Archive for October, 2014

The month of October is a special time for me:

my debut novel, my baby,


tessa cover - front - 092314

will be released IN PRINT on Halloween!




rem: Good afternoon, Tessa, welcome.


Tessa: Good afternoon. It’s good to be here.


rem: Your childhood was rather a Cinderella story. What was it like growing up without your mother’s attention?


Tessa: I didn’t know any different, until I started school and my friends talked about their mommies. But, Carlotta was there for me since the day I was born, and Aunt Vandy is in my earliest memories. I grew up with her kids, they are like sibling-cousins to me, perhaps more than anything else. Of course, Molly has always been like a big sister to me, and now that we’re adults, we have an amazing friendship.

Once Mother and Heath began courting – they never just dated, it was so society oriented, and once they finally became exclusive, I guess everyone knew they’d marry. He was kind to me, paid more attention to me than Mother did really. His mother, my Grandmother Lila was particularly sweet to me, too. I know now that was for his sake.


rem: What about Kase? What effect did he have on your childhood?


Tessa: Kase was the one person who made my childhood special. I was still so little when he and Mother split up, and I didn’t understand. I’d see him in the gallery sometimes, and he’d wink at me, and give me great big hugs. He was so withdrawn with other people, but with me, he was the most affectionate and tender man you could imagine. And I mean that in the best way, not inappropriate at all.


rem: How did you feel when your sister was born?


Tessa: I knew there was a baby coming, but I was only ten years old. I thought they would go get her somewhere, or that Santa might bring her. I remember being so disappointed that Christmas morning, because Santa hadn’t come, and Mother and Heath weren’t home.


rem: That must have been difficult for you. How did that make you feel about the baby?


Tessa: Oddly enough, it made me feel protective. After the new baby novelty wore off, something in me kicked in that made me want to protect her, to be sure she never felt as put off as I did. I knew Aunt Vandy would love her too, and I wasn’t jealous. I wanted to be for her what Vandy was for me.


rem: So you two were close. Her death must have been traumatic for you.


Tessa: [pause, deep breath] In a word, yes. I watched [author privilege, no spoilers here; Tessa was about to give away too much!]


rem: And when your mother arrived in Greece, what was that like?


Tessa: Remember, she had already said how she felt on the phone. She didn’t know it was me she was talking to, of course, she thought I was Connie. That was the more traumatic part. I knew how she felt, but to hear it put into words, I just… [deep breath and pause] And then she got there, and she was showering me with affection. I tried, truly I did, to tell her. But I couldn’t make the words come out.


rem: Didn’t you think someone would discover what you did?


Tessa: Every day. Not a day went by in thirteen years that it didn’t cross my mind at least once. I couldn’t tell Howie, I couldn’t tell Molly, nobody. I was terrified if they found out, if they knew, that they’d hate me. That they would feel the same way my mother always had about me, unwanted, indifferent.


rem: Why did you choose the name Tessa? You were living life as Connie, why not keep her name?


Tessa: I couldn’t bear it. I loved her, I couldn’t let myself be called by her name. Tessie was my nickname for her from the time she was a tiny baby. And a twisted sort of bonus, Mother hated it. To insist she call me by the name she hated, gave me a sort of wicked glee.


rem: How did it make you feel when you got the phone call? Did you have any idea who it was?


Tessa: Honestly, the cruelty of it made me think of Mother at first, that she was behind it. But then again, she was indifferent toward me, but never cruel. I couldn’t fathom who could know what happened or how they found out. I wracked my brain trying to figure out who might possibly know, or who might loathe me so desperately to be so cruel.


rem: Tessa, thank you for being with us today. I hope our readers are sufficiently intrigued to want to know your whole story.


Tessa: I sure do hope so. Thank you for having me.



If you haven’t already, be sure to stop by and like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, on my blog! Please leave me a comment, let me know you’re here!











#tessacharacterinterview, #TESSARELEASEDAY, #onemothertwodaughters, #onefavoriteonenot

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The month of October is a special time for me:

my debut novel, my baby,


tessa cover - front - 092314

will be released IN PRINT on Halloween!



My Countdown Celebration is winding down. Or, should I say, RAMPING UP!! Tomorrow’s the day, Tessa’s official Release Day. Of course, she’s been available for a couple of weeks now, but tomorrow’s the HOOPLA and CELEBRATION!! TWO parties, one online, one live. It’s been a tall order, writing a blog post every.single.day. I’ve loved it, but it was a lot of work!!


So how am going to celebrate NOT posting every.single.day? For one thing, except for my Sunday Devotional post, I’m taking a hiatus from ye olde blogge for November. And the other little reason, the next consumer of my time shall be NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. “NaNoWriMo is an annual (November) novel writing project that brings together professional and amateur writers from all over the world.” (NaNoWriMo.org) Yes, I’m taking the plunge. From one high-volume writing task to ‘nother! Fifty thousand words in 30 days! How could I not? It’s a challenge, yes? Gauntlet thrown, no? Challenge accepted, gauntlet picked up!



According to the rules, actual writing does not begin until the stroke of midnight on the 1st of November. I can’t speak for others, but I shall abide by this; in fact, I may not even begin until the 2nd….. What with my event on Saturday ‘n all! I have my title – that’s a biggie – The Key on the Christmas Tree, and my main character, Risa, and a couple of others, and I have a most general story line, something of a cross between The Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I think. The key is, well, key in connecting Risa to Lina. That’s about all I know to this point. Suffice to say, I am not an outliner, but a “pantzer” which is to say, I write “by the seat of my pants,” which is to say, my characters tell me the story as we go along.


I do know this will be the first in a series of novellas, something entirely new to me. Like the whole Author Hat isn’t new enough, or NaNoWriMo itself for that matter; I hadn’t even heard of NaNo until this month! LOL The connections Risa makes, through the key, will each be the main character of his or her own story.

A general summary / notion of The Key on the Christmas Tree: Risa lives alone, maybe has a cat, works a solitary job – as yet undetermined – and leads a fairly solitary life.  On her visit home for Christmas, with her large and bustling family, she discovers an antique key hanging on the tree.  She becomes fascinated with it, why it’s there – the tree is always decorated the same every year.  She asks, albeit quietly, but no one has a clue about the key. It seems it has mysteriously appeared, and that it is there specifically for Risa.

The scope of the adventure is yet undetermined, but the key sets in motion a new life for Risa, and connects her to new people, who become fast friends for life.


NaNoWriMo will be a fun venture for me, I can’t wait to see where Risa’s story takes her, us! If I pull it off exceedingly well, it might even be available in time for Christmas!! A Christmas miracle!

For all the work that went into posting daily, I’ve truly enjoyed it. (not so much I want to even attempt to maintain on an ongoing basis though!) I plan to be back on track, posting regularly on Fridays. After the first of the year (is that so close that it’s already “a thing” now!!!) I will continue with book reviews and author interviews – both of which intimidated me at first but I discovered I enjoy! Monthly though, definitely not weekly! And, the sequel to Tessa is brewing; stay tuned!











#countdowncelebration, #TESSARELEASEDAY, #nanowrimo, #keyonthechristmastree, #yayasisterhood, #travelingpants, #authorinterviews, #bookreviews

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The month of October is a special time for me:

my debut novel, my baby,


tessa cover - front - 092314

will be released IN PRINT on Halloween!




I moderated a spot on this Facebook event today.



Staying on topic – for me – I discussed wearing masks. Halloween, of course, is all “fun-n-games” candy-seeking. Right? I did not address Halloween or its origins, I did not discuss the do or don’t participate. Intentionally.


“A mask is an object normally worn on the face, typically for protection, disguise, performance or entertainment. Masks have been used since antiquity for both ceremonial and practical purposes. They are usually worn on the face, although they may also be positioned for effect elsewhere on the wearer’s body, so in parts of Australia giant totem masks cover the body, whilst Inuit women use finger masks during storytelling and dancing.” [taken from Wikipedia]

rem: I lifted this pic and quote from Mia Botha on Writers Write this morning. [my bonus post today] The quote is by Oscar Wilde, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth.”

rem: What do you think about that statement? true or no?

AC: I think it is true.

rem: thanks AC, can you share an example?

rem: Reminds me of the internet. I am really backward and shy in person but I’m not online. Make sense?

rem: that’s really good!!! don’t we all hide behind our digital personna!!!


rem: Other than burglary, why would anyone want to hide their identity????? I think we associate masks with fun, Halloween and parties. But there is a darker side to masks. what about someone breaking into your home or a bank? what are they hiding and why?


AC: Their face of course. If someone sees them, then no one can identify them by their facial features.

rem: EXACTLY!!! hiding their identity!!!

RE: And possibly their own fear. You feel braver in a mask.

rem: fear is one, absolutely



The use of masks in rituals or ceremonies is a very ancient human practice across the world, although masks can also be worn for protection, in hunting, in sports, in feasts or in wars – or simply used as ornamentation. Some ceremonial or decorative masks were not designed to be worn. Although the religious use of masks has waned, masks are used sometimes in drama therapy or psychotherapy.” [Wikipedia]


rem: AC, you mentioned being shy. I understand that so well. and apparently, it’s a trait not uncommon to writers, and artists in general. I think we compensate [some do] with inflated ego. Some of us, however, prefer to stay in our safe cocoon. and when we must venture out, we put on a brave front, i.e. a mask of sorts.
thoughts? agree? disagree?

AC: Agreed!

rem: for reasons to complicated too address here, I lived most of my life with a crippling lack of confidence. even with evidence to the contrary!! I could not, no way, no how, let anyone be aware that I was mistaken, or even that I did not know something. my “mask” then, was a false bravado and a total facade.

AC: Exactly! The same here.


rem: Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was invisible. Or she thought she was invisible, felt that way at least. And when she felt people were staring at her, she wished she was invisible. That little girl was me. Hello, my name is Robin, and I’m a recovering invisiblet. I wasn’t shy, I was terrified. [lifted from my blog 050214]

Slide10 Slide11 Slide12



CG: Nice to meet you, Robin, and glad you are not invisible any longer!

rem: me too CG!! thanks!!


rem: my personal spiritual journey and walk with God has brought me to the place I am now – still learning – confidence, in who I am, and in the gifts, talents, and abilities He has given me!

CG, you just made a great comment, “Scary,” to one of the images of masks. Question: which is scarier – visible masks or invisible?

AC: I have to say invisible. A lot of times when we hear about a serial killer, many friends, family and coworkers are shocked that they did those things.

CG: That is so true, the initial “scare” over a grotesque mask is one thing, but when we become lured in by the other kind of masks, whoa is me….

rem: and I rest my case!!! unabashed plug –> this is exactly what my novel Tessa is about. she wore a “mask” for 12 years, thinking no one knew. and mostly, no one did. still, she was tormented every single day, living a lie. ok, end of “plug” LOL
I am now living without masks, learning to reveal more and more of my real self, to trust [dear God, trust!!!] others with my heart!!! but oh, the joy!!!


KS: Hello Robin, I used to be invisible, too, very shy. I would be so surprised when people noticed me and said hello. Like you, the Lord Jesus Christ has brought me out of my shell. I was told as a child that “children are to be seen, not heard”! I must have adopted the invisible part unconsciously; if I couldn’t give my opinion then I must become invisible. One way I compensate now is with a partial mask; when things are getting too serious I pull out my Billy Bob Teeth I got on eBay and start telling jokes or just talking funny. It changes the sad, tired waitress, the boring meeting, the family arguing, and it gets everybody laughing. I am amazed at how my personally changes into this latent comedian. I have a wig and hat and housecoat when I do Maxine jokes at a monthly lady prayer group and for senior luncheons! HERE IS MY HAPPY MASK!




rem: KS, what a wonderful example of God using that which the enemy intended for evil!!! the very thing that kept you intimidated – you are now using for His glory!!! LOVE this pic by the way!!


rem: what about this? classic and complete change of personality??? because of a mask…..


a final word, there are instances in which masks are a good thing, a safety feature: gas masks, military, sports even. GC, thanks for giving me the chance to share my [scattered] thoughts on masks and identity!! I look forward to the rest of the event, and I’ll plan to join in again next year!! thanks to all for participating with me!!

AC: Have a great day, rem!

CG: Very interesting and thought provoking discussion, Robin. Thank you!

rem: thanks ladies for your great discussion!!
















#monstermashbookback, #sheddinglightinadarkworld, #hidingouridentity, #wearingmasks, #themask, #jimcarrey

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The month of October is a special time for me:

my debut novel, my baby,


will be released IN PRINT on Halloween!





The Land is primitive and simple, and its people are content. They live minimal lives, at least by the standards of the 21st century. Except that this is 2025. And The Land is isolated from the world, and its turmoil that swirls around them. No one had left The Land since the ancestors arrived there seven generations ago. Nor had anyone else discovered the island.


Until Lieutenant Connor Bradshaw. Ejected from his aircraft during a military assignment gone bad, Lieutenant Bradshaw’s body washes up on the shore of The Land. Strolling the beach, Lydia Colburn watches in amazement as he drifts from the heavens, clad in unfamiliar military garb, and unconscious. As a doctor, Lydia’s concern for an injured patient outweighs her curiosity of his arrival.

His injuries are not life threatening, and with treatment of gray leaf tree, Connor recovers quickly.

The lieutenant’s military training demands that his priority be to recon with his squadron, but he finds that to be impossible. There is no technology in The Land, and no communication with the outside world, and the ocean currents surrounding The Land are too treacherous to navigate As time passes, however, Connor becomes acclimated, and satisfied, living in The Land – and attracted to Lydia. As his feelings for her stir and grow, he not only feels the need to protect her, but to protect The Land from the world outside. His world, a world of war and destruction.

For the first time in her life, Lydia feels her heart stir, and allows the hope of romance to begin to warm her heart.


Keely Brooke Keith presents a unique story, in which two worlds collide. Not unlike traveling back in time, the modern day knight in black army gear is suddenly thrust through a portal of sorts, to a world of simple means. She deftly builds tension, not only between Lydia and Connor, but with a disgruntled admirer who hovers on the outskirts of the story right up to the ending pages. Ms. Keith has created a very believable characters in Lydia Colburn, dedicated to her calling as a doctor, who struggles with real life issues, and in Lydia’s family members, as well as Connor Bradshaw, who struggles at first with being unable to return to the life he had known. Ms. Keith has also created a very believable world, The Land, in which the society is structured neatly; but not to be utopian or Pollyanna, evil lurks at the borders.

A delightful read, The Land Uncharted pulled me easily in to the story line, and as I came to know the characters, I found myself rooting for them in their quests. I look forward to more by this author.









#bookreview, #keelybrookekeith, #thelanduncharted, #grayleaftree, #twoworldscollide, #technology, #waranddestruction

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The month of October is a special time for me:

my debut novel, my baby,


tessa cover - front - 092314

will be released IN PRINT on Halloween!


Contest begins today and goes through the Day of the Event! On the Day of the Event, I will randomly select one correct entry as the winner.


CONTEST #2: Scavenger hunt – peruse through my Countdown Posts to find

A – Style of art preferred by Marni, Cassie, and Connie; OR

B – Which authors I interviewed this month; OR

C – Which books I reviewed this month.


Ready! Set!! GO!!!








#contest, #countdowncelebration, #scavengerhunt, #authorinterviews, #bookreviews

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I had planned to write today’s Devotional about worship. However, today’s church service ministered to me in such a way that I will share what Holy Spirit dropped in my spirit this morning. While we were singing William McDowell’s, “Withholding Nothing,” the part that says, “I surrender all to you,” He told me to surrender ALL – surrender my pain – NO!! NOT MY pain, THE pain, surrender THE Rheumatoid Arthritis, surrender [and here’s a biggie] THE poverty!!! They are NOT mine! They are NOT my portion nor my inheritance. I have identified with these for so long, I’ve tolerated them for so many years – but no more!! NO MORE!!!



It’s the great exchange. When we give Him what we have and are – He gives us what He has and is. Papa God is everything. He has everything.

And then, the part where he’s singing about, “All I want is You.” And Holy Spirit said back to me, “All I want, Robin, is you.” That’ll blow your mind. All He wants- is US.

So, I relinquish all that comfortable junk, all that which seemed and felt like it was mine, but isn’t. Lies can never be mine. Or yours. Lies aren’t anything, they are distortions, mirages, illusions – and they aren’t real. We can never own something that isn’t real, we can never own nothing.

But the Truth. The Truth is faith and evidence and substance of things unseen. The Truth is the fulfillment of all that He is and has for us. The Truth is who we are. The Truth is our identity [there’s my theme again!!! Imagine that!!] And our identity is in Him! Outside of that, away from Him, our identity flounders, flops, and fails. For if we are not attached to the Truth – to the Vine – we cannot sustain ourselves, our lives. And we settle for counterfeit, for lies, for vapors of nothing. Pain that I’ve lived with for years? Not true, not God’s Truth. Poverty? Not His either.

I offer this poem I penned a few years ago.


The Problem with Pain

The problem with pain is that it

hurts. That’s just what the prob

lem is. And it’s subversive, it sneaks up on you and calls itself something else and always overstays its welc ome. It says it’s ok, you’ll get

used to it. You won’t mind after a

while, and you don’t. You treat

pain like a welcome guest in

your home only this is

your body.

And it hurts and you don’t even know

it’s there anymore. It just trolls through you and strikes out

at you and you catch your breath. And take a pill or

a shot. And we wrap our wounds in gauze

like a mummy. And part of us dies. And pain, it

laughs at you because we said it was ok for it to

stay. It slows us down and says we hurt too

bad to do that. But we really wa

nted to do that. And now we’re sad too. Cause Sad an

d Pain are friends. And we realize that life has slipped by and all the things we wanted and all the drea

ms we dreamed and all the goals we set have vanished. And we can never get them back. And Pain know

s this. And laughs because this was th

e plan. To keep

me, to hold

me back

from what I was

meant to do. From wh

at I was created

to do.

What I was put here

to do.

But guess what?

Guess what Pain?

I say go away.

I say you can’t stay.



And Pain, it knows that it must listen to me. Because

I speak with authority.

But it doesn’t go quietly.

It doesn’t go peaceably.

It goes kicking and screaming and clawing. Even i

ts exit hurts.

But it goes.

It leaves my body and my life.

And now my dreams and goals and all the things I ever wanted in my life can be.

I can do the things I could not do before.

I can be who I could not be with this demon attached to me.

For I am free. I can be me. I can be who I was created to be.


© Robin E. Mason

18 April 2009


That’s the problem with any lie, it doesn’t want to go. It moves in and settles in, takes over and gets comfortable. In our lives. But it doesn’t belong in our lives, and when we kick it out, when we tell that thing, whatever the lie in your life may be, that in the Name of Jesus it has to go – it isn’t going to go peaceably. And it may take some time. [OUCH!!!] But authority is authority, and it doesn’t waver or quake. And if we stand firm in the authority that belongs to us as the righteousness of Jesus, those lies have not choice and they will flee.


So yes, I surrender ALL to Holy Spirit. Because I know what He offers, what He has for me in exchange, is perfect.









#devotional, #williammcdowell, #withholdingnothing, #surrenderall, #greatexchange, #allIwantisYou, #theproblemwithpain, #itsnotmine

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La mes de octubre es un tiempo especial para mí:

mi novela de debut, mi niña


será lanzado IMPRIMIDA en Halloween!


¿Qué es nuestra propósito en el Reino de Dios? Para ser sal y luz, para compartir la Palabra del Señor, para compartir la verdad y Su amor. Para ser Su mensaje viviente. Somos vasos de Su Alma, de Su presencia, y Lo llegamos adentro de nuestra alma en cada minuto. Somos Sus manos y pies en la tierra, somos Su voz y Su canción.


Mi oración esta noche:


Bienvenido, Señor, bienvenido en este lugar, en nuestras corazones.


Querido Padre, queremos conocerte, queremos saber Tu voluntad, queremos saber Tu Palabra. Enseñanos, Padre, en Tu camino. Aviva Tu Palabra en nuestra mente, aviva Tu Palabra en nuestras pensamientos cada día. Camina con nosotros y guía nuestra camina.


Te amamos, te damos la honra y la gloria. En el Nombre de Jesús, Amén y Amén.


Nuestro iglesia se llama, Iglesia Dominio, “una iglesia Hispana que existe para despertar y desarrollar líderes con el propósito de Dios y Su reino.” http://www.DominioSC.org/   Los servicios empiezan a las 7:00 cada sábado. Estan disponible por el internet, también. El link para el servicio es: live.dominiosc.org. ¡Juntanos!

 iglesia dominio

Tengo que dar un “shout out” a mis pastores, Marc y Blanca Garcia! Son mis padres espiritules! Estoy demasiado bendicido conocerlos a ellos, y demasiado agradecida al Señor para ellos en mi vida!









#spanish, #espanol, #propósito, #mensajeviviente, #Susmanos, #Suspies, #iglesiadominio

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The month of October is a special time for me:

my debut novel, my baby,


tessa cover - front - 092314

will be released IN PRINT on Halloween!



  suicide hotline



Seen on Facebook yesterday, “You know, in spite of the high cost of living, it’s still popular.” And yet, “In 2012 (the most recent year for which full data are available), 40,600 suicides were reported, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans In that year, someone in the country died by suicide every 12.9 minutes.” (https://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures)


I have shared a few times now, that I suffered from depression for many years of my life. I was totally unaware of it until I sought help for deep underlying issues. I was on prescription medication, and was receiving counseling. Ultimately, it was by faith that I was freed from the disease. But I know all too well much of the misunderstanding of the disease. I have recognized in my writing, that my characters tend to suffer depression, and so, I purpose to help shed light on the disease and generate awareness.


Unrecognized and untreated, depression lends to suicide. I was not personally suicidal nor was I a cutter or inclined to hurt myself, and thus far, none of my characters have been. I did, however, wonder about it countless times, how “easy” it would be to veer across the double yellow lines or slam into a tree. As a child, my insecurity was so great that I wanted to – and tried to – accidentally fall, or otherwise become injured; I so craved attention that I was willing to take it in the guise of sympathy. Almost. My fear, dread really, paralyzing dread, of being found out, accused of causing my “accident” was greater than my need for attention.


Let me clarify. I was not abused by my parents or anyone, nor were my parents raging alcoholics who neglected me or my siblings. My mother, however, suffered from some emotional problems, which were conveyed to me. And created my vast lack of self-worth.


That said, although I was not consciously suicidal, my sub-conscience teetered on the edge. My longing to “run away” is, in fact, a detached variation of suicide. For suicide is, in most simplistic terms, running away. Permanently.


I have heard and read several times that the suicide victim doesn’t really want to die. They just wanted the internal or emotional torment to end.


For today’s post, I have lifted excerpts from the following web site.

afcp logo



Key Research Findings

Our effectiveness in preventing suicide ultimately depends on more fully understanding how and why suicide occurs.

What we know about the causes of suicide lags far behind our knowledge of many other life-threatening illnesses and conditions. In part, this is because the stigma surrounding suicide has limited society’s investment in suicide research. Over the last 25 years, however, we have begun to uncover and understand the complex range of factors that contribute to suicide.

Summarized below are findings from research studies that have especially contributed to our current understanding of suicide.

Mental Disorders

While nearly all mental disorders have the potential to increase the risk for suicide, studies show that the most common disorders among people who die by suicide are major depression and other mood disorders, and substance use disorders, schizophrenia and personality disorders (Bertolote & Fleischmann, 2002). … studies have consistently found that the overwhelming majority of people who die by suicide—90% or more—had a mental disorder at the time of their deaths. Often, however, these disorders had not been recognized, diagnosed, or adequately treated. … studies have also shown that about one-third of people who took their lives did not communicate their suicide intent to anyone. One of the most important conclusions from this research is the importance of teaching laypeople to recognize the symptoms of mental disorders in those they are close to, so that they can support them to get help.

Research has shown that certain symptoms in the context of  depression raise the risk of suicide. These include intense anxiety, panic attacks, desperation, hopelessness, feeling that one is a burden, loss of interest and pleasure, and delusional thinking.

Previous Suicide Attempt

About 20% of people who die by suicide have made a prior suicide attempt, and clinical studies have confirmed that such prior attempts increase a person’s risk for subsequent suicide death. Suicide risk appears to be especially elevated during the days and weeks following hospitalization for a suicide attempt, especially in people with diagnoses of major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia (Tidemalm, et al., 2008).

The majority of people who make a suicide attempt, however, do not ultimately die by suicide.

Family History of Suicide

Research has shown that the risk for suicide can be inherited (Juel-Nielsen & Videbech, 1970; Roy, et al., 1991; Lester, 2002).

While these studies indicate that a family history of suicide can be a risk factor for suicide, they do not suggest that a suicide in the family automatically heightens suicide risk for all family members. Family history is one among many factors that can contribute to a person’s vulnerability or resilience. As with other genetically-linked illnesses and conditions, awareness of possible risk and attention to early signs of problems in oneself or a loved one can be protective if it leads those who have lost a relative to suicide to seek timely treatment or intervention.

Medical Conditions and Pain

Patients with serious medical conditions such as cancer, HIV, lupus, and traumatic brain injury may be at increased risk for suicide. This is primarily due to psychological states such as hopelessness, helplessness, and desire for control over death. Chronic pain, insomnia and adverse effects of medications have also been cited as contributing factors. These findings point to a critical need for increased screening for mental disorders and suicidal ideation and behavior in general medical settings.

Relationship Between Environmental Stressors, Mental Disorders and Suicide Risk

One of the major challenges of suicide research is determining how mental disorders and environmental stressors interact to create a pathway to suicide. Recent research on bullying has provided important new insights into the links between environmental stressors, mental disorders and suicide risk.

Much of the current discourse on bullying and suicide posits a direct causal link between the two. Challenging this assumption, an important recent study that followed high school students for several years after graduation found that exposure to bullying had relatively few long term negative outcomes for the majority of youth. The only subgroup that showed suicidal ideation and behavior in post-high school follow-up was youth who had symptoms of depression at the time they were bullied. Bullied youth who did not have co-existing depression had significantly lower risk for later mental health problems (Klomek, et al., 2011).

Another recent long term study links exposure to prolonged bullying to the development of serious mental disorders in later life. This research, which followed a large sample of youth and their caregivers from childhood to early adulthood, found that those who were bullied through childhood and adolescence had high rates of depression and anxiety disorders in early adulthood. Those with histories of being both victims and bullies had the most adverse outcomes as young adults, with even higher rates of mood and anxiety disorders. In addition, nearly 25% of this group reported suicidal ideation or behavior as an adult. Those who were bullies but not victims showed low levels of depression or anxiety and markedly elevated rates of antisocial personality disorder (Copeland, et al., 2013).

It is important to note that existing research on bullying has looked at the outcome of attempted rather than completed suicide. However, the finding that bullying is most likely to precipitate suicidal thinking and suicide attempts in youth who are already depressed, or who have prolonged involvement as both victims and bullies, points to the role of individual vulnerability in determining the impact of environmental stressors.

Suicide Contagion

That imitative behavior (“contagion”) plays a role in suicide has long been observed. Recent studies have concluded that media coverage of suicide is connected to the increase—or decrease—in subsequent suicides, particularly among adolescents (Sisask & Värnik, 2012). High volume, prominent, repetitive coverage that glorifies, sensationalizes or romanticizes suicide has been found to be associated with an increase in suicides (Bohanna and Wang, 2012). There is also evidence that when coverage includes detailed description of specific means used, the use of that method may increase in the population as a whole (Yip, et al., 2012).

In recent years, the internet has become a particular concern because of its reach and potential to communicate information about notorious suicides and those that occur among celebrities. However, when media follows appropriate reporting recommendations, studies show that the risk of suicide contagion can be decreased. (Bohanna and Wang, 2012).

Access to Lethal Methods of Suicide

There is strong evidence that the availability and use of different methods of suicide impacts suicide rates among different groups in the population and different geographical areas of the world. In the U.S., the most common method of suicide is firearms, used in 51% of all suicides. Currently, firearms are involved in 56% of male suicides and 30% of female suicides. Among U.S. women, the most common suicide method involves poisonous substances, especially overdoses of medications. Poisoning accounts for 37% of female suicides, compared to only 12% of male suicides. Hanging or other means of suffocation are used in about 25% of both male and female suicides.

Biological Factors

Postmortem studies of the brains of people who have died by suicide have shown a number of visible differences in the brains of people who died by suicide, compare to those who died from other causes, suicide is a result of a disease of the brain (Mann & Currier, 2012). The brain systems that have been most frequently studied as factors in suicide are the serotonergic system, adrenergic system and the Hypothalamic-Pituitary Axis (HPA), which relate to mood, thinking and stress response, respectively. This research has also identified neurobiological impairments related to depression and other underlying mental disorders, as well as to acute or prolonged stressors. One of the key challenges of neurobiological studies is determining the abnormalities in genes, brain structures or brain function that differentiate depressed people who died by suicide from depressed people who died by other causes.


I close with a poem composed by Arianna Scriptsmith Schaffer, my guest from last week.




I am below looking at myself on the top
And I’m above looking down for your help
I never knew it would come to this threatening drop
But I am on the edge ready to jump to the end of me
I’m out of my body tearfully begging for me to think
To use the reasoning and wisdom to turn away
And to pull away from the deathly brink
Of shadows’ ownership of my soul’s desires
Standing on the skyscraper of my disease
I feel that all hope had been stolen away
My pain and fear makes the enemy pleased
So that is my push to stand up again
If only I took a step back and beheld the view
Of the sun breaking through the morning mist
I would realize that God is here and true
But would I dare to look up and see the beauty? Or would I just jump off the edge?
A revolution of light could break right through
If I boldly said enough is enough! I could stand up right beside you
And I’d be filled and fear nothing in life or death
The skyscraper is a turning point in all lives
Dare to die or dare to live, the choice is up to you
Life is compiled of baby steps and long strides
And yes, even falls… But remember that we can overcome!




If you haven’t already, be sure to stop by and like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, on my blog! Please leave me a comment, let me know you’re here!









#depression, #suicide, #nationalsuicidepreventionhotline, #americanfoundationforsuicideprevention, #skyscraper, #ariannascriptsmithschaffer,

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The month of October is a special time for me:

my debut novel, my baby,


will be released IN PRINT on Halloween!


I’d like to give a big welcome to Lisa Carter to my blog. Lisa, thank you for joining me today. I’m excited to have you here.


Blending Southern and Native American fiction, Lisa Carter writes “Sweet Tea with a Slice of Murder”. Her latest release is Under a Turquoise Sky. She is the author of two previous romantic suspense novels, Carolina Reckoning and Beneath A Navajo Moon; and Aloha Rose, a contemporary romance in the Quilts of Love series. She and her family make their home in North Carolina. When she isn’t writing, Lisa enjoys traveling to romantic locales, teaching writing workshops, and researching her next exotic adventure. She has strong opinions on barbecue and ACC basketball. Connect with Lisa at www.lisacarterauthor.com.


Robin E. Mason: Welcome, Lisa. You’ve gone from the Deep South to Hawaii and now you’re writing in the Southwest. That’s far and wide and back again! How did that journey come about? What intrigued you about these locations?

Lisa Carter: I am a native North Carolinian. Scratch beneath the surface of the polite Southern drawl and hospitable sweet tea, there is a layer of the gothic—Southern Gothic—in our history. Family stories of lost causes, tragic love, and quirky Aunt so and so’s, we’ve all got them. North Carolina is also home to the largest population of Native Americans east of the Mississippi. I’ve known various members of the Cherokee, Lumbee, Haliwa-Saponi and Coharie tribes throughout my life. I’ve always been fascinated by their culture. Admired their persistence and perseverance against overwhelming odds to survive and thrive. Television has reduced Americans to a mind-numbing blandness. Southerners—and Native Americans—do not fit into that cookie cutter mold. And I love that. We are unique and proud of it. When my in-laws retired to the Southwest, it wasn’t long before I began exploring the Navajo country. My Hawaiian story came about because I have college friend with Hawaiian roots whose real life story she allowed me to fictionalize.


rem: So the in-laws got you there! Methinks t’was but a matter of time, though, ‘til your own Indian roots took you west to expand your knowledge of Indian lore. I have read Beneath a Navajo Moon¸ and I loved how you wove present day with the historical element! I could identify with Erin’s struggle to please her parents and to follow her own vision. Under a Turquoise Sky promises the same sort of tangled adventure and I can’t wait to read it! Have you started on your next story? What’s it about?

LC: Vines of Entanglement releases February 2015 and this novel returns to the setting of Carolina Reckoning —Raleigh, North Carolina. Readers will have a chance to catch up on what’s been happening in the lives of Alison, Mike, and Claire who have “cameo” appearances. But the main story centers around the power of truth. “A tangled web of lies characterizes the new life Laura Mabry has built for herself and her son after the tragic death of her husband. But truth and murder lurk just around the corner when she stumbles upon the body of a young college student on the forested recreational trails of Raleigh’s Greenway. Laura’s carefully constructed world slides off its axis after she comes face to face with Detective Jon Locklear. Jon’s spent ten years trying to forget memories of Laura and the sweet scent of honeysuckle. At the top of suspect list, Laura must find the courage to face her deepest fears and unravel the lies before she and her son become the Greenway Killer’s next victims.”


rem: “A tangled web of lies…” You’ve got my attention! Tell us a little about your writing journey. What do you enjoy most about being a writer? What is the hardest aspect of being a writer?

LC: I love the power of discovery as I create characters and settings. I love how sometimes—always just when I need it—the story finds me. What’s hard is juggling all the hats an author has to wear—editing one project, writing another and perhaps marketing yet a third. Then of course, there’s always dinner to make, too.


rem: I love the way you say that, “… the story finds me.” That’s how I write, too. And so many hats!!! LOL What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine?

LC: I treat writing as a job. I start each day when my children leave for school in the morning. I stop when they return mid-afternoon. I try to work only Monday through Friday but of course tight deadlines sometimes require that I put in a few weekends as well.


rem: Oh, so disciplined! What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

LC: The most significant thing to me about Christian fiction is that our stories depict realistic characters and life situations—often tragic situations. But in Christ, there is always woven in a thread of hope and redemption that no matter how tough life might be, God is enough. Enough for your past, your present and your future. Being a Christian novelist has also forced me to go deeper in my understanding of Scripture and my personal walk with Christ. And there are pieces of me in all my characters. Writing, I tell readers, is actually cheap therapy.


rem: Funny you mention therapy – I’ve said in my own bio that I began writing as self-prescribed therapy! And look where it got me! I agree, Lisa, writing fiction from a Christian perspective is not so unlike parables Jesus told. How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write? What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why?
LC: One reader recently wrote to me:
“I was reading a novel last night called Beneath a Navajo Moon by Lisa Carter. When Carter wrote it [p. 26] she probably didn’t think much of it, but God used it last night. The main character Erin Dawson thought of something her dad told her. He told her in order for a person to have a happy life they needed three things:  Something to look forward to; good work to do; and someone to love. That got me thinking. Then this morning I found myself in 2 Corinthians 4 – 6. Those chapters were the medicine I needed to see life clearly again.”


Another wrote of Under a Turquoise Sky:

“Definitely grittier than most Christian romantic suspense novels, Under a Turquoise Sky addresses a number of social issues and the author doesn’t pull any punches. She writes with unflinching honesty laced with compassion. That’s really evident in her tough-as-nails hero, Aaron. Probably one of the most amazing character arcs I have ever read. His faith journey alone is worth the read.”


It is my prayer that my novels will encourage readers to walk in beautiful obedience to the Shepherd of their souls. I pray each will discover the name by which He calls us—beloved—and fully embrace its significance. And, I hope they have as much fun reading my novels as I had writing them.


rem: Brought tears to my eyes. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it, whether through a pages of a novel or standing next to someone in check-out at the store – our lives touching others. If you could choose to be a character in a book, who would it be and why?

LC: I am a great fan of all Catherine Palmer’s Treasures of the Heart series heroines because of the suspense, the exotic locations, and the take-your-breath romance.


rem: I have not read Catherine Palmer – now I must! You offer some great advice for writers on your website! My favourite is #2: “Glue your butt in the writing chair and write at least a 1000 words every day.” Consider my toes stepped on! What advice can you give here for others aspiring to publish a book of their own?

LC: Attend as many of the best conferences as you can afford—at least one a year. This is where the publishing gatekeepers hang out. Here you can find an agent, an editor, find a critique partner and a network of other writers to cheer you on your writing journey. And, make it your primary goal to grow as a writer—so study the craft; study marketing; study the industry.


rem: I intend to be at ACFW next year! I blogged not long ago about this incredible circle of writer friends I’ve stumbled into. I’m amazed, and thrilled, and I’m loving every minute of it! Even the “hats” that are not so comfortable!

Thank you, Lisa, for joining me today. I can’t wait to read Under a Turquoise Sky.

beneath_navajo_moon_cover            under_turquoise_sky_cover










#lisacarter, #carolinareckoning, #aloharose, #beneathanavajomoon, #underaturquoisesky, #Southerners, #NativeAmericans

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The month of October is a special time for me:

my debut novel, my baby,


tessa cover - front - 092314

will be released IN PRINT on Halloween!





As a child, Marni Miller was not the driven and unyielding woman encountered in Tessa. An only child, growing up in the 40’s and 50’s, Marni was further isolated by the reclusive nature and advanced age of her parents. Marni loved to listen to the stories her mother, Rose, would tell her of visiting her own grandmother in Baltimore, and the fancy dances they held. Rose taught Marni some of the dances, but rarely did they go anywhere other than the library.


At a young age, Marni picked up a pencil and started sketching.  Her talent was evident.



First she drew horses, because her mother read National Velvet and Black Beauty to her frequently; Marni requested them over and over. She painted landscapes, places she imagined the horses might be, and images from her infrequent visits to her mother’s childhood home in West Virginia.



She painted her cousins, and their pets.



And because Marni’s father wouldn’t permit her to have animals, she drew him instead, and their house.


Soon after her mother died, Marni found her own baby scrapbook, and drew a striking image of herself from a tattered photo.



“Photorealism is a genre of art that encompasses painting, drawing and other graphic mediums, in which an artist studies a photograph and then attempts to reproduce the image as realistically as possible in another medium. … it is also used to refer specifically to a group of paintings and painters of the United States that began in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.” [taken from Wikipedia.]



By the time photorealism was a recognized art form, Marni was already in New York, with her glorious career path unfolding. As a child, she knew nothing of art forms or schools of art, she just drew and painted what she saw. As she grew, and began to take classes to refine her skill, she relied on photos and existing paintings.



 “As a full-fledged art movement, Photorealism evolved from Pop Art and as a counter to Abstract Expressionisms,” something Marni despised. “Photoreaslists use a photograph or several photographs to gather the information to create their paintings… The invention of photography in the nineteenth century had three effects on art: portrait and scenic artists were deemed inferior to the photograph and many turned to photography as careers; the photograph as source material and as an aid – however, they went to great lengths to deny the fact fearing that their work would be misunderstood as imitations; and through the photograph’s invention artists were open to a great deal of new experimentation. Thus, the culmination of the invention of the photograph was a break in art’s history towards the challenge facing the artist – since the earliest known cave drawings – trying to replicate the scenes they viewed.” [Wikipedia]




“By the time the Photorealists began producing their bodies of work the photograph had become the leading means of reproducing reality and abstraction was the focus of the art world… Pop Art and Photorealism were both reactionary movements stemming from the ever increasing and overwhelming abundance of photographic media, which by the mid 20th century had grown into such a massive phenomenon that it was threatening to lessen the value of imagery in art. However, whereas the Pop artists were primarily pointing out the absurdity of much of the imagery … the Photorealists were trying to reclaim and exalt the value of an image.” [Wikipedia]



“The word Photorealism was coined by Louis K. Meisel in 1969 and appeared in print for the first time in 1970 in a Whitney Museum catalogue… Louis K. Meisel, two years later, developed a five-point definition… was as follows:

  1. The Photo-Realist uses the camera and photograph to gather information.
  2. The Photo-Realist uses a mechanical or semimechanical means to transfer the information to the canvas.
  3. The Photo-Realist must have the technical ability to make the finished work appear photographic.
  4. The artist must have exhibited work as a Photo-Realist by 1972 to be considered one of the central Photo-Realists.
  5. The artist must have devoted at least five years to the development and exhibition of Photo Realist work.” [Wikipedia]


“The evolution of technology has brought forth photorealistic paintings that exceed what was thought possible with paintings; these newer paintings by the photorealists are sometimes referred to as Hyperrealism. With new technology in cameras and digital equipment, artists are able to be far more precision-oriented.” [Wikipedia]

Marni was that if she was anything, precision-oriented, exacting to the minutest detail. It was this reason that she could not appreciate Cassie’s passion for Impressionism, and it was for this reason that she held such disdain for the disturbing images of Connie’s beloved Fauvism, Cubism, Dadaism and Surrealism. Marni held to an impossible standard of perfectionism, which pervades far more than art.

Note: all images found on Google.










#marniart, #photorealism, #hyperrealism, #nationalvelvet, #blackbeauty, #cousins&pets

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