I am the Daughter of a Suicide

February 13th, 2015 by Heather Marie Adkins

Nothing I do feels the same as it once did.

There’s so much repetition in our lives. We wake up and go to bed every day. We drive past the same scenery to get to work, where most of us do the exact same things every day, week to week, to earn a paycheck. We see the same people, eat a lot of the same foods because they’re our favorites, and we go to all the same places for leisure because of the same reason. So much sameness everywhere.

But the impact of losing one’s parent to suicide casts shades of gray over the normalcy. You’re still getting up, still driving, visiting places and friends, eating foods you love, but through it all, you know nothing is the same and it never will be again. Those same people, places, and things have lost color. You wonder if the real world was the rose-colored rainbow of life before suicide, or if this hazy, over-exposed image, like the brilliant negative painted on the sky by an atomic bomb, is the way life really is. Maybe their suicide opened your eyes to an alternate world. One where you’re different and always will be because of a gun shot you didn’t make.

Grief isn’t a choice. It’s a passage. It’s the one true sign that you loved deeply and still do. No one is immune to grief, and there’s no “wrong way” to grieve. Everyone does it differently; everyone experiences it on different levels. People will tell you don’t let your grief define you; don’t take up residence there and stay. I think they have it backwards: grief takes up residence inside us. Once it’s in your heart, it’s there to stay: a bittersweet flavor to everything you’ll experience every day thereafter. Grief DOES define us. Losing someone we love never goes away. It’s finality. It’s forever. It changes us on levels we don’t understand. I’ve lost grandparents. Great-grandparents. Cousins. But nothing ever prepared me for losing a parent.

I never knew until that October day that suicide grief is different. It’s like a club that you never wanted to join, but once you have, you realize how true that statement is. Death is inevitable. I will die one day. Everyone I love is heading on a straight line towards death. It’s the natural order. Maybe it will be a disease, maybe it will be an accident, or maybe it will be a sleep that never ends. Either way, it will happen.

Suicide is none of these things. Suicide is harsh and cold. It’s that a person you loved with all your heart CHOSE to leave you. A person you loved with all your heart hurt so bad they couldn’t imagine living any longer. It’s an abandonment, but it’s like a whole fucking new level because it wasn’t that they ran away. They extinguished their own existence because their light was too dim in the darkness surrounding them.

There’s so much anger in this club, and it’s not anger at death. It’s not anger that human bodies are fragile or that your version of God took them away too soon. It’s anger at the person you love. And you hate yourself for being so mad at them. You cry for their death, but you cry for how mad you are, too. Because that isn’t fair to them. You can’t stay infuriated when the pain they must have felt makes your chest ache.

It’s an abandonment you have to understand. An abandonment you have to forgive because you love them too much to hold onto the fury.

Suicide grief is such a layered thing. The questions haunt you endlessly. Did he think of me and my brother and my mom before he did it? Did he love me? Does he know how much I loved him? Was I a horrible daughter? Did I contribute to the demons he could no longer fight? Does he know how proud I was to know him? To be his daughter? How proud I STILL am, knowing now the darkness and inner pain he faced in silence? Did he hurt? Did he cry? Did he pause, did he consider staying at all?

Does he regret it?

This isn’t a game show. No smiling host is going to reveal answers and compliment my perceived notions, my desperate guesses. I don’t win anything for guessing correctly.

I will spend the rest of my life with these questions. Strange bedpersons.

From the outside, it might look like I’m moving on. I’m working. I’m writing. I took a vacation where I laughed and played with my husband as if we hadn’t a care in the world. I shower and do chores and shave my legs. But I’m not ‘moving on’ so much as I’ve contorted my heart and soul to fit his suicide and my grief into the fissure where it will live forever. I’m learning to live my life with the grief instead of letting it control me wholly. When I smile, the grief is there just behind the action where it doesn’t quite reach my eyes. When I laugh, it’s there in the tightness in my chest: the rock hard knot of grief and pain right where I imagine the bullet ended his life. I go through the motions, but he and the grief he left behind are always a physical ache inside me. They live behind every single thing that I do, every word that I say.

I’ve adjusted my existence to allow for those shades of gray. The veil of his life and sudden death; the questions, the hurt, the anger, the love I will always have for him, the pride of being his daughter and making sure his memory is honored as the great man he was, not that final moment or that final decision made in the depths of his despair.

It’s a particular tattoo that brands me eternally the daughter of a man who committed suicide.

I’m not ashamed of it. I’m not ashamed of him. No one should EVER be ashamed of this. You do not know the pain that lives inside others; you do not know when your OWN actions bring pain to others. Be kind. Be compassionate. Love others, flaws and all. I am blessed with a large family. I have three parents left who love me and who I love more than anything – more so now than I ever thought possible. Not everyone is so lucky, so we should all be good to each other.

And if you are in pain, please reach out. I will spend the rest of my life wishing he had asked for help, wishing that we’d been given a chance to heal him. Don’t make your own loved ones suffer this same fate. There are so many programs out there, so many people willing to take your hand.

Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind.

Or forgotten.

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Wiccan Wars Release!

January 8th, 2015 by Heather Marie Adkins

Wiccan Wars Wiccan Wars, Book One in the Wiccan Wars Trilogy

Ever O’Connell prides herself on being a good Wiccan, and her coven follows the path of the Goddess with love and light. But the “dark” witches in school—the BlackMags— keep pushing her toward the edge, until Ever finally finds herself at war.

Cade Bourdain inherited his father’s thirst for power, drawing him into darker areas of magick. Despite his dislike for the “Fluffy Bunny” Wiccans, he feels an unearthly connection to Ever.

When the two strike up a secret relationship the real magic between them is ignited, generating a power that a dangerous warlock yearns to take for his own. Ensnared by the warlock, Ever and Cade’s conflicting covens must work together despite their differences—or else be destroyed by a common enemy.

The line between light and dark has never been so unclear.

Available now for only 99c!! The price raises this weekend, so grab it while it’s cheap. :)

Amazon

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Jingle Bell Book Hop!

December 19th, 2014 by Heather Marie Adkins

Happy Holidays from CyberWitch-Land!

JBBHfbBanner

I’ve joined forces with about thirty other rockin’ authors to offer free ebooks and chances to win swag and goodies – INCLUDING A KINDLE FIRE. So it’s like holiday gift-giving online! And it’s FUN.

HeavenBelow_webIf you leave me a comment below with a December memory (maybe your favorite present of all time, or something fun you did with your family, etc.), I’ll send you a free ebook of HEAVEN BELOW.

Seventeen-year-old Kelli McNeil wishes her only problems were what to wear and who to date. But she also has recurring nightmares about dying.

In every dream she sees Sebastian, and feels a love that echoes across the ages.  As the dreams intensify, Kelli suspects they are not imagination, but memories of past lives. While these memories hint at an ancient prophecy and the fate of an entire race, they reveal a dark danger for her.

In every life, Sebastian is not only her true love – he is her murderer.

Other free books by me/including me you can pick up:

Underneath

The Holiday Collection

The Apocalypse Collection

Other than the free ebook you already get by leaving me a December memory, I’m also running a giveaway for assorted swag and a signed paperback of HEAVEN BELOW. In order to be entered for this, you have to stalk my website. Tell me in your comment the name of one of my books, either released or coming soon, and IT CAN’T BE THE SAME AS ANYONE BEFORE YOU. ;)

Also feel free to head over to Facebook and send me a friend request (not required). Be sure to tell all your friends about the hop!

Don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter for the huge giveaway, and be sure to visit the other authors on the hop for a chance to get even MORE free ebooks!

 

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Heaven Below Cover Reveal!

August 9th, 2014 by Heather Marie Adkins

HeavenBelow_web

Book: Heaven Below
Series: Goddess of Ptalonia, Book One
Author: Heather Marie Adkins
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Cover art by Robyn Porter - Aos Si Designs

Add this book on Goodreads!

Join the Facebook Release Party for the chance to win books, swag, and special prizes!


Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Kelli McNeil wishes her only problems were what to wear and who to date. But she also has recurring nightmares about dying.

In every dream she sees Sebastian, and feels a love that echoes across the ages.  As the dreams intensify, Kelli suspects they are not imagination, but memories of past lives. While these memories hint at an ancient prophecy and the fate of an entire race, they reveal a dark danger for her.

In every life, Sebastian is not only her true love – he is her murderer.


Excerpt

Doc wouldn’t embed! Read an excerpt here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1h0O9IMtCQRcBcJ0mot0r4Aizjqunst4ony6X2pt9zMY/pub


If you want to know when Heaven Below is released, sign up to be notified by email!

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About the Authoramazon3

Heather Marie Adkins loves magick and words, but not necessarily in that order. She can often be found wrangling chickens in her backyard, pulling weeds from her herb garden, and saving field mice from her cats—when she isn’t plotting her eventual move to Ireland. She worships the moon and stars, and loves the feel of grass beneath her bare feet. Heather lives in north-central Kentucky with a house full of animals and the love of her life—all of whom drive her crazy. Learn more about her at her website: heathermarieadkins.com. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr.

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Saffron: Vengeance Goddess Novelettes, Book One

July 8th, 2014 by Heather Marie Adkins

Enchanted Calm

Marion Churchman, code name SAFFRON, is an assassin employed by the vengeance goddess Nemesis. She may have been trained by an elite academy and rubbed elbows with immortals for five years, but it’s not her dream job.

Sent on a particularly tough run, Saffron has no idea that she herself is being stalked, and her life is in danger.

She’s not as invincible as Nemesis makes her feel.

**Saffron is a fifteen-thousand word novelette, the first in a serial series. It DOES have a cliffhanger.**

Read an excerpt below!

***

When I got the summons, I was in the middle of some Olympic gymnastics-worthy sex. The kind where my legs were at angles I’d never thought humanly possible, and I was looking at parts of his body that probably should never have seen the light of day, much less my eyeballs. At one point, I was certain I’d gotten turned upside down, and then we were backwards, and that was… odd.

But that was what happened when you had anonymous sex, right? When you had one too many amaretto sours at a bar in a strange city because you’d just killed a serial killer, and you went to a motel with some guy named Mark just because you thought the way he wore his glasses was cute. You weren’t always sure what you were getting into before you, well, got onto him.

The sex got sweaty, and Mark started making some weird grunting sound similar to a pig eating, but I was determined. Pushing on towards that goal of certain orgasm, my eyes screwed shut as I rode him like a rodeo cowgirl.

Fulfilling my missions made orgasm a necessity. You can’t just run around killing bad guys without some kind of release afterwards. So yeah, I sometimes felt like a slut, but in a career where death dripped from my fingertips, a bit of life made it better.

I felt the sweet sensation of climax rise within me; a little niggle in my lower abdomen that snaked its way through my lady parts until I was panting. One minute, I was on the verge of paradise…

… and the next, I was whooshing into the Other Realm.

What the hell?

Whenever it came, the summons was like a flat screen TV to the head. BAM! Saff, you’ve got work to do. Nemesis made demands like a prison warden or an overbearing mother. Suddenly, my extremely enthusiastic sparring partner was a blip on the radar, and my spirit was tumbling with flailing arms and legs through purple time and space.

Even after five years of working for Nemesis, the summons took my breath away. I landed on my knees, hard, catching myself with both hands and flattening tall grass against soft ground. I swayed, trying to blink the woozy from my eyes. My fingers were translucent; I could make out grains of sand through my fingernails. With my akasha—my spirit—here, my body would be unresponsive beneath Mark.

Poor guy. He was going to freak.

Nemesis’s voice cut through my post-world-jumping stupor. “Stand, girl. We haven’t got all day.”

“I was a little busy,” I retorted, pushing myself to my feet. I wobbled a bit on the incline, and then stooped to brush dirt from my knees. My bare knees. Naked in form, naked in akasha. Lovely.

The Other Realm always freaked me out. Even though I was in spirit form, in the Other Realm, I was solid. Real. If I traveled to another dimension in this particular form, I’d be non-corporeal. Here? Just another day at the office.

We were on a steep, round hill overlooking the rough waves of an ocean stretching into the gunpowder-gray horizon. The emerald grass was tall enough to brush my thighs in the warm breeze. The sky above was royal purple: dusk, dotted with the first pinpricks of stars. I could hear the lonely cawing of crows.

“Looks like rain,” I remarked, motioning to the clouds.

Nemesis was beautiful, as always. Her long, dark hair draped elegantly, tendrils curling beside Her heart-shaped face. The robe that clung to Her thin, curvaceous body was so white it glowed in the evening, drifting into obscurity below the grass line.

“It always rains in this world,” She said.

I sighed. “And what world is this, pray tell?”

“You wouldn’t care to know.” She raised a lovely eyebrow, black eyes shining with humor. “Saffron, you’re naked.” Her bow-shaped lips, the color of blood, pursed in amusement. “Bad time, love?”

I grunted, wrapping my arms around my breasts modestly. It was just a bit of nudity between women, but Nemesis already knew everything about me. Couldn’t I at least preserve my modesty?

I figured if I tried to hide my below-belly-button naughty bits by crossing my legs, She’d laugh, so I didn’t bother.

“Darling, you look wonderful. Have you been working out?” Nemesis walked forward, Her gait smooth and perfect, until She was in my personal space. She poked my abdomen and squeezed my bicep like I was a science experiment. When She began scrunching my long black hair in Her palms, I stepped away.

Glaring, I echoed Her own words, “ ‘We haven’t got all day.’ ”

“Ah, dear Saffron.” Nemesis tutted. “You never forget a word I say. I should be honored.”

“I’m naked, and it’s about to rain. Can we move along, please?”

Her tinkling laugh drifted on the wind. As She stepped away, the jeweled scabbard that held Her sword, Hubris, smacked against a shapely thigh. She regarded me with the same ambivalence of a satiated hawk eying a fat rat—I could eat you, but I won’t. “So sorry, love. Sometimes I forget what it’s like for humans. Modesty and the like.”

“Oh, really? I had no idea.”

“I’ve had word from Demeter,” Nemesis went on.

I froze, my arms slowly falling to my sides. I wasn’t going to like what followed. Demeter was the Mother Goddess, protector of children. Whatever was happening, it was going to be one of those hard cases that ended with Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and a good cry.

“Travel to Savannah, Georgia,” Nemesis ordered, making Her words a full Decree. Her voice took on the echo that accompanied my formal assignment; the echo that forever wed me to Her. I felt it reverberate deep in my bones, binding me to Her will. Goosebumps spread across my pale skin. “Seek Amy and Andy McClore. The children must be avenged.”

My body went hot, my heart ratcheting until it felt like it would burst from my chest. The purple ether of passage back to the real world whipped around me, disorienting, and I crash-landed, bouncing on the creaky motel bed in the manner of someone waking from a dream of falling. I lay there for a moment, willing the empty feeling in my stomach away, my fingers digging into the coarse sheets beneath me for stability.

Mark, the handsome, bespectacled man I’d been carnally enjoying before Nem’s rude interruption, cowered in the far corner of the room. His arms were wrapped around his knees, his breathing shallow and rapid in between his hysterical recitation of The Lord’s Prayer. “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom—”

I sat up, a hand fluttering to my spinning head. “Mark?”

He rocked slowly back and forth, not looking at me. “Your eyes. God, your eyes, they went white, and you went limp and cold, and I thought you were dead.”

I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing at how silly he looked. But who was I to judge? I wasn’t the one left after the summons, trying to figure out why my bed mate was suddenly unresponsive.

“Women have died from orgasm before,” Mark mumbled. “I did a study on it in grad school.”

Could you imagine? Humping along, all fine and dandy, enjoying a bit of a shag, and then, sorry, dead. Sure, you get a small bit of satisfaction, but, still. Dead.

“Odd choice of study,” I quipped, shakily putting my legs over the edge of the bed as I let my pounding head rest in my hands. “I’m fine. Really. You should get off the floor. It’s probably covered in e. coli. This isn’t the nicest of motels.”

Receiving an assignment from Nemesis was comparable to the morning after a Saturday-night bender. The magick involved in the spoken Decree could split my head open. Metaphorically. On top of the alcohol from three hours at the bar, it felt literal.

It was much too cold in the room, the ancient air conditioner kicked up on ‘high’ due to our sweaty acrobatics. I rummaged around the stiff, industrial blankets and came up with my t-shirt and underwear. “Where are my jeans?”

Mark crawled across the dirty shag carpet on his freaking knees and pulled my Refuge denims from under the bed. A shaky hand held them by two fingers.

“They won’t bite,” I snapped at him, jerking the offending clothing from his grasp. Turning my back, I slipped into my Coca-Cola tee and black string bikinis before pulling my jeans up over my hips.

“What happened?” Mark asked, his question barely audible as he fumbled to get dressed.

“Spontaneous narcolepsy?” I offered to lighten the mood.

He didn’t laugh. Fine then.

“Nothing.” I gave him a quick peck on his cold cheek. “It was fun. Nice to meet you.” Plucking my purse from the bureau by the door, I made my escape.

***

Available now! Only 99c.

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Finding Happiness

June 29th, 2014 by Heather Marie Adkins

Several months back, sometime last fall, I began to have this recurring dream.

In this dream, I was alone inside a mansion. The mansion was massive and oddly shaped with so many passages and stairwells that I got lost at every turn. Stranger still was the passage that led to a separate section of the house that looked more like an unfinished warehouse than anything.

Inside this structure were malevolent spirits. They followed me, showing themselves so sporadically that each time they appeared, it scared the hell out of me. One that stood out was a small, ethereal child. She was the most evil of all.

I ran and ran, trying to find my way out. When I couldn’t find my way out, I would hide and pray they couldn’t find me–but they always did. I avoided the unfinished warehouse as much as I could, because when I did end up there, I became desperately lost on the exposed beams, high in the air and in fear of falling.

This dream happened so many times over the fall and winter that it felt REAL. I would wake up in terror, absolutely certain it was real.

***

Last night.

Well over a month since the last time I had this dream.

The dream began, and I knew I was back inside that stupid mansion and for a brief moment, I was petrified.

But something had changed.

Light came through the windows, illuminating all the rooms. The rooms weren’t empty. There were people there–actual people, not spirits. People I knew and liked, who greeted me like familiar friends.

The ghosts were still there, but they were different, too. I was no longer afraid of them. I no longer wanted to run from them. Instead, I sought each and every spirit out and spoke to them. I told them that I loved this house and I wanted to live there, but that I knew it was their house, too. So I told them I wanted to live harmoniously with them, sharing the house. Each spirit, even the creepy girl child, agreed. Suddenly they weren’t so scary anymore.

I didn’t get lost this time. I walked the halls and stairwells and rooms as if I had been doing it for years. I took the passage to the unfinished warehouse portion of the mansion, AND IT WAS NO LONGER UNFINISHED. There were workers there, welding and building in their hard hats. They were finishing the warehouse. It was full of light and movement and laughter.

I woke up.

***

I’m a very spiritual person. I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in fate, and astrology, and that there is a set path we are meant to walk. I believe in dreams as a path to the subconscious, and our subconscious is the omnipotent, all-knowing portion of our soul that tries to tell us where we’re going wrong and when we’re going right.

Last night’s dream sent a very, very clear message to me. For years now, I’ve attempted to be the person society tells me I should be. Have a good job with benefits. Be respected in your field and work hard and long to rise in that career so you can make lots of money and be comfortable. Get married, have 2.1 screaming children in a suburban neighborhood with a fucking white picket fence and a minivan. This is what you’re supposed to do: sacrifice your life and happiness to rise in the world. Work a job that destroys your soul so that you can be “successful.”

Fuck that. That’s not life. That’s not living. That’s surviving. If success is being a zombie, waking up to the same 9-5 soul-crushing career for thirty years, and finding no fulfillment or happiness in life, then that’s not success I want.

You wanna know why I had this dream?

***

The last time I had the nightmare version was not long before I left my full time job working for Louisville Metro Animal Services. That place was the worst leech in my life. It destroyed me. By the end of my year there, I’d been:

  • denied a promotion even though I was publicly called “the most qualified candidate.” The assistant director told me he couldn’t let me go because I was his best employee. I was TOLD I couldn’t have this better paying position, only to find out he lied to the other adoption coordinators and told them I “chose” to stay. Great leadership.
  • We were constantly short-staffed because people left all the time, so we were drafted to work hours outside of our already scheduled forty, in a high-stress position dealing with animal cruelty complaints AND running the radio AND taking calls from the police ALONE IN DISPATCH.
  • I was screamed at, cursed at, and insulted daily by the public, yet given not a kind word by the leadership positions.
  • I busted my ass to get the paperwork caught up that was three years behind, and I did, only to be treated like crap and denied the promotion mentioned above.
  • As a foster for them, I was ignored. The vet staff treated me as if I were an idiot for asking questions, even though I was brand new at it, and were often rude in their emails and face to face.
  • I was repeatedly lied to by the command staff. I took an injured foster dog home last fall, was promised help by the command staff, and neglected over and over again. Now, they’re lying on open records requests regarding this foster dog, telling the requester they had no idea of the dog’s condition. I took part in two dozen emails stating otherwise. I was even threatened with termination in March for bringing “bad press” on them regarding the foster dog THEY NEGLECTED.
  • I watched, and tried myself, as coworkers tried to save kittens by taking them as fosters, only to be denied taking them in lieu of having them euthanized.
  • I had to go on antidepressants, gained twenty pounds, and honestly had started to think dying was preferable to remaining.

That shelter is in a state of chaos and ruin. Good people get hired on because they want to make a difference with the animals, but the lack of leadership, professionalism, and compassion causes them leave within a year. Those who remain are so callous to the processes because they’ve been forced to handle the hard shit, the tough shit, by themselves over and over because no one else can or will. Until a new regime is put into place, the current regime will continue to lie and be corrupt. I will never again support that shelter or anything it stands for as long as the leadership remains unchanged.

Karma is a bitch, and she’s one of my best friends.

***

I quit that job. Since then, the past month and a half has been one of blinding realizations. The realization that I can only be me, and nobody else. I am the kind of girl who is happy in an alternative lifestyle.

I work part time for Starbucks, and I love it. I love my coworkers, I love the job, and I’m proud to say I work for a great company who cares tremendously for their people. In my first month, I’ve had several coworkers post on my Facebook page or tell me in person how glad they are I work with them, and what a great job I do. Sad that I had to leave a so-called “good government job” and go make coffee part time just to find appreciation and respect. If that’s standard for government employment, we’d be better off letting Howard Schultz (founder of Starbucks) take over.

I took this part time job with a company I’d worked for before (and loved then, still love now) so that I could focus on writing. Since wiping my life of the negativity of the shelter, I’ve finished three books and written more in one month than I did in a year. I’m HAPPY again. My optimism has returned. My faith in the divine and in the world has returned. I am absolutely doing what I love with people I love. I’ve made new friends in both the writing world and on my Starbucks team.

As a result of all these changes, my marriage is renewed.  My husband told me a few days ago that I’m the girl he met and fell in love with five years ago. That girl was gone for a long time, and our relationship suffered for it. NO JOB is worth ruining the best thing to ever happen to me.

***

So, about that dream.

Funny isn’t it, that suddenly the dark, scary mansion full of spirits but empty of humans has suddenly turned light and become full of companions. Funny that the spirits that haunted me and terrified me suddenly aren’t so scary, and I’ve discovered we can live together. Funny, too, that unfinished part of the mansion is full of workers building a new tomorrow.

My subconscious let me know I’m on the right path. When people who know me and love me the best tell me I’m a completely different person–and in a good way–I know I’m doing the right thing. When I wake up in the morning, happy to be alive, happy to have a blinking cursor on a blank document and the promise of a fun shift at work that night with people who make me laugh and make me feel like a vital part of the team, I know I’ve found my way.

I am absolutely empowered by the turn my life has taken. I was lost for so long, stuck on a path that led nowhere and slowly destroyed me breath by breath. I have found vision and truth and perfection in the place I am in now.

THIS is what life–MY life– is about: writing and coffee.

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Young Adult Faeries and Fantasy Hop!

January 8th, 2014 by Heather Marie Adkins

YA-Hop-january-2014

I used to do these giveaway hops all the time, then life got insane and I let them slip by the wayside. I actually enjoy these, especially the ones given by iamareadernotawriter.com.

I did this one last year when I first released the new version of my own faery novel “Abigail”. Abigail isn’t really YA–it’s more just regular fantasy/romance. I’ll give away an e-copy (Kindle, epub, PDF) of it to anyone who comments on this blog and tells me their favorite witchy read, because I’m doing a witchy reading challange for 2014 and I’d love some suggestions!

But for the actual giveaway, I’m offering a friend of mine’s book, Julia Crane’s “Lauren.” It’s an offshoot of her extremely popular Keegan’s Chronicles series, and a pretty darn good book.

***

LAURENA girl with a second chance. A boy with a terrible secret. When the truth is revealed, Lauren’s world comes crashing down.

For once, seventeen-year old lauren’s life is going right. She’s attending the college of her dreams, has what appears to be the perfect boyfriend, and is surrounded by her childhood friends.

But her boyfriend, Tristan, grows more possessive by the day, and his temper is getting harder to keep in check. When Lauren realizes Tristan is using her for her power, she has to make a choice: Tristan or her world.

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Don’t forget to visit the other blogs on the hop!

 

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Pagan Blog Project #1 – Akasha

January 3rd, 2014 by Heather Marie Adkins

I’ve been obsessed with death for the past few months.

I could say it’s because of the darkening of the year. The more the sun disappears, the more depressed I become. It’s not an uncommon affliction. A vast majority of people are affected by the dark of the year, even if they don’t realize it. The human body is meant to run on air, sun, and water. When the sun only hangs around for a few hours at a time in the dead of winter, it works against us. We are missing one-third of what our body so desperately needs.

But let’s be honest, for the past several years, I’ve been battling some pretty serious depression. It affects almost every aspect of my life. Some days, I am so frozen by anxiety, so hopeless, that I can’t even function. I play silly sitcoms for hours on end just so my mind can blank and I can simply laugh without worrying about my responsibilities or lack of ability in accomplishing anything. Thank the goddess for my extremely understanding and wonderful husband, or I’d be alone and suffering. Depression isn’t uncommon either: In a given year, more than 18 million American adults – nearly 10 percent of the adult population – will suffer from a depressive illness.

Creative people have characteristics that make them more vulnerable. Ernest Hemingway committed suicide in 1961 after a lifetime of battling psychosis and depression. So, too, did Hunter S. Thompson, the most famous person to come out of my high school.  David Foster Wallace, after twenty years of clinical depression, finally gave up and hung himself. . Two of the most brilliant female minds of the twentieth century did themselves in: Sylvia Plath, a personal favorite of mine, and Virginia Woolf.

I’m not going where you think I’m going. As dark and dismal as my mind can get, and as often as I wish I could hit a switch and turn off the voices telling me I’ll never amount to anything, I’ve never entertained thoughts of suicide. Probably because my fear of death is greater than my fear of depression. I’d much rather be alive and struggling to find my light in the dark, then to be, well, permanently dark.

My obsession—or perhaps heart-pounding anxiety—of death stems from my depression, which concurrently likely stems from my creative brain. And all of this has caused me to really assess my beliefs in the afterlife.

Four years ago, when I was at my highest peak of spirituality, I could have told you definitively that I believed in reincarnation and that death was merely a new beginning. Today, after meeting the darkness and still fighting to best it, I’m not so sure. Is death the final dark? Non-existence? Or in death, do we shed this mortal body in favor of the next?

I recently finished listening to an amazing audiobook by author John Green titled Looking for Alaska. It’s about a group of teenagers forced to confront the death of someone they hold dear. It is by far one of the best books I read in 2013, because for the first time in SO LONG, I’m again reaching my long-forgotten beliefs about death.

In the final pages of Green’s book, the main character writes of his new-found understanding of death and the beyond.

But ultimately I do not believe that she was only matter. The rest of her must be recycled, too. I believe now that we are greater than the sum of our parts. If you take (her) genetic code and you add her life experiences and the relationships she had with people, and then you take the size and shape of her body, you do not get her. There is something else entirely. There is a part of her greater than the sum of her knowable parts. And that part has to go somewhere, because it cannot be destroyed.

Although no one will ever accuse me of being much of a science student, one thing I learned from science classes is that energy is never created and never destroyed. And if (she) took her own life, that is the hope I wish I could have given her. Forgetting her mother, failing her mother and her friends and herself—those are awful things, but she did not need to fold into herself and self-destruct. Those awful things are survivable, because we are as indestructible as we believe ourselves to be. When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.

(Copyright John Green, I assume no credit for these incredible words.)

That brings me to my point. AKASHA. What is it? In Hinduism, it is the very basis of everything. It is “space”, the sum total of all existence. In Buddhism, it is “infinite space” and deeply revered as a real thing. Theosophy uses Akasha in the term “akashic record,” referring to the entire eternal compendium of knowledge of the human race.

And in paganism, it is much the same. Akasha is in everything and everyone. It is the spirit force that alights us all. It is the soul, what makes every human and animal unique to themselves. It is the knowledge behind our gazes, the compassion inside us. Akasha is the primal, important driving aspect of our existence.

I believe Akasha is the part of us that Green writes about in Looking for Alaska, that pure energy: unchangeable, immovable, completely and utterly indestructible. It is the part of us that goes on when our earthly form has shattered for its final time.

Maybe I’m simply Looking for Akasha.

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Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

January 2nd, 2014 by Heather Marie Adkins

2014WitchesampWitchcraftReadingChallenge_zps254cb627Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf is hosting an awesome reading challenge to read books about witches and witchcraft, and I’ve decided to take part. Along with everything else I let slide by the wayside, reading didn’t happen often enough in 2013.

What better way to prompt myself to read than to read the kind of literature I love the most! I have a long list of witchcraft themed novels I want to read. The best part is I can consider it research for my own paranormal novels, and the reviews I would post on my blog would be writing practice. Every bit of writing I do is good for my career!

I’ll be starting with ‘Cold Days’ by Jim Butcher :)

 

 

 

 

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Has it really been since March?

January 1st, 2014 by Heather Marie Adkins

When I hopped on here to write a HEY NEW YEAR catch-up blog, I was, um, flabbergasted to find my last blog was in MARCH.

MARCH.

That’s almost a year ago. It feels like I’ve lived five lifetimes since then.

We bought a house.

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One of my books made it into the first round of Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards!

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I got a new job working for an animal shelter and started fostering kittens.

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I’m volunteering at the zoo in the gorilla habitat.

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I attended my very first writing convention.IMG_9676

(and got an autographed book from Lorraine Heath!!)

I finally saw Disney World at Christmas!!

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For a while, I wasn’t writing because my mind wasn’t in a happy place (who ever heard of a writer unable to channel her depression into writing?), but I’ve slowly gotten back into it. I’m about halfway done with five different books (I’m so ADD).

Last summer, I went to Fandom Fest with my sisters. Three days of geekdom–sci fi and fantasy collectibles, books, STUFF, not to mention celebrity appearances and question panels. I shook hands with ALAN FUCKING TUDYK. My sister Rachel hugged JOHN FUCKING BARROWMAN. It was an awesome time. We even had a hotel room at the fancy Galt House.

But something even more surreal happened at the con. I had my first psychic reading. She was adorable, a fifties-style sex pot type woman from Nashville. I liked her immediately. She laid the Tarot, and we began.

Some things I took away:

  • Someone in my life was headed for a breakdown. She thought it was a sister type, but then ultimately we came to the conclusion it was probably me.
  • My husband loves me more than anything in the world. He would do anything for me, especially when it came to my dreams. (Not anything I didn’t already know. My husband pretty much is the GREATEST GUY TO WALK THE EARTH. Well, maybe second greatest. My daddy is very much my Superman.)
  • My then-descent into depression would not get better for quite some time. Basically, the fall was going to suck worse than ever, and she suggested I might need to seek professional help. (I tried. I called three different therapists in town, and none of them returned my messages. Apparently mental well-being just doesn’t matter in Louisville, Kentucky.)
  • January would be A FREAKING GARGANTUAN AMAZING MONTH.

And here it is. The first day of the new year. January, the month my psychic said would be the time of my life when everything would turn around. Good things are coming, she said. When the ball dropped at midnight last night, and my husband kissed me, I sleepily asked him, “This year has to be better, right?” And all I could think about was what my psychic told me.

I didn’t mean life-wise. Shit, we bought a house, survived our first year of marriage, my books got a little recognition, and I LOVE WORKING WITH THE GORILLAS. That is all some pretty amazing stuff. But in a mental capacity, I am clinging to the idea that 2014 absolutely has to be a better year for me.

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Resolutions are stupid. We make them every year, but then we break them. I’m the queen of procrastination, so I honestly can’t recall a single new year’s resolution I’ve EVER followed through. My take-away from this is that the phrase “new year’s resolution” is cursed. It’s meant to be a thing we do, gung-ho about it for the first two weeks, then letting it slide thereafter. And who honestly needs that?

So instead, I have goals. Honest-to-goddess, going-to-accomplish goals.

  • Find a therapist: One who returns my initial phone call and genuinely wants to help me battle this stupid, life-numbing thing called depression.
  • Write 2k every day on a novel: It really is as simple as that. Maybe it means sacrificing a couple hours of sleep. Maybe it means opening my laptop when I’d really rather turn on Netflix. Maybe it means writing on my breaks at work or on my phone in a waiting room. Whatever it means, I do it. I am a lot of things in this life: Wife, Sister, Daughter, Pet Mother, Hard Worker, Animal Activist. But above all, I AM A WRITER. It is the backbone of my existence. It is the way I breathe, eat, sleep, live. My writing habits have been horrendous. I am changing that.
  • Blog at least once a week: I mean, shit, I blogged almost every day for the first two years of having this blog. And I did it while earning my online degree, working a full time job, AND sneaking in some novel writing. It’s not impossible when I’m not being a procrastinating prat.
  • Participate and complete Nanowrimo this year: I tried in 2013 and accomplished about 15k, which was the most I’d written since the spring. So in a way, it was a win for my own purposes. This year, I finish.
  • Do things I love as often as possible: take a walk in the woods. Volunteer at the zoo. Go to a play or ballet. Take French lessons. Get back into martial arts. I WILL DO SOMETHING FOR ME.
  • Practice magick at least once a week: If anything has utterly and completely fallen by the wayside, it’s my spirituality. Being a witch has always been such a focal part of my being. I could tell you the exact date of every upcoming full moon this time last year. Now? I look up and say, “Huh. Full moon. That snuck up on me.”
  • Learn to say NO: I have a problem with this. I’m always the girl sacrificing her own plans and loves for that of others. This song? It’s about me. In 2014, I will say more “yes” to myself and more “no” to others.
  • Be healthier: Now, I’m not saying give up cookies and frozen yogurt and yummy Starbucks. I’m not that crazy. But I like healthy food, too, and I can make healthy choices and still enjoy my meal. But my depression has played a big part in my current extra weight. I’ll return to the gym, even if only for ten minutes on the elliptical a couple times a week. I’ll choose salad over fried stuff. I’ll care about what I put into my body, because my body is what sustains my life.

And the last and most important goal–

  • Stop being so afraid to fail: In the past eight years, I’ve started nearly thirty novels that I have yet to finish. I make goals and lose sight of them. I back away when things start getting tough. SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA LOSE TILL YOU WIN.

For everyone I know, and those I don’t, here’s wishing you a magickal, wonderful new year. May 2014 be the year that dreams come true.

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I am ALWAYS willing to give away ebook copies of my novels to anyone willing to read and review, so please don't hesitate to email me and request a book(s) at heather@heathermarieadkins.com

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