Blog Tour: Alexandra Christian’s “Naked”

Good morning, my lovelies! I have a special treat for you today. The lovely Alexandra Christian is put and about promoting her new book, Naked, and I have the info for you!

First and foremost, let me just say that this is a hell of a book. I think I’ve read it in every version from conception to publication, and I still love it just as much as I did the first time.  Everyone should read this book. Right now.

Yes, even you.


BLOG TOUR

Title: Naked

Author: Alexandra Christian

Series: The Phoenix Rising Series

Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian and Paranormal

Release Date: April 13, 2017

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Librarian at one of Earth’s last paper libraries, Phoebe Addison is about to have a romantic and interplanetary adventure wilder than anything she’s ever read.
OUT OF THE STACKS
Librarian Phoebe Addison has lived her entire life within a seventy-five mile radius of her small Louisiana town, but when she receives a strange medallion from her adventurous, off-world sister, reality tilts toward the bizarre. Everything Phoe thought she knew is…well, wrong. Dead wrong. But bone-numbing fear has no place in this brave new world—nor by the side of the dangerous, exquisite man who saves her life.
…AND INTO THE FIRE
Following the tragic slaughter of his family, operative Macijah “Cage” St. John understands evil in a way no man ever should. He traded happiness for a magnificent and terrible power, and fate isn’t done with him yet. He wasn’t looking for comfort. He didn’t need tenderness. But today he’ll play hero to a damsel in distress, and his quest will deliver him to the uncanny Martian colony of New London—and his heart to the demure Phoebe Addison. The bookish beauty’s hidden talents and deep abiding love just might save Cage from himself.
Phoebe could tell he wanted to say more but wouldn’t. She held his gaze, but he looked away, as if he were hiding a weakness he couldn’t stand for her to see.
“What are you talking about?” she said. “Help me understand.”
“I can’t,” he said, pulling back and shaking his head as if to clear it. “I won’t.”
“But why?”
He rolled back on his heels and stood quickly, and in an uncharacteristically clumsy movement, his shoulder brushed against the bedside table and nearly toppled the glass of tea.
“Just leave it alone, Phoe. My demons are my own.” The weakness was gone, and now that hard-edged, barely contained anger had returned.
She knew if she pressed him he would lash out. She was starting to understand, to be able to read his moods that had seemed so random and mysterious when they’d first met. There was a scab, healed over, but beneath the surface it still burned in his soul.
“Rest up,” he said, turning to walk away. “We’ll leave at sunset. Sadie has a car.”
Swallowing her nausea, Phoe threw back the blanket and stumbled out of the bed toward him. “Wait. Cage.”
He stopped but didn’t turn. “Look, I don’t know what’s happened in your past, but we all have demons. Some of us more than most. I get it.” She laid a hand on his shoulder, feeling the quiver of muscles pulled tight. The sensation of gentle touch had evidently become foreign. His head turned, staring down at where her fingertips rested against him. Such a profile, his eyes gazing downward and the faint glisten of a single tear resting just under his eyelashes. “You can trust me.”
“I do trust you, Phoe.”
She slid her arm along his shoulder, and he turned, enveloping her in a gentle embrace. He brushed a hand over her brow, smoothing back the stray locks that fell around her face. Being so close to him, she felt small and skittish. If he loosened his grasp even a little, she feared she would retreat.
He took her hand, bringing it to his lips then pressing her palm against his cheek. Instantly his body relaxed, as if her touch were some sort of calming drug. Phoebe could actually feel the tension melting from his muscles.
His eyes were full of fire and his breathing labored. Phoe couldn’t believe that it was her doing this to him. That all of this was for her.
“I don’t trust me,” he muttered in a low growl.
She was mesmerized by the curves of his lips as he spoke, and without even realizing, she’d moved closer. Only a breath between them, and then their lips touched.
At first he kissed her lightly, but when her tongue slid across the seam of his lips, he became insistent. His sumptuous mouth caressed her lower lip and it made her bold. Instinct kicked in and she kissed him back with equal intensity. Cage stole her breath and then offered his own. His arms tightened around her waist as he pulled her in against him, his hands rested on her hips as their kiss deepened.
Alexandra Christian is an author of mostly romance with a speculative slant. Her love of Stephen King and sweet tea has flavored her fiction with a Southern Gothic sensibility that reeks of Spanish moss and deep fried eccentricity. As one-half of the writing team at Little Red Hen Romance, she’s committed to bringing exciting stories and sapiosexual love monkeys to intelligent readers everywhere. Lexx also likes to keep her fingers in lots of different pies having written everything from sci-fi and horror to Sherlock Holmes adventures. Her alter-ego, A.C. Thompson, is also the editor of the highly successful Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series of anthologies.
A self-proclaimed “Southern Belle from Hell,” Lexx is a native South Carolinian who lives with an epileptic wiener dog, and her husband, author Tally Johnson. Her long-term aspirations are to one day be a best-selling authoress and part-time pinup girl. Questions, comments and complaints are most welcome at her website: http://lexxxchristian.wixsite.com/alexandrachristian.
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Building the Book — Gods & Monsters

With the release date right around the corner and book two in full production, I’m excited and want to talk about what has become one of my favorite pieces to date.

Everyone that knows me knows how much I love Frankenstein, and how I like to completely warp the tools I’m given. When John approached me about writing this part of his Shadow Council Case Files series, I was beyond ecstatic. And then I was terrified.  Coming up with the idea was easy. It was the execution portion that had me almost paralyzed with fear. For months, I panicked, thinking there was no way I was ever going to be able to pull this off. I hadn’t written anything substantial in quite awhile (the last novel I completed was Homegrown Hearts, if that tells you how long ago it was), and the majority of the short fiction I’d submitted over the previous year had been rejected. I’d begun to believe I needed to just give up and let this pass.

Then I wrote the first big, bloody fight scene to Pavarotti singing “Ave Maria”, and the world was suddenly right. That was the point where I realized what was missing from my process: Music.

I couldn’t find the movement in the words because I didn’t have movement around me. I couldn’t feel the story coming to life. I didn’t have a title, either. For weeks, I referred to it as “that stupid Frankenstein thing” in conversation.

Finally, after about a month and a half of waffling, I sat down with Spotify and started listening for the right tone. The right movement. Because of the time period, I began with classical and choral chamber music – things I learned to love working at the Cathedral in Charleston during Spoleto [coincidentally, hearing Philip Glass perform live was one of the most moving experiences of my life].

It wasn’t until I happened randomly upon Lana Del Rey’s Gods and Monsters that the whole picture solidified in my mind. Granted, the song itself doesn’t paint a pretty image, but the first verse spoke to me about Adam’s character. Then the light went on and I remembered… Adam isn’t the villain. He’s the victim.

While driving, songs would filter in that intensified images in the story, so I added them to the list. Song by song, I built a mood with the same crescendos as the story. Some of the songs are used more than once throughout the story.

After a few passes, I had something I thought was readable… and apparently I was right. John’s editorial comments were fun – as any good editor should, he pointed out the weak spots and I responded in my traditional, snarky way. One day there will be a director’s cut of those conversations. Maybe when the four novellas are combined into print.

All in all, I’m happy with how this turned out. I love the character, the darkness, and most of all…the hope. The ability to take something so twisted and turn it into something beautiful. In a lot of ways, I see myself in Adam. No, I don’t have scars running down the center of my face (yet…give me time), but I know what it is to be broken. I poured a lot of my own emotions into building him into what he becomes. I just hope it comes through for the reader.

For those interested, the soundtrack is embedded below, and you’re welcome to stalk me on Spotify anytime. Enjoy!

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New Cover Goodies!

Good morning, ladies and germs! It’s that time again…time to unveil awesome new cover art! This one is for Gods & Monsters, the first of four Shadow Council Archives novellas, coming soon from Falstaff Books.

Gods & Monsters Cover ARt

“My scars, my disfigurement…those were things I could not change. But who I was? That was entirely up to me. I, Adam, Son of Frankenstien, could, at long last, be a man.

Decades after the death of Victor Frankenstein, Adam returns to Ingolstadt in search of answers and acceptance.  What he finds is not what he expects: a beautiful woman spiraling into insanity, a murderous cult determined to harness the power of creation, and his worst fears coming to fruition. An offer of assistance from a mysterious stranger turns his world on end and sets him on a path toward both salvation and destruction.

Stay tuned for release information and updates on book two in the series!

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It’s Okay to Ask For Help.

Being a person is hard.

Late last week I saw in passing on Facebook that another writer friend made an attempt on his own life. This is a man I’ve only met once, and to which I am not close, but that one of our tribe was so lost that he hurt himself hits very, very close to home. Over the last few years, so many have succumbed to that darkness. No, I didn’t know all of them. Some deaths I learned of through mutual friends. While they didn’t have a direct effect on me, I watched people I love suffer in the wake of those losses. There’s too much of this, and it’s getting hard to watch.

Which is exactly why I’m writing this now. It’s hard as hell to do. It sucks. It’s not pretty, and it’s not fun. But until we take this monster to task, it’s going to continue to consume us.

So…where have I been, you ask?

I’ve been depressed.

In the past, I’ve always prided myself on my ability to detect these bouts of misery and overcome them on my own. I’ve always been the one to showcase a strong front, to make people believe I’m okay and that I don’t need help. I’m good at hiding that part of me away so that the vast majority of people don’t know anything is wrong.

Then I realized something: this behavior is how people die. That need to be tough drags people under and smothers them. That purported “strength” is our biggest weakness. The true test of strength comes when we make the decision to ask for help. To admit we aren’t perfect. Flawed. Broken.

And I am. I am still very much broken. I just didn’t realize how badly until I started to come out of the worst of the darkness. I’ve been here for five years, and I’m still not out of the woods yet. I have a long way to go to get back to me.

Five years ago next week, my father died. I know I talk about it a lot, but for those who haven’t been through that kind of loss, it’s a big deal. His death changed me on a fundamental level. 2012 was a hell year. I had exactly one month of the most amazing happiness between the time my daughter was born and the day my mother called me to tell me my father had to have bypass surgery. Then it was a month of worrying. And another month of uncertainty.

And then a funeral.

See, it didn’t just happen all at once. He had his surgery, which he came through well, except for his lungs, which were ruined from years of smoking. After a little over three weeks on the ventilator, we lost him. What I’ve spent the last five years denying to myself is that from the moment I learned of his surgery, I knew it would be the end. The grieving process really started for me the day Mom called, and I’m still not done.

For a long time, I cried every day. But I did it where nobody could see. I pretended to be okay and kept up appearances with social obligations and offers of help to anyone who needed it while I became a workaholic and put all of my focus into the new infant in my life. I can safely say now, five years later, that Alice is the reason I survived. She was my tiny miracle.

I still have moments of pain – April is a particularly bad month – but they’re fewer and farther between. I still miss him every single day. It tears my heart out to know Alice is too young to remember him and Lily won’t ever know him. He’s supposed to be here to torment them and tell them silly things. To spoil them rotten. He should be here. But he’s not, and I still have a hard time reconciling that.

So losing my father sent me into a tailspin that continued for several years. In that time I helped set up and organize a convention, wrote two novels, contributed several short stories to various anthologies, and pretended on the outside like nothing was wrong. As a result of said convention, I made some new friends. I met a LOT of new people and reconnected with some old friends, and the darkness finally started to lift.

I was invited to participate in a couple of projects, which helped to bolster my fragile ego. I was starting to feel human again, and I was excited to be working with new people on something exciting.

In October 2014, I had a miscarriage. Then in November,  one of my good friends was murdered 60 feet from where I stood and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. Those two massive blows came back to back – within two weeks of each other. Back into the tailspin I went. But I still pretended like nothing was wrong.

Then I attended MidSouth Con in the Spring of 2015. I’d recently found out I was pregnant again, so I was a nervous wreck about that. On top of that, the convention was an unbelievable mess. Poor organization, no signage, panels not well-attended…no sales. What was supposed to be my triumphant return to the con circuit was a flaming disaster.

About a month after that, I started to have problems with sickness as a result of the pregnancy. Between the illness and the depression, I was either at work or asleep with little in between. Sciatica joined the party, so I hurt all the time, too. We were also having issues with phone and internet service at the time, which meant I fell out of touch with people for large chunks of time. Not because I was ignoring them, but because  I was physically unable to sit up and be on the internet.

Then two projects I was excited to be working on imploded. I spent months BEGGING for the stories so I could edit them while I was lying in bed being miserable – I could still read, and I did a lot of it during that time – but I kept getting excuses. I got run around in so many ways…then I found out through the grapevine that I was being publicly blamed by the publisher (someone I thought was a friend) for the project going to shit.

I would get snarky messages on Facebook about how he wasn’t able to get in contact with me while all of my many emails were going unread. My text messages and phone calls were ignored. I was shut out.

Oh, and I’ve never been paid a penny for the story I gave him to fill out an anthology that had several last-minute rescissions.

That tipped me over the edge into a seriously dark place. Even my friends had begun to turn their backs on me. So I withdrew. I came off Facebook. I wasn’t sure how to help my friends who had their own mental things going on. I couldn’t deal with stress. I lived with the constant, nagging voice telling me I wasn’t good enough and everything I touched turned to shit. I stopped talking to pretty much everyone that didn’t directly contact me by text message or show up at my house. I didn’t want the world to know how hurt I really was by that betrayal.

And let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? That was a damned betrayal. That was someone thinking they could make a buck off of me. Opportunistic bullshit, really. And in the end, I was unfriended on Facebook, run down in multiple social circles, and treated like a goddamned pariah for daring to succumb to a situation beyond my control.

Since that point, I have done very little on the artistic front. I fell into freelance book formatting jobs to supplement my income. I wrote a second Sherlock Holmes story for the Improbable Adventures series. A submitted and had rejected three horror stories. I self-published Loki’s Game after Sugar & Spice closed. But that was it. In fact, Crippled Playthings was the first story I finished since handing over the rights  to The Memory Remains two years earlier.

In the middle of this, John Hartness more or less strongarmed me into writing for Falstaff Books (I say strongarmed me because he hit me with a “do you want a contract on this or not” email on a project we’d spoken about several months earlier as a hypothetical thing). I agreed, then promptly panicked. Thankfully, he ignored me.

My 35th birthday pretty much sucked. My birthday falls right in the middle of a pair of big cons in my circle, and several other birthdays are stacked on top of it, so mine usually skates by unnoticed. That this one was unavoidably missed by several people close to me wasn’t anything new or spectacular…it just hurt more this year because of how bad a place I was already in. There was only one person who really knew how badly it hurt because by that point I couldn’t keep everything contained anymore. It wasn’t the truth at all and while the logical, rational part of my brain understood the extenuating circumstances, lack of money, illness, and other reasons behind it, I still felt unloved and unwanted.

It’s that crippling self-doubt that makes us do bad things to ourselves. I know my people love me. I have never doubted that…but that nagging voice screams these things inside where only I can hear it. It tells me all the time that I’m not good enough. That I’ll never be anything.

I didn’t see just how deep into the mire I was until a month or so ago. It was dark, and it was scary. I didn’t realize how much weight I gained, either. That didn’t help.

So after Christmas, I changed my eating and exercise habits. I’ve lost 26 pounds so far, but I still have a long way to go. The exercise helps clear the cobwebs, too.

Another part of the reason why I’m starting to come out of it now – no…the WHOLE reason why I’m starting to come out of it now is because I have amazing friends. A lot of people stuck by me and have loved me unconditionally, even when I didn’t love myself. They believed in me. Selah, Lexx, Crymsyn, and Amy – my writing buddies, cohorts, and partners in crime… they don’t put up with my shit and tell me to stuff it when I get all morose and whiny, and I love them all that much more for it. I think they knew what was wrong with me even when I didn’t.

I’ve written more in the last four months than I have in five years. John offering me that contract was the beginning. I agonized over that first story. I almost threw up after I sent it because that fear that he’d hate it and never want to talk to me again took control.

But he didn’t. He actually liked it. The edits are almost done, and the more of his comments I read, the better I feel about it. I almost feel like I can do this again.

And then there’s Melissa… my twisted, little guardian angel. She’s pushing me to keep writing. We signed on to do this crazy serial, and I think it really was the kick in the ass I needed to make me come back around. We’re working on Episode 3 now, and that project is starting to pick up steam. I’m excited again, which is something I haven’t been in a very long time.

I’m writing every day. That should tell you something.

Things are getting better. They’re not all the way there and, as a writer, I don’t know that they ever will be. But I’m beating it for now. I’m winning. And I realized that any time I need it, all I have to do is ask for help. My people have my back.

But this is my request for help. Be patient with me. Understand that I’m not quite back yet. Continue to love me as I am and for what I am. There’s not enough love in the world today.

I aldo want everyone else who suffers the way I do to understand that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to hurt. But it’s also okay to ask for help. Hell, if there’s nobody else around, come to me. I’ll help if I can.

I may not know you, but I love you.

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Wanna Play a Game?

Cupid Connection S1 Cover

Authors Siobhan Kinkade and Melissa McArthur bring you a new series, THE CUPID CONNECTION!

THE CUPID CONNECTION is a rollicking good time, following the adventures of a young woman looking for love. The Bachelorette meets The Truman Show in this serialized saga sure to light your fires.

Beginning April 11, 2017, a new episode will be released electronically each week. After the ten-episode season is finished, the stories will be collected into a single volume.

With a mix of humans and paranormals—including Asmodeus himself—as potential matches, who will the world choose as Sadie Anne Monroe’s new beau? Find out, in THE CUPID CONNECTION!

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The Writing Advice I Received, and What I Wish it Was

Every author has “advice” for new writers, and every new writer wants as much of it as they can get, for obvious reasons. We don’t know what we’re doing when we get started. This is a hard business that, for the most part, doesn’t pay well considering the time and effort we put into it. Those of us who stick with it long-term do it more for the love of the written word than the paycheck because seriously…if we relied on it as our main income source, we’d all be pretty hungry.

I think the largest problem I had in my first years was that I tried too hard to listen to the advice of others and emulate them. And you know what? It didn’t work for me at all. It put me in a bad place that I don’t ever want to go again, and after all this time I’m just starting to dig myself out of the funk and figure out who I am as a writer and where I want to be in ten years.

So for those looking for advice on how the system works and what to do, let me offer you my advice: don’t take anything I say for the rest of this post too seriously.

Sh*t People Told Me

Advice: You don’t need to worry about grammar and punctuation. That’s what editors are for.

My Response: First of all, this is the one piece of advice every single one of you SHOULD listen to, because it’s the truth and pretty much any publisher and/or editor worth his salt will agree with me: YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND HOW THE TOOLS WORK IN ORDER TO USE THEM PROPERLY.  If you don’t understand the basic mechanics of the language, then you are in no capacity to be using it in a professional manner. You, as the writer, cannot rely on an editor to “fix” you. An editor is there to make you better, not rewrite your shit. They can write their own books without your assistance.

Oh, and if you write poorly and chose not to use an editor before slapping it up on Amazon, then you really don’t need to be part of the writing community because you’re not presenting a professional product. Sorry, kids, but them’s the breaks.

Advice: Just write every word that comes into your head without editing. You can go back and do it later.

My response: Uh, no…but thanks. That might work for some people, but it also opens the door for lots and lots and LLLOOOOOOTTTTSSSS of mistakes. I am very much a proponent of “write how it feels right to you”, but I want to caution against letting your creative side get too far ahead of your technical side. Freewriting is fine, but remember, kids, it’s much harder to self-edit because your brain automatically fills in the blanks and reworks the things your eyes take in because you know how it’s supposed to work.

I wish someone had told me to forget all the BS about the best way to write and just told me to do what comes naturally to me.

Advice: Read a whole bunch of brand new things on the market and write just what’s trending now.

My Response: Nope, nope, and nope. Here’s the problem with this scenario: trends change quickly. It takes at least three months start-to-finish to write, edit, and publish a book. By the time you get your book out and into the ring, the trendsetters will likely have moved onto the next bizarre and frightening new “thing”.

My advice…write the book you want to read. If you love it, you’re going to be more inclined to give it the care and attention it needs. If you love the final product, other people will love it too.

Advice: Just write the same book and change the names. People won’t notice.

My Response: Yeah, someone actually said this to me. No, I don’t think it’s fair. I never underestimate my readers. I like to think you’re all at least as smart as me and will notice if I plagiarize myself. I write a new story every time.

Advice: Write sex scenes with all the detail you can. People really like it when it’s dirty.

My Response: Guys, I don’t want to smell the smegma. I am a voracious reader – we’re talking a book a day most days – and nothing pushes me away faster than an overly complicated sexual act with too many limbs and way too many sensory triggers. I have a good imagination, so when you start talking about tastes and odors like you’re reviewing a new restaurant… yeah, I’m gonna put that down and walk away.

Seriously, it’s okay to not be up in the chick’s hooch while they’re going at it. Again, I say do what works for you, but I much prefer a carefully crafted scene that presents the illusion of beauty and pleasure without being able to count pubic hairs.

Advice: The format isn’t important. You just have to tell a good story.

My Response: Yes…yes, it is. Speaking as a formatter for multiple publishers and self-published authors, I can tell you that writing in the proper format is ESSENTIAL to being a good writer. Refer to statement one and the “know how to use yer shit” requirement. Proper manuscript format gives you a clean presentation, makes you look like you can follow directions, and ultimately shows you what your book is going to look like in print…to a certain extent. You need contact information so the person you submit it to can reach you – ’cause lemme tell ya…they don’t sit there and read your work with the email browser open so they can immediately praise your brilliance.

We’re slush, guys, and if we don’t give the ones potentially buying the rights to our books what they want to see, they’re going to kick us out and move onto the next one who can follow directions.

THIS SITE has a fabulous example for you to follow. It’s easy…just read it.

That Having Been Said…

The best advice I can give you is this: Do what works for you. Write at your pace in your style with your voice. There’s only one you, and you have to make your writing work. You can take my advice to the letter, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  And for the love of Pete, please follow the directions.

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Almost…Maybe…

We’re finally getting somewhere! So the important stuff is done and back in place, but the pretty bells and whistles? NOPE. Not yet. Working on it.

I do at least have my books up. I know who I am again. You can also sign up for my mailing list…not that I have anything interesting to say at the moment.

Though I’m thinking about giving stuff away. If I decide to do that, I’ll let you know. That having been said, stay tuned. I’ll be back.

In the meantime, watch the trailer for the new Curious Incidents: More Improbable Adventures. And in case you’re wondering, the mad surgeon is mine.

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Because Shit Happens.

Yep, we’re starting over again.

Because my site crashed. Again.

Because I lost my SQL database. AGAIN.

Because it’s Tuesday and not enough stupid shit happens on Tuesday.

Stay tuned, kids…I’m rebuilding. Or go buy my stuff on Amazon. That might help. Then I could afford a webmaster to do this for me.

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In the Shadow of Death: A #HoldOntoTheLight Post

holdontothelight-fb-banner

Last year, I told a very painful story, one I wish for the whole world to read, then read again. It’s hard, so please forgive me if this post carries all the tact and diplomacy of a sledgehammer through a plate-glass window.

I’m still hurt, still angry. Still seeking vengeance. Still praying that by shoving Angie’s story down the throats of anyone who will listen, her tragedy might open some eyes…might save someone else’s life.

AngieOn November 6, 2014, I lost a good friend to domestic violence. She died sixty feet from where I stood, face-down in a parking lot, four bullets neatly in the back of her head at the hand of her estranged husband. This was the climax to a three-week long horror story wherein he burned their house down, tried to turn their children against her, stalked her, tormented her, stalked me trying to get to her, and then blamed her when his sorry ass lost his job for not showing up to work. Then the son of a bitch turned the .45 and put it in his mouth before any of us had a chance to see him properly punished.

I know what you’re thinking.  You want to know why I’m being so selfish and conceited, right? Why I think my thoughts and opinions should matter.

Simple. Because I’m still here. And because I hurt, goddamn it. I LOST SOMEONE I LOVE.

I miss her.
I love her.
I’m lost without her.

But I’m not the only one. Angie left behind two sons – two handsome, well-mannered, intelligent young men who are now orphans. They’ve been left to fend for themselves at the mercy of their father’s family…the same family who has tried desperately to canonize the murderer they call son and brother. And you know what? I understand that. I can accept their need to rationalize his behavior…because you never want to admit someone is capable of cold-blooded murder. It’s hard for them.

But it’s also partially his family’s fault. With multiple family members in law enforcement, he used bullying tactics to keep Angie at bay. Her attempts at a protective order were blocked. He was a good guy, just ’cause he was someone’s brother in the department.

That, my friends, is a disgusting misuse of authority. I blame his family for her death as much as I do him. They could have stopped him, but they enabled his behavior, enabled his abuse. Because they didn’t want to see him as something capable of unspeakable evil.

But back to those boys – they’re both adults now. Thankfully, despite the trauma of their loss, they’re okay. One is in the military and the other is making a good life for himself out of college. I still think about them, still worry about them all the time. I want to be there for them since she can’t be…it’s the least I can do.

So the point I’m trying to make here… Domestic Violence hurts more than just the victim. It hurts everyone involved. Angie left behind two beautiful children. Her mother and brother – estranged from her or not – were devastated by her death. All of her friends, our coworkers…everyone that knew her. We all still hurt. There are still days, even two years later, where I pick up the phone to call or text her, but then I remember she isn’t there. Her number is still in my phone, no doubt passed on to someone else by now. I have a recording from a commission meeting that took place about two weeks before she died where she filled in for me. I still listen to it from time to time just to hear her voice. As long as I can hear her voice, she’ll still live on in my memory. I wouldn’t trade that ten-second soundbite for the world.

You would think after two years, the tears would have mostly stopped by now. But they don’t. They keep coming. It’s hard to see the screen as I write this because my vision has blurred almost to the point of blindness.

In closing, I ask this of anyone living in an abusive situation: Take Angie’s story to heart. GET HELP. Get away. Go to the police. A shelter. A friend. Just leave and don’t look back. Have children? Take them with you. Save their lives and yours. It’s okay to be afraid. But the longer you stay, the harder it is to cut those strings.

He only hit me once, but he apologized. That’s how it starts. It ALWAYS escalates. By the time you’ve had enough, you’ll be well on your way to dead. I don’t want you dead. I probably don’t know you, but I’m here for you. I’m in your corner.

He’s connected to the law. SO? Report his ass anyway. Then go to a neighboring jurisdiction and report him again. Then go to a shelter and get a lawyer.

He’ll try to kill me if I leave. Possibly, but he WILL kill you if you stay. Shelters and counselors are equipped to handle this kind of situation.

Angie left and she died anyway. And let me tell you why… Our staff panicked when he showed up. She went outside to keep him from killing all of us in the office. She protected us. She sacrificed herslf to save us because she knew he wouldn’t stop until one of them was dead. Her situation escalated to an unstoppable conclusion. Yours doesn’t have to.

Don’t stay. Leave while there’s a chance. Tomorrow might be too late.


there is a way out

SC S.T.O.P. Domestic Abuse Program

Rock Hill Area Safe Passage

Safe Harbor Domestic Abuse Center

About the Campaign

#HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.

Please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Hope for the Warriors (PTSD), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Canadian Mental Health Association, MIND (UK), SANE (UK), BeyondBlue (Australia), To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

To find out more about #HoldOnToTheLight, find a list of participating authors and blog posts, or reach a media contact, go to http://www.HoldOnToTheLight.com and join us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WeHoldOnToTheLight

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