Interview with G. Donald Cribbs

The Packing House


*****Trigger Warning*****

gdonaldcribbs authorWhat was the hardest part of writing this book? 

Writing The Packing House took me five years. There are several reasons for this. It was my first book and much of the writing process was new to me and had to be learned. Many times I had to stop in the writing process and learn a new aspect of writing
before continuing. Oh, how I learned! For those who are serious about writing, and serious about writing with the intent to publish, there are supports out there. You just have to be driven enough to find them.

Another reason this book took longer to write has to do with the content. You might consider The Packing House an “issue book,” and I’d be okay with that. The book addresses bullying, PTSD, disassociation, and child sexual abuse (CSA). Some of this is personal to me, because I lived through it. In some ways, Joel’s story is my own. I fictionalized aspects of The Packing House which provided me with en
ough distance to “go there” and write about difficult and particularly painful, lived experiences, but I did it because I needed a book like this growing up, and they just didn’t exist. Now, thankfully, more and more books on this topic do exist, but still, there are fewer books for boys than girls on these topics. So, why did I write one, too? Well, so far, no one else has told a story like Joel’s story, so I decided it was time. I figured if I needed it, probably others with similar experiences might also need to read Joel’s story, too.


What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I most enjoyed how the many layers of the story in The Packing House fit together. There are three sections representing the three schools Joel moves between, each with their own mascot. Broad Run is “Home of the Panthers,” Sanderville is “Home of the Ravens,” and Ticonderoga is “Home of the Oceanside Sharks.” Each mascot represents a particular challenge Joel faces at that school. I leave that to the reader to decide.

Next come the chapters. Each one has a title that hints at the content or theme. Again, it’s open to interpretation. Another layer involves the fact that characters don’t always have actual names, but labels or archetypes. Joel usually has a reason for giving each one of these characters that kind of name.

Now, I’ll let you in on a little secret: the next layer aspect helps the reader differentiate between the three schools. I gave the teachers at Broad Run (Part 1) names of presidents. The teachers at Sanderville (Part 2) have random names, and I think that fits. For Ticonderoga/Oceanside (Part 3), I gave the teachers names of pencil companies. Not only did this help me keep all three locations clear, I hope it helps reduce possible confusion for the reader.

Other layers include the inter-chapter or between-chapter poems, which tell their own aspect of Joel’s story. Initially, they are included in the letters Joel sends to Amber, but eventually they become part of a portfolio Joel has to complete and turn in to pass English for the year. As these poems progress through the novel, the content becomes more and more personal and revealing about Joel’s struggles building right up to and beyond the climax. If I did it right, hopefully this helps the reader develop a connection with Joel.

I’ve included letters throughout the text, and many examples of the nightmares Joel has experienced and continually relives as well. Most of the letters are between Amber and Joel, and become a running dialogue. The letters deepen their relationship at critical points. As you will see, the letters which were written but never given, and those which are lost, come into play during the story. The nightmares provide the subtext Joel endures when he’s awake or asleep, or not sleeping at all in the aftermath of the suppressed trauma from his past. There is a reason this has begun to surface, but it is another thing Joel has to figure out along the way. Once the reader reaches the climax of the story, how they interpret what is actually happening in the dreams may change. The clues are built in, and there are other sensory clues as well, which are left for the reader to discover. How these elements and layers fit together was the part of the writing experience I enjoyed most.


How do you find or make time to write?

My book started with Twitter, believe it or not. One aspect of writing is how isolating and lonely it can and must be. The first and most important task for the writer is to get words down on the page. Any words. They can be amazing words, and they can also be terrible words. But words are the vehicle that drive the novel and the story forward. Without them, even awful words that will be cut during the editing process, the author has nothing to work with. I found hashtags on Twitter which helped me to write and find likeminded writers who kept me accountable for finding words each day. My goal was 1,000 words a day. It took me three months to complete the first draft. Then I set it aside for a week or two, before going back through and beginning the editing process.

I wrote somewhere between 15 and 20 cover to cover revisions in five years. I also did countless internal, partial edits. One of the methods I used to revise the many editorial, proof read, and layout edits for The Packing House included carving out time around my graduate school classes, my full time job, and spending any time with family each day. I ended up getting up a bit earlier and going to bed a bit later each day. My book manager calls carving out this kind of time #SmallChanges. Getting up 15 minutes earlier each day gave me an incredible amount of editing time. You’d be surprised what small changes can achieve for a writer.


What do you like to read in your free time?

First, I have NO free time. Any spare time goes to my wife and kids, to house chores, grad school homework, and so on. If I have free time, I often beta read for fellow writers. In addition, I have a pretty massive To Be Read (TBR) pile, and I do carve out time to read those books as I can. My TBR goal for last year was an epic fail, but all of that reading time went to editing The Packing House to the level needed for publication. I will be blogging about books dealing with bullying and child sexual abuse (CSA) and sexual assault (SA) soon. I am honored to be found under these two subcategories on Amazon.


What projects are you working on at the present?

I have started book two, Unpacking the Past, of the planned duology. In addition, I have started several other books and book series I plan to write after these first two. One is a Beauty and the Beast fairytale retelling, where the girl is the beast, and the guy is the beauty. It’s also in a steampunk world to explain the magic with magical realism and gadgets instead of fantastical magical abilities. Another is a dystopian futuristic world where twins are stolen by the government and used to cure all the diseases in their world. The main character discovers this secret by mistake, and gathers her surviving twin friends to help bust them out of the hidden underground facility. When I get serious about a project, I often create a Pinterest board to gather ideas for the tone and feel of the world I am creating and followers can peek at some of these projects on my Pinterest pages ( ).


What do you feel the best course of action is if you’re being bullied at school?

I work in clinical mental health and many of my clients struggle with aspects of bullying in their lives. The best way to minimize the painful and hurtful aspects of bullying involve giving the least amount of attention to the bully and his or her supporters. Instead, try to focus on you and devote your efforts into being the best you, you can be, and eventually (this is far easier to say than to do) the bully will put his/her efforts into an easier target. This is the nature of a bully. To find out more about bullies and their allies, go to Violence Prevention Works You can also check out my Pinterest board on resources and tools to use against bullies (


Is there anything else you would like to share that would be eye opening for your readers?

The journey through the planting, pruning, and cultivation of this book has taken many years, but along the way, I also gained the skills needed as a writer to craft a story. What I’ve learned is that mine is not the only story that needs to be told. There are others out there. It is my hope that readers will find inspiration to discover their voices and use them to share even more stories with the world. We need them all. Please speak up.

Abuse, as depicted in this book, survives and grows in our culture and in our world through silence and looking the other way. The best way to eradicate it from our history is by shining light into dark places and speaking about it, no matter how uncomfortable we may feel. May this book help further that conversation. Right now, one in four girls and one in six boys experience child sexual abuse before they turn eighteen. The statistics are not getting better. They are moving in the wrong direction, toward one in three girls, and one in five boys. We can and must do better for ourselves and for our children.

Thank you to Christopher Anderson and the folks at who have graciously partnered with me to establish a scholarship fund for men who cannot otherwise attend a “Weekend of Recovery,” a retreat and workshop for male survivors of child sexual abuse to gather together and, in the strength and unity of fellow survivors, face those dark places and find healing together. Find out more at their website. A portion of each book sold will go to this scholarship. I thank you for joining me in this ministry for men by purchasing a copy of this book. Together, we can make a difference that matters. I have been significantly blessed throughout the writing of this book. Not only has it given voice to my own childhood sexual abuse experience, but it has led to self-discovery, post-traumatic growth (PTG), illumination, and profound teaching about CSA, recovery of a lost and important friendship, progress toward overcoming in my own healing journey, and the determination to help others do the same. I will no longer be silent. I welcome those of you who will join me.

You can join me across social media using the #YourStoryYourVoice hashtag to lend your support to this cause. I hope you write your story, too.

G. Donald Cribbs has written and published poetry and short stories since high school. Donald is a graduate of Messiah College in English and Education, and is currently a graduate student in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. He and his wife and four boys reside in central Pennsylvania where the author is hard at work on his next book, tentatively titled, UNPACKING THE PAST, the sequel to his debut novel, THE PACKING HOUSE (2016), by Booktrope Editions. Having lived and traveled abroad in England, France, Belgium, Germany, China and Thailand (you can guess where he lived and where he visited), the author loves languages and how they connect us all. Coffee and Nutella are a close second.

Find out more on G. Donald Cribbs: on Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter and

The Packing House is now available on Amazon (Kindle and paperback) and Barnes and Noble (Nook and paperback).

Release Day Blitz***The Packing House

The Packing House Banner 500x200 png

Paperbacks & Wine is pleased to bring you G. Donald Cribbs- THE PACKING HOUSE virtual book tour January 18-31.



Author: G. Donald Cribbs

Publisher: Booktrope

Publication Date: 1/18/16

Pages: 261

Genre: YA


When sixteen-year-old Joel Scrivener has a raging nightmare in study hall and someone records it on their phone, he awakens to a living nightmare where everyone knows the secret he’s avoided for ten years. Reeling from a series of bullying incidents posted on YouTube and an ill-timed mid-year move, Joel takes to the woods, leaving the bullies and his broken home behind. However, life as a runaway isn’t easy. Joel finds it difficult to navigate break-ins, wrestle hallucinations, and elude capture. He races to figure out who his dream-world attacker could be, piecing clues together with flashes of remembered images that play endlessly inside his head. Besides these images, the one constant thought occupying Joel’s mind is Amber Walker, the girl he’s been in love with for years. Amber sees little beyond the broken boy Joel has become, despite the letters they’ve written back and forth to each other. But Joel is stronger and more resilient than he looks, and it’s time he convinces Amber of this fact, before he runs out of chances with her for good.

Find out more about THE PACKING HOUSE on Amazon, Goodreads

Discuss this book on Paperbacks & Wine-> The Packing House Discussion Group
Join the Release Day Celebration on Facebook, January 31, 2016:

gdonaldcribbs author

G. Donald Cribbs has written and published poetry and short stories since high school. Donald is a graduate of Messiah College in English and Education, and is currently a graduate student in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. He and his wife and four boys reside in central Pennsylvania where the author is hard at work on his next book, tentatively titled, UNPACKING THE PAST, the sequel to his debut novel, THE PACKING HOUSE (2016), by Booktrope Editions. Having lived and traveled abroad in England, France, Belgium, Germany, China and Thailand (you can guess where he lived and where he visited), the author loves languages and how they connect us all. Coffee and Nutella are a close second.

Find out more on G. Donald Cribbs: on Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter and


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Dreams, expectations, and reality

Author Kandi J Wyatt

Back in February when I submitted Dragon’s Future to Booktrope, I had no idea what to expect from publishing. I was excited because I knew I didn’t have to put any money into it the project, and if it made no money I was fine with that. I would have some printed books for my kids. Little did I dream of what would come about.

The reception of the book in the blogging world and online blew me away. In the first week of release, it ranked in the top 100 on Amazon. I was excited and thrilled to say the least. It has continued to pop up in the top 100 in Kindle books for children’s dragon stories two more times. Today being the most recent of those events. Not only was it in the top 100, it was two places above LRW Lee’s second Andy Smithson book! I…

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It’s Here!

Deceit has been published through Booktrope Editions!

Please visit the facebook page for your chance to win a paperback or ebook copy.


Alexa Jenkinson is a self-appointed class nerd with no friends. Lately, her only excitement comes in the form of a tall, dark, and handsome Greek-like god, who visits her every night in her dreams. On top of the strange dreams she can’t help but think she’s leading the wrong life. She believes that her reality is the average teenagers worst nightmare. When the popular boy at school begins to show interest in Alexa, she thinks her luck just might be changing. Until the unthinkable happens, the boy in her dream appears and everything changes. Now she must navigate through the lies and relationships she believed to be genuine in order to find the truth.

Where can I get a copy?


Barnes & Noble

More Please!

I’ve had the most incredible few nights of sleep. Granted my four-month-old son interrupted them once or twice but they were still remarkable. I think it’s because I slept for more than three hours at a time. How can that be good, you may ask. The answer is, I started dreaming again! Dreaming to me is a gift. It could be because I’m a work at home, stay at home mom and dreaming is an invaluable escape, but it’s so much more.dream

I’m someone who has always had the most incredible dreams. I hate to brag, but it’s true. I even have the uncanny ability to choose to experience a repeat dream or even better continue from where I left off the night before, that’s my favorite. It has been almost ten months since I’ve visited dreamland. They say everyone dreams but some don’t remember their dreams. I was afraid I was becoming someone who couldn’t remember. Honestly, I worried that I might not be able to go on any adventures while exercising my imagination and then it happened.

I’ve always been able to continue dreams this is commonly referred to as dream continuity. How do I do it? It took some practice but in my mind it was well worth it. Have you ever had a dream where you were actually angry because you woke up without knowing the outcome? Well, with some practice you can also choose your dream for the evening. I’ve listed the steps I take when I want to continue a dream or have a repeat dream.

  1. Follow the same evening routine and get into bed.
  2. Replay your dream in your mind and focus on the different senses you experienced while in your dream. I often think about what I’d imagine it smelled like, the weather (temperature), the different noises and most importantly how I felt (happy, scared, excited).
  3. Let yourself fall asleep thinking about where you left off. Or if you’d like to repeat a dream start at the beginning.

It’s as simple as one, two and three. It did take some practice. However, it’s worth it. Before my dreaming dry spell, I was still able to recall dreams I had ten years ago and either have them again or continue them. This is my great, creative escape!

The articles below also provide some great advice and science behind controlling your own dreams.

How To Control Your Dreams

How Can You Control Your Dreams?

Do you do anything special in order to dream? If you do comment below! Sweet dreams…

The New Norm?

When I first decided to write about this topic it came from a place of total and complete frustration. As an educator for the past 8 years, I have come across many different types of learners and their parents or guardians. However, lately I have an abundant amount of what you would call, “helicopter parents.”


If you’re a fellow educator and have experienced this phenomenon, I feel for you. This has to be the most trying part of my day. As an online educator, my contact with a student is primarily through emails and face to face online. However, I spend more time fielding emails and phone calls from parents.

First and foremost, I want to state that I believe it’s important that parents take an active role in their child’s education, but there has to be a limit. I cringe every time my phone, or other device, indicates a new email or voicemail. Not because I fear it’s a student looking for me, no, I fear it’s a parent asking me questions about their child’s course.

These are some of the questions I field on a daily basis:
What can (insert name here) do to raise his/her grade?
Why did (insert name here) get number 2 wrong on the quiz?
Can (insert name here) have an extension?

I also receive panicked voicemails asking me to call them immediately regarding their child’s grade or status in the course. Did I mention sometimes these calls come in well before 8:00 in the morning? Perhaps at this point you don’t think these examples are a problem. However, when the parent is contacting me for their seventeen or eighteen-year-old, I become infuriated.

Why on earth are parents more interested in my course? Why are they asking me these questions and their children aren’t? So, I decided to do some research and what I’ve found is startling. According to Parents magazine, parents hover over their children for a number of reasons.

Some of the reasons include fear of dire consequences, feelings of anxiety, and overcompensation as well as peer pressure from other parents. This caught me by surprise because my first instinct was always to attribute the parent’s behavior from a child requesting the interaction. This, however, may not be true. A parent may suffer from anxiety over things they can’t control so they try to establish control over their child’s schooling or other activities.

Perhaps some parents exhibit this behavior because other parents they associate with do. For whatever reason, this behavior can negatively affect their child. These helicopter parents can inflict more damage than good, even though their intentions are pure.

Some students may have decreased confidence, undeveloped coping skills, increased anxiety, sense of entitlement and undeveloped life skills. Unfortunately, I have many, more than I’d like to admit, students that fall under these categories. I can’t help but wonder if their increased anxiety while speaking with me is due to their parents taking over every other aspect of their life. Sometimes I encounter a student that is so rude or demanding, I’m momentarily shocked. I refer to them as entitled, however his behavior could also be a product of “helicopter parenting.”


I’m not sure what I can do, other than insisting on speaking with the student directly. This may even be a the new parenting, model. I say this because when speaking with my friends, who work in a variety of fields, experience coworkers who act younger than their actual age. One friend even shared a story where their coworker’s parent called him in sick. Yes, that’s right a twenty-something-year-olds parent called him in sick.

I am nervous that this is becoming the new norm and I fear that more and more students will exhibit these traits. As an educator, I fear for these students and their futures. I also fear that I may lose my sanity as the educator who speaks to more parents than students.

No Time?

No Time?

Sunday nights have always been a time of anxiousness and worry for me. I typically go to bed and just lay there thinking about the many things I want or need to accomplish in the week ahead of me. Working from home is wonderful but I need a better way to organize my time.


My Top 5 Time Management Tips for Work-At-Home Women

I was doing some research and stumbled upon these fantastic time saving tips on Money Saving Mom. If you also struggle with doing it all I encourage you to check out the list. The 5 great suggestions helped ease me through my Monday blues yesterday.

5 Tips for Staying on Task When Working from Home Another

Another great source is from the Time Management Ninja this list has some fantastic tips. There are 5 more time saving ideas that will definitely help you stay focused. I think #3 Boundaries is super important and was also implemented throughout my day yesterday. Finding that balance is so important and what I struggle with most.


The previous two articles were super helpful and like I’ve said I have already adopted some of these best practices (as of yesterday), however this list really spoke to me as a stay at home, work from home mother. Blog Clarity has mentioned a few things that really made me think. Take a look at the list. The one that really stood out to me was #7 Make time for the kids. I always make time for the kids but being a stay at home, work from home mother, I have a hard time separating the time. I usually find myself running around trying to both simultaneously. Yesterday I blocked off my time and it was wonderful. I wasn’t looking at my phone or computer for emails but instead I put everything away and played with the kids. When they were preoccupied I just sat and watched. I found this time was a nice escape and break which is #8. Since I work long after they go to bed I had no guilt like I imagined I would of. I just enjoyed the uninterrupted time together.

If you are like me and having a hard time finding time to get it all done check out these great resources. If you have any other time saving tips or other helpful links please share.