Wednesday, August 27, 2014

LIES now available in paperback

What if...? and If only... are common human ruminations, quick thoughts perhaps to aid procrastination or avoid responsibility, minor daydreams to stave off boredom.

But luckily for readers, for unknown reasons novelists grab those thoughts and obsess about them until they gel into book-long tales.

I obsess about many things but mostly about death and it ticks me off that I'm not going to be alive to see where technology takes the human race. Without a surreptitious break, I won't be here to meet and greet the astral aliens, either.

That I have to leave such exciting times for my children and grandchildren to experience, is utterly frustrating. My generation worked so hard to create the miracles in computing, communications, transportation and space travel. It seems unfair that the universe requires we pass the torch to our descendants and let them reap the benefits.

Ah, yes. I can only imagine what it is going to be like in 2035 and you can imagine along with me between the covers of my latest release DISPASSIONATE LIES. Now available in paperback this amazing tale explores the good, the bad and the amazing in the world we bequeath our children. Here's hoping the coming generation is as strong, moral, clever and brave as Ladesque, the heroine in DISPASSIONATE LIES.

 The world was depending on her; she had promises to begins the tale.

In celebration of the release of the paperback, please enter this rafflecopter draw for a copy (paperback or ebook, winner's choice) of  SCHRODINGER'S CAT my first sci-fi novella that explores the theory of multi-universes. 

In one universe her daughter is dying in another, her life is rosy--which world will Chordelia choose?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

On PTSD and healing....

I think those with traumatic pasts can heal but first they have to arrive at their own definition of healing.

What do we need to have happen in order to feel healed?

I don't want to forget what happened, that would be nullifying an important part of my life. I of course can't change what happened and I don't want to have positive feelings about the trauma. I don't want to  give up my negative feelings--that would be invalidating myself, nor do I want to stifle those feelings with drugs or other artificial means. I feel what I feel and my feelings about what happened are human, normal and justified. (In fact a new study suggests that recalling a strong emotional link to traumatic events might actually prevent PTSD. Study of passengers from Air Transat near-disaster aids understanding of PTSD )

I'm not about to tell you what you should want in order to feel healed, but I will tell you what I wanted. What are the goals I used to measure my healing?

I consider myself healed because I have a successful career. I am able to develop and maintain strong interpersonal relations. The majority of my time is spent focused on the present and/or the future (not the past). I can remember and appreciate good things about the past. I realize without a doubt that the trauma is no longer happening to me and will not happen again and I behave as though that is true.

The past will never go away, the past changed me forever, in some good ways and in some bad. The past made me what I am today. The past hurt and always will. But I am healed because I live in the present and face the future. The well-being of others is important to me and is often in my thoughts. I am able, and more than willing, to put effort into establishing and maintaining relationships. I am contributing to my community and to my world in positive ways.

I am generally able to sleep at night, seldom have nightmares, usually eat properly, exercise, meditate and otherwise care for my physical self. I do not abuse drugs or alcohol and I successfully overcame my addiction to cigarettes.

I still cry about the past. I still get depressed and seek professional help for that. I still wish 'if only' or 'what if?". I have not forgotten the past and will never forgive. I understand some of what happened, but not all. However, my emotional commitment, my decisions, my thoughts and behaviours are overwhelmingly directed forward and outward. I am healed.

(I am a survivor of child abuse and posted a poem about that a while back:

Find out how Katrina heals in my new release FIREWALLS:
 Eileen Schuh, Author

Schrödinger's Cat

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New study aids understanding of PTSD

Study of passengers from Air Transat near-disaster aids understanding of PTSD (click on this heading to read about the study)

It is exceptionally interesting that this study found that those who survived a traumatic event and suffered PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) processed their memories of the trauma differently than those who survived the same event and didn't suffer from post traumatic stress.

Surprisingly, it is the people with more detached recall, not the ones with the most emotional and detailed recall, who are  more likely to suffer from post traumatic stress symptoms.

This seems counter-intuitive but perhaps gives us an important insight into PTSD--an insight that could become a tool to help those who constantly face trauma--like soldiers going into battle and emergency responders. They could possibly be taught in advance of anticipated traumatic events how to process the experience to best avoid suffering PTSD in the future. oneself in the trauma as it is being experienced and putting words, thoughts and emotions to events as they transpire and consequently remembering those very personal responses to the trauma seems to be a key to successfully getting through and past traumatic events.

Feeling distant to the event and remembering it as if from a time and space outside the trauma may be an unhealthy way to deal with it.

In my novel FIREWALLS, Katrina suffers PTSD from the violence she experienced as a young teen in The Traz biker gang. As a child, she totally disassociated herself from the terror to the point where she refused to even think about it, choosing to believe instead that it hadn't happened. When it came time for her to help police investigators, she refused to put words to what she witnessed, saying that to do so would make the events real.

Skillful interrogation eventually broke through that barrier but she suffers for years from PTSD, never owning the event but rather focusing on the negative feelings she holds toward her tormentors and seeking revenge.

Not until she accepts the fact that she has a problem, does she begin to heal and not until she revisits the physical place where the violence occurred does that healing take shape. By allowing herself to become immersed in the memories she'd held at bay for so long, she is finally able to accept that the event happened in her past, will never change, is no longer happening and will not happen again. This insight is largely brought about by her comparing memories of that traumatic night to  her current state--everything from the weather and the sounds about her, to her size and the time of day.

By personalizing the memories that up until then had been little more to her than answers to investigators' and psychiatrists' questions and court room testimony, she first came to 'own' the event and then move past it.

That old adage that one ought to "live in the moment" might well be great advice for those horrible moments as well as for the wonderful ones.

 New study aids understanding of PTSD is brought to you by


"Packed with humanity, crafted with insight."

"Schuh has created a character worthy of being called a hero." 

"A tale of comfort and hope that we, too, can slay our own dragons."

"A gritty, fast paced thriller"

"Firewalls provoked emotions in me and that is a sign of a brilliant book."

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gangs and Teens

My BackTracker novels (The Traz, FATAL ERROR, Firewalls) are about gangs. Here is a news item about the reality of gang life.

Who is the 956 gang that's moved into Yellowknife?

B.C.-based gang began as 'just a bunch of kids being stupid,' retired cop recalls

Of special interest is the info about nefarious adults recruiting youngsters into the violent gang lifestyle. In THE TRAZ, Katrina is 13 when she's invited to join the The Traz, one of North America's most powerful biker gangs. As surreal as it seems that a child her age  could become involved this way, news headlines continuously prove my novel is a realistic depiction of what is happening out there.

Adult gang recruiters look for at-risk teens, and Katrina fits that bill.

She's without adult supervision, depressed, doesn't fit in at school, is seeking adventure....weaknesses the gang knows exactly how to manipulate. However, despite her superior intelligence and street-smarts, she discovers she's no match for the brute strength of the adult bikers and that leaving a gang is sometimes impossible. The School Edition of THE TRAZ comes with a Teaching/Discussion Guide and a list of resources for those seeking help or more information on issues such as depression, addictions, and gangs.

"The whole thing ends on a knife edge."
“After reading THE TRAZ I came away wanting more!” 
“I recommend this dark and compelling story” 
"They draw her into the dark world of drugs, murder & lawlessness..."

Eileen Schuh, Author


Schrödinger's Cat