Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Because I Feel Like Giving Shit Away

I was in a deep, dark funk earlier and talking with a friend who endeavored to pull me out of it, and so I've decided to capitalize on her success of cheering me up by doing a giveaway! I mean really, I'm a gift giver by nature so I figure a completely spontaneous giveaway that will go until the end of September will keep me smiling until the Best. Month. Ever. rolls around.

All you have to do to enter is read Shark Bait, leave an HONEST review for it on Amazon when you're finished, and then copy the link to your review into the Rafflecopter below.

Happy Reading,
Jenn

Monday, August 26, 2013

My FIRST-EVER Author Event!!


Guess who's FINALLY doing a book signing!

Yes, ME!!

I'll be at the Renaissance in Phoenix Arizona with a SLEW of other amazing authors so if you haven't already gotten your ticket, please visit Phoenix Author Signing to register!

Now here's some exciting news! The print editions of Shark Bait (new cover) and The Other Fish in the Sea are almost available for purchase!! I'm currently awaiting the proof copies and once I confirm them, I will be placing my order for the signing event. Be advised though, I will only be bringing a limited amount of copies to sign at the event, so for a very short time, I'm taking pre-orders for those attending the signing! The pre-order price for each book will be $10.00 and the vintage edition of Shark Bait (old cover, which will no longer be available after the new cover goes up), will be $11.00. Keep in mind, these are discounted prices for pre-orders only!

Remember, these discounted prices are for event attendees only and will only be available until THIS Thursday, so for those who are planning to come see me in a few weeks and want to ensure you get signed books, place your orders NOW! To do that, email me at contactjenncooksey(at)gmail(dot)com with your order and what time slot you're registered for, and I'll email you back with how to pay using Pay Pal. Once your payment has been received, I will include your order to mine which will be placed no later than Friday morning.

Again, books available for purchase at the event will be limited and purchase prices will go up so save some time and money and get your pre-orders in!!

Pre-Orders:
Shark Bait (Vintage) - $11
Shark Bait (New Cover) - $10
The Other Fish in the Sea - $10

AT the Event:
Shark Bait (Vintage) - $14
Shark Bait (New Cover) - $12
The Other Fish in the Sea - $12
Methods of payment accepted at the event:
Cash - Pay Pal - Visa - Master Card - American Express - Discover

Oh and in case you haven't seen them, here's what the print covers look like!!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

To Blog or Not to Blog



It's not really a secret that I'm horrible at blogging, but if there was a support group or AA thing for bloggers that I could join, this is how I would have to introduce myself:

"Hi, I'm Jenn. I'm an author and I suck at blogging."

Then I'd hang my head in shame while giving the following supporting evidence...

I don't have design skills and HTML and I are not friends even in the loosest terms, I don't know how to link back to other blogs aside from inserting a hyperlink in a post, I don't know how to follow via RSS feed (or even know what an RSS feed is exactly) and I have yet to actually sit down to utilize that nifty little blog roll thing in my blogger dashboard that tells me what blogs I follow and then READ those blogs, that is, if I actually remembered to follow them when I stumbled upon them in the first place. But worst of all, I don't regularly write my own blogposts. 

I know. I feel so inadequate and ashamed of myself. I don't know that I've ever really taken myself seriously as a blogger because I've always considered myself to be an author first, but the fact remains, I'm a professional writer. Writers write and blogging can be just as important and gratifying as publishing a book. That's why I've decided to make a change, but I need some help. Starting in September I'm going to take on the challenge of becoming a better blogger by reading other blogs AND posting on a regular basis. Here's where you come in... Some of my ideas are participating in regular features like Top 10 Tuesday posts and easy-peasy stuff like that, but I'd also like to support and engage more with the reader/author/blogger world by conducting regular interviews with book bloggers, authors, and plain ol' regular readers—anyone and everyone in the bookish community actually.

What I'm asking from all of you is to let me know if you're interested in being interviewed by me on my blog (if you're an author or blogger I'll feature either your blog or your latest writing project as well as any giveaways you have going on at the time, and if there isn't one, we can set one up if desired, etc...), and if you're a non-blogging, non-writing reader or someone else in the literary community like a cover artist, editor, or agent, I'll figure something out for you guys to make it worth your time, like maybe an e-book from your wishlist or some such thing. I'd also like to hear what kinds of things you want to know from people. It's doubtful that many people really care to know what someone's favorite color is, and I think I'd like to get a little more insight into who makes up our beloved world of books, so let me know the kinds of things you'd ask if you could.

That's it! Either comment here or email me [contactjenncooksey(at)gmail(dot)com] to express your interest and/or let me know the things you'd like to know about folks! And if you have anyone you'd like to see interviewed, feel free to let me know who they are and how they can be contacted and I'll see what I can do!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I suck, I know, but in my defense...

My apologies if I've seemed distracted, uncommunicative, or simply non-existent the last several days. I'm not intentionally ignoring anyone, I promise. I know I have emails, texts, and personal messages to read and probably respond to as well as a bunch of bookish tasks and obligations to see through, but in my defense, shit has been rather chaotic and emotionally draining the last couple of weeks.

First, Shark Out of Water, book 3 in the Grab Your Pole series and possibly my fave book ever, finally released after having the writing of it completed for about 2 years. I can't tell you all how elated I am that you can all read that book now and possibly share my feelings of love for it, although I will admit to having a certain amount of "Ha! Take that, bitches. You all can suck it" sentiments drifting through my head when I think of the many "I hate you, you evil bitch monster from hell" reactions there were to the ending of TOFitS. Sorry, but it's true.

Then my three minions went back to school. That in itself has my world in a topsy-turvey sort of upheaval. (God, I almost miss homeschooling...)

Next let me explain what is atypical but has had a hand in my flakiness of late and that is that my husband and I drove for hours and spent a day saying farewell to a man who lived an incredible life and will be dearly missed by people across the globe, for he touched the lives of so very many. I went straight to bed once we got home and the following morning I learned of the shocking passing of my next door neighbor, another great man, husband and father who left us Monday evening. His wife is not only a neighbor and friend, but she works at the school two of my minions go to and she's one of my big GYP fans too. I read the news, made one phone call, and set my coffee on the counter without having taken more than a few sips of it, and then with unbrushed hair and teeth and in my jammies, I padded barefoot across the property line and the rocks in the front yard to give my friend a hug. Her adult daughter whom I hadn't met prior answered the door and when I asked if her mom was home she sort of looked at me askew and said something to the effect of, "Mom, there's a [crazy] barefooted woman in pajamas here to see you." Yeah, I really know how to make a first impression, huh? I must because her mom answered something like, "Oh, it must be Jenn..."

So that's what's been happening in the real world and although I would love to not be affected by events such as those by maybe living on a deserted tropical island or be able to say that they're the product of my imagination, they're sometimes painfully real and there's no hiding from life and its counterpart.

In moving on in my excuse for being anti-social and the sucky friend that I am, I'll just go ahead and admit that my head has also been off in other planes of reality, which is what tends to happen when writer me gets a vague new story idea in her head—I spend countless hours in bed in that semi-conscious, dreamlike state of being, watching the idea evolve and seeing scenes play out, indistinct at first until they're solid and tangible enough for me to grasp onto and put what I see into words. Then comes the massive amount of time I spend mentally working out the details of how, why, and where. Scenario after scenario is dreamt up until I latch onto one I like and feel is workable, but with something so new and fresh, establishing a connection with the characters and story takes buckets of time for me to do effectively. So, if I'm not around much in the next few weeks, just think of it as my way of easing you all into my more complete absence when I'm able to go back to the GYP world full bore, because even though that world is developed and I know the characters inside and out, I've spent almost a year away from living in the GYP gang's world so there will most definitely be a period of getting reacquainted with everyone and reestablishing the intimacy I once had with them, which will take time and as few distractions as feasibly possible, which means little to no facebooking, tweeting, and blogging.

And in closing, just a little heads up for all of you; last night I followed through with a challenge I accepted back in May that came via a humbling invitation to take part in something very unique and special, but although I completed my assignment on time, I failed utterly and epically in keeping myself from spewing less than a few hundred written words. Shocker, right? Thus I don't know if my contribution will pass muster and ultimately be included, or if I'll be asked to edit the fuck out of it or write something entirely new, but regardless, the blogosphere has an uber-fun and entertaining treat coming this Saturday which I'll encourage you all to read.

In any event, now that I'm sort of back in the real world for a bit, I'll try to be better about keeping up with everyone, and if I fail yet again, please know that I'm not ignoring you intentionally and understand that it's not you, it's me. I hope we can still be friends... :-p

Friday, August 9, 2013

Sex in YA — Part 3

(Part 3)



So we’ve been talking about sex in YA this week, and specifically about how it applies to the Grab Your Pole series thus far. In this post I want to discuss the actual writing of sex in a Mature YA book, or rather, how and why I’ve written it the way I have.

For anyone who’s read my work, it’s most likely apparent that the Grab Your Pole series is hugely character driven. With that in mind, let’s look quickly at Shark Bait, the first book in the GYP series. Aside from some expositional conversation implicating that certain characters were doing it, there really wasn’t a whole lot of sexual situations written about. Why? Well, mostly it’s because of the POV the book was being told from. The narrator if you will of that story was just getting her feet wet in that she was new to...well, pretty much everything, as was the reader. She and the reader were just getting to know each other and everyone else, which takes some time to do. So while the topic of sex may have been a driving force in terms of conflict between characters, it was in no way the over arcing theme or plot of the story. It was just simply one of many elements used in setting the scene and developing the characters. Relationships were observed, conversations were had, situations were presented and subsequently handled, all going towards establishing the learning curve for one character and the growth and development of the others through which the reader was hopefully able to establish a connection with each one; to begin to know them personally as they know themselves and each other.

In The Other Fish in the Sea, book 2 of the series, that foundation is still being built and character development is considerably furthered, but in addition to that, the reader gets to know a few of the other characters more intimately through POV shifts. True, there were only a few shifts, but they each gave insight into another character’s mind as well as the opportunity for seeing the other characters from a different point of view; helping the reader to connect a bit more and on a different level to a somewhat large ensemble cast. So because the bulk of that book was still being told by the original new girl with not a lot of sexual experience, there were few opportunities to bring in the actual act of sex, as the written depiction of the characters who were having sex in that book didn’t go to furthering their character development, meaning that there was no need to describe in detail those specific characters getting their jollies; just knowing they’re doing it, who they’re doing it with, and/or why they’re doing it was enough and to add in the details of their experience would’ve been somewhat superfluous and wouldn’t have advanced the story being told at the time.

However, when it came down to the innocent making progress on the sexual learning scale, I got a little more descriptive simply because it was necessary. To gloss over those first experiences of the lead voice and the events and decisions that led up to them would have taken away from not only the connection between her and the reader, but it would’ve also hindered the growth and development of both her and the characters she was interacting with. But here again, depicting a sexual act in detail—graphic or otherwise—from the point of view of an innocent was unnecessary and quite frankly, I believe to do so would’ve been unrealistic and could’ve even compromised the integrity of the character’s voice, because that’s not who the reader had come to know her as. Sure, there were a couple of instances where it could possibly be said that I got a little graphic, but it wasn’t the innocent doing the detailing our outlining in any of those moments; she was more or less a conduit and through her the voices of other characters was heard.

When it comes to the third book in the Grab Your Pole series however, all bets are off. Why is that? Again, it’s simply due to POV. Shark Out of Water is told entirely from the points of view belonging to the GYP guys. And even if you haven’t read a single book in the series yet, I’m sure you’ve guessed that some of these guys are far from innocent. Now although it’s true what Autumn mentioned in a comment on Part 1 of this blog series—an author has more freedom in a Mature YA or NA novel than in a true YA book—I still feel the need to be careful. I understand that readers (adult readers especially) understand and see the need for sex to be incorporated into these books and many also want to read it happen; to experience it vicariously as the characters do, but again, I’m not writing a How-To book, so it’s my belief that I need to walk a fine line when writing from a sexually experienced character’s point of view. And with regard to a specific character in the GYP series, that line is sometimes razor thin...

There was one small-ish section in Shark Out of Water that when I originally wrote it, I didn’t just put a toe over that line; I did a fuckin’ triple lindy over it. Although I didn’t personally object to it per se, I rewrote it and cleaned it up a smidge. Then, after more than a year later, while thinking about it and feeling more comfortable with letting the character be free to be himself, I rewrote it again, but this time I ramped it up. I also, however, left out some of what was there originally, as I honestly did and still do feel the original details weren’t called for and had they been re-added, they wouldn’t have done a single thing for his character development or the reader’s connection with him. What was published though absolutely did, and it also is now probably one of my favorite “scenes” in the third book.

Now although I had the freedom and ability when writing the specific act of sex in the third book to be more detailed in the physical sense and to make it hot and steamy, I still veered away from really and truly doing so. And not because I don’t have the skill or because I’m uncomfortable writing a steamy scene, because trust me, I do and I have, and anyone who cares to keep reading this series will probably raise an eyebrow, shift in their seat, and maybe even feel like pulling at their collar a few times before all is said and done. However, in Shark Out of Water I simply chose to go the other route and put the focus during sex where it was appropriate for the specific characters and where they were specifically in the story at that time. In other words, I put the focus on the emotion.

I mean let’s be honest here, you don’t have to be reading pumping, pounding, and probing or even a moderately graphic sex scene to get worked up; when done well, even a simple kiss can be written to leave a reader panting, and although that might indeed be the outcome of some scenes I’ve written both already read and as of yet unread, getting the reader all hot and bothered wasn’t my aim in this particular book. My goal was to get across to the reader the depth of emotion experienced between two characters during an act of sexual intimacy, because that was what was right for them and the story at that moment. Not because they aren’t turned on and hot for each other in every way, but rather their journey and development thus far has been more on the emotional waterfront with the physical aspect of sex simply providing a platform if you will for them to accrue emotional growth because without it, they either regress or worse, become stagnant.

So in a nutshell, I feel as though sex is mandated by these characters to be there and it’s hugely important overall even though sex isn’t necessarily a plot point of the series. Could I have written the Grab Your Pole series without sex and all it encompasses being so prevalent? Sure. However, I sincerely doubt that it would be even remotely realistic. Could I have written certain scenes to be more graphic and hot? Of course, although to do so, while probably fun for me and the reader alike, it would’ve just been writing gratuitous sex for the sake of gratuitous sex. That said, I personally feel as though I hit a happy medium, and it’s my belief that the addition of sexual situations, innuendos, interludes, and the actual act of sex itself being written in the different ways I’ve chosen to depict it in this series thus far furthers the growth and development of the characters, it helps to more firmly establish the reader’s connection with the individual characters as they read and learn about the GYP gang on a more personal level; the whys and wherefores of a character’s motivation for being who they are, and most importantly, it’s my belief that sex advances the story as a whole.

So now you know why I wrote some of the things I wrote into the Grab Your Pole series and why I wrote them the way I did, but now I’m curious so I have a few questions...

1) Do you prefer your YA books to be safely lukewarm or on the hotter side of the page?
2) When reading a GYP book did you ever feel as though you were left wanting due to lack of detail and/or was there a time when you thought, “Wait...what the fuck is she thinking writing that? Kids are gonna be reading this shit for Christ’s sake!”?
3) How many of you zeroed in on the implication that might’ve left you not caring about the rest of this blogpost, but instead has you either scared to death or foaming at the mouth to see how I might possibly turn up the GYP heat?

(Sex in YA Parts 1 and 2

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sex in YA — Part 2

(Part 2)



Alright, so now that part 1 of Sex in YA has helped us to firmly establish what genre the Grab Your Pole series actually falls into—okay, so it’s more like a befuddled uncertainty still, so for the sake of this post let’s just split the difference and say the GYP series is mature young adult—now we can better discuss the good stuff. The sex.

In this part of the blogpost series, let’s look at why I would choose to include sex in a series of books primarily aimed at high school-aged teens.

It’s relevant and it’s prevalent.

Teens are being exposed to sex in some way everywhere, whether it’s on a TV commercial, in a movie, a sitcom, a joke, a magazine, the news, at school (i.e., the teaching of Romeo & JulietThe Scarlet Letter and the like), on a street corner, or on the radio etc... Here’s a fun little tid-bit of useless information for you, I have 58 songs in my music library alone with the word sex in the title. That’s just in the title; it’s not counting album titles or what a song is actually about. And, most of those songs have been or currently are being played by popular radio stations everywhere. So, unless they’re being continually and consistently monitored or live like the Amish (which I have no problem with—they’re your kids, raise ‘em how you see fit) teens are being inundated by sex. And guess what, whether they're in a mature relationship that can honestly withstand the added pressure and complication that sex adds and whether they should be or not, and regardless of whether or not it’s condoned by parents or their religious beliefs, many teens are having sex.


If you’ve read my stuff, you know that I’m not one to really pussyfoot around with the reality of things like that, but I also feel that for a story about more or less average high school teenagers to be realistic, sex has gotta be there. Somewhere. Because the fact of the matter is, if a teen isn’t already doing it, they’re most likely thinking about it in some way even if it’s in the abstract, and sooner or later, they’re going to be faced with having to make a decision. And let’s not forget, the GYP series is just that. A series. It’s not a standalone book in which a moderately short story of only a couple of characters is told. That said, it also features a rather large cast of characters, a couple of whom sort of dictate the protocol here as it pertains to sex just by simply being who they are, and you’ve all heard the term birds of a feather, right? Well, chances are that a person is going to be likeminded with the group of friends they’re closest to, so if a good handful of friends are doing it, it probably won’t be long before the others who aren’t, are. Of course that’s a generalization and not all BFFs are gonna be of the “if my friends jump off a cliff, I will too” mindset. All I’m saying is that it’s more typical than not that close friends are going to be on the same page when it comes to activities and behavior.



So sex is everywhere and a lot of teens are celebrating hump day – check – sex is relevant and prevalent. Sex also sells though and people want to see it and read about it. Although that might be true, by including sex in this particular series of books it is not my intention to up my sales or write a How To manual for underage horndogs. It is my intention however to make the series relatable to a wider range of readers (hello, I’m perfectly aware that most of my readers are long past their high school years) while also incorporating a variety of very real hot topic buttons for teen readers and parents to ponder.

As it is one of those hot topic buttons I write about, teens might not know how to broach the subject of sex with their parents or have another reliable, mature, and trustworthy source they feel close enough to discuss it with, and there are more parents out there than you might realize who don’t quite know how to talk to their children about it either. Many parents have the fear that their teen will either shut them out, become secretive and/or rebellious, or simply not listen or take their parent seriously, and I cannot tell you how many friends of my teens have personally told me how lucky they think my girls are to have parents like my husband and me because they could never talk to their mom or dad about the stuff my kids feel comfortable talking to us about.

Now I fully admit that aside from being a parent myself and having survived my teen years relatively unscathed, I am not an expert nor am I a trained guidance counselor and what I might say on the subject certainly shouldn’t be taken as professional advice, but by portraying realistic teen relationships and the relationships fictional parents have with their teens, I feel as though a possible jumping off point of discussion might be provided for use in real life application. If nothing else, readers can at least see what some plausible outcomes and effects certain decisions on sex can have in a young person’s life. Now that’s not to say that I believe parents should adopt any one of the GYP parents’ style of parenting or that teens should use this series of books as a model when it comes to making their own life choices, just that in the books XYZ happened, this is how so-and-so handled it, and _____ was the result. Whether that handling is right or wrong, or the outcome could’ve been something else entirely is neither here nor there; it’s just one of many possibilities to be taken into consideration.

So what’s your take on it? Is the depiction of main characters having sex in YA books such as the Grab Your Pole series warranted or do you feel as though it goes more to encouraging and condoning teen sex? And please, I understand this might be a touchy subject for some and no one should feel as though their morals or parenting styles are being called into question by participating in what I’m hoping will be a (non-spoilery) discussion, so let’s not incite a riot with nasty or judgmental comments. And not that I think anyone who might happen by this particular blog would actually be disrespectful to me or another commenter, but just so everyone knows, any and all such comments will be deleted summarily so play nice. And don’t forget to check back for Sex in YA Part 3, where I’ll get into the actual writing of the deed.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sex in YA — Part 1

This is a series blogpost. Fair warning.

Just a little theme music...

This is a subject I’ve been wanting to discuss for quite some time and something that’s recently come up in regard to the Grab Your Pole series and its genre. Herein lies a problem though; one that needs to be addressed before we can even broach the subject of sex within the GYP series and its genre, and that problem is:

What, exactly, is that genre?

I’ve been over that question myriad times with a slew of people including my agent, and we’ve all come to the same conclusion. We don’t know.

How can that be? You’re the author for goodness sake, don’t you know what genre your own books fall into, you ask?

Well, not necessarily because as it turns out, genre is rather subjective when it comes to the broader category of young adult. A reader of the GYP series mentioned that in her writing class it is believed that actual sex between the main characters doesn’t occur in YA books, but that authors have been seen breaking that “rule” lately. That’s probably because there is no hard and fast rule as it pertains to pigeonholing a book into the YA genre. Everyone from authors and readers to literary agents and publishing houses seem to have their own criteria for deciding what a title should be listed as. Additionally, the burgeoning genre of new adult appears to have made for even more smudging of already blurry lines. Not only that, but depending on the presentation, the criteria isn’t so black and white as one might think either, all making it tricky to list certain titles. Titles like mine that fall squarely in the gray.

Here, take a look at some of the criteria many use in determining genre nowadays (Yes, I said nowadays. Shut up, I’m old.) and maybe you’ll understand what I mean about the gray.

Characters 18 or younger — YA or NA?
Characters 18 and up — YA or NA?
Characters in high school — YA or NA?
Characters in college — YA or NA?
Characters having sex — YA or NA?
Strong or adult language — YA or NA?
The use of drugs and/or alcohol — YA or NA?
Adult and/or mature life issues dealt with — YA or NA?

Now for those of you who have read my work, look at that list and how you would categorize the determining qualifications, and then based on your determined criteria, where does the Grab Your Pole series fall? By my math the GYP series falls into NA. BUT, some of those criteria aren’t exactly black and white so depending on how they’re presented and written in a story, an argument could be made that with the way I’ve chosen to write the GYP series thus far that it’s more YA than it is NA. However, for some people the age of the characters weighs heavier than the other qualifications listed, so it could also be said that it’s a tie as according to that list.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

There is no possible way to stick this particular series of books into a hard and fast genre that everyone will agree on across the board based on subjective criteria. I’ve had readers claim the series is very YA. I’ve had readers say the exact opposite. My agent has said that she would maybe call it NA, but like others I’ve spoken to, she’s not firm in her position at the moment either. Personally, I feel like it starts off relatively YA, moves into mature young adult as the series progresses, and then sort of straddles the fence but maybe hasn’t quite put both feet across the thin line into NA yet. Maybe. Because book 3...? Well, it might be seriously teetering and that’s where maybe comes more heavily into play. Here again, though, it’s subjective and this is coming from a woman with friends who wouldn’t let their children watch certain Disney movies like Hercules because it was on the dark and scary side, but who raised her own child on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A child, mind you, who wholeheartedly wanted to dress as Buffy for Halloween when she was 3 fucking years old. Let’s just say I tend to lean towards being less conservative in my opinion on certain subject matter than others are. Shocker, right?

I’m sure there will be people reading this who *gasp* haven’t read the 3 published books that make up the Grab Your Pole series thus far, so how about we break it down and see if we can’t figure this shit out together, okay? We’ll call it teamwork. And yeah, I’m usually one of those type Z personalities; you know, a lazy kind of person who can’t seem to manage to do things for herself and would love for others to step in and take over until her brain explodes because she just watched someone put a bowl in the top rack of the dishwasher when everyone should know that bowls always go on the bottom rack, goddamnit, but I’m not opposed to doing a little teamwork in this case.

The GYP gang is made up primarily of 16 to 18 year olds in high school with varying levels of life experience, but Jillian, who you absolutely cannot leave out of the equation here, starts off being 12 in junior high, but turns 13 and goes into high school. She’s obviously by far the youngest of the gang, but she’s also probably the most aware and mature of them as well. That in itself poses a conundrum, doesn’t it?

Are the characters drinking and partaking of the occasional recreational drug? You betcha. Are they talking like most teenagers in high school, vulgarity and sexual innuendo included? Fuck yes. Have they come up against certain situations and obstacles in their lives that people usually associate happening in the lives of adults? Absolutely. Life doesn’t look at a person’s age and say, “Eh...I don’t know. That one is a little young to have to deal with XYZ. I think I’ll give him or her another couple of years to learn some more coping skills.” Yeah, bullshit. It’s more like, “Hey kid! Here comes a tidal wave! Hope you know how to swim, ‘cuz if you don’t, you’re fucked.”

Are some of the GYP gang members having sex? Duh. Of course they are. Whether parents and other adults want to admit it, an assload of teens are having sex in high school. Some of them started when they were in junior high school, and there are even a few whom, shockingly and sadly, have their first, full-fledged sexual experience in elementary school. Does that mean that every teenager banged someone before they could vote or legally buy booze? No, of course not. I’m just saying, let’s not kid ourselves. Premarital sex amongst teens isn’t a new trend by any means. Fact.

And then for kicks, let’s throw in this little bit of trivia: 3 out of the 8 main characters in the GYP series are 18 by the end of book 3, Shark Out of Water. They’re still in high school, true, but according to the U.S. Government, they’re old enough to be contracted and paid to commit murder in the name of freedom and in the protection of our country and all it holds dear. With that being the unobjectionable truth, I still can’t fathom why the legal drinking age in most states is 21. I mean if you’re old enough to legally kill someone while doing your duty for the good ol’ USofA, you should sure as shit be able to legally buy yourself a goddamned beer afterwards.

Alright so we have a mix of underage and adult-age high school students, who are partying it up and misspending their youth like many teens have done for centuries and will continue to do, while at the same time, they’re being confronted with having to make life choices and being forced to deal with some things even adults wish they didn’t have to face. They’re making decisions, they’re making mistakes, they’re learning who they are, what they want out of life and how to get it. They’re growing up; something that doesn’t happen over the course of a single birthday, and something that not all “adults” have done yet themselves.

So, you tell me, are the characters in the Grab Your Pole series part of a young adult story or a new adult story? I know, right? Feel free to talk amongst yourselves and get back to me with your answer, then join me in the continuation of Sex in YA later this week with parts 2 and 3.

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