather than a reviewer—so we see both sides of the issue of dealing with negativity, whether designed to be helpful or blatantly vindictive.
This book raises many questions: Should reviewers not publish negative reviews and remain silent when they have nothing positive to say? What happens to freedom of speech if readers are too scared to share their honest opinions? Should reviewers moderate their language to avoid upsetting the authors? What use are reviews to readers, if no low ratings only means that those who didn’t like the book aren’t telling? This book does not offer definitive answers, but it does look at options and their repercussions. And most importantly, it does model a way to deal with such situations with the least amount of upset.
That’s what you’ll get from this book: a way to handle the difficult people in your life packaged in a heart-warming and inspiring story. This book is more than just a novel; I draw on my many years of meditation study and practice to provide Prunella with realistic and practical ‘solutions’ to her problems. As always, I write ‘real magic’. The magic in my magical realism is a very real way of working with your mind that makes you strong in the face of adversity.
And that is just one strand of this multi-layered book!
‘The barrier between the worlds shatters like the window. The beast is loose. My nightmare has become real. The guy has totally lost it. If he finds us here, we could die. No, I don’t doubt it; we will die.’
Author and editor Prunella Smith inhabits a multilayered reality. Physically, she lives in the Australian bush with her crazy cat Merlin. In her work world, she edits the love story of Kelee, a Magan Lord’s daughter, and in the cyber-world of social media, she’s subjected to slanderous attacks by a disgruntled author. To complicate matters further she sees things through the eyes of a Tibetan Yogi, has strange dreams and relives forgotten memories.
Separate worlds, interconnected and complementary, but can they help when Prunella becomes victim to a real life stalker and her sanity is threatened?
Worlds Within Worlds has a unique perspective on the nature of creativity. Its touch is light, its humour distinctive but it reaches deep into the nature of human experience.
Comments from readers:
“This is riveting stuff, part magical realism dreamscape, part taut psychological thriller, and I was literally on the edge of my seat when the final twist—and what a twist it is—came around. Phew, what a ride! I can honestly say it is the best book I have read this year.” Frank Kusy, author of Rupee Millionaires.
“This book will make you think. Considering the deluge of new works streaming from authors these days, that may be the highest praise a novel can receive.” Amy Spahn, literary critic.
“A fascinating insight into the mind of someone using meditative techniques to deal with stress.” Kevin Berry, Awesome Indies reviews.
Barnes and Noble
The paperback will be available from all outlets in early December.
Tahlia Newland, author of six books, including the award-winning Diamond Peak Series (AIA Seal of Excellence in Fiction and BRAG Medallion for Outstanding Fiction), writes heart-warming and inspiring magical realism and contemporary fantasy. She is also an editor and the coordinator of Awesome Indies Books, a website that accredits and showcases quality independent fiction.
Tahlia began writing full time in 2008 after twenty years in the performing arts and a five-year stint as a creative and performing arts teacher in a High School. She has had extensive training in meditation and Buddhist philosophy and lives in an Australian rainforest south of Sydney with her husband and a cheeky Burmese cat, who features in most of her novels.
Thanks for being with us today Tahlia. Let me leave readers with a few questions for discussion.
Have you ever been bullied online or off? Do you post negative reviews, or do you find yourself hesitant to do so, even if a book deserves a low grade? How do you handle negative reviews?