My Survivor Story Re-blog #MondayBlogs

The Mending Mads Silent Auction is almost over. We reached our goal the very first day! I’m humbled by the response of the authors and vendors who participated. Those who bid on items, thank you so much. Through RAINN, your money will go to help those in need of comfort and healing.

MMchalk

I touched on a few of the reasons that Mending Mads and raising money for RAINN are important to me. With statistics of sexual assault as they are it seems impossible not to know someone whose life has been touched by it. For me the gravity of stopping sexual violence goes beyond friends, family, and basic compassion for my fellow human being.

I am a survivor of sexual assault.

Consciously, I have very little memory of this time in my life and no solid memory of the actual assaults. Too young to hang on to no more than small impressions left by the train wreck my trauma left behind. My lack of memory is a blessing and a curse. There really is not good way to be left with the aftershocks of being violated. Not quite three years old, I was a very boisterous and precocious child. My father was overseas with the Navy so it was just Mom and I. She attended night school working towards her bachelors in psychology. While she was at school I was left in the care of a woman and her husband, family friends of my parents. For the sake of this post I will be referring to my attacker as The Man.

****TRIGGER WARNING! My story includes details that may be a trigger to some readers. Please continue with caution.*****

 

OVC_SM_ENG

 

The Man and my father met on the base where they were both stationed. His wife was very sweet and he was supposedly a fun guy to be around. Originally it was The Man’s wife who was my babysitter but for reasons I cannot remember The Man ended up taking over the job. Fast forward I don’t know how long to the night I came out of my bedroom long after I should have been asleep. I informed my mother that it hurt. She asked me, “What hurts?”

I pointed down the front of my diaper and said, “Where The Man put his fingers.” Immediately after I became hysterical because I wasn’t supposed to tell. “The Man said he’d make you go away and I’d never see you again!” I wailed. The Man had ensured my silence by threatening my mother’s presence in my life. I always was a mama’s girl but as my father was currently gone she was all I had. The Man told a child he’s leave her completely alone in the world if she told on him. This small act on his part impacted me so greatly for the rest of my life it was nearly crippling. I suffered from separation anxiety until I was a teenager. Sleepovers with friends, trips, just going to school terrified me; my family might be gone when I get back.

My mother blamed herself and to this day thinks she should have seen some sign The Man would hurt me. She remembers the weird irritation on my genitals that she chalked up to a recurrent diaper rash. She remembers washing my blanket and wondering what I’d spilled on it, in retrospect she knows it was The Man’s semen. Going to school for psychology, specifically to help abused children, while her own is being assaulted under her roof. To say Mom needed therapy as much as I did is an understatement. I’ve never blamed her and I hope one day she’ll stop blaming herself as well.

The truth is Mom is my hero. The Man’s commanding officer tried to sweep it all under the rug. I was just a kid, probably lying. Even though mom had a report from the pediatric ER physician stating it was obvious to him I had been sexually abused, the CO refused to do anything. Mom wouldn’t be told to go away. She threatened to go to the newspapers. With her permission they would print my name, The Man’s name, the name of the Navy base and every person she’d come into contact with since I told her my terrible secret. That’s how mom met the base commander. He apologized and shipped the CO to one of the worse bases you can end up at. The Man was arrested and tried in military court. He spent two years in prison. The shackles of his abuse will stay with me until I die, two years seems too easy. PTSD, anxiety, depression, mistrust, fear, nightmares; the list goes one!

You don’t get to get over sexual assault. It lives with you forever. Without the love and support I’ve received I wouldn’t be a functioning adult. I was told in junior high not to share my story because it makes people uncomfortable and then they won’t want to be around me.

It makes you uncomfortable? Well, it made me uncomfortable too. You won’t want to be my friend? Too bad for you. I will not be silenced and made to feel ashamed. I will speak out. I will fight for myself and others until the day comes when the offenders are too uncomfortable to commit sexual assault. I will make a difference. The Mending Mads Silent Auction is one way I am raising awareness, educating the public, and helping to fund an organization dedicated to getting other survivors the help they deserve.

728x90_joinTheFightC

Love is never going to the grocery store alone. #mondayblogs

Love is being married to the same man for 40 years and he still enjoys giving me goosebumps from kissing the back of my neck, every year he remembers to buy me Cadbury eggs at Easter time, and he always whistles when I walk out of the shower. – Pamela

When I married Mr. B he was unemployed after his company folded up shop. He spent months looking for a job but no luck. He was either overqualified because of his IT work history  or under qualified without a college education. My retail job kept our heads barely above water as bills piled up. Mr. B’s self esteem took a huge hit. Since the age of sixteen he had a job and now he had a wife he couldn’t provide for. He decided to join the United States Air Force. Insurance, paychecks, and a chance to go to college came with the job once he signed on the dotted line. He went to basic training in San Antonio and I prepared for seven weeks apart. My dad told me to write him a letter everyday. “It’s rough in basic. Those letters from home have a way of making the worst day feel bearable.”

I sent forty-nine letters, one for each day we were apart. Not many letters came back from him, but when they did it was wonderful. He kept a running journal of each day, just a few sentences. My first letter from him came with the three page journal. I recently re-read the letters and feeling his stress/anxiety through them was sobering. His flight was the F-Troop, so bad they got one instructor reassigned for his failure to train them.

At twenty-three, Mr. B was used to freedoms his eighteen year old counterpart were not. Home sickness was his biggest issue along with the fear of being ‘washed back’. This is when you have to start over in basic. He was so worried about it he kept an injury hidden and performed minor self surgery to avoid the Med clinic. (I was not happy about that one, at all!)

Looking back over his letters one sentence sticks out in my mind. “My first letter from Bridget came today and I cried when I read it.”

Mr. B is a strong, silent type. Very stoic. I can count his tears over the last  seventeen years on one hand and still have fingers left over. Knowing a letter from me hit him so hard told me a lot. A little gesture that spoke volumes. I started thinking about other times one of us has done something small in scale but meant the world to the other gestures are beautiful but I really think it is the smaller gestures I enjoy most.

Love is when he rubs your back and massages your aching hands while you talk at night. Love is when he brings you your favorite chocolate because you’re feeling stressed. Love is when you stroke your child’s hair and sing her to sleep every night at bedtime. Love is being there for someone when they need you, love is listening without judgment, love is accepting someone as they are, love is giving of yourself, love–real love, comes without any expectations or conditions – Liana

On facebook I asked people to define love in small gestures. They had to finish the sentence “Love is…”

 

 

Love is…

not complaining about my cold feet in the bed – Jasmyn

34 years together and my man stills makes me giddy when he smiles at me! – Angela

morning cuddles – Sara K.

having that 1 person that can make you smile even on the worst days – Sara D.

still getting butterflies whenever he takes me on a date – Alexis

knowing to be there when needed even if you’ve not been invited – Lavern

Finding out your husband of 11 years listens to Kelly Clarkson at work because her songs make him think of you – Bonnie

Cutting 3 inches off crutches and piecing them back together for your short wife with fractured foot. – Robin

buying ice cream for your girlfriend when shes feeling down – Amanda

giving you the last bite – Stephanie

The door handle on my truck broke and my husband refuses to fix it. He said he likes to open the door for me – Jody

Peeling the pistachios for me because I don’t like to mess with the shells. – Amber

being treated with respect – Linda

when I’ve had a really bad day and her arms are there to wrap around me.- Amy

il_570xN.273038831

Sara Feiss Art – shop her Etsy store here

Love is not having an appetite for days because an old hag’s comment made your self esteem go down but going into your bag to get your laptop to find he placed a baggy of your favorite snacks and a note that says “For my beautiful wife. I need you alive” – Lisa Marie

Life throws up for a loop and suddenly your day turns to night. Hopefully, it only lasts a day.

Love is being selfless, being kind, loving beyond fault, putting your children, your spouse, and God first before yourself. Love is staying by your sick child’s beside day and night, day after day, month after month, in a horrid Cancer battle and holding said child in your arms as he died. – Mary

Sometimes love is painful. I once heard it said that the opposite of love is not hate, for hate is the absence of love. No, the opposite of love is grief. When the mortal vessel love lives inside has reached it’s end, grief in others is the proof it existed. For this reason, grief is a beautiful celebration of love. Don’t fear grief, though it is painful, because without it you can’t know the joy of real love.

Life is hard, when you really have someone who loves you that makes the load easier. I hear a lot of people say that love should be easy, where did that idea come from, you have to work at the things you want, why would you do less for the love of your life, it requires maintenance and work, you have to tend it everyday. – Linda

We live in a day when relationships don’t stand the test of time, according to statistics. We’re told true love is a magical experience that just happens.

giphy (22)

We work for everything in life, why wouldn’t we work for love? Work doesn’t have to mean back breaking endeavors. Little things count big time. Don’t waste a day without showing your loved ones why they matter; family, friends, spouses/significant others, etc.

If you’re unsure how to go about doing this I think Christy W. summed it up well when she answered my post with “Love is everything.”

Witness the Revolution and choose where your allegiance lies.

Rising Shadows: World in Shadows, book 1 is re-releasing with added content, more editing, and the integration of Winter’s Kiss (book 1.5) from my publisher Booktrope. Watch the trailer below…

Labeled an Arcane, Rachel Ryan wonders if she’s human anymore. After she’s thrown headlong into the world of The Preternatural Rachel learns Shapeshifters, Faeries, and Vampires aren’t legends. They’ve been living hidden in plain sight among humans. In her quest to save a child she will set off a cataclysmic chain of events. Her actions will disrupt the carefully balanced political chess board, casting once powerful pieces to the floor. A werewolf protector, a lost princess, a mad vampire, and an exiled Fae named Winter will rise up to challenge the status quo. A war that has been brewing in the shadows for centuries is ready to explode. Rachel must choose where her allegiance lies, tipping the scales, but who is an enemy and who is a friend?

Amazon link http://smile.amazon.com/Rising-Shadow…

JOIN the Facebook party for GIVEAWAYS from myself and many guest authors.

RISING SHADOWS Cover Reveal

COVER REVEAL

TITLE: Rising Shadows

SERIES: World in Shadows (Book 1)

GENRE: Paranormal Romance

AUTHOR: Bridget Blackwood

PUBLISHER: Booktrope Publishing

Re-Release Date: October 28th, 2015

bridget blackwood_rising shadows_ebook

synoposis2

Labeled an Arcane, Rachel Ryan wonders if she’s human anymore. After she’s thrown headlong into the world of The Preternatural Rachel learns Shapeshifters, Faeries, and Vampires aren’t legends. They’ve been living hidden in plain sight among humans. In her quest to save a child she will set off a cataclysmic chain of events. Her actions will disrupt the carefully balanced political chess board, casting once powerful pieces to the floor. A werewolf protector, a lost princess, a mad vampire, and an exiled Fae named Winter will rise up to challenge the status quo. A war that has been brewing in the shadows for centuries is ready to explode. Rachel must choose where her allegiance lies, tipping the scales, but who is an enemy and who is a friend?

about-the-author2

Bridget Blackwood was born April 1984 and raised in East Texas where she met and married her high school sweetheart. In 2003 they moved to Southern Illinois, just across the Mississippi river from St. Louis, Missouri. Bridget juggles writing and being the mother of three rambunctious children.

Bridget has been writing and telling stories for as long as she can remember. She loves to read romance and watch horror movies, naturally the two came together in her writing. A social butterfly, Bridget loves talking to readers through email or social media. She is on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads.

WEBSITE: http://bridgetblackwoodauth.wix.com/book

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/BridgetBlackwoodAuthor

TWITTER: @author_bridget

The Music in the Pages

 

 

 

Each book has a playlist with the songs that filled my head with scenes to write. I could tell you about each one because I love them all dearly but most people don’t want to read that long. I picked narrowed it down to my absolute favorites.

You can find a full listing of the songs that inspired me from each book on my webpage

BridgetBlackwood_RisingShadows800

Freak Like Me

by Halestorm

So shout if you’re a freak like me,
You were born to burn,
This is no disease you don’t need a cure!
It’s our time now to come out!
If you’re a freak like me!
If you’re a freak like me!

We’re underground but we will not surrender,
We’re gonna give them something to remember, yeah,
So write your name in gasoline,
And set that shit on fire

Why this song?

 Rachel’s anthem. LOL! I always wanted Rachel to be the sort of person that takes the bad with the good and moves forward. If she wallowed in self-pity and woe is me the book would have never gone anywhere. She has an initial panic attack before accepting the changes inside her but ultimately she jumps on board the freak train. Scratch that, she hijacked the freak train. Instead of trying to get back what you lost, focus on what else you have to lose.

Not Strong Enough

by Apocalyptica ft. Brent Smith

I’m not strong enough to stay away.
Can’t run from you
I just run back to you.
Like a moth I’m drawn in to your flame,
Say my name, but it’s not the same.
You look in my eyes, I’m stripped of my pride.
And my soul surrenders, and you bring my heart to its knees.

And it’s killin’ me when you’re away, I wanna leave and I wanna stay.
And I’m so confused, So hard to choose.
Between the pleasure and the pain.
And I know it’s wrong, and I know it’s right.
Even if I try to win the fight, my heart would overrule my mind.
And I’m not strong enough to stay away

I’m not strong enough to stay away
What can I do
I would die without you
In your presence my heart knows no shame
I’m not to blame
Cause you bring my heart to its knees

Why this song?

Oh, Bastien. My first hero. I didn’t want to draw out the insta love angle of the plot but it’s there if you look for it. He feels a magnetic pull to Rachel he can’t fight. Doesn’t want to fight. It’s not a love that makes you weak but one that makes you stronger. Bastien was born to be an alpha. He’s been happy leading a care free life until Rachel crashes into his life. Almost literally. Besides the beautiful instrumental work by Apocalyptica there is also vocals by Brent Smith. I love his voice. The whole song is just beautiful.

premade exclusive book cover 351 Ebook
When the Darkness Comes
by Colbie Caillat
Now the door is open
The world I knew is broken
There’s no return
Now my heart is not scared
Just knowing that you’re out there
Watching me
So believe I’ll be here waiting
Hoping, praying that
This light will guide you home
When you’re feeling lost I’ll leave my love
Hidden in the sun
For when the darkness comes

Why this song?

Gotta be cryptic here if you haven’t read Rising Shadows and Winter’s kiss. Winter’s Kiss isn’t a full book but rather a novella to tie up some loose threads in Rising Shadows. The couple in WK are lost without each other. They can’t be together the way they want to and nowhere else in the world feels like home. It’s a song for knowing the person you love is there even when you can’t be with them.

Running up that hill
by Placebo
‘C’mon, baby, c’mon, c’mon, darling,
Let me steal this moment from you now.
C’mon, angel, c’mon, c’mon, darling,
Let’s exchange the experience, oh…’

And if I only could,
Make a deal with God,
And get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems [x2]

Why this song?

Watching the person you love hurt or go through harrowing trials is rough. You wish you could take their place and bear it for them. In Winter’s Kiss the hero would give anything to be the one doing all the dangerous work. When I heard Running Up That Hill I could see him eagerly diving head first into the fray with a smile on his face if it meant she was safe.

Scarlet Fury

Safe and Sound 

Cover by Madilyn Bailey

I remember tears streaming down your face
When I said, “I’ll never let you go”
When all those shadows almost killed your light
I remember you said, “Don’t leave me here alone”
But all that’s dead and gone and passed tonight

Just close your eyes
The sun is going down
You’ll be alright
No one can hurt you now
Come morning light
You and I’ll be safe and sound

Why this song?

I know this song was a popular Taylor Swift song but I heard it for the first time as a cover by Madilyn Bailey. Her voice is soothing and the song is soothing. It’s a perfect fit. The words came out and smacked me in the face. “Hey! This is perfect Cleary and Mads song. It’s like Cleary freakin’ wrote if FOR Mads. Make a note, scribe.”

Yeah, my muse is kind of bossy and rude.

Cleary’s desire to make Mads comfortable, to be a part of her life, to keep her protected and happy for the rest of her life is very powerful. He feels like he failed her, of course he didn’t but it was a traumatizing experience for him too. Mads started out in the series so naive and a little immature. She ends up coming into her womanhood and maturity but only after suffering. Cleary wants to pack her up in bubble wrap and keep her at his house forever to make sure she never feels scared again. Mads ain’t going for that plan but a Lion can dream.

Stardust

by Gemini Syndrome

Look at the wake
From the stardust pouring from your eyes
It’s no mistake
You are perfect
You are perfect in my mind
And you won’t fade away

Why this song?

Another Cleary song. Mads doesn’t see herself the way Cleary does. Her own self image is damaged and she feels like people pity her. Cleary still sees the same Mads. Actually, that’s not right. He sees a stronger, braver Mads he couldn’t love more if he tried.

BTSK

by Ms Mr

I found you in pieces you’d been torn apart
A million one reasons to end before you start
But deep down I knew
No matter what in the end, it’d be me and you
Big teeth small kiss
I turn to wax and melt like this
Melt like this

Why this song?

When it came time to write the love scene for Cleary and Mads I had a very particular way I wanted it to go. You’d think steamy would be my goal but for these two I wanted more. They’d been through so much as a couple and I wanted to portray the tender side of intimacy. Hearts and souls connecting. What I learned was that level of commitment to one another is actually pretty hot to read and write. Ms Mr’s song BTSK has that slower, sensual feel to it and the lyrics are actually pretty great for what I wanted as well. There are some subtle lines and then you have the all out WOW lines that make you melt into a puddle.

Caress my knees with your tongue
Teeth on my waist I come undone
It’s those hours in the night just before a light
Run your hand down my spine
We kiss the dusk goodnight’

With likes the those who doesn’t need to fan themselves?

Through the Ghost

by Shinedown

So many silent sorrows
You never hear from again
And now that you’ve lost tomorrow
Is yesterday still a friend?

All the bridges we built were burned
Not a single lesson was learned
Everything that mattered is just
A city of dust
Covering both of us

Did you hide yourself away?
I can’t see you anymore
Did you eclipse another day?
I used to wake up to the colour of your soul

Did you hide yourself away?
Are you living through the ghost?
Did you finally find a place
Above the shadows so the world will never know?
The world will never know you like I do

Why this song?

Two friends face off in A Scarlet Fury. They were the very best of friends, the kind of closeness that people don’t fully understand. Then they find themselves on opposite sides of the divide. You witness their friendship crumble on the pages and realize they’ll never get back what they had. Looking at someone you knew better than yourself and suddenly seeing a stranger. *sniffle* Hits me in heart every time.

BelongToTheNight_ebook

Under a very black sky

by The Sick Puppies

I have a dream you had a weapon
I couldn’t see it in the dark of the night
It’s easy to hide under a very black sky
Over the moon just beyond seven
I watched in vain as the missiles took flight
We lost our lives under a very black sky

Why this song?

Elisavet’s transformation into a vampire isn’t an easy one. Under a Very Black Sky is a somber and yet sweeping song that mirrors the turmoil in Elisavet’s last moments as a human.

Still here

by Digital Daggers

Every night, I dream you’re still here.
The ghost by my side, so perfectly clear.
When I awake, you’ll disappear,
Back to the shadows
With all I hold dear.
With all I hold dear.
I dream you’re still here.
I dream you’re still here.

Why this song?

Poor Varian. The things he wants are ever slipping farther from his grasp. In dreams you can pretend you still have the things you lost and when you wake up you spend a few seconds actually believing you got it all back. The dreams fade away into smoke and you’re left to go through the loss all over again.

Heart is a Hole

by Cherri Bomb

What do you do when
The truth was a lie all along?
Where do you turn to
When you find the rights were always wrong?

All this dying I went through to live for you

And now my heart is just a hole
An empty space
That used to belong to you
But now
Now that you’re gone
My soul’s turned cold
Nothing to fill this heart that’s a hole

Why this song?

Tsura. Girlfriend gets hurt bad. That’s not a spoiler because thus far in the series when hasn’t Tsura been hurt by the actions of others? I mean, she needs to lay down the law. Heart is a Hole is a last straw song. You’ve finally reached the point when your heart has been chipped away at until nothing is left. It’s a hauntingly beautiful song to listen.

The Story

by Brandi Carlile

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to
It’s true… I was made for you
I climbed across the mountain tops
Swam all across the ocean blue
I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules
But baby I broke them all for you
Because even when I was flat broke
You made me feel like a million bucks
You do and I was made for you

Why this song?
Manias is good at inducing the swoon. He knows when he’s found something special and Elisavet is special. Like many ballads that came before it The Story is laying it all out on the table. Everything in my life was leading me to you. BOOM! Bring the swoon.
Arsonist’s Lullaby
by Hozier
When I was a child, I’d sit for hours
Staring into open flame
Something in it had a power,
Could barely tear my eyes away
All you have is your fire…
And the place you need to reach –
Don’t you ever tame your demons
But always keep ’em on a leash

Why this song?
One chapter is told from the POV of Ianthe. If you’ve read the book you know the significance of the chapter I am taking about. Who is this song for? The only one who made it out. No spoilers! I can say no more.

Remember not to forget. Organize your series.

The World in Shadows series is full of people, places, and things (nouns!) I need to remember in order to write the books. I found out quickly that I couldn’t keep it all straight in my head. This is how a typical conversation I have with myself goes:

What do I call my shifters as a group? Oh right, therians. Um, it’s latin for something. I should have written that down. Now I have to google it again. 

Did I say werewolf or Lycan in Rising Shadows? 

Why do I keep alternating the spelling of the hero? Is it B-a-s-t-i-A-n or B-a-s-t-i-E-n?

How old is Varian again? Math, I hate math. 

I can’t remember anything!

As I struggle with the past information I’ve already given out to readers I need to lay the foundation for the books to come. Clues and history have to be added. Yay, more stress on my beleaguered brain! Do my characters take mercy on me? Nope. They throw me flaming curve balls at 120 MPH.

“Hey Bridget! Remember that guy Bishop we introduced you to at the end of A Scarlet Fury? I know he was meant to be a minor character but listen to his whole life story because it’s really cool. Think you have room up there in your brain for more?”

“Oh yeah, sure. Let me dig out this part about how to tie my shoes and walk without tripping. Who needs those? Pile on the new plots.”

spdr

Q: How do I keep my ideas organized?

A: Technology is my friend.

I have a series “bible” using Evernote. Google it. This is where I keep character profiles including photos. Detailed histories and lines from the books are kept together so I can easily pull them up anytime. I cannot tell you how many times I saved my own bacon with Evernote. Saves me the time of hunting down what I have a question about in previous books. Big chunks of research on various Fae are waiting for me to use them. I find this sooooo much easier than bookmarking a dozen different sites.

As useful as this is to me it is not my main tool. I need something linear to lay out and follow the series.

There is a timeline with all the secrets of the series. I keep it heavily guarded by a vicious, bloodthirsty bunny. Don’t be fooled buy his cute exterior. He wants you to think he’s precious but really there’s malice in his heart.

cute-bunny

Bun Bun the Destroyer

I recommend starting a series bible somewhere to organize your thoughts. Evernote is one of many choices out there. You can even just use a word document but I personally like the internet accessibility if I want to look at something and I’m not on my own laptop.