Watch RWISA Write Showcase-Laura Finkelstein, 8/03 #RRBC

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Good day, everyone!  Allow me to introduce fellow author Laurie Finkelstein for a featured blog post.  Laurie is a fellow member of Rave Reviews Book club and a member of RWISA (Rave Writers International Society of Authors). I know of her from RRBC and I can proudly say I have read her book, Next Therapist Please, a heartfelt, honest portrayal of events in her life and how she found help dealing with them.  The following is titled, “Bulletproof Vest.”  I think you will enjoy her prose.

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Bulletproof Vest

By Laurie Finkelstein

The bulk, padding, and steel plates weigh me down. The protection of a bulletproof vest is necessary. No matter the weather, I wear the cloak. The weight is a burden, but I trek on because wrapped is the only way to navigate my journey. The jacket protects my heart from being blown to crimson shards of death.

A direct hit is avoided for days and nights, lulling me into calm and complacency. “All will work out fine,” I tell myself. The truth tells a story I want to change. All my will and might does not make an impact to stop the bombardment.

Experience and time separates me from tragedy. At any moment, the bullets strike. Inside or out. My house cannot provide security, nor can a million people surrounding me. With nowhere to hide, I am a target. Shelter and safety are nonexistent.

Discharges are held back while luck and grace harbor me. The slugs will come, however, in a piercing barrage without warning, and will pummel me.

Knocked to the ground, I am immobilized and rendered helpless. My breathing is halted. My movements are stopped, and I understand what assaulted me.

The shockwave subsides, and in small increments, I am able to take in air. Incapacitated, I continue to lie until I am rescued by the rational thinking buried under an avalanche of pain, doubt, and fear. My thoughts check my vitals to make sure I am in the here and now. “Stay in the moment,” I tell myself. “I can manage this. I will persevere.”

“Rise,” I command. The mass of the garb constricts my movement, but I stand, analyze what must be done, and begin to act. The warrior in me comes out. Battles will be fought. My impervious attire gets me through another crisis, and its weight comforts me. Without the guise, I am unable to prevail against the onslaughts, which pop out of the dark corners of another day.

Yes, my vest is cumbersome, but without my swathe I will not withstand the painful projectiles. Clips are filled, ready to punch and knock me down, disabling me should I forget for a moment to cloak myself within my protective armor.

My bullets are not made of lead, surrounded by a dense metal. The projectiles do not come from terrorists intent on decimating me. The ammo does not come from a police state or a dictator’s command. A barrel is not involved.

My bullets are made of depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Composed of irrational thoughts, insipid ideations, and ignorant rationalizations, they are crushing invisible forces. The capacity to shatter my resolve and render me dysfunctional invades me.

My unsociable enemy is treatable, but never disappears. My therapists validate my experiences of being trapped, resentful, guilty, shameful, ill-equipped, grief-stricken, lost, uncertain, and disabled. My growth in therapy helps me accept the challenge with compassion and empathy in my heart.

Throughout my lifetime three stages will haunt me.

Stage one is the onslaught of rounds. The crisis mode. The shock and pain.

Stage two is being slammed down, breath taken away. Sabotaged. Terms and feelings of the emergency are acknowledged.

Stage three is advocacy for myself. Stand. Breathe. Make decisions. Tools in hand to counteract the depression and anxiety and OCD. Utilize appropriate response and care.

Encouraged by others, I enroll in Toastmasters. Time for me to improve my public speaking and thinking on my feet. Professional and compelling ways of expressing my views is a talent I want to possess. Persuasive interactions are in reach. My computer with Google as my guide, I find the Toastmasters website. The rules and guidelines answer many of my questions. Ready to take on the challenge, I enter my credit card information and become a member. A direct thrust knocks me down.

At first, I don’t understand what attacks me. My heartbeat begins speeding up. My gasps for air speed up. My head spins with dizziness. The mighty effects of terror hammer me to the ground. Despair sinks me deeper into the attack.

Stage one. The thought of standing before people enunciating in a clear voice avoiding “ums” and “ahs” strikes with negative force. In a semi-frozen state of fear and regret, I struggle to make sense of my attacker. Groups of Toastmasters are warm, safe environments to learn public speaking and leadership skills. “Warm and safe,” I remind myself. Still my heart beats faster and my breath diminishes by the second. A ghost of recognition appears before me. Panic is familiar.

Stage two. My history tells me to take an extra Klonopin. Scared to death is not an option. Upon reaching my medicine cabinet with weak, wobble-producing legs, I discover my pill case empty. In my next move, I check the bottle. Empty. My heart beats faster and my limbs go numb. Sweat trickles down my forehead. My last attempt before I collapse in a heap of despair, I call my pharmacist. My trembling voice separated from my body explains my attack and lack of pills. “How fast can you fill the prescription?” my quivering voice speaks out. “Is ten minutes okay?” the pharmacy technician asks.

Stage three. My inner voice tells me to be brave. Think of a serene place. My happy place. Take deep soothing breaths. My toolbox is ransacked for more options until I come to grips with the present. The dispensary is too far to hike, so I must drive to pick up my pills. Cranked engine. Foot on pedal. Brake released. My self-talk takes me on a wild ride to the drug store. My trembling legs walk me to the back of the aisles. The friendly face of the tech reassures me. The credit card transaction is signed with a jellylike hand, completing the purchase.

Back in my car, I down the remedy with tepid water from an old bottle sitting in my trash. My panting is steadier, my heart pounding a little less. Within thirty minutes, I am relaxed, able to pursue my day. Ready to reassess my decision to become a Toastmaster. The choice is sound and important.

My bulletproof vest is worn as a badge of honor and survival. Without my garb, I would be a prisoner in my house, hiding in bed. Sick to my stomach. Useless.

The stigma of mental illness must be broken. My vest is worn with pride. I am a survivor. I am the voice of one in every five Americans experiencing the assailant. I am not alone.

*

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH RWISA WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

 

Laurie Finkelstein RWISA Author Page

 

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Author Networking and Mutual Support, #RRBC

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Want to know how I got to be on an online Blog Talk Radio program on Aug. 27th?  Or how I’ve worked my way up to 927 Twitter followers?  How about the author who has posted my author interview on her blog?  The truth is, it wasn’t all that difficult, and it wasn’t just because I published a book on Kindle.  It all happened thanks to the help of some powerful networking, a tool no indie author could really live without, especially if they want to stay the course in these sometimes lonely waters.  Let me tell you about Rave Reviews Book Club!

I imagine one could pay to have a PR company promote them.  There are many book promo. sites that will tweet for you.  I simply didn’t feel I could foot the bill for such a thing.  You may have heard me mention Rave Reviews Book Club before.  It is a grounding point for me as an indie author.  I truly feel as if I am not alone since finding this community of writers and readers whose main goal is to show one another reciprocal support.  Therefore, I may have joined this club in order to receive author support, but I remain, as my responsibility as a writer is to encourage other writers, to respect writing as an art, and to appreciate and promote other worthy authors, after all, I am still a reader and an appreciater of books and great Literature!

How does it work, you might wonder?  Rave Reviews Book Club requires a nominal fee once per year, and with that, you are a member!  Membership means you will get news of excellent books being published or going on sale, and as a writer, you will get to share your books and news.  Your requirement is to follow other members on Twitter, purchase 4 books by fellow members yearly and review them on Amazon, and to share/retweet fellow members’ news of their books.  In return, you will be supported with shares of your tweets and book information, you’ll have your book looked at, purchased and reviewed, and at some point, yours will be chosen as the book of the month.  This all means much more exposure, what every indie author needs.  Besides all of this, they have a blog talk radio show, a channel on Whatsapp (which I haven’t joined yet), and special programs such as the Back to School Blog party.  It is amazing just how many types of author support they provide!  I haven’t partaken in every little bit, but I just wanted to show that there are so many opportunities for networking and spreading news of your book at this club.  After a few months, I had been chosen as Member of the Week, which is a huge Twitter support storm, and about a month later, I was chosen to talk for a few minutes about my book on their Blog Talk Radio show, which was an exciting opportunity!

ravereviewsec4306defe2a10c0894cd211cf0182b4  A.M. Manay, @ammanay on Twitter, a talented fellow member, made this graphic and Twitter blasted it during my Member of the Week “reign.”

I’ve had the opportunity to read and review such excellent authors as Bruce A. Borders, author of Over My Dead Body, http://amzn.to/2d1w7Qw and J.R. Barrett, author of Winnerland, http://amzn.to/2d1uC4H.  By the way, I highly suggest you read both of them!  These are books I might not have discovered otherwise.

Another type of author support some of the members use is author promotion on their blogs.  Check out the site of Kim Cox, http://twitter.com/KimCoxAuthor, fellow published author and RRBC member!  This is the link to the author interview she posted on her blog for me: http://kimwrtr.wordpress.com/2016/09/17/the-writers-journey-guest-author-pamela-schloesser-canepa/

All of this support and the attitude of mutual encouragement are rubbing off on me.  I have decided to add a Book Reviews section to my blog and will post my reviews here on the blog in addition to Amazon or the author’s preferred site.  Please check back to see this feature on my page!

Are you interested in the policies and perks of the Rave Reviews Book Club?  I encourage you to visit their site and join up at http://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/join-here/ and if you sign up, tell them Pamela Schloesser Canepa sent you there!  Yes, they even have perks for getting new members signed up.  I seriously love being a part of this Book Club.

Go now, check out Rave Reviews Book Club at the site above!

-Pamela