The blog tour for my book Closer – begins!
There is no light without the dark
no life without death
the sun can’t rise in the morning without
the setting of the moon
and the fading of the stars
Why this merry go round, then?
What lessons are etched upon my heart?
Had I reached my limit of knowledge to carry?
There is no ecstatic joy without deep sorrow
each waterway must end where the land begins
No Spring Flowers without Winter’s frozen snow
no lasting love affair without the first chaste kiss
There I stood in the midst of many
one light in a sea of a billion stars
participating in life’s grand display – shining brightly
furiously burning ever so wonderous
surrounded by space as black as pitch
Yet, there is no truth without a lie
No relief without the pain
There is no mercy without the crime
and there is no night without the day
I’ve done all I can in this body made of clay
I’ve said all the words I came here to speak
and though I am gone from your joyful presence
there can be no fond memories, without the pinprick of grief
So watch for me in those times, my dear
when the sun fades just to the west
when the skies are orange, purple, and red
and the moon begins to crest
Find me on the last day of summer,
and talk to me right before you fall asleep
I’ll be listening to you, my darling
in the spaces, in those transition places
Right there, in the in-between
I am super excited to bring you my latest novel, Closer:
Maplewood, Vermont is a picturesque town filled with unique shops, unique homes, and a quaint familiarity all centered around a lake with an unusual history.
Legends, old as well as Urban, float around like the mist that hovers above the lake at break of dawn.
But they’re just stories, right?
Hayden Moore’s life was destroyed when his husband, Malcolm, was murdered. Giving up his job as an assistant district attorney in Boston, Hayden moved to the little burg of Maplewood to recover.
A new life.
A fresh start.
However, something underneath the water is stirring. Something rotten. A deadly secret wakes underneath the black waters of Lake Veronica so disturbing it haunts the nightmares of the local residents.
It’s coming closer…
I hate that children have to beg not to die.
I hate that everytime I turn on television that someone in our country has been blown away.
I hate that mental illness is being made the ‘enemy’ when in fact it’s anger and rage that brought our president into the oval office that is responsible for these deaths of children and concert-goers.
I hate seeing Donald Trump’s notes to say ‘ I hear you’ to the grieving families that stood in his presence.
I can’t stand seeing his face anymore or hearing the talking points from conservative pundits saying, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”
Like Eddie Izzard said, “They sure do help.”
That’s the truth. A pistol would have lowered the body count, a knife, a car, a bomb.
I was in the service – I’ve fired weapons like the M-16, the M-203, the M249, a 50 caliber Machine gun.
As cool as those weapons were to fire at targets, like the blogger said, made to look like men – those weapons are designed for one purpose.
To kill people.
If people want to fire weapons like this – stop dreaming about the civil war of you vs the federal government that will never happen. Go to your local recruiting office and go and defend us from ISIS and The Taliban and Russia. Put your patriotism and love of country where your mouth is.
The possession of an AR-15 will get you killed faster than not owning one.
Are you gonna take on a Seal? A Ranger? A Marine? A SWAT team?
Because if shit’s really that bad, that’s whose showing up to take you on. That means you’re dead already, you just haven’t laid down yet. That’s who those people are once you get past the pomp and circumstance and patriotism. They’re trained killers.
What about the tanks and bombers and F-16s?
I hate that the biggest threat to the United States (outside of Russia’s involvement in our politics) is the American people who passively allow their future to get walked down the lane hand in hand with ghosts of times long passed. Who are greeted by God having to apologize to them for the way they died when their lives were cut short.
Speaking of which, for those of religious inclinations, how long do you think God is going to sit idly by while children, breathing, walking, talking, children get slaughtered in the classroom.
And don’t make it about ‘well, if God was allowed in school…”
God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, God is in public schools and as long as teachers hand out tests – there has been and always will be prayer.
What isn’t in school are the parents whose sole responsibility in this world is to make sure their children are educated and reach adulthood as responsible members of society.
So play the blame game. Keep it going. Keep abdicating your responsibility as adults and watch as these children snatch the future right out of your hands. Someone has to stand up and say something. Someone has to bring hope to the helpless. Someone has to make sure that school-aged children won’t be gunned down because some crank decided that he or she wants to do the most damage in the least amount of time.
And God help us, it’s children.
Shame on you, America.
I kinda overreacted earlier about a post concerning trigger warnings. The overreaction wasn’t because I was triggered by the subject matter – but I was made angry at the conversation happening surrounding this new age concept and the added weight placed on authors/ publishers to incorporate these things in our work.
While I think trigger warnings come from a genuinely good place in people – the effects do the exact opposite of what they are intended to do.
They are meant to help.
They do not.
The evidence against trigger warnings is mounting and not from mom’s blog or writers corner blurbs – but from medical and psychological professionals.
The first thing we need to address is the easiest. Regardless of our professional lives as writers – we are not licensed medical or psychological professionals.
Nor are our publishing houses.
It is way out of our lane to diagnose or attempt to treat individuals with long-standing mental illnesses. Nor are we capable of identifying them.
Those that say the require a trigger warning still do not require one.
What they need is a C.B.T Therapist. Someone that can help them get over their fear or phobia and break their maladaptive coping mechanisms.
Again – that’s not our lane.
The second bit concerns censorship.
Trauma does happen often, however, Post Traumatic Stress is a rather rare diagnosis according to one article I read today.
And while triggers can send someone into a tailspin – can even cause a panic attack – no one has ever died of one. Ever. Panic attacks or panic disorder is not fatal.
It sucks – trust me. You think you’re dying. However, you are not.
For a trigger warning to be effective, the warning party would have to list all of the things that could possibly set someone off. In short – you’re rehashing the story all over again so that sort of negates the reason for the trigger warnings to begin with.
Furthermore, it stifles the author’s ability to sell. The book becomes a dirty secret and something that is whispered about instead of openly discussed and debated on the merits – according to another article.
In this political climate – that’s chilling as it’s not only affecting the literary world but college campuses as well.
A good professor doesn’t teach a student what to think, they teach them how to think, and the university is designed specifically to challenge deeply rooted beliefs.
There’s virtue in being made uncomfortable otherwise you’ll never experience another way of seeing things. GEtting mad or upset by reading something or a lecture is good for you.
Then there is the abuse of this new thing. People who don’t like certain subject matter, such as a cheating spouse or an interracial couple – have thrown up trigger warnings in book reviews.
I’ve also seen examples where authors issue one of these warnings because of the subject matter such as PTSD and not actually write about PTSD – their character is just a dickwad who treats people like crap.
Then there are the great false equivalences. Saying things like, “Well if you were just compassionate you would do this.”
That’s terribly unfair and backs a person into a corner of ‘Well, I don’t want to be seen that way so I’ll relent or I’ll defend myself.”
That’s psychological manipulation and it’s really interesting coming from people advocating for people’s mental health.
And today, it worked on me.
I blew up. I vented. I declared that I am an artist and HOW DARE YOU…yada yada yada and I come off sounding like a grouchy asshole.
There’s no defending yourself from things like that. It’s already a broken idea.
Art is an act of compassion not only for the artist but for those who view the art. The idea is to connect people on an emotional and often times visceral way.
There’s a reaction.
That’s art’s job.
Art is meant to trigger.
Stifling that, or causing the artist to censor himself or herself is cruel and unimaginable in a free society.
The advocates for trigger warnings either don’t fully understand the power of mental illness or they’ve allowed their worldview to be so romanticized in the idea of professional brokenness – the idea of someone healing and getting better through non-holistic methods is a threat to their bottom line as authors.
Munchausen syndrome by proxy? I can’t help but wonder after that because trigger warnings keep people sick.
I don’t think their work really requires a trigger warning. To be honest, a “No diving/ Shallow water” warning might be more appropriate.
Dare to be different.
Dare to speak your truth.
Dare to stand in it.
Dare to be a guide on.
Dare to raise the banner.
Dare to raise your voices.
Dare to resist the night.
Dare to be yourself.
Dare to do the right thing.
Dare to speak truth to stupid.
Dare to set an example.
Dare to be safe in your skin, safe in yourself, safe in your world.
Dare to stare down a bully.
Dare to correct a wrong.
Dare to shout down lies.
Dare to sing the truth.
Dare to be observant.
Dare to be aware.
Dare to be righteous.
Dare to be loved.
Dare to be free.
Dare to be a dreamer.
Dare to be a lover.
Dare to be a friend.
Dare to be a sister.
Dare to be a brother.
Dare to be a mentor.
Dare to be a light.
Dare to be a phone call.
Dare to be a voter.
Dare to march in protest.
Dare to kneel and pray.
Dare to stand against tyranny.
Dare to make a mark.
Dare to live.
Dare so that others may live.
Dare to be counted.
Dare to be a leader.
Dare to be hope.
Dare to be a teacher.
Dare to be a preacher.
Dare to do all you can.