Around the time I sent in Toxic to my publisher last October, I’d learned that I wasn’t the only one about to release a novel about domestic violence in a same sex relationship. At first, I was absolutely gutted because the topic is tough and I worried that readers wouldn’t want to read three novels about the same gritty reality over a short period of time.
I began to chide myself for taking so long to finish it. And, anxious as I am, I began to think of various ways in which our novels would follow the same routes. Would readers start to rate them against each other? I know it sounds ridiculous, but to me it was a real worry.
As it happened, I calmed down and instead of trying not to think about it, I decided that it would be much better if we all worked together. I’m not saying this was entirely my idea because I think that Tyler May and R. Phoenix were much more enthusiastic about doing this together than I was. (I remained slightly petrified). However, I truly believe that working together was what saved me in the end, and it also taught me a great deal.
R. Phoenix released her novel first, and when I read that one I began to truly realize how different our stories would be, as well as how important it was that several stories were told rather than just one. Here I would like to add that our novels aren’t the only ones, nor the first, and in fact, two other novels with domestic violence themes have been released this spring as well.
In R. Phoenix’s Too Close, the abuse has been going on for quite some time. We meet Skylar when he is still trapped with danger only to see him break loose and find love again. The novel is foremost about leaving. It’s a heartbreaking tale of finding strength and hope.
Tyler May released her novel The Struggle Within mere days before my release of Toxic was scheduled, and we did a fair amount of promotion together. Her story focused on the aftermath, years after the abuse, with flashbacks and memories relaying the back story of a deceased abuser. The way she handles PSTD is commendable, and there is also a true chance for real romance in that story because we meet Ryan years later. This is a beautiful story of survival and all the struggles that come with it.
In Toxic, my main focus was to understand how it is possible for a victim to fall into the clutches of an abuser and stay. Adam battles with himself to rationalize what is happening to him, and he finds himself with guilt that proves hard to get rid of. But, because I didn’t want to leave Adam entirely without hope and prospects for a happier life, I included supportive friends and romance as well. Adam gets out, but by then, the story arc is all but over. This posed a few problems, one being that Adam didn’t have enough time to recover to truly find a HEA. I’d categorize it more like a HFN. There’s one more story coming in this series, however, and perhaps we’ll get a bit more closure in the next installment. Toxic is also more in-your-face than the other two, and from reading a few reviews, it appears that Toxic is the one that gets labeled with warnings the most. It’s not surprising, so just be aware that it’s a tough read. It has received praise from those who value that I’ve attempted to give an accurate account of what goes on in an abusive relationship.
In a sense, I would suggest that if you want to read these stories, you should begin with either Too Close or Toxic and finish with The Struggle Within. Tyler May picks up where R. Phoenix and I ran out of pages. Because, the tale of domestic violence is a tale of several parts. It’s about how you get tangled up, how you find strength within yourself to say stop, how you leave, and finally how you survive and how that struggle to live and love continues for a long time.
Happy Reading! (Please don’t forget tissues)
Buy Links: Pride | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Length: 79,690 words
Treacherous Chemistry Series
Volatile (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
When true love is a lie and pleasure turns to pain.
Adam Webb spent most of his teenage years in love with his best friend, Gabriel Connor, only to be thrown out of their shared apartment when he finally found the courage to reveal his feelings.
Seven months later, Adamís effort to save their lost friendship finds him more than he ever asked for. After all, being thrown out has to be better than thrown into a wall. However, Adam isnít ready to give up. Trapped and isolated in a dangerous relationship, he falls deeper and deeper into Gabrielís world.
Despite Adamís attempts to push them away, his friends are determined to help, but the man who fights hardest is Cameron McCain, Adamís photography teacheróa man who treasures what Gabriel does not.
They say love should conquer all. But when passion breeds fear and love turns toxic, will Adam make the right choice?
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of domestic violence and dubious consent.
Always the emotional one, she has found her outlet in writing, voicing thoughts, emotions and fears through her characters that feel very much alive to her. And, what began as a hobby soon took more and more time in her life until she realized that she had left her old life behind and entered a new one where her emotions turned into a super poweróready to launch at her poor readers.
She recharges with the help of coffee, cinnamon buns, popcorn and occasionally a healthier alternative.
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