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When I stumbled across (literally) the chapter president of the Red Thread Movement, Ksenya Plumb, on the Southern Utah University campus, I knew immediately I had to get involved. Not that stopping the (non-consensual) sex trade really needs any explanation...but when kids are involved, all my protective instincts kick in. The Red Thread Movement and Writing Out Child Abuse share a common thread, common goals...and common enemies.
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It’s been quite a summer around here. Everyone’s been horrifically busy, myself included. The joys of modern life, I suppose. But I wanted to take a moment and let everyone know about some new developments:
First, A Light In The Darkness just got a great review on Goodreads.com! Here’s the link for that:
It’s always nice to score a 5-star review, and I’m very grateful to the reviewer and all the authors who made this possible. Y’all worked really hard to get these stories tightened up where we rated 5 stars, and I thank you all!
Second: We’ve got the first couple of submissions for the next anthology! I’m really excited to be working with these new authors, A.D. Wayy and Paula Acton. They’ve done up some great stories for your reading pleasure, and I’m looking forward to getting this project underway!
With that said, it’s only fair to explain, at least in part, why I’ve been absent of late. First, I’m going back to college, and getting the financial aid and residency sorted out where that became practical was a daunting prospect to say the least. However, I’m proud to say that I managed it and I will enter Southern Utah University as a freshman as of tomorrow!
Life doesn’t stop just because people get busy, and there are children out there who need our help. My hope is that in the next couple of weeks, things will settle down where I can start doing some more active promo for ALITD and WOCA again. In the meantime, my apologies for being away so long…but I think the results are going to be well worth my silence.
And finally: Saturday, September 8th, I’ll be appearing at Braun’s Books on Main Street in Cedar City, Utah! I’ll be discussing my career, things I’ve learned, and of course WOCA…and I’ll be donating 50% of all sales that night to WOCA to get things rolling! So if you happen to be in the area and want to swing by, I’d love to see you.
While it may not look like things are progressing very fast from outside, there are a lot of irons in the fire, y’all. I’m hoping that WOCA’s just going to get stronger. The new submissions certainly seem to imply it already IS!
Until next time,
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Please check out:
https://actionagainstabuse.wordpress.com/ and join here:
Filed under: WOCA Anthology | Tags: A Light In The Darkness, Amber Green, Anthology, anthology for sale, Black Velvet Seductions, child abuse, child abuse stories, Eric Keys, Gillian Colbert, J.S. Wayne, Laurie Sanders, Phoebe Valois, R. Renee Vickers, WOCA, WOCA news, Writing Out Child Abuse
There’s a certain irony in the fact that Writing Out Child Abuse is nine months, twenty-five days old today. To put that another way, this labor has gone on two weeks longer, at forty-two, than the average gestation period for a human baby. And make no mistake, it has been labor. The difference, of course, is that this labor has been shared by a small army of authors, publishing people, cover artists, and people who have generously opened their blogs to allow the authors of WOCA to come talk about A Light In The Darkness.
As I write this, I’m tired, but very happy and very proud. Having read the finished product of the anthology from cover to cover, I’m more convinced than ever that I made a good call with every story I accepted for publication. This book took blood, sweat, and tears to make a reality, but we did it, by God. The authors put up with my endless fussing and tweaking on the editorial side, while Laurie Sanders at Black Velvet Seductions showed me some ropes I didn’t know about and pointed out things I’d simply overlooked in the headlong rush to get other tasks accomplished.
So much remains to be done, however. WOCA now possesses a federal EIN number, step one in setting up a non-profit organization that can be recognized at the local, state, and federal levels. Now, of course, comes getting the money together to be able to file the requisite paperwork so WOCA will be doing business legally as a charity and dealing with the myriad other details that go into creating a charity.
In addition, WOCA is now accepting submissions for a second anthology. This call closes on October 1st. You can view the details at
if you’re interested in writing for this call. Submissions should be sent to email@example.com. All stories will be read, considered, and replied to as quickly as possible, but I’m aiming for a turnaround of one week between none and done.
As much as there is to do, and as weary as I am right now, it’s the kind of tired that comes from a job well done. I couldn’t be prouder or happier with the authors who answered the first call, and all of them have earned a debt of gratitude I can never properly repay. Similarly, Laurie Sanders at BVS, who I have truly come to consider an angel in the flesh, has been such an immense help that I could rave for days on end and never fully or adequately describe what an incredible bastion she’s been throughout this endeavor.
Thank you all.
To get your copy of ALITD, as we’ve come to call it, simply click the cover below or visit
And with that, ladies and gentlemen, I’m off. With so much to do, I don’t really have time to send my cape to the cleaners just yet!
Until next time,
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: A Light In The Darkness, Anthology, Beyond Thunderdome, Black Velvet Seductions, child abuse anthology, child abuse books, child abuse fiction, child abuse stories, Eric Keys, Gillian Colbert, J.S. Wayne, Laurie Sanders, Mel Gibson, Phoebe Valois, R. Renee Vickers, Sizzling PR, Tina Turner, WOCA, writing child abuse, Writing Out Child Abuse
This sentiment formed the basis of the theme song to the smash hit Beyond Thunderdome, starring Mel Gibson and Tina Turner. In the movies and in books, there’s really only room for one hero, or at most a small group of heroes.
Here in the real world, things are a little different. Comic-book archetypes form the basis of our morality, daring each of us to be an extraordinary person and stand against the darkness. Everyone has the opportunity to be a hero, and the fact is in this world, we need every one we can get.
If this holds true for adults, it is doubly so for children. How many times have you read a book or watched a TV show where one of the characters reminisces about wishing a superhero would swoop in and carry them away? It’s a sad but nonetheless true fact that too many children can’t even claim their parents or loved ones as heroes, because those very people who are there to shelter and protect children instead use them in vile and hideous ways, for their own pleasure and to deflect the shame of what they allowed themselves to become.
The authors and production staff of A Light In The Darkness, WOCA’s inaugural anthology, are not heroes. We’re all just regular, ordinary people who share a common cause and a common hatred of anything which harms children. But, in the long months since the initial call went out, all of these people have done extraordinary things, carving out great swaths of time and sacrificing sleep, time with friends, family, and other valuable matters to make this anthology happen.
In a way, I had the easy job: All I had to do was read and give my thoughts. Organizing, keeping everyone on track and on task, and making sure the wheels ran smoothly was largely due to the efforts of Gillian Colbert. Hey, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m the guy for ideas and extra muscle, but I’m not so shit-hot on minutiae. That’s where Gillian’s innate eye for detail and organization comes in, and she deserves thanks neither I nor anyone else can ever adequately give.
Renee Vickers played her role as well, helping me keep my mind right and focused on why I started all this in the first place. Being an editor sometimes feels like playing the role of a budget-rate Atlas, and my hat’s off to anyone who can do that and still keep their drive to write their own material. Having a good friend around to talk to makes a world of difference, and she managed to help deflect my doubts about my ability while still finding the time to write her own material!
Eric Keys and Phoebe Valois both brought great stories and a fresh eye to the table, as well as some new perspectives on why a project like this matters. I’m very proud to have gotten to work with them, and it’s going to be very exciting to introduce these inspiring new talents to the world.
And Laurie Sanders, with Black Velvet Seductions . . . well, I don’t KNOW enough superlatives to adequately describe her and her commitment and assistance with this project, so I won’t even try. Let it suffice to say that if there was ever a person the appellation “angel” described, she’s it!
Okay, okay, enough gushing.The point is, we DO need heroes. However many we manage to assemble, it will always have to be plus one to protect every child who needs it. By doing something as simple as purchasing this anthology, you can help.
You can be a hero.
I promised y’all an excerpt when we were talking at the bar, and I’m going to deliver. Here’s a snippet from “A Hope In Hell,” one of my stories in A Light In The Darkness. Don’t forget to check out the ALITD blog tour, coming soon from Sizzling PR and featuring the WOCA authors! In the meantime, I really hope y’all enjoy this excerpt, and I’ll be back soon!
(The cover was supposed to go here, but an ID10T error prevented me from posting today. Next time, folks. Trust me, it’s worth the wait.)
Edit: Wait no more! Thanks to R. Renee Vickers, it’s here!
In A Light in the Darkness, the inaugural anthology from the authors of WOCA, a dark world awaits you.
Spanning centuries of time, encircling the globe, and running the gamut from eerie historical fiction to gritty
urban fantasy to page-scorching erotic romance, these authors unflinchingly dissect the horror of child abuse
in all its forms. These authors have taken great pains to ensure the innocent are assured justice and the guilty
pay for their crimes in the unique fantasy worlds they have created. Sadly, in real life, this is not always the case.
This book contains scenes of graphic violence and honest depictions of child abuse. Readers who may find such material unduly disturbing, objectionable, or “triggering” are strongly advised not to read it.
Some of the newest and hottest names in fiction have lent their talents to this collection, including Gillian
Colbert, Amber Green, R. Renee Vickers, Eric Keys, Phoebe Valois, and J.S. Wayne. All of these authors are
united by one core belief, and with this collection, they seek to turn their talents to a greater good.
One hundred percent of all proceeds from this collection are being donated directly to Writing Out
Child Abuse. These proceeds will then be dispersed to charities whose sole aim is to help survivors of child
abuse all over the globe. To learn more about WOCA or their fund-raising activities, or to get involved yourself, visit http://wix.com/writingoutchildabuse/intro.
She decided in moments that she didn’t care for the
feeling of traveling across the veil. The nausea and
discomfort the transit caused made her cranky and
irritable, ready to take offense at the tiniest slight. On
the other hand, that wasn’t wholly a bad thing, so long
as she vented her ire in the right direction.
The ranch-style suburban house appeared perfectly
normal to her regular sight. White siding, pale blue trim,
lawn the size of a postage stamp. The shrubs butting up
against the one-story dwelling were uniformly manicured
and well-maintained, the first of the spring flowers
peeping out between the branches.
She took a long sniff of the balmy evening air. It was
still early enough that her presence on the street wouldn’t
be taken amiss. After adjusting the hem of her green
jumper, she reached up checked her beret to be sure it
was squarely seated on her head. Normal, meaningless
gestures that had nothing to do with the reality of the
situation, but they would satisfy any observer.
Squinting slightly, she stared at the house again. Her
stomach fluttered as she invoked the odd sense only her
kind possessed. The pleasant, typical suburban home was
stripped away to be replaced by a vision of the true nature
of the inhabitant and the deeds the house had witnessed.
The house reeled and cringed on its foundation as if
struck by a god’s fist, the paint peeling and cracking,
running in some spots in bruises and lacerations
as produced by Sherwin Williams. The windows
spiderwebbed and jagged fangs of glass fell out of the
panes to tinkle onto the porch, falling through missing
boards in some places and crashing onto the warped wood
in others. Soon only the empty holes remained, as lifeless
and blank as a tragedy victim’s eyes.
She watched through the weed-choked chain link
fence as the ground began to shiver and boil, vomiting up
clods of earth and tangles of roots. Among the grasping
fingers of the broken roots, brownish and reddish pebbles
began to show through the spewing earth. The pieces
became larger and larger, until she recognized a small
thigh bone mingled among the destruction. A low moan
like the rustling of a dry desert wind howled around her,
the innocents who had suffered and died here screaming
out from their unhallowed and unknown graves for
surcease and revenge.
A head-to-toe shudder racked her tiny frame, and she
fought the urge to recoil. She pushed away the vision by
force, blinking several times to try to erase the memory
from her mind without success. Swallowing hard, she
squared her shoulders and marched up to the door, a half dozen
brightly colored boxes tucked under her arm. She
mounted the small flight of stairs leading to the porch
and rang the bell, taking care not to touch anything more
than absolutely necessary.
The dignified chime cut through the canned laughter
of a TV show. In a few seconds, a rustling from the
general area of the forced merriment told her the
homeowner would soon be arriving. She took one step
backward, hoping the queasiness in her stomach didn’t
show on her face.
The porch light clicked on and the door opened.
Until next time,
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Jason Kidd, of Gadsden Alabama contacted my office because he googled 'child abuse' in a search for attorneys or legislation that would support his efforts to seek justice for his daughter Melanie, and found our petition to Make Child Sexual Abuse A Felony.
Jason Kidd has a protective order against his ex-best-friend of thirty years for an indefinite amount of time.
Filed under: WOCA Anthology | Tags: charity, child abuse, child abuse anthology, child abuse fiction, child abuse stories, child abuse story, child abuse writing, hope, Muse Ampoule, R. Renee Vickers, WOCA, writing child abuse, Writing Out Child Abuse
Please join me in welcoming R. Renee Vickers, contributing author to A Light in the Darkness, to the WOCA Blog. Renee can be found regularly at her blog Muse Ampoule.
I would never say the words “I had it bad.” I faced problems and difficulties, like so many of us do, and I survived them. They’ve made me who I am today, for the good or not. It’s hard to discern if the obstacles I faced as a child are the root cause of the strife I carry in my adult life or if my anxieties, insecurities and broken feelings are simply flaws in my character, but I’ll share my experiences and allow you to come to your own conclusions.
My brother and I were raised by a very young single mother who made sure we had clothes on our backs, food in our bellies, and a roof over our heads – no matter how temporary. That being said, as an adult and a parent myself, I know a child needs much more than the basic necessities to thrive. Stability, security, and parents who are emotionally available are some of the things I noticed lacking as I look back on my childhood. What people would consider neglect today. Poor choices and facts of reality lead to annual moves, changes in towns, schools, friends, and changes in family as marriages and divorces occurred. Year after year, I learned to gain new friends quickly only to have them ripped away as I found myself placed in new and unfamiliar situations. And, as a consequence there were many times I was exposed to emotionally abusive people. I can only be thankful that it wasn’t worse than that. I know it could easily have been.
I consider myself lucky. All of these situations taught me to adapt and be flexible, they taught me that it was only my opinion of myself that really mattered in the end, and not what others thought of me. Yes, I still struggle with viewing myself as worthy or good, but it gets better as years march on. I never had the mentality of a victim, and only thought like a survivor. I took everything negative in my experiences and turned them into lessons of what to do and what not to do. I believe it’s because of this that now, as an adult, I can look back on my childhood and pull what good there was in there and forgive the bad because really, my upbringing showed me that people are worth so much more.
When J.S. invited me to be on this project and told me what sort of story he’d like to see I said of course I’d like to participate, but really had no idea what to write. It took me a while to come up with something but when it did it hit me like a freight train. As a parent, I couldn’t fathom writing a story showing the very worst of what happens on a daily basis to children, but I could write from the perspective of a survivor, and that’s the story line my piece takes. My main character Grace de Pierre takes the wrongs that were done to her as a child to effect a change on her world. She works tirelessly with police detectives to find abducted children before it’s too late, to give them the chance to retain their innocence. When Madeline Sanders is reported missing, Grace’s uncanny ability to track down the perpetrator leaves her face to face with the horrors from her past. Madeline’s life, and the opportunity for Grace to heal the wounds of her past are on the line.
My story, “Chasing Ashes,” is of one survivor doing everything in her power to ensure that there are as few additional victims in this world as possible. Isn’t that what we’re all supposed to do?
So, even if the only way I have to help support the victims of child abuse and potentially help keep other children from abuse and neglect all together, is to lend my voice to the growing number of people who say, enough is enough, I couldn’t ask for a better project to participate in. Thank you J.S. for including me and thank you to the other authors and to Laurie Sanders at Black Velvet Seductions for your participation.