Monthly Archives: December 2016
I didn’t expect to write this right away, but as soon as I posted it popped into my head.
I haven’t told many people about this part of my life. So…yeah.
I’ve mentioned that when I joined Hard Drive that I was struggling – with myself, with the world around me, with nearly aspect of my life. I had a loving family, supportive parents, great friends. What could possibly be my problem?
When I was eighteen I started seeing the boy next door. Literally he lived next door. He was best buds with my little brother (who is eight years younger than me) but he was my age. At first it was just fooling around. I didn’t want a relationship because all mine ended badly. It seemed every guy wanted one thing – sex. When I wouldn’t put out, he dumped me.
As the months moved on, I fell for him. It wasn’t much longer that I became pregnant. I was so head over heels that I missed the warning signs.
He did everything to keep me from my parents and my friends.
He accused me violently if another guy just looked at me.
He hit me and blamed me for it.
He raped me. At the time I shoved it aside. I was just being a good girlfriend, right? It took years for me to see what he really had done. I said stop. I said no more. He held me down and kept going.
He told me I was worthless. Stupid. Ugly. No one could love me. He told me that over and over until I believed him. I believed him for years, decades, no matter what anyone would say.
Some days I still believe him to this day.
He threatened to kill any guy who came near me. Months later, a couple guys would assault my fiancé outside his place of employment.
When I went to a store I would search the aisles for him. At first I thought it was out of anticipation. Later I realized it was out of fear. I couldn’t handle crowds. What if he was there? Would hurt my now husband? Would he hurt me? Would he take the child that he had pretty much thrown away?
I contemplated killing myself. Seriously I thought about it. I devised ways to go through with it. The pain I felt, the dead feeling inside was just so hard to take. I didn’t feel like I was living. But every time I plotted, I thought of my children. I couldn’t leave them motherless. So I kept on. I lashed out at my husband. I made his life miserable.
The first step out of my hell was a book. I’m a huge Karen Marie Moning fan and I was in the middle of the Fever series. The heroine talked about the walls she built between her and the hero. It made me think. I built walls between my husband and me. I wanted to tear them down. But I had no idea how.
Then I started training at Hard Drive. Slowly I gained confidence. I saw my self worth. I started to recognize the people around me who loved me. I saw the man who had rescued me from the bastard who destroyed me, who loved me despite of the pain I put him through. I saw my proud parents and brother who had always been by my side. I saw my children who loved me so much. I saw the new family who had adopted me as one of their own. Up to this point I thought their words and actions were just for show. No one could love me. That’s what I believed. That’s what was rammed into my brain.
I saw through the lies. I was getting my life back. For the first time in so many years I stepped outside of my shell and took a breath.
It was glorious.
Now, it wasn’t an overnight experience. There were many days, nearly four years of them, that got me there. There were many souls that touched mine and ignited it. This isn’t just my story. It’s our story. It’s time to tell it.
It’s been a while since I posted. I’m juggling three books at once. But here is a little more of my non-fiction.
Please forgive me if I’m rambling. This is literally my first draft. If it ever makes it to publication I’ll clean it up.
I opened the black painted Hard Drive doors to find a long room separated by a wood wall covered in pads. Like I expected, there were punching bags hanging from the ceiling. The only one there was a guy about my height. He was blond, tattooed, and very muscular.
Now, before I go on, let me introduce this man. From the moment I met him, Keoni was someone who I respected. It wasn’t because of his skill as a martial artist even though it should be. He started his gym in 1999 when MMA was something done in secret. States outlawed it. According to them and most of society, it was dangerous.
No, he commands respect because he has lived many lives in the short amount of years he’s been on this planet. He is easily one of the most intelligent people I know. He will sit down and talk to you on pretty much any subject and his insight with blow you away. I love sitting down and conversing with him.
On that day, he took a obese woman and made her start believing in herself. It had been years since I believed in myself. I even thought I wasn’t a very good writer. He patiently instructed me in what to do. He set me up to do “wall drills” – a slow, deliberate exercise of a jab, cross, hook, cross and knee. I did them over and over. I did them at home. Things slowly fell into place.
As I said before, I dabbled in several different sports. Dragon boating, rugby, you name it. Now, I was trying to fight. This was definitely not supposed to be the fit. But I felt like I belonged there. Keoni encouraged me. He didn’t make me feel like I didn’t belong like I had before in other sports. As I was about to leave, he informed me that I would feel fine at first but the pain would slowly set in. It did. I could barely move twenty-four hours later. But I loved it. I was hooked.
During kickboxing practice over the next few months it was usually just Keoni and me. No one else had signed up to be a regular part of the class at that time. One day another guy showed up to work the bag. At first glance, I have to admit he scared me a little. He was bald, also tattooed with piercings in his ears and nose. Keoni asked him to work with me. He agreed and came over to introduce himself. His name was Shannon.
Shannon is my pure definition of never judging a book by the cover. He joked with me to get me to loosen up. He was patient with me. And to this day his is a close friend and one of the sweetest, kindest, most genuine people I know. By the end of that practice I had gotten a little better at what I was doing and felt more and more like I belonged.
So, you all know that I’m a romance writer. If you scroll down on this blog you’ll find my stories.
Sometimes something in a person’s life demands a change. Things are turned upside down, rearranged and left in disarray.
This happened just recently to me. It dictated a bit of a change. I’m not going to stop writing fiction. And if you’re looking for it, I now host Tuesday Tales on my website.
I’m going to use this blog to compose my first non-fiction. It’s the story of my writing career, the demons who formed me, and ultimately about a group of people whose love, acceptance and friendship helped me out of the hell I was living in. It’s the story of that family.
I have no idea when I’ll be done with it. I may never be done with it. I appreciate you taking a look. Here is the beginning.
All good authors do their research before they write. Or at least they try. And all I was looking for was research. Instead I found my soul. I lost it nearly two decades before and was pretty much living in an empty shell.
It all started about Christmas 2012. I had finished Black Irish and, due to quite a bit of encouragement, I submitted it to publishers. No one bit until Christmas Eve when Secret Cravings told me they wanted it and the sequels. The day after Christmas the contracts were in my e-mail.
I was elated. All I wanted was to have someone read what I wrote and now I was going to be an author with a publishing house. My first reaction, other than to celebrate with a bottle of my favorite wine, was to use my new found success to do something good.
But what? There were so many options. At that time we were struggling with my daughter’s disorder, Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome. Suddenly it was clear to me. I would write a romance novel with a heroine who had CVS. I was certain no one would read a book with a barfing heroine. But to be honest, I didn’t believe anyone who read what I wrote. So I dug into it and started writing.
I wasn’t far into the book when I hit a hurdle. My hero, Max, need a conflict with his job so he could make the heart rending sacrifice for the woman he loved. He was a personal trainer. He needed to take a job doing something others would snub him for. I thought long and hard about it. Pro Wrestling? Nope. Boxing? Nope.
Then it hit me.
Mixed Martial Arts. Otherwise known by it’s acronym, MMA.
I wasn’t a big fan. Actually at the time I detested it. I had a former employer who only gave us a raise (the only one I ever got) when he bought an MMA gym. I held a grudge against the sport. However, for my book it was a perfect fit.
It was time to do some research and there was so much to choose from. After carefully considering just a basic study of literature or watching videos, a picked a more challenging method of attack. I Googled MMA gyms in my area. One popped up on top of the list.
Hard Drive MMA.
I clicked on the website and found an e-mail address to contact. I sent a brief e-mail asking if anyone would answer my questions. The owner, Keoni Koch, responded back rather quickly and agreed. I came up with ten questions and sent them. They were ten questions that today proved just how clueless I was at the time.
While I waited for an answer, I checked the website more closely. Hard Drive offered kickboxing classes. I always wanted to try kickboxing. At the time I weighed over three hundred pounds. I didn’t stick to things for very long. My self esteem and my will power were non-existent. But I figured one month wouldn’t hurt. Right?
I pleaded with my husband to let me give one month a shot. He relented and agreed to pay the class fee for a month. When Keoni sent the answers to my questions to me, I told him I wanted to join his kickboxing class. He gave me the days and times of the classes and said he’d see me there.
I got lost the first day of my class and never arrived. The second time I made certain I had plenty of time. I climbed the staircase of the old warehouse and followed the signs. I was met by a set of black doors with the red Hard Drive logo painted across both of them. Here I was. My first kickboxing class. I was so excited.
I had no idea how much it would change me.