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Mental abuse the killer of the soul

What is mental abuse?
It was one of the questions I had to ask myself while writing Waiting in the Wings.
And why aren’t the woman who get abused like that, simply walking away?
In the end I answered the second question first. The woman didn’t walk away because emotional abuse is like waves, it erodes the soul slowly, as waves erode the coast over hundreds of years.
I’m no expert, all I know is from articles I read and what I imagine happens.
Just like in any relationship that becomes physically abusive, I would think emotional abuse, develops over time as well. I simply can’t imagine that any person, male or female, would fall in love with a partner when the abuse is there from the beginning.
Now, where a physically abusive relationship would leave bruises, broken bones, lacerations, and other visible evidence, emotional abuse is invisible.
Its words, comments and behavior of the abusive partner that causes the damage, not his fists. Comments on how you look, move, act, or talk, voicing dissatisfaction on a constant basis, chafing on self-esteem, confidence and self-worth. In time the person entering that kind of relationship, becomes someone else, someone who measures their worth on the reaction of their partner.

“You went out of the house like that, you look like a slut. But I guess you wouldn’t know better, since you don’t pay attention to much.” Would be something that hurts, yet the abuser would see only his effort in correcting a perceived mistake, even believe he is helping.

“I gave you the responsibility of the finances so you could learn to be responsible, shouldn’t have thought you could manage it.” Another thing is that often the abuser will hand over responsibilities and decisions to the one abused, so he/she can see you fail, can rub it in and help you better yourself.

Physically the abuser will use the abuse victims’ desire, sexual longing and intimacy against them.
Where in a physically abusive relationship sex might be used as punishment, going as far as rape, in an emotional abusive relationship it’s often the other way around.
The abuser will reduce intimacy to a minimum, or refuse it totally, he might say things like, “I don’t feel like touching you tonight, I rather wish I had someone attractive around.” Making the abuses partner feel not enough, unattractive and unwanted.

What I read and learned is, that there is one big difference between a physically abuser, and an emotionally abuser. The difference is that the physically abuser often regrets his doings, and when calmed, knows that his doings were wrong. Yet the emotionally abuser, seems to believe himself as actually helping, caring and supporting his victim. “I’m telling you that not to hurt you, but so you can work on your flaws and become a better person.”
With time the abuse victim will believe that he/she is flawed, needs to change to become a better person, change her looks, her behavior, losing herself in the process. While they fight for their marriage, relationship, partner’s attraction, they change only to fail again and again in the eyes of the abuser.

I can see a person recovering from physical abuse, the wounds heal, and the person might have trust issues, be more careful, maybe even avoid a new relationship for a long time, but I can see them recover.
Yet I have trouble imagining anyone coming out of an emotional abusive relationship even close to the person that went in. The abuse victim lost him-/herself during the time, changed in so many ways, that the original person might not be existing anymore. Yet I also know that if the abuse victim isn’t totally isolated, she might have a chance to maintain some parts of her/himself. Then if they ever free themselves, or are freed by a tragedy like in my book, there is therapy, and years of it might restore some of what was lost.

The things I learned while researching the topic, for Waiting in the Wings, inspired me to look into programs offered to those victims. Which is why I decided to spend $0.50 of every sold paperback to a woman’s shelter or organisation helping those victims to find themselves again. I will donate it twice a year, so if you know an organization that needs that money, please feel free to contact me. Canadian or Canadian based organizations only please. Only organizations that work with abuse victims.

Waiting in the Wings by Nicole Kiefer available on Amazon, Barns & Nobel or Lulu.com

waiting in the wings front cover

Waiting in the Wings and emotional abuse in a relationship.

Waiting in the Wings and emotional abuse in a relationship.
I always get asked how I was inspired to write Waiting in the Wings, and I always answer with the story of how my husband had a hernia, tried to hide it, and ended up in emergency surgery. While I was pacing the empty waiting room.
Now that is how it started, but not the gist of the book. While mostly writing to sort out my emotions about that night, I also thought about how good I have it, and how bad my life could be. Most of all of how life changing it would have been, had he died that night.
I don’t plan books or stories, I don’t plot them out, they just spring into existence. Like a woman faced with the fact that her husband suddenly dies after 16, 18, or 20 years of marriage. That is a long time, people change in that time. Now if the marriage was good, she will grieve for some time, then get herself together and live on with good memories and a healthy attitude to going on. What if the marriage wasn’t good?
That’s how it really started.
Not long before that night, I had read a book about bullying and emotional abuse in relationships. There is a large number of woman out there, trapped in relationships that are not healthy, that make them physically and mentally sick, and they often don’t even realize it. Their friends, neighbors, and family don’t see it, don’t know of it, because it’s like cancer or aids, it’s silent and hidden.
Emotional abuse is nothing that bruises the skin, doesn’t brake bones, or make you scream in fear.
It breaks the heart, soul and spirit. It destroys hopes and dreams. But most of all, it changes fundamentally how a person looks at themselves. One of the phrases I read, researching the topic was, “Strong on the outside, broken in the inside”
What I found the most disturbing while researching was, that many abuser don’t even realize they are abusive. They think of themselves often as direct, honest and encouraging by pointing out their partner’s flaws. They don’t get loud or angry, they don’t hit.
They simply tell you, “that you screwed up again, but that they shouldn’t be surprised since you don’t understand clearly how the world works. They should have known better then let you handle it, and that it’s ok to be a screw up, it’s simply unavoidable with the amount of smarts you have.”
How nice this insult sounds…, imagine your partner talking to you like that for twenty years. I would have killed him, metaphorically speaking.
The more I researched the topic, the more I wanted to make a statement with my story, yet I didn’t know how. Since I was bullied as a child and teen, I could imagine how Henry would talk to Sara, how he would treat her, and how she would feel. Yet imagining a decade or two in a relationship like that, I couldn’t imagine her coming back from that. Couldn’t imagine her still being strong, accomplishing anything on her own.
But that wasn’t the statement I wanted to make. I wanted her to be the one with the last laugh, so to speak. The winner in the end, not just over Henry but over his abuse.

Then I remembered something I read once. “Without hope we are nothing, when we lose hope we lose ourselves and any chance of surviving.” I can’t remember where I heard or read it, but it was my solution.
If I give my abuse victim an anchor, some person who still believes in her, someone she can hold on to, she might not lose herself completely. And what is stronger than the hope of true love?
I went through different ideas, but in the end decided to go with her first love. To use him not just as her anchor, but also to demonstrate how she had changed.
In the Benjamin from twenty years ago, we find the usual abuser. A man who loves but has his own demons, he drinks and changes. He is loud, or depressed, he gets angry at times, and reckless, even close to violent. She loves him, but sees how unhealthy their relationship is, and breaks it off. Sara walks away from the danger of getting to deep into something, which will most likely end badly.
Benjamin loves her, that’s why he lets her walk away. It also is the point where he begins to realize he has to change. True love will do that to a guy, even if he is messed up.
He becomes her anchor in the following years, the only one encouraging her, telling her that she has worth, that she is smart and strong.
While he only slowly learns and realizes in what kind of relationship Sara is trapped in. When he offers to help she threatens to cut all ties to him, because she is not only trapped by a piece of paper, or the finances, but by her own insecurities, fed by her husband.
While I wrote and the story progressed, I watched the story unfold. (As I said, I don’t plan much, if at all) I let Henry die, I gave Sara a contradicting character, I send Benjamin to her, but then I realized that charm alone wasn’t enough.
By using Benjamin’s past as comparison of the two kinds of abuse, I also gave Sara good reason to never entrust her heart to him. She needed a push, because if I would have been her, I would have blocked him until Armageddon.
So that’s what I needed, Armageddon.
Well, I don’t want to spoil more of the story then I already have. The point is, Waiting in the Wings is not just a simple romance, with some hot sex scenes to keep it interesting. It’s about enduring, fighting and surviving a kind of abuse nobody can easily see. It’s about getting physically sick because of it, about being cornered and coming out fighting and winning.

Waiting in the Wings now available new and improved

Waiting in the Wings is here, new and improved after extensive editing. As promised earlier this year, I had the book with a professional editor. Thanks to 3Pediting the spelling and grammar mistakes are now a thing of the past. At least in the book, I’m sure you will find plenty in my posts and advertisement.
Aside from getting rid of the spelling, grammar and punctuation problem, we also went over the plot, making a completely new story without taking the old one away.
We changed the perspective from first person present tense to third person past tense. There are more information about the main characters, and about their history together. Thanks to my editor I learned a lot about how to make my writing better, how to bring my characters more into the readers head or the other way around I guess.
In order to make visually clear that even as it is the same story, it’s at the same time not, the book also got a new cover. I’m sure I haven’t changed it everywhere yet, I put the info out on to many places that I would find them all. Sad, I know. But you can see which version you are getting by looking at the cover, and I would suggest you read the new version, it’s so much better.

To other authors out there, don’t make the same mistake I did. Even if you have someone who will check over your spelling without trying to be kind by not doing a good job, the experience an editor shares with you, the way they look at your story, it’s worth it’s money. They see what others don’t see or don’t want to tell you because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. The editor gets paid for telling you, or for not sparing your feelings.

waiting in the wings front cover

Waiting in the Wings almost ready, keep your eyes open

New and improved

Finally I have my new and improved, professionally edited manuscript of Waiting in the Wings back. Thanks to 3Pediting the spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes are gone and nothing but a bad memory and a lesson learned.
Soon as I have all the formatting for e-book and print version done I will release this new version into the world. To make sure there is a difference anyone can see I also designed a new cover.

cover old and newSo keep your eyes peeled for the new cover, it will be used for e-book and paperback.
Aside for having the manuscript corrected in spelling and grammar, 3Pediting also helped me to refine the plot and make my story not just good but so much more.
The book will be available over all the usual distribution channels, like Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords and Barns&Noble for 2.99 as regular price. However in the first week I will put it on sale for only 0.99 .
Keep your eyes open for the day the cover changes.

Beginner mistakes

I have been asked a little while ago what being and author actually means, what gives me or anyone the right to call ourselves that. Well I thing that the difference between someone who writes for their own pleasure and an author is that the author shares the story written and goes through the process of getting it into a shape that will cater to everyone speaking the language it’s written in.
What I mean is, there are many writers out there, with many good stories, but only a few out of those are willing to go through the process of getting it publishing ready.
Since my first two books where published with a publisher who took care of things like editing, cover design and the publishing process it was quiet shocking to learn what I needed to do to self-publish, and like many others I stumbled and fell and needed to learn from my mistakes that were mostly caused by being overly confident.
So I decided to let you in on my mistakes, maybe you learn from them as I did, or maybe you laugh at me for making them.

Mistake No 1
No listening to the advice from those who know.

There is lots of info out in the world wide web, advice over advice from authors that made mistakes and share them, including tips of how to avoid them.
Well I flat out ignored all of it, thinking since I had been discovered by a publisher I must be a great author.

BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER!

Mistake No 2
Not taking time to gain distance

Most authors, and I belong to that group now as well, will tell you to step away. Meaning to edit so long until you think you are done, then close the file and step away for a week or two or three. Gain some distance.
I didn’t.
Instead the moment I thought I was done I handed it to some friends, asking one of them to do the edit while the others read it. (Another mistake more detailed in the next section)
The second I got it back I just run through the comments and corrections and then right into publishing.

Big mistake!

Mistake No 3
Using a friend as editor

Even after reading the warnings of others not to use a friend as editor, I thought that’s just stupid advice. Whoever wrote it must have had bad friends, or was just out of luck. So when I thought I had the best story ever, I gave it a friend who was A- native Canadian, B- and English teacher and C-as I believed totally honest.
I was totally wrong on the last account. My friend knew I’m dyslexic, knew I wanted to publish the story but didn’t know that I was serious to make money with it as well.
She meant well but did only correct the most obvious mistakes because she didn’t want to hurt my feelings by sending the document back riddled with red all over.

The result was that I published a story with so many mistakes that those who read it had a hard time concentrating on the story, while trying to figure out what I actually was writing.

Don’t use friends for the final edit. Advice I should have listened to.

Mistake No 4
Ignoring hints form fellow authors

When I put my first excerpt up other independent authors commented, hinting that it was riddled with mistakes. I ignored them. Why? I don’t really know, mostly because I didn’t want to hear it. Still I went through the story one more time (still too close to it to see anything) and found nothing amiss. I promoted the release date, thinking all those who hinted just feared the competition. (Yes, sometimes I’m really full of myself.)

Don’t ignore fellow authors when they tell you that something isn’t right!

Mistake No 5
Not taking the time to check the end product.

When self-publishing it’s important the end product is readable, not just in the way of spelling and grammar, but also in the way the text flows throughout the pages, how it looks.
I read this, and it was said on every publishing platform but I just wanted the book to be out there and I had set myself a date and was going to stick with it no matter what. Yet when choosing the date I hadn’t expected it to be so much work to actually get an e-book together.
In the end the page layout was horrible, there were pages only half filled, then empty ones in between and sometimes not more than two sentences on a page.
It’s easy enough to correct those with an e-book and I did, but I made the same mistake with the print version. Not waiting to actually hold the real deal in my hands I already hit the publishing button. Now I’m just glad nobody ordered.

Make sure the end product looks good and readable. It is annoying when you pay for a book that has 400 pages only because the pages aren’t really filled. The customer will feel cheated.

Mistake No 6
Reviews

Once your book is on the market, there will be people telling you what they think using the review function. And if you made all the mistakes above, those reviews will not be kind. At least mine weren’t. Now most authors are proud of their product, and it hurts reading how much you messed up.
If by the time you get those kinds of review you haven’t started fixing the mistakes you made, they should be you wake up call. Don’t get defensive and act like the reader doesn’t know what they are talking about, I have seen those. Luckily to me this was the point I woke up.

When getting bad reviews, take the book off, make it for free and apologize then fix it.

To summarize this article, and come back to the initial question. An author are those to me who learn not to make those mistakes, who spend the money on a professional editor, (unless they find one working for free) and take their time to make their end product as perfect as possible.

I thought I was one, now I am on the road of becoming one.

To those who had to suffer under my ego, I hope they can forgive me and when the new and improved version of Waiting in the Wings (the book I made all those mistakes with) comes out they will read it again and find me not so lacking anymore. Won’t be long now that I will see if working like a real author will pay of, soon I will be able to publish the professionally edited version and with a new cover I hope the distinction between the first version and the new one will be clear and people will see that I worked on fixing my mistakes.

Advise I can only give like many others and hope you are not as stupid as I was.

 

waiting wings chain3 coming soon

Available now

The day is finally here, Waiting in the Wings is now available on all major E-book platforms and as Paperback on Amazon. Her the ISBN’s for you so you can find it easily.
EBook ISBN 9781311442109
Paperback ISBN 1508957878
For those who are visual seekers like me, here the cover so you know what to look for.

waiting in the wings print version ebook large

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find the book trailer on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QD7N6OwJ9Tk
If you want to know when I start a giveaway or when the book might be on sale somewhere, as well as when I start another save % coupon sign up for my newsletter and belong to those who know it first. You find the signup field on every page on my website www.nicolekiefer.com or further down in this blog on the sideline. I promise you I don’t spam, I only send newsletters when you can profit in some way or there a new to tell.

Please rate and review the book if you can spare the time, your comments are only helping me to improve myself and the books I write. So feel free to say what you didn’t like, just don’t become insulting, those kind of comments have to either be deleted or edited and I would hate to have to do that.

I hope you like the story as much as I liked writing it.

Pre order starts now.

Pre-order now until April 1 get 20% off using this coupon SH83F if you order here https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/528147

Alternatively, order it with Kobo, Kindle or Barns & Noble and many more.

To anyone who buys it, thank you in advance. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. I would be happy to hear or rather read your opinion if you want to give it. Here https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25168999-waiting-in-the-wings you can rate my book and leave a review if you like.

Other ways of contacting me can be found on my website www.nicolekiefer.com

20 years gone by

Project status: first draft
Change can bring worry with it, sometimes even fear. I love writing and would love to be published, to know that everyone can read what I wrote and might even like it. But then there is the other side of the Medallion, the step from a simple housewife to someone who might be recognized on the street, ridiculed for what she wrote and so much more if you let your fantasy go.
Now I am a drama queen sometimes, only in my head through. My husband had recently a medical condition causing him to end up in the hospital with emergency surgery. Small and simple surgery, something that is done every day thousand times over in the world. Yet when you love someone and sit, stand, pace in the waiting room, horror runs wild in your head sometimes.
Then there is regret, or what if’s. Everybody has them, and most have no chance ever to right anything they did wrong in the past.
Born out of those three, this fiction romance was born.
20 years of marriage, of building up walls to protect herself from mental abuse, of fighting for financial freedom and 20 years of longing for the kind of love she had once for a short time. Then everything changes when her husband dies, giving her the freedom she wanted and feared to take five years ago when she became a published bestseller author. Then a stalker and the man she loved so long ago enter her life in short succession, one threatening her life, the other to tear down the walls she will not let go off. What will happen to Sara? Will she be able to find the love she always wanted, or will the stalker get his hands on her and have his way with her?
For now, not even I know how it will end, since my main characters have not lived through it all yet, still I will have my happy ending, how happy that needs to be seen. What I do know is that it will take place in the town I life in, and the surrounding areas. It will most likely be in the 80 000 word range, fiction, romance, thriller and erotic. Keep on checking in for updates.