Standing in hall outside the guest bedroom door holding heavy tray.
“I hope Cody likes what I did with my guest room. Can you say rainbow-glitter-cute animals?”
Shrugs and then pushes tray against door.
“I’m going to wake him up. Ask me if I care that he “needs his beauty sleep, so PLEASE, sweet Mia, for the love of glitter, let me sleep in.” Cody Kennedy is my guest and will do as I please!”
Knocks on door delicately. Shrugs, and then bangs on door enthusiastically.
“Morning has broken, sweetheart! And Momma Mia don’t wait for nobody!!”
Pushes through door, tray of food and drinks in hand.
“Rise and shine, lovely Cody! Wake up and smell the Diet Coke!!! I certainly hope the glittery-reindeer in the corner didn’t scare you last night! He looks rather intimidating when the lights are off, I will admit. But you must admit, the Christmas lights added a certain decadent mood last night.”
(A photo from last night before Cody went to sleep.)
Glances at rainbow reindeer and shakes head.
“Now, before you try to protest, which I warn you will be futile, I will point out that I stuck by our little agreement. You requested Diet Coke for breakfast, and I have honored that request.”
Places tray on bedside table.
“Feast your eyes on my super-special Diet Coke Cupcake and wash it down with a Dirty Diet Coke. Hope you like coconut…”
Lump on bed moves a bit exposing Cody’s puffy sleep-deprived eyes and a HUMONGOUS wild tangle of blond hair.
“Um…you’ll sit up and eat the cupcake if you know what’s good for you. And if you behave, sweet Cody, I’ll let you indulge in my created-especially-for-you recipe, a Bacon A La Diet Coke Do-nut.”
“Don’t look at me that way, Mr. Kennedy!”
Cody tries to escape by climbing the Christmas lights.
“Come back here! No bacon for you!!! Now calm down and eat your cupcakes!!!”
“So Cody, who is bird-sitting for your precious Kiz, Cleo, and Schnapps?”
Cody scribbles on notepad with glossy black glitter pen.
“Aunty Mel!! Of course!! I call her Saint Mel behind her back. Don’t tell her, okay?”
“And yes, I’d simply LOVE to see their pictures.”
“Yes, yes… they are darling! Schnapps has lovely eyes.”
Cody puts the pictures on the bedside table.
“You like the Diet Coke cupcakes—I can tell by your expression. You go ahead and eat and I will introduce your book. Now don’t be shy—dive right into those chocolate delights!!”
“What a gorgeous cover to this Wednesday’s release Slaying Isidore’s Dragons. Reese Dante is incredibly talented.”
Cody scribbles on the pad.
“NO! I’m not jealous. Well…. maybe I’m just a tad envious.”
“Now I’ll read the blurb to our wonderful audience. And, Cody, please try not to burp again. I know Diet Coke makes you gassy, but it is rude and will disturb the flow of my reading.”
Cody blushes a flamingo pink.
“And FYI Cody’s phenomenal book that is already on Amazon hot new releases lists.”
Cody takes a long sip of the Dirty Diet Coke and makes a peculiar face.
“Your hair, dear…. I’m sorry but it is distracting me! It is certainly distracting the audience, as well. Does it always look this…. um, disobedient… in the morning?”
“Talk about MAJOR BEDHEAD!! The poor reindeer was probably scared of YOU! Well, let Momma Mia slide beside you on the bed….”
Uses hip to push Cody to other side of the bed.
“Now face that glittery wall and don’t move a muscle until I tell you to.”
Grabs brush and goes to work.
“You all saw the BEFORE pictures. Here is the AFTER. I do have a way with hair.”
“Well, you must admit this is quite an improvement.”
Cody scribbles on note pad.
“You feel pretty? Well, you look amazing, too! You can thank moi later… signed copy of SID-hint hint.”
Passes Cody a hot pink napkin.
“Here, take this napkin. You got a little bit of chocolate on your face. Wipe it off, please!!”
(Sighs mumbling something about Diet Coke cupcake crumbs.)
“They’re in your teeth too. Just saying. Since you are going to be occupied with cleaning your face, how about I get started on reading your guest post aloud?”
Cody nods, scrubbing face with pink napkin.
Takes seat on reindeer’s back.
“HERE’s CODY’S GUEST POST!!!!!! And we need to settle down, as it is of a serious and important nature.”
Thanks for having me on your blog, Mia! It’s great to be here! I’m here with a light post about romance. Honest!
Romance and PTS—The Chaos in Isidore’s Mind v. The Warm Dark
I write young adult romance! I do! My new book, Slaying Isidore’s Dragons, is about hope, triumph, and the healing power of love.
Isidore has suffered incredibly at the hands of his abusive family and one of the many things victims suffer is post-traumatic stress. I leave the word “disorder” off the end of the stress because it isn’t a disorder. It’s a condition engendered by an inciting event or events.See the The Mayo Clinic’s definition of post-traumatic stress and see general information below in fine print.
Anyone can suffer post-traumatic stress anytime and, contrary to popular belief, it is not related to the “level” or “depth” of seriousness or horror of the inciting incident. Something that would traumatize me terribly may not affect you at all, and vice versa, and it’s important not to try to compare inciting events or behavior when traumatized. Matty and Brad over at 2BoysinLove write wonderful posts about post-traumatic stress and I encourage you to read them. In the upcoming months, I’ll write more about post-traumatic stress and will link to specific articles written by Matty and Brad.
So what does romance have to do with post-traumatic stress? A lot. In fact, above all things, love is the single most important element in working through post-traumatic stress and the healing power of love is immeasurable. In Slaying Isidore’s Dragons, we meet Isidore during a time of trauma. As part of his symptoms of traumatic stress, he has built a defense mechanism in his mind to escape to when things become too difficult for him. This place is warm, dark, and quiet. It’s a place that he can escape not only the events he endures, but also the resultant chaos in his own mind when he faces triggering issues and events. From the beginning of the book, Isidore escapes to his “warm dark” and it’s only by the healing power of Declan’s love, that he begins to make the conscious choice to go to Declan when he’s beginning to fall apart rather than the “warm dark.”
In the excerpt below, Declan and Isidore are at an art fair and Isidore gets lost in the crowd.
“I would like a baguette with cheese.”
“Did you see a place where we could get that?” Declan asked.
“Okay, come on.” Declan did an about-face in the crowd and shouldered his way down the boardwalk. When he turned to make sure Isidore was behind him, he was nowhere to be seen. He pushed back through the crowd and couldn’t find him. This was exactly the kind of crowd that frightened Isidore. Damn it! His anxiety rising, Declan tried to remember what Isidore was wearing. It was the green T-shirt that matched his eyes. Looking for the green as he went, he began calling Isidore’s name as he made his way through the crowd. Isidore was so small he was afraid he’d never find him. Outright alarm filled him, and he began to shout Isidore’s name.
ISIDORE STOOD stock-still in the crowd. Declan had moved too fast, and he hadn’t kept up. He never should have let go of Declan’s hand. Now he was lost and had no idea how to find Declan. People bumped and pushed him, stepped on his toes, and smells assaulted him, causing nausea to rise in his gut. Sauerkraut, sweet cotton candy, sickly aftershave, bitter ketchup, syrupy cinnamon buns, tangy mustard, cloying perfume, and body odor—body odor as he had smelled in hospital. Images spun in his mind’s eye and colors blurred as the noise of the crowd thundered in his ears.
Colliding with bodies as if he were riding in a bumper car, he fought to make his way out of the crowd before he vomited. He made it to a nearby trash can and gripped the rim with both hands as he fought to steady his mind. He was lost, and he had no idea how to find Declan.
Declan will find me. He will not leave me here.
Would Declan find him? Declan wouldn’t leave him here, would he? Doubt filled him, and his mind started to slide. He was lost and alone, and Declan might never find him again. Tears began to fall as he squatted and tried to make himself small as he sought the warm dark of his mind.
RETURNING TO where they had been separated, Declan saw Isidore crouched by a trashcan, his head in his hands. Declan ran, pushing others out of the way, rude remarks painting the air in his wake.
“Isidore, oh God, come here, come here.” He lifted Isidore to his feet and hugged him.
“Declan,” Isidore sobbed against his chest.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Declan cupped Isidore’s face with both hands and covered him in kisses as Isidore clung to him. “I’m sorry. I should never have let go of your hand. Oh God, I’m sorry. Are you all right?”
Isidore nodded in Declan’s hands. “I am okay. I was afraid you would not find me.”
“Oh no, mo chroí. I will always find you.”
That’s what romance has to do with post-traumatic stress. Love is one of the few genuine healing aids for anyone who has suffered trauma. I hope you enjoy Isidore’s healing journey in Slaying Isidore’s Dragons.
“What an amazing post. I never thought much of the merging of romance and post traumatic stress, and I can see it is important that we all are aware of this. And the excerpt is touching. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book!”
Stands up and moves to center of the room.
“Now friends, it is time to take care of a bit of important business. Please do not space out. I need your undivided attention.”
About Slaying Isidore’s Dragons
5 Best friends
4 Vicious brothers
3 STD tests
2 Guys in love
1 Car bombing
Nowhere to run
Follow the burgeoning love of two teens during the worst year of their lives. Irish-born Declan David de Quirke II is the son of two ambassadors, one Irish and one American. He is ‘out’ to his parents but to no one else. French-born Jean Isidore de Sauveterre is also the son of two ambassadors, one Catalan and one Parisian. His four half brothers have been told to cure him of his homosexuality. Both teens have lost a parent in a London car bombing.
5 Weeks of hell
4 Attempts on their lives
3 Law enforcement agencies
2 Dead high school seniors
1 Jealous friend
A love that won’t be denied
Declan and Isidore meet at the beginning of their senior year at a private academy in the United States. Declan is immediately smitten with Isidore and becomes his knight in shining armor. Isidore wants to keep what is left of his sanity and needs Declan’s love to do it. One is beaten, one is drugged, one is nearly raped, one has been raped. They are harassed by professors and police, and have fights at school, but none of it compares to running for their lives. When the headmaster’s popular son attempts suicide and someone tries to assassinate Declan’s mother, they are thrown headlong into chaos, betrayal, conspiracy, allegations of sexual coercion, even murder. And one of them carries a secret that may get them killed.
5 New family members
2 Extraordinary Psychologists
1 Courageous Mother
A new beginning for two young men in love
About Cody Kennedy
Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Cody doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Cody contemplates such weighty questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Cody can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary.
Stop by Cody’s Blog with questions or comments, or simply share what’s on your mind. Find Cody on Facebook, Twitter @CodyKAuthor, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, Ello, Goodreads, & read Cody’s free serial story, Fairy
“I would like to thank all of my readers for sharing this wonderful morning with Cody and me. And, of course, I’d like to thank Cody for visiting.”
Cody again writes a message and holds it up for all to see.
“Now Cody, might I suggest you go brush some of that chocolate out of your teeth….”
Cody gets out of bed and heads for the bathroom.
“Psst….Psst… Dear audience, please leave comments for my guest here. He lives for your kind words and I am sure that he will respond. Maybe you shouldn’t mention the chocolate on his face… Cody can be very sensitive about things like that.”
Post-traumatic Stress Symptoms include, but are not limited to:
Intrusive symptoms: (which were not present before the trauma): (1) Persistent re-experiencing of the event(s) in images, thoughts, recollections, daydreams, nightmares, and/or night terrors; (2) Extreme psychological distress (which may be accompanied by physiological reactivity) in the presence of the perpetrator or symbolic reminders of the perpetrator (e.g., uncontrollable shaking).
Arousal symptoms: (which were not present before the trauma): (1) Hyper vigilance (which may be the result of not feeling safe in the world) (2) Sleep disturbances (insomnia) (3) Persistent feelings of rage at the perpetrator (4) Restlessness (5) Difficulty concentrating (6) Weight loss
Relational symptoms: (1) Not feeling safe in the world (2) Mistrust and fear of intimate relationships (or a particular type of intimate relationship) (3) Disruption in the victim’s social support network, isolation
Source: The Neurotypical Site