Blog Tour: Refraction

Blog Tour

Refraction

By Naomi Hughes
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: November 5th 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Synopsis:
After an attack on earth, all reflective surfaces become weapons to release monsters, causing a planet-wide ban on mirrors. Despite the danger, the demand rises, and 17-year-old Marty Callahan becomes a distributor in an illegal mirror trade―until he’s caught by the mayor’s son, whose slate is far from clean. Both of them are exiled for their crimes to one of the many abandoned cities overrun by fog. But they soon realize their thoughts influence their surroundings and their deepest fears begin to manifest.
With fast pacing and riveting characters, this is a book that you’ll finish in one sitting.
Book Links:  photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Guest Post – Mental Health Rep Post
Book: Refraction
Author: Naomi Hughes
Hi! I’m Naomi Hughes, author of Refraction, a young adult sci-fi that comes out Nov 5. It’s chock-full of some super cool stuff: bromance, creeptastic shadow monsters that crawl out of mirrors, tons of banter, and, maybe most importantly, mental health representation.

The protagonist, Marty, has obsessive-compulsive disorder—like me. When I was writing him, I thought a lot about how to make sure I represented OCD well. Because I’m a Ravenclaw, I also did quite a lot of research on how other authors and various forms of media depicted mental illnesses.

As I researched, I found some really wonderful, thoughtful, and realistic depictions of characters who have mental illnesses…and also, some bad or just flat inaccurate rep. All of it helped me ferret out a few core ideas about how I wanted to write Marty.

#1: I wanted to let Marty be human.

In reading books that featured mental illness, I ran across a handful of unfortunate tropes that popped up again and again: the high-strung character whose vague mental illness is a personality quirk played for laughs, the detective or cop whose OCD gives them deductive superpowers, and the villain whose mental illness somehow made them evil.

And the thing is…none of those are accurate to real life. None of them represent what living with a mental illness is actually like. OCD is not a quirk, it doesn’t make you smarter, and it certainly doesn’t turn you evil.

The truth is, people with OCD (and other mental illnesses) are as human as anyone else—and that’s something I wanted to be sure to show in my story. Marty has flaws and vulnerabilities, a cutting wit paired with a sharp intellect, and when he cares about someone, he cares deeply. He also makes plenty of bad decisions (so, so many), but they’re in service to his goal, not somehow caused by his mental illness.

#2: I wanted Marty to be post-diagnosis.

There are some truly awesome books out there about a character being diagnosed with a mental illness and having to learn what it is and how to deal with it. And I’m so very glad those exist! But I knew right away that wasn’t the story I wanted to tell.

In Refraction, Marty already knows he’s got OCD. He’s been through therapy and has his disorder (mostly) successfully managed at the story’s start. But when he trips up and starts performing his compulsions again, his obsessive fears return full-force.

It’s a story that a lot of people with OCD might recognize. Though OCD can certainly improve (and often in a big way!) with the right therapy and/or medication, it almost never “goes away” entirely. Learning how to successfully manage a mental disorder can take anywhere from years to a lifetime, and it’s often not a straightforward journey. I wanted to write a story that reflects that.

#3: I wanted the story concept itself to be a metaphor for what it’s like to have OCD.

I can’t tell you too much about this one without risking spoilers, but after you’ve finished reading, you might see what I mean! Something in me just really loved the idea of writing a sort of allegory, of using a cool and scary sci-fi world as a mirror (pun totally intended) to what OCD can be like.

I’d like to end this post with a few recommendations. If you’re looking for books that have some truly excellent mental health rep, here are a few I think are great:

Darius the Great is not Okay (deals with depression) by Adib Khorram, Turtles all the Way Down (Pure O OCD) by John Green, and For a Muse of Fire (bipolar disorder) by Heidi Heilig. I also wrote another book, Afterimage, that deals with panic disorder.

Thank you so much for having me! I’m so glad to get the chance to talk mental health rep here, and I can’t wait to share Refraction with you on Nov 5.

About the Author
Hey! I’m Naomi Hughes, writer of quirky young adult fiction (usually involving physics and/or unicorns). I live in the Midwest US, a region I love even though it tries to murder me with tornadoes every spring. When not writing, my hobbies include reading (of course), traveling, and geeking out over Marvel superheroes and certain time-traveling Doctors. My debut YA sci-fi standalone novel, Afterimage, is available now from Page Street Publishing. My next novel, Refraction (also a standalone YA sci-fi), comes out in Nov 2019. I also offer freelance critique services at naomiedits.com.
Social Media Links:
Giveaway info below!
PRIZE: Win (1) copy of REFRACTION by Naomi Hughes
(US Only)
STARTS: November 5th 2019
ENDS: November 19th 2019
Click here to enter!
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Author Interview: Laurell Galindo

Author Interview, Misc.

Meet Laurell Galindo.

Laurell GalindoSocial media links
Website: www.laurellgalindo.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurellgalindo  
Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurellgalindo
Instragram: https://www.instagram.com/laurellgalindo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLaurellGalindo

 

The Interview.

Hi Laurell! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

I was raised in Meridian, Texas, and graduated from Meridian I.S.D. in 2003. In 2004, I enlisted in the United States Army Reserve to serve as a Public Affairs Broadcast Specialist. I was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2005 to 2006. There, I completed multiple missions to create broadcast news stories and anchored the Baghdad based program, Freedom Journal Iraq for the American Forces Network. I separated honorably in 2012. I was prompted to write VET-ONATION because of a personal goal I’d set for myself. In May 2016, I began writing. I wrote several chapters but had to put the book on hold due to my late husband’s illness. He passed away on April 1, 2017. Afterward, I took some time to re-evaluate my life moving forward as a widow and single mother of three. Then I took a deep breath and recommenced writing. I did not want to write a book about war. It has been done. I’ve read several. In my opinion, war should never be glorified. In many of these types of novels, it is. War is a misogynistic and challenging endeavor. War changes a person dramatically. I wanted to address the internal aspect of war, but more specifically, military sexual trauma. I wanted to provide a narrative women could relate to in VET-ONATION.

 

How did you feel while writing your first broadcast?

One of my first broadcast stories was about the Iraqi referendum which took place on October 15, 2005. The threat of terrorist attacks did not phase the Iraqi people. They took advantage of the historic political process by voting in record numbers. At that time, approximately 15.6 million of Iraq’s 26 million people were eligible to vote. On that day, election officials confirmed as many as 65% of those people made their way to polling stations throughout Iraq, surpassing the 58% recorded in the previous January elections. The high voter turnout caused several polling stations to run out of ballots. Iraqi police and election officials rushed to re-supply these stations so voting could continue. It was an amazing day to witness and document. The Iraqi people made a great stride toward democracy. Their determination to vote showed they were open to a new way of combating violence and political problems in Iraq. It truly was an honor to be able to cover this historic event.

 

Was there a story at any point in your life that really struck you; that then you needed to tell people about?

A story that I was fortunate to be a part of and like to share is that of the Ibn Sina Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq. This hospital took Yugoslavian architects and Iraqi engineers nearly two years to build.  In 1964 the hospital opened, meeting Iraq’s need for a medical facility in Baghdad. The aim of the founders was to provide a hospital giving the highest standards of medical care and attention to its patients.

During his reign, Saddam Hussein took over the hospital using it as his own private medical facility for his family and the Baath Party elite shutting it off to the Iraqi people. After the U.S. invasion, the hospital became the referral hospital providing medical care to the majority of U.S. Troops, Coalition Forces, and resuming care of the Iraqi people.

Dr. Kadhim Shubber was one of the founders of this facility. I was able to document the day his children, Anisah Shubber and Dr. Jawad Shubber, toured the hospital for the first time in many years. Their visit brought back many memories which they shared as they posed to take pictures in front of their father’s old office. It was touching to see how proud they were to see their father’s hospital. Dr. Jawad Shubber shared that he was very proud of his father’s legacy and added it was a privilege to tour the hospital and to see the work of the U.S. forces in its mission to restore the facility. He added that he felt his father’s hospital was in good hands. I was privileged to be a part of many different stories. While some were happy occasions, others were somber ones. I feel blessed every day to have gotten to experience as many stories as I did.

 

Are there any characters or scenes in VET-ONATION that are influenced by real life experiences?

A scene that is influenced by a real-life experience is that of the sexual assault in chapter seven. I am a survivor of a military sexual trauma (M.S.T.) which took place in Baghdad, Iraq. I chose to remain a silent survivor for many years due to shame much to the dismay of my sanity. That choice almost destroyed me. Even after I disclosed the event through the proper channels, this information was on a need to know basis as far as I was concerned. I then wrote a book which discussed sexual assault. Unfortunately, I erroneously thought I would be able to skirt the issue and not address my own experience with inquiring minds. I was wrong. It’s difficult to talk about something you’ve kept a secret for so long.

Since VET-ONATION’s release, I have had a lot of tough, anxiety-inducing, emotionally exhausting conversations. I’m still working through the lasting effects of M.S.T. within myself. I hope others who have been affected by sexual assault will read VET-ONATION and be inspired to continue working on their recovery as well.

 

What is your writing process?

My writing process isn’t too technical. I start by contemplating the topic I’d like to write about. Then I work on a general outline. I try to have at least five main points I’d like to cover within each chapter but keep these general as to allow the characters to grow and change through a natural progression. I don’t give myself deadlines because I don’t want my writing to read like it’s forced. The most important thing is to start writing. The first draft is not going to be great, but at least it’s out of your head and on paper. I never write hungry. I don’t beat myself up over writer’s block. I am patient with my characters and myself. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure how VET-ONATION would end until the morning I sat down and wrote the last chapter. It had been two months since I’d written anything. I needed to give myself and my character, Lauren, time to decide what was best for her. It came to me unexpectedly, and I knew without a doubt it was exactly how the book should end. When I read the ending now, I’m so glad I gave myself time.

 

From VET-ONATION, what is the main thing you want readers to take away from the novel?

Although the protagonist, Lauren Mayer, is a veteran, she’s still just an average woman struggling with her journey. She faces many tests along the way. While she doesn’t navigate them all well, she’s determined to confront her failures and overcome her obstacles. Her life is a tangled mess of romance, sweet memories, painful moments, and regrets. Lauren’s strength demonstrates what’s possible when we shine a light on our demons and embrace the changes in ourselves.

VET-ONATION is a fictional story. I wrote it with the hope that the protagonist would resonate with any woman who has struggled with a life-changing event and difficult circumstances. It is a book that is close to my heart.

 

What to you makes a strong storyline?

A strong storyline is made through storytelling and creating believable characters whom the reader truly cares for.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

VET-ONATION, which is derived from Veteran’s Detonation, talks about relationships, service in Iraq, military sexual trauma, mental health, and recovery from a female veteran’s perspective. VET-ONATION is an excellent book for female Veterans or any women who has struggled with aspects of service and life following this type of traumatic event, including addressing sexual assault and mental health.

Themensha Blitz

Blog Blitz

Themensha
by MxKnowitall (aka Morven Moreller)
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fiction, Slice of Life, LGBT
Dreampunk Press
Kickstarter Launch: June 1st

Summary:

Gramma’s cancer is back and this time, it’s terminal. Follow Leigh through their Gramma’s last adventure. When Leigh brings in some of Gramma’s things, they receive their inheritance early! It’s a ring that allows someone to enter another person’s mindscape. Leigh uses it to visit Gramma beyond her failing body.

Themensha is a graphic novel written and drawn in memory of my grandmother, who died due to Lymphoma (Brain Cancer) and suffered from Dementia and Alzheimer’s. This story is to bring awareness to those issues, especially for younger readers. It also explores themes of family, mental and emotional fortitude, and LGBT acceptance.

 

Themensha is written and drawn in memorium of my grandmother, Judith Frye. My grandmother with diagnosed with Lymphoma (Brain Cancer) in 2012 and it was followed by early onset Dementia and Alzheimer’s. She was one of my best and most loving supporters; she encouraged my art, my expression, and my education.

When it all started, I knew very little about any of these things, despite having a fair amount of experience with each separately. I was young, so people didn’t want to share the ‘ugly truth’ with me. But, that wasn’t healthy, and I want to make these topics more approachable for families.


This is a square photo collage featuring two images.  The first is Mo with their beard and they hair combed back and neat, and the second is Mo clean-shaven with their hair styled more femininely.  These photos were taken only a few days apart, showing two of the many dimensions of Mo's gender (which is agender).

Toward the end of her lifetime, I was my grandmother’s at-home caregiver. I came out to her everyday. I, usually, receive love and acceptance everyday. There were days that I didn’t, and there were days that she had trouble recognizing me. In her final weeks, did my best to present very feminine so that she could connect me to her unraveling memories of a young grandaughter.

She stood with me and behind me whoever I was and whoever I became. Her conditions changed her, but I stood behind her whoever she became, too.

Check out the process!
   
Blitz With YA Bound Book Tours
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Guest Post: How Her Blog Helps

Guest Post, Misc.

Meet Jessie.

Jessie.png

“I’m Jessie, three years ago I packed up and moved to East Texas, funny thing is, it wasn’t because of a man. I left my home town of 22 years, to escape a not so great situation and to feel safe again. I’m 25, and before now life was a nightmare. Anxiety and depression hit hard, and my life was getting harder to live.  Now, life has its moments, but it’s an absolutely beautiful chaotic mess. East Texas, turned out to be the best move I ever made. It saved my life. I’m now married, and I have two four-legged children, who bring me the most joy. Along with books, I love to write, and you can find journals with snippets of my writings pretty much everywhere. My journals are full of everything I go through and what goes on in my own head. Life is also really important to me because I wanted to give up on it a couple of times, but now I know that wasn’t worth it, and I live my life to the fullest every day. I started blogging February 8, 2017, and I love it! I have a passion for books, and I struggle with anxiety and depression, so my blog centers on those topics. I know how hard it is not to have anyone there for you. I hope sharing my journey also helps people going through the same things I do.”

Lots of Love From the Nerd herself!! 
Love Jessie!
Jessie’s Guest Post:
Please note this blog post was originally published on April 11, 2017. Click here to visit the original post.

How My Blog Helps Me With My Mental Health & How I Hope It Helps Others!

My blog was meant to be a hobby. Something I could use to write and share my love of books with people. I never knew it would be so much more.

If you’ve been with me, you know I struggle with anxiety and depression on a daily basis. If you’re new, then “Hey, I’m Jessie! (My FightFacts About Me). Follow those links to get to know me a little better. It hasn’t always been easy, and I needed a different escape other than books. So, I started to tell my story. At first, my story was a way to get everything off my chest and get through my daily fight. Now, I notice it’s helping others as well.

How I Hope it Helps Others

I started realizing that I want this blog to help people with their daily fights. When people started to relate to my stories and struggles, it made me want to write more posts that would help. The book reviews and book stuff is a bonus, because I’m a nerd and I want people to love books as much as me. If my post can help anyone in their fight against anxiety and depression, then I know I’ve done something right with building this blog. Fighting anxiety and depression is hard and ugly, I am thankful this blog has helped me get through some of my hardest days. If people can escape their realities because of my fight, I know I’m doing something right in the world.

Today I wrote a poem and I wasn’t sure how I was going to share it with everyone! I think it will fit perfect in this post! 

Keep Going

Take the road less traveled. 
Don’t look back.
Take charge in your life. 
You have to begin somewhere.

Keep going.
Don’t stop.
No one said it was going to be easy.
It’s worth the fight.

Smile!
Always smile. 
Don’t fake it though.
Smiles aren’t meant to be fake.

Don’t look back.
Keep going.
You need a new beginning.
Your fight is worth it! 

By: Jessie Butler

I would love for you to join the Nerdy Book Life family! If you ever need to talk or any advice, shoot me an email or subscribe to the blog!!

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