Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Being held hostage by your memory. #Flashbacks.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Being held hostage by your memories. #Flashbacks.

Definition of Hostage

If you say you are hostage to something, you mean that your freedom to take action is restricted by things that you cannot control. Such is the force of PTSD.

Memories are something unique to each and every one of us. They are perhaps the only thing apart from our DNA that truly sets us apart from any other of our species.

They can be triggered by the sweet joyous sound of a baby’s laughter, the scent of a freshly baked cake, or a scene from a movie that we watch over-and-over again. All our senses take part in the remembering process.

The lingering refrain of church bells on Sunday morning and the butterfly touch of a spring breeze on our faces may all take us to places we once inhabited in real time.

But not all of our memory is sweet.

The darker times of loss, the time a love ended, the tragedy  that life hands out … but never in equal measure, all those times remain there in that memory and at our weakest moments they will surface, to test our strength, or to force us to become aware, finally, that we are  no longer in that place of weakness.

Our memories hand us our self-knowledge, and at times, those memories are the very things by which we judge our own self-worth.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has as a bi-product its own unique way of enabling our darkest memory to surface. These are the FLASHBACKS  … I have experienced many. I will share with you one that it still shakes me to recall, in the hope that in some small way I can help shine a light into the darkest of places.

When it came, there was only a fleeting moment of recognition before I catapulted straight back to hell.

It was a crisp August morning, mid-winter here in Australia. I was beyond excited, anxious and happy that morning. I wore a new business suit, my hair was freshly cut and styled and I was ready to attend my second interview, at a firm of Merchant Bankers that were well known and respected, located in the Sydney CBD. I really wanted that job. Hell, I really needed that job. Blowing the funds on the new clothes and hairstyle was done in the belief that I had what it took to nail this position. I had worked in the field for a good many years and my reputation was solid. They had now compiled a short list of five possible candidates, including myself. I liked those odds.

I arrived at the tower of power that rose high above our beautiful harbor, and joined the throng of workers lined up for the elevators.

I have always hated elevators, but twenty-two floors up was my appointment location, and my lungs already knew that stairs weren’t an option.

My life long claustrophobia clung hand in hand to my inability to stand at the front of the elevator … my unease at having people behind me unseen won the argument. I entered the elevator and went to the middle against the back wall … my ass was covered. I smiled, remembering my dear Jamie’s favorite expression, “Always cover your ass, Sass!”  The other occupants soon created a wall in front of me, which I escaped by keeping my eyes closed and only briefly glancing up as the lift stopped and disgorged people on each floor.

I believe I had a handle on the claustrophobia, and just breathed deeply.

We stopped again, someone else entered. I watched an older woman, well attired, and confident looking stand just in front of me. She loosened her colored scarf and her perfume was captured and sent in my direction by the movement.

I inhaled that scent. My guts clenched so tight I could scarcely breathe. The nausea was my second warning sign that something was wrong. I took a deep breath to quell the wave of it as it rocked me. That is when it truly began. That smell … the woman who gave birth to me always wore that perfume. I was shaking and attempting not to throw up; I couldn’t move my limbs, for they were weighed down by the concrete of fear.

The fight or flight reflex kicked in and I lunged forward and hit the next floor button. Those brief moments seemed endless, and I had wet myself as I had as a small child when that scent of her would linger long after a beating. That odor had me back in a hell I had long run from. A hell that held me hostage with the memories that even the smell of a perfume could bring back into being.

I was that broken child again, kneeling on the floor and then placing my mouth at the light coming from underneath the locked door in the darkened room. The forty-year-old woman that I now was simply ceased to exist. I was four-years-old again. My back so sticky with crusted blood that the singlet I had been wearing for days stuck fast to the surface. I could feel my control slipping away and could find no logical thought that would both stop it and me from spiraling deeper into that remembered nightmare of pain and darkness.

The lift door finally opened and I half fell out in my haste. I don’t know what floor I landed on, my only coherent thought was escape. I needed a bathroom but couldn’t open my mouth to ask for directions. I headed to a corridor that I hoped would contain public washrooms. I threw up all over the plush-pile carpet in the corridor, and all over myself, not knowing or caring if anyone bore witness to my humiliation.

I found a washroom and locked myself into a stall. I sat down on the closed lid of the toilet and searched for the ability to breathe. I sat with my head down and focused on the tiled pattern on the floor until I could at last see it clearly, that gave me a route back to the immediacy of the moment, the now time, the real time where she had no power over my life … except in my memories. I had no idea how much time had passed. It had for me, seemed like a lifetime. I didn’t think to check my watch. Such is the nature of Flashbacks.

I cleaned myself as best I could, using paper towel and soapy water. I had nobody I could call to come and pick me up from the city. At that time in my life, I was living alone. I inspected myself, grabbing reassurance from the adult face reflected in the mirror, surprised to discover not the child I’d once been, but my grown self. I looked at my reflection for a long time …  until I had gathered as much of me together as I could hope for just then. I lightly sprayed on my own signature perfume, in the hope of hiding the stench of my clothing and my fear from the Taxi driver on the twenty-minutes it would take to him to drive me back home to safe haven.  I tipped him well.

I recall unlocking the door and resetting the alarm system before sliding down and sitting with my back firmly in place against that door. Nothing and no one could come near me … for now.

I showered, dressed, and then rang the folks that had expected to interview me. I apologized of course. I’d simply told them that I had taken suddenly ill. They thanked me, but they didn’t suggest a reschedule. I was distantly grateful for that, for I knew with absolute certainty that I would never take the risk that that woman could possibly share any space whatsoever in my life. I rated the chance of her working there far too high.

It took me a couple of days to regroup. I thought about and then tried not to think about what had happened. I knew I didn’t want to take the option of isolating myself … not again.

The temptation to reach out for alcohol to numb me against everything was resisted, this time. Being under the influence of the large amounts of alcohol I knew I could consume would make me a loaded weapon placed in the hands of a terrified four-year-old child.

I didn’t sleep fearing the nightmares that experience had told me lay waiting. I needed to cry it out, but I could not.

Finally, after almost three days of constant vigilance, exhaustion claimed me, and I slept. I awoke on the morning of the fourth day and knew that, I had,at least for now, regained control.

I refocused my attention on finding a job.

And life went on.

For those who suffer from P.T.S.D, and for those loving, caring folks that have someone in their lives that are trying to deal with the challenging packages P.T.S.D hands out, please know this … there are people out there in the now of your world that can help you. They will help you go to battle … and they will cheer you on as you win.

Reach out. There will be many loving hands ready to take yours.

I have listed below sites that are available world-wide, it is by no means a complete list, but if anyone reading this needs to learn more, these sites will point you in the right direction.

Depression Alliance U.K

ABeyond Blue Australia. Information and help

Anxiety and Depression Assistance America

Police Post Trauma Support Group | PPTSG | Post Traumatic Stress

Help line. 0432 569 589. 7am – 10am. The PPTSG is a not-for-profit organisation, … Its aim is to provide support to those who are suffering from PTSD, anxiety, … officers, and emergency workers, PPTSG provides a family and spouse support function. … He has been through the system & suffers ongoing medical problems of …
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can cause fear, anxiety and trauma memories that persist for a long time and affect a person’s ability to function.
Blue Knot Helpline (formerly ASCA Professional Support Line) provides help, … The MindSpot Clinic does not provide an emergency or instant response service. … health conditions, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, …
Posttraumatic stress disorder (sometimes called PTSD) is a form of anxiety … Ask your doctor about any concerns you have, or contact the SANE Helpline on …
PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) can cause fear, anxiety and trauma … information, online programs, helplines and news on mindhealthconnect. … PTSD is a treatable anxiety disorder affecting around one million Australians each year. …. (000) for an ambulance or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.
Trusted information about complex PTSD, including symptoms, causes, diagnosis and … If someone has attempted, or is in immediate risk of attempting to harm … Complex posttraumatic stress disorder describes the long-term effects of …. Helpline 1800 18 7263 Home Mental Health & Illness :: Facts & Guides Get Help …

Find help for the effects of trauma – Phoenix Australia

phoenixaustralia.org/recovery/find-help/
This page lists Australian helplines and websites. For urgent support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for confidential 24/7 counselling and …. PTSD and trauma.
People with posttraumatic stress disorder often experience feelings of panic or extreme fear, which may resemble what was felt during the traumatic event.
  1. Confidential online assessment. Free to Australian adults.
    Dedicated IT Team · Free & Effective Service
    Steps: Learn, Get Assessed, Treatment…

 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) | Mind, the mental health charity …

Explains what posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD are, and provides information on how you can access treatment and support. Includes …

It is normal to experience upsetting and confusing thoughts after a traumatic event, but … The Combat Stress 24-Hour Helpline 0800 138 1619 is for the military … trauma in military and emergency service personnel and also complex PTSD and … Rivers offers treatment for the whole range of post traumatic disorders with the 

 

 

 

 

Book REVIEW Video “Empty Chairs” by Suzanne Burke writing as Stacey Danson. Reviewed by Gwen Plano. #RRBC

How marvelous it is to have my book reviewed in this way. I am so honored to have  Gwen Plano feel strongly about my work. Please, pop over to the YouTube site and leave a comment on her video.

Thank you for dropping by.

 

 

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Sunday Short Story – The Common Mynas and the Bad Rat – Parts 1 and 2

Sunday Short Story – The Common Mynas and the Bad Rat – Parts 1 and 2

Don’t miss this, folks. A marvelous short story for children. The book is NOW available on PRE-ORDER! Why not grab a copy for the children’s Christmas stocking!

About Fauna Park Tales

Part 1

Not everything in the woods are always as it seems. While the monkeys chatter happily in the trees and the good humans are reading to their grandchildren, others are making mischief. One such character is a dark-feathered bird, called the common myna.He looks like a robber – black head and neck, yellow feet and legs, beak and eye patch. White wing patches show underneath his mud-brown feathers. He and his partner are outlaws as far as other birds in the forest are concerned. These mynas find their way around other birds’ nests, causing great misery. This morning is no exception and even the monkeys stop their constant chattering to hear what the odd-looking pair of mynas cackle about. 

‘I’ll show those crimson-breasted shrikes what I can do!’ and then the male kicks their remaining egg out of the nest and whistle shrilly, ‘Be quick! There’s no time to…

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Author Showcase: Featured genre this month Mystery/Thriller/Suspense. My guest today is Author Mae Clair.

AUTHOR SHOWCASE MAE CLAIR OPENER.jpg

Meet Mae Clair:

MAE CLAIR IMAGE FOR REVIEW

Mae Clair has been chasing myth, monsters and folklore through research and reading since she was a child. In 2013 and 2015, she journeyed to West Virginia to learn more about the legendary Mothman, a creature who factors into her Point Pleasant series of novels.

A member of the Mystery Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers, Mae pens tales of mystery and suspense with a touch of romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and numbers cats, history and exploring old graveyards among her passions.  Look for Mae on her website at MaeClair.net

Author Interview:

  1. What inspired you to write in this genre?

I’ve written in multiple genres over the years, but most of them contained elements of suspense and mystery. As a kid I was in love with mysteries so it was only natural that theme would worm its way into my writing. With each successive book I’ve written, that element has taken on a larger role, until it’s become my primary focus.

  1. How much research was required before you began to write &did the characters then create more research by their actions?

    My newest book, A Desolate Hour, required a great deal of research as it incorporates actual events and aspects of folklore. The book is set in the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia in the U.S. I made two separate trips to the area to do site research. I also devoted numerous hours to reading accounts of the town’s history, and investigating the multiple urban legends associated with Point Pleasant.

  2. How would you best describe your protagonist?

A Desolate Hour has more than one protagonist. Caden Flynn is a practical man forced to adapt to extraordinary circumstances. He’s steady and sure with a strong work ethic, and a willingness to step out of his comfort zone. A sergeant with the local sheriff’s office, he’s suffered multiple tragedies in his past, but that hasn’t stopped him from starting over or opening his mind to the inexplicable and bizarre events that beset Point Pleasant.

Quentin Marsh, my other protagonist, has grown up in an affluent family. A musical prodigy, his life has taken an unexpected turn. By the time he arrives in Point Pleasant, he’s floundering. He goes to the town at the request of his twin sister, but soon becomes embroiled in a murder investigation, an ancient curse, and a vendetta that spans centuries.

  1. Have you written or do you intend to write in other genres.

Before I was published, I wrote everything from high fantasy and sci-fi, to inspirational and western.

My first two published books were romance—Weathering Rock and Twelfth Sun—a paranormal/time travel, and a contemporary. Both incorporated mysteries, but were more heavily slanted toward romance. Afterward, I moved into romantic suspense with a growing shift to mystery. The change was gradual which allowed me to maintain a number of existing readers while establishing a new brand. I love the mystery/suspense genre and plan on staying entrenched. J

  1. Is this novel a stand-alone or part of a series?

A Desolate Hour is the third and final book of my Point Pleasant series. Each novel is complete, with a finite ending, but there are also events and characters that continue throughout the series. Books 1 and 2 are A Thousand Yesteryears and A Cold Tomorrow.

  1. Are you currently working on anything new?

Yes. I’m very excited to have recently signed a three book contract with my publisher. The Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill is the first book in a new mystery series I’m developing. The plot features two threads—one in the present, the other in the late 1800s. Both tie together and are rooted in the Spiritualism movement of the 19th century. At that time, mediums readily engaged in fraud (sometimes quite skillfully), a few of them even amateur magicians. The research has been fascinating!

I then ask my guests to pose a question to themselves, and their response

7. How long have you been writing?
Since grade school. I know that many writers begin later in life, but for me it’s been a life-long passion. If I go a week without expelling my creative energy in some type of story format, I suffer from withdrawal. I think only another writer truly understands how essential writing is for our well-being!

 Featured Book: This Book is due for release on JULY 18th 2017.

Author Showcase MAE CLAIR BOOK COVER

  A Desolate Hour:

Sins of the past could destroy all of their futures 

For generations, Quentin Marsh’s family has seen its share of tragedy, though he remains skeptical that their misfortunes are tied to a centuries-old curse. But to placate his pregnant sister, Quentin makes the pilgrimage to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, hoping to learn more about the brutal murder of a Shawnee chief in the 1700s. Did one of the Marsh ancestors have a hand in killing Chief Cornstalk—the man who cursed the town with his dying breath?

While historian Sarah Sherman doesn’t believe in curses either, she’s compelled to use her knowledge of Point Pleasant to uncover the long-buried truth. The river town has had its own share of catastrophes, many tied to the legendary Mothman, the winged creature said to haunt the woods. But Quentin’s arrival soon reveals that she may have more of a stake than she realized. It seems that she and Quentin possess eerily similar family heirlooms. And the deeper the two of them dig into the past, the more their search enrages the ancient mystical forces surrounding Point Pleasant. As chaos and destruction start to befall residents, can they beat the clock to break the curse before the Mothman takes his ultimate revenge? . . .

Purchase from:
Universal Pre-Order Link
PRE-ORDER for JULY 18 RELEASE

Other titles in the series:
A Cold Tomorrow (Book 2)
A Thousand Yesteryears (Book 1)

Author Showcase Mae Clair book 1 and book 2.jpg

 

 YOUR FAVORITE AMAZON REVIEW: Book 1.

From New York Times bestselling author Kevin O’Brien:

“A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS is masterful, bone-chilling fiction that begins with a real-life tragedy on December 15, 1967: the Silver Bridge collapse in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.  46 people died.   Author Mae Clair has seamlessly woven fact, fiction and creepy urban folklore into one intense thriller.  The gripping story focuses on two witnesses to the disaster—fifteen years later.  Both Eve Parrish and Caden Flynn lost loved ones in the catastrophe and still carry the emotional scars.  After a long absence, Eve returns to Point Pleasant to bury her recently-deceased aunt, face some old ghosts, and reunite with her one-time “impossible-crush,” Caden.  But when Eve begins to investigate her aunt’s death, she’s plunged into danger and a nightmare world where scary urban legends are very real.  Full of suspense, A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS will keep you guessing, gasping and turning the pages for more.”

Mae Clair can be found on the following links.

Website and Blog
MaeClair.net

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/MaeClair1
@maeclair1

Facebook Author Page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mae-Clair/219356774828949?ref=tn_tnmn

Google+
https://plus.google.com/+MaeClair/about

Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8128047-mae-clair

Instragram: 
https://www.instagram.com/maeclair1/

Amazon Author Page:
http://www.amazon.com/Mae-Clair/e/B009I61ND0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1394989885&sr=1-1

Kensington Publishing: 
http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/author.aspx/29541

Pinterest:
http://www.pinterest.com/maeclair

 Thank you to my featured authors this month, Gordon Bickerstaff, John W. Howell and Mae Clair.

From August 12th I will be featuring NON-Fiction- Memoirs.

I appreciate you stopping by and offering your comments and support to all these talented folks.

 

Author Showcase … Featured genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense. Featured Author John W. Howell.

Author Showcase CARD JOHN HOWELL

Hello and welcome to Author Showcase! I will be featuring different authors & genres each month. I interview each author, and showcase their featured work.

WHY? Simply because I enjoy supporting other Indie Authors every chance I get.

This Month I am featuring Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Authors.

Please welcome my guest, Author John W. Howell.

Meet John.

John Howell Headshot
John W. Howell.

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories.  His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016.  All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Author Interview:

  1. What inspired you to write in this genre?

 My genre is Thrillers and I love to write stories that grab the reader. Since I write in the first person present tense my stories tend to unfold as the reader proceeds. I love the idea of having a plot point deviate in a different direction. A thriller is supposed to keep the reader guessing and that is what inspires me. When my reviews validate the fact that the story twists and turns I feel satisfied I’ve done my job.

  1. How much research was required before you began to write &did the characters then create more research by their actions?

My research was extensive. My story is about boats, explosives, airplanes, and other subjects which are not part of my knowledge base. All these elements needed to be thoroughly researched before the writing began. As the characters began to have a voice in the story additional research was necessary in order to deliver what the character was demanding.

  1. How would you best describe your protagonist?

John Cannon is a litigation attorney. He is as normal as a lawyer can be. He doesn’t have any special talents or survival skills on which he can depend when the going gets tough. He has a keen mind and the patience to wait until he is certain of an outcome before going into action. He also has a fondness for delicious coffee which puts him in good stead with the antagonist.

  1. Have you written or do you intend to write in other genres.

I have completed a book in a genre that I would describe as Spiritual or Speculative fiction. It is due to be published in September.

  1. Is this novel a stand-alone or part of a series?

My GRL is the first book in the John Cannon Trilogy

  1. Are you currently working on anything new?

I am currently working on another spiritual fiction novel and am working with a very talented collaborator. The story is about two spirits who are challenged to return to Earth with the objective of preventing a singular act that has the potential of destroying humanity.

I then ask my guests to pose a question to themselves, and their response.

& 7. Hummm. I think the question I would ask is What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?

My advice is: 1. Write for the right reasons. If you get joy from writing then it is your thing. If you want to be rich or famous walk away. 2. Write every day. Set a goal and stick to it. The only way to become a better writer is to write. 3. Until your draft is finished, do not share it with anyone. Well-meaning folks tend to discourage new writers. A new writer does not need to have people question or evaluate the manuscript until it is done. Then the gates can be opened. 4. Do not edit or try to improve the manuscript as you go along. Finish it then go back. All writing needs editing. If the new writer does too much of it before the manuscript is done chances are it will never be done.

FEATURED BOOK: “MY GRL”

My GRL front

 John J. Cannon successful San Francisco lawyer takes a well-deserved leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. He is unaware that his newly purchased boat had already been targeted by a terrorist group. John’s first inkling of a problem is when he wakes up in the hospital where he learns he was found unconscious next to the dead body of the attractive young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now stands between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

 John w. Howell’s  FAVORITE AMAZON REVIEW.

John Cannon is a thirty-eight-year-old partner in a law firm in California who decides to take a twelve month leave from the practice in order to decide if he is truly happy with the “comfort of the routine I had come to know and hate” or if he would prefer a different lifestyle now that he has the financial means to live as he pleases. At first, everything proceeds wonderfully with a relocation to Port Aransas on the Texas Gulf Coast. The quick acquisition of a twelve-month lease on a home and purchase of a car and sixty-five-foot boat, which he names My Grl, all point to a positive future, only when John becomes implicated in the murder of the broker through whom he bought the boat he finds his reality turned upside down. John’s life now appears to be in enough of a tangle when he discovers himself caught between the local police, the FBI and a possible love interest, but the plotlines become further knotted when a terroristic agenda, in which an enemy from his past has placed John and My GRL at the center, is revealed, and John finds that he is the only person who can prevent a massacre

There are several key concepts to achieve when writing a novel from the first-person perspective, arguably chief among them is creating a character with a distinctive voice who the reader can not only “hear” as being an actual person but who is someone the reader would like to know in real life. Howell’s character John Cannon exemplifies these goals through his stream of consciousness inner monologues in which he reveals himself to be an ordinary man with everyday concerns and fears, not some superhero with radioactively-induced mutant gifts that the average reader can only have described in graphic novel imagery or with incomprehensible technical jargon. Cannon is a man not unlike ourselves who, though in the end having some high-level support, is put into a position where he is the only person who can connect the dots and prevent a terrorist attack. In addition to the crafting of the protagonist himself, the plotting of “My GRL” is to be commended. Unlike the thrillers produced by the major publishing houses, “My GRL” provides a true to life reveal of the big picture where the reader, seeing the world through the eyes of John Cannon, learns every detail in tandem with the man who by the end of the novel would become a hero. More than just an exciting read, as a piece of literature, “My GRL” proves the worth of independent publishing in allowing Howell to provide a quality storyline that willfully neglects the formulaic in the interest of pulling the reader directly into the middle of an exciting, ever-developing, complex plot.

The Other books in the series.

Author Showcase JOHN HOWELL BOOK 2 and 3

Author John W. Howell may be reached on the following links.

 Author Blog ‘Fiction Favorites’

 FACEBOOK

TWITTER

Amazon AUTHOR page

Thank you for stopping by. My next featured author this month is Mae Clair.

Author Showcase: Featured Genre for July is Mystery/Thriller/Suspense. My first featured Showcase & Interview is with Author Gordon Bickerstaff.

AUTHOR SHOWCASE FEATURE WITH BIO

Hello and welcome to Author Showcase! I will be featuring different authors & genres each month. I interview each author, and showcase their featured work.

WHY? Simply because I enjoy supporting other Indie Authors every chance I get.

This Month I am featuring Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Authors.

Please welcome my first guest, Gordon Bickerstaff.

Meet Gordon …

Author Showcase Bio Pic Gordon Bickerstaff
Author: Gordon Bickerstaff

I was born and raised in Glasgow but spent my student years in Edinburgh. On summer vacations, I learned plumbing, garden maintenance, and I cut the grass in the Meadows. I learned some biochemistry and taught it for a while before I retired to write fiction. I do some aspects of DIY moderately well and other aspects not so well.

I live with my wife in Scotland where corrupt academics, mystery, murder and intrigue exists mostly in my mind. I have written the Gavin Shawlens series of thrillers: Deadly Secrets, Everything To Lose, The Black Fox, Toxic Minds and Tabula Rasa. More will come in due course. I enjoy walking in the hills, 60s & 70s music, reading and travel.

My Interview with Gordon.

  1. What inspired you to write in this genre?

My dad read Ian Fleming’s books so a combination of reading his books and the movies got me hooked into thrillers and world-changing threats led by megalomaniacs. In my books, the women are not eye-candy; they are the smart and determined main protagonists like Zoe Tampsin who win the day. There is a character similar to Q in James Bond and that’s Gavin Shawlens.

 2. How much research was required before you began to write & did the characters then create more research by their actions?

I trained as a researcher, so I love doing research to give my stories some substance. I have no experience of weapons and Special Forces operations, so I have to do the research. I don’t do it before I write, I do the research as and when required e.g. in Tabula Rasa, Gavin Shawlens is threatened by the baddies, and in keeping with the specifics of the scene, I needed something very old and nasty. With some research, I found The Heretic’s Fork, which was just the ticket to make Gavin talk.

Yes, the characters do create more research. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback about main protagonist Zoe, and since she is Special Forces trained, I’ve had to learn more about weapons and fighting to make her heroine character more believable.

 3. How would you best describe your protagonist?

There are two; Zoe Tampsin and Gavin Shawlens, and they are complete opposites. Gavin is modelled on Q from James Bond but whereas Q is an expert on everything, Gavin is more limited to life sciences. He is naive, and untrained in the ways of covert investigations. Zoe is ex-army, Special Forces with a finely tuned skill set for undercover operations. Her nickname in the regiment is DP (which are the initials of Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman). Zoe is the strong female lead who is empowered with the skills and cunning to get the job done. When I write about Zoe, I think about Samantha Caine (played by Geena Davis) in the brilliant movie The Long Kiss Goodnight.

 4. Have you written or do you intend to write in other genres.

Interesting question because I’m wrestling with it at the moment. At the end of Tabula Rasa, if the goodies win, the nightmare is averted. But what if they didn’t win and Gavin and Zoe faced a world apocalypse (dystopian genre) in which his science is needed for her survival, and her fighting skills are needed for his survival. Haven’t decided yet if I’ll go for such a massive twist in the series.

 5. Is this novel a stand-alone or part of a series?

Tabula rasa is #5 in a series and is completely stand alone. I’m changing the name of series from The Gavin Shawlens Thrillers to The Lambeth Group Thrillers to reflect the fact that in some of the stories either Gavin or Zoe play a lesser role.

 6. Are you currently working on anything new?

Having just published Tabula Rasa, I’m at the stage of trying to decide on the next story. I have two outlines. Zoe leads a rescue team to the Middle East to extract a prominent captive (Gavin will have a minor role). Or, Gavin receives a new assignment from the Lambeth Group in which he has to discover how six men have managed to get away with murdering their wives (based loosely on a true story of a biochemist in Edinburgh who tried unsuccessfully to kill his wife). When Gavin gets too close to discovering the truth; Zoe will need to pull him out of the fire, again!

I then ask my guests to pose a question to themselves, and their response.

7. The first three books in the series are stand-alone stories but over-arching them is a story arc that brings the third story and the trilogy to a climax. Where did this story come from?

When I was a student in 1973, I attended a seminar given by Tim Dinsdale in which he showed the Rines-Egerton picture as proof of the Loch Ness Monster. After the seminar, I joined my pals for a few drinks and we agreed that although the picture looked good, it was all a load of nonsense.

Loch Ness Monster for Gordon
Rines-Egerton The Loch-Ness Monster.

Then for months afterwards, I began to wonder what the Americans were really searching for in Loch Ness. Not the monster – that’s a hoax, so it had to be something else, and from that idea I developed the story. But I had to wait until I retired before I could put in the time to pull it all together.

So the overarching story of the first three books in the series is my fictional thoughts on what the Americans were doing in Loch Ness in the early 1970s with their high-tech sonar and their high-tech cameras.

Today we are Featuring 

Tabula Rasa: The end is nigh …

AUTHOR SHOWCASE BOOK COVER GORDON BICKERSTAFF

 BOOK BLURB

Tabula Rasa

The end is nigh …

A thriller for fans of Michael Crichton, Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen and James Patterson.

A hundred years ago, a wealthy family of visionaries prophesied the devastation that global warming would bring to world food supplies in the 21st century. They decided to prepare for the worst, and embark on an ambitious plan of revolution.

Lambeth Group agents, Zoe Tampsin and Gavin Shawlens, prepare to investigate the unusual death of a government defence scientist. Someone is determined to stop them before they get started. Zoe uncovers two unfamiliar words, Tabula Rasa. The only other clue is the curious behaviour of the dead scientist’s son, Ramsay. Posing as a couple, Gavin and Zoe enter the secret and dangerous world of Ramsay’s aristocratic guardians, headed by philanthropist billionaire, Lord Zacchary Silsden.

What Gavin uncovers, shocks him to the bottom of his soul. Does he have the courage and the conviction to stop the greatest revolution in human history?

What Zoe discovers about Gavin—words can’t describe. Zoe is faced with an impossible choice, but one thing is certain, she will not hesitate to do her duty, no matter the cost.

 Just one of the many AMAZON REVIEWS of Tabula Rasa The end is nigh.

5 out of 5 stars  A Real Page Turner!

By 1D82 Manyon July 1, 2017  Format: Kindle Edition

A real page turner!
A thrilling, action packed adventure with great characters and exciting events that kept me up half the night. I loved how the plot circled around the aristocracy, a secret society, and plenty of intrigue. The intricate details really gave the book depth without compromising the story with ‘packing’. I also loved how strong the female lead, Zoe, was; makes an excellent change.

I hadn’t read the previous books but have now picked them up as although you can enjoy this book as a standalone, this is obviously a great series and worth reading the whole lot to gain more insights into the background of the characters.

The other books in this series:

GORDON BICKERSTAFF BOOK 1 THRU 4

 You will find Gordon Bickerstaff at each of the following locations.
                On TWITTER

                On FACEBOOK

               Gordon Bickerstaff Author Blog

              Amazon links

 

This featured genre will be Showcased Until August 12th.

I have three featured authors this month. Next up is Author John W. Howell. To be followed by Author Mae Clair.

“It’s never a good idea to Piss this woman off.” Online bullying in its most damaging disguise.

Do NOT piss me off!

Anyone reading this who is even vaguely familiar with me, with my writing, and my particular way of dealing with the world will not be too surprised by this post.

For those of you that are perhaps clicking onto this with no knowledge beforehand of who the hell I am, or what hell I came from, please be advised … I have no hesitation in being vocal and passionate about something I believe in.

I am angry … extremely angry in fact. This is not going to be one of my light, bright, happy posts.

So … Why am I pissed off?

A few years back I wrote some non-fiction books. In doing so, and, because of the subject matter (Child abuse) I accepted the fact that there would be folks out there that would be (Sadly) sexually excited by the content. I accepted that, I knew the subject matter alone would attract some extremely sick predators.

I dealt with that fact, because I hoped that my books may help someone, somewhere seek help. I figured that if I could reach people, and perhaps help them recognize the signs of child abuse coming from all around them, then, maybe, just maybe one child somewhere may not need to go through the agony.

I know first hand that this can be a very sick world. I know that only too well. Over the few years since my work was published, I have received numerous emails from people of all ages and genders asking for my help and or advice.

I do not offer them a cure. There is no cure. Humankind has it’s share of inhuman acts.

But this world is turning and beginning to learn and because of that there are now an ever increasing number of places they can contact, places where they can seek assistance, advice and hopefully protection. This is what I do. I put them in touch with these professionals, these people are far better equipped than I will ever be to help them.

I have, never, ever, refused to open an email when the subject line asks me for help on this topic. I have not changed my email address for that very reason. I can’t punish folks that have already been punished enough by life to do that.

I have also received many emails from sick fucks that make me ill with the content of their “Please help me” requests.

As I said, I accepted that this would occur. I also knew that human nature being what it is, they would have been overjoyed had I responded with the anger they expected. So … I refused to respond. Period. I took it on the chin as part and parcel of the world we live in.

Enough Already! I have decided to respond after all. Years of these have taken their toll. I can’t remain passive on this, it’s too fucking important!  NOTE that I’m not telling you the titles of the books in question, nor the name I used to write them. I am NOT seeking promotion. This is NOT a please buy my work post.

What I AM seeking is for folks to recognize that these sick and perverted emails are yet another form of On-line Bullying. It has to stop. I will not Name and Shame them, for that is the very publicity they want. That recognition is what they crave, what they seek. That is what they MUST NOT achieve.

SO, I’m giving these sick fucks a free word of advice. IF you send me an email that is cruel and offensive in the extreme: If you disguise it under the cloak of being an abused person needing help, I WILL retaliate. You are NOT dealing with a helpless child here. I will never be forced into the position of feeling that helpless ever again.

I WILL retaliate by reporting you to the police and/or any other Agency that deals with these matters.

I don’t care what part of the world you live in. I don’t care what name you use. I don’t care if you feel safe and sheltered by a proxy server. I may not have the capacity to track you down on my own …. BUT the authorities have their own ways and means. And I will give those authorities everything I have that may assist them. I’ll no longer delete the posts.

I will and must continue answering the genuine posts that come in. My email will NOT change.

I usually have a sense of humor about life in general. It has been my one great solace and a frequent source of escape.

This TOPIC does not make me smile. I have no sense of humor whatsoever where abuse, in any of its guises is concerned.

Pissing me off is NOT a smart move.

End of rant.

I have included a long list of Agencies where folks (Genuine people) may get the help they need. I have included The United States, The United Kingdom and Australia.

AUSTRALIA:

The following list provides the contact telephone numbers for each State and Territory to report incidences of child abuse:

  • Australian Capital Territory – 24 hours: 1300 556 729
  • New South Wales – 24 hours: 132 111
  • Northern Territory – Business hours: (08) 8922 7111. After hours: 1800 700 250
  • Queensland – Business hours: (07) 3224 8045. After hours: (07) 3235 9999
  • South Australia – 24 hours: 131 611
  • Tasmania – 24 hours: 1300 737 639
  • Victoria – 24 hours: 131 278
  • Western Australia – Business hours: (08) 9222 2555. After hours: (08) 9223 1111 or 1800 199 008

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Boystown National Hotline

Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Home
Boystown, NE 68010
800/448-3000

The Boys Town National Hotline is the only hotline that children and parents can call with any problem at any time: Spanish-speaking counselors available; translation services for 100+ languages; TTY line available for the hearing-impaired at 1-800-448-1833; Counselors can help find services and agencies in the callers’ local community.

Childhelp USA, National Child Abuse Hotline

P.O. Box 630
Hollywood, CA 90028
800/422-4453 or 213/465-4014

Childhelp USA provides a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week national crisis hotline on child abuse and neglect. Childhelp USA is dedicated to meeting the physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs of abused and neglected children. It does this by focusing its efforts and resources upon treatment, prevention, and research.

Children’s Rights of America

8735 Dunwoody Place, Suite 6
Atlanta, GA 30350
770-442-7865

Children’s Rights of America is a child advocacy and youth services organization that is a resource for rescuing a missing/abused child, desperately in trouble, from an impossible situation when all other avenues have failed.

Covenant House Nineline

346 W. 17th Street
New York, NY 10011-5002
800/999-9999

Covenant House is the largest privately-funded childcare agency in the United States providing shelter and service to homeless and runaway youth. In addition to food, shelter, clothing and crisis care, Covenant House provides a variety of services to homeless youth including health care, education, vocational preparation, drug abuse treatment and prevention programs, legal services, recreation, mother/child programs, transitional living programs, street outreach and aftercare.

National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA)

1757 Park Road, NW
Washington, DC 20010
202/232-6682
nova@digex.net

The National Organization for Victim Assistance is a private non-profit organization of victim and witness assistance programs and practitioners, criminal justice agencies and professionals, mental health professionals, researchers, former victims and survivors, and others committed to the recognition and implementation of victim rights and services.

Parents Anonymous

675 W. Foothill Boulevard, Suite 220
Claremont, CA 91711
909/621-6184
parentsanonymous-nat@earthlink.net

Parents Anonymous is a nonprofit organization which remains dedicated to strengthening families with innovative strategies that promote mutual support and parent leadership.

Education/Prevention

American Humane Association

Children’s Division
63 Inverness Drive, E
Englewood, CO 80112
800/227-4645 or 303/792-9900
children@amerhumane.org

The mission of the American Humane Association, as a network of individuals and organizations, is to prevent cruelty, abuse, neglect and exploitation of children and animals and to assure that their interests and well-being are fully, effectively, and humanely guaranteed by an aware and caring society.

Child Welfare Information Gateway

U.S. Children’s Bureau
1250 Maryland Avenue SW, Eighth Floor
Washington DC 20024
703/385-7565
800/394-3366 (toll free)
info@childwelfare.gov

Formerly the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information and the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, this service of the U.S. Children’s Bureau provides access to information and resources to help protect children and strengthen families.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)

2102 Wilson Blvd., Suite 550
Arlington, VA 22201
800/843-5678 or 703/235-3900
ncmec@cis.compuserv.com

NCMEC is a nonprofit organization and is the nation’s resource center for child protection.

National Children’s Advocacy Center

200 Westside Square, Suite 700
Huntsville, AL 35801
205/534-6868

The National Children’s Advocacy Center provides training and technical assistance to professionals working with victims of child sexual abuse as well as their families.

National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information

P.O. Box 1182
Washington, DC 20013-1182
800/394-3366 or 703/385-7565
Contact: Information Specialist
nccanch@calib.com

The Clearinghouse is a national resource for professionals seeking information on the prevention, identification, and treatment of child abuse and neglect and related child welfare issues.

National Committee for the Rights of the Child (NCRC)

125 Cathedral Street, First Floor
Annapolis, MD 21401
410/268-1544

The National Committee for the Rights of the Child was established to be a well coordinated coalition of organizations, individuals, businesses, and corporations whose goal is to improve the quality of life and development of children in America. NCRC gives primary emphasis to advancing respect and support for children’s rights through education, information, monitoring, and advocacy projects.

National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse (NCPCA)

332 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60604
312/663-3520
ncpca@childabuse.org

NCPCA is a national, nonprofit, volunteer-based organization whose primary goal is to prevent child abuse. NCPCA is represented in all 50 states through a network of chapters.

National Education Association (NEA)

Professional Library
1201 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
202/833-4000

The National Education Association is nearly 2.5 million men and women working, in schools and colleges across the United States, to help all students achieve.

National Resource Center for Child Maltreatment

1349 W. Peachtree Street, NE, Suite 900
Atlanta, GA 30309
404/881-0707
nrccmcwi@aol.com

The National Resource Center for Child Maltreatment provides training, technical assistance, consultation, and information in response to identified needs which relate to the prevention, identification, intervention, and treatment of child abuse and neglect.

Legal Advice

For legal help, first contact your local lawyer referral services through your chapter of the American Bar Association. In addition, the following organizations may be able to put you in touch with legal assistance or advice.

American Bar Association (ABA), Center on Children and the Law

1800 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
202/662-1720
ctrchildlaw@attmail.com

The ABA Center on Children and the Law is a full-service technical assistance, training, and research program addressing a broad spectrum of law and court-related topics affecting children. These include child abuse and neglect, adoption, adolescent health, foster and kinship care, custody and support, guardianship, missing and exploited children, and children’s exposure to domestic violence.

National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse

American Prosecutors Research Institute
99 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 510
Alexandria, VA 22314
703/739-0312

National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse is a program of the American Prosecutors Research Institute aimed at responding to an increasing volume of reported child abuse. The National Center serves as a central resource for training, expert legal assistance, court reform and state-of-the-art information on criminal child abuse investigations and prosecutions.

NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund

99 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10013
212/925-6635
Contact: Intake Department

NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund continues to be at the center of every major social and economic justice concern on the women’s rights agenda, defining the issues and bringing them to public attention. NOW Legal Defense pursues equality for women and girls in the workplace, the schools, the family and the courts, through litigation, education, and public information programs.

Domestic Violence

Family Violence Prevention Fund

383 Rhode Island Street, Suite 304
San Francisco, CA 94103-5133
415/252-8900
fund@igc.apc.org

The Family Violence Prevention Fund works to end domestic violence and help women and children whose lives are devastated by abuse, because every person has the right to live in a home free of violence.

National Resource Center for Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
P.O. Box 8970
Reno, NV 89507
800/527-3223

The Council’s increased awareness and sensitivity to children’s issues and provide meaningful assistance to judges, court administrators and related professionals in whose care the concerns of children and their families have been entrusted.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

American Council for Drug Education

164 W. 74th Street
New York, NY 10023
800/488-DRUG or 212/595-5810 ext. 7860

The American Council for Drug Education is a substance abuse prevention and education agency that develops programs and materials based on the most current scientific research on drug use and its impact on society.

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information

P.O. Box 2345
Rockville, MD 20847-2345
800/729-6686
ncadi@health.org

The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) is the information service of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. NCADI is the world’s largest resource for current information and materials concerning substance abuse.

National Parents Resource Institute on Drug Education (PRIDE)

3610 Decab Technology Pkwy., Suite 105
Atlanta, GA 30340
404/577-4500

PRIDE is the largest and oldest organization in the nation devoted to drug- and violence-free youth. With programs devoted to reach parents and youth at home, school and work, PRIDE has made significant contribution in communities across America and around the world.

Volunteer Opportunities

National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association

100 W. Harrison, Suite 500
North Tower
Seattle, WA 98199
800/628-3233 or 206/328-8588
staff@nationalcasa.org

Volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are everyday people who are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children.

THE UNITED KINGDOM

If you think a child is in immediate danger

Don’t delay – call the police on 999,
or call us on 0808 800 5000, straight away.

Email us at help@nspcc.org.uk

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