Mary Amato, author of YA novel Get Happy, on divorce–and win a signed copy!

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I’m happy to host Mary Amato, YA author of Get Happy, today–talking about divorce and writing about painful issues. Readers, if you’d like to win a signed copy of Get Happy, please leave a comment on this post. US and Canada only. (I’m two days late on posting this; I’ve been sick. My apologies!) Take it away, Mary!


One of the central issues of Get Happy is how divorce can affect a child. Minerva’s father leaves when she is two, and she struggles with this throughout her childhood and into her teen years.

Divorce can be messy and the adults involved can sometimes fail to understand what the child needs. Minerva feels as if the subject is taboo and so she bottles up her questions and her emotions, which is the opposite of what she needs.

I know that my adult readers are not going to like the way the parents in this book behave. They aren’t good role models by any means. They’re flawed. They’re human.

To me, it’s important to write about all kinds of experiences because life is messy. Books can provide safe places to explore lots of different emotions.


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Author Bio:
Mary Amato is an award-winning children’s book author, songwriter, musician, puppeteer, and poet. She writes for children of all ages, and is beginning to focus on YA. Her first YA novel was Guitar Notes. Mary lives with her family outside Washington, DC, where she also performs regularly, singing and playing her own songs. Mary is a popular speaker and runs numerous workshops for teachers and students, including many on all aspects of creative writing, even songwriting. The author lives in Silver Spring, MD. You can visit her online at thrumsociety.


Readers! Leave a comment below to win a signed copy of Get Happy! (US and Canada only)

And check out the other stops along the tour.

Thursday, October 30, 2014
Reading Nook Reviews: Q&A and giveaway

Fandom Monthly: Giveaway

Rockin Book Reviews: Review and giveaway

Saturday, November 01, 2014
Adventures in YA Publishing: Question

Sunday, November 16, 2014
Children’s Book Review:
Guest Column and giveaway

STAINED is on sale for $1.99 on #Kindle and #Nook until Oct 31st!

If you loved SCARS, I think you’ll enjoy STAINED–and you may want to get it while it’s deeply discounted. Right now STAINED is on sale for both Kindle and Nook for $1.99–until Oct 31st. I hope you grab yourself a copy. :)

In STAINED, Sarah think she knows what fear is–until she’s abducted. Then she must find a way to save herself.

Like I did with SCARS, I drew on my own trauma and healing experience to write STAINED.

I hope you enjoy it! And if you enjoy it, or like this deal, I hope you’ll let others know about it, too. :)

My Anti-Bully Dear Teen Me letter. #OneVoice Against Bullying

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Dear Teen Me,

I know you have no safe place—not at home being abused, and not at school being bullied. You are an easy target: shy, scared, jumping at touch, not looking people in the eyes—the marks of someone who’s been hurt. You’re afraid all the time. You hate yourself instead of your abusers and tormentors. You cut to cope. You think about killing yourself. But you keep hanging in there. You’re stronger than you know.

I know you think you’re weak. All the terrible things that happen to you at home. The way you struggle to stand up to your own bullies. But do you remember that Spring day on the way home from school when those boys were running after a girl with coke-bottle glasses and ill-fitting clothes, hooting and hollering at her, calling her names, throwing things? Do you remember how you ran after them, shouting at them to leave her alone? How angry and protective you felt? And how when the boys turned and saw you they ran away?

Do you remember the look in the girl’s eyes—the surprise and the relief that someone cared enough to stand up for her? Or how you walked her home even though it was out of your way just so she’d stay safe? And how you listened to all the horrible things she’d been through and told her she didn’t deserve any of it? That wasn’t weakness, Cheryl. That was strength. I am so very proud of you for standing up to those boys. For helping that girl find a small pocket of safety.

So what if you couldn’t do that for yourself yet? You were still being abused at home. You had victim tortured into you. But still you stood up for others. And you did it over and over again—with that same girl on other walks home, with a girl being harassed by a drunk man on the streetcar, with another girl being sexually harassed, with children being hit by their parents. You tried to protect other kids and teens the way you needed to have someone protect you. You were brave, even though you didn’t feel like you were.

I know you still feel ashamed for some of the bullying you endured, for the way you couldn’t protect yourself. Like the time you were wearily leaning against your girlfriend’s shoulder on the bus and the driver stopped the bus and told you to separate or you’d have to get off. You argued with him, but he was enraged and in authority, and you were too tired and scared so you pulled away from your girlfriend and sat there, feeling humiliated and ashamed and later angry at yourself, wishing you’d written down his number and reported him. Or like the boys in school who would poke you and then hoot and laugh when you jumped—over and over again. You were so angry and ashamed because you couldn’t stop yourself from jumping, couldn’t fight back. Or like the time that man said that he should have sex with you so you wouldn’t be queer—suggesting rape would “fix” you. You froze when he and the other men laughed, fear gripping you, and it took you long moments to tell them that that wasn’t okay. You still feel ashamed that you didn’t stand up to them more strongly. To all your bullies. But you don’t deserve that shame or the anger you turn on yourself. It belongs to the people who hurt you.

And you know what? You often did stand up for yourself, even though it felt like they won. Sometimes it’s okay to not challenge too hard for your own safety. And the other times? Come on, you were a traumatized, bullied kid. Have more compassion for yourself. Yes, you wish you’d done more. Or that someone else had stood up for you. But it’s time to let that go, and to recognize your own strength.
I know you’re hurting—so badly that you don’t want to be here. That every day feels like another day you can’t endure. But I’m glad you’re here. You have a place in this world. Never forget that. And there are good people, even if you haven’t met many of them yet. Just keep hanging on. You will find more and more people with love in their hearts instead of hate.

I want you to be proud of who you are. You’re a survivor, a strong, gentle soul who doesn’t hurt others even though most others hurt you. You have compassion and kindness for others even though you don’t experience that yourself. And you will put even more goodness into the world with your writing. Yes, you will publish books! So be gentle with yourself. Let yourself love yourself, just a little. Let go of the hate and shame that aren’t yours. And know that things will get better. You will find true friends, kindness, love. You will find hope. And one day you will be glad that you are here, making a difference in the world.

I pledge to speak out against bullying when I see it & try to make a positive difference in this world, always. #OneVoice


I hope you’ll join us all in taking a stand against bullying. Share the #OneVoice hashtag and let’s let people know that bullying has to stop!

The fantastic YA authors who are taking part in the #OneVoice Campaign all this month include:
Oct. 1- Cole Gibsen
Oct. 2- Ellen Hopkins
Oct. 3- Ann Aguirre
Oct. 4-5- weekend/open
Oct.. 6- Anna Banks
Oct. 7- Shannon Lee Alexander
Oct. 8- Julie Cross
Oct. 9- Alyssa Day writing as Lucy Connors
Oct. 10- Jus Accardo
Oct. 11- D.R. Rosensteel
Oct. 12- Sunday/open
Oct. 13- Rebekah Purdy
Oct. 14- Mary Lindsey
Oct. 15- Tracy Clark
Oct. 16- Chantele Sedgwick
Oct.17- Francesca Zappia and Rachel Caine’s post (Rachel in the morning, Francia in the afternoon)
Oct. 18- Lisa Brown Roberts
Oct. 19- Victoria Scott
Oct. 20- Trinity Faegan
Oct. 21- Tiffany Truitt
Oct. 22- Tara Fuller
Oct. 23-Jennifer Bosworth
Oct. 24- Cheryl Rainfield
Oct. 25- Chloe Jacobs
Oct. 26- Sunday/open
Oct. 27- Carrie Jones
Oct. 28- Sarah Bomley
Oct. 29- Sarah Darer Littman
Oct. 30- Tonya Kuper
Oct. 31- Nikki Urang

I hope you’ll check in (you can go back to look at any post), leave comments, and help spread the word!

Why I Won’t Be Buying Books By John Grisham

I love a good suspense book. Maybe because most of my life was so full of terror and pain; I can relate to the threats, and I love it when a good person wins out, and people who hurt others get justice. But I won’t ever buy a John Grisham book.

Why? Because John Grisham said that people who watch and download child porn should not be jailed and that “current sentencing policies failed to draw a distinction between real-world abusers and those who downloaded content, accidentally or otherwise.”

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Wow. Excuse me while I take some deep breaths.

People who watch and download child porn are what drive the child-porn industry. Watching child porn is still exploitation. A child was abused and dehumanized to make that child porn that someone is sitting in their cozy house watching, getting off on. And suggesting that some men might download child porn by “mistake” or while drunk is excusing the behavior. It doesn’t recognize the culture we live in that encourages rape and child exploitation. It’s not thinking about the children that were used to create the child porn, the pain and trauma they endured. It’s severely lacking in compassion for victims, for anyone who isn’t an adult white male (John’s friend who he was identifying with) and that worries me.

Have I mentioned that my parents made child porn using me and other children, to make money to help fund the cult they belong to? I was regularly raped, forced to engage in sexual acts, and dehumanized in some very humiliating, degrading, sickening scenarios, all while being filmed, for men (and women) who would pay for the videos or photos.

It left emotional scars, along with the other abuse and torture I endured, that stay with me today. While I have finally learned to be pretty okay with a camera (especially cell phone cameras that don’t look like traditional cameras), for years I couldn’t bear being photographed or filmed. I still get triggered into traumatic memories every time I have to do a TV interview or too many people ask to take my photo in a short period of time. And the child porn messed up my body image, my comfort with my own sexuality, and left me fearful, mistrusting, and hating my own body and sexuality. It also, along with all the other abuse, left me with many psychological effects, including severe depression, anxiety, PTSD, dissociation, self-harm, wanting to die, and other effects.

The effects of child porn, abuse, rape, trauma, and exploitation is what I try to help others understand, on a gut and emotional level, through my books. I try to help people understand the severity of the effects, and also that healing is possible. I wish everyone who thought that child abuse or child porn was okay had to experience, just briefly through a good book, what it’s actually like. Perhaps they wouldn’t be so quick to encourage it to happen.

Child porn isn’t okay. Watching it isn’t okay. Making it isn’t okay. And while I don’t think people who watch, download, and/or buy child porn should get a higher sentence than people who create it, I do think there should be consequences. It’s never okay to exploit children (or anyone else). It’s never okay to use and harm others for your own pleasure.

So I will never buy a John Grisham book. I will never recommend his books to any of my friends. And I hope you will think twice about buying his books, or that you will consider donating to an organization that supports survivors, such as RAINN or your local rape crisis center, or an organization that fights child porn and child exploitation. We can make a healing, positive difference in this world. And it starts with compassion.

I’m Proud To Be Part of #OneVoice Campaign: An Anti-Bully Project With Entangled, Dear Teen Me, and YA Authors

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So many teens are bullied every year–and it affects their self-confidence, happiness, mental health, and overall wellness. Sometimes it takes lives. I was bullied as a teen, and between the bullying at school and the abuse at home I had no safe place. I wanted to die often. I think we need to keep talking about bullying and keep raising awareness so that people who are bullied get support, compassion, and safety; people who bully can get help to find out why they bully and hopefully stop hurting others; and bullying can end. I hope for a more compassionate world, and I see that happening (slowly).

I think talking about painful issues is part of what helps bring change, so I’m happy to be part of the #OneVoice Campaign through Entangled and Dear Teen Me, where all this month YA authors write a Dear Teen Me letter to their teen selves about the impact bullying had on them. (My post is on Oct 24th.) There are so many fantastic YA authors taking part in this; I hope you’ll drop by EntangledTeen often this month and check out the wise, heartfelt, and powerful posts, and leave a comment for the authors. And if you believe that bullying should stop, please help spread the word using the hashtag #OneVoice.

Here is my pledge against bullying:

I pledge to speak out against bullying when I see it & try to make a positive difference in this world, always. #OneVoice

I hope you’ll join us all in taking a stand against bullying.

The fantastic YA authors who are taking part in the #OneVoice Campaign this month include:
Oct. 1- Cole Gibsen
Oct. 2- Ellen Hopkins
Oct. 3- Ann Aguirre
Oct. 4-5- weekend/open
Oct.. 6- Anna Banks
Oct. 7- Shannon Lee Alexander
Oct. 8- Julie Cross
Oct. 9- Alyssa Day writing as Lucy Connors
Oct. 10- Jus Accardo
Oct. 11- D.R. Rosensteel
Oct. 12- Sunday/open
Oct. 13- Rebekah Purdy
Oct. 14- Mary Lindsey
Oct. 15- Tracy Clark
Oct. 16- Chantele Sedgwick
Oct.17- Francesca Zappia and Rachel Caine’s post (Rachel in the morning, Francia in the afternoon)
Oct. 18- Lisa Brown Roberts
Oct. 19- Victoria Scott
Oct. 20- Trinity Faegan
Oct. 21- Tiffany Truitt
Oct. 22- Tara Fuller
Oct. 23-Jennifer Bosworth
Oct. 24- Cheryl Rainfield
Oct. 25- Chloe Jacobs
Oct. 26- Sunday/open
Oct. 27- Carrie Jones
Oct. 28- Sarah Bomley
Oct. 29- Sarah Darer Littman
Oct. 30- Tonya Kuper
Oct. 31- Nikki Urang

Need a boost in your writing or editing? Check out Holly Lisle’s books and courses.

If you’re looking for some good writing technique books or online courses, I highly recommend Holly Lisle’s books and courses. I have her Create a Character Clinic, Create a Plot Clinic, and How to Write Page-Turning Scenes, and I’m seriously looking at her How to Revise Your Novel online workshop. Her books and courses are easy to understand and relate to, written in a conversational, approachable style, and full of useful information with an understanding of psychology and emotional depth and layers. She has a fresh way of presenting material, and it’s based on her years of experience writing and editing fiction (she has more than 23 novels published). I think I can always learn to make my writing better, deeper, more powerful…so I’m glad when I find more that helps my work. I hope these’ll help you, too!

I love it when my talks on my books move people. My STAINED talk was a success! A post in pictures and words.

I was nervous before my talk on STAINED yesterday at Chapters Scarborough. I’m always nervous before I give a talk! (Part of it is that whole “we’ll-kill-you-if-you-talk” thing my abusers used to tell me, and part of it is that I’m an introvert. I’d rather talk one-to-one with readers.) But being nervous means I practice a lot–and that’s good for my talk.

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So it was lovely to see copies of STAINED on display, next to books by Gayle Foreman (If I Stay), John Green (The Fault In Our Stars), and Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (The Iron Trial). STAINED was in such good company!
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And it was reassuring to find Christie from the teen section of Chapters Scarborough and bibliophiliacs there, who helped organize everything so beautifully–and who came in when it wasn’t even her shift to help out, hear me talk, and buy two copies of STAINED and get them signed! I was honored. She is smart, kind, knowledgeable, and knows a ton about YA books.

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I set out the free book swag I had for readers–some positive-message stickers, positive-message wristbands, and of course bookmarks. I also had a draw for readers for a Chapters giftcard and an audiobook copy of SCARS.

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Christie introduced me. She had such nice things to say about me and about STAINED (which is a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year for Ages 14 and Up, 2014).

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I talked about why I write the books I write, the need for strong girls, emotionally strong boys, and diverse characters in books. I talked about how I used to write instead of speak (my abusers told me that they’d kill me if I talked, and since I’d seen them murder other children I knew they could do it, so I turned to writing and art to speak), and how that lead to me writing books, mentioned #WeNeedDiverseBooks, the need for everyone to see themselves reflected back in books and popular culture so we don’t feel invisible, other, or like there’s something wrong with us, and how important books that deal with painful issues can be to some readers. Sometimes a book is the only “person” a teen has to turn to, the only way they can know that they’re not alone, not crazy, and that they can get through. That was true for me as a child and teen, and it’s true for many teens today.

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After my talk I did a short reading from STAINED to gain readers’ interest. :)

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I love how the audience always gets so quiet when I talk–they’re really listening!

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After the talk and reading comes my favorite part–talking to readers, signing their books, and hugging them. :) It feels so good to hear that I’ve opened up their eyes to an issue like self-harm and the reasons it happens, or the effects of rape and abduction, or the strength of survivors, or just that I’ve moved them.

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Talking to my readers–readers who’ve read one or all of my books, and readers who are just discovering them–is rewarding!

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And one of my very favorite parts of a talk is hugging readers afterward if they want a hug. Here’s me hugging Laurie, who’s read and loved my books. Laurie’s written some poetry, and she and her daughters love to write and read. I love hearing that!

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And here I am hugging reader and activist Casey Anne. This hug and meeting her meant so much to me. Casey Anne has read all my books, talked with me online–and she drove more than 10 hours from the US to Toronto to come meet me and hear me talk! Casey Anne has such a good heart, so meeting her was a delight.

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Mary, who drove down with her daughter Casey Anne, and I also had a few good hugs.

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And so did reader Kaitlyn and I. Kaitlyn’s a tween, not yet a teen, so I left it up to her mom and grandmother about whether my books would be good for her. Kaitlyn read them, and so did her family, and they all enjoyed them. What a good feeling!

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Casey Anne and I spent a good long time talking together after my talk and signing. I wanted to make sure that she had some time with me after driving so far to come meet me! It was a fantastic talk; I enjoyed it so much. Casey Anne is smart, kind, and talented, and she’s got such a good heart. Her visit was a highlight for me. She brought four of my books for me to sign, and I wrote special messages in them for her. I also gave her an audiobook copy of SCARS and a rainbow pencil. I am honored that she drove so far to meet me! I have such fantastic readers.

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After my STAINED talk, reader Casey Anne gave me this beautiful journal she painted with a lovely quote and moving inscription inside because I write, and reader Laurie gave me the copper ring on my finger because of the copper jewelry in HUNTED. I was so surprised! I always have things to give readers; I didn’t expect them to give me anything. I have such thoughtful, kind readers!

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And after I’d spent good time with Casey Anne (and part way into it, too) I signed the stock of STAINED and HUNTED that Chapters Scarborough had–all with special messages inside. I also enjoyed seeing a teen and her mom grab a copy when I was signing stock.

I heard many lovely things from readers after my talk. Then this morning I met a man on my walk with Petal who told me he was at my talk and how very inspiring it was. That felt so good to hear!

All in all, I think it was a lovely talk and signing. I so appreciate everyone who came by to hear me speak and to get a copy of STAINED or get their own books signed. Thank you all so much for a lovely day!

And thank you so much to Christine Hipper for so many fantastic photos from the event!

If you’re in Toronto on Sat., Sept 13th at 2pm come join me at Chapters Scarborough

If you’re in Toronto, join me at

Chapters Scarborough
(20 William Kitchen Road, Kennedy Commons – just below the 401 and off of Kennedy Rd.)
on Saturday, September 13th at 2pm

to hear me talk about STAINED (Best Book of the Year for Ages 14 and up)–why I wrote it, the need for strong-girl characters, and more–and get a signed copy of STAINED, SCARS, and/or HUNTED. Everyone who attends will get free positive-message stickers, bookmarks, and be entered in a draw. I hope to see you there!

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I draw on my own trauma experiences to write all my books.

In STAINED, Sarah is abducted and must find a way to rescue herself.

Cheryl Rainfield has been said to write with “great empathy and compassion” (VOYA) and to write stories that “can, perhaps, save a life.” (CM Magazine) SLJ said of her work: “[Readers] will be on the edge of their seats.”

I hope you’ll join me.

STAINED-display-Yorkdale-Indigo-cropped

Win a Copy of STAINED and 7 other YA books!

Enter to win a copy of STAINED and 7 other great YA books! You have 25 days more to enter.

You can win:

STAINED by Cheryl Rainfield







The Caged Graves by Dianne K Salerni







Grunge Gods and Graveyards by Kimberly G Giarratano







Thin Space by Jody Casella







The Headhunters Race by Kimberly Afe







Touching The Surface by Kimberly Sabatini







Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey







Catherine by April Lindner







Good luck!

My Birthday Gift To You – A Free Copy of My YA Fantasy Parallel Visions

It’s my birthday today. To celebrate, I’d like to give you a free ebook copy of Parallel Visions, my YA paranormal fantasy.

In Parallel Visions, Kate sees psychic visions of the future and the past—but only when she’s having an asthma attack. When she “sees” her sister being beaten, she needs more visions to try to save her, along with a suicidal classmate—but triggering her asthma could kill her. Parallel Visions is the story of one brave, caring psychic teen whose unusual gifts put her own life in danger.

If you’ve got a Kindle or a Kindle App (for Windows, iPad, etc) you can download it for free from Amazon today (August 19) and tomorrow, just in case you see this late.

If you need another version–for your Nook, Kobo, iPad, etc.–then email me today or tomorrow at Cheryl (at) CherylRainfield (dot) com with the version you need and I will send you that version. I won’t be sending them out today, but I will in the next week or so.

I hope you enjoy it!



Reasons Not To Hurt Yourself


If You're Thinking of Suicide


Tips On Dealing With Self-Harm


10 Ways To Improve Your Body Image And Feel Better About Your Body


Girls Are Strong (And Boys Are, Too). 17 Ways To Be Strong


Writing Technique Books I Recommend


Writing Technique Books & Online Courses I recommend by Holly Lisle


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