You can help stop child abuse, but… Would you take action if you suspected a child was being abused?

With my new release, My Sore Hush-a-Bye, I go back to a theme that is very emotional to me: child abuse.

I think it’s absolutely important to talk about it. Abuse is, often, a silent violence. It can go on for years and years, with the abused person hiding, becoming more and more withdrawn, sad, and closing off to the world. It takes a lot of courage to break the cycle. Courage that a child, on his or her own most times doesn’t have.

Of all forms of abuse, child abuse is the worst. Because children cannot help themselves. They are supposed to be cared by others, nothing else. Children are vulnerable, fragile, and they need guidance, help, and love.

A child that grows up in a violent, abusive environment is very likely to become an adult with low self-esteem and respect issues (self or for others), and they’ll often be someone who enters into abusive relationships throughout their lives. They become a magnet to bad people, or simply go after them to repeat the pattern they learned all their lives.

Worst of all, in some cases, this child can repeat the behavior she or he had loathed so much during childhood, without even realizing it. The abused, more often than not, becomes an abuser. And the story never ends.

I know how it is, believe me. Because I’ve been there.

I don’t want to get into much detail, since it is now something that I choose to believe as foundational to my strength, but I was abused in several forms during my early years.

 The fact is that I survived, and was able to transform the dark matter that filled my childhood into a great cause that I defend relentlessly. I now want to write about child abuse cases (fictional, but unfortunately inspired on some levels in real experiences—mine or from others that I read/heard about) in the hope that my stories might help people to reflect about the theme. That one day, in the future, child abuse will happen only in fiction.

Child abuse happens a lot. It could be happening right next to you. Would you know how to recognize the signs if it were the case? And, a trickier and more important question:

 Would you take action if you suspected a child was being abused?

Because no one did it for me. And I’m pretty sure people knew what was happening. Maybe not all of it, but a good part of it. Enough to make them aware, to make them suspicious. (Although there were people who really had no idea of the worst part and tried their best to help me with the most obvious problem…)

 So…would you?

It’s important to learn to recognize the signs, and especially, to understand that a single sign is not proof of abuse. A closer look, though, can help you to see if the signs are repeated or happening in combination—which can be an indication that something is not quite right.

There’s a very useful list of signs to look for on this great site: Kidscape. Also on HelpGuide.org. Please visit and read them all. They also tell you how you can help.

Because an abused child will most likely NOT talk.

That’s right: the child doesn’t tell anyone about the abuse in most cases. They feel it’s their fault. They feel ashamed of what happened. They are convinced by the abuser not to talk. They feel they’re not worth help. They feel they deserve the abuse. They don’t know what to do, because the abuser is someone they love. Sometimes, they don’t even know for sure if it’s abuse or if life is like that for every child.

That’s why it is so important to be alert. To help and to protect our children. They need it.

And the future will be a much brighter one if we take care of our children.

To break the cycle.

To.Stop.Child.Abuse!

So, I’ll ask again…would you help? Will you?

EDIT- 11.01: People who know me may be a little shocked by this revelation, including some very close people who can even feel somehow betrayed by my post. Please understand that this is my story, and I decided it was time to share.

Because it can help, and because it is now over to me. It’s so in the past, so detached from the person I am now that I can talk. It is an eternal scar, but it doesn’t hurt anymore. Better saying- it hurts, but doesn’t throb.

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November 2nd: On the Day of the Dead, my new book will be Live!!

This Friday is November 2nd. The day I chose to release my new novel – My Sore Hush-a-Bye.

But it’s also the Day of the Dead (el Día de los Muertos in Spanish, Dia de Finados in Portuguese).

It’s a day to remember friends and family members who have died. In some countries it’s also a day to celebrate their lives, like in Mexico. Here in Brazil it’s mostly a day to visit cemeteries and pray for the souls of the ones that are no longer with us.

I chose this date because it’s a holiday here, and I’ll have the whole day to promote my release. Nevertheless, I also think it’s inspiring—to bring new ‘life’ to this day, even if it’s a fictional one! 🙂

So, on the Day of the Dead, my book will be live! And it will be waiting for your visit on Amazon US, Amazon UK or Smashwords. You can also choose the Paperback edition (Amazon UK or Amazon US)

By the way, let me tell you—the Paperback edition is absolutely stunning! I know I’m biased to say so, but it is. I received mine this week and simply cannot stop looking at it! 🙂 I’m a digital girl and had never read another traditional book since I bought my first Kindle, but there is something truly extraordinary about holding your printed book!

Oh, last thing. There will be a Giveaway of three e-book copies of My Sore Hush-a-Bye and one of Mean: A Psychological Thriller Novelette on The Masquerade Crew, starting on November 2nd. Don’t miss it!!

Author, please read this and NEVER EVER publish without professionally editing your book!!

When I first published Mean: A Psychological Thriller Novelette”, I was young and naïve. Okay, it was only four months ago, but when it comes to the publishing world, it’s more than fair to say I was like a child.

I’ve learned more than I could have imagined since June. With the help of several wonderful authors from the amazing Indie Community, I learned about editing, formatting, publishing, marketing, etc. Of course there’s a lot more to learn—learning is a never-ending job, thank God!—but I now know enough to get me started.

When I finished “Mean”, I hurried to publish, because I was too excited about the idea. I thought it was ready. I had asked a friend to look at it—he called himself an editor, so I believed in his powers…—and then went over it again myself. “Perfect,” I thought. Ha! Presumptuous little foul, Renata!! 😀

Well, the truth is, “Mean” was NOT ready. It had typos and grammar glitches. I, however, had no idea. Friends and strangers bought it. Then, I did a KDP Select Free Promo and hundreds of people downloaded it! I was happy and confident.

Then, I saw my first review. On Goodreads.

I remember that day clearly, a Sunday, when my fantasy world crumbled into pieces. Martha Bryce—who is now a dear friend, but who I wasn’t familiar with at the time—reviewed it as an excellent story, but in urge of an editor. Boy, was I devastated…

I opened my book again and saw what she was talking about. I was so embarrassed, I took it off Amazon and wrote to Martha, thanking her honesty and explaining I had taken it off and was hiring a new—serious—editor. She was the most amazing friend, helping me with edits, and re-reading the book once it was—really, this time—done. Then, she rewrote her review, and I finally republished “Mean”. Since then, the good reviews keep piling up, and I’m so absurdly grateful for that.

Martha Bryce became a friend and my beta-reader, and that’s why she was the first one to readMy Sore Hush-a-Byeand deserved so many words of gratitude on the Acknowledgments page.

The point is…I committed a terrible mistake, but life was easy on me about it. It could have been a disaster. I could be finished as a writer right then.

Thank God I had a good story, otherwise I’d still be crying. And “My Sore Hush-a-Bye” would never see the light of day, or would have to be published under a pen name.

I’m telling this story for two reasons.

  • First, to plead…no, to BEG authors: NEVER publish a book that has not been professionally edited!! Never ever!! It can ruin your career, and gives a bad reputation to all self-published writers..

And by ‘professionally’ I don’t mean ‘expensive’. There are good, affordable editors (I can recommend mine, just contact me if you want, okay?) or even ask a friend to help you (better than the one I described here in my tale 😀 Someone good, if you’re lucky enough to know anyone like that). Go to pred-ed.com, an amazing site where you can find good info before hiring someone. But most important of all: LEARN. You’ll never be able to know if your editor is doing a good job if you know squat about grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

  • The second reason is to prevent a future disaster. I understand that most people who download a free book nowadays, with the amount of free possibilities, will maybe not even read it, or will read it months after downloading… So, you see my point, right?

There are hundreds of people out there with a terribly edited version of my novelette on their Kindles. I asked Amazon twice to inform customers about my new, improved edition. I explained the changes in detail, but never heard back from them. Therefore, I decided to do it on my own.

So, if you have a copy of “Mean: A Psychological Thriller Novelette” bought or downloaded for free BEFORE JULY, 23rd, please, please, pretty please contact me before reading it, and I’ll replace your file with the improved edition ASAP. I’ll even send it in any format you prefer (Epub, Mobi, PDF, etc.). And I’ll apologize and thank you endlessly while doing it, be sure.

Summing it up: If you want to be a serious writer, take your time to make your book the best piece possible. Do not ask people to buy your book if it’s not exhaustively edited. Don’t treat your final readers as beta-readers—that’s not what they signed for when buying your book.

 **Be sure that I’ve learned my lesson. “My Sore Hush-a-Bye” is absolutely, completely, professionally edited. I’ve spent countless hours editinghunting mistakes like a bloodhound with rabbits, or a pig with truffles. I, my editor, and my beta-reader went through my novel time and again (and again, and again, and again…) correcting to guarantee that my readers will have the best work I can provide for their money and time. (Thanks in advance to you all, by the way! 🙂 )

My 5 star Review of ‘A Cupboard Full of Coats’, by Yvvette Edwards

After posting my first review today, I had to post here my review of this book. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, and Yvvette Edwards, the author, is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met.

I really loved this book, and I should have posted my review here and on Goodreads long ago, can’t explain why it took me so long!!

Oh my, what a debut!
This author is someone to follow. What a gift with words; so perfectly constructed characters. The whole atmosphere she creates is so lyrical, so many beautiful sentences, I had to highlight and take notes on my kindle almost in every page.

There are points through the novel where you can actually smell the food she’s describing; listen to Lemon with his thick accent; cry with Jinx.

Abuse and passion crimes, unfortunately, are not new themes to many women; the way they are told here is what makes all the difference.

There’s a beautiful Brazilian song that says, in Portuguese, something like: “Certain songs I listen to/fit so well inside of me/ that I have got to ask/ How I’m not the one who wrote it*”. Well,  this is another book that I’d love to have written. 😀 However, I don’t think anyone else would have the sensibility and talent to have written this story.

A masterpiece by Yvvette Edwards.

She’s writing a second book now, and I cannot wait to read it!

*Find out more about this song here (Milton Nascimento – Certas Canções)

Follow Yvvette on Twitter: @YvvetteEdwards

My 5 star Review of ‘Cheer: A Novel’, by Leslie A. Gordon

I’ll start to post my reviews of books I read here. I will also post old reviews I’ve written on Amazon before but that may take some time…

Starting with a book I finished yesterday:

This book is amazingly well written, with a great plot, well drawn characters, and gorgeous prose.

Each chapter follows one of the members of the Dahl family, which is still trying to recover from a tragedy that happened two years before. First person POV for the women, third for the man.

Each one of them – Ethan, the father, Jenny, the mother, and Ella, the teenager daughter – is trying desperately to find a way to cope with the grief. Unfortunately, they are all trying it alone, and the family is, like Ethan states in a chapter, looking more like a bunch of roommates than people united by love and blood.

A tragedy like the one they faced is known to destroy families, and the mother is so consumed by grief and guilt she fails miserably to see what’s happening with little Ella. It’s heartbreaking to read about this young girl ordeal, what she finds to be an answer to her problems. The father is both weak and strong. You’ll love and despise them; you’ll cheer by their happiness; you’ll read fast to finish it and then you’ll feel a little orphan, missing them.

Having the twisted mind I have, I have to confess I knew what she was going to do but I don’t think many ‘normal’ people (:)) would guess. It’s a compelling and inspiring story and also a good mystery.

There’s a beautiful Brazilian song that says, in Portuguese, something like: “Certain songs I listen to/fit so well inside of me/ that I have got to ask/ How I’m not the one who wrote it*”. Well,  this is one book that I’d love to have written. 😀 Excellent job, Leslie A. Gordon!

*Find out more about this song here (Milton Nascimento – Certas Canções)

Find out more about Leslie A. Gordon on her blog: http://leslieagordon.wordpress.com/

Blog Hop: “The Next Big Thing”

I’m really thankful to my fellow Indie Author Jeff Whelan author of the remarkable Space Orville for tagging me for this Blog Hop!
Basically, it’s an opportunity to talk about our ‘Next Big Thing’, linking to the person who tagged you the week before, and tagging 5 other authors for next week.

It comes right on schedule, since my Next Big thing is almost ready to see the world. My Sore Hush-a-Bye, my novel, will be released next month.

So, let me tell you all about it!

What is the working title of your book?

My Sore Hush-a-Bye is the title of my novel, which will be released in November, 2012.

Front and Back cover

 Where did the idea come from for the book?

For the most part, from Mama Cass, and the song “All the Pretty Little Horses”, as I explained on this previous post

What genre does your book fall under?

I believe it’s a coming-of-age mystery, but some people have classified it as a psychological thriller.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh my, can I dream of it? Okay!

I thought Alec Baldwin would be a perfect Uncle Bob, but after watching the season premiere of “30 Rock”, I’m not so sure anymore. The guy looks ten years younger this season! How does he do that? 😀

For Camille, I can’t think of anyone… Maybe a new, unknown actress. (who would rise to fame after this blockbuster… Okay, I’ll wake up now! :))

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Growing up can change everything…

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self-published. I love to do it all! (Yeah, I am a control freak…)

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I thought it would take me ages, but somehow I finished it in less than three months! (Camille really wanted me to tell her story and kept whispering in my ear incessantly.)

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

That’s a tricky question—difficult to answer without sounding presumptuous—but I believe that “What They Do In The Dark”, by Amanda Coe, “A Thousand Cuts” (American edition) “Rupture” (Original British edition) by Simon Lelic, “Black Heart Blue”, by Louisa Reid, “Still Missing”, by Chevy Stevens and “Cemetery Girl”, by David Bell, are books with similar themes.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Again, I think this post explains it all. In short—Mama Cass was a huge inspiration.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

What?  Do you mean my charming smile is not enough? 🙂

Seriously now, I like to write about dark and twisted themes, in the hope that one day they will only exist in fiction. Unfortunately, there are loads of kids suffering the same ordeal that Camille describes in my book. Since most of them are never going to have the chance to tell their stories, I think it’s important to read this one (and many others from other authors), even if it’s fictional, so people will perhaps be more alert to recognize the signs. There may be a child right next to you in need of help, and you may not see it if you don’t know what to look for. I hope that my fictional story might help giving voice to helpless true children everywhere.

Now it’s my turn to tag 5 other fellow Authors, who will post their answers next Wednesday on their blogs.
Please meet my dear friends and amazing authors:

Ruth Nestvold

T.M. Souders

Massimo Marino

Ally Malinenko

Bev Jones

Bookmark them, so you won’t miss their great posts next week!

Spotlight on Marlin Williams – Interview with Author of ‘The Attic Piranhas’

He’s the author of some greatly reviewed mysteries. He says he writes for his readers’ enjoyment, and it’s clear that he’s doing it pretty well so far.

With his wife as a supporter and editor, Marlin Williams has a winner team.

So, let’s learn more about him!

Please, tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Marlin Williams. I’ve lived in Southeast Texas all of my life except for a brief time in Austin. I loved the artistic community and creative mind-set of that city. I’m currently living in a small country town and the slow pace allows for ample writing time. I began my writing career as a freelance writer for online publications about health and fitness. In 2011, I expanded to writing fiction short stories for Hubpages and decided to enter the Hubpages Patron of the Arts Contest. My short story, The Agency, won the overall Grand Prize. One aspect of winning the contest was to have Smashwords format and publish the short story for ebook distribution on their site. They not only published The Agency, but they agreed to format and publish my novel, The Attic Piranhas. My writing career has now become my primary focus. At this time, I have gone exclusively with Amazon and have self published the novel and two short stories.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing fiction for most of my life. I had almost given up on getting my writing out there until self publishing opened up a whole new avenue.

Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Yes, I was six years old. The title was, John and the Haunted Well. I folded a piece of notebook paper in half, drew a well and a spooky looking tree on the outside of the paper and wrote the story on the inside.

Can you tell us two eccentricities about yourselves?

I kept thinking about that and all I could come up with is that I’m so normal that I’m boring.

What was the best thing you’ve ever heard (or read) from a reader?

The consistent feedback I receive is that the stories hook them and they can’t put the book down until it’s finished. That makes me feel like I’ve done my job as a writer and put something out there that readers enjoy.

Do you have a good Indie author to recommend?

There are so many great Indie authors out there that take their craft seriously and produce some really great works. I’m just now getting to know who they are. One author I enjoyed reading recently is K D George. His novel, Q-A Thriller, was well written and suspenseful.

Who inspired and/or supported you to become a writer?

In my early years, it was my mother. She encouraged me to write and even bought my first typewriter and a book on how to write novels for Christmas when I was in Junior High. My biggest supporter now is my wife. She not only encourages me, she plays a big part in the writing process by editing my work. She actually takes my writing and turns it into something great. She will never allow any writing to be just okay. It has to be great. If any of you have experienced what a great editor can do then you know what I’m talking about. Editing is where the work starts.

Do you have a WIP (Working in progress)? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

I’m currently working on another novel titled, New Flesh On Old Bones, a thriller suspense and a short story called, Life Form, a science fiction short story.

What is your favorite of your books? Why?

My favorite is actually my short story, The Agency. I love old Hollywood and am a fan of Alfred Hitchcock. I used both for my inspiration for this tale.

What is your favorite of your characters? Why?

My favorite character is Max Fagan from my novel, The Attic Piranhas. Max is a guy that is really down on his luck. He is selfish, self centered and depending on things outside himself for change. His off-the-wall journey was fun to create.

Do you like to interact online? What’s your favorite social media?

I like Twitter the best because I’m meeting so many wonderful authors there that are working hard to make their dreams come true. They are all an inspiration to me.

How do you feel about marketing your books?

I found it hard to concentrate on writing and do the marketing. It takes a lot of time and effort to bring a book to the top where the readers can find it. I would honestly love to hand that part of to some one that knows what they’re doing in that field.

Please, give us all your links – where can your readers find you and your books?

You can find me on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0081S2PS8

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Marlin!

And readers, don’t go anywhere! Stay tuned for next interview.

  • If you’re an author and want to be in my spotlight, contact me!

Spotlight on Amanda Green – Interview with Author of ‘My Alien Self: My Journey Back to Me’