The Fulfillment Series

The Fulfillment Series

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

IllogiCon 2017

Before I begin, don't forget to head over to Deek's blog and enter for your chance to win a SIGNED copy of his book Birth!!

And now for our regularly schedule blog...

Deek and I knew we wanted to get more involved on the ComicCon scene when we moved back to the East Coast. Thankfully, our friend Chrissy Lessey hooked us up with our first one, Crystal Coast Con, back in October. From there, we met Josh Leone, and he told us about IllogiCon. We applied and were accepted to sell our books, speak on panels, and do a reading!! WOOT! Talk about the mother load of wonderfulness!!

Well, fast forward to a week before the Con. Our area is braced for a massive storm, which ended up mostly being ice. Now, I hate to be snowed in. I hate to be "stuck" at my house. Not that I have anywhere to go per se, but I'd like to have the option should I decide to. Well, I thought being stuck would be the worst thing to happen. But no...I contracted the Martian death flu. While the timing sucked, I thought I'd surely be better by the time the Con came around. And the illness lingered and lingered until we ended up missing the first day and my first panel. <sad face>

An aside: Just a little side note to say, Deek took the BEST care of me while I was sick. You know how people say "in sickness and in health" when you get married? Well, he meant it. Thank you, baby!! <3

Gus had no idea what to make of the "snice" (ice with a little snow on top)

Martian Death Flu

By Saturday, I'd healed enough to engage with the public, but I still had no energy and no appetite. As a participant in a Con, you have to be "on"--fun, engaging, and chatty. Somehow, I managed to find the energy, but I totally crashed at night once we got home.

Time to lie in bed with my Cindy Lou Who hair and recover

Despite the initial health setbacks, we had a TOTAL blast at the Con. We got to meet some amazing people, speak on panels, do a reading, and selling a bunch of books! Woot! Every time we go to a Con or author event, we're always fascinated by what people pick up. At Crystal Coast Con, Deek's 122 Rules ended up being the bestseller of all of our books. But this time, people went right to The Prophecy and Birth of an American Gigolo

Deek on his panel. They LOVED him--as all people who have good taste do! ;)

I had a total blast on my panels, but I particularly loved talking historical fiction! 

At our booth.
 I got my very own special card with my name on it and a list of all my panels on the back!

He's ready to talk books!
He got a special card too, but it's not pictured.

There were amazing costumes and cosplay!
Meet "Dr. Stranger Things"

Mon Mothma
She was not only on it cosplay wise but also a super lovely person!

Effie!! 
May the odds be ever in your favor.

Deek and I at our booth

We don't have any photos our reading because we read together, but we will have a YouTube video of it soon (thanks the awesome folks at IllogiCon)! 

If you've never been to a Con, I highly encourage you to go. The atmosphere is great, the people are great, and you'll have a ball! Deek and I got great leads on upcoming Cons, so you can expect to see us do several more of these throughout the year. Also, we'll be at the Roanoke Author Invasion in April, so check us out there if you're in the area!!


And can I just say...I'm the luckiest girl in the world to get to live my author dream with my best friend by my side. I'm so thankful Deek and I share the same passion and enjoy the same things. Having him with me at these Cons makes them a thousand times more fun. I get to see him interact with fans and other authors, and I get this swell of pride in my chest because I'm so darn proud of him and to be with him. He's everything I could have ever wanted and more!

I love you, Deek!!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Thoughts for the New Year

Happy New Year, everyone!! Deek and I had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and we hope you did too!! 2017, baby!

Christmas kisses

Dancing to Lionel Richie on New Year's Eve. 
Deek had a cold and didn't feel particularly well, but he still danced with me. <heart eyes>

I had planned to do this whole "Here's Our Christmas" post with some reflections of the past and looking forward to the future, but then I came across an article. And after reading this article (it's at the bottom of the page), I knew I needed to blog about it.

In October, for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I wrote about my past experience in a domestically violent relationship. You can read about that here.


To expound up on that, I'd like to speak, in particular, to women of faith in abusive relationships. Deek says I should write a book about my experiences, and maybe I will. But writing and publishing take a long time, and some of you need to hear these words now. So here it goes.

I'm Southern, and I grew up in very devout family in the middle of the Bible Belt. When I was a little girl, I used to sit at the kitchen table and listen to my Mema sing songs about Jesus while she cooked. I went to Christian school during my last few years of high school, and though my college broke from the Southern Baptist Convention, I still had to take religion classes as part of my general education. In fact, I took so many that I have a minor in Religious Studies. I've led Bible studies, taught children's church, and directed church Christmas plays. To say religion and faith have had a big influence in my life and upbringing would be an understatement.

Me with my grandparents, who'd come to visit me at college
 (excuse the squinty eyes--bright sunshine)

I got married at a young age, ready to start my wonderful little Christian adult life. So, imagine my surprise when I discovered that the boy I'd married was not what he'd claimed. Yep. You read that right.

I was married before Deek.

I am divorced.

I am remarried (spoiler alert: I'm remarried to the greatest man who's ever lived, so this story has a happy ending).

If you're like me and have grown up in a religious community, you can appreciate how hard it is for me to even utter the words "I am divorced," much less put them in a blog for the world to read. When I got married that first time, I intended it to be forever. My own biological parents are divorced (spoiler alert: my mom remarried, and I call that man my dad because he IS my dad--biology has no bearing on that). And although I am eternally grateful to have my dad in our lives, I never wanted to follow that path and be divorced.

Me and my beautiful Mama on her wedding day

But I'd married someone who purported to be one thing and ended up being another. So, I was stuck in a bad place, in a bad life. For years, I tried to make the best of it. I gave being a proper Christian wife the good, ole college try. I threw my whole self into making him happy and creating a nice home. But nothing made him happy, and our lives spiraled into dark, disturbing places.

Now, as a Christian woman, I was told to "never speak ill of my husband" and to "submit to him." I was told my body was his to do with as he pleased. So, I felt like I didn't have a voice. On the outside, I smiled and pretended everything was great, as I'd been instructed to do, but on the inside, I was dying. I was losing myself and being forced to do things I abhorred.

The fake smiles that I used to try to hide the truth about my life.

I joined a Bible study with a group of wonderful women. Our leader, whom I adored, told us we could tell the truth about ourselves and our lives in this group, and we built a circle of trust. As women in the group shed their masks and shared about eating disorders, their husband's pornography addiction, and other real truths about their lives, I opened up and shared one small thing--testing the waters. At the next meeting, the pastor stormed into the room and told us our Bible study was over. He said we'd been speaking ill of our husbands and could no longer meet, and he forced our Bible study leader to leave the church. All the women in the group were told to read a new book, about being better wives. This book said that we should not expect our husbands to change, so we should change ourselves instead.

Having attempted to speak out about my life and being summarily, and epically, shut down, I clammed up even more. And as a young woman of faith, I took the book's words to heart and tried to change myself. Every time my husband did something awful, I tried to turn it into a positive in my mind. And I died a little more inside. But instead of showing how much I hurt, how much that life was slowly killing me, I smiled and said nice things about the man who constantly hurt me. If you asked any of my friends about me at that time, they'd tell you they knew something was wrong in my life, but I always had a smile and an upbeat attitude.

As the days and years passed, and the violence escalated, I could no longer keep up the smiles. Every time I imagined my life in one year, five years, ten years, twenty years, the sheer weight of the depression that notion caused almost crushed me. But I stayed because good wives stay. Because my beliefs told me divorce was a terrible sin.

But it got harder to force those smiles.



One day, the violence spilled over into a new area, and I realized I faced a real life or death situation in our marriage. And I chose life. Now, let me say, my friends (many of whom are Christians) embraced my choice and rejoiced in the fact that I'd gotten to safety. And my family supported me wholeheartedly because they'd seen my fake smiles and had known something was wrong, but they hadn't known how to help me. In fact, my Mema (the one who sang all the Jesus songs when I was a little girl) told me, "God wouldn't have wanted you to keep living like that."

Despite their outpouring of love, I still felt ashamed I hadn't been able to keep my marriage together, to be a "good," long-suffering Christian wife. And I felt an overwhelming sense of failure.

Over the last few years, I've been talking to other survivors and to women who are trying to bring attention to domestic abuse in churches. And I've come to realize we all have similar stories of staying way past the point we should have because our religious convictions and community structures kept us there.

Profound

So, I'd like to speak to women of faith right now...women of all patriarchal faiths, not just Christianity. Please, read this article and understand that you don't have to stay, and if you've already left, know you are a brave warrior for having made that hard choice.


You are NOT alone. There are others like you. Be strong. Be safe.

There are many, many agencies set up to help women get out of domestic violence. They can point you in the direction of lawyers and law enforcement to protect you. Here are some (but be sure to check the ones in your local area):

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: http://www.ncadv.org/
National Domestic Violence Hotline: http://www.thehotline.org/
Battered Women's Justice Project: http://www.bwjp.org/
Futures Without Violence: https://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/
National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence: http://www.ncdsv.org/

(Keep scrolling to see my REAL smile, brought about by the sheer joy of my life now)

Wedding photo shoot w/Deek



Deek and I got married twice, for both sets of families on opposite coasts. 
At the second wedding, my PaPa walked me down the aisle!










Caught in a downpour


Deek makes me smile so big I think my face will crack! <3

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year -- Part II

In my last update, I told you all about the birthdays we have that fall within the Christmas season. Speaking of that...today is my beautiful Mama's birthday!! Happy Birthday, Mama! I promised I wouldn't say how old you are, so my lips are sealed on that one! But nevertheless, you're strong yet tenderhearted, fierce yet loving. I'm so thankful to be your daughter and to come from a long line of tough Southern belles!

Happy Birthday, Mom! <3 <3

In the last post, I told you Deek and I had been busy doing Christmas-related events, and now I'm here to share those with you!

Main St. Christmas

The little town I lived in before I moved to the Pacific Northwest with Deek has an annual Main St. Christmas. It's not a big affair, but it's quaint and fun. And...it has a hayride. I'm a TOTAL sucker for all things hayride related, so I'm there. Deek's heard all about it, but this is the first time he's gotten to go.

Happily, Deek has been saving his vacation days, so he's able to take every Friday off leading up to Christmas. On Main St. Christmas Friday, we started the day by chillin'. We watched Home Alone, ate popcornand did some writing. Just hanging around, enjoying the day off. 

Gus sleeps during chill day

To avoid mad traffic, we went early and ate a local restaurant with THE BEST fries and ranch eva!

Hayride!!!!

OMG! I'm so excited! I love the hayride!!

This pic of Gus CRACKS me up! He's like "I'm the man."

Deek snapped a shot of me waiting for the mayor to light the tree!

The Parade

The next day, Deek and I had the chance to march in the local parade. In the South, you never know what kind of weather you'll encounter in December. I've been to the parade when it's 75, and I've been to the parade when it's 27. This time, it was 32! Brrrr!! That's chilly for this Southern blood. So, we wrapped up in multiple layers, donned some Christmas gear, and marched!

Ready for da parade!

Rudolphin'

Surprise...I'm talking. See my lovely friend Denise indulging my gift of gab?? :)

Post Parade!

Wait, Erin's in trouble...

Yep, she did it.

Rogue One

This time last year, we went to see The Force Awakens on pre-opening night. Well, history repeats itself because we went to see Rogue One on pre-opening night as well!

The Force Awakens-- a year ago

Rogue One this year!

We tried to copy Jyn Eros's serious face, but we accidentally turned her into Voldemort! 

Light Show

This past weekend, Deek and I decided to go to a local lights show. I went there when I was a little girl, and it's changed a lot since then. And we went again with my friend Kathie and her family two years ago when we came back to the South to visit and had a great time. 

Riding the train at the lights two years ago.

So, we trucked back there. The actual lights themselves are only 45 minutes away. Except...from the time we got off the highway until we reached the lights took another hour!!

OMG...

When we finally got there, the line for the train was almost 3 hours!! Since we didn't feel like waiting around for 3 hours (and since standing in one place for a long time is a no-no for my physical therapy right now), we decided to walk around instead. You can't actually get inside the lights without going on the train, but we saw most of them. AND to top it all off, out of those hundreds of people in attendance, we bumped into my high school bestie and her husband. We had so much fun chatting with them, so it made the whole night worth it! We laughed on the way home that our adventures may not always go as planned, but we always find a way to have a good time anyway!

My high school bestie. Years and years of friendship.
PS. Everyone called us "The Twins." We *do* have exactly the same birthday...

Lights from afar



3 hour line for the train ride?

We picked a bad day to come!

 Snowman Poop

Then, to continue with the festivities, we watched a Christmas movie and made snowman poop for Deek's co-workers! You can read all about our Christmas traditions and get the yummy recipes from Deek's blog!

Snowman Poop -- YUM!! It was a big hit at work!

When we lived in the Pacific Northwest, I used to surprise Deek a lot with coffee at work. Since have access to a 24/7 Starbucks and he gets a big cup of it each morning, I don't often have the opportunity to do that anymore. But I did today, so I took it! :)  

Physical Therapy Update

In this season of good news, I've got good news of my own. To catch you up, because of the horrors of my past (you can read the blog posts I wrote about that here and here), I've been on pain medication for many years. Without it (and sometimes with it), I'd lie in bed and cry because the damage done to me hurt so bad. So, Deek and I worked really hard to do research and get me into the right physical therapy. And boy, have we. My physical therapist is AMAZING. Not only is she used to working with abuse victims and is very understanding, she's super knowledgable in how to fix even the worst of damage. Thanks to PT, I stopped taking medicine last week, and I'm doing really well. I felt like the physical therapy we did with medicine was the minor leagues, but without it, we're in the major leagues. Everything we do now is an actual, real, tangible step toward total healing. I am stoked by the progress we've made, and I'm ready to put this last part of my old life behind me.

So, that's what Deek and I have been up to! I'm kinda shocked Christmas is at the end of the week. WUT? But I'm excited to celebrate with my Southern family. I missed our big shindigs while I was away in the Pacific Northwest, and I'm excited to share this special tradition with Deek. He is SUCH a joy in my life. My family adores him (of course they do, what's not to adore?), so it's a cool collision between my childhood and present. I am more thankful than I can ever express that I get to spend this Christmas and every other holiday for the rest of my life with my beloved Deek. He spreads joy and laughter wherever he goes! All I want for Christmas is him. <insert heart eyes>

All the ladies love Deek! LOL!