It is with great pleasure that I share a guest post from Cheryl Rainfield. With the anti bullying project running I feel this fits perfectly as Cheryl does amazing work as she has been described writing with empathy and compassion. How important kindness is and Stained is no different. Thanks to Cheryl and JKScommunications for allowing me to take part in this tour. At the bottom of this post are details on how to enter to win three of Cheryls books ebook format as well as a tour wide grand prize of an ereader.
An intensely powerful account of a teen, bullied for her port-wine stain, who must summon her personal strength to survive abduction and horrific abuse at the hands of a deranged killer.Sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs for “normal.” Born with a port wine stain covering half her face, all her life she’s been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust. But when she’s abducted on the way home from school, Sarah is forced to uncover the courage she never knew she had, become a hero rather than a victim, and learn to look beyond her face to find the beauty and strength she has inside. It’s that-or succumb to a killer.
Girls and women (and boys, too) often think that they’re not strong—perhaps especially because that’s reflected in many movies and books—but they are. We are stronger than we think we are. Sometimes it just takes having someone else point out our strength to help us see it, or being tested and finding ourselves strong. Strength is more than muscle—it is courage, emotional resilience, and inner strength.
For years people told me that I was really strong—ever since I started remembering the abuse I’d survived and talking about it at age 13. I never felt strong; when you’re raped and violated, when you endure torture and mind control, strength isn’t something you equate with yourself. But I was, and I am.
While sometimes I fought back physically against my abusers, even though it meant being tortured more—especially if I was trying to protect others—I think the greatest ways I fought back were emotionally and psychologically—keeping my soul intact; not allowing my abusers to twist me into enjoying torturing or hurting others the way they did; keeping hold of my compassion and empathy; finding ways to heal—and saving myself. I had to save myself over and over again—running away, finding ways to escape my abusers until I really was safe—because as much as I wanted and needed it, no one else saved me. I had to be the one to do it.
That’s something that Sarah in STAINED discovers after she’s abducted. While she needed someone to rescue her, no one knew where she was. She had to find the strength and courage to fight back physically and psychologically, finding ways to stay alive, until finally she gave up the idea of being saved by someone else, and found a way to save herself. She also found a way to start healing. And that, to me, is incredible strength.
Often the stories we hear in the media of bully, rape, abduction, and attempted murder are negative. We don’t hear about the children and women who fought back, who were able to tell someone, or who were able to rescue themselves. I think we need to hear more of those stories, especially in books, movies, TV, and other media. We need those positive reflections to remind ourselves that we are strong and we can fight back. I always write strong girl characters (and emotionally strong boy characters) and Sarah’s story is just that. Her story is also closely linked to mine. I drew on my own trauma experience to write it—and also my healing and strength.
I think for those of us who’ve survived trauma or been through rough times, we need to know we’re not alone and things can and will get better. And for people who haven’t been abused or raped or bullied or held captive, reading a book like STAINED can help remind them of things they can be grateful for—having enough food and water, and choices in what you eat; being able to walk around freely; living without the threat of murder; living without abuse. Having friends and support and laughter. It may also increase people’s compassion for others who’ve been through such trauma.
We all have pain. We’ve all had hard things we’ve had to endure. So if you believe you’re not strong, I hope you’ll take a moment to think of the things you’ve survived and realize you really are strong.
Cheryl Rainfield can be found online at