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Guest Post & Giveaway with Heidi Cullinan

**BP Note: Today we have a guest post and a couple of giveaways sponsored by Heidi Cullinan for you. I personally think this guest post will stick with me for quite sometime. Information on the giveaways is at the end of this post. Don’t forget to check out the early post and see what our thoughts on Fever Pitch. Good luck on the entries!**

Writing Survivors

“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.”

― Josephine Hart, Damage

Giles uzi and quoteThere is this myth, somehow, in our collective psyche, that when people undergo traumatic or dramatic events, they should be regarded as victims. It’s not meant to be negative, but rather a kindness acknowledging someone has suffered. We want to buffer them against the world, because the world has not been kind to them, and it’s a gesture coming from a good-hearted place.

And yet, speaking personally and on the behalf of survivors everywhere, I think we seriously need to rethink that social positioning. People who endure tragedy, hardship and pain are not victims. They’re survivors. They’ve been to the proving ground of life, and they came back to tell the tale. Possibly missing a limb, an eye, and sporting several bruises, but they came back. That’s not something to mourn. That’s a victory, and it should be celebrated.

In Fever Pitch there are several damaged people. In fact, in a way every single one of the characters is. Technically this is true of everyone in real life, but in this story I wanted to specifically highlight this damage and focus on how the characters overcame it. How sometimes they used what set them apart or pushed them down to make themselves stronger, better. They get the added bonus of a close-knit, fierce community as well, but it’s that surviving I wanted to highlight above all.

When I think back to the damaged people in Fever Pitch, they do stack up. Some characters endured bullying in high school, to varying degrees of severity. There are several sets of self-absorbed or downright abusive parents. Even the professors have yokes around their necks at times. Several students simply feel, for various reasons, belonging isn’t something the world will allow them to enjoy.

It was important to me to take that ground littered with characters struggling and show them overcoming. A few of them have to wait for their own novel to have their full happily ever after, but not only was no one left in the cold at the end of Fever Pitch, neither was anyone short of a victory.

It’s easy, when writing a story, to throw into victim mode. And there are moments when allowing suffering to be heard is important, to be sure. I don’t think, though, that there can be enough moments of triumph. Of acknowledging a hero or heroine may have come from adversity, but they have arrived, by their own strength, at a place of serenity.

I wrote Fever Pitch for one of my favorite survivors. Whenever I wasn’t sure what to do, I thought of what he would do, or sometimes, had actually done. I hope my efforts were worthy of that dedication. I hope anyone who identifies, directly or indirectly, with any of the characters in this novel, feels I accurately represent their triumph. And for those survivors still clawing their way to final victory—may Fever Pitch bring a message of hope.

While fear is the monster that makes us cower in the darkness, hope is the light which leads us out again. Here’s to hope. Here’s to victory. Here’s to survivors, all of you, wherever you are.

Follow the rest of the blog tour for more guest posts, excerpts, and chances to win a copy of the novel.

***

Coming September 30 from Samhain Publishing
Book Two of the Love Lessons Series

Sometimes you have to play love by ear.

Aaron Seavers is a pathetic mess, and he knows it. He lives in terror of incurring his father’s wrath and disappointing his mother, and he can’t stop dithering about where to go to college—with fall term only weeks away. Ditched by a friend at a miserable summer farewell party, all he can do is get drunk in the laundry room and regret he was ever born. Until a geeky-cute classmate lifts his spirits, leaving him confident of two things: his sexual orientation, and where he’s headed to school.

Giles Mulder can’t wait to get the hell out of Oak Grove, Minnesota, and off to college, where he plans to play his violin and figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. But when Aaron appears on campus, memories of hometown hazing threaten what he’d hoped would be his haven. As the semester wears on, their attraction crescendos from double-cautious to a rich, swelling chord. But if more than one set of controlling parents have their way, the music of their love could come to a shattering end.

Warning: Contains showmances, bad parenting, Walter Lucas, and a cappella.

Buy links:

Goodreads
Excerpt
Book Page on Website
Book Page for Love Lessons (book one in the series)

***

Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at her website.

**BP Note: Heidi is actually sponsoring two contests. The first is for a digital copy of Fever Pitch to enter leave a comment on this post talking about either a person or an event that makes you think of a “Survivor” and no the TV show doesn’t count. One winner will be chosen from the comments and announced on 2 Oct. For the second, she has added an overall contest for the blog tour. For more information you can visit her page here. To enter that one use the rafflecopter widget below. GOOD LUCK!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

By E_booklover

E is addicted to books. She discovered at an early age that not only were they her transport to far off worlds, adventures, and exotic cultures, but that she ran into far fewer objects if she walked while reading then if she wasn't reading. She reads across several genres, such as: romance, western,mystery, SF/F and its derivatives. She isn't too picky except for good characterization, settings she can imagine, and a story that flows logically... umm so ok -- she wants a good story. Have any to recommend?

5 replies on “Guest Post & Giveaway with Heidi Cullinan”

The one person that makes me think of a “Survivor” is one of my late grandmas. My grandpa died when my mom was 7 years old, and my grandma was left to raise 7 kids on her own at a time where my country was at war. They had a roof over their head, but not much else, still she managed to give them all studies and the majority of them grew up to be professionals.

This is a fantastic post and lovely book. I’ve had the privilege to meet and volunteer alongside many human trafficking survivors. These people have not been broken. They shine and they live and they give. It’s been a great honor to know them.

I’d like to forfeit my spot in the drawing. I just wanted the chance to say how wonderful I find the spirit of this post. Thanks, Heidi. You rock all the days!

Most of the women in my family are survivors, in many different ways.

My great grandmother survived a flood that killed her husband and two youngest sons, and went on to raise her five daughters and see them all to adulthood, married and with children of their own. She was a tiny woman who could barely read or write, but who had a spine of steel and a spirit that overcame all obstacles. I was blessed to have her in my life (next door, in fact) for the last few years of her life, and I always remember her laughter.

My grandmother, her daughter, had the same spirit, the same joie de vivre. She was the one who taught me to roller skate and my sister to ride her bike, even though she (my grandmother) could do neither. She died of colon cancer after a very long and painful fight, but her spirit never dimmed.

Thank you for the great post. I have a great admiration for my grandmother. She married someone her family didn’t approve of initially. Unfortunately, her husband died when my uncle and dad were very little (3 years old and 3 months old). She met another man, and ended up pregnant. They got married because that is what you did back in the 1950’s. But she lost the baby in childbirth. They stayed married for many more years and had 5 more children, but my “grandfather” was mean. He treated my grandmother horribly as well as my dad and uncle (her first born children from her first marriage). He was verbally abusive, cheated on her, sold everything of her older kids things that were worth any money. If they looked to buy a house or a car, he always picked the ones she didn’t like to buy. She stood strong, took care of him when his body and mind failed. I have no idea how she did it. But once he passed away after 40-some years of marriage, she finally found herself and started to live again.

Many years ago on a job assignment, I meet an older woman who had numbers inked on her arm, who turned out to be a concentration camp survivor. She made quite an impact on me.

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