My book’s title, cover, and Eve

Cover image: Escaping The Boy (copyright 2012)

During the spring of 2000, my last semester as an undergraduate at Frostburg State University, the professor for my course, Literature of the Environment, was going through the process of getting her latest manuscript published. She is Barbara Hurd, and her book is Stirring the Mud: On Swamps, Bogs, and the Human Imagination, which I recommend highly.

She shared with students the struggles and frustrations she was experiencing battling editors to determine a title for her book. (Yes. She wasn’t FREE to say, “This is what I want MY book to be called, and this is what I want the cover to look like.”) I remember thinking how unfair. Why would anyone want to spend all of that time creating something so personal just to have some marketing “expert” TELL YOU, the creator, what to call your work and with what image it should be associated? Not fair. Not fair at all! (If you go to Amazon, you’ll notice that the cover for the Hardback is VERY different from the cover of the paperback edition of Stirring the Mud. I wonder if Dr. Hurd had more input on the paperback design? Hmmm? Doubtful.)

Fast forward to today and to Kindle Direct Publishing (the self-publishing program I used). The artist has TOTAL creative freedom and TOTAL responsibility for the final product. It’s a beautiful thing. I could have paid someone to edit beyond basic copy edits, I could have paid a marketer to come up with some catchy title options, and I could have paid a photographer and/or graphic artist to design and format my cover design. But me, I am stubborn and have that I-can-do-it-myself attitude. After all, this could be my only chance to publish, and I want it to be what I want it to be (even if the end product isn’t as beautiful and perfect as a marketing guru or professional photographer and designer could make it.) But it is Mine, all Mine!! Hehehehe!

The first step was deciding on a title. I had been calling it “The Story of a Sociopath” with the subtitle of “The Birth and Evolution of a Narcissistic Sociopath.” Upon reflection, I realized the title needed to be shorter, with a forward drive, and the ability to capture someone on a personal level. (Thanks, Jody Miller!) Many iterations later using this as my criteria, and my title was finalized: Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath.

The next step was to make the cover design. I have limited experience with Adobe Creative Suite and graphics. Most of that experience is with Photoshop. To make it easy on myself and for my book to remain familiar to my dedicated readers and followers, I chose to use the image of the statue of Eve, which has been front-and-center on my website for months.

But where in the world is Eve? Really. Where and when did I take that picture? (And yes, I took that picture, Boy, not you, so rein in those lawyer hounds.) I photographed Eve in October 2008 in Pere Lechaise Cemetery located in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, France.

While the boy visited the graveside of Jim Morrison for an agonizing second time during our short visit to the capital city, I made my way north along a tiny path that led me to a narrow and steep concrete staircase blanketed in ivy. Upon reaching the top and final step, I saw her. Eve. And she moved me. The day was overcast and misty from rain. I was sad and frustrated. I missed my son (who was only 3 at the time). Eve comforted me. And confused me. Is she ascending or descending the steps? Is she moving forward and reaching for the apple or stepping back having decided against it? I snapped the picture just as the boy found me.

One thing is clear about Eve: she has a choice to make. What will her choice be and will it be the best choice? What choice will YOU make?


FREE Book! Come and get it, Friends!

Cover image: Escaping The Boy (copyright 2012)

Cover illustration by Paula Carrasquillo

To celebrate Mother’s Day weekend, Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath is available today and tomorrow for FREE! Download your copy today, gift it to a friend, and write a review (please). Help spread the word about sociopaths, narcissism, and domestic violence and abuse. Have a great weekend!

It’s Published! “Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath”

I have been on hiatus from my blog (and WordPress in general) for the past week but for a good reason:

I finalized and published my first book to Amazon!– Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath. I hope all of my dedicated blog readers, friends, and family will get a chance to review and share my story.

A little about the cover illustration…
I took this photograph (below) in October 2008 while wandering the avenues of Père Lachaise Cemetery (French: Cimetière du Père-Lachaise). Although I was with someone, I was alone. I was drawn to Eva, as I affectionately refer to her, and saddened by her. Is she Eve? Is she every woman caught between good and evil? She was definitely me on that chilly, fall morning nearly four years ago. I chose her for my cover illustration because I think she was always intended to be front-and-center.


Cover image: Escaping The Boy (copyright 2012)

Cover illustration by Paula Carrasquillo

Healing from domestic violence one story at a time


Image from Squidoo

What comes to mind when you read or hear the term “domestic violence?” Do you picture a woman being punched and stepped on by her husband? Do you see a woman with tears running from her eyes blackened by his blows? What if I told you that this is just a small part of what domestic violence is? What if I told you that domestic violence also includes emotional abuse and sexual abuse and child abuse?

And what about the process of healing after escaping such an experience? Healing is more than waiting for the bruises to fade. Healing takes time to understand the self blame, shame, resentment, anger, depression, and fear.

And most women (and men) cannot heal alone. It takes the courage and compassion of others to help them through the long journey to discovering themselves and life again. It takes organizations like the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Domestic Abuse Help Line for Men and Women to intervene, educate, and attempt to stop and prevent the abuse, which happens all around us every day.

Moved by the overwhelming responses to my story, The Birth and Evolution of a Narcissistic Sociopath, I have decided not to publish the last parts of the story on the website. Instead, I will self-publish the story and make it available through in eReader format and possibly print-on-demand format for about $5.00 per copy. Up to 30% of the sales will be donated to an as-of-yet-designated domestic violence non-profit organization. (Hopefully, my readers will help me narrow the field.)

Before publishing, I will expand upon all parts of the the story. Each part will include more detailed descriptions of The Boy’s behavior and abuse of the Woman, the Child, and his Friends. I’ll provide helpful resources and checklists for my readers to use for themselves or to share with family members, friends, neighbors, or co-workers trying to free themselves from abuse. Other features are also being considered.

Friends with secrets and perfect strangers with stored emotions have been moved enough by my story to e-mail me and share their own stories of abuse. It’s been therapeutic for so many of us, and I want this domino-type healing effect to continue to spread.

Thank you, readers!


A Baby Changes Everything

The Woman's Guardian AngelThe abuse of her son at the hands of the boy surely couldn’t be topped. Could it?  Will the woman ever get the courage to leave? Will the boy ever be convinced that he is the one with the problem and stop blaming others for his misery?

Discover more of the dirty, mind-bending tricks the boy enjoys performing. Pick up where you left off, readers, or start from the beginning if you’re just joining the story.


The Birth and Evolution of a Narcissistic Sociopath

My lucky number is 13

I am 13 for 13 with my yoga challenge. I have been creeping around the “cooler” area of the hot yoga room for a few days. Not that I’m afraid of the heat, but I know the heat can REALLY get to me if I am not focusing clearly on my breath…

…I have not been focusing on my breath. There! I admitted it. I have been oscillating with my moods the last week or so. Much of it has to do with the recent tragedy involving Susan Powell’s children and their sociopathic father.

I am not one of those parents who considers my child a possession. My child is his own person and has been since the day he left the womb. My responsibility is not to own him; my job as a parent is to guide him and make certain that he is clothed, fed, and sheltered. It is my duty to keep him safe and give him freedom to explore his world.

So, when I see evil inflicted upon a child by a parent who obviously does not respect the individual existence of his children, I become enraged in my heart. Why couldn’t Josh Powell have simply killed himself and left those boys in the loving care of his grandparents? Why did he feel the need to take possession of them and murder them? If he was truly concerned about being discovered as the murderer of his missing wife, why would he choose to go out with such a dramatic bang, clearly being remembered only AS a murderer?

the sociopath next door coverHe did what he did because he is/was a sociopath. According to the recent publication The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout, PhD, roughly 4% of the population is without a conscience; they are sociopaths who are capable of hurting people without remorse or worry. That is 1 in 25 people, folks!

I know one of these evil people. Thank goodness he isn’t next door to me. Hopefully he traveled back to the Far City and won’t return. 🙂

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