Which comes first?

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Which comes first, the idea for a complete story or maybe just for the book’s title? Or maybe it’s an image or a quote that gets the words reaching and stretching for each other, bumbling and fumbling until they tumble together into paragraphs and pages.
There’s no telling what will be the prompt for a new book.

For my latest release, these two words popped up and wouldn’t leave me alone until I gave them a story to live in:
Chasing Christmas.
Okay, you two, you’re a title. Now, how about making some sense?

“Mom, remember when I was little and always asked, ‘When’s it going to be Christmas?’ and you’d say, ‘There’s no sense in chasing Christmas. It’ll get here when it’s time.’”
Okay, so now the title makes sense, but I needed more for my historical tale.

And then I saw her. Her eyes told part of the story, but I had to translate it into words, then give her hope and a destiny.
It’s not as easy as it sounds.

“I hate writing, but I love having written,” is ascribed to Dorothy Parker and many other authors. Hmm. I think at some point, all authors feel the same way. I guess the ‘love’ part overrides the ‘hate’ part because we keep on doing it.
Enjoy Chasing Christmas, part of Sweet and Sassy Christmas – A Time for Romance, available today! ELEVEN Christmas tales, some sweet, some sassy (or more) by NY Times and USA Today Bestselling and award winning authors.

Only 99 cents or free to read with your Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Dani Haviland
Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.  View website
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Happy Friday the 13th by @JoanReeves #mgtab

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Okay, let’s see a show of hands. Who is worried that Friday the 13th brings bad luck?Who’s superstitious?

Not Me

Let me step out from under this ladder where I’m petting a black cat and tell you that I’m not superstitious at all. However, I have a fondness for superstitions because my mother was unbelievably superstitious. I think this is because she was an only child born to a middle-aged couple. My grandparents were actually born in 1882, and my mother was the spoiled darling of them and their elderly siblings and friends.

I’ve always thought it was weird that I–a child of the volatile Sixties–had grandparents who were born just 17 years after the Civil War ended. My grandfather told me stories from his youth such as seeing Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

Many people in that era were superstitious. When I helped my mother write her memoir in 2008, just 2 years before she passed, she wanted to include a chapter on Superstitions. I was amazed that there were so many bad luck omens that ruled peoples’ lives.

Excerpt from Memory Lane, My Mom’s Memoir

My mom’s memoir contains a long list of superstitions. Here are 13 for Friday the 13th.

  1. To drop a dish rag means you will have company.
  2. Telling your dreams before breakfast makes them come true.
  3. If you lay a coat on the bed, someone will die.
  4. If the palm of your right hand itches, you’ll shake hands with a stranger.
  5. If the palm of your left hand itches, you’ll receive money.
  6. A rooster crowing on the roost means a death.
  7. If your right eye itches, you’ll have good luck.
  8. If your left eye itches, you’ll have bad luck.
  9. If you give a knife to someone, you’ll cut your friendship in half.
  10. Spilling salt means a family quarrel.
  11. Find a penny, and you’ll have good luck.
  12. Sweep anything out of the house with a broom after dark, and you’ll have bad luck.
  13. Never sweep beneath someone’s feet or they’ll never marry.

So have a chuckle or two over superstitions and make Friday the 13th a day to have fun instead of anxiety. Better yet, chase away bad feelings with some feel-good romance novels like those in A CHRISTMAS SHE’LL REMEMBER. It will be a holiday collection YOU’LL remember. Get it today for the pre-release price of 99 cents. This set will publish on October 19.

About Joan Reeves

Joan is a New York Times and a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. All her fiction have the underlying premise:  It’s never too late to live happily ever after.

Joan lives her happily-ever-after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. They divide their time between the hustle and bustle of Houston and a quiet house in the country where they grow wine grapes and fruit trees while battling gophers, skunks, coyotes, deer, and the occasional copperhead snake.

Be the first to know about new books and giveaways. Get a free ebook just for signing up for Joan’s Mailing List.

Joan Reeves
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Joan Reeves makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband. They have 4 children who think they are adults and a ghost dog, all the ingredients for a life full of love and warmed by laughter. Joan lives the philosophy that is the premise of her romance novels: "It's never too late to live happily ever after."  View website
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Halloween by Mona Risk

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Did you know that one quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween?  Yes, October is the cruelest month for our molar teeth. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday.

 

It is hard to imagine that 100 years ago, Halloween looked quite different from the candy debauch of today.

Halloween origin: Halloween is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween.

 

History of Halloween: At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything “frightening” or “grotesque” out of Halloween celebrations. Because of these efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.

The seemingly timeless custom of trick-or-treating is actually a quite recent American invention. The ritual of costumes, doorbell-ringing, and expectation of booty appeared for the first time in different locations throughout the country in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

It wasn’t until the late 1940s that trick-or-treating became widespread on a national scale. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow.

Decorating the house inside and out is part of what makes this holiday so much fun with gargoyles, demons, and zombies; or spiders and bats, or anything that can make your visitors scream.

My grandchildren are turning their beautiful front-yard into a scary graveyard with skulls, skeletons, insects and rodents that give their grandmother–poor me–the fright of my life. Of course, the louder I scream, the harder these scamps laugh. Planning and designing the Halloween costumes start at the beginning of October.

 

 

Next Friday happens to be a Friday the Thirteen. My grandchildren will wear their costumes and invite their friends for a carving and painting of pumpkins.

 

 

 

May I ask you to click on this link and follow me on BookBub?

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mona-risk

Have a spooky and fun —>>

Mona Risk
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk, received an Outstanding Achiever Award from Affaire de Coeur Magazine. She's a two time winner of Best Contemporary Romance of the Year from Readers Favorite; a winner of Best Romance Novel of the Year from Preditors & Editors Readers Poll; and an EPIC Award finalist. Mona Risk's name has often been posted on the Amazon.com 100 Most Popular Authors in Romance list, and her books have garnered: Top Pick, Outstanding Read, Sweetheart of the Week, and Best Book of the Week from various reviewers, and received two mentions in Publisher's Weekly. Mona lives in South Florida and has traveled to more than eighty countries on business or vacation. She writes contemporary romances, medical romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal fantasy. Sprinkled with a good dose of humor, her stories are set in the fascinating places she visited or more simply at home. If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy her international romances. Meet the spirited heroines and special heroes who share irresistible chemistry in stories that simmer with emotion.  View website
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How to keep your sanity in a crazy world!

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How to keep your sanity in a crazy world—by Traci Hall

As crazy as 2017 has been for the world, it’s been a mixed bag of emotions for me, personally. I am now at 13 By the Sea books. In 2014, I planned for 12, which I finished in March, to give me a solid and realistic look at my spot in the contemporary romance indie pubbing world. This has meant recreating covers, redoing interior book design, and tightening my newsletters with the right links and calls to action.  For two and a half years I’ve focused on this one project, and for the last three months, I’ve been taking it apart, seeing what works, and putting it back together again. This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Sink or swim.

After years of keeping my head down at my desk, it was time to take part of life outside my laptop. There was the FRW cruise; I signed on with an agent that understands what I want from my career; we joined the Chamber of Commerce to promo By the Sea; had lunch with patient and understanding friends. Christopher and I spent six weeks in San Diego to welcome the birth of Kennedi, and I went two weeks prior to that. We’ve known people impacted by Harvey, our entire state was covered by Irma, and we had to put down our beloved Benny. My son moved to Colorado, my daughter got married and I gained a son-in-law in addition to my granddaughter. I was able to reconnect with family I thought would be out of my life. It has been one of the tightest financial years ever—but we have the freedom to work from anywhere, which has allowed us to be with the people we love, when they need us.

Shootings, politics, Mother Nature, people really suffering without power and food, or shelter. Sickness, death. Some days I don’t want to check the news. We don’t have television, so I need to actually look for what is going on—and there are times when it is too much.

What to do? Everyone is different, but here are some real tips that work for me when things get overwhelming.

  1. As simple as it seems, you need to breathe. Be conscious of your breaths as they fill your lungs and your body, and feel the release as you exhale.
  2. Hot tea with lemon. The citrus zest is comforting, rejuvenating—sometimes I add a little honey, but not always.
  3. Watch a comedy. These days it doesn’t even have to be a full-length movie. You can watch funny videos or memes. Go to YouTube and search funny cat videos. Instant mood-lifter.
  4. Give yourself permission to turn off the news. It is important to be aware of what is going on, yes. What to do about it? You can’t fix everything, so start small. Go through your closet, and donate clothes. Choose a reputable charity and send in five dollars, if that is what you can do…the amount is not important. Say a prayer—if you don’t believe in a higher power, then send mental good wishes toward those in need.
  5. And last on my list here is, you got it, read a book. I like my happy-ever-afters.

I’d love to hear what you do to beat the blues!

Traci

PS–want to see those covers we’ve redone? check out the By the Sea series page on Amazon!  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MZ5UV9H/?tag=communitybooks8-20

Traci Hall
With an impressive bibliography in an array of genres, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall has garnered a notable fan base. She pens stories guaranteed to touch the heart while transporting the reader to another time and place. Her belief in happily ever after shines through, whether it's a romantic glimpse into history or a love affair for today.
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Diving Into the Setting

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There’s a charming town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore that I love to use as a setting for romantic suspense stories. It’s called St. Michaels, but when I write about it, I usually change the name to St. Stephens. If I’m going to commit murder in a town, I don’t want to burden the residents with my crimes. And if I want to move a couple of buildings around, nobody is going to write me a letter complaining I got it wrong.

When Patricia Rosemoor, Ann Voss Peterson, and I decided to write a paranormal Christmas trilogy, with a murder mystery running through all three books, I suggested my favorite location. But because we were doing a series that wasn’t connected to any of my other works, we agreed to call the town Jenkins Cove. Then I made another suggestion: “Let’s all take a research trip there. You fly to Baltimore, and my tour director—Norman—will drive us over.  We can stay for a few days, eat fabulous Maryland seafood, and steep ourselves in the nautical atmosphere.”

I did a pretty good selling, job, and they both agreed.

It was a wonderful research trip with a lot of great opportunities for adding local color to our stories. (Mine’s called CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, and one of the characters is a desperate ghost who keeps trying to contact my heroine.)

               A restaurant where you can arrive by boat

We ate at a rambling crab restaurant where you could come by boat and tie up at the wharf outside.  We toured the downtown area with all the touristy shops that sold everything from tee shirts to duck decoys, handmade pottery, and silver jewelry. We found a graveyard and a warehouse to use as locations for foul play. On a boat trip up the Miles River, we spotted the grand estate featured in Ann’s story.

A graveyard that photographed spooky when there was no mist in the air

And one evening, I had a truly spooky experience.

We were staying at a B&B right on the Chesapeake Bay, a few miles out of town. After dinner, Ann asked if we wanted to go out and help her look for a location where she could commit murder (fictionally, of course.)

                                      Bed and Breakfast

Norman and I went with her. It was a warm summer night, and we tramped around the grounds and out onto the pier. The moon was so full and bright that trees and bushes cast shadows. And as I walked through the silvery light, I kept having very spooky sensations.

When we came back in, I asked, “Did you feel like you were walking through places where the air was colder than others?”  Ann said, “Yes.” Norman said, “No.”  I think he’s too logical to feel anything spectral.

But I knew those icy spots were going to add a nice touch to the ghost story I was writing.

You can research a place on the Web. But there’s no substitute for actually going there and soaking up the atmosphere for yourself.

Does the setting of a book make a difference for you?

Rebecca York
NY Times & USA Today best-seller, Rebecca York, is the author of over 150 books. She has written paranormal romantic thrillers for Berkley and romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue. Her new romantic-suspense series, Decorah Security, is set at a detective agency where agents have paranormal powers or work paranormal cases. She also writes an Off-World series where each story is a science fiction romance taking place on a distant planet in the far future.  View website
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Spicy Sausage Quiche #Recipes for a #Crowd

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For me, October is a month full of entertaining. I have over a dozen friends and family members who celebrate birthdays this month so it seems like I’m celebrating every single day! And with all those parties in mind, I thought I’d share one of my “recipes for a crowd.” This quiche is always a hit, and because it makes 2 quiches and serves 12 to 16 people, that makes it a perfect addition to your recipes for a crowd file! Since the holidays are quickly approaching, you might want to print out the recipe and tuck it away for your next family gathering. Happy eating!

Spicy Sausage Quiche – Recipes for a Crowd Recipes for a Crowd

Yield: 2 quiches (6-8 servings each)

1 1/2 pounds bulk mild pork sausage
12 eggs
2 cups small-curd cottage cheese
3 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, minced
1 4 ounce can chopped green chilies, drained
4 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, optional
Green and red pepper strips for garnish, optional

  1. In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain and set aside.
  2. Coat the inside of 2 round 9-inch baking dishes with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, cheeses, flour, butter, and baking powder until well combined. Stir in mushrooms, onions, chilies, and cooked sausage.
  4. Divide mixture evenly into 2 greased baking dishes, and if desired, sprinkle the top of each quiche with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake at 375º for 35 – 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Garnish with pepper strips if desired.

I hope you enjoy this quiche! It’ll come in handy the next time you need Recipes for a Crowd!

Mark your calendar! Look for this book sale! Save $7.00 off the cover price! Oct 8th, 9th, and 10th!

Recipes for a CrowdRomance Beach Bundle 2 – $0.99

What’s better than a day at the beach? That would be a day at the beach with a bundle of romance novels! In the Romance Beach Bundle 2, you get three romantic books that are sure to warm your heart and put a smile on your face. Titles in this bundle:

RETURN OF THE RUNAWAY BRIDE – Ten years ago, Savanna ran away—on her wedding day. She returns to town to make things right only to discover that the love of her life is now a stranger. Can she convince him that he will always be her Prince Charming?

TAKE ME, I’M YOURS – After thwarting a kidnapping attempt of a young child, Laney received an unexpected inheritance, but the landfall comes with a handsome, brooding bachelor.

THE SINGLE DADDY CLUB: DERRICK – Ex-military man Derrick is solitary and satisfied… until little Timmy is dropped into his lap and Derrick must learn to be a daddy. Luckily, lovely school teacher Anna is willing to teach him all she knows about kids. But neither is expecting the wild attraction that strikes!

This bundle normally sells for $7.99 and rarely goes on sale. Don’t miss your opportunity to get this bargain-priced bundle!

US Kindle        UK Kindle

Nook Book

iBooks Store

Kobo

Google

About the author: Donna Fasano is a USA Today Bestselling Author. Learn more about her on her website. Sign up for her newsletter here.

Donna Fasano
USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR DONNA FASANO is a three-time winner of the HOLT Medallion, a CataRomance Reviewers Choice Award winner for Best Single Title, a Desert Rose Golden Quill Award finalist, a Golden Heart finalist, and a two-time winner of Best Romance of the Year given by BigAl's Books & Pals Review Blog. Her books have sold nearly 4 million copies worldwide and have been published in two dozen languages. Her books have made the Kindle Top 100 Paid List numerous times, climbing as high as #5. View website
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Vengeance rules her life… Maggie’s Revenge by Jacquie Biggar #RomSuspense #MilitaryRomance #mgtab @jacqbiggar

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JacquieBiggar_MaggiesRevenge_800px

DEA Special Agent Maggie Holt is fierce, smart, beautiful– and in over her head.

Maggie has been working undercover 15 months when she is taken by Chinese-Mexican cartel leader, Chenglei. She tries to escape with 8 other women and is captured and brutally punished.

Adam O’Connor is angry and frustrated. It’s his fault his partner, and one-time lover, is missing and no matter how many leads he chases, they don’t bring Maggie home.

An unexpected break in the case sends Adam south to Texas. His old SEAL Team Chief, Frank Stein, offers his home and his help in the search effort.

Will these two strong men find Maggie? And will their decades old friendship be destroyed by their love for the same woman?

Read the exciting continuation of the Wounded Hearts Saga this December!

Pre-order Your Copy Today!

she scared him. Magdalena Holt had the power to rip his safe, secure world apart and Frank wasn't sure he could handle the fallout.

Excerpt

Maggie wiped the sweat dripping into her eyes and scowled at the still-too-damn-hot sun taking its sweet time to dip behind the hills. She looked at the other women hunkered under the Humvee to grab what shade they could, and sighed. They were bruised and bloody, but alive. That’s all she could ask for right now.

Well, that and a tank of gas would be nice.

And a cool shower.

A steak dinner.

Her own bed.

Maybe she was hallucinating.

She laid the rifle across her thighs and leaned against the massive tire of the truck, one of the only spots she could touch without getting burnt. Someone with a sense of humor must have a plan for her, otherwise how could she have escaped a Mexican prison after months of captivity, get shot and survive it, then outgun a truckload of banditos and still be able to sit here boiling to death?

“You should join us,” Olga called, her voice raspy. “It’s safer under here. You don’t look so good, my friend.”

Maggie tried to make her smile reassuring, though the pain in her side was getting progressively worse. She’d glanced at it a few minutes ago and been dismayed by the redness surrounding the wound. “Soon. I need to do a reconnaissance of our friends over there first. I’m just getting up the energy.”

She hated how weak and dizzy she felt. They had neither the time for her to fight through an infection—and unless one of the ladies knew some desert secret—nor antibiotics to help the healing process.

Thank goodness, the men had not been trained troops. It took only moments for the firefight to end, with no injuries to the women. Maggie hated to kill them, but there was no choice. It was them or her. The grenade blast had done a good job of creating chaos among the men. They’d jumped from the truck, fearing another blast, and then it was a simple matter to pick them off from there.

She used the butt of the rifle to climb awkwardly to her feet and trudged through the sand toward the carnage, stiffening at the sound of steps behind her. She turned and frowned. The women trailed her, Olga in the lead brandishing a piece of lead piping that had been lying on the floor of the Humvee.

“Go back,” Maggie cried. “It’s too dangerous. At least until I make sure they’re…”

Olga reached her side and clasped a hand around her waist, careful to avoid the wound. “You can barely stand,” she whispered, for Maggie’s ears alone. “Do not be so brave, you’re stupid. We need you to get out of here. I need you,” she added.

Maggie gulped tears of gratitude. They may be in the middle of a war, but she’d made a friend for life.

She nodded. “Okay, let’s do this.”

***

Chenglei poured his tea and ignored the foot soldier sweating in his doorway. The child he’d been training lay sobbing quietly on the floor at his feet. Her leg was red and angry-looking where the hot liquid had spilled. She’d been warned on the proper etiquette; he never repeated himself.

It was a sign of weakness.

And Chenglei refused to fail.

“Tell me, how is it your militia cannot manage to capture five scrawny women? This is beyond my understanding.” He glared at the soldier. “Did I not make myself clear? I want them,

dead or alive. Why could your fools not accomplish this one small matter?”

The man wiped a shaky hand over his brow, then resumed Parade Rest position. “I am sorry, señor. I lost good soldiers today. The woman, she has training. My men were not expecting a firefight. They did their best under the circumstances.”

Under the…

Chenglei sipped his tea and tried to calm his nerves. The girl’s sniveling wasn’t helping matters. He gave her a shove with his toe. “Go to your room. I do not wish to see you again this night.”

She hiccupped and lifted her head, eyes red, cheeks flushed. She would be a beauty one day; if he didn’t kill her first.

“Go,” he snarled, some of the fury churning within escaping despite his control. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

Once.

Twice.

There, see. The monster who beat at the doors of his mind did not rule him, he was its master. Just as he was the ruler of his fate. And one stupid American woman was not going to change that fact. He waited until the child slipped out of the room before addressing the captain.

“You are right. The woman—the one with dark hair—she is a spy.” The soldier stiffened. Chenglei hid his satisfaction. “She is here to destroy the cartel. We must do whatever is necessary to stop her. Do you understand?”

The man gave a sharp nod, the light of retribution shining out of his dark eyes. “. I will round up another team, and this time, she will not get away.”

Bueno,” Chenglei murmured. “Bring her back alive, if you can. I do not care about the rest; your men may do as they wish with them. But Señorita Holt and I have business to finish; I want her returned to me.”

The captain bowed and backed out of the room, closing the heavy brass-plated door behind him. Chenglei had a love of beauty and was careful to surround himself with only the very best of everything. The wall-hangings dated from the sixteenth century, as did the Aubusson rug he sat upon, legs crossed. The rich greens and golds pleased his eye and the silkiness of his robes gratified his skin.

Success.

He’d made something of his life; he wasn’t about to let some gringa federal agent take that away from him.

I’m so excited to share Maggie’s book with you. Her story began way back in #2 of the Wounded Hearts series, The Rebel’s Redemption (soon to be available in Audible format), and quickly became a fan favorite. It’s taken me a while to give her journey the attention it deserves. Her voice has haunted me for long enough, it’s time to tell the tale!

When writer’s say they work in solitary, that’s not strictly true. At least, it isn’t for me. My characters live in my mind. They argue, dream, demand, ask for advice, rule my heart and my pen.

While I’ve written a few standalone novels, I have to admit I favor writing in a series. I like building a world and filling it with strong, interesting people readers can connect with, have empathy for, fall in love with.

If I can do that, I’ve done my job 🙂

Jacquie Biggar
Lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her her husband, daughter, and grandson. Loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. Spoils her German shepherd, Annie and calico cat, Harley. And can't function without coffee. View website
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Understanding Suicide and How You Can Help @arithatcher

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September is Suicide Prevention Month, but I’m sad to say that didn’t inspire this post.

Within weeks of each other this past month, young family members of mine lost someone dear to them. Two young people weren’t able to get past the point where their minds told them death was best for their situations. Each loss leaves so many friends and family feeling lost, confused, and wondering what they missed, that, if they’d recognized it, could have saved the victim.

Yes, victim. Suicide is rarely a case of someone feeling sorry for himself or crying out for attention. A lack of attention might put him on the path that ended in suicide, but it was an illness, a malfunction of the brain, that resulted in his death.

I’m not a trained professional, I’m a survivor. To be honest, I never actually attempted to kill myself, but I had made a mental list of everything available to me to end my life. I was able to fight long enough to get help, to find someone who’d take me to the hospital. According to the leader of the therapy group I was in at that time, most people don’t survive the point I’d reached.

As I mentioned, “poor me” rarely leads to an actual suicide attempt, from what I’ve learned in the years since. The brain can normally slip into thoughts of people not caring enough, or being a loser, “I wish I was dead,” but those feelings pass. When depression has become serious enough to lead to thoughts of suicide, the brain calmly and rationally points out how your loved ones would be better off without you. You understand they’ll feel pain, but by not having to suffer through/deal with all the problems you’ll create in your lifetime, they’ll be happier.

It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it? That same voice in your head that says you really ought to get off your butt and do the dishes, begins to point out all the methods at hand to end your life. It happens that simply.

As the friend or loved one, how can you recognize the difference between the two moods? The best answer is you can’t. You can’t rush a friend to the hospital every time they mutter, “I wish I was dead,” either. But you can start by talking.

Opening a dialog can help the person who hasn’t reached ideations—the point of listing various methods. You can gauge the severity of the depression…use your gut. Talk to his friends, a school counselor, your minister. If you continue to have a bad feeling, act on it. A person can be hospitalized involuntarily in most states, if they appear to be a threat to themselves or others. A doctor will interview the person before admitting, so if it’s a false alarm, you’ll only have to deal with a pissed-off loved one. That’s far better than dealing with the loss and wondering what you missed.

What you missed. You’ve probably heard the usual list of warning signs, (if not, go to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline for more information), but there’s a group of signs most people wouldn’t recognize as being a problem. In some cases, the victim will have reached the decision that death is the right thing to do, but rather than do it that instant, they get their affairs in order. Someone might get all the bills paid, clean house, and cook dinner for the family–all normal enough events, but he might be unusually happy while doing so. Young people give away possessions, or might slip up and mention, “When I’m gone.”

They’re all things you see and do every day, right? Is it any wonder we miss signs? Again, I say trust your gut. You won’t always see it coming, but it’s so much better to be wrong about him wanting to do it than realizing it after the fact.

I’m not trying to scare you, just make you aware. We’re taught the signs for different types of serious illnesses, but not suicidal ideations. You can teach yourself, though, through groups like Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Like CPR training, you never know when it might be something you need to know.

I can’t tell you why I’m here and others aren’t. Some part of me fought back. Oh, and speaking of which, don’t assume that because they have an upcoming appointment or group therapy session they’ll get the help they need. Among the calls I made that night, I spoke to the suicide hotline. I was told to call my doctor Monday morning for an appointment. I wanted to scream, “I might not be here Monday.” I’m lucky. I’m blessed. I’m here.

It can’t be said enough. Please go to Suicide Prevention Lifeline and read the various articles on how you can help. You don’t need to volunteer somewhere if that’s not your thing. Think CPR or the Heimlich maneuver: learn what to do in case you one day need to.

The biggest way you can help is to spread the word. Share the link Suicide Prevention Lifeline on social media every so often. Don’t wait until next September. Make sure the young people in your life know where they can go for help, or what to do if a friend seems depressed. Just talking about it, reminding people there’s help, might fall on the right ears at the right time. You might never know whose life you saved, but his loved ones will reap the rewards of your help.

If you suffer from depression, seek help. You are worth it. You’re stronger than you think. This moment is not forever. Things do get better, but it can take time to get there. You can do it. You are loved. You are worth being loved.

Fight.

Live.

And go to Suicide Prevention Lifeline to find out how to get the help you need.

Ari Thatcher
USA Today Bestselling author Ari Thatcher is the naughty side of sweet romance author Aileen Fish. Ari has always loved sexy romance where love takes the leading role. Reviews have called her work “captivating” and “compelling”, and her characters “intelligent, intriguing and realistic.”
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