Learning to deal with tween behavior

Last month my son became a teenager, but so far it my ten-year old daughter who seems to have the teenage attitude. With her I get the exasperated “I know” or the sigh and eye roll or her palm slapped to her forehead. And I am pretty over it. It has become where I don’t even want to talk to her at times.

I’ve written before about Lexie’s quest to be different. She has always tried to find what makes her unique whether it is her atypical anatomy or her ability to do something such as draw, heal fast or whatever. Many of her “accomplishments” are more in her head than actual differences. She strives to be different or in many cases “better” than someone else.

And part of me gets that. We all like to think we are different and unique. And we are…to a point. But Lexie’s behavior is now expanding to saying everyone else is treated better than she is. She worries that no one likes her at school even though many kids greet her by name as we approach in the mornings.

She thinks that we treat her brother better than her. And our reactions to him are different. But that is because he is a different person. His attitude and his needs are not the same as hers. I will admit we sometimes sigh (or snap) when she has gotten out of bed for the third, tenth or who-knows-what number time to come tell us something unimportant or to ask a question that clearly didn’t need answering right at that moment. When her brother does the same thing (which happens far less often) we do behave different because when he does it something is usually concerning him rather than it coming across as an action to delay bedtime.

I began writing this post after a really trying afternoon when I was just fed up with Lexie and her attitude. Everything seemed to be about her when the afternoon was and should have been about her brother. (It was his birthday – in case you were wondering.)

I tried looking up some advice on the internet, but it was hard to know just what to look up. I looked up teen behavior, sibling jealousy, ADHD, and whatever else I could to think of for tips on how to better deal with Lexie because I know I am not handling her behavior as well as I could. Here is the tips and advice I picked up that I thought might help my situation.

  • Stay calm. Stop, take a deep breath (or two or three) and continue calmly.
  • Ignore her shrugs, eye-rolls or sighs as long as she is generally behaving like I’d like her to.
  • Focus on my child’s behavior. Avoid comments about your child’s personality or character. Instead of saying “You’re rude,” try something like, “I feel hurt (disrespected) when you speak to me like that.”
  • Give her praise when she communicates in a positive way.
  • Emphasize her strengths.
  • Pick my battles. Sometimes you have to let the small things go and concentrate on bigger issues.
  • Realize that her way of doing or perceiving something is not always the same way I would do or perceive the same situation.
  • Listen to her concerns and ask questions instead of insisting her view is incorrect. Help her find solutions to her concerns or just listen and empathize. Her problems and struggles will seem big to her.
  • Before offering input, ask is she wants to hear it. (Do you want to hear what I think about this?)
  • Set aside time to talk or spend time with her.
  • Try not to get exasperated by her behavior. Take her concerns seriously.
  • Remember that her ADHD may make her relationships with others more difficult. Focus on making one good friend.
  • To not show favoritism, listen openly to all sides. “Thanks for sharing. Now I want to hear your brother’s side.” This will allow her to know that I value each child’s opinion.

All of these sound good, but will I remember them next time Lexie pushes my buttons? Only time will tell. Or instead of counting to ten it might be best if I come back and read this post to remind myself of ways to better handle my pre-teen.

Today’s Featured Author – Haris Orkin

Please welcome author Haris Orkin to my blog. His debut novel, You Only Live Once, a comic thriller, was released in March 2018. It is a contemporary take on Don Quixote as a mental patient believes he’s a James Bond-like super spy. This new release already has 19 5-star reviews!

Book Blurb

James Flynn is an expert shot, a black belt in karate, fluent in four languages and irresistible to women. He’s also a heavily medicated patient in a Los Angeles psychiatric hospital. Flynn believes his locked ward is the headquarters of Her Majesty’s Secret Service and that he is a secret agent with a license to kill.

When the hospital is acquired by a new HMO, Flynn is convinced that the Secret Service has been infiltrated by the enemy. He escapes to save the day, and in the process, Flynn kidnaps a young Hispanic orderly named Sancho.

This crazy day trip turns into a very real adventure when Flynn is mistaken for an actual secret agent. Paranoid delusions have suddenly become reality, and now it’s up to a mental patient and a terrified orderly to bring down an insecure, evil genius bent on world domination.

About the Author

You Only Live Once is the debut novel by Haris Orkin, who has had successful careers as an ad writer, screenwriter, playwright, game writer, narrative director and voice director. He received a BA from Beloit College and an MFA in Creative Writing from USC. His produced screenplays include Save the Dog (Disney Sunday Night movie) and A Saintly Switch (directed by Peter Bogdanovich, starring Vivica A. Fox and David Alan Grier). Haris has also written scripts for Universal, Columbia, 20th Century Fox and Paramount. His play, Dada was produced at The American Stage, The Nebraska Rep, and the La Jolla Playhouse. His Nobody Lives Forever was performed at The John Harmon Theater and The Player’s Club in New York City. In 2005, Haris broke into the world of game narrative with the script for Dungeons and Dragons: Dragonshard, and he has written eight games since. Red Alert 3 (2008) earned Haris a Writer’s Guild Award nomination for best video game script while Mafia 3 (2017) garnered him a BAFTA Award nomination. Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood (2009) was released to strong sales and excellent reviews.  Dead Island (2011) and Dying Light (2015) were the top selling titles for their years.

You can purchase You Only Live Once on Amazon.

Picking Your Book Title and Your Pen Name

This post is the thirty-ninth in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

If you are going to publish a book, even if it is only an e-book, you will need a cover. If you are going with a traditional publisher, the design of your cover may or may not have your input. If you are going the self-publishing route, the cover design is up to you.

Before we go into the details of cover design, I want to go over two things that will appear on your book cover – the book title and your author name.

Book Title

Choosing the title for your book can be one of the hardest decisions. The title is a sales tool. It allows the reader to know something about your book. Your title needs to paint a picture for your prospective reader. You want the title to be catchy enough to intrigue a reader and short, so it doesn’t fill up the entire front cover.

Now some people know their titles when they begin writing, but others wait to complete their work before deciding on a title. Either way works.

Here are a few tips about selecting a fiction title.

Length – choose a short title – preferably six words or less. Besides not taking up a lot of room on the cover, short titles are easier to remember.

Make it easy to pronounce – Shy away from foreign or made-up words because these don’t give the person looking at your book any idea of what it is about. A title won’t tug at the reader if they can’t pronounce or understand the words.

Make it relevant – Ensure that your book title has something to do with what’s between the covers. Readers don’t like to be tricked. You shouldn’t name your science fiction masterpiece something that sounds like it belongs to an Old Western.

See how popular the title is – Go onto Amazon and type in your title. See how many other books come up with that same title. Yes, I know you can’t necessarily have a title that no one has used before but if tons of books come up with the same title, you may want to consider something a little more unique. And, of course, do not use a title that already belongs to a famous book.

Just remember there are no hard-and-fast rules for selecting a title. For every piece of advice you may get, you will be able to think of a title that goes against it. And while you may love a title, someone else may think it stinks. So in the end, I say to go with what you love. It is after all your book.

Author Names/Pen Names

I host authors every Friday, and I have seen some pretty hard to pronounce names and ones that I imagine are impossible to remember or spell correctly. How do you expect readers to recommend you or search for your books on Amazon when they can’t figure out how to spell – much less pronounce – your name?

Image result for Pen nameThis is where a pseudonym or pen name comes into play. A pen name allows authors to select a catchy, memorable name. It allows them to switch genders or even nationalities, which depending upon the circumstances could mean more book sales.

Reasons for using a pen name

1.) Your real name may also belong to someone already famous or to another author.

2.) Your name may be hard to pronounce, remember, or spell.

3.) You may be known for writing one genre and want to write another. Or perhaps you write non-fiction books and now want to write romance novels.

4.) You pick a pen name to mask your gender. If you are a man writing romance novels, you might want to choose a feminine pen name. Some genres are more dominated by men so using a masculine name or initials might improve your chances of succeeding. (Examples: J.K. Rowlings, J.D. Robb)

5.) You want to hide your moonlighting. Perhaps you don’t want your boss to know you are an author, so he doesn’t begin to think you aren’t working hard at your job.

6.) You want to remain anonymous. Some people want a private life. They don’t want fans tracking them down, or perhaps they don’t want people they know to find out they write erotica or romance novels.

Other Authors with Pen Names

Many famous authors write under a pen name. Probably the most well-known is Mark Twain (real name Samuel Clemens). Here are a few more…

  • George Orwell (real name Eric Arthur Blair)
  • Stan Lee (real name Stanley Martin Lieber)
  • George Eliot (real name Mary Ann Evans)
  • Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)
  • Nora Roberts (real name Eleanor Marie Robertson) – has also written under J.D. Robb, Jill March, and Sarah Hardesty

Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden, a fantasy author, writes under two pen names: Megan Lindholm for her earlier, contemporary fantasy, and Robin Hobb for her epic, traditional fantasy books.

Dean Koontz has written under several pen names in the beginning of his career, including David Axton, Leigh Nichols, and Brian Coffey.

Picking a pen name

There are tons of ways to pick a name. You can look through a baby naming book. You can shorten your name. (Amelia to Mia) Maybe you like your middle name or a friend’s first name. Try looking at family names for last names.

Make sure the name you pick out is easy to remember and something you can answer to just a readily as your own name.

After you come up with a list of possible names, check Amazon to see if there is already an author by that name. Use Google to search the name and see what links come up. Another place to look up the name is on Facebook. You can then figure out if you have a unique name or one that quite a few other people have.

Now some authors keep their pen names a secret while others proudly claim what other names they write under. And that is totally up to you. There is no shame in using a pen name. In fact, it might just help your book sales.

Now that we have covered your title and author name, next week, I’ll go over cover art and layout.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

#14 – Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

#15 – More dialogue tips and help with dialogue tags

#16 – Knowing and incorporating back story into your novel

#17 – Hinting at what is to come with foreshadowing

#18 – Tips for writing different scenes in your novel

#19 – Dealing with Writer’s Block

#20 – Killing a Character in your Novel

#21 – Keeping things realistic in your novel

#22 – Establishing Writing Goals and Developing Good Writing Habits

#23 – Using the five senses and passive voice in your novel

#24 – The benefit of research in fiction writing

#25 – Novella or Novel, Trilogy or Series – decisions for writers

#26 – Avoiding Plot and Character Clichés

#27 – Novel Writing – Endings and Epilogues

#28 – Fantasy Novel Writing – World Building, Dragons, Magic and More

#29 – Finishing your First Draft

#30 – Your Second Draft and Beyond

#31 – Picking Stronger Words and Watching out for Homonyms

#32 – Omitting unnecessary words in your novel

#33 – Beta Reader, Proofreaders and Copy Editors

#34 – Knowing your grammar or at least using a grammar checking program

#35 – Using a Revision Outline during your Novel Editing

#36 – Editing Techniques: Taking a Break and Reading Aloud

#37 – Publishing Options for your Novel

#38 – Self-publishing an ebook decisions

A few recipes for this summer…

Related imageTime has gotten away from me, and I don’t have my Recipe of the Month ready. Instead, I have decided to share some past recipes that I think would be good this summer…




Tailgate Coleslaw – Great at a picnic or just a home with some BBQ.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork – Going to be out all day at the waterpark and don’t want to have to mess with dinner when you get home? Go ahead and start this yummy concoction before you head out for the day.

Mexican Dip – A good dip for a picnic or summer party.

Colossal Chopped Salad – Feeds a bunch so perfect for a summer picnic.

Gazpacho A delicious cold soup for a hot summer’s day.