Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tell me where fancy’s bred
In the head
In the heart

William Shakespeare

The sand had been swept smooth by wind and weather; it was unmarred by a single footprint, the sound of the ocean a distant memory. Coastal fauna grew in a natural circle around it, punctuated by taller trees, gnarled and twisted from a difficult life. At midnight, when the moon was at its zenith, their shadows didn’t touch the ring of flickering candles that sometimes lit the clearing.

Now ten wispy, white figures crouched inside the circle, palms buried in the sand. Smoke of jasmine - for love and prosperity - and lemon verbena - to attract a mate - rose from the cauldron on the altar, straight up into the ebony dome. Not a breath of wind would dare to carry it away. The two white candles were engraved simply with the words man and woman. A low musical hum accompanied the ritual.

This spell is cast within the heart,
that love will come and not depart. 

Evil, driven out for the moment beyond the circle, watched from the shadows.

It was a handfasting - a wedding to come - like scrying to foretell the future. What was it about knowing what the future held? Knowing changed behaviour and altered expectation. That was why this wedding was being performed in secret, the parties not physically present, as they did not even know about each other yet. The two green wax dolls on the altar represented the pair.

Nobody knew who they were. The fates would bring them together when the time was right. Knowledge might keep them away. And it was imperative that they came.

Dark Moon by Maggie Tideswell, available from amazon in paperback, ebook and audio formats here: https://www.amazon.com/author/maggietideswell 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Storm's Cape Town - the City Bowl

To continue from last week, I'm going to highlight Storm's working life in the heart of Cape Town - without sounding too much like a tour guide.

Nestled between the foot of Table Mountain and the Victoria&Albert Waterfront, in the bowl formed by the surrounding mountains, is Cape Town's Central Business District, ringed by the Victorian residential suburbs of Tamboerskloof (Drummer's Ravine), Gardens, Oranjezight (Orange View) and Vredehoek (Peace Corner). The best way to get an overall picture of layout of Cape Town is from the Table Mountain Cableway.

View of Cape Town from the Arial Car
The cableway was built in 2 years at a cost of 60 000 pounds, and opened in 1929 for visitors. It has had an accident-free run since then. The cableway closes in bad conditions and it's best to keep an eye on the weather - you might go up, only to be stranded on top of the mountain.

Storm's office was in Adderly Street, in the area that used to be and is still known as, Company's Gardens. This was where the VOC - the Dutch East India Company - grew fruit and vegetables for the passing seafarers. Now office buildings and museums occupy this space.

Autumn in the Cape is fine, with the temperatures dropping slightly and rain possible. There is always wind, ranging from a breeze to the storm-strength northwesterlies in the winter. But in March, the weather is generally mild and pleasant enough for an afternoon on the beach - as Storm thought before she went on that fateful Saturday afternoon for a nude suntan.

The doctor Storm consulted a few weeks later had his rooms in Bree street, running parallel to Adderly Street two blocks away. A pleasant walk, but that day was a bit blustery, though dry.

Cape Town is a beautiful, vibrant city. And always there is Table Mountain to preside over you, and to guide and direct you.

Dark Moon is available in paperback, ebook and audio formats from amazon here:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Nothing is as it seems…

The story Dark Moon is based on one that started about twenty years ago. Every day we meet new people, but who is to say which of those meetings will impact our future and in what way.
It is difficult to say how long it actually took me to write Dark Moon. I work in a very haphazard sort of way. I never have less than three stories going at the same time. I never have less than 3 projects going at the same time, and I like to allow them to stew for a while too, while I work on something else. And then I had a period of 3 years in which I didn’t write a word – didn’t even do editing or plotted new story lines. Nothing. Zip. Nada. But at a guess, I would say if I added the time I worked on Dark Moon together, it might have been about 2 years, maybe 2 and a half. And the incubation periods in between seem to do wonders for inspiration.
Dark Moon started out as a straight forward, sickeningly soppy, love tale, but it is amazing how a story tells itself. It soon became clear that this tale needed more oomph, and resist as I might, the witchcraft element would not be excluded. The Trevor character was also a weakling to start with, but the story demanded he become something else completely. This character, more than any other in the book, personifies the notion of ‘nothing is as it seems’. We all wear different faces, pretend to be something other than we are, but in Trevor’s case, his faces were like day and night. I loved writing the Trevor character.
I had to be cautious when I incorporated the witchy bits to the story, though. I didn’t want my wondrous tale to turn into something like Harry Potter, with people calling themselves witches and wafting wands about and sparks flying, nor did I want to turn it into a textbook on the craft. People are strange and there will always be somebody out there who will actually try out the rituals and stuff. So, for the sake of safety – and my sanity! – I couldn’t describe anything fully. Less is more in my opinion anyway. I wanted to draw the reader into the rites, without anybody being able to copy anything and causing themselves or anybody/thing around them any harm. A little knowledge is dangerous, you know.
Thank you to Mark Knox for the wonderful cover art and splendid video trailer that completed the growth of Dark Moon. And a special thank you to All Things That Matters Press for publishing Dark Moon. Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvFqnD20-IE
Dark Moon is available from amazon.com in paperback, kindle and audio format from here: 
If you are in Africa, it is available on Kalahari.com in paperback here: 
Please follow me on twitter @lunamags 
and on facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Maggie-Tideswell/161954970541011

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

30 Ways to Get Out of the Author Rut: I

Are you in an author rut? All of us have been there. Repeat this quote to yourself each day, “Things do not change; we change.” Henry David Thoreau
Point of View.
If you believe that you are in a rut, then something happened recently to influence your mind. Your confidence had somehow been shaken. Every author goes through this from time-to-time.

What feelings do you have right now? Are you depressed with how your career is developing as an author? That is a good thing, because your brain and emotions are telling you what is right and what is wrong. But why are you feeling that now, rather than a week ago, or a month ago? Deep down, you are telling yourself that drastic changes in your life must be made.

What has to happen in order for you to believe you are an author? For example, you may only feel like an author if you sold 50,000 books. Or maybe your books have to be on the bestsellers list. Then, and only then, will you feel like an author. Or perhaps you could think like this, “If I am able to write and sell books, I would feel like an author.”

Professional authors know how to handle setbacks. Also, experienced authors handle rejection and keep their emotions on an even level. They have spent their lives fighting through tough times and know how to handle future hardships. They understand that the publishing industry is cutthroat, but nothing will get in their way.

What is your point of view?

Have Fun.

Authors in a rut cannot enjoy what they are doing. In fact, it is impossible to do much of anything. First, give yourself some credit. You work hard every day. Have a little fun to get out of that rut. Do something spontaneous. Get a massage. Play Wii all day without feeling guilty. Walk around the mall and let your mind wander. Do something that you have enjoyed in the past.
If you have fun in your life, then you can get back to having fun as an author.

Do not compare your career to other authors.
You want the type of success that Stephen King has? Okay, then you should know that he had been run over by a van and almost died while flown to the hospital. Maybe you want the type of success that Nora Roberts has? To help her family, she had to sew her children’s clothes. Maybe you want to be the next Charles Dickens. He was imprisoned for spending, “Over his means.”

The belief you have in yourself is what makes you unique. It is certainly permissible to be motivated by what other authors had to endure. Just remember that your dream has a distinctive path. If you ever become jealous of someone else’s success, then you can plan on being in a rut.

And remember that your fans are interested in you…not someone else.

Do things better than others.

Every author in the world thinks they can write better than most published authors. I think that brings out a healthy competition and motivates authors to succeed. If you are angry that the shelves are filled with average books, that anger has put you into a rut.

Then suddenly, without knowing it, your subconscious is taking pride at being less, because that is all you can think about. If you continue down this path, your rut can turn into the destruction of your career.

The good news is that your observation of weak books on the shelves, is your mind saying that you have the ability to do something about it. Motivation is more powerful than anger.
If you can really write better than most published authors, show the world what you have, instead of complaining what you do not have.

Help someone else.

Helping others is overlooked as the most significant way to succeed. For example, if you find a way to solve your reader’s problems, then you will have fans for life. If you find a way to make a true difference in the lives of your fans, then you will have success beyond your dreams. Pledge to be helpful and you will succeed.

The first step to getting out of a rut is to envision where you are going in the future. The next step is to believe it…

Ron Knight

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

An Interview with Patches

My name is Patches and I’m a calico cat.
Book name: Patches

Tell me a little about yourself? Well, I grew up in a beautiful house with a girl named Karoline. One day, I was bad and her dad threw me out into the woods. I’m having to learn the ropes of living outdoors!

Where do you live? I live on the beach in Florida.

Who is the most important person in your life? The cats that helped me adjust to life outdoors. Tiger, Whiskers, Leah, Midnight and so many more. I actually found out that Tiger is my long lost brother!

What was your childhood like? It was great, I had all the milk I could drink and plenty of kibble. Those are a couple of things I miss now that I am a stray.

Of all the people you've met, who would you LEAST like to be stuck in an elevator with? The diablos! Those are scary dogs that have glowing red eyes. Yikes.

What is the most important thing in your life? What do you value most? My friends. They have taught me so much about how to survive outdoors.

What is your biggest fear? I really don’t like rats along with the diablos. They have sharp looking teeth.

What is the most important thing that ever happened to you? Why? Getting kicked out. It’s made me realize how many stray cats and other pets are abandoned.

Do you have any special talents or abilities? I’m great at scaring away rats when the other cats are hunting them! I get so scared when I see a rat and I scream - and the rat gets away.

How do you see your future? I hope to one day find Karoline again.

If you had a free day with no responsibilities, how would you spend it? I’d sit on the beach and people watch!

Where can we find out more about you? You can visit my website, Lizzythewriter.com. The person that wrote the book about me has more info about me there. Or, I have a twitter account! @HollywoodTail, you can follow me there!


Book Blurb

Patches was a good cat. She never clawed the carpet or messed up the furniture so when she is abandoned it comes as quite the shock. Having never been outside-or without a kitty litter box-Patches must rely on new friends including Whiskers, Tiger, Leah and a handful of others, as she learns to survive in an unfamiliar terrain. While trying to fit in, Patches inadvertently creates a conflict between the Long Haired Cats and the Short Haired ones! Patches is the story of one cat’s determination to learn the ropes of living outdoors and her realization that cats are cats, no matter their hair length!

About The Author 

Elizabeth Grace was born and raised in Minnesota where she spent most of her time either exploring the woods or finding new pets to adopt. Her love of animals and adventure is what has inspired both her children's book, "A Hollywood Tail" and has created in her a love of travel. Moving to Miami, she spent weekends exploring all that the nature side of South Florida had to offer. From the Everglades to Key West to hidden gems throughout Miami, her adventures have now become a travel book "24 Hours Miami." She invites you to join in her journeys and share your adventures with her! She loves checking out travel blogs, other writer's blogs and writing resources. Connect with her by clicking on the social links below or by visiting her website: www.lizzythewriter.com.

If you like this children’s book, Elizabeth’s other book, A Hollywood Tail is available at:

Win a copy of Patches or A Hollywood Tail by visiting:

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Symbolism of the Pentacle

The True Meaning of the Pentacle

Many people today misunderstand the true meaning attached to the pentacle. This ancient symbol has been used by Christians, Jews and Wiccans as a positive symbol of light.  It wasn’t until the 1800’s that the inverted pentagram (the upside down star) began to be associated with darkness.

The pentacle is a pentagram, the symbol of a star, encased in a circle. Always with 5 points (one pointing upward), each has its own meaning. The upward point of the star is representative of the spirit. The other four points all represent an element; earth, air, fire, and water. All these things contibutite to life and are a part of each of us. To wear a pentagram necklace or other form of jewelry, is to say you feel the connection with the elements and respect the earth.

The pentacle is one of oldest symbols dating back to the time of Uruk of 3500 BC of the Chaldees in Ancient Mesopotamia, and has been found in many ancient cultures, like India, China, Greece, Egypt, Babylon and the Mayans of Central America. Each culture has its own symbolism attached to the five points of the pentagram.

To Wiccans and other Neo-Pagans, the pentagram represents the spiritual aspects of life. The five points of the pentacle represent the four directions of north, south, east and west with the fifth point, spirit. They attach an element to each of the points. The element of earth, which represents physical endurance and stability, is the element of the lower left point. The lower right point is associated with fire, which represents courage. The element of water represents intuition and emotion and is associated with the upper right point. The upper left point symbolizes air and represents intelligence. The fifth point is symbolic of the element of spirit, and represents the divine. The meaning is basically similar to the old saying “mind over matter,” which means the ability of one’s spirit to control the lower aspects of our being.

In antiquity Christians viewed the pentagram as representing the five wounds of Christ. Early Christians used the pentagram to symbolize the Trinity with the two other points representing the two natures of Christ, the work of the Creator, the five joys of the Virgin Mary, the five virtues of generosity, fellowship, purity, courtesy and mercy. To knights it represented the five knightly virtues of generosity, courtesy, chastity, chivalry and piety.

The Hebrews viewed the pentagram as a symbol of divine truth and ascribed the five points to the five books of the Pentateuch. In the Kabalistic tradition, the points represent the archetypal forces of justice, mercy, wisdom, understanding and transcendent splendor.

Satanism is a parody on Christianity and they mock the Christians' beliefs by turning the symbols upside down. They use the inverted pentagram to represent the physical elements of earth, fire, air and water to dominate the spiritual aspects of life. The inverted pentagram as a symbol for Satan or the devil did not appear until the 19th century.

The pentacle appears on the covers of both my books.On the cover of Dark Moon, it is in the form of a pendant, to represent the Light of Love. It rests on a bed of black satin, which is of course representative of the darkness in Trevor. Trevor isn't a 'satanist', he is just a nasty piece of work who taught himself a few tricks.

In the Moragh, Holly's Ghost cover, the pentacle is more subtly placed. Here too it represents the Light of Love.

Both books are paranormal romance in which some actions by the characters are hidden - my favorite theme of nothing is what it seems.

For more information, see the individual book pages for Dark Moon and Moragh, Holly's Ghost here on my blog.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Table Mountain from the Small Craft Harbor

Storm's Cape Town

The City Bowl

Beautiful Cape Town is situated at the southern tip of the African Continent, and is also the setting for my novel, Dark Moon.

For those readers who are not familiar with Cape Town or South Africa, I would like to highlight places and facts of interest about Cape Town and the surrounding area where Dark Moon is set.

A little Capetonian history - but not so much as to bore you!

Bartholomew Diaz, the Portugese explorer who discovered the stormy southern tip of Africa in 1488, named it the Cape of Good Hope. He was by no means the first mariner to round the Cape, as this was a trade route used by the great merchant traders of antiquity - the Phoenicians, the Egyptians, Arabs, Chinese and Indians. Diaz highlighted the importance of a halfway station on the trade route from Europe to the Far East.

On 6 April 1652 Jan van Riebeeck landed with his 3 ships at the Cape to start a trading post for the Dutch East India Company. His mission was to grow fruit and vegetables to sell to the passing ships. Fresh fruit and veg on board was essential in the prevention of the dreaded sailors' disease, scurvy.
And so the Cape Colony was born.

Castle of Good Hope
Van Riebeeck built a fort from mud and wood, but the Castle, the oldest colonial building left standing, was built some years after Van Riebeeck had left the colony. It was designed in the shape of a five-pointed star. The town of Cape Town grew around the Castle. In its early days, the Castle was the home of the governors of the Colony, it was used for trade, defense and as jail for outlaws, who were chained to the dungeon walls.
Executions took place within the castle walls. Naturally the castle is haunted, how could it not be?

Although the Castle itself doesn't feature in Dark Moon, Storm drives past it every day to and from work. Her office is in the city bowl, in the heart of Cape Town, but the apartment she shares with her friend, Donna, is in Newlands, which is behind Table Mountain.

Groote Schuur Hospital. Image Courtesy of Danie van der Merwe
En route home, Storm also passes the world famous Groote Schuur Hospital, where she herself was briefly hospitalized after miscarrying her baby. It was here, at the Groote Schuur Hospital, that the world's first heart transplant was performed on 3 December 1967 by Dr. Christiaan Barnard and his team. I was a whole seven years old at the time and I remember the fuss! The patient, Louis Washkansky, survived the transplant and lived a further 18 days, dying of pneumonia.

Signal Hill, which connects Kloof Nek to Lion’s Head, in the distinctive shape of a lion’s rump, is another famous spot in Cape Town. After their dinner date at Simon's Town, Trevor drives Storm home past Signal Hill along Kloof Neck. The views from here are truly spectacular.

And of course, Robben Island is one of the most famous landmarks in Cape Town. For nearly 400 years, Robben Island, 12 kilometres from Cape Town, was a place of banishment, exile, isolation and imprisonment. It was here at Robben Island that rulers sent those regarded as political troublemakers, social outcasts and the unwanted of society.

During the apartheid years Robben Island became internationally known for its institutional brutality. The duty of those who ran Robben Island and the Robben Island prison was to isolate opponents of apartheid and to crush their morale. Nelson Mandela spent more than a quarter of a century in prison on Robben Island.
Robben Island, South Africa

It hasn't always been a prison. People lived on Robben Island many thousands of years ago, when the sea channel between the Island and the Cape mainland was not covered with water. It was only since the Dutch settled at the Cape in the mid-1600s that Robben Island became a prison.

Few people know about the penguin colony on Robben Island. When the Dutch originally arrived in the Cape, penguins were killed to add variety to the rabbits introduced in 1685 as a source of meat for passing ships. After 1983, the colony has been reestablished and there are now more than 13 000 penguins on Robben Island.

The ferry service to the Robben Island Museum runs almost hourly, especially in summer, ensuring there is ample time within the standard three-and-a-half hour museum tour to give visitors a chance to see the penguins.

Cape Town, from humble beginnings to a world-class metropolis, has stunning views and its hodge-podge of cultures make modern-day Cape Town an altogether interesting place.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Answer to Book Sales

MCS BLOG 14Philosopher Alasdair Macintyre said, “In the age of globalization, cultures are not converging. They seem to be growing farther apart.”
This means when it comes to products, ideas, point of views, and what to read, the world is constantly changing in every city, town, and neighborhood. Each area develops its own culture and becomes unique as compared to other areas.

What Macintyre had really defined is, “Target Marketing.”

Authors write for specific age groups and gender, but often think of those potential readers as general people that use the same basic words, have the same fears of snakes and spiders, happy when there’s enough money to pay the bills, angry or sad when a child is harmed in their city, proud of their accomplishments, and think of time as past, present, and future.

People have similarities, but the culture in each city is extremely different.

Did you know that plays in Germany are three times more likely to have a tragic or unhappy ending than plays in the United States? (Source: Human Universals by Donald E. Brown.)

50% of Indian cultures would marry without love, but only 2% of Japanese cultures would marry someone they didn’t love.

35% of Americans are constantly nervous that they will say the wrong thing, while 65% of Japanese say that are constantly afraid of saying something wrong.

In a London coffee shop, customers rarely shake hands, or hug someone else during a visit. In a Paris coffee shop, a group of customers shake hands and hug 110 times. In a Puerto Rico coffee shop, customers will shake hands and hug 180 times. (Source: University of Florida Research.)

If you accidently bump into a man in the northern part of the United States, there’s a better chance that the man won’t react as compared to the southern part of the United States where the man would probably respond with anger.

The point is that it’s possible for you to sell millions of books if you know the difference between cities in Florida compared to cities in Iowa.

If your book has two main characters that put love above anything and will go out of their way to say the right things to others, then your books would sell best in the following cities:
~ Hilo, Hawaii
~ Gardena, California
~ Rye, New York
~ Dublin, Ohio
~ Beaverton, Oregon

If your book has a dramatic, sad ending, then it would sell best in these cities:
~ Ottawa, Ohio
~ Ferdinand, Indiana
~ Breese, Illinois
~ Melrose, Minnesota
~ Kiel, Wisconsin

Keep in mind that successful businesses use this kind of target thinking when selling products. It’s more important to think of marketing in terms of finding the right culture, rather than a general group of readers to target.

“When an author focuses their marketing plan on culture it builds trust with readers, which increases book sales.” ~ Ron Knight

Which city should you market books? AMP has the answer! www.AuthorsMarketingPro.com
Free marketing tips! Join the 3,900 writers that follow UP Authors!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Which Readers Have Value?

~ How will readers see your book to consider it?

~ Why will readers believe your book has more value than the 300,000 other books that had been published this year?
You can begin to answer those questions by thinking outwardly. Every reader in the world has a certain value to you.

For example, some readers prefer non-fiction, but you write fiction. So the non-fiction readers have little value to you.
If you’re marketing to “everyone” using social media, then you are marketing to non-value readers. This is costing you potential book sales, because valued readers are not being reached by you.

The process of finding your target audience starts by placing value to each type of reader.

1) Some Value: Readers that prefer fiction.

Explanation: Or if you write non-fiction, poetry, memoirs, etc…then that would be your valued reader.

2) Good Value: Readers that prefer fiction and your same genre.

Explanation: If you write romance, then obviously you don’t want to be wasting time with readers that prefer thrillers and mystery. Once again, this is the biggest mistake made in social media and it’s frustrating to readers. Also, it should be frustrating to you if your book sales are low.

3) Great Value: Readers that prefer fiction, your genre, and will relate to your storyline and characters.

Explanation: The reader will find value in your books if they can relate to the characters ethnic background, social experiences, religion, education, economic background, physical attractiveness, intelligence, attitudes, expectations, interests, and communication skills. Remember that readers are making choices based on their emotions, not yours.

4) Excellent Value: Readers that prefer fiction, your genre, will relate to your storyline and characters, and enjoy your writing style. This includes your choice of words that readers can understand.

Explanation: People with an 80 IQ will know the full definitions to the words, “Fabric, enormous, and conceal,” but not know the full meaning of the words, “Sentence, consume, and commerce.” People with a 90 IQ will know all those words, but won’t know the full definition to the words, “Designate, ponder, and reluctant.” (HINT: Keep your books simple and you’ll reach a larger audience.)

5) Amazing Value: Readers that prefer fiction, your genre, will relate to your storyline and characters, enjoy your writing style, and prefers the flow of your book.

Explanation: Some readers enjoy large books that have a “classic” feel with long paragraphs and long chapters, while other readers just want to be entertained with short paragraphs and short chapters.

6) Perfect Value: Readers that prefer all of the above along with printed books.

Explanation: Or if you sell only eBooks, then that is your market. Just remember that 6% of readers prefer only eBooks and 46% of readers prefer only printed books. (Source: Wall Street Journal)
As an author, you have goals, ambitions, dreams, desires, and ways of doing things.
Just remember that your target readers have goals, ambitions, dreams, desires, and ways of doing things…

Ron Knight

AMP up your target audience along with getting your book adapted to film! www.AuthorsMarketingPro.com

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Megan Cyrulewski has been writing short stories ever since she was ten-years-old.  Eventually she settled into a career in the non-profit sector and then went back to school to get her law degree.  While she was in school, she documented her divorce and child custody battle in her memoir, Who Am I? How My Daughter Taught Me to Let Go and Live Again, which was released on August 2, 2014.  Megan lives in Michigan with her 3-year-old daughter who loves to dance, run, read, and snuggle time with Mommy.  Megan also enjoys her volunteer work with Troy Youth Assistance as the Fundraising Chair on the Board of Directors.


Megan Cyrulewski is an ordinary person who has faced extraordinary challenges and now wants to inspire people and show them that hope gives them the power to survive anything. Who Am I? is about her journey into post-partum depression, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, visits to the psych ward, divorce, domestic violence, law school, and her courageous struggle to survive with her sanity intact—and how a beautiful little girl emerged from all this chaos.

Excerpt #1

On January 18, 2012, we all convened in the courthouse for the Motion for Parenting Time hearing. My dad and I arrived with my attorney, but Tyler loved an audience so he brought his dad, step-mom, and his new on-again off-again girlfriend, Heather. Tyler walked in with his posse in tow, cocky as hell. It took all of two minutes for the judge to knock him off his feet.

The Judge addressed our respective attorneys. “Why are we here?”

“Your honor,” Tyler’s attorney began, “my client has clearly been denied his parenti—”

The Judge didn’t even let him finish. “How?” She turned to my attorney. “Don?”

“Your honor, as you can see in the divorce decree, there was supposed to be a review when the minor child turned twelve-months-old. The Defendant has ignored that review.”

“I—if I may, your honor,” Tyler’s attorney sputtered.

“I see the review in the decree. It’s here in black and white,” she told Tyler’s attorney. “What is the problem? Why didn’t you understand the review? Your client signed the divorce decree.”

Tyler’s attorney tried again. “But your honor—”

The judge cut him off. “There is to be a review conducted by the Friend of the Court referee assigned to the parties. Until then, the Defendant will continue his parenting time schedule as agreed upon in the divorce decree. Dismissed.”

And that was it. After eight police reports and numerous harassing text messages, phone calls, and e-mails, we won. As Don and Tyler’s attorney went to speak with the clerk to file the necessary paperwork, Don told us to wait for him outside the courtroom.

As we exited the courtroom, the hallway was so packed with people that my dad and I were only able to find enough space to lean against the wall. We were talking about the court proceedings when we looked up at saw Tyler and his new girlfriend standing right across from us.

“Why do you lie about everything?” Tyler screamed.

Heather walked up to me and stood about an inch from my face. “As a mother myself, you should be happy that Tyler is the father of your child.”

My jaw dropped. “I’m sorry but I don’t know you.”

She smirked. “Well you’re going to get to know me, bitch.”

Tyler made a big show of pulling her from me like I was going to punch her or something. By this time, everyone in the hallway was watching us. We were pure entertainment.

Heather continued her rant. “Two times in the psych ward, Megan? What a great mother you are.”

“Where is your mom, the real mother of our child?” Tyler screamed. “She’s the one who takes care of Madelyne.”

My dad and I tried to move away from Tyler and Heather but they followed us.

“Awww…” Heather mocked. “Do you have to take a Xanax because of your anxiety?”

“Go take your Xanax and sleeping pills, you drug addict,” Tyler shouted.

Finally, Don emerged from the courtroom and pulled us into a quiet corridor. He explained that I needed to call our referee to set-up a meeting to discuss a visitation schedule. I told Don about the verbal assault by Tyler and Heather. Don said he would call Tyler’s attorney to let him know that Heather would not be allowed in my house.

Upon leaving the courthouse, Heather screamed, “See you on Sunday, Megan.”

I turned toward her and said calmly, “I don’t know you, but you are not welcome in my home.”

That night, Tyler sent me multiple texts attacking my mothering skills, my supposed drug addictions, how he was going to fight for joint custody of Madelyne, how Heather would be accompanying him for his visitations, and a barrage of other insults:

·    “Get a life already”

·    “Don’t you have something better to do than wasting your parents’ money?”

·    “Go take your pills and relax, oh yeah, then your parents would have to watch our daughter. Oh yeah, they already do.”

·    “Go talk to your friends. Oh yeah, you don’t have any because of how crazy you are.”

·    “Interesting to know you’ve been to the hospital a couple of times. You really need to get it together.”

·    “Better go call your lawyer and make up some more stuff about me.”

·    “Don’t be mad at your sorry life.”

·    “I am sure living with Mom and Dad the rest of your life will be fun.”

·    “When you get a job, then you can pay me child support. Fun.”

I finally had to turn my phone off at midnight.

Excerpt #2

Tyler was out of control—I had to stop him from taking my daughter…

Before I could even react, he snatched Madelyne out of my arms and put her in the back of his car. She started to hyperventilate.
“What are you doing?” I screamed.
Tyler ignored me as he tried to strap her in the car seat.
“Tyler! She’s terrified! You can’t do this! Let’s take her to a park or something. She has to calm down before she can go with you!” Was he crazy? How could he do this to his own child?
I squeezed in between him and the doorframe of the car door. “Tyler! Stop!”
“Don’t touch my car!” Tyler screeched as he tried to slam the door shut. I had my leg in between the door and the frame so he couldn’t close the door. I tried reaching Madelyne who was still wailing and howling. It was a horrific sound. All of a sudden, Tyler put me in a chokehold and dragged me from the car. I could see my dad out of the corner of my eye trying to get someone’s, anyone’s, attention.
Help!” I screamed. “Help me!” But we were parked too far away from the actual police station and since it was Sunday, no one was around. “Someone help me. Please!”
Tyler tightened his arm around my throat. I couldn’t breathe. Oh my God, I thought. He’s going to kill me. Tyler was completely out of control. I knew if I didn’t do something soon, I was going to blackout.