Book review: Uses for boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

6 March 2019 / 1 comment

Holden Caulfield says “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” (J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye)


This is how I feel with 'Uses for boys' by Erica Lorraine Scheidt. I want to meet her, I want to hang out, I suspect I'd like her a lot.


'Uses for boys' is raw, courageous and hard hitting. Anna has no role model. Her mother leaves her home alone most nights while she goes through a revolving door of men. 


Anna is desperate for love - from her mother, from anyone, so when boys start paying attention to her she takes it. She lets them do what they want to do. But soon she is getting a reputation for it. 


My heart was practically breaking for Anna as I was reading it. But it also breaks for her mother and for every woman who has wanted to be loved and cherished, not just desired. 


Scheidt's lyrical style of writing and the short chapters are a saving grace and help the reader traverse what is really uncomfortable terrain. 


Bravo. I'm waiting for her next book.



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New young adult novel on Wattpad - Subject to change

1 March 2019 / Leave a Comment

I've been working on a new young adult novel - Subject to change - for a couple of years now.


The initial idea came from a friend of mine who was telling me about her brother in Perth who was divorced and his son no longer wanted to see him. He'd spent over $150,000 in legal fees going through the court system trying to get access to see his son. She described how his ex-wife was manipulative and that there was a term for her type of behaviour - parental alienation.


Having recently separated from my own husband, and seeing the effects on my children in a so-called amicable divorce, I wanted to find out more about parental alienation. I began listening to podcasts and reading articles about parents who were experiencing this type of alienation from their ex-partners and children. It was heartbreaking.


At first, I thought I was going to write an adult novel, but I was talking to my own psychologist who was counselling me through my separation and he said, 'you know whose perspective you have to write this from? A teenager's.' And so I began ...


I've thrown in the subculture of skateboarding and risky urban tricks, an overprotective mother, paranoid about health and wellbeing, and the question of what would it be like to fall in love with someone who has no fear when you've been brought up to fear everything.


Finally, I've started posting chapters to Wattpad - as this is where I've tested my other young adult novels Silver and Repeat After Me with readers.


Here's the blurb at the moment (which is also subject to change):


Macy must always wear her helmet when she is skateboarding. She must cross the road at the traffic lights. She must not eat grain-fed meat. According to her mother, the world is full of toxins and accidents waiting to happen.


Since the divorce, Macy's mother says her father is hopeless. Her younger brother Tate no longer wants to talk to him.


Tucker moves in next door. His parents are divorced too, but his family isn't broken. He skates without fear, his body is like rubber, his urban skate tricks are a wonder.


The one thing Macy's mother can't protect her from is falling in love.


It's risky, but Macy discovers that Tucker is the greatest trick to land.


Read now: https://www.wattpad.com/story/179265579-subject-to-change



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One good reader

24 January 2019 / Leave a Comment


Last summer I had a rush of inspiration and wrote 20,000 words of a new contemporary fiction story I'd titled Hide your play in a month or so. Then, as often happens, the story stalled.


I thought I'd see what would happen if I posted chapters on Radish, after having relative success with a novel Permission to Touch on the app.


Radish is a short-form serialised fiction platform where people make 3 cent micropayments to unlock chapters of books posted exclusively on Radish. Readers purchase 'coins' to read stories on the app and authors are paid quarterly.


I started posting a chapter a week of Hide your play and waited. People started reading the first free three chapters but no one was paying for the fourth chapter. I waited. Nothing. It was a dud.


Over a year later, this week something strange has happened. Someone has paid for all the posted chapters. I have one reader.


They've read to chapter 14. Now I have a conundrum. Should I keep writing chapters for my one reader? I don't want to leave them hanging or make them feel like they've been ripped off.


I was workshopping how I now feel like I have to finish this book with a writer friend. She suggested: "You know what you should do? You should write about the one reader in the next chapter of the novel. Put yourself in there. Write about how the writer is writing for the one reader."


While that sounds like some postmodern fun, I really don't know if I should mess around with my one reader.


A few years ago, I had a half-written, abandoned young adult novel, Silver, that I began posting on Wattpad. One reader turned into thousands and it's now had over 700,000 chapter reads.


I feel grateful to Wattpad and the success that story has had on the site. It inspired me to continue writing for the young adult audience.


Recently, I was contacted by an editor at www.dreame.com, a serialised fiction site in Singapore, to see if I'd be interested in moving Silver over to them. They'd pay a modest up front fee, as well as a percentage of paid reads if it was put in their pay-to-read program. I read the terms, but in the end felt as though I should leave the story on Wattpad for the time being.


Unless I can get a print deal for it, I feel as though Silver belongs on Wattpad. Those readers encouraged me to finish the story and to write my next YA novel. Sure, it's on the site for free, but I like to think of it as the literary form of street art - put it out there and see who notices it. Gift it to others.


A writer always remembers their one good reader. I'll always cherish the first reader of the first story I posted online, the first reader of the novel I self-published with Screwpulp, the first good reader on Wattpad who said I had to finish Silver, the first reader to leave a 5-star review on Goodreads. Sometimes all you need is one good reader to become a gooder writer.


About Hide your play (a work in progress ...):

A tale about lust and fringe dating 

Passion has died in Hannah and Sidney's relationship. They decide to co-exist in their marriage, to stay together but date other people. 

They come up with a set of rules: don't date anyone in their daughters' school community, always be discreet, don't ask questions about the others' rendezvous and don't fall in love. 

It becomes a game of who can have the most extramarital fun and almost all the rules are broken.

Read now: https://radish.app.link/qlfyDHO8HT




I'm Rowena. I'm an author and blogger. My novel The Replacement Wife is available as an ebook from HarperCollins, from $2.99. Luisa tries to find a wife for her husband so she can exit an unhappy marriage happily.

Subscribe to my newsletter for tips on reading, writing and publishing in the digital revolution and receive a free ebook of Love Potion, featuring my flash fiction and a short story about stitching the heart together again ...






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