Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Dear Your Graces

In a perfect world, we would love, understand, and respect each other. We wouldn't look at facial features, weight, religion, race, hair color or texture, sexual preferences, or socio eco status. We would truly be the village that it takes to raise our children. We wouldn't be Americans or British, Africans or Italians and all of the myriad other nationalities out there. We would simply be Earthlings. Perhaps, then, we would be more forgiving, better able to see that human being supercedes any other identifier. If we just saw each other as people, we would remember our humanity. We would take a moment to put yourself in the place of another and feel empathy at the struggles we each go through, if not sympathy because we have been there.

I have suffered...SUFFERED...S-U-F-F-E-R-E-D with major atypical depression since I was thirteen years old. At first, I was told it was a chemical imbalance due to my changing hormones. After puberty, I would be fine. Except, I wasnt. I have prayed. I have made novena. I have fasted. I have taken vitamins and supplements. I have done scream therapy, cry therapy. My terminologies for the suggestions to scream into a pillow every day if need be, or cry your eyes out once or twice a day. I have exercised. I have dieted. I have taken medication. I have done acupuncture. I have gone to chiropractors. I have tried aromatherapy. And I have attempted suicide when the realization that nothing I did, said, or thought, made a difference.  Depression is a beast that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

I'm classified as atypical because my medication works for a while, then simply stops.

You take happiness where you can find it. I'm tired of hearing if you prayed or if you believed in God. I have a very intimate relationship with Him. I pray unceasingly to take this away. I pray that people understand and not ridicule or judge.

I pray. I wish. I hope. I dream. And I pray again

After the death of Robin William's, I've wrote what depression was to me. It is down below as it originally appeared.

But, now, I feel so much sadness for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. They have met with so much ridicule simply for being honest. I would bet everything i own they'd give up their privileged life to be free of depression.

Who cares if they are royal? Or wealthy? Or a power couple? Prince, pauper, duke or duchess, depression lays you low.

We, as  human beings, should set aside hostilities, hatred, and envy and stand behind them.

I'm just a regular girl from New Orleans. Sometimes, I kick depression in the butt. Other times, it way lays me. The struggle is real. It can also be detrimental and dangeroys.

If we were pals, this is what I would say to them:

Your Graces,

You are not alone in your struggles. You have understanding. You also have admiration. It takes strength to show your vulnerability on the world's stage. You have my immense admiration and thanks for your honesty.  You arent alone. Mental illness leaves you vulnerable and open to ridicule and disgust. Stand strong. Stand together. You are loved by your family and by the world. Not because you are royal or wealthy but because you are human. ❤


Originally appeared on Facebook in August 2014.


Depression is running a race. You're always racing to stay one step ahead of it.
Depression is becoming a test subject. Medicines aren't always effective or they stop working. New combinations might or might not work. It's back to the drawing board.
Depression is living in a fishbowl. You are isolated because no one understands that this isn't something you choose.
Depression is a heavy weight championship. Winner take all. Your victory is imperative to fight another day.
Depression is humiliation. You are called crazy. Enough said.
Depression is panic. When calm is in your life, it is always in the back of your mind that something might set you off again.
Depression is fear. You're afraid that one day you'll be too tired to continue living because it is a struggle.
Depression is appreciation. You appreciate every laugh, every flower, every meal, ever rain shower.
Depression is anger. You're just...angry.
Depression is shame. After a while, you start to feel as if you're crazy and then you wonder exactly what IS crazy and hold onto the mantra that everyone has a little crazy in them.
Depression is loneliness. You can feel as if you're the last person on earth in a room filled with people.
Depression is if only. You're advised by (mostly) well-meaning people that if only you believed in God, if only you prayed, if only you exercised, if only you let the anger out, if only you thought differently, if only...limitless if only. Few if only-ers ever ask what you've already done. If they do, there's a frisson of doubt that you're doing EVERYTHING you can.
Depression is humor. You find things to laugh about.
Depression is sadness. You're sad because you're depressed and you're depressed because you're sad.
Depression is weakness. These are the times when you're at your lowest.
Depression is alcohol. Sometimes, self medicating is easier than being the test dummy for doctors.
Depression is strength. This is how you get through everyday.
Depression is insecurity. You wonder if your family and friends are better off without you. You don't mean to because, rationally, you know suicide isn't the answer. All it takes is one moment of overwhelming pain to make you forget.
Depression is Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Native American...ALL. Male or female. Rich or poor.
Depression is ME. I've had it for years. I've fought it just as long.
So I ask you this. Reach out. Listen. Life is fragile and precious and taken so suddenly. Depression is serious. Mine did not start because of addiction. I was a thirteen year old girl diagnosed with premenstrual dysphoric disorder. My doctors explained it to me as a chemical imbalance in my brain. I've had six suicide attempts with my stomach pumped twice and stays in ICU twice.
Am I sharing this for pity? No. Not at all. I'm sharing it because if anyone out there is suffering with depression and my testimony can help you, then here it is.
The death of Robin Williams has shaken me. Because I know there but for the grace of God goes me. (And, please. Don't inbox me about bringing God into this. This is MY belief and, according to my years struggling with it, I'm entitled to it.)
I'm curious. What is depression to you?


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Countdown to Misrule is on!

Dear Beautiful People,

The last two books I've released were stories that had been written months ago and published through Ellora's Cave. My rights were reverted to me when the company shut down. Therefore, MISRULE is my first totally new release since February 2018, when An Outlaw Valentine came out.

This was a hard book to write. First, words were at a premium for me. It still seems as if I have Chemo Brain at times. Given the fact that MISRULE is over 180,000 words, it is probably hard to believe that my thoughts and ideas would pop up into my head, only to crash and burn. On some days, writing, (thinking creatively), left me with a raging headache. I started the story, threw what I had away and then restarted it. Promised release dates came and went.

Another reason this novel was so hard to write was because of Kendall. With almost everyone calling for her death, I wrestled with what her status should be as the series came to an end. I did the best I could. While I wanted you, my dear readers, to be happy with the end result, I also needed to end the series in a way that left me with no regrets.

A third reason this story came so hard to me is because it is THE END for Big Joe, K-P, Dinah, Outlaw, Meggie, Johnnie, Kendall, Val, Zoann, Mortician, Bailey, Digger, Bunny, Cash, Stretch, Ophelia, Doc Will, Cameron, Roxy and Knox, and the others in this motley crew. These characters have been with me since the autumn of 2013. It's hard to let go. As long as I was writing the story, I didn't have to say goodbye. Everything must come to a conclusion, though. It was time.

Finally, life happened. My mother had heart problems, vertigo, bronchial pneumonia, sciatica, arthritis, and several hospital stays. My children had to be tested for Li-Fraumeni Syndrome. Thankfully, they don't carry the same pathogenic variant in this particular gene that I have in mine. I had two scares that thankfully just turned out to be giant nucleated cells and my body still adjusting to the breast reconstruction. I lost contact with a dear friend. It is as if he fell off the face of the earth. That had me sad for weeks. My psychiatrist retired. The new doctor tried Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation on me. My depression worsened, which really didn't help words come to me. It was a hot mess.

ISBN: 978-1-7325889-6-7     AISN: B07T8MNC5F    Free on KindleUnlimited
MISRULE's release is a triumph for me. In my darkest days, when I believed I'd never finish the book, or any other one. Yet, here it is! This is so cliche but I'm going to say it anyway. Knowing you, my family, friends, fans, and readers, patiently waited for me to get the book out, gave me the courage to finish the story and to finally, finally be able to write THE END.


BLURB:

They’ve been Misled. They’ve been Misunderstood. They’ve been Misguided.
Now it’s time to put the past aside and focus on new beginnings.
Knox and Roxy have finally set the date for their wedding, but things won’t go smoothly. There are too many people within the Club who won’t accept Knox—and one woman in particular whose day of reckoning has been a long time coming.
Not to mention the outside interference from family.
But the most deadly threat of all will come from an unexpected enemy.
Can the Club put aside differences long enough to defeat the looming threat against them ?
Or will Knox and Roxy’s wedding turn into a funeral…?







Excerpt


Slipping into bed, later that night, Roxy slid closer to Knox, who welcomed her with open arms. The red mark on his forehead grabbed her attention again and she caressed it.
“What happened, sugar?”
Knox readjusted and settled her in the crook of his arms. “Nothing much,” he answered, noncommittal. “Just goofing off with the guys.”
For a time, all the boys had accepted Knox into their fold, allowing her to breathe a sigh of relief. Her concern for her man’s safety had lessened. Knox had had a rough adjustment. Most of the men of the motorcycle club and Knox came from two different worlds, but they’d adapted and accepted each other for her. That bliss lasted a few months before some hostility on both sides returned.
Knox kissed the top of her head. “What are your thoughts on marriage, Roxanne?”
Roxy stilled. She’d say she was a progressive, twenty-first century woman, who didn’t need marriage to have a committed relationship. Yet, she was a romantic, if nothing else, and she loved Knox so much.
“What do you mean?” she asked, wanting clarity before she answered. She didn’t want to jump to conclusions about where this might lead. “My general thoughts on marriage or specifics, particularly between us?”
He chuckled, and she joined him in laughter.
“Subtle, right?” she said.
He scooted down and turned on his side, meeting her eyes. “Very.”
“Knox, baby, what do you want me to say?” She traced the outline of his lips. He was so handsome and upstanding. “I mean I get why somebody like you wouldn’t want to marry an ignorant—” She paused and her voice trailed off, before she swallowed and continued. “Ghetto slut like me.”
Those words, in her son’s voice, spoken a couple of months ago, still echoed in her head. She hadn’t even called Duke. She’d just happened to walk in when Bailey was talking to him and their sisters. Her girls all greeted Roxy with enthusiasm. Duke had been pure venom.
“Say that again,” Knox said. “I don’t think I heard you right.”
Tears rushing to her eyes, Roxy’s nostrils flared. She sighed. “You heard me just fine. Ignore—”
Knox narrowed his eyes. “You’re about to cry!” he accused. “What’s…fuck! It’s Duke, isn’t it? He’s the only person in the world who brings you to tears.”
After a moment’s hesitation, she nodded. “He’s my child.”
“He’s a disrespectful little asshole,” Knox snarled. “I should fly to New Orleans and teach him a lesson.”
She gave him a watery smile and caressed his stubbly jaw. “You don’t even know the context in which he said it.”
“It doesn’t fucking matter, Roxanne,” Knox fumed. “You’re his mother and you’re owed his every respect.”
“Bailey was talking on speakerphone to Carissa and Alexia. You know she’s about to marry her girlfriend? They were discussing details. I walked in, heard that part of the conversation, and added my two cents. I didn’t know Duke was even on the phone. He really went for the jugular and said I’d only be relegated to looking in from the outside for long-term commitment since a man like Knox Harrington would never marry an ignorant, ghetto slut like me.” She tried to laugh it off, but the attempt sounded as hollow as it felt. “Mortician threatened to go to New Orleans and box Duke up. It took me and Bailey to talk him down. No matter what Duke does, I’ll never sanction his murder. It was such a mess, Knox. After we talked him down from Duke, the boy wanted to confront you about putting a ring on my finger. Part of it was I was so upset that it affected Bailey. To keep shit from blowing up too much more, I just lied and said you and me were talking about marriage. I was just waiting for you to propose.”
“Now, I understand,” Knox mumbled, more to himself than to her, but Roxy heard anyway.
“Understand what?”
“What are you talking about?”
“What you just said. What do you understand now?”
“It isn’t important,” he brushed off. “What is is how you feel about marriage. Is that what you want? For us to marry eventually?”
“I don’t know,” she admitted with soft honesty. “I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you, but suppose you want more children?”
“I have all the children I want, sweetheart,” Knox said gruffly. “My son and your three daughters.”
Though his words made her swoon, she couldn’t allow a certain slight to pass. “What about Duke?”
“I make no claim to him unless I’m free to kick his ass.”
“Knox,” she chided.
“And,” he went on as if she hadn’t spoken, “I would be the luckiest man alive if I ever proposed and you agreed to marry me.”
She smiled at him. “Then we’d both be pretty fucking lucky because you’re the kindest, smartest, handsomest man I know.”
He brushed her lips with his own. “Mmmm. Compliments like that might just get you ravished.”
“I’m yours for the ravishing.” She chuckled and turned on her back, desire racing through her at his sheer sexiness. He was one fine motherfucker.
Knox rolled over onto her and slid his fingers through her hair, staring deeply into her eyes, his amber ones mesmerizing her. Slowly, he lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her with slow, exquisite tenderness.
Opening her mouth to him, Roxy wrapped her arms around Knox’s neck, relishing his scent and his weight. He wasn’t rushing inside of her, despite how his heavy erection throbbed against her belly.
Still kissing her, Knox readjusted and began to slide her nightgown up, running his fingers along her thighs, her hips, and her stomach. His touch ignited fire within her and sent goosebumps rushing along her skin. Her nipples hardened and her pussy heated.
With her nightgown above her waist, Roxy spread her thighs. Knox brought his hand to her clit and massaged it.
“Knox,” Roxy groaned, lifting her hips.
“I’m here, sweetheart,” he whispered, putting more pressure on her sensitive clit.
She arched her back. “Keep doing that, baby,” she breathed. “That feels wonderful.”
“This will feel even better,” he responded, closing his lips around her covered nipple.
The thin material of her nightgown allowed Roxy to feel every sensation. She gripped his shoulders, moved to the rhythm of his fingers, and gasped at each little sensation she felt.
She moved her hips faster. He sped up his fingers, necessary to end her agony.
“Oh God!” she cried, shaking in her ecstasy.
For the briefest moment, Knox pulled away. Through her haze, she heard his nightstand drawer open and close. A moment later, she felt the coolness of the lubricant as he spread it in and around her pussy.
When he entered her, they moaned together.
Duke’s hateful words flashed through Roxy’s head, but she shoved them aside. Knox loved her and, when they mutually decided the time was right, she was sure they’d walk down the aisle.





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