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Well… hello there, good lookin’! What’s a gorgeous and obviously, highly intelligent individual like you doing in a place like this? (hold on, Sarah…I’m getting to it) This is one of my favorite haunts and you do look awfully familiar. Have I seen you here before? Do you come here often? What’s your sign? *ducks Sarah’s shepherd’s hook*

Ok, seems like I’ve received a subtle hint to move along, so I shall! If you’re a regular here you may remember me (*big grin*). On my last visit I talked about the tragedy that is child abuse and what some very talented authors are doing out there to raise awareness and funds to aid victims (in this post).  Well, I’m very happy to announce that A Light in the Darkness has since been released! YAY!!! We’re all really excited about this project because all of the profits from this will be going directly to charities that aid victims of child abuse and neglect. Each author who contributed their talents to this project did so in the hopes of inflicting a positive change in a sometimes very dark and gloomy world. We hope that the contribution of entertaining stories that some powerful voices will help to raise awareness to those who far too often suffer in silence.

None of this would be possible without the vision, talent, and dedication of J.S. Wayne, who is leading the charge with this project. And, neither would it be possible without the generosity, compassion, and hard work of Laurie Sanders who donated the services of Black Velvet Seductions for both the editing and publication of A Light in the Darkness.

This project has been a labor of love for all involved. And I might add that “labor” be taken literally. As J.S. points out, this book was released around the same time it would take to conceive and have a child, nearly ten months. (and let me tell you, seeing J.S. in stirrups was a sight I’ll never wash out of my brain)

Okay, I hear you shouting in the back…I was going to hold Q&A after but since you’re so eager to know what you can do to help out? Yes, you can do more than just purchase the book, and I commend you for your interest! A Light in the Darkness will not be the only issue of the Writing Out Child Abuse Project! In fact there is a call for submissions out there right now for all of you talented authors! Now, don’t be shy if you’re previously unpublished, that is not an issue at all. Check out the submissions call and send something in! 😀

Are you an artist with a desire to help on this project? Contact J.S. at WOCAsubs@gmail.com and ask if your talents could be utilized.

On a personal note, I’ve really enjoyed being on this project. Knowing that my work will help contribute to this project fills me with a sort of satisfaction that’s hard to find anywhere else. And I’m mulling over the idea of dedicating another story to the next issue, maybe a sequel to my first, Chasing Ashes. What will become of Grace de Pierre or of little Madeline? Will the detectives figure out just who Madeline’s angel really was?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Before I go, how about a small excerpt from Chasing Ashes?

She spent the day watching the stream of sunlight march across the wall. Her stomach was a mess of twisted knots, partly from knowing that the man would be coming home with the night, and partially from eating snack cakes all day.

She glared at the empty wrappers she’d thrown in the corner and her stomach clenched. She thought about her mother’s house and all of the times she would have loved to have an endless supply of treats like these. But now, they were the most disgusting things she could imagine eating. It was all he had given her to eat for the last two days. Her heart ached, longing for some of her mother’s cooking. She twirled her hair between her fingers and thought about the smells from her mom’s table. She promised herself that if she got to go home today, she wouldn’t even turn her nose up at eating every bite of encurtidos, even if it was served every day. If only she could go home.

A tear rolled down her cheek and she didn’t bother wiping it away. Her flesh was raw from her near constant crying. But it didn’t stop her from thinking about home. About her mother with the beautiful white smile, perfect teeth, and the deepest of lovely brown eyes. She closed her eyes and buried her face in the teddy bear. Her mother’s face seemed so vivid in her memory, she wanted to just reach out and touch her deep tanned cheeks. She could almost smell her mother’s flowery scent that seemed to float around her like the flowers in the yard on a warm summer day.

She was torn from her sleep before she even knew she’d drifted off because of the barking of the dog on the other side of the hallway. She sat up and terror choked her. The room was completely dark and she could hear the heavy footsteps of the man coming down the stairs. She pushed herself back into the corner as far as she could and huddled behind the stuffed animal.

His footsteps lost their pace and a rapid thudding sounded like he had slipped down the last few stairs. The dog barked wildly.

“Shaddup, you stupid mutt!” He hollered with slurred words. More barking followed by some huffing. Then it was quiet enough to hear the claws clicking on the cement. A door opened, and then shut before total silence. A light was turned on, giving the door a bright white outline.

She tried to press herself further into the wall and strained to hear past her pulse thundering under her ears. Rustling sounds shuffled closer. She watched, terrified as a shadow passed along the edges of the door. Metal grinding against metal rang out just before the door was pushed in. His black form seemed to consume the light as he stood leaning against the door frame.

Thanks as always Sarah, you’re a wonderful hostess!


Born in Florida but raised in various towns in New England, R. Renée Vickers now lives in a small town just outside of Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband and children. And although work and family life leave her little free time, she spends every available moment indulging in her favorite passion, writing.

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