Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tuesday Teasers - Cody Kennedy

Hello everyone! Today we have guest author Cody Kennedy with his new book Slaying Isidore's Dragons. I "met" Cody online years ago and he has been an amazing friend and role model. I hope all of you can take the time to read the post and leave a comment.

Personally, I think the cover itself in INCREDIBLE!!! Why wouldn't it be? It was created by the amazing Reese Dante (Whom I met in March!!)

5 Best friends
4 Vicious brothers
3 STD tests
2 Guys in love
1 Car bombing
Nowhere to run

Follow the burgeoning love of two teens during the worst year of their lives. Irish-born Declan David de Quirke II is the son of two ambassadors, one Irish and one American. He is ‘out’ to his parents but to no one else. French-born Jean Isidore de Sauveterre is also the son of two ambassadors, one Catalan and one Parisian. His four half brothers have been told to cure him of his homosexuality. Both teens have lost a parent in a London car bombing.

5 Weeks of hell
4 Attempts on their lives
3 Law enforcement agencies
2 Dead high school seniors
1 Jealous friend
A love that won’t be denied

Declan and Isidore meet at the beginning of their senior year at a private academy in the United States. Declan is immediately smitten with Isidore and becomes his knight in shining armor. Isidore wants to keep what is left of his sanity and needs Declan’s love to do it. One is beaten, one is drugged, one is nearly raped, one has been raped. They are harassed by professors and police, and have fights at school, but none of it compares to running for their lives. When the headmaster’s popular son attempts suicide and someone tries to assassinate Declan’s mother, they are thrown headlong into chaos, betrayal, conspiracy, allegations of sexual coercion, even murder. And one of them carries a secret that may get them killed.

5 New family members
4 BFF’s
3 Countries
2 Extraordinary Psychologists
1 Courageous Mother

A new beginning for two young men in love

This is the excerpt I have, but you can : Read Chapter One of Slaying Isidore's Dragons

“Have you ever had sex with someone you cared about?” Mike pressed.
Isidore breathed deeply. “Almost, one time.”
“What do you mean by ‘almost, one time’?”
“I was fourteen, he was sixteen. My brothers caught us and beat him with a pipe. His death was covered up.”
Sadness filled Mike’s face, and Declan put his head in his hands, trying to dispel the shock and rage that nearly overcame him.
“That’s terrible, Isidore. I’m sorry,” Mike said softly.
Isidore’s eyes filled with angry tears. “Caspian was only a boy, a boy on our street where we lived. He was an artist like me, a drawer, a painter, and his father was a pianist. He was no problem, no threat to my father. He was just a boy I liked! I am afraid of having sex with Declan for what my brothers and father will do to him!” Isidore’s anger was suddenly large on the air. “I hate my brothers and father! If I was not weak, I could do something!”
“You are far from weak, Isidore. Anyone who survives what you have survived is exceptionally strong. You’re rightfully afraid and sensitive but far from weak,” Mike reassured.
Isidore faced him squarely. “I don’t believe this.”
Mike nodded. “We agree to disagree, then.”
“I wish they were dead.”
“I don’t blame you. Have you given any more thought to signing a release for me to see your records and speak with Sorcha?”
A distant look settled in Isidore’s eyes.
Isidore looked down at his hands. “I have trouble with my thoughts some of the time.”
“How so?”
“I cannot organize them. Some, I don’t know if they are real.”
“Does this happen all of the time or just some of the time?”
“When I am afraid.”
“Extreme fear will do that to you, Isidore. That’s normal.”
“It is?”
“If it happens when you’re fearful, yes. Does it happen at any other time?”
“If I am angry or hurt.”
Mike nodded. “Still normal. Does it ever happen when you’re calm?”
“When I try to think what will happen to me after Declan and Sorcha.”
“Again, back to fear. That’s normal. Do you ever hallucinate?”
“What is this?”
“Do you see, hear, or feel things that aren’t real?”
Isidore trembled. “Sometimes a thing will make an ugly picture in my mind.”
“What kind of thing?”
“A noise, a smell.”
“Give me an example.”
“The smell of burning hair will make the picture of the wet room.”
“Wet room?”
Slaying Isidore’s Dragons | 129
“In the hospital, where they put the wet towels on you and the thing in your mouth, then you have pain throughout the body and the hair burns.”
Mike frowned. “Did you have electroshock therapy, Isidore?”
“I do not know what this is.”
Mike nodded. “Isidore, I’m going to give you a release to sign. I’m also going to give you a rescission of release to sign and give to me when you want to terminate my right to see and discuss your records or exchange information with Sorcha.”
Isidore’s eyes did a slow blink. “You mean to say I can sign the paper, and then I can stop it with another paper?”
“Yes. I don’t believe the ugly pictures in your mind are hallucinations. I believe they are bad memories.”
“And if I wish to die?”
“If you wish to die, it’s a sign that something is wrong, but it isn’t necessarily your mind that’s the problem.”
“What else could it be?”
“An abusive environment, chemical changes in the brain, extraordinary stress or duress. Suicidal feelings can come from all kinds of things. The combination of the shock and grief over the loss of your mother and the abuse you endured caused you to be suicidal. It tells me that your brain is responding accordingly.”
“You believe my mind works properly?”
Isidore turned beseeching eyes to Declan.
“You okay?” Declan asked.
“He is the first person to say my mind works properly.”
Declan smiled. “I could have told you that.”
“You do not think me insane?”
Declan hugged him tightly. “No, Isidore, I don’t.”
“You’re not insane, Isidore. Far from it,” Mike chimed in as he handed Isidore the two documents.
“I am to sign this?”
“When and if you are ready.”
“Is it possible that one can be part insane?”
Mike smiled. “We’re all a little bit crazy, Isidore. It’s what makes us unique.”


That's the end of the excerpt, but not the end of what Cody has to say

Cody asks the rhetorical question: Why Do I Include Art and Journaling In My Stories?

The short answer is: because it’s therapeutic. The long answer is: because it’s therapeutic.
//end post

I’m kidding! I am not a psychologist or a mental health professional of any kind. I’m not kidding. But here are some facts. About one in four children in the general population will experience a traumatic event before the age of 16 (National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2008). Community-based studies reveal a lifetime prevalence of Posttraumatic Stress of approximately eight percent of the population (American Psychiatric Association).

Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) helps many children and families overcome the difficulties associated with abuse and trauma. It is a 16-20 week program that addresses the negative effects of sexual abuse, exposure to domestic violence, and other traumatic events by integrating several therapeutic approaches and treating both child and parent in a comprehensive manner.

Now that we have the formalities out of the way, here’s the real dirt. One does not ‘get over’ trauma. One processes it and ‘gets beyond’ it. Trauma alters the brain and how it works, and disrupts our ability to process feelings, thoughts, and emotions. After trauma, the dots in the brain don’t always connect, so to speak, or don’t connect in ways to help us understand, process, reorganize our thinking, and resolve what has happened to us. We are left stuck in a processing loop. This leaves us in a ruminating rut that only contributes to our already traumatized state.

In order to break out of that loop we must express what has happened to us in some way. Sadly, trauma can disrupt verbal expression. Not that one is unable to speak, though that can be the case, but that one cannot put into words how they feel and think about what has happened to them. TF-CBT allows the expression of thoughts and feelings through writing and drawing. It allows us to express how we feel through a medium other than speech, which in turn aids in understanding and processing, which in turn allows us to reorganize our thoughts and feelings and, finally, to resolve what has happened to us. It’s as simple as that. I use the word resolve rather than accept because trauma is unacceptable and my personal belief is that we should not accept it, but resolve that it did happen in order to move beyond it. I’ll add my personal opinions: 1) TF-CBT is not only good therapy for youth who have suffered trauma, but also for adults; 2) 16-20 weeks is not nearly enough TF-CBT. The amount of TF-CBT cannot be determined to be finite as all people are different, all traumas are different, and like traumas may not affect people in like ways. The amount of TF-CBT needed in any given circumstance should be determined between the patient and the therapist.

I write books to give people hope by finding themselves between the pages of a book. There are many understated values and adages in my books; and ways to aid healing after abuse and trauma. I hope they stay with those who read them but, above all, I hope readers learn that verbal expression is not always necessary; that through journaling and art, healing can occur.

And now a note from my good buddy, Timmy.

I left my old home a little over a year ago. I was in an abusive home that was both physically and emotionally abusive. The most important thing I learned there was that I didn’t deserve to have, and was expected to live without, emotions. I was not allowed an opinion, a voice, or thoughts of my own. Imagine living 12 years without ever being able to show your emotions. It’s not really possible, which got me into A LOT of trouble. But I did learn to mask my emotions really well. I didn’t smile, laugh, cry, or change my face outwardly at all. I locked everything deep inside of myself. The problem with that is, now that I am safe, I have problems showing my emotions. Or I can’t control them at all. It’s one extreme or the other. Over the past year, I have used both journaling and art to help me through tough times. They each help me in different ways.

Art allows me to explore my emotions safely. After a nightmare, I like to draw what was in the dream. This is painful, but it helps me to be able to cry. It helps me to be mad, to show my disgust at how I was treated. I have learned that anger is important. If I don’t hate what they did to me, then I hate myself for allowing it to happen to me. I also use art for other emotions. Happiness, excitement, attraction, and pride are just a few. Now, when I feel emotions, I feel them in a HUGE way. So I need an outlet. Art also has helped to build my courage. I feel so good about myself after I finish a picture.

Journaling has also been very helpful as I heal. I have many different journals. I have some from before I moved. They are locked up, but tell the story of my past. I have a poem journal, a personal journal, one I write letters to people who will never receive them, a dream journal, and a journal I use to communicate with my new mom. They are each very important, but their many uses make it possible for me to express and manage my thoughts. It’s hard when I have so many thoughts that I can’t sift through them to understand how I feel. There are times I don’t know what the appropriate response to something is until I have had a chance to write my thoughts out.

I would recommend every person keep a personal journal even if they haven’t suffered trauma. Not to mention, there are many people who should write their thoughts out before they speak. 

Yes! He did! #SoProudofTimmy

Thank you for reading this post and enjoy Slaying Isidore’s Dragons!

**Aside: I (Wade Kelly) have not "met" Timmy, but anyone that Cody cares about is special. I trust that Timmy is an amazing person, and one day, maybe I WILL get to meet him :) 

Now available in print and ebook at Dreamspinner/Harmony Ink Press
Amazon   Barnes & Noble   OmniLit/ARe

About Cody Kennedy

Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Cody doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Cody contemplates such weighty questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Cody can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary. 

Stop by Cody’s Blog with questions or comments, or simply share what’s on your mind.
Find Cody on Facebook, Twitter @CodyKAuthor, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+,
Ello, Goodreads, & read Cody’s free serial story, Fairy