Today is a very special day!
Back in February, when I first got the itch to try my hand once more at writing, I joined a few writing groups on Facebook and started asking questions. I discovered a local writing group, which has become like a second family to me, but before I went to the first meeting, I was nervous. I remember posting about it in one of my writing groups, asking advice on what to expect and mentioning that I was nervous about it.
Almost immediately, someone commented offering me advice and telling me to go for it. Later, that person invited me to other, closer-knit writing groups and even got me to join a small writing community, which I have mentioned here before, called ChapterBuzz. After that, she went above and beyond and chatted with me over the phone to help me write my query letter, and has been my constant cheerleader and support system for nearly a year now. Even though we are basically the same age, she has become a ‘big sister’ to me in the writing world.
Today is a very special day because it’s her birthday! Not only that but her novel, Apparent Power, is releasing NEXT WEEK! In honor of both occasions, I wanted to showcase her here on my small blog. Now, I’ll turn it over to Dacia:
I am so lucky to have our host, Katie, in my life. I have thoroughly enjoyed cheering her on in this industry, watching her spread her wings with her first novel, and witnessing the success of her novella. She has taught me so much about people outside my front door, and there is no way I could repay her for her patience in my ignorance and grace pointing me in the right direction.
As writers, we often use our personal histories, bias, or convictions to form themes within our stories. Some dream of a world and society where their sexual orientation is not even a footnote in their biography because it would be just as trivial a detail as their hair color. So, they write worlds where prejudice does not exist, and secrets are not necessary in any social situation. Own Voices authors write heroes they wish they had, but could scarcely find growing up. We use care choose every single word to make the world a better place. Our themes show the change we wish to see.
For me, themes come from a wound so deep.
Modeling healthy domestic relationships in my novel, Apparent Power, was extremely important. I lost my best friend to domestic violence during my second deployment to Iraq. She was killed in her house at 4am on Christmas morning 2010. The phone call home that day is both vivid and a blur of emotions in my memory.
In Apparent Power, readers will recognize the very distinct differences between a healthy romantic relationship and an unhealthy relationship.
The main character, Valerie Russell, is hell-bent on making sure her son is safe. Her next priority is to find her husband and, with his help, figure out the next steps. As a partner, I make no major decisions without my other half. Though he respects when I am extremely passionate about something, like saving the world, he is my sounding board and voice of reason. There is no doubt he would fight with me to the ends of the earth or run as far away as we could because we would have made the decision together. This healthy relationship drives the train through the story. From page one: yes, a mom is trying to save her son. But her teammate, partner, and best friend is her husband.
Later in the story, the reader encounters a narcissistic character who is in such a place of power, there seems to be nothing left for Valerie to do but concede to her situation for the sake of the lives around her. The narration goes so far as to have the main character recognize the abuse and narcissism but feel so inferior to do anything about it. Many people are in a cycle of abuse knowing they deserve better. Some might feel trapped by money or other circumstances. In the end, Valerie finally reaches out a hand to find strength existing within her the whole time. I will leave the rest for the reader to find out.
Love should not hurt physically OR emotionally. Sometimes relationships are hard, but this should not be the majority of the time. There are avenues to not only identify domestic abuse but find resources in your area to remove yourself from the situation. Psychological abuse is just as damaging as being hit, pushed, or raped. Crisistextline.org is free. Text CONNECT to 741741 in the United States. If your texting is monitored by your abuser, you can call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you are unsure if you are experiencing abuse you can CLICK THIS LINK to find out what domestic violence is.
My best friend’s death impacted more than just me. Her six children no longer have a mother. If my writing inspires someone to recognize their worth to leave a toxic, unhealthy, or abusive relationship, I would have succeeded in being a part of the change I wish to see in this world.
Dacia M Arnold is an award-winning American novelist, freelance writer, mother, medical professional, and a ten-year Army Veteran. She is the author of Apparent Power, Reactance and Shifting Power, plus short fiction in the international anthology COLP: The Passage of Time. As a freelance writer, Dacia contributes monthly to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer’s blog where she shares her relatively short experience in the literary world.
Dacia spent fifteen months working in Baghdad Emergency room with the 86th Combat Support Hospital. During her second deployment, then Sergeant Arnold managed the busiest outpatient clinic in southern Iraq.
Now, as a mother of two, Dacia incorporates her experiences in all aspects of her life into her writing.
Just in time for Christmas, the perfect gift for the book-loving person in your life (maybe that’s yourself). Apparent Power has been critically linked to Hollywood blockbusters like Divergent and Annihilation by Kirkus Reviews and is available for sale December 11th through all major book retailers including Amazon.
For an introduction to the DiaZem world, check out her novella: “Reactance.”