I am excited about revealing the new cover art shortly for my first Rayden Valkyrie novel. Artist Bonnie Wasson has done a tremendous job capturing the look and intensity of Rayden in this very first image of her. The cover is a real tribute to a character that I have to say I connect with and enjoy writing more than any other I have ever written before. Rayden has come to mean a lot to me and oddly she has emerged into my world during times to storms, almost as if she's there to help me keep moving forward. I plan to write more about that aspect, but it really is incredible how this character has been there for me on a personal level too.
I've been embroiled in quite a lot of work for the press, I've been working out hard, playing a lot of guitar and making some progress there, and in general trying to keep my mind on moving forward. I did have an experience last week that I feel shows some of the benefits of training in martial arts, even if it wasn't a physical encounter. Just involved reacting and quick decision making in a very short amount of time, a mindset that is definitely honed in a martial arts kind of setting, though part of me wishes I could have been in a position to have physically intervened in this case.
I was at a light at a major intersection here in Lexington last week, running an errand during rush hour traffic. I was in the left hand turning lane, and I tend to make it a practice of looking around at my environment. Near the corner of the intersecting road to my left, I notice a girl, maybe later teens or early twenties, who comes tumbling out of the side of a car that's stopped by a curb on a right turning lane near a sidewalk. A guy of about the same age range gets out of the car and it looks like a struggle breaks out right away.
All of this transpires fast, and he seems to be moving to tie her hands behind her back. She clearly looks to be resisting, to the point that her shirt nearly comes off entirely in the process. She does look up in my general direction and the expression on her face was unmistakably fear/great distress.
I had two lanes of full speed traffic coming the other way and I was also at a long enough distance that the guy could have seen me coming from a ways off and perhaps managed to stuff the girl back into the car and scoot instead of working to restrain her, so I decided to call 911. I did take a second first to lock in the description of his vehicle (especially the model and color) and the features of the guy and the girl.
I called 911, gave them plenty of detail, from the actions I witnessed to the detailed descriptions of vehicle and individuals. Chalk a little of that up to being an author, for sure, in that I was able to give an organized and thorough description of everything.
My light changed, and I went down to a place where I was able to turn around and come back up the other side. It was a few minutes, but the Fire Department EMT's were already working on the girl and the place was swarming with police. I didn't see the guy involved or his car, which leads me to think something really bad was indeed going on. It just gave me great relief to see the girl in the hands of the EMT's and being attended to.
Some other people I know from Lexington commented later on a Facebook post I made that they saw the girl talking with the police and EMT's, and that she was crying, a little after the time I was there. At the very least, she was out of the hands of the guy and I would probably bet that he did not get too far before the police caught up to him.
But seeing it, reacting to it, making a fast decision, and keeping my cool to focus on details and transmitting a clear report to the 911 folks were elements I'm glad I was capable of executing and I do attribute part of that to martial arts training. Just one of the many benefits of that, in terms of reaction and fast decision-making.
Nevertheless, I wish I was in the same position as a city "Wheels" vehicle that was right behind the guy when everything unfolded, and had to have seen the same struggle that I did, yet just calmly pulled around him and drove on while I was making the phone call far away from my position. At the very least, the city vehicle should have stayed in place to witness everything and keep a locked eye on what was happening, even if they were not willing to confront the guy. If I had been that close, I could have, which is the only thing I was bummed about. But at the end of the day, the important thing is that whatever the guy had in mind was disrupted and the girl ended up in safe hands.
As far as my world goes, I'm heading into a very tough week with Christmas and the New Year holidays. The combination of the way things are for me right now and the recent storm make for a very difficult time, as I truly thought back at the start of Fall that this Christmas was going to be different than last year, and last New Year I thought 2014 would be an uplift year. Instead, I have to steel myself for enduring the fact that neither of those two things turned out to be the case. If anything, the storm I went through this fall has made this holiday season much more painful. It is hard to even go out in public right now, as so many things I see trigger thoughts of what I had hoped to be a part of this Christmas and drive home how empty and difficult things are in my world.
Nevertheless, I am doing all I can to keep moving forward, which is not an easy task when everything is in gray and I've gotten to the point where I find it impossible to believe the sun will shine again in my heart. Been many long years since I've seen that wonderful kind of sunlight and it absolutely tortures me to think of how close I felt I was to seeing it not so long ago. But I'll summon up whatever strength I can and keep moving.