Waves of Insecurity by guest author J.C. Hannigan

Happy to be featured over on Jacqueline Cioffa’s blog today, writing about insecurities and body image…

“I have always been an insecure person, uncomfortable in my own skin. When people look at me, I feel on edge and antsy. It’s like their eyes are burning me, making my skin shrink so that everything feels tight. I can’t help but wonder if they are taking in the scars on my body and my oddly shaped limbs and wondering what in the hell happened to me.”

Jacqueline Cioffa

I’m over the moon to have J.C. Hannigan here as guest author. I have much respect for the intelligent, gifted, smart as a whip woman, author, mother, wife, colleague and friend… She is efficient, funny and the first to extend a hand to a fellow writer. That speaks volumes about her persona, her willingness to help while managing a chaotic busy life, various blogs and successful writing career. I bet J.C. makes ridiculously long to-do lists and knocks them off with a big smile. She is a human tornado with sweet-scented rain and wind inviting you into her magical world of words. When I first read Waves of Insecurity, I took pause. I almost forgot she lives with Multiple Hereditary Exostoses, a debilitating chronic pain bone disorder. That is not how I see her, I imagine envious endless locks of chestnut hair, inquisitive blue eyes and a bold red lip. It’s funny and not funny at all the (

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Chronic Pain, Depression and Anxiety: Jessica Davis

My updated story for Stigma Fighers!

I was an original Stigma Fighter, so my story didn’t show up on our Canadian site. I had to change that, as I’m content manager of Stigma Fighters Canada and it seemed a little strange to not have my own story up there.

So, enjoy and I hope you are all having a fabulous Sunday!

Stigma Fighters Canada

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been in pain.

I was born with a bone disorder called Mulitple Hereditary Exostoses. Nobody in my family had it; I was a rare case where it wasn’t hereditary for me, but a genetic mutational. I was a fairly happy kid, I guess. I tried to smile through the pain, and I only started to get sad when I started to realize the differences between me and everyone else.

MHE is incredibly hard for me to explain in just a few short sentences. I basically have bone tumors that grow along the long bones and joints of my regular bones. As a child, my doctor referred to them as “bumpy bones” or “extra bones”.

These bone spurs (growths, tumors, extra bones or whatever you want to call them) cause a lot of pain on a daily basis. They rub up against…

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At War (With My Body)

I’ve always been at war with my body. The struggle to do all the things I want to do whilst not “over doing it” and causing additional pain to the chronic pain I feel daily has always been a complicated dance.

I keep telling myself that maybe the pain will be less if I could just keep active. I try to push myself, because I want to be able to do it all. I want to have energy. 

But it’s a constant battle, a never ending war.

I went to the gym tonight. I want to do cardio, to build up some muscles…and losing some weight would be nice too. I didn’t go hard, but I moved more than I have in the last several months combined. I’m hurting really bad now..but I’ll let you in on a secret: I was hurting really bad anyway. Whether I sit or stand, I hurt. 

My wrist has been causing excruciating amounts of pain lately. Likely because I’ve been working it by putting pen to actual paper, but also because there are several tumours in there that grind and press against the tendons and that’s just downright unpleasant on a “good day”.  The writing pen to paper just aggravates it more…so I need to stop. 

I can’t win, and it’s exhausting. I just want to get in shape and be healthier, and feel better. I’m not going to quit the gym after one session, I’m going to give it more time. Like I said, I hurt either way.

And it’s depressing. 

* * * *

On another note, today I took my three year old to get his feet measured for orthopaedic inserts. For the newcomers, I should explain that both of my sons have inherited my MHE. They each have different struggles already with it. My three year old has very bowed legs and his heels are collapsed. He walks with a lot of pain and we need to correct it, hence the orthopaedic inserts. My 5-year old’s bone growths press against the nerves and tendons, much like mine, and that causes him daily pain as well.

Today was hard; but I am thankful for medical advances and intervention. 

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New Release: VOID by Cassy Roop!

VOID TEXT copyCover png10999068_10206187997403377_1224462777_obook info pngTitle: VOID
Author: Cassy Roop
Genre: Erotic Thriller
Cover Design: Cassy Roop with Pink Ink Designs
Photography by: Mandy Hollis
Model: Rainey Wilson
Release Date: February 23rd 2015

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I screw men and get screwed for money,
living my life everyday as Jericho Lane.
My clientele list is immaculate.
I am sought out, demanded
and damn good at my job.
I don’t care that these men have families at home,
or that they are important people.
I do it for the money.
to survive.

There is nothing that could make me
feel a bit of remorse or
concern about what I do because
I was born with the inability
to experience or feel emotions…

I don’t feel PAIN
I don’t feel SORROW.
I don’t feel extreme HAPPINESS or LOVE

I am VOID.

A blank canvas of emotions.
An empty hole in an endless sea of
circumstances, moods and relationships.

Until one client changes EVERYTHING.book trailer png

VOID is filled with intrigue, suspense, and smoldering desire. This story will keep you turning the page until the very end.” –Aleatha Romig, New York Times bestselling author

buy links pngAmazon | AmazonUK | iBooks

“Cassy Roop has created a twisted, hot & unique world in VOID.” –Harper Sloan, New York Times bestselling author

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“Never have I been so invested in a story line like I was with VOID.” – S.K. Hartley, International Bestselling Author

meet cassy roop png10525358_10204712668721082_1262547586036668444_n

Cassy is a fitness goddess by day and romance author by night. When she isn’t writing furiously on her next novel, she’s making books look beautiful inside and out as a graphic designer. She has an unhealthy obsession with peanut butter, pedicures, and all things Les Mills group fitness. She has on occasion been seen purchasing clothes that aren’t athletic apparel (although rare).

She released her debut, The Price of Love, in March of 2014.
The Celtic Knot Novels are her first erotic romance series and Books 1 and 2, Ashley’s Bend and Figure Eight both reached #1 in Erotic Thrillers on Amazon. Book 3, Triquetra, released September 22, 2014 and book 4 the companion novel, Axel Hitch in December 2014stalk cassy @ png

Facebook | Twitter | TSU | Website | Amazon | Goodreadsalso look for pngThe Price Of Love

The Celtic Knot Series
Ashley’s Bend
Figure Eight
Axel Hitchhosted byNEW CLP Banner

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Through the Pain Fog

Some days, it’s ridiculously difficult for me to move through the pain fog and focus on the things that I need to do and want to do. My limbs feel heavy and sore, my mind feels as if it’s encased in cobwebs and dust…then I’m forced to somehow more forward through thick and sludgy air; through fog.

This fog is suffocating, and it often feels unbeatable. And it often is…because that’s the thing with chronic pain; it’s chronic.

But what’s even more suffocating than the pain, is the mental affect it has on me on days like today. I’d love to curl up into a ball beneath my warm blankets and just not move…but I can’t do that. I can’t just be immobile for days at a time. I have things I need to do…kids to entertain, dogs to let out and exercise, work I need to do…writing, marketing, errands, and household chores.

It seems like days when the pain fog is especially thick, I have more to do. More times when my toddler thinks it’s a great idea to run up the stairs to cause mischief, knowing that I can’t follow him with the regular ease I lack anyway. But it’s worse on days like today. I actually cry on days like today, because I just don’t want to move.

I dislike who I am on these days. Tearful, reactive and just miserable. It’s hard to feel that way when I strive to be positive. A positive mindset helps you get through the darkest days, it’s a small light that reminds you that you are not what you’re fighting…be it chronic pain, mental illness, or both.

On days like today; that light is so dim its scarcely there at all. I hold on to the knowledge that it is still there, even as dim as it is, and fervently try to recharge that glow in any way I can. Sometimes it’s plenty of couch cuddles with my boys and pooches, some days it’s a good book and a warm blanket, and some times it’s simply knowing that this too shall pass. At least, enough to have my light glowing brightly again.

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I am an extremely sensitive person. So sensitive that I sometimes appear cold and disconnected. I need to, for my own sanity. I have to turn it all off for a bit and try and hush the heavy emotions before they sweep me under and drown me.

I have turned to books and writing for years as a method of coping with everything going on in my life. Escapism, they call it. Some people drink, some people turn to recreational drugs…and I retreat into my mind, either to spill words from my soul or to escape into another persons world by way of reading.

It’s how I dealt with overwhelming pain days when I was younger. It’s how I didn’t go completely insane being coped up inside recovering from surgery after surgery. It’s how I was able to comfort myself.

I don’t want to feel bad about needing to escape from it, I don’t want to feel bad because what works works. If it helps elevate some of the side effects of constant pain, it’s worth it…right? Maybe that’s a selfish thing to say. But maybe it’s not at all. Is it cruel to want to distract yourself? From emotional or physical pain? Pain is pain, and constantly feeling it is exhausting.

Constantly feeling physical pain means that I don’t really have the patience or drive to deal with extra emotional pain. It’s exhausting, so I shut down for a while to process it.

Retreating into ones self for a while may not be the worst thing you could do. Processing your emotions and figuring out your game plan while you escape a little…that’s not the worst coarse of action.

I don’t want to feel wrong for being who I am. I don’t want to be told “you need a medication if you feel like you need to escape so bad”. Reading is not a dark thing, it’s not bad to want to escape into a book for a while. I’d rather read a book than take so many different pain killers that I can’t see straight, that every last bit of enjoyment drips away.

Emotions are good things to have and I don’t want to completely turn them off. They are valid, they deserve recognition. But I’d rather take a little vacation from my own reactions to emotional situations to process them than to say or act in a way I’ll later regret.

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Damaged Goods: Updates & Reflections

I’ve learned a lot about myself during this self publishing experience. I am not a fan formatting or editing. In fact, I hate those parts. Maybe it’s my [extremely old] computer, or maybe it just doesn’t click with me. Especially when it comes to formatting. Formatting on my current computer is like shoving bamboo splinters under my nails. Editing makes me feel like a kid in school again, with five minutes to go before the bell rings and schools out for summer. Editing makes me feel antsy and restless. I get distracted so easily and spend more time googling funny author memes about editing than I do actually editing.

So, attention span, computer…my own lack of knowledge or patience with said computer…Whatever the reason, those are the parts I least enjoy about writing and self publishing. Which is precisely why I refer to my first drafts as mucus plugs (and likely why I have 500 author memes saved on my computer).

I knew with Damaged Goods and Reckless Abandon that I wanted things to happen differently. I published Collide and Consumed way too quickly and I’ll be the first person to admit that. I was just excited. I also posted pictures of my kids right from the womb, so, you know. I guess I just get excited about things that I’ve made and want to share them immediately with everyone else.

Even when they should probably be cleaned up a little first.

Those issues could have been solved by me paying for a cover designer/formatter and extra sets of eyes for editing, but I’ll be honest…I couldn’t afford to do that. It’s not an excuse by any means, I over shot my own ability to do those things and fell short.

So, back to how I wanted things to happen differently this time around…

I submitted my novels to Booktrope and they accepted them. I am now working with a team to bring them to print. I have a book manager, a project manager, an editor and a proofreader, and a cover designer. Which means I won’t have to worry about the pressure of doing those things completely by myself when (let’s face it), I’d much rather spend the time writing more novels. Or, you know, discovering more hilarious memes.

This means that my original intent of publishing this spring isn’t going to happen because I need to allow myself and my team more time to make sure everything is perfect. Good things are worth the wait, even damaged good things (see what I did there?).


Damaged Goods will be coming fall 2015. When it does come, everything will be perfect and it will be available in paperback right away.

Booktrope will also be republishing Collide and Consumed and getting them in paperback format. I’m super excited about that as well!


Now happy Sunday, all! I’m gonna go take advantage of the crazy chocolate sales today.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Truthfully, I am quite horrible with remembering special occasions. Seriously, our dating anniversary is the 25th of February and I’ve forgotten it every year since we got together. Each year I tell myself this year will be different and I’ll remember, but then it’s the middle of March and I’ve forgotten again. The only one I am semi-decent at remembering is our wedding anniversary…and that’s only because I post a hundred reminders in my phone and my Mother-in-law also reminds me.

But I’m not the only one who sucks at this special occasion thing! My husband doesn’t believe in Valentine’s Day. He doesn’t believe in spending ridiculous amounts of money to prove his love. He shows it daily and believes that’s the way it should be. Luckily, I get grand gestures often enough that I’m not bitter about his lack of interest in Valentine’s Day.

Anyway…I was going to do a special treat up for Valentine’s Day, but it sort of creeped up on me and I didn’t get around to doing what I had planned. I know, I suck and we’ve already covered that. Instead, I have something else in mind…

I love hearing about grand gestures, so feel free to tell me all about the best Valentine’s Day ever and what made it the best Valentine’s Day ever. Seriously, participate because you could get a small present from me…😉

Comment on this blog post with your best Valentine’s Day story, then I’ll select a winner using Random Result. Sound fun?

P.S. Here is a little funny meme that made me laugh like a hyena. (Get it?)


P.S.S. Also, this incredible giveaway is still happening and will close tomorrow so ENTER ENTER ENTER.

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A Harrowing Experience

I’m probably going to feel a little ridiculous for admitting this…but I can’t drive in snow.

When I say that, I don’t mean that I can’t actually drive…I don’t mean that I am one of those people that does like 5 miles per hour down the highway. What I mean is that driving in the snow makes me have anxiety attacks. Some days I have no choice but to grit my teeth and bear it, like yesterday.

I was running late. I had to get my older son to the bus stop for 8:26am, and then make it to an appointment for my other son at 9am. We were late leaving the house and scrapping the ice off the truck took longer than I expected. Probably because I couldn’t actually reach the middle of the windshield.

I had three minutes to make it to the bus stop. Normally not an issue, the drive takes one minute if that. I started driving down our road…which is very narrow, for the record. So narrow that two cars driving down it in opposite directions cannot get past each other even when the snow banks aren’t piled high.

I was nearly at the stop sign when a red van pulled onto our road. She saw me and motioned to the person on her right (coming down the opposite way from the road that she came from) that she was going to back up so that I could get out. I couldn’t see this person as they were fair enough down the road that they were obscured by a house.

She backs out and I start to drive, only to have a massive snow plow speed up onto our road. It was the person she had motioned to, and he didn’t give a shit about what we were trying to do there. He blocked the rest of the road and just stared at me.


Now I drive a huge Dodge truck, and there wasn’t anywhere for me to go but backwards. In a huge truck. On a snowy, narrow street. With a snow plow coming at me. Remember how driving in snow makes me anxious? Like really anxious? Well…imagine how driving in snow backwards with a snow plow coming at me makes me feel.


I was a shaking mess by the time the snow plow got off my street and the red van disappeared, and I’d missed the bus completely because that three minutes was wasted backing up and waiting for everyone to get off the road. And it pissed me off a lot. I was nearly at the damn stop sign! The snow plow driver could have waited less than two seconds for me to vacate the road.

And the snow plow driver was laughing at me. Which made me cry because I was anxious and shaking about driving backwards in the snow with a snow plow coming at me. And he laughed at me.

I had to cancel my younger sons appointment because there was no way I’d be able to drop my older son off for 9am and make it half an hour away for 9am. I haven’t mastered the whole be in two places thing yet.

I seem to have the luck of running into all the asshole snow plow drivers. It’s like a major qualification to be a snow plow driver is that you must be an asshole.

So, that was my harrowing experience yesterday that reminded me that my fears of driving in the white stuff are basically justified.

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I am often told I have unreasonable expectations. I used to let those words defeat me, I used to let them cause doubt to take root in my mind and heart. I used to think that maybe I do have unreasonable expectations….but, I do not.

I hold myself up to the same expectations. Yes, I do a lot…but I could do more. I could improve. As a business owner, a writer, a mother, a wife, a friend and a sister…I could improve. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that, and it should come as no surprise that I have similar expectations for other people in my life.

I am all about growth. Each day I strive to grow more, even if it scares me. And I want everyone around me to do the same thing…and why shouldn’t I want that? Why shouldn’t we all want that?


I may not be the nicest person, but I still strive to have a kind heart and kind thoughts. I strive to be nice, even to people who really make it hard. I try to tell myself that they need kindness more than someone who makes it easy. Do I always succeed? Hell no…but I try.


Doubt, resentment and hatred can spread like dandelion weeds, infecting everything so I try my hardest to spread kindness instead. The world needs more kindness and compassion. I need more kindness and compassion. I need accountability and dependability, so I try to be all those things and more.


Sometimes, the truth hurts and hearing that we’ve done something shitty that’s hurt someone else makes us angry because the majority of the world doesn’t seem to process their feelings correctly. Anger shouldn’t happen when someone tells you that you’ve upset them or let them down. That’s not taking accountability for it, that’s passing the buck off to someone else instead of saying sorry. Yeah, sometimes I fail that test in the moment, but I always go back and apologize after stating what I did wrong and how I reacted wrong. That’s called accountability. You don’t need to be perfect but you have to make a conscious effort.

And I expect the same from those I surround myself with. That doesn’t make me unreasonable at all.

If you feel that I am unreasonable for expecting growth from you, then maybe you should look in the mirror and ask yourself…who’s really being unreasonable?

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