Whew.  That was tougher than I expected.  My finger kept pausing over the “send” button.  Hitting it is like letting an arrow loose and hoping it lands in the bullseye instead of my foot.  Everywhere that’s not the bullseye is my foot.  One of my lovelies, Leila, told me to picture the bullseye.  The one in my mind has pink blinking lights and a seven-sides star thanks to re-watching almost the entire Jem and the Holograms series this past week.  I forgot how much I loved that show.

Now, to keep finding what can be improved.  The heat’s on.  Deadline is unknown, but before any potential partials or fulls.  I thrive under pressure and deadlines, and always have.  I do have the patience to wait for replies or crickets, and am too stubborn to give up.  I set a deadline for myself to start querying, and that’s where that stubbornness comes in handy.  I did it.

Proud of myself?  I don’t know.  I’m one who never feels my finished products are good enough.  It’s not because I doubt my skills so much as I am always looking for how I can improve my work. The art I produce for my “real” job is top notch because of this.  As far as I’m concerned, my products will never be as good as they could be.  So I’m offering subpar work.

On the other hand, it’s the next step, one that may help me fulfill a goal of getting the message in this novel out there in a way I hope rings loud.  I want readers to want to be Juliette and take control of her life and kick major butt.  I want readers to fall in love with Tristan and to tell men to be more like him.  He is kind, caring, respectful, and where he has flaws, he actively aims to improve himself for himself as much as for her.  None of this controlling BS or causing fear. I want readers to know they are worth better than mistreatment and that there is never any reason that it is acceptable.  Telling someone these things can be like talking to a door.  But a book can get into the mind and heart.  Whether the messages in a book are positive or negative, they often do get inside a person.

SACRED BLOOD’s message truly needs to be heart, especially with the rate of sexual assault and domestic violence on the rise, and the modern rape culture pinning a lot of the blame, sometimes all of it, on the victim.  It is terrible to be told it’s your fault.  I know.  Thanks only to a dear friend, Aaron Seth Miller*, telling me the very words Tristan said to Juliette, did I find the guts to get away.

While the topic of assault is indeed a heavy one, it is not the only part of the story.  It is merely the catalyst to the changes in Juliette’s life as she reclaims her life and rises above what happened to her.  No, she will not immediately move past it all.  Victims of violence suffer flashbacks and trauma.  I refuse to sent the message that all it takes to move on is to get away.  But she will be happy despite the PTSD she will carry for a while.

She will save herself.  She will endure.  She will find happiness.  And you, my dear readers, will cheer for her.

My mere rough draft has helped one of my test readers find the courage to step away from a dangerous situation.  That has made what I’ve written worth it.  An agent representing me and finding a publisher will help get the message out in a way that will be heard and felt.

Putting myself and my heart on the line is the next step.  I have taken it.

*RIP to a very dear friend.  May 29, 1979 – March 31, 2005  Thank you for telling me the words I needed to hear.  I still miss you and love you dearly, Sweetheart.

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