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Solace and Serenity

To say it’s been a tough year would be an understatement and an insult to the outcome that was achieved through faith and perseverance.

I have been extremely blessed to be born of two amazing parents who both wanted me and strive every day (still) to afford me the opportunities that I have. Sometimes I think I don’t deserve them, but then I’m reminded that what they have done and still do for me is exactly the kind of upbringing that every parent should try and provide for their children. It’s everything I model my own beliefs after in regards to my two kids.

To better understand why our year has ended the way it has, you must first allow me to share how we got here. For eleven years of my life, I was in an unhealthy relationship that turned abusive. I was married to this person for seven of those years. As much as I want to regret meeting this person altogether, if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have the two greatest blessings in my life. Unfortunately, I can’t even regret having stayed so long in this relationship, because had I left sooner, I may not have met the man who saved us. So, I chalk up those previous years in hell to the fact that it made me the person I am today. It taught me a lot about what I deserve, and most importantly, what my kids deserve.

When you’re dealing with abuse in a relationship, it’s easy to look from the outside and have an opinion. Many people told me, “I would have never stayed so long,” or “how could you not see the writing on the wall?” I wasn’t blind to the manipulation tactics, the control, or the damage this person was doing to my self-worth. No, I could see it all very clearly. But I am what some term as an empath. I am very sensitive to other people’s emotions, and I soak up those emotions like a sponge. I do everything I can to comfort someone in distress, because their pain is almost visceral. But there becomes an issue when an empath crosses paths with a narcissist. A narcissist seems to guard their feelings so well, it’s almost as if they have none. And to an empathetic person, this can be alarming. It becomes more of a reason to try and help the narcissist because they think that they’ll be able to “cure” them. But no matter how hard the empath tries; the narcissist uses manipulation to gain more control over the empath. It sets forth a viscous cycle of attempted healing and false accomplishments. It sets the tone for a very dangerous sequence of events.

It was never something I considered, to just walk away, leaving the path of destruction in its wake. I had to persevere because for some reason, I couldn’t believe that there was at least some part of this person that wasn’t good. What’s scary is that, the people that knew him, I mean, really knew him; knew that something wasn’t right. But his acquaintances and good time friends thought he was just an all-around good guy. He was willing to do a favor for anyone, and as long as the gracious proclamations of his kindness kept flooding his head, the easier it was for him to keep up the act. That’s another thing that narcissists do. They showboat and parade around, luring people in with their charm because who would suspect anything sinister of someone who could befriend anyone and everyone? Behind closed doors, though, the man wasn’t recognizable; almost a monster of sorts. Humiliating outbursts, stabs at insecurities, drugs, alcohol, adultery, physical confrontation- he was terrifying. But still, it wasn’t ever enough for me to turn my back because there came a lot of self-doubt with it all. Was I just imagining all of this? I know I’m sensitive, so was I just too weak to handle it? He had me right where he wanted me; the subservient housewife with no identity of her own. He took every opportunity I had at a future, away from me at that moment of time. I was stuck and I had two children to think about.

It was Thanksgiving, in 2015 at my grandparents’ house. He’d equipped himself with a thermos full of vodka for the festivities, and our kids were 3 and 4 at the time. He was well into finishing off that thermos when my 4-year-old son had a meltdown. It all happened so fast, like a tragic blur of imagery, almost like you’d expect when your life passes before your eyes. I was Face Timing a friend with my daughter in my lap, my mom ran to me distraught asking me to check on my son, I ran into the bedroom down the hall to see- my son with his clothes off, beaten and red, with a drunken, belt wielding man standing over him. Immediately, I ran over to my son, who was passed out from the lashing, lashing out my own angry words at the hollow looking man in front of me. “How could you do this?” I asked. He then became angry with me, because how dare I tell him how to discipline his children. I was already terrified of him, so for me to speak out against him was foreign, and there were sure to be repercussions. When we got home, I hid his guns because I didn’t want to imagine the wrath this person would inflict on someone who “turned against him.”

It was one thing for the abuse to occur with me, but when it came to my children, that was the last straw. With not a dime in my name, I filed for divorce. Presented evidence to the court of the beating that took place on Thanksgiving. Still, he managed to get joint custody. Now seeing as how horrific that evidence was, it terrified me to think that in order for the law to take the abuse seriously, there would have to be even worse evidence presented. I had to sit by as my kids talked about the abuse they were still suffering during visits with him. I had to hear of them talk about how he drank beer while driving. I had to hear about them not getting fed because he would pass out, drunk. I was helpless. What could I do to prevent this monster from stripping them of all of their innocence? When I met my, now husband, I was on a quick path to self-destruction. Still tormented from the trauma that my kids and I had endured at the hands of this crazed lunatic. But my husband provided a safe haven for us in our world full of turmoil. He kept pushing me to find my inner strength and fight. And so, I did. And every day I became a little bit stronger. So much so, that I was totally unrecognizable to the abuser. I don’t think he knew what to make of it, so instead, he made up his own convoluted truths to make sense of his delusional world.

He eventually met his match when he married the demon to glorify his underworld of hell he was putting us through. She poured gasoline on the fire, trying to match the damage he was already causing. She refused to give my son his prescription medication during visits. She spanked my kids until they peed their pants. She locked herself in her room while my kids were left to their own devices. She passed out on the couch and refused my children food. She abused drugs and alcohol in the presence of the innocent. She belittled me on any occasion she could about just what she thought of my parenting. But I was no longer the complacent woman that my ex assumed I still was. I was ready for the fight, and I would protect my children at all costs!

I got an ex parte restraining order out on my ex. It is important to note that an “ex parte” order is only possible if the evidence presented is compelling enough to warrant IMMEDIATE and EMERGENT rendering. He was to have no contact with the children. These orders normally last a maximum of 20 days, but it continued for 6 months as he kept delaying the hearing date. Whether he was trying to pass a drug test, or he didn’t take it seriously, I’m not sure. But it was the only thing I was taking seriously at the time, because all of my efforts were being put into protecting my children. Meanwhile, he and his wife continued to spew slanderous remarks, talk openly about their use of drugs, and telling untruths about me and the situation to anyone who would listen. My ex even went so far as to stop paying child support. I know he was trying to punish me, but he was ultimately damaging his reputation with the court even more. The day finally came for our hearing, and HE decided to VOLUNTARILY sign away his rights. HE decided he didn’t want to be a parent anymore, because if he couldn’t parent on his terms, then it wasn’t worth it to him.

But it was honestly the best gift he could have ever given to us. My kids are happy they don’t have to see him again, and they know they don’t have to live in fear anymore. We can live our lives in peace, because no matter what the devil has to say about us now, it doesn’t matter.

So, for anyone reading, I’m sure you’re wondering why I am even telling you all of this. On an author website for that matter. Well, for the past 6 months during all of these proceedings, I’ve sat by and kept quiet while my ex and his wife made a mockery of my writing and books online. They proceeded to post fake reviews, some of which were taken down, but yet inevitably, still, destroying my ratings. And I want everyone to know, that what they’ve done has not hindered my desire to write in the least. I will never give up, just because someone else tells me I need to. This may be the last that you’ll see of “Erika Daughtrey” as the author, but not the last anyone will see of ME as the author.

indie authors, romance, romance authors, Uncategorized

Baby, It’s Cold Outside…

I’m going to start this off by saying, “BRRR”! Go ahead and add some more R’s in there because that’ll just accentuate how cold I am right now as I write this, wrapped in like five blankets and a scratchy sweater. My damn coffee won’t even stay hot for very long in it’s protest of these frigid temperatures. OH, how I love this weather. Yes, that’s right. Even though my teeth are chattering to the point I might crack one, and my achy knees make me feel like I’m an eighty year old in need of a walker, it sure beats the hell out of sweating!

For some reason, I think I’m also more productive in cold weather, as if my brain is firing off more neurons in its’ attempt to keep from freezing to death. Or maybe I just type faster because my body is trying to will itself to warm up. Either way, I’ll gladly take to the cold over the hot. However, seeing as though I live in Texas, I may be in shorts tomorrow. We’ll see.

Now, to say I’m more productive, doesn’t always mean that I actually get as much done as I’d like to. I have good intentions, but I also have the ability to become extremely distracted. Easily. For instance, my brain will see a dish in the sink and suddenly think that now would be a good time to organize Tupperware by size, durability, and stain percentage. If I am wanting to make myself look a little less “scary mommy,” I’ll think I’m just going to put a little makeup on and then waste two hours trying to achieve Kim K. cheek bones through contouring. Even when I am actively at my computer I’ll try to engage in a YouTube video about “branding yourself as an author,” and instead get engrossed in a forty minute video about how to build a haunted house using only items you have around your home. By the way, how many average households have miter saws lying around? I don’t, hence why my haunted house dreams are crushed now.

So, the point I’m trying to get at now is that this whole blog post was originally supposed to be about my writing process and organizational skills when it comes to authoring a book. Yet, I just got distracted blabbing about how easily I get distracted and now I’ve blogged about 400+ words of nonsensical crap.

Well, there’s always next time I guess. Unless, of course, I find a video about how to write a book without actually having to type any words. Be right back… I’m going to go YouTube that.

XOXO
Erika Daughtrey

 

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But Did She Die?

Okay, I’ve disappeared for so long that my face might be on a milk carton. A lot has happened since the last update. Not only was I doing the adult thing; kids, work… life. But I was also neck deep in a possible PCS with my husband. For those not well acquainted with military terminology, it stands for “panic-causing stress.” Actually, it stands for “permanent change of station,” but still, it might as well have been the former.

It was an incredibly long few months of waiting to see where we would go, hoping that we would get our first choice, which we did. #winning

Now that we are finally moved, settled, and done pulling our hair out (for the most part), I can finally take a much needed breath of the arid desert air that is El Paso, Texas.

*Record scratch*
Freeze frame

Wait, she wanted to move to El Paso?!

Yes, we did, for a long list of convoluted reasons. But what matters is, we’re here, and we’re happy. And the absolute icing on the cake is the creative space I gained in this new home; my very own space to bring you all of the sexy book boyfriends. So, for the unforeseeable future, I’ve been given orders by my amazing husband to hole myself up in my space and write a lot of sex. Well maybe those weren’t his exact words, but either way, I will gladly oblige.

Stay tuned…

XOXO
Erika Daughtrey

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Time! TIME! I need more TIME!

So… I’m in a slump. Not a, “I don’t know what to write,” or “I don’t want to write,” slump. But a, “I don’t have the time. Oh my God, I don’t know where to find the time,” slump. Writing is not only my passion, but it’s a vital necessity for my mental well-being. It’s right up there with the need to breathe. As if the words, thoughts and ideas need to be released with every exhale of breath.

I know that I actually do have time. My kids aren’t in a constant state of asking, “mommy, can you…,” or “mommy, can I….” They do sleep. And I am also not a robot who slaves over work all day. I have a pretty wonderful schedule where I’m able to leave the monotony of putting a smile on my face while tending to the duties of the business world at two o’clock every day. But after a day full of brain turned to mush, picking up the kids from school and bustling about the home in my little world of a mother’s organized chaos, I’m so damn TIRED. Too tired to do anything other than binge watching mindless television, or playing games on my phone that are counterproductive to my abilities to truly take a deep breath and exhale the thoughts and ideas of a story into sentences that resemble any form of cohesive thought.

Maybe the real problem is, I lack the time to stop procrastinating. Or maybe I don’t drink enough coffee. Perhaps time management is something I wasn’t particularly gifted with. I’ve seen the ambitious folks of the writing world create life planners for themselves, including a line or two dedicated to word count goals and literary objectives. I took that advice, got myself a planner, laid out the happenings of my week, and you know what? My planner was inundated with all of the activities of my week with no room to add a line for anything else.

I realize the possibility that maybe I am just subconsciously avoiding the space needed for those word count goals and literary objectives. I’m not the biggest fan of forcing myself into committing to a certain number of words just to stay on task. I want my story to come together naturally without fluff. And I know every time I’ve ever had a three-thousand word essay due in school, it ends in a fluffy, pointless, and garbled product of trying to convince a reader of my opinion that I don’t really give a shit about.

Needless to say, something’s got to give. The end goal is a story, and it’s right here in my head, waiting to be shared with you. All I can say is, don’t give up on me. I promise it will be a good one. I think about it all day, I dream about it at night. The thoughts and ideas are right here at the back of my throat. I’m just waiting for the perfect moment to exhale them.

As always, thank you for all of your support!

XOXO

Erika Daughtrey

indie authors, romance, romance authors, Uncategorized

Writers- Big and Small

Writers- big and small. In a publication world, where the market is inundated with fresh minds, creative ideas, and original content, there is one thing that always remains the foundation for the people behind it all. That one thing- the glue that holds us all together and makes us feel as one, is the passion that we all share for the industry.

We know that this industry is tough. We know that we are one of many in this bowl of fish, all trying to catch a nibble of the flakes being dropped in. But still, we persevere. Catching just that one flake when we are starving for more never phases us, because our passion is what drives us to continue. The absolute need we feel to write, the craving we get to push these creative thoughts from our brains, through our finger tips, and onto the page is a vital necessity.

I’ve learned since starting my journey, that something always rings true within the writing community, especially that of the romance genre- it’s that we are whole heartedly supportive of each other. We know the hard work it takes to get to the moment where your little finger hovers over the word “publish.” We all know the kind of courage you have to have in order to share with the world a glimpse of something you’ve gingerly finessed until the wee hours of the morning. We all know the incredible feeling of receiving that first review, and the amount of cheek strain you feel from it for the rest of the day because you can’t stop smiling.

I’ve also learned that in this community we are banded together, and when one goes down, we all step up to lift the fallen.

In light of recent legal bullying within the romance genre, I have to say- I’ve never felt more honored to be part of a circle of encouraging women who aren’t letting a shark threaten this fishbowl of amazing, intelligent, and brilliant women.

Love to you all!

XOXO

Erika Daughtrey

 

 

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Paperback Heaven

It’s been more like paperback HELL trying to get this second book formatted for its hard copy release. Time consuming, incredibly infuriating, and downright maddening are a few words to describe the process. But you know what? It’s all SO worth it! “If Not For Us” is finally available on paperback!

I know, I know. It took me long enough, right? It’s been available on Kindle for a few weeks now. But it makes the release of my second novel feel so much more tangible when I can hold the book in my hands. Truth be told, there’s nothing like the smell  of fresh cut pages and ink before you gobble a story up. And I’ve had readers tell me they prefer the experience of a book in their hand over an electronic device more often than not. So, what my readers want, my readers shall get. I think I’d have to agree with them on some level, just for the sheer fact that I can actually put my stockpile of bookmarks to great use!

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out “If Not For Him” before you dive into the second book, “If Not For Us.” Here’s what readers are saying so far:

“I couldn’t wait for this book to come out! I was anxious to see where Alayna and Cameron were headed and what was in store for their relationship. Much like the first book, I couldn’t put this book down. Each chapter left me wanting to know what happens next! I cried, I laughed and I cried some more! This book is beautifully written and has such a good ending. You won’t regret this series!”

“This book was amazing!! I liked the first one but I LOVED the second. This book made my heart break a little, and was written beautifully. I will definitely read more by this author and I will be recommending these books to others. Great job Erika!!”

“WOW!!! I have been anxiously waiting to see where Cameron and Alayna’s love story will take them, and I was absolutely not disappointed. This book had me laughing, at times anxious, tearful, and, most of all, happy and joyful! Awesome read!!!”

As always, thank you to everyone for all of your support! I hope your days are filled with happiness and more book boyfriends than you know what to do with!

XOXO

Erika Daughtrey 

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It’s HERE!!

Okay, well it’s technically been “here” for a few days. Actually, it’s been “here” since the 29th of March, but I just failed to do an update about it. I’m extremely excited to have the second book, and conclusion, to Alayna and Cameron’s story out for everyone to read.

It’s been such a labor of love for me with all of the crazy deadlines I set for myself. I should know by now that you can’t really successfully plan anything with two young kids that are still very dependent on you for all of life’s necessities. In the end though, it all came together, and I am so incredibly happy with how the story wrapped up. I am very sad to put this chapter behind me, but I’m also looking forward to writing a brand new story with all new characters. *Spoiler alert* – This next novel involves a sexy as sin MMA fighter. You’re welcome.

Both books are currently available on Kindle Unlimited and while “If Not for Him” is already available on paperback, the same option will soon be available for “If Not for Us.”

As always, feel free to shoot me an email. I love hearing from you. And if you loved the books, or want to share your thoughts about them, your reviews help others get a fair opinion about them. And I sure do appreciate seeing them as well. 😉

Thank you to all of my readers. I am forever grateful for you!