Reblog: MEET LESLEY HAYES

I’m such a big fan of Lesley Hayes, I had to re-blog this post to remind you all of Lesley’s wonderful body of work

Originally published by Lucinda E Clarke here: MEET LESLEY HAYES

MEET LESLEY HAYES

Lesley Hayes

My guest this week lives in Oxford, England and is a psychotherapist by profession and a prolific writer. I enjoy her books which I would describe as deep, leaving lots of room for thought long after you read the last page.  Again, Lesley is one of the earliest virtual friends I met on Facebook and we’re both in the Indie Authors Support and Discussion group. We re-tweet regularly and I do recommend her books they are truly inspiring.

My name is Lesley Hayes and I write… It feels like the opening to a confession at Writer’s Anonymous, and in a way that’s appropriate. Writing is a kind of addiction, a craving that can attack the soul with the sharp bite of a need demanding to be answered in the dead of night, at dawn, or at any unguarded point throughout the day. I began writing stories while I was at school, neglecting every other subject (apart from History, which intrigued me with its many lies and mysteries) and ducked university at the age of 17 to work on Honey magazine, where my first short story was published. It was the beginning of a long and fruitful love affair with writing for publication, which has weaved in and out of everything else I’ve done over the ensuing years.

Oh yes, I should probably mention that I got married and divorced twice, had two children by the time I was 23, moved to Oxford in my late thirties and re-invented myself, fell in and out of love with disregard to gender a number of times, trained and practised as a psychotherapist for twenty years, and adopted a cat. For the past five years I have shed most of my therapy clients and emerged all damp-winged from the chrysalis of one identity into the bright uncertain dawn of another. The muse never really went away all those years as a therapist; she simply bided her time, as muses tend to do. I am impatient when it comes to change, and got quickly bored with knocking on the door of agents this time around, so in 2013 I began self-publishing my newborn novels and their older sibling short stories, many of which had been previously broadcast on BBC Radio Oxford.

The first novel to erupt with genie-like eagerness from the unplugged bottle was The Drowned Phoenician Sailor, which begins with the death of a psychotherapist (go figure.) This was swiftly jostled aside by A Field Beyond Time, which I’d actually been in the process of writing for ten years during my years as a therapist before the awakened muse finally goaded me into completing it. Round Robin, Dangerous People, and The Other Twin soon followed, and I have another in the pipeline which is still so top secret I would have to kill Lucinda if I disclosed it.

A writer’s life is often a solitary one (not so different from that of many psychotherapists) and as an introvert I am protective of my personal space and dread it when I’m invited out to show my face in public. You won’t catch me at book signings and literary gigs, parading my authorship and touting my wares, and the best thing about writing this for Lucinda is that I’m invisible. However, I’m no recluse and have a number of close friends and a cherished partner and Oxford is the perfect place to live with mild to moderate invisibility among other writers, eccentrics and people of diverse religions, ethnicity, and sexual preference. If you come across any of my books, read carefully between the lines if you want to find me… I have written clues to my true self into the characters of every one.

If you want to risk that journey visit my website: www.lesleyhayes.co.uk where you can find links to all my books. If you want to take a faster track follow the links here:

The Drowned Phoenician Sailor   http://bit.ly/1FQ5Vw9

A Field Beyond Time    http://bit.ly/UrraBL

Round Robin     http://bit.ly/1EPqxRh

Dangerous People       http://bit.ly/1OKTNBH

The Other Twin    http://bit.ly/2gzkfEF

Oxford Marmalade        http://bit.ly/1wQ6WN0

Thank you Lesley for being my guest.

Welsh Wednesdays Reblog: Today with Hugh Roberts #author #poet Narberth Book Fair #BookFair.

Reblog from Judith Barrow
Source: My Series of Author & Poet Interviews #author #poet Narberth Book Fair#BookFair. Today with Hugh Roberts

Today with Hugh Roberts

Titleband for Narberth Book Fair

Throughout this months I ’ll be posting interviews with the authors and poets who will be taking part in our Book Fair:  http://www.narberthbookfair.co.uk/.

There are forty authors, so, obviously, there are many genres for both adults and children. There will be talks an writing and books, creative writing workshops for adults  workshops & talks and fun workshops for children, activities for the children  Children’s Page and a fun book trail through Narberth, the gorgeous little market town in Pembrokeshire.  Location.

All free!!

And, of course, there will be the chance to chat with all the authors and to pick their brains on all aspects of writing. Even to buy their books and have them personally signed.

And, as usual, there will also be the writing competition: this year is a poetry competition:  competition . Submit a poem, in any form, of 20 lines or less, on the subject of : –

BOOKS AND READING.

Having outgrown our previous venue we have been lucky to hire the Queens Hall: https://www.thequeenshall.org.uk/ who have been very generous in their support of the event.

Although, five years ago,  I started organising the book fairs on my own I was soon joined by Alex Martin: http://amzn.to/2hZCgt2  and Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/2rc5qyA. Unfortunately Alex has moved on to pastures new  (although is still a great supporter), so Thorne and I have been joined by Elizabeth Sleight. Elizabeth is involved in the charity we are supporting through our raffle; The Harriet Davis Seaside Holiday Trust For Disabled Children: http://bit.ly/2sNyeKQ . 

Our author today is the lovely author, prolific blogger and all round good guy … Hugh Roberts.

Hugh Roberts

Let’s’ start, Hugh, by you telling us what you love most about the writing process?

Being able to go into worlds that do not exist and creating characters and worlds that I have the power over and which readers enjoy reading about. As a writer, you can do anything you want to the people in your worlds, so it’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to living life as an emperor.

What is the ultimate goal you hope to achieve with your writing?

I would love to write for a TV show such as Doctor Who, or even a well-known soap-opera. I admire the writers in the world of TV and movies and think it such a shame that many of them do not get the recognition they deserve. We need to ensure that these people walk along the red-carpet to loud cheers, as much as the actors do.

If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction who would you write about?

The Time Traveller in The Time Machine. I know there have been hundreds (if not thousands) of other time travelling stories since H.G. Wells wrote The Time Machine, but I would have loved to have asked Mr Wells if I could write a sequel to his book. I’m not a huge lover of sequels, but The Time Traveller in The Time Machine is one of my all-time favourite fictional characters.

Have you always wanted to be an author?

Yes, ever since I can remember. It has always been one of my two lifetime goals. Unfortunately, for many years, I allowed being dyslexic get in my way. I’m so grateful to have discovered the world of blogging, as it was the gateway for me to finally conquer the monster I called ‘Dyslexia’. 

 What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?

As a writer of short stories, I’ve written in many genres. My favourites tend to be science fiction, horror, and suspense. However, I was recently challenged to write a rom-com, after saying it was a genre I would find difficult to write. It took me a while to write a story, but I’m pleased to say that I wrote one, although it’s yet to be read by anyone.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

So far, I’ve only published one book. It’s called Glimpses and is a collection of 28 short stories I’ve wrote over three years. If you enjoy shows as such The Twilight Zone, Tales Of The Unexpected, The Outer Limits, or Tales From The Dark Side, then Glimpses is a must read. All the stories are full of twists and turns that take the reader on an unexpected journey and an ending they probably never saw coming.

Glimpses by [Roberts, Hugh W.]

What was the inspiration behind Glimpses?

My love of The Twilight Zone and its creator, Rod Serling. When I first watched The Twilight Zone, I wanted to find out more about its creator. Serling is the master when it comes to writing stories with twists that nobody will have guessed, along with his thoughts about the situations people find themselves in, in each of the stories. He gave me the inspiration to write stories the way he did and to marvel in the delight when people say that they didn’t see that ending coming. It’s one of the biggest compliments a reader can pay me.

How long did it take you to write Glimpses?

I wrote the first story in April 2014. However, at the time, I had no intension of publishing it in a book. Then, as I wrote more and more short stories and published them on my blog, my readers started asking me to put them into a collection and publish them. Glimpses was published in December 2016.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story?

No, I always have the reins of a story. In fact, the ending will come to me first, and I then tend to work backwards to the beginning. I’ve never found myself in a situation where a character has hijacked the story…not yet, anyway.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

Yes, as many of them follow my blog. One of the best things about blogging is the interaction between my readers and myself. If it wasn’t for my readers leaving comments on my blog, Glimpses would never have been published. I’m very lucky in that my blog seems to attract a lot of comments. I’ve had huge compliments paid to me, as well as great constructive criticism about what I publish. I also enjoy seeing my readers interact with each other on my blog. When I’ve asked people why they leave me comments on my blog, many say it’s because of the friendliness I show everyone who comments. I treat anyone who visits my blog as a guest and always ensure I respond to all the comments.

 Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?

Not that I’m aware of, although I have been told that I have a talent of writing stories with an unexpected ending that many never guess is coming.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

That most of my writing is done in the morning. I rarely write after lunchtime, although one story I wrote during the middle of the night did end up in Glimpses.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Walking with my partner, John and our Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Toby. Watching television, cycling, and meeting up with friends and family for meals and drinks.

What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you? Not particularly to do with your writing.

I got knocked out by an electric potato peeler at the Ideal Home Exhibition in London. It wasn’t funny at the time, but I now laugh about it.

Give us a random fact about yourself.

I have a collection of 24 foot dated Harrods Christmas Teddy bears and over 50 Christmas themed mugs.

Hugh’s Links:

Blog
Twitter
Amazon

Review reblog: “To Fly Again: Portrait of a BIPOLAR Life” by Rachelle Hasnas LCSW

Reblog Source: TO FLY AGAIN: A MUST READ

TO FLY AGAIN: A MUST READ To Fly Again: Portrait of a BIPOLAR Life by [Hasnas LCSW, Rachelle]

Mental health professionals do not always realize the gravity of their illnesses that many of their patients exhibit. Some understand the red flags and ignore them while others prescribe treatments that are short term and are not long lasting. Bipolar is a mental illness that can be controlled with medication if the right follow up and the right precautions are taken. Even explaining it to the patient and making the person aware of their problem and helping he/she to cope with this syndrome. But, within the pages of To Fly Again you will hear the voice of Joshua through his words and his poetry as you take this journey with him and the author hoping that it will help others who read this book, parents, teachers, health care providers and therapists to work with people in a positive way helping them to overcome their fears and allowing them To Fly Again and soar and live a happier life.
Mother and author Rachelle Hasnas, LCSW takes this tragedy and turns it into a heart wrenching memoir letting readers in her life, hearing her words, her anguish and frustrations as she tried to piece together the life of a son who died too soon. Joshua lived with Bipolar and could not deal with the simple everyday stress and disappointments in life. This is a disease that most people do not understand and often is discounted for depression, anxiety and not realized for what it is and the way it disables someone’s mind and body. The opening chapter and introduction explains how she and her two friends would celebrate his life on the day he was cremated and the symbol she saw of a special seagull that let her know he was watching over her and was there.
Many voices are heard but the strongest is the one that no one listened to and really understood the voice of a young man who wanted to live life as a normal person yet was hindered by a mental illness that took over his mind and life. Numerous hospitalizations, group homes, substance treatment and doctors who did not understand his cry for help allowing him to fend for himself. A mother who tried to advise him and jobs that he loved for a while and then became too hard for him to handle. Friends that called 911 for help and more visits to the ER why didn’t someone finally realize that this cry for help needed to be heard and addressed? Bruce, his father, gave him a job, helped him get apartments but when things get too tough and the wear and tear of everyday life overwhelmed Joshua he turned to selling drugs, using more pills and was arrested all too often. DUI for drunk driving, losing his freedom to drive and the will to live so many times yet not always admitting what was hidden beneath the fear in his heart that he was a failure in his eyes and in the eyes of others. When his brother got married he was happy for him but depressed for himself and yet no one taught him how to turn his life around, monitor him more regularly and give him the confidence and hope he needed to soar. Pain both physical and mental, depression the feeling that nothing you do is right is just a small part of what Joshua felt before taking his life. Author, mother of Joshua, Rachelle Hasnas presents an honest, heartbreaking and true account of what happens when the world looks in one direction opposite of where they should be focused.

Rachelle, his mother and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, striving so hard to get him the care he needed but the healthcare system at times works against so many and the trouble with his Medicaid and medical insurance often played a part in his releases after brief stays in many facilities.
How do you accept that you son is damaged and that he needs help? Despite the years of counseling and medication that he took on and off is life was hard to live and he was never able to change his perception of himself. The author includes a chapter almost like a diary of his downfall and fight with Bipolar II and the end result which in order to understand his torment, her frustrations and the lack of support of those that were enlisted to provide help in getting him housing and rehab you need to read it for yourself to truly understand just how mental illness changed the dynamics of her family and many other families too.
October 18, 2008 her world dissolved like a candle that was lit and the wick burned leaving only the wax. Apparently he took an accidental overdose and died that day making her realize and others too that his wish to die was finally realized.
To truly understand that even though Joshua thought he was a failure he was not. His love of music, playing the cello, meteorology, hockey and writing poetry are some of what he excelled at. His brother Dan was close to him and they shared many of the same interests. But, the most compelling part besides the author’s sharing his life and story are his poems which I am so glad were published as part of this outstanding memoir and presents a special tribute to him keeping him alive in another way.
There are several that I would like to share not in their entirety but the words that will relate what I feel some missed and Joshua if he was here would you want you read and finally hear his cries for help:
See Me, Feel Me, Love Me, Heal Me: An excerpt:
Can’t you hear me cause I’m screamin’
Although my lips aren’t movin’
Can’t you see I’m hurtin’
Although I’m not bruised or bleedin’
The final two lines says it all: So I feel love
Is there anybody out there? I think these last two lines are very compelling as he is hoping someone will come to his rescue and save him from himself!
The author continues by sharing that she sent a letter to the prison psychologist who paid attention to the letter and contacted the prison parole board as he was incarcerated for selling drugs and using drugs many times. Calling her a few days before he was supposed to be discharged he told the author, his mother that he was asked to enter a four week-long rehabilitation program upon leaving prison. The reason for this was to give the parole board time to find him housing placement. Feeling hopeful and positive he agreed but this was short lived. Placed in shackles he was sent back to Long Island and told they were afraid he would hurt himself. Four weeks at the hospital placement in Long Island and nothing was being done to help him. Where would he go after his discharge? This was truly the beginning of the end as his father was not allowed to take him on The Silver Girl because he would be leaving the state. Instead he stayed with a friend that they never vetted and did not realize that she was a user too. The final answers were not what anyone would want to hear. In writing this memoir the author stated that she was saddened as she remembers that he had potential for a different life and never realized it. The final realization is that the one at fault was his case manager who did nothing to investigate his placement with this girl and her fiancé nor did they realize or check that she had a history of drug use and arrests. The most heartbreaking point of this memoir is reliving with the author that fatal phone call from the ME. Added in she recounts her feelings of guilt, thinking she could have done more and at times felt she enabled her son. But, second-guessing is not going to ease the pain or what ifs. Time to release the anger, move ahead and then embrace his life and remember the good and the wonderful. Sharing more of his work will help you the reader embrace knowing him too: an excerpt from MY WORLD:
My world is spinning out of control
As I watch the moon flash by, blue and gray
The sun doesn’t rise anymore
The night descents forevermore.
The stars seemingly absent form the darkened sky
The lonely coldness blows through
As if to freeze life itself.
The despair, the absence of the stars making the world seem dark and dismal and the fact that life itself became cold and frozen in time tells the reader that Joshua felt that his life was stagnant and he could not melt to ice to go on. The author shares the day he was cremated and the presence of that special seagull that followed them the entire time and during that journey to place his ashes as Rachel, Bruce and Dan celebrated his life in their own special way. The author shares invaluable resources about Bipolar and places where you the reader and others can seek help for someone that might need it.
Joshua lived with bipolar disorder for over 20 years before it was recognized for what it was. When the diagnosis was finally made two years before he took his own life. He had mood swings that alternated she related between deep depression and extreme irritability that quickly shifted into intense anger and often times of rage without warning.
If Joshua could read his mother’s thoughts and words I think he would realize just how special and talented he was and maybe understand his way with expressing himself in his poetry, hockey, working as a salesman, playing the cello, meteorology and loving the true experience of Hurricane Isabel. Joshua you were smart, special and unfortunately the system did not work in your favor but reading this memoir, learning how amazing you were even though you had bouts with the law and fought to exist in your own way, getting to know you and reading this book will always hold a special place in my heart. The dreams your family had seeing you and knowing you were there will always keep you alive in their hearts forever. Your ashes were sprinkled, the seagull followed and now Joshua you will learn one more time: TO FLY AGAIN! Thank you for sharing his story with me. This book is a valuable resource for mental health workers, caregivers, parents, discussion groups, police, psychologists and anyone that wants to understand mental illnesses and how they can impact your life and that of others.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine

Mystery Monday Reblog: “The Stolen Child” by Sanjida Kay #BookReview #psychologicalthriller

Thanks to Jo at mychestbutreadingtree for this amazing review of a awesome-looking psychological thriller – just what I needed for my Mystery Mondays series after spending the weekend with my head deep in water instead of a mystery book

Source: The Stolen Child by Sanjida Kay #BookReview
https://mychestnutreadingtree.wordpress.com/2017/08/14/the-stolen-child-by-sanjida-kay-bookreview

The Stolen Child by Sanjida Kay #BookReview

Book blurb…

Zoe and Ollie Morley tried for years to have a baby and couldn’t. They turned to adoption and their dreams came true when they were approved to adopt a little girl from birth. They named her Evie.

Seven years later, the family has moved to Yorkshire and grown in number: a wonderful surprise in the form of baby Ben. As a working mum it’s not easy for Zoe, but life is good.

But then Evie begins to receive letters and gifts.

The sender claims to be her birth father.

He has been looking for his daughter.

And now he is coming to take her back…

Jo’s review…

I just could not put this book down! This book is responsible for me being awake at 2.30 this morning unable to go to sleep until I had wrung every single word from its pages. So today I am a tired and grumpy book blogger especially as I have no coffee in the house any longer as it gives me palpitations! Which is probably a good thing as this book alone was responsible for plenty of palpitations yesterday!

I actually wish I hadn’t read the book blurb before I started The Stolen Child. That first chapter was such an intense, hard hitting and emotional few pages that it probably would have had even more impact on me if I hadn’t know what Zoe and Ollie were actually going through. But it was an incredible start to this highly emotive parenting journey that had my instincts as a mother on high alert for Zoe and her family immediately. This is one of those books where you suspect everybody and trust nobody as you hope and pray that everything comes good in the end. And one of the things that made The Stolen Child stand out for me was that you were never quite sure HOW it was going to end due to the realistically difficult family circumstances that were used to great effect by Sanjida Kay.

The setting of Ilkley gave this thriller an extra creepy and atmospheric edge and its vivid descriptions were beautifully written with a knowledge and passion that projected off each page. And whilst I didn’t particularly take to the “Boden catalogue” couple (in fact during that second chapter I absolutely detested Ollie!!) that didn’t impact on the tension I felt watching their beautiful but confused child deal with the difficult emotions she was going through. Her complex family dynamics also evoked many emotions within me and left me feeling completely drained at times.  But I still couldn’t put this book to the side!

This is a tense family drama that is taken to another level by the ravishingly descriptive narrative which sent shivers down my spine. The anxieties of parenthood were heightened to such an extent I just wanted to grab all my kids/grandchildren and give them the biggest ever bear hugs. Giving children the freedom to find themselves and make their own decisions is one of the hardest parenting choices you can make especially when all you want to do is   bubble wrap them and keep them safely close to you! And Samjida Kay obviously knows what frightens parents the most, using that knowledge to great effect in her fictional family so that her readers can safely live out their own fears within this melodrama.

I enjoyed this so much that as soon as I finished, even though it was the wee small hours of the morning, I went on Amazon to buy any other books by Sanjida Kay. Then learnt that apparently I had already bought Bone by Bone in March 2016 and that  it has been hiding in my kindle TBR pile ever since then! So I now know what I will be reading next time I can’t sleep! Insomnia does have its positives!

The Stolen Child is published by Corvus and available to purchase now.

Meet the author…

Sanjida Kay
 

‘Bone by Bone’, published by Corvus Books, is my first psychological thriller. It was longlisted for a CWA Steel Dagger Award, and was nominated as one of the best crime and thriller books of the year by the Guardian and the Sunday Express. It’s recently been published as an audio book by Audible.

My second thriller, ‘The Stolen Child’, is out in paperback in September. It’s set in Ilkley, where I grew up. I spent a large proportion of my childhood rambling over the moor, as you’ll probably be able to tell!

I live in Bristol, with my husband and daughter.

Review: “Hope” by Jennifer Gibson

Hope by [Gibson, Jennifer]Jessie is back for another young adult story about being true to yourself, overcoming obstacles and, as the title says, hope.
Jessie is partially deaf, but won’t let herself discouraged. Being partially deaf doesn’t stop her from going for her goals, be that sport, romance or even from passing on her skills and wisdom.
Within the series I enjoyed this book the most. While it covers more of the same issues of living with as a teenager with a disability and not being discouraged, Jessie has grown a lot more since the first book and she becomes a truly inspiring character in Hope.
There are some wonderful moments in this book, as Jessie and her friends learn valid lessons from her situation. There is much in the dialogue that I wanted to write down to memorise, as it encaptures great spirit so wonderfully. Moving.

Links:

Website > http://www.jennifergibson.ca/jennifers-books.php

Facebook Author page > www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferGibson

Twitter: @charmedchickJG

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Gibson/e/B00CAWK4TS/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_nu_X7.ArbA48F9A4

Brief Bio:SONY DSC

Jennifer is an award winning photographer, freelance Illustrator, graphic designer and published author.

Her photography & graphic design has been featured extensively in many media formats including CHEX TV, National Geographic, SNAP magazine and Watershed Magazine as well as various local tourism/promotional materials. Jennifer’s current line of work features professionally designed book covers for authors from around the world. 

Jennifer was selected as one of 12 winners for the prestigious 2010 Oticon Focus on People Award and the only Canadian to have won in this national competition (North America). She was nominated as an outstanding individual with a hearing loss and for the portrayal of a hearing impaired teen in her young adult novel entitled Sway. Her first book in the series just won Silver for Young Adult at the Literary Classics Book Awards! 

Interview with Jennifer:


How did you come to writing? 

I’ve been writing since I was a child.  I often wrote poetry and short stories which were published in school newsletters, newspaper and books.  Throughout school, I’ve had several teachers ask me if I had considered a career in writing.  Even though I enjoyed writing, it never occurred to me to go into that particular profession since I was more interested in sports and art.  While I was at Sheridan College studying illustration, my creative writing teacher pulled me aside one day and told me that I should change my studies to focus more on writing instead of art. To me, that was a huge surprise. After I graduated, I became more and more interested in writing stories and decided to go back to school and study creative writing. Even though it was a challenge, I persevered and kept going.  To this day, I’m glad I did that.

How did you come up with your stories?

I knew that when I wanted to write a book that it had to be unique. I wanted to produce a story that was deeply heartfelt and original, especially for young people with disabilities. It turned into a series about inspiring a sense of hope and rising above the challenges by staying strong and believing in yourself.

I incorporated scenes from many segments of my life that left a lasting impression on me from when I was a young child and throughout high school and college.  Even the most recent experiences went into my books. It was heartbreaking at times to write some of those scenes but I knew that it was necessary to show the world what it really is like to be hard of hearing in a social world. While I was writing these difficult moments, it made me realize what I’ve had to overcome and how much I have progressed since then. Going through those experiences really shaped the person who I am today. It was an incredible revelation to look back at my life and see those changes happening and truly discover who I really am on a deeply personal level.

You have created great characters. Which one is your favourite?

It’s so hard to choose! I personally love Jessie although my heart leans towards Ethan. He is my dream boyfriend and the ideal person that I want in my life – someone who embraces me and my hearing loss as a complete package. 

Who would you cast to play the characters in a movie?

Oh my! That’s a tough question.  For Ethan, most likely Sam Clafin who plays Finnick Odair in Catching Fire or Paul Wesley from The Vampire Diaries or perhaps Alex Pettyfer from I am Number Four.  Elle Fanning or Dakota Fanning are possible choices for Jessie.

Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?  CompassAwardsWeb

I absolutely adore Jessie since she is so close to my heart.  She is literally a piece of me. Although she is a much better person in the books, she is more trusting, more open-minded and has such a beautiful soul.

Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?

The first book in the series, Sway, set the tone for all of them. Since all three represent a sense of direction, a journey for Jessie, it helped me create individual arcs in the storyline for each book as well as one big, connecting arc to tie all three together.  When I was working on the second novel, Compass, it helped formulate the next step for the third book, Destiny. I pretty much knew how it would go for each book since they had specific situations happening to Jessie during that time period. For the most part, I knew that she would mature and grow as I wrote the series, in the final novel, she becomes a much stronger person and has a better idea where to go next.

What is your main reason for writing?

I absolutely love writing. There’s so much joy in coming up with unique ideas and being able to write it all down in a confident manner. To me, writing is very much like painting, you never know what the end result will be but the process will be an exhilarating one. It’s a very therapeutic process.

I‘ve only read one of the books so far. What is the idea behind your series?

When I wanted to write a book, I did some research to determine what was missing from the market and discovered that there were very few young adult books featuring teens with a disability, particularly hearing loss. To me, that was a wonderful niche for me to tap into and an incredible opportunity to do something truly unique.

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?

The best aspect of writing is being able to come up with wonderful stories for me to share with the world. I simply love doing it. The worst is the reaction from the readers; some will rave about it and give positive feedback whereas others will react very strongly to it a negative tone that can be rather harsh.  Growing up with a disability like mine has, in some ways, made it very difficult for me to deal with negative criticism since I’ve already been through so much in life.  It’s not easy.

How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next? DestinyAwardweb

Ha! By getting up early in the morning and getting involved with the social media, reaching out to potential new readers. I do a lot of promo work through Twitter, Facebook and my website as well as advertising in numerous magazines and online sources for books.  I tend to do my best work in the afternoon and evening, even as late as midnight, and like to do my writing at that time.  However, when inspiration hits me, I will sit down and write it all out so that I don’t forget it – those are my favourite moments where some of my best stories come from. I’ve been doing a lot of short stories lately and really enjoying it.  It’s a nice break from writing full length novels. 

What do you do when you don’t write?

I’m also a freelance photographer, illustrator and book cover designer. Sometimes it can get extremely busy, other days it’s a nice balance.  I’m very fortunate that I enjoy doing that kind of work. I’ve been getting more requests to design covers for authors which is an honour and absolute thrill to do!

Tell us one odd thing about you and one really mundane thing.

That I sometimes like to write in silence, I often do not wear my hearing aids when I’m working at home. I know it’s weird but it does take away a lot of distractions which allows me to focus on my work. Although there are times when I need more inspiration that I will put on my hearing aids and listen to music to lift my spirits.

When I’m not fencing or exercising, I like to watch a movie or tv show at night. I know it’s a bit boring but I like having the ability to turn off my brain for a little while.

What else would you like us to know about yourself and your books?

One of the most unique features in my books, aside from Jessie being hearing impaired, is that her cats are her guardians.  They reveal themselves as spirit guides, usually at night when she’s dreaming. I incorporated that into the books as a special way of giving Jessie hope when she needs it at her darkest moments.  Her cats are pretty much like mine, which is where their personalities came from.  One of them recently died and I am so glad that I included him in my books so that I can remember him fondly.

Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?

Both of my parents get first crack at reading and editing my books since they offer unique viewpoints. Then I hand it off to my official editors at Black Opal Books where it goes through several more people. I have learned that process works well and helps me narrow the focus to what really matters and appeals to the readers. It was hard at first to accept the advice but as I became more experience I have found their insight to be rather valuable.

How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?

While I was writing my first book, Sway, I spent over a year trying to get a publisher in Canada. It was a daunting process that took away a lot of time that I could spend on writing stories. After doing some research, I decided to go ahead and self publish Sway at KOBO. It was not easy. As a beginner, there was so much to do and I really felt alone and extremely intimidated. However, when Sway hit the Top 50 bestseller list, I realized that I was onto something good. I went ahead and self published my second book Compass. Now that I was more experienced, I was much more confident of the overall process and was able to enjoy the ability to have control over everything. Shortly afterwards, Black Opal Books picked up my books.  I was immensely relieved to have someone take over the helm.  Having a publisher has certainly introduced my books to a much larger market in terms of more bookstores and worldwide access.  That’s exactly what I wanted, more options for my readers.

What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favourite thing? 

I love coming up with the ideas.  It’s an exhilarating experience and quite a rush when I sit down and start writing it all down onto paper. It’s hard to explain but I feel more complete when it’s done.  It’s a great feeling of accomplishment.  My least favourite thing is when I’m stuck or my creativity doesn’t seem to flow as well usual. I’ve found that if I try to force it that it can make worse. Sometimes I just have to walk away from that situation and go do something else such as going for a drive, doing errands, or some photography to get a fresh perspective.

What is your advice to new writers? SONY DSC

Always have a notepad nearby, inspiration can hit you at anytime. And that’s a good thing! That’s where those awesome ideas come from.  Just follow your heart, do what speaks to you the most.  I know it sounds corny but believe in yourself and your talent, it will all come together like pieces of a puzzle. It will make sense when everything is done.

Who are your favourite independent writers?

I would have to say the ones that I work and interact with the most.  I know so many of them! I need to give a nod of thanks to Kim Scott, Joss Landry, Christoph Fischer, Paul Rega, Van Heerling,  John Rose Putnam, Daniel Garcia, Lisa Calell, Steve LeBel, Wanda Hartzenberg and everyone who helps me promote my stories. I adore many of the authors from Black Opal Books who also pitch in with the marketing of my trilogy series including Nana Prah, Aneta Cruz, Tonya Royston, Melissa Groeling, Debbie Christiana, Carole Avila, Debbie Lee, Steven Rosenstein, B.K.Stevens, and many more. Thank you everyone for reviewing my books and being so supportive of me!

Who are your favourite authors?

One of my top favourite authors is J.K Rowling and her Harry Potter books, such an amazing imagination! I’ve always loved reading Janet Evanovitch’s hilarious tales, particularly the Stephanie Plum series. They are a fun and easy read. Somehow she’s always finds something to blow up or go wrong in her books. Jim Butcher appeals to my geek side and I’ve really enjoyed reading the Dresden Files.  One of my long time favourite authors is Elizabeth Peters and it was actually my mother who got me hooked onto those books. I’ve recently discovered Deborah Harkness, A Book of Life, which is a pretty cool story about witches.  I just stumbled onto Veronica Roth’s young adult series.

What is your favourite book?

As a child, my favourite novel was A Wrinkle In Time by Madelaine L’Engle, the tales that she wove were simply stupendous. Growing up, I also enjoyed the Bruno and Boots series by Gordon Kormon, those were simple a lot of fun to read.

What book are you currently reading and in what  format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?

I just finished the hardcover version of Insurgent by Veronica Roth and would love to get a paperback of her novel, Allegiant.

What makes you laugh?

Definitely my cats! They do the silliest and sweetest things that make me smile! I also have to admit that these movies make me laugh: 17 Again, Miss Congeniality and Get Smart (Steve Carell version). Whenever I need a pick me up, I watch those!

What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?

Lighter, notepad and pen, books to read, dark chocolate, soft pillow and a knife.

Who would you like to invite for dinner?

John Edward, the medium or Nick Vujicic who has no arms or legs. Both are very interesting people!

Hot or cold?

I prefer the heat, it’s like a warm hug.

Salty or sweet?

Definitely sweet!

What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?

My best quality would be that I’m generous and honest. Although sometimes I can be too honest.  My oddest quality would be that I’m very creative in terms of my thought process, it’s hard to keep up with me or even figure how I got to that point. I tend to see the world in a different way than most people due to my hearing loss: I’ve learned to appreciate my surroundings in a more visual way since I use my eyes more than my ears. I love watching the play of light and shadows, the patterns it creates when it shifts and moves as well as the colours of nature.  Everything is much richer in detail because I’m seeing everything in an entirely different way. That is particularly evident in my books, I’m very descriptive visually.

What would you chose as those qualities?

My kindness, including my love for animals.

Tell us about your other books?

One of my short stories is being featured in a local Anthology which is coming soon.  Since I’ve written several fun short stories, I would love to publish them. I have had my eye on creating a science fiction book and currently writing down the ideas.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

Definitely Coldplay, my favourite band.

How do you handle criticism of your work?

It’s not easy, I take it personally since I’ve dealt with so much harsh criticisms growing up. I do try to keep it in mind that since my books are so unique, not everyone will appreciate them and that’s okay.  It’s all about finding the right book that suits you and your personality.  It’s like a holding a treasure in your hand when you discover one that sings to you. 

 

Blurb: Sway2014Sealsweb

The trilogy series was based on a true story featuring snapshots of the author’s life growing up with a severe hearing loss.  Many real life scenarios have been incorporated into the story to provide a rich and sometimes, gritty setting that can be shocking at times to read.  Aside from the moral lesson of dealing with a disability, it offers an amazing sense of appreciation of how much it takes to persevere through a difficult time in life.  

From the very beginning we watch Jessie as she tries to find her place in the community.  She does a lot of soul searching, trying to find ways to fit into a society that has trouble accepting her.  In Sway, we begin to see her change and make interesting decisions based on what happens to her.  Gradually, her path in life begins to shift and goes towards a new direction in Compass.  She becomes more aware of who she is as a young person. In the third book Destiny, it becomes a pivotal turning point that sets her on the right path where she becomes empowered and emerges a stronger person.  

Throughout the turmoil in her life, Jessie discovers that she has friends in the most unexpected places.  Together they guide her through some of the darkest moments she has to endure and they help her rise up and believe in herself once again.  

Synopsis for SWAY, Book 1:

Based on a true story, the novel “Sway” is about a hearing impaired teenager named Jessie who tries her best to blend in at school. Every day proves to be a test of her resolve when she is constantly plagued by the ruthless pranks of her classmates who are determined to make her life miserable. When a handsome stranger arrives in the nick of time, Jessie wonders if he is too good to be true. Is Ethan’s attention genuine, or will he betray her trust, too?

Synopsis for COMPASS, Book 2: CompassAwardsWeb

“Being a teenager is hard enough. To be hard of hearing on top of that is like being stuck in the middle of a never ending soap opera.”

In Compass, the sequel to Sway, Jessie’s life begins to change its course, sending her towards a new reality. When her world is ripped apart by an angry rival, the one person she trusted to stand by her side, simply walks away. With her composure shattered, Jessie questions everything she believed about herself, and as her life takes her on a new path, it becomes a perilous journey, full of surprising twists and turns.

Synopsis for DESTINY, Book 3: 

“Jessie’s journey began in Sway and Compass. As we continue to follow her in Destiny, she stumbles across a revelation that could change everything and finds herself standing on the precipice of life.”

Jessie is determined not to let her hearing loss hold her back. She aims her sights even higher as she ventures in a new direction. With a Black Belt on the horizon, and so close to achieving it, she is unaware of the danger closing in on her. Will she be strong enough to hold on or will she succumb to the darkness that surrounds her? DestinyAwardweb

Review: “A Daughter’s Promise” by Fran Lewis

A Daughter's Promise by [Lewis, Fran]Today I’m delighted to review “A Daughter’s Promise” by Fran Lewis. This is a wonderful tribute from a daughter to her mother. Ruth, the mother, tells in her own words how she feels about the diagnosis and subsequent suffering with Alzheimers, while Fran, the daughter describes her side of the story.
While being honest about the tragedy that the illness is, Fran manages to give hope and help for readers of this wonderful literary mosaic, which also includes lovely poems.
Fran includes basic facts about the illness before the story begins, so many misconceptions are cleared up before they can be falsely applied to the story. We all think we know much about the illness, but we know only a glimpse unless affected directly, and even then we know only one story.
Fran tells us this story, with the help of transcripts from her mother’s dictations, poems and anecdotes.
The later chapters include invaluable practical information and tips, insights and much food for thought for those who are in a similar situation.
What inspired me most about this book is that this is such a heart-warming love-story from a daughter who sacrifised so much of her own life to keep the promise to her mother never to put her in a home. Without judgement on those who can’t or won’t do the same as Fran, she details her decision and how she saw it through. In sharing this and all that she has learned from the experience, us others can benefit and see how it might be possible. And in maintaining the love for the parent without trying to get sympathy for herself, this is also a testimony to love and family values.
Amazing and touching.

Here is a previous post about Fran’s first book about her mother:7667730

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A bouquet of flowers freshly delivered from the florist has a special fragrance, scent and each flower’s color is bright and the stems stand straight and tall when placed in a vase filled with fresh water. As the days pass and the flowers remain in the vase the perfume scent changes, the flowers begin to wilt and the vibrancy of the colors begins to fade. Within a few days you might see some brown patches, some of the flowers begin to break off and eventually they will crumble in your hand. Imagine what happens when someone who is bright, intelligent, hard working and smart learns that he/she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s does not discriminate what it does is slowly wears away at your mind, steals your innermost thoughts, desires and feelings and what is left at the end is the outer covering or shell of the person you once were. There is no cure. There are many different causes and there are so many that wish that the research being done would finally find something to cure it, slow it down or somehow prevent others from having to deal with it. Miracles happen but this one could not happen soon enough. I wrote Memories are Precious in order to make sure that my mom’s voice would never be truly silenced, her thoughts and feelings would always be heard and that other families and caregivers would understand how precious their time is with someone with Alzheimer’s and how they can make the time they have special. Treating the person with respect, kindness, understanding and dignity is just part of it. Read Memories are Precious and hear my mom’s words, read her thoughts and that of many family members and know that you are not alone.

Montefiore Hospital set up a foundation in my mom’s name to donate funds to help find the cause of Alzheimer’s.

Donations can be made to

http://www.givetomontefiore.org/franlewis

in order to direct donations to Dr. Mehler and his Alzheimer’s and dementia research.

Thank you : Fran Lewis

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My review:

“Memories Are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey: Ruth’s Story” by Fran Lewis is an amazing and a very important read that is informative, inspirational and heart warming.
The book is a selection of a huge variety of material: poems, personal dedications and love letters, short pieces of information, facts, guidelines, specific tips, testimonies, lists of resources and a great deal more that – as a family member of an Alzheimer patient – found invaluable.

The perspective changes slightly throughout the book, but mostly it tells the story of Ruth, the author’s mother, and there are some passages written by Ruth herself, others are written by Fran but from her mother’s perepective. Trying to descrive a day in her mother’s life as if the mother would perceive it is an ambitious undertaking that I felt came off the ground very well. It helps us once more to try and see the disease from the inside-perspective.

One part of the book deals with the stages and the course of the disease as Ruth experienced it. The initially harmless forgetfulness that in her case led to a stroke, induced by an involuntary drug overdose – due to the forgetfulness. Then the change of moods, even change of the use of language and therefore seemingly her character. We get reminded of the curse of the disease which is its inconsistency and unpredictability.

With much enthusiasm and strong conviction the author brings home the message and plea of love for the victim, the moral obligation for respect and our support as much as we can provide it.
The stories and snippets provide a picture of a loyal caring and selfless mother whose turn it has become to be on the receiving end of goodness.
I found these parts particularly touching and beautiful.
In this case the family agreed upon to keep the mother in the home, but far from being naive the family made plans and investigated to find out just how to go about it.

What follows is a practical guide to setting up your own home care, factual, specific tips regarding the environment and the attitude to bring to the table, meaning emotional and personal advice, and not just speak of safety and health.

Included is a short history of the disease, resources and information, websites and a list of signs and symptoms; advice on health care options, diagnosis tools and much more.

I found the selection of material at times somewhat unstructured but at the same time appreciated that the alternating of poems and heart warming stories with the facts serves an important purpose and brings the main message of this book home once more: Never forget that the patients and sufferers are the very same humans that we have known. By interrupting – as it were – the data and inserting a short poem or love letter by a family member to a sufferer, we never get carried away into a scientific and sterile thinking. [For those who are confused the table of contents will help to find what you need in any case]

Never forget the person behind the disease, never forget humanity and remember the bond that was once there, it still is there, hidden behind the symptoms of the disease.

This book is an amazing achievement, thank you for sharing your wisdom with the rest of us. I hope it will raise as much awareness for the disease and a need for a cure as is intended with it.

The book on

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

Welsh Wednesdays: Evan John #Swansea

Swansea based Hugh Roberts started this excellent series: “Promoting Young Authors”
and here is a feature on Evan John. Hugh and Evan look for feedback so please go to Hugh’s original post if you would like to comment and give writing advice to Evan.

Source: Promoting Young Authors – Evan John #Swansea

Evan John is 13 years old and lives a few doors away from me with his family. Earlier this year, Evan asked me to read some of the short stories he’d written. I was so impressed with them that I asked him to write one which I could publish on my blog. Evan is looking for feedback on his story and writing, so please do leave him some.

#writing #fiction #authors

The Final Day Of Hell

It took me a year as it spread like a wild fire in a forest. I was the only one left. Everything was destroyed within hours. I couldn’t leave, I was trapped. I didn’t mean for it to happen, I was just trying to help. I was trying to save him. I still don’t know what went wrong but all I knew at the time was that I had to find a cure, and fast.

As I ran down the side alley behind the old Queens pub, my head was full of thoughts. I had finally found the final piece to the most complex puzzle. My sword clenched in my hands, my head craning in every direction on the look out. That day was surprisingly quiet, thankfully. I had been moving between my laboratory and every university, college and school with a sophisticated enough science department within 1 mile. I also had to go by foot because I didn’t know how to hotwire a car, but it kept me fit.

As I turned a corner, I saw a small group of them feasting on something I couldn’t see. I quickly ducked behind a bin, gripping my sword tight, preparing to fight. In my head, I counted to three and burst out from behind the bin and charged towards the group. I slammed my foot into the closet one hard, knocking it to the ground. With a quick slice to my left, I protected myself from a flailing arm lunging towards me. I then side stepped out the way of another attack, did a low roundhouse kick to the vile creature, unbalancing it. With a final vertical slice, I decapitated it.

The gruesome creature I had knocked down before was now back up and coming for me. Obviously, zombies don’t know when to quit! I held my ground and let the zombie come to me. When it was close, it swung at me with its deformed arm. I ducked underneath it and spun around. With the zombie’s back to me, I stomp kicked it, sending it flying head first into a wheelie bin. Then I closed the lid and pushed the bin to a set of nearby stairs. “Sayonara ” I shouted as I pushed the bin down the stairs and watched as it bounced down them. With it all over, I leaned up against the side of a truck to catch my breath.

After a few minutes, I stood and started moving again. It took another five minutes for me to get back to my lab. I arrived at the huge metal door that was the entrance. I lifted up the brick that hid the secret button to open the first door. I pressed it and, with a crunch, the door opened. I went through it and pushed it until it clicked.

The second door had a series of locks on it. It took me about two minutes to unlock it. Once through the door, I re-locked it by pulling a series of handles and pushing buttons. I then quickly went through the dark corridor and straight to my mixing station. I carefully placed my bag down on the counter and laid out its contents.

On the scavenge, I had recovered the final ingredient I needed to make the cure. Along with that, I found more batteries, a few different parts from a broken motorcycle and three flares. Next, I went over to the mixing cylinder. I poured the mixture from the test tube into the first cylinder chamber. Already in the second cylinder chamber was the other part of the cure, which I had gradually made and developed over the weeks and months since this hell had begun.

Once I tightened the cylinders and checked everything was in order, I turned it on. With a whirr, the machine started to turn, combining the 2 mixtures together. I moved to my desk where my computer was at work collecting the data from the mixer. The algorithm told me that the chemicals were binding. With a sigh of relief, I sat down. I had finally done it. I could finally redeem myself and save my city. I had completed part one of my plan at last. Now it was time to initiate operation Posterum.

About half an hour after I had turned on the mixing machine, it started to bleep. The cure was finally done. I excitedly ran over to the machine and turned it off. I then lifted the heavy container in the centre of the two other cylinders and dragged it over to the armoury. The ‘ armoury ’ was more of a room with anything I could have used to defend myself with. From golf clubs to cricket bats, to guns and swords. What I would need from there that day would be the G60 Xpro rifle. This would be what I would use to shoot the darts, filled with the cure to change them, at the zombies. I took the gun out of its box, along with 300 darts and the 30 ten dart magazines.

It took me 15 minutes to fill up all the darts and pack them into my bag. I strapped my sword to my back and headed back down the corridor towards the doors. Instead of going through the front doors, I took a left and headed for the back door. After a few more turns, I got to the heavy steel door. I pulled off the barrier and dragged it open. I stepped through into the open, to see the moon glistening. I yanked back the door and waited for my contraption to re-lock the door. When I heard the bang, I set out.

I headed towards the town square, where most of the zombies in the area were. I had an idea where I could go and have the best angle to fire at them. After a few minutes of running, I got to the edge of the town square. I crouched down next to an abandoned car and opened my rucksack. I pulled out the flare I had found earlier in the day. My plan was to shoot the flare into the centre of the square to attract the disgusting beasts, and then gun them down. But, before I put my plan into action, I had to get into the best shooting spot.

Just a few meters away was a ladder that took me to the top of what used to be the council building. Once I packed my rucksack back up, I sprinted over to it. Just as I reached it, I heard a muffled groan. They were coming, so I started to climb the rickety ladder. As I continued up the ladder, the groaning got louder and louder.

I got to the top and jumped over the small wall perimeter. I ran over to the edge of the building that faced the town square. I quickly threw off my bag and unzipped it. I pulled out the tripod and set it on the edge of the wall. I secured my gun onto it and pulled the flare from my pocket. I aimed for the fountain and shot the flare into the town square. As it hit the fountain, red light exploded out from the small capsule. Almost immediately, zombies started to crawl out of the corners and towards the light. As soon as I saw a new zombie, I would fire a dart at them, each time slamming it into them with pinpoint accuracy. One after the other, my gruesome creations fell, screaming and moaning. Soon I started to wonder if my cure was actually working. Then, out of the blue, the first one started to change. Its skin was changing as it’s body corrected itself.

As soon as the first one started to change, another one did. Then another. And another. Soon, all the zombies in the square were morphing back to humans. I realised I had to get down there and explain what was happening to the people who had completely changed back. Leaving my tripod fixed to the wall, I rushed back to the ladder with my things and climbed down.

I raced into the square as some very groggy and naked people starred around confused. I jumped up onto the old water fountain and called for the people’s attention. They turned around to look at me, not really knowing what else to do. I hadn’t planned a speech, or anything to say, so I explained what had happened that year and then said for them to follow me so they could be safe. They all agreed without question.

I led them all into the old church. Months before I found the cure, I made the church a hospitable place for a lot of people to live so that when I did find the cure, I could bring them there and look after them. It took time, but it was worth it. Luckily, the parts I needed to patch up the holes in the roof and fix the door were easily accessible. To be honest, I don’t know how the church still stood after the wave of infection. Maybe it was because of how well it was built, with its thick wooden beams and steel gates. Or, maybe, it was just the power of God and holy intervention. Inside the church were mattresses, clothes, blankets, water and some packaged food. It was not too far from the centre, which was helpful as half of the people could not walk very well.

From there, I took care of the people and helped them regain strength and re learn everything. We started to rebuild and find more resources, as one person thankfully knew how to hotwire a car. We also gave the word to the mainland that it was now safe to come back to the island that my city had been built on. Straight away, they brought supplies and manpower. From that day on I have always said to myself… “no matter what anyone says, there is always that spark of good.”

The End.

#writing #authors

Promoting Young Authors

Do you know a budding young author, or have a young member of the family who enjoys writing? Join me in promoting their work by publishing it on your blog. Feel free to use the above image. Link your post back to this one by creating a pingback. Click here to learn how to create a pingback.

Mystery Mondays: Call For Guest Authors

KRISTINA STANLEY

Promoting Reading – Promoting Authors

Mystery Mondays began in July 2015. Authors from many genres who write with a hint of mystery have told you about their books, answered your questions about writing and shared their thoughts with you. Every Monday, you’ve been introduced to another author and maybe discovered someone you’re not familiar with.

Are you interested in guest blogging?

I am now accepting guest blog requests for the remainder of 2017 starting on August 28th (although some spots are books throughout the fall). If you’re interested contact me here.

If you’d like to participate, here’s what you need to qualify:

  • you are a published author – traditional or Indie or any other way that I don’t know about,

OR

  • you are about to publish and have a launch date within a week or so of the blog post,

AND

  • you want to promote other authors and spread success,
  • you write novels with a hint of mystery,

View original post 148 more words

Reblog from dgkayewriter: Lynette Davis:Even Rain is Just Water

Source: https://dgkayewriter.com/guest-author-book-lynette-davis-rain-water-memoir/

Guest feature author, Lynette Davis, Even Rain is Just Water

Thanks Debby for introducing Lynette Davis with her debut book, her memoir, Even Rain is Just Water – A Memoir of redemption, rejection and revelation. It’s looks like a great read to me.

Here’s what Debby had to say:

I endorsed Lynette’s book and I can tell you that it is a heart-wrenching read. Lynette’s story about growing up with an emotionally abusive mother and her unfaltering will to survive will grip a reader from start to finish with her beautifully told story of emotional abuse. It will have the reader waiting, waiting to learn when the author has had enough, showing her strength and endurance and applauding her for remaining sane and using her pain to better herself in life instead of becoming just another statistic of abuse.

 

Lynette runs 2 blogs  –  The Broken Vessel where she shares stories and articles about people with experiences living with a narcissist and other emotionally traumatic stories and Memoir Notes  where you will find articles about writing, self publishing and more.

Lynette Davis

 

About Lynette:

 

Lynette Davis is an educator, author and survivor. Her memoir Even Rain Is Just Water draws attention to narcissism’s mounting prevalence, as she joins the growing number of people speaking out about the ill effects of such relationships. One of the hallmarks of narcissism is lack of empathy which occasions emotional abuse.

Davis received her B.A. in English from California Baptist University and has facilitated writing workshops in the Inland Empire, California. She also studied Rhetoric and Composition for two years at California State University San Bernardino. In addition, her short narrative, “The Fatal Blow,” is featured in the anthology I am Subject: Women Awakening: Discovering Our Personal Truths Fall 2014, a collection of stories featuring women  re-claiming their lives in life-altering moments.

Davis currently lives in Southern California with her family. Even Rain Is Just Water is her first book.

 

Even Rain is Just Water

Get this book on Amazon!

Blurb:

“Even at three, I knew Ne-Ne and I had different mamas. Ne-Ne’s mama loved and cherished her. My mama despised and rejected me. Ne-Ne left a sweet taste in her mama’s mouth. I left a bitter taste in my mama’s mouth–even though our mamas were the same person.”

 

Even Rain Is Just Water tells how a young girl comes to terms with her dysfunctional upbringing, first in Florida during the Civil Rights Era and later in Southern California. Lyn and her younger sister are initially raised among their wealthy paternal grandparents. But one day, their mother packs them into the car and moves to Southern California.

 

This is the beginning of a difficult nomadic childhood for Lyn who does not have her mother’s love and has been separated from her father’s loving extended family. She goes from living in a protective enclave to utter loneliness and boredom in physically and emotionally empty living spaces and begins to internalize her mother’s negative feelings of her. That is what Lyn fights to overcome, although it is clear she doesn’t fully accept her mother’s opinion of her, as fact.

 

Lyn’s main goal is to escape her oppressive and non-supportive home environment. When she runs away to live with a former neighbor, it sets the stage for her eventual liberation from her mother.

 

But many years later when Lyn finds herself homeless with three children in tow, she’s forced to deal with the demons of her childhood–being unwanted, unloved and rejected. As she embarks on a search for a place to call home, her sole desire is to give her children what she lacked growing up–a sense of belonging and security. But it takes a hospital scare and a lifetime of emotional pain to propel Lyn out of the shadows of guilt and shame and into the light of faith and forgiveness.

 

A poignant narrative of rejection, revelation and redemption, Even Rain Is Just Water doesn’t just show how childhood trauma transcends into adulthood, it offers hope to adult survivors.

 

 

I met Lynette when she searched me out as a memoir writer who also endured emotional abuse and neglect by my own mother. Lynette contacted me to ask if I’d beta read her memoir in its earlier stages. After learning what her book was about I didn’t hesitate to agree to offer my opinions. The subject matter was stunning and I read through it in 2 days because I couldn’t pry myself away from reading it. We’ve been friends ever since. Then a few months ago, Lynette contacted me asking if I was willing to write an editorial for her book. I was thrilled that she thought of me to do so and even more humbled to have my few words imprinted in her book. This was my editorial:

 

My Editorial for Lynette’s book:

 

“A remarkable and heart-wrenching accounting of Davis’ undeniable courage and tolerance for suffering a lifetime of conflict, adversity, and emotional abuse by her mother’s refusal to love her own daughter. Davis’ relentless efforts to forgive, and her unfaltering hope to form a bond with her undeserving mother are chronicled in this riveting and heartbreaking read. I commend Lynette Davis for not only her courage to endure an emotionally torturous life with a mother who didn’t deserve one ounce of Davis’ compassion, but to have the fortitude to write this book.”

D.G. Kaye, author of P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy            

 

Thank you for being here today Lynette, and for sharing your journey of survival with us. I know there are unfortunately, many of us who’ve lived through emotional abuse and I’m sure even those who were lucky enough not to, are interested in our stories because we can show them that there is always hope and a way to rise above. Your story is a testament to surviving and thriving despite where we may begin. I know your book will be a great success.

 

Lynette, I read your book and as a fellow memoir writer who also endured an emotionally absent mother, I can appreciate that although our issues of struggles are similar, no two people’s journeys are the same. Can you please share with us, despite your fragile and broken self-esteem, how you managed to put yourself back together after years of suffering horrendous emotional abuse by your mother?

 

Debby, once I realized that I could not change anyone but myself, that no matter what I did, I would always be a scapegoat to my mother, I made the difficult decision to go no-contact. Difficult because going no-contact generally involves the entire family. Even with everything that I had experienced with my mother, it was still difficult. But the process of no-contact is how I was able to put myself and begin the healing process which led to me writing the book.

 

I know you’ve worked on this book for a few years now. You also told me you were apprehensive about publishing this book because of family finding out about it. What was the turning point that made you decide to go forth and publish?

 

My turning point was after I’d written the first draft of my memoir and I ran across a blog post about narcissistic mothers and a book entitled Will I Ever Be Good Enough by Karol McBride. By that time, I knew a little about narcissism (having been married to a narcissist), but I was so deep into denial that I couldn’t put my hands around the idea that my mother was like one of my ex-husbands. But when I went back through my memoir, a few weeks later, I could see that their personalities were the same. What made me consider and ultimately decide to move forward with publishing my memoir for the general public is realizing that I was not alone, that there were other daughters like myself.

 

You carried such an enormous emotional load since childhood while growing up in the civil rights era. Do you think the prejudice of the times added to your woes?

 

In hindsight, I don’t believe it had much impact on my personal woes. Although I do believe there is a correlation between racism and narcissism, racism I believe, is narcissism on a much larger scale. I don’t believe the prejudices of the Civil Rights Era added to my woes because we lived separate (segregated) as blacks did during that era. Firstly, I did not see how whites lived, in that they were not visible to me, at least not on a daily basis. Secondly, emotionally, I was too occupied, trying to cope, with my mother.

 

You tolerated so much hurt and neglect, yet bit your tongue stoically throughout being lashed out at by your mother, especially as you grew up and had children to protect and nowhere else to turn to at times besides your mother. What gave you strength and kept you sane?

 

I’m not sure if it was strength or simply training. My mother had thoroughly convinced me that she had a right to treat me however she wanted, that I didn’t have any rights, whatsoever–about anything. On the other hand, I often removed myself by daydreaming. Now that I look back, I believe that God had his hand on me.

 

In your story, you demonstrate how your mother treated your sister better than she did you. Besides neglect you received from your mother, how did you feel about the difference in the way she treated your sister? And did you harbor anger or jealousy towards your sister?

 

The difference my mother made between my sister and I was daily. So it was always front and center. As a teenager, I definitely dealt with anger and jealousy issues. And I began to perceive my mother and sister as one unit. It was as though my sister began where my mother ended. At some point. And I always felt that she should have done more, as a sister. However, in writing my memoir, I could see that my sister was trying to cope with an emotionally absent mother as well.

 

Do you have a relationship at all now with your sister? If so, how do you open your heart to her after she never defended you growing up?

 

No I do not have a relationship with my sister. However, after writing my book, I did open my heart to her because I realized I wasn’t the only one affected by our dysfunctional household. But I realized we’re on totally different planes.

 

Is your mother still living? If so, does she know you published the book?

 

Yes, my mother is still living. She’s almost eighty years old. And I don’t know if she knows that I published a book.

 

Have you found forgiveness for your mother’s wrongdoings?

 

Yes. However, it took decades for me to arrive at forgiveness. Once I realized that I survived my experience for a reason. Being able to see my experience as a spiritual battle, I gained a different perspective on my mother.

 

Can you please tell us a little about what inspired you to write Even Rain is Just Water? And please share an excerpt here for my readers.

 

The idea to write my story came to me when my first grandchild was about a year old. I wanted him (and my children) to know my story, and why I’d made some of the choices I made in life.
On a personal level, I was inspired to tell my story to facilitate my healing. Then I felt compelled to develop and publish my story when I realized there were countless other daughters with stories similar to mine.

 

Excerpt

 

 

Prologue

 

Riverside, California, 1996

 

I imagine I look like mother goose walking with her baby ducklings as my three children trail me, one behind the other. The convenience store is a good ten blocks away. It seems more like twenty. Although it’s only a few minutes before seven o’clock, we’ve been up since day break. And the morning sun is beaming down on us like it’s the middle of August, instead of the first week of June. My children must understand the gravity of our situation because they’re as quiet as three mice as we trek to the convenience store. This is not our normal routine. Twenty-four hours ago, I couldn’t have imagined the events of last night, or that I would be walking down the main boulevard with my three children this morning. For the umpteenth time in the last fifteen minutes, I check my beeper. No pages.

 

Although I’m dressed for walking—a pair of just-above-the-knee gray biker shorts and a tee-shirt which is what I slept in last night, and a pair of tennis shoes with no socks, I feel weird like I’m half naked. I didn’t even bother to comb my hair this morning. Luckily, I’m sporting a short Halle Berry look, and the slightly disheveled look is in. I wonder what my children think about all the drama of last night as I marvel at their resilience. Despite everything our family has been through these last couple of months, they’ve never complained. My daughter, the youngest of the trio, is doing a good job keeping up with her brothers and me. I thank God, they’re such good troopers. We’re used to walking from time to time when my Jeep Cherokee acts up. Right now, it’s parked in front of mom’s house where it’s been all week. As we walk down the boulevard, I contemplate my situation. I’ve run out of options. What am I going to do?

 

We get to the convenience store. And I dial my grandmother’s telephone number from the phone booth, just outside. It’s almost seven thirty now, so it’s close to ten-thirty in Florida where she lives. I hear the phone ringing loudly through the phone lines and envision my grandmother, a pert seventy-nine-year-old who still drives herself wherever she wants to go, making her way to the phone. I let the phone ring awhile, to give Mother—that’s what her children and grandchildren call her, time to get to the phone—and me time to get my emotions in check. I’m still reeling from the events of last night. I need to tell someone what happened, to help me process it.

 

After six or seven rings, my grandmother picks up the telephone.

 

“Hello,” she says, in a sweet southern drawl.

 

“Hey, Mother. How you doing?”

 

“I’m doing fine. How you?” she asks, raising her voice higher when she says you.

 

“Mother, you’re not going to believe this.”

 

“What? What happened?”

 

Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us Lynette. I wish you much success with the book, and I know it will definitely be an eye-opener for many.

Mystery Mondays: Bebe Bollinger Murder Mystery call for Beta Readers

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Dear all eurovision2013ireland

it’s been somewhat quiet on writerchristophfischer during the last few weeks. I had my head buried deep in the writing and re-writing of my next murder mystery:

“Over My Dead Body – Murder at Eurovision (Bebe Bollinger Murder Mystery 2)”

I feel I have rounded the story up enough to offer the book to beta readers, that is test readers who give a first opinion on the novel. 
That can be a short paragraph with what they liked and didn’t like, or more involved, naming scenes and characters that didn’t work for them, plot holes, stylistic critique, praise for what they liked most and what should feature more etc.

Beta reading is an art. I’m not very good at it, admittedly, as I get easily carried away if I like a book and then I miss plot holes or stylistic short comings that are obvious to others.
It is, however, the biggest service you can do an author. Without critical feedback from the people we try to entertain writing can be self-involved and since I’m a big fan of Eurovision, testing the audience is of particular importance in this case.

If you would like to receive a draft of the novel for beta reading please comment below and I can send you the doc.x or mobi file to your email. (When you comment I automatically can retrieve your email address, so no need to put that in the comment.)

MANY THANKS!

THE PLOT:

Bebe Bollinger is back. After solving the Murder in the snow in the tiny hamlet of Llangurrey she has come closer to a musical revival. On a cruise ship she makes a new friend: Tom, a gay man from Denmark. He asks for her help investigating several death threats and attacks on performers at the Eurovision Song Contest. But Bebe is busy with talk shows and career plans, so she sends her side kick Beth Cooper to assist Tom.

Eurovision is a European music extravaganza with a cult following, a competition of 40 odd countries sending one song each. Rehearsals, semi-finals, lengthy voting rituals, camp and cheesy music, outrageous costumes, outlandish props, political voting and attention seeking staging are some of its endearing and challenging characteristics.

euro--z

When Bonnie Tyler is chosen to represent the UK, Bebe regrets not having pushed herself forward for the ticket to advance her career. What did Bonnie know that Bebe didn’t?
Meanwhile in Malmo, Sweden, Beth discovers first-hand the madness of obsessive fans and needs to establish whether the accidents are merely accidents, as organisers believe.

Meet media and music industry darlings from all over Europe, sinister schemers, celebrities and Bebe and Beth’s new friends.