I’m happy to welcome Lucienne back to the blog. She’s here today to share some thoughts on words that hurt. Please help me welcome Lucienne!
Language that Wounds
I’ve set out to write a sequel to my YA thriller THE COUNTDOWN CLUB. It’s the first time I’ve done this. I see most of them as stand-alones, the story complete when I reach The End. But THE COUNTDOWN CLUB – the story of a group of high school kids who receive death threats with their expiration dates printed on them – had an ensemble cast, yet was told from only two points of view.
I’d always thought I might write another story featuring some of the other characters. I even had a title – THE GOTCHA GAME – but until about a month ago, I didn’t know the plot. None that I tried to concoct seemed worthy. No, I had to wait until it struck like lightning one day. Too bad I had to finish the novel I was writing first. Isn’t that always the way?
But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. It’s language and the way we use it, because it’s a discussion worth having, and something my characters are very much aware of here.
[Spoiler warning: if you have not read THE COUNTDOWN CLUB, you might want to turn back, read and return. Or not, your choice!]
Okay, we good?
Now, Kali is the tough, gothy hacker girl from THE COUNTDOWN CLUB. She survives the whole experience, but she’s got PTSD from it. Naturally. In THE GOTCHA GAME, she says:
If anyone here tagged her in any photos, she would kill… Not kill. Have words with them. Many, very sharp pointed words.
How many times a day, week, month did we casually talk about killing? Like it was nothing. Until it was? Until we saw our friends die. Feared that we might be next. Became suspects ourselves.
That’s the thing, isn’t it? We do talk about killing or violence or death so casually that it’s nothing. I hear kids playing saying it all the time. I’ll kill you. Take your best shot. I’m going to beat you.
The Center for Hope & Safety has a whole list of sayings that we never give even a thought to. We’ve grown up with them.
When we’re going to handle something difficult, we’re girding for battle. We’re going to fight it, conquer it. We will emerge victorious! If we’re getting dressed up for a date, we’re dressed to kill.
We all know that words have power. Why else all the book banning, unless people are afraid that knowledge and the way it’s presented could affect change? (Not make people gay, which is absurd, but let someone know they’re not alone, accepted rather than shamed.)
So, let’s consider the words we use. A lot are going to slip through at first. These idioms have been with us all of our lives, but if we try, we can take down the violence in our speech, substitute more positive words and imagery. If we talk about this more, maybe we can begin to bring it down in our society as we’re trying to do with ableist language.
Not certain what I’m talking about there? How often do you say you’ve had a “crazy” day or that you’re OCD about something? There’s enough stigma about mental illness or misunderstanding that you don’t want to minimize or misrepresent a very real condition by using these words casually. Here’s a list of frequently used ableist language and suggested replacements. I’m still working on this, and apologize for any you find in my past works or still slipping in that I’ve missed. We’re all works in progress.
I’m thinking a lot about this lately because it’s important and because my characters are very aware – one going through PTSD, my other new POV character in remission from leukemia and definitely not wanting to be treated any differently than anyone else when he and the others come under threat again from someone who insists they play their game, both literally and figuratively.
Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.
Thank you, Lucienne… Now let’s learn more about her latest book:
Instinct: An Animal Rescuers Anthology featuring a story by Lucienne Diver
Danger. Evil. Death. Heroes can face it all, but they cannot do it alone.
Throughout history, creatures both big and small have stood alongside heroes and helped them through trying times, whether on the battlefield or in their laps. In these brand-new stories, seventeen bestselling authors regale us with adventures of animal companions and how they often are the ones rescuing the rescuer.
New stories by / in the world of
Jim Butcher – from The Dresden Files
Faith Hunter – from Jane Yellowrock
Patricia Briggs – from Mercy Thompson
Seanan McGuire – standalone
L. E. Modesitt – from Archform: Beauty and Flash
Kelley Armstrong – from Cainsville
L. J. Hachmeister – from the Triorion Universe/Laws of Attraction
Sam Knight – from The Abandoned Lands
Eliza Eveland – from Talons and Tethers
Hailey Edwards – from The Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy
D. J. Butler – from Abbott in Darkness
Lucienne Diver – from The Latter-Day Olympians
A. J. Hartley – from The Bowescroft Series
Alex Erickson – from Furever Pets
John Hartness – from Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter
R.R. Virdi – from Tales of Tremaine
Jennifer Blackstream – from Blood Trails
Release Date: March 7, 2023
Edited by: LJ Hachmeister
Publisher: Source 7 Productions
Purchasing this book saves a puppy’s life! Book sale profits are donated to: Lifeline Puppy Rescue.
About the Author:
Lucienne Diver is the author of the Vamped young adult series—think Clueless meets Buffy—and the Latter-Day Olympians urban fantasy series, which Long and Short Reviews calls “a clever mix of Janet Evanovich and Rick Riordan”. Her favorite pull quote ever!
Bella Rosa Books released her first two young adult suspense novels, FAULTLINES and THE COUNTDOWN CLUB, and WordFire Press released her latest YA suspense, DISAPPEARED, wherein two teens struggle with the story their father tells about the night their mother disappeared and decide that they have to investigate to discover the truth for themselves…whatever it may be.
Her stories have appeared in the KICKING IT anthology edited by Faith Hunter and Kalayna Price, the STRIP-MAULED and FANGS FOR THE MAMMARIES anthologies edited by Esther Friesner, and Faith Hunter’s ROGUE MAGE: TRIBULATIONS anthology, and the INSTINCT animal rescuers anthology edited by LJ Hachmeister. In summer 2024, Falstaff Books will begin publication of her Shadow Girls series.
On a personal note, Lucienne now lives in Florida with her husband, the two cutest dogs in the world, and enough books to some day collapse the second floor of her home into the first. She likes living dangerously.
She can be found on Instagram @luciennediver and on BlueSky @luciennediver.bsky.social and hopes to do better at keeping up her authorial Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lucienne.diver/ now that she’ll have a new series coming out!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Coastal Magic Convention Featured Author Spotlight post. Lucienne Diver will be one of the amazing authors we’ll be hanging out with during the 12th annual reader weekend in Daytona Beach, FL, Feb 22-25,2024.
For a full list of Featured Authors, info about the weekend, and link to register to attend, visit the Coastal Magic Website HERE. And be sure to watch for more Featured Author spotlights coming up here each month!