Monday musings: Coloring in the literary map

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Photo credit: Porsche Brosseau (Creative Commons)

The beginning of July is the opening of a season of national celebrations. For writers and readers, it’s both an opportunity and a danger.

July 1 last Saturday was Canada Day, the celebration of the establishment of Confederation in British North America in 1867. Of course, tomorrow is the Fourth of July, the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The 14th is Bastille Day in France, the observance of the beginning of the French Revolution that eventually would make France into the democracy it is today.

Wikimedia Commons

Around the world, there are national celebrations coming up in July: Rwanda, Armenia, Algeria, Venezuela, Argentina, South Sudan and South Korea are just some of the countries are celebrating some kind of national, independence or some kind of national creation event.

July is a busy month for patriots.

Opportunity

For writers and readers, the annual national celebration is an opportunity to explore what it means to be a Canadian, American, French, South Sudani or whatever you are. To examine what makes your country what it is, to look at the successes and failures of the past, the opportunities and threats. To connect with fellow citizens, and to engage with others around the world.

Danger

The danger is obvious: an orgy of embarrassing boosterism, of “we’re the best,” and disrespect and rejection of other countries, cultures and ways of life. Even more dangerous is the insistence of a particular definition of a single, narrow aspect of a culture as the only legitimate one.

When this becomes the basis of a story, book or movie, it’s embarrassing. When it becomes the basis of a political movement, it’s destructive.

So what’s the solution? To me, it’s always been to broaden my view, to learn more about as many different people, countries and cultures as I can, to seek the commonality and the constructive everywhere. It’s one reason I like to travel.

Photo: Wilerson S. Andrade Creative Commons License

The previous editor of this blog, Kathleen Valentine (RIP) had a project to read a book from a different country every week or month or so. It’s a great idea, and something I have been toying with for some time.

I have read books by authors from

  • Canada (well, duh)
  • the U.S.A. (hard to avoid)
  • Mexico (completing my North American coverage)
  • the U.K. (also hard to avoid)
  • France
  • Germany
  • Columbia
  • Russia
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • Israel
  • Yemen
  • Spain
  • Sweden

Fifteen out of 196. Not a good proportion, so I am going to start trying to expand that.

How many countries can you color in on your literary map?

What about you, readers?

If we were to color in countries on a map where BestSelling Reads member authors live, we’d have four to shade. This is something we’re working on expanding.

But what about you? How many countries can you color in on your map of literary exploration?

Share in a Comment.

 

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Monday musings: Travel and inspiration

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“Where do you get your ideas from?” Cecily Pigeon (or maybe it was Gwendolyn) asked Felix Unger in Neil Simon’s play, The Odd Couple.

It’s a question every writer gets. While Felix, who wrote news for TV, could answer “From the news!” for fiction writers, it’s more complicated—and, I think, more fun.

There are any number of things that can spark an idea for a creative writer of fiction—or even non-fiction. Sights, sounds, smells, stories, experiences; the way a shadow moves over a wall as a car’s headlights sweep past; the way a friend hesitates before answering a question; the shouts of spectators at a football game; even the way clouds move across a darkening sky.

I just returned from a trip to the Czech Republic, where so many sights, sounds and experiences sparked ideas for different types of stories, I could barely write them down fast enough to remember them. In fact, I’m certain I’ve forgotten a lot.

Have you ever done that writing exercise, where you base a story on a picture? Here are a few images that can prove evocative.

This is an old palace in the Moravian town of Telc. Castles and palaces are easy. What does it make you think of? A story about a princess and a cruel king in medieval times? How about lost treasure buried deep in hidden passages, or a horrible family secret?

Here’s a picture taken from the plane on the way back. Those are the mountains of Greenland—yes, Greenland! This can evoke stories of lost explorers, or refugees fleeing persecution in a warm climate. How about a story about climate change? Reach deeper: the relationship between humanity and the infinite.

Here’s a shot of street performers in Prague. What story would you write about this? What if I told you they were playing “Stairway to Heaven”?

A new story

My favourite story idea from this trip to Prague came like pulling on the tiny end of a thin thread. You know how it is: First, the bit of thread you can reach is so short, you can barely grasp it. Pulling on it is as likely to make it slip from between your fingers as to pull it longer, but bit by bit, you get a better grip. Then it comes out, faster and faster, fuller and fuller.

I had an idea like that after attending a “black light” performance, a uniquely Prague form of entertainment. Not so much ideas of events or characters came from that, but more a feeling that Prague evoked in me: a city that at the same time presents mystical, almost magical impressions, as well as a long tradition of modernism and commitment to science, rationality, humanism and science.

What about you? What inspires ideas for stories in your mind? Do you have a picture you’d like to send to your favourite author to see what they might come up with? Leave a Comment.

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Easter Monday Musings: Do you love to talk about books?

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Do you love to talk about books? One thing I’d like to do is drink a cup of coffee and talk about books with readers and writers.

I love chatting with readers, but I want more than the usual “Where do you get your ideas from?” I’d like to hear about more specific aspects of the reading experience.

What do you like to talk about when it comes to your favorite books or favorite writers?

What about characters? Do you want the stock heroes and heroines, the Jack Reachers and Jets, the ones who can defeat any foe without question? Or do you prefer the kind of protagonist with weaknesses, flaws, who isn’t certain to win every contest?

What about stories? Many romances today follow the arc of 50 you-know-what: smart, educated but poor young woman meets gorgeous but damaged billionaire. After overcoming several barriers, their love blooms. Does that still have you flipping pages (or swiping left on your e-reader)? Or are you yearning for something different.

Personally, I find the boundaries between genres annoying. In recent years, there has been a profusion of books that combine, or cross, the paranormal or fantasy and romance genres. Do you like that? Are there genres that you’d like to see combined? How about horror and steampunk?

Or what about creating a new genre? What are the books that you’d like to read, but haven’t been written yet?

I also want to know what you want to hear from authors. Are there specific questions, like “Why does the heroine go into that room when she knows the axe murderer is hiding in there?” Or “Why doesn’t he just ask her out, already?”

So tell me what appeals to you in your favourite books, and ask me—or any BestSelling Reads member author—what you’d like to know.

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Monday Musings: The challenges of writing historical prose

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by Scott Bury

It’s just one word out of a hundred thousand, but it can stop a writer. Sometimes, the search for one right word can take longer than writing a hundred pages.

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That happens to me a lot when writing books based on history, whether it’s my historical fantasy, The Bones of the Earth, or my World War II trilogy, Walking Out of War.

If you get a historical fact wrong, the readers will let you know.

alliedtravelpass-tovienna-inside

The facts are essential

The challenge for the writer is to make every story immediate — to put the reader today into the story, even when it takes place a half-century or a millennium ago. The key to making the story real to the readers is the little details.

These can seem inconsequential — like what kind of side-arms Soviet army officers carried, or who the Eastern Roman Emperor was in 593 CE. But when you get to that point, you realize you have no idea what you’re writing about.

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A good example came up when I was writing Army of Worn Soles, the story of my father-in-law Maurice Bury. A Canadian citizen, he got drafted by the Soviet Red Army just before Nazi Germany launched Operation Barbarossa, the largest land invasion in history.

alliedtravelpass-tocanada-inside

Maurice told me a lot about his experiences in the war so that I could write his story as a book. I wrote a draft that had a lot of the facts and the whole sweeping epic, but he passed away before I could finish it. That left a lot of details wanting.

Like what the Red Army’s anti-tank gun looked like in 1941.

It took a long time to work out. Google and Wikipedia to the rescue! But it wasn’t that simple.

Try Googling “Red Army anti-tank gun 1941” and you’ll get conflicting information of various levels of reliability. The Soviets used more than one type of anti-tank gun. Which one did Maurice command? Finding that out required going deeper than Wikipedia, and careful reading of the notes I took when Maurice was alive.

There’s nothing like hard copy

My current work-in-progress is the third volume of Maurice’s story, Walking Out of War. I got stuck in the postwar period. After Maurice fought in the Battle of Berlin, he left the Red Army to return home to Montreal. He told me how he walked from Berlin to Munich, found a D.P. camp in Ingolstadt, Germany, and then in Landeck, Austria. Finally, he met other Ukrainian people in Vienna who helped him get the necessary permits to return to Canada. But when exactly did all this happen? What did he do to survive in the interim?

Then I found some of the most interesting items I have ever seen in my life. In Maurice’s papers, pushed to the back of a desk drawer, was an old, tattered wallet with his ID papers — some as a schoolboy in Poland. There were two D.P. identification cards, a letter from the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration Displaced Persons Centre Kufstein, another authorizing Maurice to travel to Vienna to arrange his transfer to Canada, and more.

The most interesting were the travel permits authorizing Maurice to go from the Landeck D.P. camp to Vienna, and another from Austria to Canada. What’s most interesting is that they’re dated in early 1947 — nearly two years after the end of the fighting in Europe.

So what did Maurice do for those two years?

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Another mystery to solve.

Walking Out of War, the third part of the trilogy, is nearly complete and will be published by the Written Word Communications Co. and Independent Authors International by the end of 2016.

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Thursday Teaser: Blogging for Authors

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By Barb Drozdowich

You could WIN a free e-copy of Blogging for Authors. Find out how at the end of the excerpt.

AT ITS HEART, blogging is just another form of communication. In my mind there isn’t a lot of difference between blogging and having a chat with some friends over a cup of coffee. You’ll notice that I’m using the words “chat” or “conversation.” When we’re talking about blogging, I want you to keep the word “dialogue” in mind.

A blog is neither a billboard, nor a monologue. Blogging should be a dialogue.

Although I refer to the words “conversation” and “dialogue,” your first response may be that no one talks on your blog, or that no one leaves comments for you to respond to. Times have changed.

The face of a conversation has changed in the electronic world. The person with whom we are chatting may not literally respond with words – they might respond with actions such as sharing your post with their friends on Facebook. They are doing the electronic equivalent of “Come over here and listen to this person.” The electronic version is more along the lines of “This is great information; please go and read it.” That’s a response and in the big picture, that’s a much more important response. Although I’m the first one to admit that comments are wonderful, such interaction is between two people. I have 16,000+ followers on Twitter. If I share on Twitter, it’s pretty likely that more people than just myself will be part of the conversation. It’s also pretty likely that a handful of my 16,000+ followers will join in, in their own way.

If you have a WordPress blog, one of the people you are “speaking” to might click on the Like button or in fact be so moved by what you have to say that they re-blog it. And the conversation grows to include even more people.

The author’s blog is a space that belongs to the author – unlike Facebook, Twitter or other social media. The author’s blog is also searched and indexed by Google unlike the various social media (for the most part). This allows for your conversations to be searched for and found long after they take place. This isn’t true of any material that you put on most social media. In fact, a post on your blog can be found years after it’s created. The accepted shelf life of a Facebook post is considered to be between two and five hours and the shelf life of a Twitter post is 18 minutes. A LinkedIn post can have a shelf life of up to 24 hours in some cases.

An author’s blog is the place where the author can share with their community; the place they can start or continue conversations and have dialogues. This is the place that the dialogue will grow a community of friends and supporters – people with like interests who will help spread the word about your book.

What’s Blogging for Authors all about?

Are you an author who needs to learn more about blogging?

Do you feeling uncertain about technology or what to blog about?

Finding that all-important reader is the key to an author’s success. Many studies shows that blogging is a great way to connect with readers because at it’s heart, blogging is just another form of communication.

Blogging for Authors covers all aspects of blogging from what to write to how to navigate today’s technology

In this book you will learn:

* Why authors need to blog

* What topics authors should blog about

* How to choose a platform to blog on

* How to create the ideal blog post

* How to manage sidebars and widgets

* How to keep your site safe and up to date

˃˃˃ And there is more!

Blogging for Authors contains links to 26 free instructional YouTube videos as well as a coupon for money off my newly created WordPress for Beginners Course – the perfect tool for authors & bloggers. This course is an online program specifically designed with beginner authors/bloggers in mind.

Pick up this great deal today from Amazon and approach blogging with confidence.

How to win a free e-copy

If you’re an author, tell us your biggest blogging challenge in the Comments section below. Author Barb Drozdowich will choose a commenter at random for a free e-copy of Blogging for Authors.

About the author

BarbDrozdowichPicSocial Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She delights in taking technical subjects and making them understandable by the average person. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about Romance novels.

She is the author of 9 books, over 25 YouTube videos and an online WordPress course, all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.

Visit her:

And follow her on Twitter @sugarbeatbc.

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Win a Book Wednesday! Book Blog Tours: An Essential Marketing Tool for Authors

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Welcome to Win A Book Wednesday!

Leave a comment to enter to win a copy of Book Blog Tours: An Essential Marketing Tool for Authors, 2nd Edition. Hot off the press – published on  Amazon yesterday! This new edition covers both tours carried out by tour companies as well as DIY tours. Filled with helpful tips and even spreadsheets to help you organize your next tour!
BD_coverdesign05_FINALWhat’s your verdict on Book Blog Tours? 

Great idea…or a waste of time and money?

Not sure what a book blog tour can do for your visibility as an author or the promotion of your book? Are you considering trying out a Book Blog Tour to market your newest release? Do you want a primer that will help you take confident steps into the book promotion world?

Book Blog Tours teaches you about Tours (either hired or DIY) from the point of view of a Blogger and a Reader?

Book Blog Tours covers topics such as:

  • The Hows and Whys of book blog tours
  • Book Marketing on blogs
  • How to set goals for a blog tour
  • Giveaways from the point of view of a blogger and a reader
  • How to plan a DIY blog tour
  • Contains spreadsheets and checklists that will help you organize your tour

˃˃˃ Work your way through the topic of book blog tours in a step-by-step fashion, both from the point of view of hiring a service as well as the DIY type of tour.

Book Blog Tours looks at blog tours differently than other books. This book challenges commonly held beliefs and has you thinking and planning before acting on your next tour.

Book Blog Tours is available on Amazon

*****

BarbDrozdowichPicSocial Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about Romance – mostly Regency.

She is the author of 6 books and over 20 YouTube videos all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.

 

Author Website: http://barbdrozdowich.com

Business Blog: http://bakerviewconsulting.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/BarbDrozdowichAuthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sugarbeatbc

Google+: https://plus.google.com/110824499539694941768/posts

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sugarbeatsbooks/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7234554.Barb_Drozdowich

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSgVt36XlVAHWj5dkSd0Zyw

Tech Hints Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/DfCRj

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Barb-Drozdowich/e/B00EN3CIDM/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1437240887&sr=1-2

 

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Win A Book Wednesday The Author’s Platform: The Beginner’s Guide

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Welcome to Win A Book Wednesday! Leave a comment below and enter to win a copy of the Author’s Platform: The Beginner’s Guide

166_0.667498001436562231_wyap_cv_hrCreating buzz for your book and your career as an author just got easier.

‘The Author’s Platform’ will help you create, understand and use a powerful author platform to sell books!

Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich will steer you through the technology behind book marketing without all the techno-speak. She has helped many authors just like you build an author platform that engages readers and builds sales.

This book will help you decode the mystery behind building a powerful author brand and navigating the social media platforms essential to publishing success

‘The Author’s Platform’ teaches you why you need the various facets of the author platform to build visibility. Barb uses a simple analogy, Operation Book, to help you understand the steps to successful book marketing in the media age. She covers: 

  • The Difference between a Website and a Blog
  • The Important Items Your Blog Should Contain
  • The Nine Essential Social Media Platforms
  • Newsletters
  • Amazon’s Author Central and many more

˃˃˃ With simple-to-follow steps, Barb will help you create, understand and use an Author Platform to support your career.

Available on Amazon

Barb’s note: 

The whole point of this book was to create something that wouldn’t be intimidating to beginner authors, yet give them enough information to get started building their platform and get ready to move to the next level of understanding about promoting their book. If you have an author like that in your circle, please pass this book on to them as it truly is written at the primer level!

*   *   *

BarbDrozdowichPicSmallerSocial Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about Romance – mostly Regency.

She is the author of 6 books and 25 YouTube videos all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.

Barb can be found:

Author Website  |    Business Blog  |   Facebook Author Page

Twitter  |    Google+   |   Pinterest   |   Goodreads 

YouTube Channel

Tech Hints Newsletter

*   *   *

Excerpt:

Website or Blog

 

Let’s start with the hub of your author platform—your website or blog. These words are often used interchangeably but can actually denote separate things. Let’s define.

Usually the word “website” refers to a static site on the Internet containing information that isn’t changed frequently. A programmer or web designer versed in HTML coding usually makes the changes on a per-change or hourly basis. Many authors view websites as expensive, and they certainly can be.

I’m rather frugal and prefer not to spend money. As a result, I’m not fond of static websites. Yes, they serve a purpose. However, I don’t think the average author must make the investment.

Static websites pose another problem. Because new and exciting information doesn’t appear in a timely fashion, these sites don’t attract the attention of Google and therefore often don’t rank very well in a Google search.

Think of Google as a toddler with a new toy. Those of you who have had exposure to toddlers know the toy doesn’t stay new long and, before you know it, the toddler is on to other toys—always looking for something new and different. If the content on a website is rarely updated, Google won’t pay much attention either.

Why should you care about this? As an author in need of visibility, you must rank as high as possible during a Google search. If you have an uncommon name such as mine, ranking on Google is a slam-dunk. Search my name and you’ll discover I own the first page of Google in a name-based search.

If you have a common surname like Smith or Jones, or share a name with a celebrity, you’ll probably never own the first page of Google. A client of mine shares his name with a moderately successful country singer. That’s a tough row to hoe. Ranking higher on Google than a famous person is difficult, but it is possible—as long as your name isn’t Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.

Why do you want to rank high on a Google search? It’s true that the majority of your readers will come from word of mouth. But not all. If a potential reader wants to find you quickly, or they’re looking for books in a specific genre, they frequently perform a Google search. They’ll glean the first entries found, but rarely look beyond the first few pages delivered by Google. Make it easy for readers to find you by ensuring you rank high on a search.

 

Tech Hint: I have lots of people tell me they “Google” themselves or search for themselves on Google all the time and they rank really well. Google is a responsive search engine. In other words, it learns. The more you perform a certain search, the better Google gets at finding what you want. If you Google yourself all the time, Google will get really good at finding you. Go to the local library and do the same search without signing on to your Google account. You will likely see a very different result. You likely don’t rank as high as you think!

 

Let’s return to our discussion of websites versus blogs. If websites feature static content, blogs offer a constant stream of new information. To my mind, blogs offer a second benefit: an author can maintain a blog with minimal paid help. Most important, a blog’s fresh content ensures it will rank higher in a Google search. (Remember the toddler example.)

 

Blogs

 

During the 1990s, a blog was known as a weblog, indicating that it was something found on the Internet as a serial recording of information—a diary, if you will. Today, blogs are quite different, personalized and modified to display information in a variety of ways. But ultimately, a blog is still a serial collection of information.

In my experience, most blogs are designed by highly technical people with little understanding of the needs of authors. Even if your first blog seems a technical wonder, it is likely to change once you decide how you will use your blog. Please use the information below to make informed choices about your initial direction, or to modify the blog you’ve already developed. Whether you are a new or seasoned blogger, I hope that by the end of this section you will have a better sense of the components required for a successful blogging experience.

This brings me to an important point: regardless of your web designer’s opinion, ultimately your blog must be easy to use and tailored to your needs. If you have a blog that is too complicated for your skill level, ask for help. Make sure that help is qualified and is used to working with authors. We are a niche group with unique needs.

There are many different platforms for blogs including Blogger, free WordPress (also known as WordPress.com) and self-hosted WordPress (also known as WordPress.org). Each platform has positive and negative aspects.

As of this writing, a self-hosted WordPress blog costs no more than $100.00 a year. There are some additional startup costs. For example, how much you spend depends on the graphics selected for your blog.

For a nominal charge, you may also register a domain for your free WordPress or Blogger account. Doing so allows use of your author name unless the domain has been registered by another writer with the same name. For example, I own the domain barbdrozdowich.com and it is attached to my author site.

Do you care if you register your own domain? Only you can answer that question. In my opinion, you should.

 

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Win-A-Book Wednesday: Broken Places

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By Rachel Thompson

FINAL FINAL BROKEN Places COVER  (1)

 

Win a free copy of Broken Places, Rachel Thompson’s acclaimed memoir, just by leaving a comment below.

About Broken Places

Within one week of its release in January 2015, Broken Places, reached the Top Five in Women’s Poetry and #1 on Amazon’s Hot Releases List. Thompson courageously confronts the topics of sexual abuse and suicide, love and healing, in her second nonfiction book of prose and poetry (her fourth book overall). The author bares her soul in essays, poems and prose, addressing life’s most difficult topics with honesty. As you follow one woman’s journey through the dark and into the light, you will find yourself forever changed.

“A stellar achievement” — Tracy Riva (Top Amazon Reviewer, Tracy Riva Reviews) 

About the author

Rachel Thompson copyRachel Thompson is the author of newly released Broken Places and the award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. For affordable group sessions check out Author Social Media Boot Camp, monthly sessions to help all authors! Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington PostThe San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse suvivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenom #MondayBlogs and the live Twitter chat, #SexAbuseChat, cohosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish.

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Visit her:

Connect with Rachel Thompson on:

Read her:

And follow Rachel on Twitter Twitter @RachelintheOC
and her consulting business  @BadRedheadMedia.

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Focus Friday: Broken Places: A Memoir of Abuse

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By Rachel Thompson

FINAL FINAL BROKEN Places COVER  (1)I’m Not Sorry

I don’t forgive my abuser. Not because I’m angry or because I’m not healed (which is a process anyway). It’s simple really—as a survivor, I’m in charge of my recovery, not you. Not her. Not him. I don’t have to do what you tell me. Just because you tell me that in order to heal I have to forgive the man who invaded my body when I was eleven years old, I don’t have to agree with you.

Besides, why must I take action for something that wasn’t my fault to begin with? I’ve taken on enough already.

It’s extremely personal, it’s my business, and I flat-out reject the notion that in order to heal I have to forgive him. In fact, it’s not anyone’s business but my own whether I forgive anyone for anything! Yet, survivors are constantly asked if we forgive our abusers. Why?

Asking a survivor of something so invasive as sexual abuse of any kind (but particularly of something that happened to us as children), if we are able to grant grace to someone for something so egregious, unlawful, and horrific, something that filled us so deeply with confusion and anger and shame—I find to be almost as invasive. It again puts the onus on the victim of the crime to DO something, when we were not at fault to begin with.

There’s also a pervasive religious dogma in our culture that is thrust upon us—an assumption that healing cannot begin or move to completion without forgiving the monster. This often comes from clergy or non-survivors, which reeks of hypocrisy, like a truck driver instructing a brain surgeon.

It Doesn’t Always Work

Survivors each walk their own path, and many will share their stories of recovery, which may or may not include forgiveness. One friend (a single mom) tells of being forced to continue to work in an office with the man who raped her because her bosses told her she’d be fired if she reported his crime. Not only that, but she was told to forgive him in front of her superiors as well as HR, so it would go on record that she would not be pressing charges.

After a failed suicide attempt, she quit her job, brought charges against both him and the company, and is now working as a freelance artist. She’s not angry anymore, but also says she’ll never forgive him or the company for the emotional damage.

Do It Only For You

Another survivor friend (who is religious) shares that she forgave her abuser because it helps her get through the day. She didn’t want to carry the guilt and shame anymore, so by forgiving him, she let all that go. Forgiving him helped her forgive herself, and that’s the only reason she was able to get to that point.

In fact, part of her recovery is group therapy with recovering pedophiles. I have the ultimate respect for her for being open to that. That’s not something I feel I could do.

Or Don’t Do It At All

Many therapists will tell you that forgiveness is not a required step to healing, despite what religious leaders will tell you. For me, religion has no place in my personal recovery. I am a spiritual person, but I rejected organized religion long ago. It doesn’t mean I don’t pray or believe in certain things—it also doesn’t mean I don’t believe in forgiveness as a general rule.

About Broken Places

  • IndieReader Approved
  • Chosen as a book of the month for Association of Independent Authors, April 2015
  • Honorable Mention at the 2015 San Francisco Book Festival

Award-winning author Rachel Thompson courageously confronts the topics of sexual abuse and suicide, love and healing, in her second nonfiction book of prose: Broken Places. The sequel to Rachel’s first nonfiction book, Broken Pieces, Rachel bares her soul in essays, poems and prose, addressing life’s most difficult topics with honesty. As you follow one woman’s journey through the dark and into the light, you will find yourself forever changed. Rachel’s first book in this series, Broken Pieces, has been a #1 best seller on Amazon (eBooks) on Women’s Poetry and Abuse. Please note: this book discusses serious topics, and is intended for mature audiences only.

About Rachel Thompson

Rachel Thompson copy

Rachel’s Bio:

 

Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released Broken Places (2015 Honorable Mention Winner, San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. For affordable group sessions check out Author Social Media Boot Camp, monthly sessions to help all authors! Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington PostThe San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and the live Twitter chat, #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish. She is also the director of the Gravity Imprint for Booktrope, bringing stories of trauma and recovery (fiction and nonfiction) to life.

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Visit Rachel’s:

And follow her on Twitter @RachelintheOC

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Focus Friday: Broken Places, by Rachel Thompson

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Broken Places is the new book from the award-winning Rachel Thompson, author of Broken Pieces.

FINAL FINAL BROKEN Places COVER  (1)

Shame 

Shame doesn’t like to talk. She prefers to walk through a room, the center of attention, the girl that all the boys dream of, all eyes on her, flash and heels and lips and eyes, and hair. 

Shame is the one everyone talks about but nobody talks to. 

Shame wears pretty, tiny bits of clothes, fancy makeup, and drives a cool, red, fast car, the kind all little girls dream of when they play with their Barbies. She has all the hottest boyfriends, and even the occasional hot girlfriend, who shows up late to the cool kids’ parties as if she’s too good to be there anyway, and besides, “this place blows,” she tells her jock hottie of the day as she sashays her tiny hips poured into her “$1200-a-pop-paid-for-by-daddy” jeans out the door to the next coke-fueled gig. 

Shame has a secret. Shame saturates herself with distractions, partying all day and all night because she’s desperately sad, filled with the loneliness of the lost, her heart a shell scraped so deep because she left it in an alley one night with her pride and her virginity when one large man pinched and shoved and filled and grabbed in in ways she cringes to remember, in tears and rages, in nightmares and flashes she can’t ever discuss with another human. 

Because he was an animal and that makes her one, too. 

Shame carries this animal in her skin, unable to shake his eyes boring into hers as she fought and kicked while he held her down, sticking his furious cock into her. As she watched from above, she wondered aloud why he even need to bother with a live girl; if all he wanted was a hole, he could have just as easily found some sort of household appliance to stick it in. A hole was a hole was a hole. 

But he didn’t hear her mumbled words. 

Nobody hears Shame. They follow her, watching her every move, but they don’t see her. They don’t see her terror, how she shakes alone in her room at night, how she wakes up covered in the slimy sweat of the animal, smelling his stink, flashing on his fetid breath, his flaccid penis finally moving away from her face, forever wiping his semen from her lips in the hour-long, skin-burning hot showers she takes 

every night, 

every night, 

every night 

scrubbing away that which will never fucking die. 

Nobody talks to Shame. They look at her, they stare at her, but they don’t embrace her. She’s this creature, this thing nobody will ever love or soothe, or even acknowledge. Shame knows this. 

She was born out of fear and terror and hurt. She knows that she is nobody’s friend. 

Because, after all, who wants to be friends with Shame?

About Broken Places

Within one week of its release in January 2015, Broken Places, reached the Top Five in Women’s Poetry and #1 on Amazon’s Hot Releases List. Thompson courageously confronts the topics of sexual abuse and suicide, love and healing, in her second nonfiction book of prose and poetry (her fourth book overall). The author bares her soul in essays, poems and prose, addressing life’s most difficult topics with honesty. As you follow one woman’s journey through the dark and into the light, you will find yourself forever changed.

“A stellar achievement” — Tracy Riva (Top Amazon Reviewer, Tracy Riva Reviews) 

About the author

Rachel Thompson copyRachel Thompson is the author of newly released Broken Places and the award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. For affordable group sessions check out Author Social Media Boot Camp, monthly sessions to help all authors! Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington PostThe San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse suvivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenom #MondayBlogs and the live Twitter chat, #SexAbuseChat, cohosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish.

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Visit her:

Connect with Rachel Thompson on:

Read her:

And follow Rachel on Twitter Twitter @RachelintheOC
and her consulting business  @BadRedheadMedia.

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