Life Isn’t Always Beautiful or Fair

Me and My Girls

It feels like a lifetime ago instead of 8 years. My heart aches for the loss of the beautiful soul taken way too soon. It’s hard to believe that nearly two weeks ago we lost you.

The picture above was one of those rare, magical times where we all seemed to be of the same color coordinated mind and it was too perfect not to convert into a photo op. Now I’m just grateful to have this little memento.

These women and their smiling faces held many of my cherished moments in my memory bank of a prior career. They were all smart, kind, well meaning, and with good hearts filled with kindness. They cherished their families, especially their children.

Imagine my shock when two of the ladies here (and one of the men not pictured) reached out to tell me that the lady in the white blouse standing on the far right was dead. Not only dead, but violently murdered. Shot and killed by her ex in what was being called a domestic violence case.

The response from all of us who knew and worked with her was utter devastation. What about her two young daughters who she used to bring by to show off? The ones she couldn’t stop talking about? They were her whole universe! Her reason for being. What was their world going to be without her? Weren’t they teenagers now? To lose a mom at any time is hard, but in this way during this time? My heart still bleeds for them. I can’t begin to imagine their devastation.

The news reports say she’d finally permanently broken it off and had stopped by the house one last time to get the last thing she’d left behind. Her cat. Because that was a big part of who she was. A lover of animals. She shouldn’t have lost her life.

Truth is, we all remember her ex. I remember thinking he was a bit of an ass and way too possessive. Hot headed, too. But never in a million years did I expect this. I knew they fought sometimes, but I never had any inclination that he had been this violently volatile. So many memories tumble out and I wonder what we missed and if there was anything we could’ve done that might have altered this path and then I realize that those thoughts are pointless.

Live in the here and now. Ache for those left behind, and do what you can to live life. Don’t squander it. In my own way I’ll try to do right by her girls as they deserve to be taken care of and to know that their mom was loved.

And if you are reading this and you are a victim of domestic abuse, know someone going through it, or even suspect it… PLEASE, I’m begging you, reach out for help. Call the Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or check out their website HERE!

Yeah… as if COVID, quarantine, and murder hornets weren’t enough, right? Don’t worry, I’m hurting, but ok. My support system is strong and I’m working both my day job and writing my next novel. What’s been going on in your world?

@NBlackthorne on The Victorian Era and Sex Disorders

After writing my masturbation post a week or so ago, my awesome pal and fellow author, Natasha Blackthorne, reached out to me to let me know how much she enjoyed the post & that her upcoming new release had strong ties to the miseducation surrounding masturbation. I was THRILLED! Of course, considering I absolutely adore her historical erotic romances, I invited her to come over and play in my sandbox for a while. So, without any further ado, here’s the lovely and talented Natasha Blackthorne!

  
First, I’d like to say a big thank you to Kitt, for inviting me to her blog to discuss some of the history that underlies my upcoming release, The Delicate Matter of Lady Blayne. Kitt has one of the most interesting and engaging blogs on sexual positivity and I am always honored to be a guest here. 

The Regency period is fascinating to me for many reasons. For me, it’s the psychological pressures and the resulting changes that took their society from the relative sensual indulgence of the Georgian era to the more, at least outwardly, restrictive and repressive Victorian era. To explain where the darker aspects of my story came from, I’ll give a little historical background information. 

The History

During the late Georgian Era, the emergence of the industrial age and the continued expansion of enclosure (the consolidation of formerly small and plentiful landholdings and farms into a smaller number of large estates owned by an elite group) the pressure on resources and jobs reached maximal levels.  

By 1789, Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus, wrote an essay on “the Principle of Population”, painting pictures of humanity overcome by a population boom that drained all resource and led to mass starvation and suffering. He believed this population explosion would be fueled by out of control carnal lusts and proposed universal self-control and chastity as a preventative measure. 

The upper class wanted to conform to behaviors and self-control that would separate them from the increasing encroachment of upwardly mobile middle and lower classes. If mere birthright no longer guaranteed that a person was “worthy” of being privileged, then they would prove that they were morally superior and worthy by their behavior. 

Of course, uncertainty regarding overpopulation and shifting socioeconomic status was only one of the many anxieties swirling in the general psychological undercurrent. The Regency generation had already grown up under a cloud of anxiety due to the uncertainty caused by the Napoleonic Wars. It was a generation plagued by so-called fragile nerves and anxiety disorders. In response, doctors, both the well-intentioned and the unscrupulous, stood ready to prescribe the cures. 

This undercurrent of anxiety over health, both physical and mental, led to a push for more control over the human sensual animal. Unfortunately, the ladies bore the larger brunt of the pressure because men continued to have their sexual outlets in secret and away from normal, socially sanctioned family life. The human body became seen as a closed system of sexual energy, orgasm began to be referred to as a draining; a sort of “spending” instead of as a healthy release. Emotional disorders diagnosed in girls and women were tied to “inappropriate” sexual expression and desires. Female masturbation became a primary focus/target.

We associate the idea that “misuse” of sexual energy leading to mental debility most strongly with the Victorian Era, but the roots for these attitudes began earlier. Famous physicians with interests along these lines were men like Dr. Thomas Beddoes. He believed that sexual reading materials could lead to gluttonous desires and ruin young people’s nerves. 

Dr. Samuel Solomon, who published A Guide to Health in 1795, blamed frigidity, nervous disorders, general physical debility and infertility on early masturbation in females and called it the “foul pollution” among other names. He presented his “cordial balm” as a cure all for such excesses and likely sold a great deal of it to lonely, awkward young people who lived hard lives with little solace except a solitary one. These are just a couple of examples of the types of thinking that were beginning to circulate in the late Georgian period. 

The Delicate Matter….

In my story, The Delicate Matter of Lady Blayne, Catriona is a young widow who has already gone through some experiences that have prevented her from expressing her true self. She’s trapped in a role that she has long outgrown and shamed for some very intimate sexual behaviors that were no one else’s business. But those around her want to control her, to prevent her from achieving her adult independence. And her sexuality is one area where they have invaded her privacy in an attempt to suppress her. 

Under pressure, she becomes distraught. Desperate. Others see her deep depression, not as a cry for help, but as a sign that she needs to be fixed so that she can return to her former, girlish role.  

Her late husband’s mother contacts a well-respected physician, Dr. Meeker, who is said to have an excellent track record with “handling” out of control and deeply disturbed ladies. This doctor believes that female sexual energy is a potentially destructive force on a woman’s mental and physical health.  

His prescription is to attempt to control and redirect Catriona’s exceptionally self-indulgent sensuality and to tame her sexual desires. His dark eyes and coolly intelligent, charismatic manner, fascinates Catriona at first, while his sympathetic understanding overwhelms her. He promises what she needs most. 

She is quickly trapped in a relationship of manipulation and abuse of trust. She becomes the subject of the most invasive and abusive experiments at his hands, with emotionally destructive consequences. She’s driven the ends of her ability to cope and, at the start of the story, she is battling in the only way she knows to overcome the manipulation and brainwashing to which she has been subjected. She’s fighting for her sanity. 

The hero, James Blayne, is her late husband’s cousin and the new Baron Blayne. A former naval officer and hero of the Napoleonic Wars, he’s a highly self-controlled gentleman, determined to protect her against any further abuse. He’s disconcerted by her alluring, sensual nature even while he experiences an overwhelming temptation to follow her lead and indulge in both sexuality and other sensual pleasures. His life has been one of duty, honor and obligation. Now his interactions with Catriona makes him question, for the first time, what is really important in life. 

When Catriona reached out to him, she did it out of self-preservation, a desperate chance to escape. But will she end up saving him as well? 

Wow, Natasha, it sounds like you’ve really outdone yourself this time & I can’t wait till your new release! What do you guys think? Is it any wonder I’m so thrilled to be one of the many authors participating in your Online Release Party on Facebook? All are welcome to join the party and WIN FREE STUFF, by the way. Just click the link to join. 

And if you’d like to learn more about Natasha, here’s where you can find her:

Blog: http://natashablackthorneblog.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Natasha-Blackthorne/217388964952800?ref=br_rs

Twitter: @Nblackthorne

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4878430.Natasha_Blackthorne

Google+: https://plus.google.com/109806914738068189660

Tears For Angels

A little girl cried out
First for friendship, attention
Then in shame, begging for help
Understanding, forgiveness.
She was greeted
With derision and scorn,
Humiliation and laughter.
Did you see it?
I did.
Too late.

Another brave child,
Across the world
Dares to look for a better life.
Asks for peace and love
And learning.
Speaking out against violent oppressors.
So much stronger than her years.
Lies in a hospital bed
Shot.
For opening her mouth.
Did you hear?
I did.
I pray for her survival
And safety.

A baby,
Not even three
Beaten,
Then glued to a wall
For failing to understand
And follow rules.
She was
Too young to comprehend.
Maimed, disfigured
By the person sworn
To love and protect her.
Did you feel it?
I did.
Anguish.

My heart bleeds
For these precious gifts,
These angels,
Tossed away
Like rubbish.
It’s so tempting to wonder
Where is God?
Then I know…
He’s in the hearts
Of you and me
When we feel
And cry
And grieve…
Wishing we could do more.
It’s time to break silence
To heal hearts.
To love.
Boldly.
Regardless of consequences.
Our words and actions
The gifts he gives
To honor
Damaged hearts and souls.
Speak out!

These last couple of weeks have just been heart rending. On the news, on the internet…stories of yet one more innocent child lost or damaged Like I read on Nick’s Blog and Patricia Sands’ Blog along with so many others. Then I discovered Justine Musk and her blog touting the importance of following our dreams. Overall I felt pretty good, because that’s what I’ve been doing the last few months. I’ve been following my dreams. Writing. I haven’t shared my project with you guys yet because it’s not done yet. In the meantime, I share my writing with you guys through my poetry and work on sharpening my tools and my mind through my blog.

It was actually through the discovery of Justine’s blog that drew me to this time, this blog. I’d recently started following Marcia Richards’ blog after I’d discovered her through our Letter game blogs. In her blog she asked about what we were like at 14. Looking back I remembered I dreamed of being a neurosurgeon (this dream died a rapid death when I got to biology class and became bored 20 minutes into our frog dissection…don’t think that would translate well in brain surgery). I was a tomboy who still played tackle football with the boys in the neighborhood…and a die hard flirt. In fact, I’d been voted class flirt 3 years straight and was also voted most likely to be president. Back then I was madly in love with poetry….and a different guy every other week, LOL! But the thing was, all someone had to do was give me a subject or tell me how they were feeling and I was able to convert it into poetry. Like I said, boys came and went, but not my love for writing and poetry. That’s been an abiding love.

So when Marcia challenged me that with the right words, in the right venue, I could make a difference I thought about those words. I slept on them…and woke up in tears because I knew what I had to say, but didn’t know if I’d have words strong enough to take on this task. All I could do was try. I already had a song that filled my head last night. I knew what I needed to write about. It was practically slapping me in the face!

There is so much hurt in the world right now. So many people mistreated. Not accepted. Maybe it’s for the color of their skin. Their beliefs. Their sexual orientation. Past mistakes. Or maybe they’ve done nothing at all. I’m not a preachy person. But how could I not talk about love and not bring up God. Seriously. As I thought about this, I just pictured him looking down on this once perfect world he created and crying. I pictured those poor girls and prayed that he had angels standing on both sides of them, with their wings stretched out…shielding them, protecting them from any more pain or hurt or anguish. I felt like the message he was sending to me was a plea for love and forgiveness and acceptance…and for these poor children to know that they are not alone. We hurt for them. We accept them. We feel their pain and grief and despair. For the one little girl who is gone (along with many more who have not gotten the media coverage that she has)…they are not forgotten.

What about you? What do you believe? What’s been pressing on your heart? As one of my favorite romance authors, Julie Garwood, wrote in her book The Secret “One whisper, added to a thousand others, becomes a roar of discontent”. You can be the difference you want to see in this world. Are you up to the challenge? Tell me what you think!

I’ll leave you with that thought and this song: