Stay With Me launches this easter for NAT!

As I have already blogged, I will be working a lot for National Aids Trust this year in various collections. There are the two collections I am working on with a host of talented writers, Rainbow Romances due June 2018 and Rainbow Holidays due Dec 2018. This collection was planned long before the Rainbow gang got together to help me.

Here we have nine stories, a cross-match of my Amor series stories, some fluffy romance and some of my more fantasy LGBTQ fictions. Some of them are quite dark, but all end up with a form of happy ever after by the end.

All profits from the three collections will go directly to NAT.

Paperback copies of Stay With Me can be ordered here:

USA

UK

Kindle copies can be preordered for release on the 4th of April here:

USA

UK

According to my Amazon details, if you order the paperback you can get the ebook for only 99c.

I hope you love my stories as much as I do. I will be launching this book at Stockport Pride, 29th July.

Sarah

Artwork by Nerdy Designs by Jessie

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Book signing, 29th July at Stockport Pride

Thrilled to tell you all about my first book signing, which is coming up at the second ever Stockport Pride this July. After a wonderful time at the first festival last year, I got in touch straight away and have been waiting to share the news with you all.

Come see me all day at Pride, selling and signing my books. The Amor Vincit Omnia Series, Unhappily Ever After and well, there may be a few surprise books as well.

A huge thank you to Stockport Pride for helping me to launch my new books with their stunning event!!

I can’t wait to see you all

 

Sarah

Mental Health Matters

So, technically the day for talking about this was the 1st of Feb, but I was working that day. So, close enough.

Mental Health, is a completely stigmatised subject. With people passing around misinformation every single day. Such as, oh you just need more exercise. Exercise may help some people, not all. A lot of people who suffer from mental health issues are unable to leave the home due to it. Others are fit healthy and active people. A level of fitness does not mean a level of better mental health. If exercise helps you, go do it, just don’t assume your way fixes everyone.

Another one I hate is, oh you just need to keep busier. It will take your mind off things. You just sit around at home thinking too much. Get a hobby! I currently work part-time in a cafe, as I can’t get full-time hours anywhere right now. I also volunteer in not one, but two drama groups rehearsing three days a week. I write, blog and run the promo for other authors. You can see on my work pages how many stories and books I plan for the coming 18 months. I also am soon to start volunteering to help kids with dyslexia into writing. I also support a friends daughter who wants to get into writing. I run advise and support for various friends with mental health issues as well. I tend to be on the go for around 16-18 hours three days a week, sometimes four. Then around 12 hours another 2-3. Leaving just one day to catch up on chores like washing, cooking, ironing and actually sleep. You know what? I am still depressed as hell. Yes, being busy takes your mind off it in the moment. However, when that door closes at night and you are alone. The loneliness and sadness hit you. Leaving you exhausted and crying all night. I am lucky if I sleep 3-4 hours a night, and even then I wake up constantly with bad dreams. Again, if being busy helps you then do it. Doesn’t work for everyone!

Then, of course, there is the one I often rant about. Love yourself or no one else will. The most offensive, triggering and heartbreaking piece of stigma out there. Telling someone who already feels like they are a burden and everyone is better off dead without them, that they will never achieve any form of love until they can throw that away and be a pretty shiny happy fake person. That is enough to send most people off the edge! The last time it was said to me, I withdrew from everyone for over a month over the festive season. Barely speaking to anyone, after all. They won’t ever care for me, so what’s the point. It just makes a person feel even more broken, worthless and a lost cause.

Please never, ever say those words to someone mentally ill! They can’t help who they are, they can’t help how they feel and trust me when I say. Most of them would do anything to not feel that way!!To be normal!! Real love, that is unconditional. No dramas, no excuses, no do this and I will love you bs. Just love them, anyway. However, they feel that day, support them and help them get back to the better days! Don’t shout at them and make them feel worse. Don’t talk over them and act disinterested when they try and tell you what is wrong. Even if it is a silly little thing. It may be a silly thing to you, but for them, it could be the final straw in a million things leading up to the point which is now why they are crying their eyes out. Just LISTEN to them! Make them feel that it is okay to talk to you, to let it out. Not keep hiding it and faking all the time.

I have been attacked before for being pro-suicide by so-called friends who then systematically decided to destroy my life and everything I cared about and still troll me nearly six months on. Trying to force me into killing myself. I am not pro-suicide, I never was. However, I understand why sometimes it feels like the only answer. Even if it isn’t. I have been suicidal due to abuse since I was nine years old. I have attempted more times than I care to count. The largest of those attempts being April last year. Where I ended up in the hospital for a short while. Every single time, it felt like I was backed into a corner with no other form of escape and no one I could turn to for advice or assistance. Every time, it felt like the logical answer. it wasn’t an emotional response if anything it was cold and emotionless. I want to end the pain, I can’t end the pain and still live. The meds don’t work for me, I have tried dozens over the years. The most I can do is take the odd herbal calming potion.

For those who say seek help, again not always that easy. I have been to countless therapists over the years. Not one has ever helped. Most don’t want me because I am not a simple ‘Oh Brad cheated on me, I want to die’ case. I have a lifetime of abuse to deal with and that takes time. Others tell me just to fake being happy and the worst told me I am too broken to ever be fixed. That I will constantly attempt to take my own life until I actually do it. That was the last day I ever went to therapy.

I still have suicidal thoughts every single day of my life. Some days they are easy to ignore, the good days. The days where I have people reach out to me, be kind. Or I have a day at work without dramas. Or I get to read in a part at a theatre. Or a rehearsal goes really well. Or I manage to help someone. I love those days.

Then there are the okayish days, where I stay quiet to myself and just try to get on with things. And the really not good days, like yesterday. When my friend betrayed my trust again, and let me down for something really important. Making it all my fault for being upset. Even though it was the second time in a few days they had done the same thing, and I have a very fast upcoming deadline on what they were meant to be helping with. Upset I reached out to four people. One told me to love myself or no one else will and shouted at me. That person is no longer in my life. Another talked over me and didn’t listen, I am annoyed with them. Two, very kindly sat up with me talking until I could manage the evening, thank you both. Even so, I am still in bed today. Trying to let go of the shakes, the panic attacks and the tears that come from a bad day. Today, I had things to do. Today, I cannot face those things. Sometimes, you just have to give in and admit that you can’t function on a certain day and cut what you had to do in half and just attempt some little part of it.

My mental health has cost me friends, family and lovers. At the end of the day, I can’t help what they do. I can only try to be the best me I can be on each and every day. Even if that best me that day, is the one crying in bed over a tub of ice cream. I can’t change who I am, or what I am to please others. No one with mental health issues can. Try to understand that this illness is much more complex than you think. It can affect anyone, at any time or any reason.

Just be kind!

At the end of the day:

This Is Me

Flash Fiction: Death’s Kiss

Toying with some ideas on Death for an FB Group Flash Fiction comp. Hope you enjoy. It will be a longer story next year.

Sarah

 

Death’s Kiss

The girl who lived (or at least that’s what he called me) the only girl to live through the kiss of Death, possibly the only girl who ever would. How did I meet Death I hear you ask? Well, it certainly wasn’t by dying. Or even by being close to death. I met him through a man, a man that at times I would love.

 

You, see. I am a witch. Born into a family who has always had the gift. There was a man, one who I was sent to save, but back then. I was still bound. I didn’t know how to use my powers, although now and then they would leak out. The man, he was hurt. I barely knew him, but I couldn’t let him die. He had been attacked, trying to help me. I was being chased by something, he had rescued me. In doing so, he had been wounded. Mortally so.

 

I had taken him home to my mother, who had given me a lecture over being more careful. Well, I could be if you unbound me. Blasted woman. I felt guilty, even though it wasn’t really my fault. I put out to the cosmos that I was willing to trade, my years for his. Whatever I had to, just let him live. I felt an agreement, to an open ended bargain that I would later pay the price for. Whatever it was, I was grateful as moments later life flowed back into the man. I had done my part, as I watched my mother brag of her skills.

 

After that day, a mysterious tutor came to me. Dressed in dark clothes, looking timeless yet still young at the same time. It took me months of sitting cross legged on my bed as the man helped to unpeel the bindings on my body. As he gave me advice on basic spells, literally the 101 of protection charms. Sometimes he would ask me to do him favours. Small things, pass a message, do a crystal charm, go somewhere and wait for him.

 

Over time, we became friendly. One day, I suddenly realised I had never asked his name. Nor had he ever given me one. He noticed my distraction, asked me what I thought of. I asked his name, and he smiled like he had been waiting for it. He rattled off a number of names, He who walks forever, He who is ever living, the master of eternity among others. I didn’t really understand, although there was something about one of them that caught at me. I could feel the cogs turning in my head as I looked straight into his eyes and asked the question that would change my life. “Are you trying to tell me that you are the Grim Reaper?”

 

I felt him sigh. “Yes, that is one of my names certainly.” His grip on my hands tightened as I processed this, “Please, try not to have a heart attack my dear. It is most troublesome to have to keep bringing people back.”

 

“Heart attack?!” I screamed, “Heart attack? This is frigging amazing! I am holding hands with the Grim Reaper!!! This is so cool!!”

 

He stared at me, seemingly at a loss for words. Long moments later he did eventually manage to speak. “That is an answer I have never had before. In an existence as long as mine, it is hard to find a reaction that is a surprise to me.”

 

We became friends, I used to call him Joe after that romance film. I even asked him once if he had anything to do with the movie. He didn’t deny it exactly, just made comments a few people had longer candle lives then they had before the film had been made.

 

The day he gave me the kiss was the most surprising of them all. The man I had once saved and my mother were bartering for the life of a soul. One who had done wrong, but it wasn’t his fault. Joe was the judge over if the soul would live or die. The others knew nothing of our ‘friendship’. He looked over at me and asked me what I thought of the matter. I gave a speech, long winded perhaps. I pointed out that the lack of obedience of the soul was due to the fact the upper powers had allowed it to bond with a human, giving it that little hint of questioning everything. If that allowed bond had made it the way it now was, then surely that was the mistake of the upper beings to allow it to happen in the first place. Therefore the creature could not be blamed for something that was now in its nature because of that. Which means, he should live and be allowed to fully explore who and what he now was.

 

I waited while the verdict was given. In the favour of the soul to live, due to my testimony alone. A moment after this was when the kiss happened. It wasn’t much, just a brush of lips against my forehead. “My lady, no one survives my kiss. However, tonight, you deserve to.”