Sunday, August 20, 2017

Maggie's on the cusp at last.

Yes, that's right -- Maggie on the Cusp: Transcendence Book 2 is out at long last.

I strive to publish three novels a year: the first in March or April; the second in May or June; and the third around the middle to the end of November. As you know, the first book in the Transcendence trilogy, Maggie in the Dark, came out in March. This one should have been out in late May or early June -- but it wasn't.

For starters, the themes in this book are tough. Maggie's mother is losing her memory, and it's happening very fast. And then, too, Maggie is being forced to deal with her brother Sandy, who has verbally abused her for as long as she can remember.

We hear a lot about physical abuse -- primarily, I think, because it's so obvious. If someone regularly roughs you up, you're going to have bruises and broken bones. The damage from sexual abuse may be less obvious. Psychological -- verbal and emotional -- abuse often accompanies these physical acts. But it can stand alone, too. Gaslighting is one form of psychological abuse; bullying is another. And the wounds from any sort of abuse run deep.

Here's how Maggie describes her relationship with her brother:
I know a lot of people are rotten to their siblings when they’re all kids, but as they mature, they grow closer. Well, Sandy never grew out of it. I was always the dumb kid sister. His greatest joy, when we were kids, was to tease me until I cried; among his greatest joys as an adult was to find something to needle me about until I exploded. When I was a teenager, it was my hair or my weight; then, later, it was my marriage. “Why did you marry a guy named Eugene?” he would ask, laughing derisively. “What a stupid name. And he’s such a poser. For God’s sake, Maggie, couldn’t you find somebody normal to screw around with? And what the hell were you thinking, letting him knock you up? Don’t you know anything?” 
Given Sandy’s opinion of my husband – which, it galled me to admit later, wasn’t far wrong – but anyway, you would think my brother would have been thrilled to learn that I was divorcing Gene. But no, that was my fault, too. “So you’re just gonna give up? Marriage is supposed to be ‘til death do you part, Maggie. Did you miss that part when you said your vows? Or maybe Jews don’t believe in that sort of thing. Is that it?”
I’d grown up enough by then that I refused to let him see me cry when his barbs sunk to the bone. I would sit there and take it, poker-faced, with my nails digging into my palms, until eventually he would give up and go away. But I internalized the abuse. His comments became the nagging soundtrack in my head – the voice that told me it wasn’t worth going back to finish college, that I might as well work at the casino with the other high school graduates who’d never made it out of our little town, because after all the things I’d screwed up in my life, that was all I deserved. 
Abuse doesn’t always leave a visible mark.
Maggie needs to get on with the business of renewing the earth, the task Granny -- who's the human avatar of the Shawnee creator spirit Kokumthena -- handed her in Maggie in the Dark. But she needs to settle her personal relationships first. And that means resolving her conflict with Sandy -- and with their mother, too.

Anyway, you can click here for the Kindle version. The paperback was just approved; if you absolutely can't wait to order one, it's available from CreateSpace here. Otherwise, it'll be available from Amazon and other major online booksellers in a few days.

I hope I haven't put you off from reading the book -- it's not all grimdark. And I'm planning to inject a little fun with a contest here next week. Stay tuned...

These moments of new-release blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

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