Tuesday, 11 December 2018

What Are Trigger Warnings? ~ Should I put a trigger warning on my book?


OMG, am I about to offend someone? Quick, put a trigger warning on it! 😲

Alright, calm down.
First, let us look at two different types of triggers.



Emotional Triggers

Someone may make a joke, but to you it hurts and can affect you, making you feel off-kilter.
You question whether the person making the joke respects you or not.

Feelings brought up can include:

  • A sense of rejection
  • Being left/singled out
  • Disapproval

~ basically you feel inferior in some way

Reactions to this can include:

  • Withdrawal
  • Anger
  • Self-medication (drugs/alcohol/food etc.) 
  • Compliance
These are normal human reactions, and are often associated with things from your own past. It is your reaction based on previous experience, and not the fault of the person making the joke, which to everyone else is harmless. 
This does not mean in any way it is your fault either. It's just one of those less pleasant experiences of life. Good news is, there's coping mechanisms and people trained to help you with this. 

Emotional triggers are not what trigger warnings are about, as we cannot feasibly all foresee how every single person is going to react. We all have the potential to associate an infinite number of innocuous things with a negative reaction. 


Psychological Triggers

These go way beyond our feelings being trampled on (which is unpleasant enough, right?). These are so much more. 

These types of triggers can be set of with a particular sound, smell or sight which are associated with a trauma, and often cause flashbacks. Often used in conjunction with PTSD (and other anxiety conditions) , and commonly (but not exclusively) include post-war/combat soldiers and survivors of sexual abuse. 

Flashbacks are no laughing matter. They have oddly become more common since movies started. And it is a bit like watching a film, only this is the 3D, fully immersive kind. Your brain throws you right back into the traumatic event, and you relive it as if you were there. It is terrifying, debilitating and to be avoided. It is deeply traumatic in itself. 

These are the folk we need/want to protect, right? 
We do not want to drive anyone to despair. 
In all fairness to them, a little word of caution so there's no nasty surprises is a simple courtesy which can save severe pain and suffering. 

It serves as a warning for them to put their coping strategies in place and/or choose not to read a book they will find too difficult to cope with. 
By the way, they may well choose to read your book anyway. With the correct coping strategies in place, it may help them face/overcome their issue/s. 
What we are doing is offering them the information so they may make an informed decision. 
Trigger warnings give people the power of control and choice.

So, if your book (especially if it's unexpected) contains scenes of:
  • Violence/war
  • Sexual/physical abuse
  • Mental illness
  • Oppressive language
  • Self-harm
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicide
...please put a trigger warning under the blurb to save long-term psychological damage.
It just makes sense, doesn't it? 

No, you do not need a trigger warning if there's something such as a cliffhanger. 
Get a grip!! 
If book 1 in a series does not say, "And they lived happily ever after. The end." it is NOT going to inflict long-term psychological damage. It will not cause flashbacks. It might just cause mild annoyance/aggravation. 

Please learn this important difference. 

There are people with actual debilitating problems (hopefully seeking professional assistance to come to terms with their trauma).

Demanding trigger warnings for things which cause disgruntlement helps no-one. 


To help you further, the dictionary definition of trauma:

trauma
/ˈtrɔːmΙ™,ˈtraʊmΙ™/
noun
  1. 1.
    a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.

    "a personal trauma like the death of a child"

  2. 1a. mass noun Emotional shock following a stressful event or a physical injury, which may lead to long-term neurosis.
    ‘the event is relived with all the accompanying trauma’
  3. 2.
    MEDICINE
    physical injury.

    "rupture of the diaphragm caused by blunt trauma"
    synonyms:injurydamagehurtwoundwoundingsorebruisecutlacerationlesionabrasioncontusion
    "the gallstone can be extracted without unnecessary trauma to the liver"


~ basically events outside the ordinary, expected human experience
~ experience which involves actual or threatened death or severe injury (of self or others)
~ involves overwhelming fear, helplessness and/or horror 


This has been a public service blog post, brought to you with concern for mental well-being.  
It is meant to inform and educate, not to criticise or belittle. 
My aim is to help authors decide whether or not to include a trigger warning under their book description, and the reasons why. 
And to bring a little perspective to the confusion that exists out there. 



Always with love and light,
TL

If you are affected by the contents of this blog please do seek help. 
There are so many people, trained, willing and ready to take your call. Don't be alone. 
Thank you.


Monday, 3 December 2018

A quick catch up from TL Clark



Sorry I've been quiet lately.
November was a challenging month for many reasons, including my SAD kicking in, battles with Facebook AND Amazon (as so many seem to have had to do recently), and germs trying to attack me.

Hopefully the worst of all that is now behind me.

I wrote 15,000 words of my Regency romance last month, bring the total to 65k words so far. There's progress being made. Please bear with me. I'm trying so hard to finish draft 1 soon.

There's now a fab video banner at the head of my Facebook page.
New business cards have been designed and delivered.
I'm trying to arrange some public appearances (ongoing).
'Help for the Holidays' Facebook event was held this weekend (lots of organisation involved!).
My Christmas tree is now up (muchly happiness has been brought in by this).

And Love Bites Harder (part 2 of the Darkness & Light Duology) is now available in papaerback:
~ On Amazon (should be linked to my ebook soon)
~ And the Waterstones website

If you're missing me, don't forget you can always stay up-to-date via my Instagram and Facebook pages.

Once this book's done I'll be creating a Regency information blog post.
I've had to look up so much, despite being a massive Jane Austen fan, and having read many historical romances! So, I'm going to plonk it all in one place; share the knowledge.

Also, all my books are available on all platforms (due to the volatile nature of Amazon).
You can check them out via Books2Read (which takes you to your preferred store), but they are still on Amazon too (no panic).

OK, back to the writeuming!

I hope you're faring well.


Always in love and light,
TL 

Saturday, 3 November 2018

REVIEW - Companion of Darkness - is dark indeed

Date read: 22nd October 2018

My rating: 5*

Genre I reckon: YA;dark fantasy

Buy link: Amazon






As you're on my blog, you may well be familiar with Love Bites, my paranormal romance. You know I'm a sucker for fantasy. So, how could I resist?

This book is YA, but it's not a sugary sweet tale by any stretch of the imagination.
Jesaela, the poor faerie, is thrown into the clutches of the evil Lyssa. But is she really as awful as she appears?

Enter into this magickal world, full of dragons and fantasy beings.
But beware; who is friend and who is foe?

I love the means of travel, especially the portals. And the characters have depth and come to life with full force.
I don't want to say who my favourites are, in case of spoilers. There's some clever twists in this tale.

The author has woven the terrific world of Teralia with expert hands. I can see, smell and feel it all.
And dammit; I want more. NOW! Hopefully the next book won't be too far away.

NB - there are some (not overly detailed) scenes of torture in this book.
But if you enjoy a good fantasy tale (no matter how far above the age of YA you are), then give this a read. You won't regret it.
Because; dragons! :)

Friday, 2 November 2018

Interview With an Author - Closing Thoughts

A huge thank you to all authors who took time out of their busy schedule to respond to my interview - you are all totally awesome πŸ’—
Let's all give them a massive round of applause, folks:




Please do make sure you go back and read them all, and follow them on your preferred social media (links at the bottom of each interview). 

Thanks also to the wonderful readers and bloggers who have followed this interview series.
If you would like to see more interviews in the future, please leave a comment here. 

So, what have we learned? 

My observations:

πŸ’­ Writing is hard! 
Yeah, no surprise there. But we ALL go through times of strife. 
It can be solitary, furstrating, gut wrenching, BUT we love it! 
As hard as it can be, we are all passionate about sharing our books. 

πŸ’­ No matter how many millions of books you sell, you're still grateful for a spotlight. 
We love interacting with our readers and will grab the opportunity to do so when we can. 
(*everybody wave to each other*) 

πŸ’­ Writers support writers. 
Those just starting and those who have reached dizzying heights; we all appreciate the hard work involved. 
We want each other to succeed as we appreciate how much we put into our creations.











πŸ’­ We are all readers. 
Writers love to read too, and will do so as much as possible. 

πŸ’­ Given the chance, the preferred uniform of an author is pj's. 😁
One can sit in the same position for many hours; we have to be comfy! 
Our writing spots are our little creative nests, wherever they happen to be.

πŸ’­ We are never too big to take advice. 
Life is all about lessons, and we are forever learning. 
Read, write and carry on - kinda the basis of all the advice we love! 

πŸ’­ Huh, NOT all writers drink coffee. Who knew?! πŸ˜•
But many of us DO use it as writer's fuel, so it's not fully debunked. 

πŸ’­ So, readers; come say hello to us. Read our books, leave a review, follow us on social media. We appreciate you more than you can ever know. 
Writers; support one another. Whatever breed you are, we are all the same species...writer!



Thursday, 1 November 2018

Interview With an Author - Number 10 - Amanda Prowse (last but by no means least)

Author Bio
Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author who has published twenty novels in dozens of languages. 
Her recent chart topping No.1 titles 'What Have I Done?', 'Perfect Daughter' and 'My Husband's Wife' have sold millions of copies around the world.


Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Interview With an Author - Number 9 - Julia Blake

Author Bio
I was born and raised in the lovely historic market town of Bury St Edmunds, where I live still with my daughter. I'm typical Cancer, in that although I like to visit new places and see new things, I'm always very pleased to get home again.







Author name: Julia Blake

Are you a traditionally publisdhe/indie/hybrid author? 
My first book was small press but I found that really wasn’t working for me, so the six books since then have been indie.

What was the last book you released?
The Forest, released on the 23rd of October 2018.
How long have you been writing? 
Ever since I was old enough to pick up a pencil really, but seriously writing novels since 2005. My first book was published in 2014.

What is the most challenging thing about writing for you? 
Finding time to write for a start. 
I have a very busy life and am a shocking procrastinator as well, so actually getting myself sat down in front of my laptop is a challenge. 
Once the book is published, promoting and marketing – I really struggle with these. Being naturally not a pushy person, I find it incredibly hard to put myself out there and promote my books.

And what is the best thing about writing?  
The beginning, when a whole world of possibility lies before you, full of characters and plot and twists and turns. I love that feeling, that anything, literally anything, could happen. 
Then after publication holding my book in my hands. There’s no greater feeling. 
I also love any feedback I get from readers, when someone takes the time to write a review or even contact me to say how much they enjoyed one of my books, that’s pretty special.

Where is your favourite writing spot?
My little desk in the corner of the lounge. It’s the only place in the house that’s truly “my spot” apart from my bed. No one else goes near it and all my writing tools are there. 
When I sit down at my desk, it’s as if I’m sending a signal to my imagination that it’s time to wake up and shake up.














What do you do during times of self-doubt or (goodness forbid) if “writer’s block” strikes? 
I don’t tend to suffer from writer’s block. 
Time to write is so rare that when I do finally sit down to create, the words have been building up in my mind to such an extent it’s like the floodgates opening and they pour from my imagination. 
As to self-doubt, I think we all suffer from that to some degree or other, I just try to block out the negative thoughts and concentrate on all the positive things people have said about my books.

What is the most frivolous thing you’ve purchased with your royalties?
Nothing, literally nothing. I haven’t spent a penny of my royalties in the four years I’ve been receiving them. They go into a separate bank account every month and I pretend that they’re not there. 
The plan is for them to be a little extra for when I retire. You never know, by the time that happens there may be enough saved up for a weekend away somewhere.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t take advice. No, only kidding, although sometimes I think it is easy to get bogged down in well-meaning and not so well-meaning advice. 
You should learn to listen to the knowledge that experienced authors pass on and turn a blind eye to those writers who are at the same stage of the journey as you, but think they have the right to tell you how it’s done. 
Every author is different, and we all write in different ways. For example, I never plan or plot out my books and I don’t have time to write every day, so according to some “experts” that means I’m not a proper writer, but with eight books out there I beg to differ on that score. 
Someone once told me to write from the heart and the gut and everything else can be fixed in the edits, and I think that’s probably the best thing you can do.

Do you prefer tea/coffee/hot chocolate?
Tea first thing in the morning, I like it strong and unsweetened to kick start my brain. 
If I’m writing that day, then a coffee mid-morning to reboot my flagging energy. 
Hot chocolate is only for treats or on the snowiest days in the middle of winter when I have time to make it properly and savour it.

Is there anything you’d like to add…?  
Being a writer is such a hard road to take, it’s thankless and soul destroying and can be incredibly lonely. 
You need to develop a hide like a rhino and tunnel vision tenacity to ignore the negatives and focus on the positive. 
It is so much easier if you’re not doing it alone. 
No matter what you feel about social media it can be a warm, supportive and helpful place, but it’s one of those situations where as you sow, so shall you reap. 
You can’t expect help and support unless you give it in return. Don’t be one of those authors who are all about themselves. Connect with others, interact with them, support them, and offer assistance where needed, and don’t just restrict it to other authors. 
Readers span all walks of life and you never know where your biggest potential fans could be.



Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Interview With an Author - Numer 8 - Ysa Arcangel


Author Bio
Ysa Arcangel is the author of the Moments to Remember Series, Underneath It All and Love at First Sit. She has also written an urban fantasy novella, "Nexus Series Book 1: Anathema". She is based in Manila and is a loving partner to a very talented chef. She is also a fan of tattoos, a lover of giant dogs, and an enthusiast of extreme sports.





Author name: Ysa Arcangel

Are you a traditionally publisdhe/indie/hybrid author? 
I’m a hybrid author. Indie and published with Limitless Publishing. 

What was the last book you released?
I have a new book titled Love at First Kiss. It’s the second book under my Single Moms TribeCollection. It is now up for pre-order!