Before anything else, I’d love to wish a Happy Book Birthday to Dacia M Arnold for her latest release, REACTANCE, the prequel novella to her upcoming novel APPARENT POWER! Don’t miss her guest post following the release announcement! Congratulations, Dacia!
by Dacia M Arnold
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Release Date: August 18, 2018
Given a gift she never wanted, a young woman fights to find a place in post-apocalyptic Denver.
When a dormant gene awakens in a quarter of the world’s population, conductors of electricity are at the mercy of the DiaZem who rule over them.
After her father is killed in a thwarted plan to eradicate the population without the conductor gene, teenager Sasha Bowman channels her bitterness toward the woman she believes is responsible: The Queen DiaZem.
Keeping a journal to share with the world what really transpired, Sasha rallies the community to React against the Apparent Power.
About the Author
Dacia Arnold is an author that struggles to find a balance of work, motherhood, marriage, writing, and the occasional craft. Her first full-length novel, Apparent Power, is in the works to be released December 2018. Dacia served 10 years in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and deployed twice to Iraq and often incorporates these experiences into her writings both fiction and non-fiction. She currently lives in Denver, Co with her husband, two children, and a fat beagle named Watson.
I am so excited Liz Durano let me take over her blog for the day. My novella, REACTANCE just went on sale on Amazon and she wanted all of you to know about it. I have been a fan of Liz for a few years now and she has been extremely helpful to me and my career over those years. Thank you, Liz.
How fitting in the wake of Breaking the Rules, she would have me on her blog to talk a little about my personal military experience and the representation of such in literature. I served in the US Army, Active Duty for ten years. I deployed twice to Iraq in the medical field and witnessed both miracles and horrors of war. While my experience as a woman in the military differs from Sawyer’s, it is always important to remember women do serve and have served in the military for a long time.
Gender differences and representation in literature is not what I want to talk about though. I want to talk about my experience at war, PTSD, and losing dear friends.
I worked for fifteen months in the busiest trauma center in the world, Baghdad ER. Books were written and documentaries were filmed about Ibn Sina Hospital located in the Green Zone of Baghdad. I assisted in the birth of healthy babies and witnessed the death of young men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to their country. I also fought for the lives of other men and women who felt they could no longer go on and decided to take their own lives. In the absence of understanding I was often angry when we would fail in our attempts to resuscitate my fellow brother or sister in arms.
We also treated children, criminals, terrorists, murderers. And we treated them all the same. A man, who was shot for creating an explosive which killed five Americans, received the same life-saving measures as a child who was considered collateral damage and was injured for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I saw a lot. I let for Iraq at 23 and returned home when I was 25. I left far more than a birthday and year worth of holidays in that marble clad medical facility. I left nearly every memory I had and held onto the feelings of comradery, the twisted sense of humor one often finds in an emergency room, and pride in the work we did and care we provided. When our mission was done, our emergency room held a 98% survival rate. If you made it to the Combat Support Hospital, your chances of living to see your family again were pretty good. We still managed to lose so many.
All of this happened over a decade ago. I am older, have kids, and left the military when my contract ended four years ago. I do not have post-traumatic stress disorder. This simply means when these memories come back and affect me negatively, I am able to successfully find a coping mechanism to file the memories back in my mind. An inability to do so does not make a person weak. There was a time where I drank too much, cried a lot, and felt guilty about those lives lost in my care. I am, after all, still a human being.
My second deployment to Iraq, I was asked to manage the outpatient clinic (a position multiple levels above my pay grade) while my peers were shift leaders in the emergency room. They wanted the guts and glory. I had seen enough gore by then and was happy to have my quiet predictable corner of the hospital. On Christmas morning (was Christmas night in Iraq), my best friend back home was murdered by her boyfriend with her six children in the home. Because she was not family, I was not granted the opportunity to go home to pay my respects or offer assistance to her children. She was also a veteran. Her boyfriend was still in the military at the time. He was sentenced to a mere fifteen years of prison because he was clinically diagnosed with PTSD. He’s halfway done with his sentence already.
All of these experiences bleed into my writing. Articulating the feelings of loss, pain, guilt, the emptiness one experiences when someone they love is no longer there helps me in filing those hard memories in my mind. It helps me make sense of situations and the grieving process. Everyone has a “fight or flight” reflex and it never occurred to me that flight was an appropriate road to take in such matters.
As a mother, my knowledge of terrorism, guns, and survival are always thoughts running in the background of my mind. I was working in a major hospital when someone called in a bomb threat. Patients and staff alike were notified. Many patients wanted to leave against medical advice. After we received the all clear, some of the nurses, knowing my background, asked me what I would have done. I simply said, “I really just depended on what happened, but either way, I’m going home tonight.” While I knew I had no control over the situation, I needed to maintain the confidence of my ability to fight.
I often call my time in the military “the best worst time of my life” I do not regret joining, serving, deploying OR getting out after ten years. Every experience added a layer of clay to my skeleton and molded who I am today. It gives depth to my writing and a strength I know even the most likely of characters can muster.
And with that, I present my novella, REACTANCE.
Reactance is written in the form of a journal. The story runs the timeline of my novel, Apparent Power, and the sequel, Shifting Power. Though Reactance is meant to be a teaser to the main DiaZem Trilogy, readers can either pick it up while they wait until Apparent Power is released in December 2018 OR they can read it between books 1 and 2. Either way it wets your pallet for the dystopian world I have made.