Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Trauma as Initiation by Carrie Ishee

Trauma as Initiation

What if the world is undergoing a profound call to initiation?  An opportunity for the transformation of consciousness that could awaken us to a deeper, more authentic, more connected way of being?

I proposed this blog post as part of the launch for my memoir “Seduced into Darkness: Transcending My Psychiatrist’s Sexual Abuse,” that articulates the potential for growth and maturation that a descent into darkness can offer.

But that was before the coronavirus stopped mankind in its tracks.  Now the entire species is confronted with what it will take to survive this pandemic, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  How will we renew ourselves and not sink into despair and hopelessness?

In traditional cultures, initiation rites are consciously integrated into the fabric of society, forcing its young members to begin a quest of some sort, without the support of the tribe. Next, something happens that is physically, emotionally, or psychically rupturing, and the initiate fears she will not survive the test.  Finally, having confronted her fears, and risen to the challenge, the initiate returns to the tribe where the depth of her learning is celebrated as she is welcomed back as a wiser, more respected member of the tribe.  

In western culture, we have abandoned intentional rites of passage. Initiations often occur randomly, appearing as traumas that disrupt the psyche of the victim.  Alone and terrified by a shattering experience, many such victims are abandoned by their communities, blamed for their encounters with darkness.  Isolated and judged, they have no safe place to share their stories, process their feelings, or celebrate the gifts of the journey that could help to heal their tribe.

As a trauma therapist, I am honored to provide a safe space where trauma survivors (initiates) can share their stories, process their grief, rage at the injustices they suffered, and make meaning of their experiences.  In such a nurturing container, trauma survivors can transform themselves from hapless victims, into wise, balanced men and women capable of guiding others through underworld journeys. 

Ancient myths from the beginning of time have articulated the challenges and gifts of the hero’s journey.  I find it healing to view my own journey in the context of the Greek myth of Persephone – the young, innocent maiden who is abducted by Hades, God of the Underworld, raped, held captive, and then rescued.  In the end, she becomes not only the Goddess of Spring, overseer of the cycles of nature, but also Queen of the Underworld who guides lost souls navigating a trip through Hades.

The opportunity for renewal that trauma affords is held deep within our collective psyche.  More recently, the term “post-traumatic growth” describes how many underworld travelers, or trauma victims report transformative outcomes from staying committed to a process of personal growth and development.  Gifts of the journey include: 1) claiming the strength that allows them to survive horrifying experiences, 2) relating to others with more openness and compassion, 3) seeing new possibilities for meaningful service as their priorities shift, 4) a greater appreciation of life where they may have taken things for granted and 5) an enhanced ability to find meaning in life.

As the world begins to emerge from the corona crises how can we support the potential for our own growth and a global awakening? 

1.  We must talk through all our feelings, share our experiences, grieve our losses, and share our hopes and dreams.
2.  We must serve as witnesses who listen deeply and help ourselves and others make meaning of our losses, our trials, and our growth.
3.  We must find a way to serve our communities – to reweave the fabric that was ruptured during our isolation.
4.  We must not succumb to avoidance through addictions, busyness, denial.
5.  We must recognize what became “essential” on our journey and let go of excess, the distractions, the ego gratifying, but soul dimming material accumulations.
6.  We must claim our creativity and nurture our individual and collective souls through writing, art, music, storytelling.

Let us create a culture that welcomes back our initiates with open arms and ears, eager to hear the stories, their pain and sadness, joys and accomplishments.  Let us help them make meaning of their powerful journeys and accept the medicine that their perspective brings.

Let us embrace the wisdom of our underworld journeyers – the medical people who held the hands of those dying alone, the grocery store workers who smiled at us beneath masks and gloves, the people who got sick, faced death, and came back to tell their tales.  And let us mourn for the many we lost, and let them not die in vain.

We must not go back to business as usual, but open our hearts and minds to the oneness this pandemic has made us acutely aware of, and listen to its call to a great awakening.

About the Author, Carrie T. Ishee

Carrie Ishee has been a student of healing, human potential, and consciousness for more than 35 years. Her quest to know herself began in college when a severe health crisis compounded by her psychiatrist’s seduction and sexual abuse shattered her physically, emotionally, and spiritually. After doctoral studies in clinical psychology, she worked as a behavioral therapist, pursued a master’s degree in art therapy, and later completed a two-year training program in life coaching. Her work today is focused on helping victims such as she once was break free from the suffocating shroud of trauma.

Follow her on FacebookInstagram, and GoodReads.

Seduced Into Darkness: Transcending My Psychiatrist’s Sexual Abuse

Seduced Into Darkness: Transcending My Psychiatrist’s Sexual Abuse is a vivid and captivating story of hope for survivors of abuse as well as a case study in a skilled manipulator’s tragic exploitation of his professional power.

This poignant memoir chronicles the traumatic psychological abduction and sexual exploitation of depressed college student Carrie Tansey at the hands of her psychiatrist, Dr. Anthony Romano―thirty-one years her senior. For three years, their secret “affair” was carefully calculated and controlled by Romano, as Carrie’s mental and emotional health continued to deteriorate, bringing her closer and closer to the edge.

Their dual-relationship―clinical and clandestine―finally came to light when Carrie’s suicide attempts landed her in a world-renowned psychiatric hospital. Gradually, she began to reclaim her power, reported Romano to the state licensing board, successfully sued him for malpractice, and testified before the state legislature to help pass a law aimed at curbing such abuses.

As Carrie tells her tale, it is a journey paralleling that of the mythical archetype Persephone, the naive innocent who was abducted into darkness, reemerged and regenerated herself, then fearlessly returned to the prison she had fled, this time to help free others. Today, Carrie Ishee is a widely respected art therapist and life coach as well as a teacher specializing in the issues of ethics and boundaries for mental health professionals.

Print Length: 286 Pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Terra Nova Books
ISBN-10: 1948749483
ISBN-13: 9781948749480

Seduced Into Darkness is now available to purchase at Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and Thrift Books. 

About the Author, Carrie T. Ishee

Carrie Ishee has been a student of healing, human potential, and consciousness for more than 35 years. Her quest to know herself began in college when a severe health crisis compounded by her psychiatrist’s seduction and sexual abuse shattered her physically, emotionally, and spiritually. After doctoral studies in clinical psychology, she worked as a behavioral therapist, pursued a master’s degree in art therapy, and later completed a two-year training program in life coaching. Her work today is focused on helping victims such as she once was break free from the suffocating shroud of trauma.

Follow her on FacebookInstagram, and GoodReads.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Balancing Act by Lillian Brummet

The Balancing Act

Having been self-employed since 1992, I’ve learned a lot about the balancing act that comes with running a business. Entrepreneurs have to make choices as to what is practical and what takes precedence. We have to prioritize and when we choose something, we have to let something else go. It doesn’t take long before new entrepreneurs discover that some activities are very time sensitive and so the pressure is on and it feels as if there’s no choice. We feel emotional pain and stress when we have to let something go in order to accomplish what has to be done.
We are constantly balancing the business with what we want to accomplish in life-events and home-chores. We also have to train people so they understand that they cannot drop by just because they know you are home. We might have to make signs and post office hours in order to drive the point home.
I’ve learned that just because there are options and opportunities that others have had success with, doesn’t mean that they are the right choice for you at this time. Location, abilities, talents, budget, timing and circle of influence - these all play a major role as to what works for the individual.
I had to learn how to see opportunities differently. Instead of being stressed about all these things I have to do, I now look at them as future opportunities and write them down in a file. When I return to that file, I celebrate the fact that I have all these great options to follow up on when my schedule opens up. A lot of business owners pay others big bucks to find those opportunities. So instead of feeling regret that you have a list of “to do’s” look at it as a compilation of opportunities waiting for you.
Because we work from home, there is a need to make time for the house duties, the meal making, the yard care, the shopping, and all the other life and family activities. Working from home can often mean we are loading and running various machines while we are working on the blog. We might be prepping meals part of the day, doing housework, tackling that honey-do list and also returning calls and emails pertaining to business. We have bread baking while answering questions to an interview, or watering the lawn while we write an article. Those of us who are self-employed learn to multitask, that’s for sure.
At the same time, we need to learn to say “No” when it comes to all the things your family or friends figure you should have time for. With family this often means that we need to learn how to delegate what needs to be done.
Home-based business owners also need to have a “shut-off” button. We have to be willing to schedule time to recharge those energy batteries and refill that happiness bucket so that when we come back to that lists of to do’s, we do it efficiently, with energy, enthusiasm and fewer mistakes. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Forbidden Planet - Rise of the Gladiator by Cheree Alsop

When Captain Nova Ardis acquires the services of a dangerous, tattooed gladiator, she knows she’s taking a risk—but she would do anything for family.
Kove has survived most of his life in the gladiator arena and now, on the eve of winning his freedom, he is sold once again. At least being the captain’s bodyguard shouldn’t be too hard compared to the bloody life he’s lived.
But when she takes him to the forbidden planet and embarks on a mission to rescue her brother, Kove will have to call upon all his skills to keep himself—and the woman he’s falling for—alive.

The book link from Amazon is here:

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Disharmony of Silence by Linda Rosen

Book Summary

In her desperate quest for family, Carolyn Lee is determined, against all advice, to reveal the shocking eighty-four-year-old secret she uncovered…until she realizes that "family" means more than blood.

In 1915, jealous, bitter Rebecca Roth cuts all ties with her life-long friends, the Pearls. Eight years later, Rebecca’s son and young Lena Pearl begin keeping company in secret. Rebecca agrees to a truce when the couple marries. But the truce is fragile. Rebecca’s resentments run deep.

In 2010, Carolyn Lee, fitness instructor and amateur photographer, must come to grips with the fact that her mother’s imminent death will leave her alone in the world. While preparing her childhood home for sale, she realizes for the first time that her mother’s antique brooch is identical to the one pinned to the lady's dress in the painting hanging above the fireplace. Coincidence or connection? Carolyn is determined to find out. What she discovers has the potential to tear lives apart or to bring her the closeness and comfort she longs for. It all depends on how she handles her newfound knowledge.

Print Length:
Genre: Women's Upmarket Fiction
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
ISBN-10: 1684334306
ISBN-13: 9781684334308

The Disharmony of Silence is now available to purchase at and Barnes and Noble. 

Praise for The Disharmony of Silence

“Linda Rosen spins an intriguing tale of long-held family secrets, an emotional search for identity, and a painting that may just be the key to untangling the complicated past. The bittersweet mystery kept me reading rapidly until the last page!” —Kristin Harmel, bestselling author of The Winemaker’s Wife

Rosen paints a vivid picture of a family torn apart then shows us what true family means. – Pamela Taylor, author of the Second Son Chronicles

A wonderful novelist . . . Ms. Rosen's writing is both tender and inspiring. The Disharmony of Silence unfolds with emotional and wise insights. – Bunny Shulman, author of After Aida

"A family torn apart by jealousy and reunited by love is devastated again when tragedy strikes. A poignant and moving debut novel about the fragility of life, the power of love, and the cost of keeping a secret." Gina Sorell author of Mothers and Other Strangers

About the Author, Linda Rosen

Linda Rosen, fitness professional turned writer, lives with her husband splitting their time between New Jersey and Florida. She was a contributor to Women in the Literary Landscape: A WNBA Centennial Publication for the Women's National Book Association and has had stories published in Foliate Oak and Crack the Spine, both in their online magazine and print anthology. Follow her at

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Guest Post by Valerie Nifora, author of I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry

There was a healthcare study completed in 2018 by a leading Health Insurer, that noted 3 out of 4 American's struggle with loneliness with 43% feeling isolated from others, as well as feeling a lack companionship and a lack of meaning in relationships. 

People have asked me what compelled me to decide to try to publish my poetry. And the answer is, I wanted to take this subject of loneliness in romantic relationships and talk about it. My book,  I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry chronicles my feelings of loneliness in relationships that spanned over 15 years. I would sit quietly in a corner somewhere, and just pour my heart out onto the pages of my journal which I kept well hidden. When I was feeling brave, I  would share a poem or two  with a very small handful of friends, until one day one of them said, she thought this might be my gift.  She said she thought they were lovely and perhaps then might help someone else. It was her suggestion to share them, that prompted my journey. I'm here to tell you, if you're feeling lonely, you're not alone.

Everyone at one point or another in his or her life will feel lonely. It's just part of making it through in this existence. If you have a love, or lost a love, or are waiting for love -- well, it's all part of this intricate dance called living. And the worst part of loneliness is, that you naturally never know how long it will last. But, if there's one thing that I've learned about the human heart, is that it has an incredible capacity to heal. It has an incredible capacity to give. And the one thing that got me through the loneliest days -- besides my writing -- is this simple quote that was given to me on a bookmark -- "The heart that gives freely is never lonely." 

The cure often for loneliness is giving. Giving of your time. Giving of your talent. Giving of your perspective. Out there somewhere right now is another person who's feeling lonely. Perhaps, even you, reading this? And I'm here to tell you, I know how that feels. I feel that too. And when I do feel it -- I go out. I go to the library. I talk to a librarian and have her help me find a good book. I go and volunteer somewhere for an hour. I attend a webinar, a class, a seminar, a session -- anything so I can learn and perhaps share what I've learned. And when all else fails, I write. Yes, it might cure the sting of loneliness for a little bit of time, but it's amazing how small investments in giving, reap such incredible harvests in time. 

So, if you're feeling lonely. Just know, you are not alone. 

Monday, February 24, 2020

I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry by Valerie Nifora

I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry

Book Summary

I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry is a journey into romance, love and loss through poetry. The poems published in this collection span over 15 years of writing. Often starting with short rhythmic patterns, each poem’s lyrical tone is filled with inspired words to express the deep emotion experienced in the intricacies of romance.

Handwritten in a journal and hidden away until this publication, the poems chronicle the journey into and out of love. Written in three parts, the book enables the reader to transverse the intensity of romantic love, from the first moment of falling in love, to the intense pain of heartbreak.

Beautiful and powerful in its lyrical and simple verse, the reader is immediately immersed in a world of sensuality, passion, desire, and innocence; all woven together into a tapestry of human emotion. Each poem transports the reader to a story through the art of poetry. Drawing on natural elements such as the sun, sand, wind and moon, this collection explores the light and darkness of romantic love, leaving the reader questioning if love was ever real at all.

Print Length: 108 Pages
Genre: Poetry
Publisher: The Unapologetic Voice House LLC

I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry is available to purchase at Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and Target.

Praise for I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry

“...a breathtaking compilation of tender poetry .“

- Jessica Tingling, The San Francisco Book Review

“Valerie’s poetry evokes images of tangled butterflies caught in a breeze, leaves falling too soon, and speaks with a deep, deep tenderness.”

– Troy Turner, Poet

“A beautiful tribute to reflective thoughts of love and losses suffered…this was well done… ”

– Wanda Firman-Cooper, Reviewer

“Valerie’s poems are not only magnificent to read, but they stick with you.”

– Robert Robinson, Executive Producer, The Dinner Salon

“In today’s age of fast-food thinking, attention-deficit scanning, and thumb scrolls past click-bait, it’s refreshing to find a relatable, digestible read that harkens back to an era of leather-bound literature’s reign in terms of meter and word choice.“

– Amaani F. Lyle, Military Journalist

“Val’s poetry goes deeper…into a mosaic of sensuality that leaves you hearing love as if it were a song.“

– Myra Jo Martino, Writers Guild Award Winner for Ugly Betty

About the Author, Valerie Nifora

Valerie Nifora was born and raised in New York to Greek immigrant parents. For over twenty years, Valerie was Marketing Communications Leader for a Fortune 50. She served as a ghost writer for several executives and has executed award-winning campaigns using her special gift as a storyteller to inspire. Her first book is a collection of romantic poetry that explores innocence, sensuality, passion, desire, heartbreak and loss through the lens of her personal experience spanning over 15 years. Her beautiful and powerful voice immediately calls forth a time of leather-bound books and invites the reader to find a comfortable chair and begin their journey through the powerful human emotion of love. Valerie holds a B.A. in Communications from Emerson College and an M.B.A. from Fordham University. She is married and a mother of two amazing sons.

Twitter @vnifora

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Silver Spoons: One's Journey Through Addiction by Sarah Dickinson

Silver Spoons: One's Journey Through Addiction, takes an intimate and raw look at the current face of addiction and recovery. Talking about the current opioid epidemic, we follow a young couple while one of them goes through the recovery process. Told through letters, we get an understanding of their relationship as it struggles through his addiction and resulting recovery. From detox, rehab, sober living and the 12 steps of A.A., you get a raw and honest look at the effects of addiction and how they affect relationships.

AUTHOR NOTE: There is explicit and graphic content.

Print Length: 380 Pages
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Independently Published
ISBN-13: 978-1717868947
ISBN-10: 1717868940

Silver Spoons: One's Journey Through Addiction is now available to purchase at

About the Author, Sarah Dickinson

Sarah Dickinson is a lifelong resident in beautiful upstate New York. Mother of two amazing daughters and three equally awesome rescue dogs, she is the author of Silver Spoons: One's Journey Through Addiction. She currently attends college and is in the midst of switching careers. When she isn't doing it all, she reads comic books, blogs, and takes weekend getaways.

You can find the author online at:

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Georgia Stories on My Mind by Jackie Rod

Georgia Stories on My Mind

Come visit Georgia within these pages as you read heartwarming stories shaped by local traditions and legends. The characters live life to the fullest through joys and hardships. Inhale the essence of Georgia’s revitalized small town squares while eating hand- scooped ice cream on a park bench. Each town has its own magic. Sometimes the most real things in life are things we cannot see but those that deeply touch us, as the folks in these tales learn. Share smiles and shed tears as you travel the curving road of life with these Georgia characters. Are you ready for an unforgettable experience of hope, faith, trust, reconciliation, and love?

Print Length: 259 Pages
Genre: Short Story Anthologies
Publisher: Touch Not the Cat Books

Georgia Stories on My Mind
 is available to purchase on

About the Author, Jackie Rod

“A good book transports me to another time and place. It lets me feel the sensation of heroes and heroines— dark loneliness, deep passion, a father’s pride and a mother’s grief.” Jackie Rod is a fiction writer, loving wife of a legal beagle, and mother of three children who has blessed her with seven fantastic grandchildren. After Jackie retired from teaching, her love of words and stories led her to begin writing fiction. Reading and traveling enrich her life and she jumps at the opportunity to teach a workshop or attend a writing conference. She belongs to five writing chapters/groups. Jackie’s work can be found in twelve published books on Amazon, in several Metro Atlanta libraries, and independent bookstores.

You can find Jackie at:

More from Jackie:

Importance of Writing Conferences
I love, love, love writing conferences. I urge everyone to invest the time and money to attend one or more. They can benefit your future. Conferences are invaluable for learning the craft, meeting editors and agents, and making connects within the writing industry. I attend writing conferences as often as I can.
The Romance Writers of America national conference is the largest one I have attended, but I would not necessarily recommend a conference of that magnitude for beginning writers. The crowd can be overwhelming. Veteran authors thrive on large conferences.
RWA raises thousands of dollars for literacy organizations with its mass book signing. This is a huge contribution to literacy across the country.
The education and information workshops are numerous and phenomenal.  Plot Structure, Character Development, Dialogue, Point of View, Show—Don’t Tell, Body Language, Using the Senses, Male Voice v. Female Voice, and How to Build an Audience, Create a One Sheet, Write a Query Letter, Write a Synopsis, etc.
 My guess is that veteran authors concentrate on the Value of Social Media, Indie Publisher v. Large Publisher v. Self-Publishing, and How to Launch a Book, Market a Book, and Maintain a Presence.
One of the first super successful self-published YA authors, Amanda Hocking, made over two million dollars simply with eBook sales.
Veteran writers interact with editors, agents, publishers, venders, retailers and other publishing professionals. There are so many choices on how to utilize your time. Veteran authors know how to earmark the events that suit their own needs. Novice writers could be hard-pressed to pinpoint their needs. The offerings at large conferences are so numerous that no attendee can do all of the events.
Networking with other writers, agents, publishers and readers is a great take-away. Bonding with available others while you are there is essential. Don’t sit at a table with just friends. Socialize and meet new people, exchange ideas and business cards. Make new friends for life.
An example of a good sized Conference is Moonlight and Magnolias hosted by Georgia Romance Writers in Atlanta, GA.  They draw high professional Keynote speakers, teachers for workshops, and host an awards ceremony for the winners of each year’s writing contest. In 2019 Pamela Vanardo won the Maggie Award after she had won the Golden Heart in 2018 at RWA’s national Conference in Denver.
Bottom line: writing conferences are great sources of education, inspiration, networking, friendship, and fun. I want to encourage you to put a writing conference on your calendar. You will be glad you did.
If you have a minute, tell us about a writing conference you’ve attended. National and local conferences for all genres are available, Sleuthfest, Worldcon & North America Science Fiction, Christian, etc.
Please share any “genre” writing conference you found beneficial.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Made to be Broken by Hugh Fritz

Flarence knows that Genies are supposed to help their masters by granting wishes, but he’s never been comfortable taking orders. To him, pummeling bad guys with magically enhanced weaponry feels like a much better way to use his powers.Darren is a gangster who wants to leave his reckless life behind so he can focus on providing for his family. Unfortunately, there are people in the neighborhood who won’t let him move on. Soleil is a humble man who tries to lead a passive lifestyle. In times of peace or times of war, he can be found cleaning his cafe or singing along with rock-’n’-roll tunes while tending to his houseplants.Darren, Soleil, and Flarence will have to work together and step outside their comfort zones when a rogue Genie and a hot-headed police officer threaten the lives of their loved ones. Flarence will be challenged to work with a criminal, Soleil will be forced to leave his sanctuary and act to help his friends, and Darren will face the possibility that being a gentle and caring family man may not be an option for him.  

Print Length: 240  Pages
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Made to be Broken  is now available to purchase on Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and  IndieBound.

About the Author

Hugh Fritz is a fan of monsters, mad scientists, sorcerers, and anything that involves being with incredible powers beating each other senseless. After years of writing research papers, he decided it was time to give reality a rest and let his imagination run wild. This is his first book, and it has been an illuminating experience making the transition from reader to author.

He was born in Chicago where he spent most of his life until moving to the Southwest in 2015. He finds inspiration bouncing ideas off other novelists in a critique group, but hours of television and finding the right songs to put him in the writing mood play an important role as well. He has no plans to end the Genies' adventures here, so be on the lookout for more magical mischief in the next book of the Mystic Rampage series.

Find Hugh Fritz online:


Author's Website: