Writing Out Child Abuse


We Don’t Need Another Hero… by J.S. Wayne

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,

Best,

J.S. Wayne

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[…] someone with a basically bleak outlook on the universe, I’m pretty excited. A Light in the Darkness is coming along swimmingly. I’m really happy with the story I wrote for it. It started off […]

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