Monday, May 25, 2015

THRIVE Book Launch Week 9: Why Everyone Needs This Book

Despite suffering, I thrive.
THRIVE is radically different from anything I've written thus far. It is memoir - and a highly personal, highly revealing memoir at that. I share things about myself in THRIVE that I have not shared to any single person, with one exception.

Christian is the one person who knew the whole story - every detail and emotional reaction.

My friends and family knew pieces, but not everything. They learned everything the first time they read the book.

And it is not an easy read. It is painful. It was painful to write. Up until this point, I have hinted but not stated explicitly. Here I will explain why. The following is just a taste of the contents of THRIVE:

  • I was molested as a toddler by an older boy.
  • I suffered overt misogyny and abuse at the hands of boys while growing up, even as I suffered silently with the aftereffects of my molestation.
  • I was so ill in a third world country, I brushed death.
  • I suffered every kind of attack a woman can suffer - stalking, following at night, verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. I was also raped by a friend in college.
  • I lived in possibly the worst apartment in the developed world, which was sold to Christian and I as a reasonable place to start married life (think: no AC in a bombed out section of Phoenix and you begin to get the picture).
  • I was unemployed for more of my adult life than not, including a time when multiple student loans were coming due.
  • I suffered homelessness right after giving birth to my son, and struggling to accept unrealized expectations - the American Dream was my American Nightmare.
This is not everything. This is just a peek at what THRIVE contains. The book is graphic. It is not an easy read. And yet... I lived through these things and more (for details, you need to get a copy). You would never know it if I didn't tell you.

I have done so much more with my life. I am so much more than the difficulties I've experienced. And that is what this book is about. It is about using these difficult things - taking the bad and ugly, along with the good, and becoming more than before.

That is why I wrote the book. I chose to reveal these difficult, painful things, because I could not stand one more person getting blamed for their suffering. I could not stand to sit by, watching people around me not understanding the depths of pain that any person might experience, despite their station in life. I couldn't stand watching others ruined by difficulties. How could I let someone else struggle longer than they needed to when I could show them a way to not only manage, but harness their suffering? How could I stand by when I had strategies and tools at my disposal that could make a difference in the lives of individuals and their communities?

I couldn't. I couldn't any longer. I want my legacy to be something my son can take pride in - that will be a force for positive change in the world. To do that, I had to lay myself bare. I made myself vulnerable. And I know my life flies in the face of what many people think is reality. Which is exactly why I had to write THRIVE - because people have to know. Everyone needs to understand what is possible - both the levels of hidden suffering, and the potential power gained through such experience.

So please, for yourself, for your community, for your friends who have not yet broken their silence - read this book. It will open your eyes.

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LAUNCH UPDATE

Last week was big for me. I got a lot of big things accomplished.

  • Published THRIVE in paperback.
  • Published TRANSFORM TO THRIVE in paperback.
  • Updated my author website.
  • Finished revamped covers of Books 1-3 in KHLOE ALWELL series.
  • Drew cover drawing for Book 4 in KHLOE.
  • Finished coverart for Book 4.
  • Published 2nd edition of THE BROTHERS on Smashwords.
  • Published 2nd edition of LOVERS AND RIVALS on Smashwords.
  • Blogged.
  • Uploaded link to Patreon.
  • Got 75% revamp of LILITH done.
  • Pitched articles related to THRIVE to 2 different sites.
  • Wrote and submitted guest post to a blog, set to go live in early July.
  • Researched possibilities for audio books.
This week I would like to:
  • Submit some more posts related to THRIVE
  • Confirm when I need to follow up with people/media about pitches being accepted.
  • Finish LILITH revamp and publish 2nd edition.
  • Publish 2nd edition of KHLOE books to Amazon.
  • Review potential publicist relationship.
  • Pitch a guest post about women in fantasy.
  • Get social media campaign figured out.
  • Time to get videos done...about THRIVE?
  • Blog
  • Patreon
I hope this is another big week. I had a bit of down time over the weekend, and now I'm ready to jump back into the fray. I'm anxious to dig in.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Why I Love Khloe Alwell, and You Should Too

During my launch of THRIVE, I started the process of revamping - or rather rewriting - my Khloe Alwell series.

I fell in love all over again.

I had forgotten how rich and complex the books are. I forgot the nitty gritty of all the characters. I forgot how damn sexy the boys are. Like...really. I forgot how much I totally love Laran.

In talking with a friend about my love of Laran, she grinned.
"Have you ever heard Anne Rice talk about Lestat?" she asked, twisting her lips.
"No," I said, raising my brows.
"You talk about Laran the way she talks about Lestat. Like, you really love him." Her eyes sparkled and I grinned sheepishly.
"Laran is my dream man. If they ever did a TV or movie adaptation of these books, I might have problems. My marriage might be in trouble. I mean, I think I might fall in love with Laran. I might forget the poor guy was just an actor."

And it's true. But the other guys are nothing to sniff at. I mean, I love them all for different reasons. All my characters are family to me. But Laran is... something else.

And because I love him, love all of them, I had to publish a second edition. I didn't do the best job I could have when I first published these books, so I went back. Hopefully I'm doing my characters justice. I want readers to fall in love with Khloe. To hate her attackers, get angry with her, to bite their lips as she yearns, and to cringe as she tries to reject with grace. I want them to ache when Laran enters a scene. To grumble with Constantine. To saunter with Freyr. I want them to glow with Dani.

I want readers to get bloody and bothered and caught up.

This is why I am so pleased that second editions of THE BROTHERS and LOVERS AND RIVALS are now for sale on Smashwords (and soon after on all major online retailers).

If you haven't explored Khloe yet, I invite you dive in, see humanity as you've never seen it. Explore climate change in a way that you never imagined. See myth, faith, love, sex, and high school in a wild story of self-discovery and empowerment that shows what girls are made of - the stuff of legend.

Monday, May 18, 2015

THRIVE Book Launch Week 8: Indie Sadomasochism

Right now I am sitting alone, and I'm not quite sure what to do. I had to fall back on my launch plan and Monday routine to get on track.

I am actually in my room alone, without a toddler, or any immediate obligations and it is jarring in the same way a whirlwind is. I feel out of sorts. I feel off kilter. I feel...lost.

This past week was nothing short of insane. Instead of my declared plan for last week, I went in a radically different direction and got THRIVE and TRANSFORM TO THRIVE formatted and set up for print on demand. Anyone who knows anything about publishing will recognize this is a Herculean task for a creative. It is tedious. It is time-consuming. It requires intense attention to detail. It is entirely too repetitive to be considered anything less than electronic torture.

And I did this twice.

While herding a toddler.

While my parents were out of town.

Around digital pre-order day - the day when I was sending out approximately 180 emails to media and organizations that might be interested in the books.

Needless to say, the process resulted in an insane amount of temper tantrums, both mine and my toddler's. I induced several headaches. I worked to complete exhaustion. By Saturday, I was barely functional. There was a lot of Sesame Street involved, which was a shameless saving grace.

And today I get to order the proofs. Once I get those, I can approve them for print and anyone can purchase a hard copy (including bookstores and libraries).

This was the last big hurdle in my THRIVE publication process. It was the last big hill in my publishing marathon and now I can actually see the finish. While I am still a little nervous about THRIVE's reception (because it discusses many controversial topics) I know I am doing a good thing. I know this is important work. It is why I am focused on this and this alone until it is finished.

It is inspired. The whole conversation is inspired. And I am excited to help people. I am excited to make the world a better place by having this story in it. This puts all the pain and anguish of every aspect of publication into perspective. The torture was temporary. It has passed. And now I am in a time of waiting. Waiting to see - to experience - to watch. And I know, no matter what happens, at least I find fulfillment here.

My soul is at peace.

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LAUNCH UPDATE:

As I said, last week took a weird and slightly unexpected turn. With that in mind, this is what I accomplished:
  • Blog posts (plus an extra one)
  • Located list of local media outlets
  • 180~ emails sent to colleges, organizations, and media outlets about THRIVE
  • POD book covers
  • POD formatting
  • Reviewed POD files
  • Set up  POD order pages
  • Set up speaking page on site
  • Joined a few more author forums
  • Read a few publishing articles
  • Sent out social media posts on pre-order day
This week:
  • Reach out to my mentor/connector
  • Follow up on mail error messages from email blast
  • Order proofs for THRIVE and TRANSFORM TO THRIVE
  • Finish LILITH
  • Finish KHLOE book covers
  • Upload corrected/revamped KHLOE books
  • Send out social media reminders to pre-order THRIVE & TRANSFORM TO THRIVE
  • Inquiry bloggers who may be interested in guest posts etc for THRIVE.
  • Pitch to sites that have followings interested in THRIVE topics. 
  • Blog posts 
  • Breathe
I think that's more than enough. Don't you? Especially since a family friend is visiting this coming weekend.  I'm planning on really focusing on the last point. That one is going to be the most important one to remember.

Be sure to reserve your copy of THRIVE: HOW I BECAME A SUPERHERO and TRANSFORM TO THRIVE: 32 DAYS FROM VICTIM TO SUPERHERO!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Birth of A Siren


Every day I ache, a wretched invisible ache. My wounds are hidden from view unless I choose to share them. Unless I reveal them, no one ever knows. No one ever sees. And they have no idea how painful it is to hear, to read their opinions – thoughts that deny my experience. Ideas that mock my life. That mock my ache.

How many ways can a woman suffer at the hands of men? Sometimes it feels like my life is an attempt to answer this question. Pick a chapter of my life, and I will show you. I spin around, eyes closed, and throw a dart. Find another way. Find another wound.

The beginning was so early. A toddler. A hidden memory. A dream? And it left its marks all over me. I never trusted adults, especially men. I didn't trust my own family members. I didn't trust boys. Any volatility was a sign to steer clear. Every action, from avoiding the toilets outside of teachers' sight at school, to walking home a block away from a group of boys, it was all calculated defense.

Stay invisible. Stay safe. Stay outside of reach. I won't get hurt – again.

But the stage was set. Another boy, another time, bent on abusing his power. And I gave mine away. I gave it away because I didn't know I had it. I didn't know who I was yet. So I took his scathing tongue. I took his sharp hand. I let him tear me down, as if it was okay, as others watched, doing nothing. Doing nothing because they didn't know better? Doing nothing because they agreed? Why doesn't matter.

Followed walking home. Anonymous letters. Laced drinks at a party. Betrayed by someone once trusted. Telling and no one believes me. No one knows what to do. No one knows how to act. No one knows what to say.

It must be my fault, right? I must have done something. I must have deserved all this. Because I wasn't dressed in Kevlar. Because I wasn't carrying a taser. Because I didn't kick him in the balls when he was sitting with me and my friends at lunch, smiling, and joking like we're all good here. Because I should have known that everyone close to me is a potential attacker. I should have hid my body even more...somehow suppressed the intense curves I was born to have. I should have… I should have… I should have…

And I am alone.

I call into the chaos, speaking truth and a thousand poisonous daggers point back.

I'm too mean. I'm a bitch. I'm too sexy. I'm a whore. I'm too pretty. I'm a slut. I'm too vocal. I'm annoying. I'm too smart. I'm wrong. I'm too much.

I'm a woman.

I'm monstrous feminine.

Despite the hidden scars I carry, the pain I feel when reading denials of my experience, I stand here. I stand, with natural armor, acquired through my battles. My skin is beautiful, perfect for withstanding any siege. I smile, baring teeth, my threat plain. I stand, proclaiming truth, defying the chaos. And my power whips about me, a hurricane beating against blind shores. I walk, back straight, head high. I wield my ache like a battle cry, a siren's call into the void.

Hear me!
Hear me sisters!
Our time is now.
Claim your power.
Claim your right.

Speak.
Stand.
Fight.


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If you want to learn more about my story and how I gained my perfect armor, reserve a copy of my book THRIVE: HOW I BECAME A SUPERHERO. To follow a crash course of my process, reserve a copy of TRANSFORM TO THRIVE: 32 DAYS FROM VICTIM TO SUPERHERO