Guest Blog: J.S. Wayne
It’s Personal By J.S. Wayne
I’ve often been accused of taking things which shouldn’t directly affect me personally. Most of the time, it’s even true. This is one of many reasons I refuse to watch the news unless someone shoves it in my face, and if you ever happen to see me reading a newspaper it’s because there’s a particular article of intense interest to me in the day’s edition. When I hear about petty injustices or monolithic cruelties, I get so angry I’m hard to be around for anywhere from a few minutes to as much as a week. And when I get angry, I fight back.
A Light In The Darkness, the anthology just released to benefit Writing Out Child Abuse, is the most recent such punch I’ve thrown. It’s arguably one of the hardest, backed as it is by a number of excellent authors who believed in the vision I presented so fervently that they joined in, knowing perfectly good and well they would receive no compensation for their efforts in exchange for a hell of a lot of hard work. (And trust me when I say everyone involved with this anthology busted ass for months to get it right!)
Why child abuse? Why that particular cause?
It’s simple. I’ve been there. If you want to know more about that, you can visit the WOCA blog at http://writingoutchildabuse.wordpress.com . There’s no need to belabor the point here. But the bottom line is that I do take child abuse personally, whether it happens in small-town America, a remote village in East Africa, or in a metropolis in Europe. And frankly, I think everyone should.
There are plenty of stories of survivors of child abuse overcoming what was done to them. I myself am one example. The longer I work with and for this cause, the more of these stories I hear, and every one makes me want to cheer for those who were able to press on and rise above the ugly, terrible label of “victim.” But by corollary, I also realize that some people simply aren’t equipped with or ever given the tools to stop being a victim and start being a survivor, an example to others who are living with what’s been done to them. I can’t quite bring myself to view the latter with contempt, but neither do I view them with equanimity, because at some point, they gave up and just accepted the label. Whether they were just too beaten and broken to fight back or whether they needed help that was denied at a crucial time, they laid it down and simply let themselves become victims rather than survivors.
A Light In The Darkness is intended to be precisely what its title implies. Although the topical matter is treated honestly and unflinchingly, the overarching message of this anthology is not despair because these horrors occur, but hope which derives from the knowledge that with love, determination, and the knowledge that the abused is not to blame for the actions of their abuser, one need not be a victim. That’s the light I and the other authors involved in this project intended to shine into the shadows, and so far, it looks like we’re succeeding.
I don’t get involved with causes I don’t believe in.
This one’s personal.
Will you join me?
My deepest thanks to Lucy Felthouse for having me here today. Below is the blurb for A Light In The Darkness and an excerpt from one of the stories I included within, “A Hope In Hell.” I hope you enjoy it, and that you’ll consider purchasing a copy. It’s for a good cause, and who knows? The proceeds may very well help someone you love and care about at some point.
Until next time,
In A Light in the Darkness, the inaugural anthology from the authors of WOCA, a dark world awaits you. Spanning centuries of time, encircling the globe, and running the gamut from eerie historical fiction to gritty urban fantasy to page-scorching erotic romance, these authors unflinchingly dissect the horror of child abuse in all its forms. These authors have taken great pains to ensure the innocent are assured justice and the guilty pay for their crimes in the unique fantasy worlds they have created. Sadly, in real life, this is not always the case.
This book contains scenes of graphic violence and honest depictions of child abuse. Readers who may find such material unduly disturbing, objectionable, or “triggering” are strongly advised not to read it.
Some of the newest and hottest names in fiction have lent their talents to this collection, including Gillian Colbert, Amber Green, R. Renee Vickers, Eric Keys, Phoebe Valois, and J.S. Wayne. All of these authors are united by one core belief, and with this collection, they seek to turn their talents to a greater good.
One hundred percent of all proceeds from this collection are being donated directly to Writing Out Child Abuse. These proceeds will then be dispersed to charities whose sole aim is to help survivors of child abuse all over the globe. To learn more about WOCA or their fund-raising activities, or to get involved yourself, visit http://wix.com/writingoutchildabuse/intro .
Excerpt From “A Hope In Hell”
“Why don’t you sit?” Lucifer asked.
After a long moment during which she weighed the relative merits of being stubborn or relaxing, she chose the latter, scooting her chair just a little further away from him and folding herself into it. If he noticed, he gave no sign.
“You are aware of the Zos’ma-he’an?” He asked.
She thought for a moment. She had seen that word, just recently, written in the Enochian script which was as natural to her as the Latin alphabet.
“A crude but serviceable term. The Zos’ma-he’an are not merely assassins, but those who deliver souls to me. Aznaoz, Opharac’s lieutenant, was the one who brought you here.”
“Opharac is their leader?”
Lucifer nodded. “He answers only to me, and you can believe that they both answered most harshly for bringing you here. Hell was never meant to house souls such as yours, but under the terms of our armistice, once a soul is taken to one place or the other it cannot leave.”
She frowned. None of this was news to her, and the cosmology of the realms had long since ceased to interest her.
“I assume there’s a point to all this?”
Lucifer sat back and steepled his fingers thoughtfully. “There is.”
A long silence fell over the chamber, punctuated only by the muted chewing growl of the flames. Versiel fought the urge to fidget, knowing he’d get to the meat of the matter in his own good time.
Finally, he said, “I have been considering places you might be able to use your talents to best advantage. You don’t wish to be a succubus, which would be my first choice, and you would be wasted as a mere warrior. However, among the Zos’ma-he’an, you could not only serve me, but avenge yourself upon those who harm the innocent.”
The thought was intriguing, but she wanted to know more. “In what way?”
Lucifer smiled grimly. “Like all angels, fallen and otherwise, I harbor a special and unique hatred for those who harm children. There is, of course, an age at which children lose their innocence and become fair game, but you have been a unique case from the day you were born. In this capacity, you would have the opportunity to channel your fury and be a force for justice and good, even though your deeds will stink of brimstone and blood. Are you interested?”
She felt breathless and dizzy with excitement. The idea of being able to save others from her fate while remaining safely beyond the grasp of earthly law had a definite appeal. How often had she dreamed of taking her vengeance on the man who had so cruelly destroyed her innocence before snuffing out her life?
“What of the souls?”
Lucifer’s grin grew even broader. For the first time she could ever remember, he looked truly demonic, belying his outward appearance.
“My dear, that is the best part. Not only will you be free to amuse yourself as you see fit, but you will also bring the souls to me. Under the armistice, those souls belong to me more certainly than any others. I care nothing for the tawdry, commonplace sins. ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not bear false witness.’” He brought his hand up, holding his fingers parallel to the floor, and moved his thumb up and down rapidly to signal blah, blah, blah. “These sins are petty and not worth my time or attention. Sins that nearly every person able to talk commit bore me. But those who harm the innocent . . . those souls I take great and personal pleasure in condemning.”
Versiel found herself answering his grin. The thought was far too tempting to merit further consideration.
“What do you know about Frank Smith?”
Lucifer stood. “I thought you’d never ask.”
To purchase your copy of A Light In The Darkness, check out