One week into Covid, the gift that keeps on giving

So glad I got my shots, even if I did get Covid-19.

Got my shots.

Got Covid anyway.

Still, I’m grateful to be muddling through without the fear of my lungs filling up and drowning me. Since my diagnosis, I’ve learned that the shots were created to place a warm, soothing womb around our lungs with a bunch of bad-ass Covid-killing assassin cells guarding the periphery. (Okay, maybe that’s not what’s really occurring, but you get the picture.)

That said, the headaches suck. If someone said, “Hey! Put a nail through your eye. That’ll fix it!” I’d honestly consider seeking out a hammer.

I have always pictured my lovely immune-system protecting white blood cells as Marvin the Martian.

Then there are the dreams. Strange barrages of images and words. In one case, I was trying to solve a problem and hundreds of solutions appeared and attacked me. Some of these ideas were clearly wrong, so I batted them away, but then more came zipping at me. It was like that new commercial with Serena Williams where she’s dressed up as Wonder Woman and whacks tennis balls to stop the monsters, but not as athletic. Or sexy. I wondered if my brain was fighting off Covid bugs and if my own immune-system defenders were winning the battle. (For some reason, I have always pictured my little guys as Marvin the Martian in his Roman helmet and basketball shoes. No idea why.)

Covid also gives one a dry cough that constantly wakes you up when ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS SLEEP! Hence, you will understand why I reached for that codeine-laced cough medicine. Which I took. Then, I passed out. I awoke on the bathroom tile, splayed out like one of those TV villains who plunges ten stories and splats on the sidewalk, limbs going in all the wrong directions. Yep! I fell on my own ankle and broke it in two places, which means the next time I watch a football game and some lineman gets his ankle rolled by some other 300-pound behemoth, I will have to leave the room. Then I’ll send flowers.

Fractured my ankle in two places after I passed out. Ugh!

While I would like not to whine, at the moment it’s hard. I must constantly remind myself that I get to be ill in a nice bed in a nice room in a nice house where I’m tended by people who love me. And, medical professionals were there for me when I cracked my ankle in two. Note that next to my hospital room door the sign said BIOHAZARD, and my name was listed below, along with the rest of the hallway’s Covid patients. I’ve been called a lot of things, but biohazard is definitely new to the list.

Do bear in mind that I’m writing this while on pain meds, so if nothing makes sense, please forgive me. And, if you haven’t gotten the jab yet, I highly recommend it.

Now, I will crawl back in bed and see if I can sleep through the next five days.

PS

I know I’m supposed to be launching my new novel The Castle right now, but I promise I’ll get back to it when I’m not overly medicated, because who knows what I might say when my brain is addled.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is the-castle_front-cover-1.jpg

Ancient ruins, haunted memories, and a ruthless criminal combine with a touch of mystic presence in this taut mystery about a crime we all must address.

THE CASTLE

Anne Montgomery

Contemporary Women’s Fiction/Suspense

TouchPoint Press

Release Date: September 13, 2021

Maggie, a National Park Ranger of Native American descent, is back at The Castle—a six-hundred-year-old pueblo carved into a limestone cliff in Arizona’s Verde Valley. Maggie, who suffers from depression, has been through several traumas: the gang rape she suffered while in the Coast Guard, the sudden death of her ten-year-old son, and a suicide attempt.

One evening, she chases a young Native American boy through the park and gasps as he climbs the face of The Castle cliff and disappears into the pueblo. When searchers find no child, Maggie’s friends believe she’s suffering from depression-induced hallucinations.

Maggie has several men in her life. The baker, newcomer Jim Casey, who always greets her with a warm smile and pink boxes filled with sweet delicacies. Brett Collins, a scuba diver who is doing scientific studies in Montezuma Well, a dangerous cylindrical depression that houses strange creatures found nowhere else on Earth. Dave, an amiable waiter with whom she’s had a one-night stand, and her new boss Glen.

One of these men is a serial rapist and Maggie is his next target.

In a thrilling and terrifying denouement, Maggie faces her rapist and conquers her worst fears once and for all.

REVIEW COPIES OF THE CASTLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

Also available on NetGalley

Contact: Jennifer Bond, Publicity Manager, Media Liaison

Review/interview requests: media@touchpointpress.com

Register & Order Online: TouchPointPress.com/Bookstore
Orders: info@touchpointpress.com
Also from Ingram and major retailers

Get your copy here

The Castle: A book about rape and healing

We must bring sexual violence out of the shadows.

Why write a novel about rape? For me, the reason was personal. I was a victim of sexual assault when I was a student in college. According to statistics gathered by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, over 23% of female college students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation. All women between the ages of 18 and 24 are the most likely to be targeted by sexual predators. While it’s true that males are also sexual assault victims, the numbers clearly indicate that the vast majority – 90% – of adult rape victims are female.

I taught high school journalism for 20 years, so my students and I often examined important and often difficult to discuss issues on a daily basis. Nothing was out-of-bounds. My students were encouraged to ask me anything. My promise was that I would always tell them the truth. Periodically, I was asked whether there was anything in my life I regret. And the answer was always the same.

I look back on that night in 1975 when I went on a dinner date with a sweet-faced farm boy I’d met in the dining hall. He was on crutches, convalescing from a football injury. If memory serves, he was about six-foot-three and probably around 250 pounds, still I never for a moment had a bad feeling, nor the least concern when, after dinner, he invited me up to his dorm room. The stare from his roommate still registers. Another member of the football team who would go on to play in the NFL simply picked up his typewriter, walked out, and closed the door. My date, in what seemed like an instant, stripped my clothes from my body. I fought, which made him smile. “You know I can do anything I want to you,” he said. “And there’s nothing you can do about it.”

I trusted my date to do the right thing. Sadly, he did not.

This was the moment in my life I would come to understand that I couldn’t fight my way out of a situation. I’d always considered myself strong and athletic, so I resisted. But as he pinned me to the bed, I realized he enjoyed the battle. The more I struggled the more aroused he became. Strangely, I recalled something my father said before sending me off to college. He’d given me just one piece of advice. He looked me in the eye and said, “Nothing is worth your life.” When I didn’t respond, my dad repeated the message. “Nothing is worth your life.”

I stopped fighting my attacker, believing my father’s words. To my astonishment, the man backed off. He yelled, “What’s the matter with you?” It was then I understood he wanted me to fight, to scream. I laid on the bed motionless. Nothing was worth my life. He got off me and threw my clothes on the bed. I dressed and ran, expecting him to reach out and grab me every moment until I reached my own room.

The next morning a small girl approached me in my dorm hallway. “Can I ask you a personal question?” she said. She wanted to know if I’d gone out with the man. I said I had. “Did he strip you?” she asked. I nodded. “He stripped me, too.” Our conversation ended there, when she just walked away.

Later that day, a dear friend who played on the football team marched angrily toward me at lunch and pulled me aside. “Why did you go out with him?” he asked. “Everyone knows about him!” Clearly, he was wrong. I didn’t know there was a rapist living in the quad. Neither did the girl who approached me. But apparently others were aware. How many of them were victims? And if his behavior was common knowledge, why was he still living on a college campus?

So, what do I regret? According to the National Research Council, 80% of sexual assaults go unreported to law enforcement. Like the vast majority of victims, I said nothing. I sometimes wonder how many women he has attacked over the years? Could I have prevented some of these assaults, had I found the courage to speak up? My logical mind tells me nothing would have been done, had I gone to the police. I’d been on a date. I’d had a few drinks. I willingly went to his room, so what did I expect?

Sadly, forty years later, this attitude still prevails and we now face an epidemic, a plague with life-long effects. The following statistics come directly from RAINN:

If you need help, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline.

• 33% of women who are raped contemplate suicide. 13% of women who are raped attempt suicide.

• People who have been sexually assaulted are more likely to use drugs than the general public.

• Sexual violence also affects victims’ relationships with their family, friends, and co-workers.

• Victims are at risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Teachers, like law enforcement officers, medical professionals, and social workers, are mandated reporters of child abuse. In that capacity, I have encountered students who’ve been sexually assaulted and raped, all by relatives and/or family friends, many repeatedly. Primarily female, these victims have been universally blamed for the attacks against them, families seemingly more concerned about protecting men and boys.

I have written The Castle in the hope that we can bring the horrors of sexual assault and rape out into the open. We must encourage victims to come forward, so we can stop these predators. But how can we get people to speak up, if we don’t change the way we think about sexual assault? The blame-the-victim attitude must stop. Telling young people that no means no, has not worked. Maybe, we need to teach them what “yes” looks like. And for those adults who believe that teachers should avoid the discussion of uncomfortable subjects, let me say that ignorance is not the answer. Children can and do find anything they want on the Internet, and they often believe everything they log onto. As adults, it’s our responsibility to give them context and guidance, so the world they grow up to inhabit can be better than the one they live in today.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is the-castle_front-cover-copy-3.jpg

Ancient ruins, haunted memories, and a ruthless criminal combine with a touch of mystic presence in this taut mystery about a crime we all must address.

THE CASTLE

Anne Montgomery

Contemporary Women’s Fiction/Suspense

TouchPoint Press

September 13, 2021

Maggie, a National Park Ranger of Native American descent, is back at The Castle—a six-hundred-year-old pueblo carved into a limestone cliff in Arizona’s Verde Valley. Maggie, who suffers from depression, has been through several traumas: the gang rape she suffered while in the Coast Guard, the sudden death of her ten-year-old son, and a suicide attempt.

One evening, she chases a young Native American boy through the park and gasps as he climbs the face of The Castle cliff and disappears into the pueblo. When searchers find no child, Maggie’s friends believe she’s suffering from depression-induced hallucinations.

Maggie has several men in her life. The baker, newcomer Jim Casey, who always greets her with a warm smile and pink boxes filled with sweet delicacies. Brett Collins, a scuba diver who is doing scientific studies in Montezuma Well, a dangerous cylindrical depression that houses strange creatures found nowhere else on Earth. Dave, an amiable waiter with whom she’s had a one-night stand, and her new boss Glen.

One of these men is a serial rapist and Maggie is his next target.

In a thrilling and terrifying denouement, Maggie faces her rapist and conquers her worst fears once and for all.

REVIEW COPIES OF THE CASTLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

Now available on NetGalley

Contact: Jennifer Bond, Publicity Manager, Media Liaison, TouchPoint Press
Review/interview requests: media@touchpointpress.com

Register & Order Online: TouchPointPress.com/Bookstore
Orders: info@touchpointpress.com
Also from Ingram and major retailers

Get your copy here

The Castle: A Virtual Launch at Changing Hands

I’m delighted to announce to all my book-loving friends that I will be holding a virtual launch for my new novel The Castle at Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix on October 4, 2021 at 7:00 PM. (MST)

Mary Jo West will be on hand as the MC.

How’s that work? All you have to do is click here.

Once there, you’ll notice that my dear friend Mary Jo West, the first-lady of Phoenix television, will be on hand to MC the event. (And we know how much fun she can be.) All you have to do is register and order a book. Then, that evening, pour yourself an adult beverage, lean back, and enjoy the talk. You can either head down to the store and pick up your signed copy of The Castle or the book can be mailed to you.

See? Easy.

You’ll receive the Zoom link by email within 24 hours of the event’s start time. For information about participating in virtual events, see the Changing Hands Bookstore FAQ page.

Mary Jo and I are looking forward to seeing you on October 4 at 7:00 PM.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is the-castle_front-cover-1.jpg

Ancient ruins, haunted memories, and a ruthless criminal combine with a touch of mystic presence in this taut mystery about a crime we all must address.

THE CASTLE

Anne Montgomery

Contemporary Women’s Fiction/Suspense

TouchPoint Press

Release Date: September 13, 2021

Maggie, a National Park Ranger of Native American descent, is back at The Castle—a six-hundred-year-old pueblo carved into a limestone cliff in Arizona’s Verde Valley. Maggie, who suffers from depression, has been through several traumas: the gang rape she suffered while in the Coast Guard, the sudden death of her ten-year-old son, and a suicide attempt.

One evening, she chases a young Native American boy through the park and gasps as he climbs the face of The Castle cliff and disappears into the pueblo. When searchers find no child, Maggie’s friends believe she’s suffering from depression-induced hallucinations.

Maggie has several men in her life. The baker, newcomer Jim Casey, who always greets her with a warm smile and pink boxes filled with sweet delicacies. Brett Collins, a scuba diver who is doing scientific studies in Montezuma Well, a dangerous cylindrical depression that houses strange creatures found nowhere else on Earth. Dave, an amiable waiter with whom she’s had a one-night stand, and her new boss Glen.

One of these men is a serial rapist and Maggie is his next target.

In a thrilling and terrifying denouement, Maggie faces her rapist and conquers her worst fears once and for all.

REVIEW COPIES OF THE CASTLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

Also available on NetGalley

Contact: Jennifer Bond, Publicity Manager, Media Liaison

Review/interview requests: media@touchpointpress.com

Register & Order Online: TouchPointPress.com/Bookstore
Orders: info@touchpointpress.com
Also from Ingram and major retailers

Get your copy here