UNDER MY SKIN Gets Nod in USA Today HEA Blog Article

Guys! I’m *so* excited to share this news. The USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog is featuring books from Swoon Romance and my book is included!

Click HERE to read what my publisher, two other fab authors, and I have to say about  handling difficult subject matter in books for teens.

 Here are some screenshots of the article:

  
    
 

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UNDER MY SKIN Book Blitz and Review Tour

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I can’t believe UNDER MY SKIN has been out for THREE WEEKS already! I want to thank everyone for tweeting, sharing on Facebook, blogging, and supporting my first YA contemporary’s release!

It’s a scary thing putting your work out there and it sounds like folks are liking Adam and Darby’s story so far. Some reviewers are comparing UNDER MY SKIN to The Fault In Our Stars–how awesome is that?

To keep the momentum going, YA Bound Book Tours is hosting a book blitz (with prizes!) the week of May 23-27. I’d love for you to sign up and take part.

***There will also be signups to do a review! Please consider taking part–I will mail swag from my books to anyone who reviews the book. Just send an email to authorlauradiamond@gmail.com with a link to your review and your address and voila! you’ll receive personalized book swag!***

Click HERE to sign up for the book blitz!

Under my Skin blitz banner

Here’s what reviewers are saying so far about UNDER MY SKIN:

Suze says: “Under My Skin is a beautiful romantic story. Adam has a tough time and can hardly do anything because of his heart problems. Laura Diamond describes his condition with accuracy and compassion. She’s perfectly captured what it feels like to be gravely ill. She knows feelings through and through and it shows. Her book is all about emotions and what happens when things suddenly become too much. I love the way she tells her story and think it’s amazing.

Under My Skin is a moving book about a difficult topic. The writing has a nice flow which makes it easy to read and that gives the reader more time to process what the story is all about. I think Laura Diamond found the exact right tone of voice for her story. It’s sensitive, honest and real. There are plenty of unexpected twists and turns as well. The ending is surprising and gripping and it made my head spin. I think Under My Skin is a fantastic book with impressive main characters.”

Ronald says: “Under My Skin by Laura Diamond is not the typical book I read. My reading taste veer somewhere between fantasy/SCFI and Literary mysteries, however after I started to read Under My Skin I immediately became immersed in the rhythm . Each rhythm is unique, distinct to Adam and Darby the two main characters of the book. The author’s use of this technique pulls you through the book and enriches characters who are wholly believable and heartbreakingly flawed. It is being compared in some circles to The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, another book that was recommended I read. I can see the similarities between the two books, but what makes Under My Skin a better book is the authors ability to make the main characters talk and act in a more realistic manner than in John Green’s book. I purposely have not given any plot details because I believe the reader should experience this wonderful book as I did and be surprised and moved the way it surprised and moved me. I highly recommend Under My Skin.”

Poulami says: “This book was intense. I mean, it had a lot of elements. It’s about guilt, self blame, accepting reality and finally moving on- all of these facts were executed neatly and pretty well…I haven’t read anything like this before, so it was fresh and intriguing.”

Serenity says: “No matter what happens, its that split second that will always be remembered. The day with the car on the icy roads. Now this is where the story got really interesting and the tables turned in a way. I so didn’t expect what happened. It was a perfect twist. The details and feels just got stronger and by this point I was already glued to the seat until the last page was read.”

Christine says: “This is my first read from Laura Diamond and let’s say it will not be the last. This is a beautifully written story about two teenagers who are stuck in the worst circumstances. Both characters who feel misunderstood by the people who surround them daily.”

Lynda says: “…the book does contain some beautiful descriptive passages, both of images and inner turmoil. The author also deals with a difficult subject matter and handles it with great sensitivity. Probably the most poignant moment for me was Adam’s sad analogy of comparing himself with Frankenstein’s monster.”

Susan says: “Downloaded this, and could not put it down! What an excellent read, chores were ignored, dinner was not served! I lost myself in the characters who were so well developed that I really felt they were people that I knew. The psyche behind people dealing with a heart transplant, and the people who lost a loved one were very well written. I am a 48 year old mom, and while this book is geared towards the YA set, I still very much enjoyed it, I would recommend this read to any age.”

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IF YOU’VE READ UNDER MY SKIN, PLEASE POST AN HONEST REVIEW ON AMAZON.

I WILL SEND SWAG FROM MY BOOKS TO ANYONE WHO REVIEWS UNDER MY SKIN. JUST EMAIL ME AT authorlauradiamond@gmail.com WITH A LINK TO YOUR REVIEW AND YOUR ADDRESS! 

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Purchase UNDER MY SKIN on Amazon (ebook is only $2.99 and a paperback is also available)

Purchase UNDER MY SKIN on Barnes & Noble

Purchase UNDER MY SKIN on iTunes

Purchase UNDER MY SKIN on Kobo

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Cats and Schizophrenia

I regularly get an email from the APA (American Psychatric Association) highlighting various topics from the current academic literature. Last month, the top headline announced that exposure to cats in childhood might be a potential cause of schizophrenia. 

(Watch out kitties and cat lovers!)

Before we vilify our feline friends, let’s discuss the article a little further. Cats are carriers for a parasite, toxoplasma gondii, which is implicated in many illnesses. Toxoplasmosis is asymptomatic in most (our immune systems successfully fight off the bug), but it tends to attack those with weakened immune systems (people with HIV, those undergoing chemotherapy, pregnant women…) and can cause encephalitis, damage the heart, liver, inner ear, eyes, and, contribute to OCD, ADHD, and schizophrenia. 

Yikes! 

But hold up. The bug is transmitted in feces, so petting Fluffy won’t hurt you. (It IS important, however, for immunocompromised people to avoid cleaning litter boxes.) 

Furthermore–getting back to cats and schizophrenia–developing a mental illness is multifactorial. Genetics, environment, and exposure to drugs can play a role. Even the weather has been implicated. (Those born during winter months have a higher incidence of schizophrenia.) 

Every bit of research is therefore significant in identifying and clarifying anything and everything that leads to mental illness.

So, while it’s important to know that T. gondii might be linked to schizophrenia, I feel kind of bad for cats. It reminds me of the anecdote about the mass killing of cats allowing rodents to multiply and propagate the spread of the Black Death in Europe. I can’t help but wonder if history will repeat itself. 

Poor kitties. 

Things I’m Addicted To

We all have addictions. Some are healthier than others. Some have horrible consequences. Some we say are benign but really aren’t.

Here are some of mine:

  • Food. This has been my most challenging addiction. It’s hard for folks to understand if they’ve never fought with the scale, but even after losing almost 90 pounds, I still struggle with it. I love sweet (ice cream!!!!) and salty (French fries) things–a double whammy in my book.
  • Books. My wish list is well in the dozens. I buy a stack of books whenever I visit a bookstore. I’m tempted to one click on Amazon daily. I had to build bookshelves in two rooms to carry my collection…this is in addition to my library upstairs.
  • Sleep. It’s my favorite hobby. Yes, even above reading. Gasp! If given a chance, I can sleep 10-11 hours a day. How horrible is that?!
  • Coffee. You might lump this in with food, but my addiction is so strong I have to count it separately. I like hot coffee, iced coffee, coffee ice cream, lattes, flavored, unflavored…it doesn’t matter, I like it all!

My addictions could be a lot worse, of course, and I’m thankful they’re not, but they do remind me that too much of anything, even if it’s good, can be bad.

How about you? What addictions do you have?

Mental Health Monday–PTSD

Since it’s a federal US holiday, I’m reprising a previous Mental Health Monday post. I think it’s apropos because today is Memorial Day–a day of remembering those men and women who died while serving in the military. New research is being conducted identifying how pervasive PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is in soldiers. Below, I’ve highlighted details of the illness and some examples of what it looks like.

Please note, this post is solely for the purposes of writing, and is NOT intended for medical advice or treatment.

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is classified as an anxiety disorder (see NOTE below, commenting on DSM 5). Technically, the person must have a constellation of symptoms for at least 30 days to qualify for the diagnosis. Some people recover, some go on to have a chronic course, lasting months to years. Symptoms can recur several years later as well, with a period of remission between.

An event must be perceived as life threatening or potentially life threateningto qualify as traumatic. Immediately, that lends a LOT of subjectivity. What’s life threatening to me may be different for  you. That being said, I’m sure we can all pretty much agree on the biggies–combat, rape, assault, natural disasters, terrorism, abuse (sexual, neglect, physical, emotional, verbal, whether as an adult or child).

The traumatic event can either be one “biggie,” or it can be the accumulation of “smaller” events over a prolonged period of time (such as child abuse or domestic violence).

Classic symptoms include:

Hypervigilence: The person doesn’t trust others. They may feel uncomfortable in exposed places (malls, crowded places, being around strangers). They will frequently make sure their back is to a wall (so it’s not exposed). They’ll keep an eye on the exits and make sure they can get to one fast if needed. They’ll also show a “startle” response, where they jump at a loud, sudden sound. Some people jump when the phone rings, for example.

Avoidance: This is pretty much self explanatory. The person will avoid triggers and things associated with the trauma. This can include movies, locations, people, even certain subjects of discussion for fear it will lead to symptoms. This, by the way, makes PTSD difficult to treat in some instances, because the very thing bringing a person to treatment, is the thing they want to avoid discussing.

What’s important to know is the brain remembers details about a traumatic event that the sufferer may not consciously recall. Furthermore, an otherwise innocuous stimuli may be paired with the event and become “dangerous.” If, for example, a person’s attacker wore a blue jacket, then the person may experience an anxiety response when confronted with a blue article of clothing. The jacket itself is benign, but the brain “remembers” it as a threat via association.

Another example would be a soldier in Iraq who has returned home and every time he goes under an overpass, he searches for IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) tucked under the framework.

Which leads me to my next point. For a soldier in Iraq, being hypervigilent is conducive to survival. It makes her good at her job. BUT, when she returned to civilian life, her sensitive attunement to stimuli in the environment does not return to baseline. That is NOT conducive to living in a non-war zone.

That’s what PTSD is. A state of “hyper arousal” that is above baseline. It’s like drinking 16 cups of coffee and maintaining that level of tension and awareness ALL THE TIME.

Other cardinal symptoms of PTSD include: Flashbacks and nightmares: If someone is presented with a “trigger” (like a blue jacket), they may experience a flashback. Flashbacks can be mild (where the person is able to recognize it as a flashback and they can control it) or they can be severe, where the person actually feels like they’re reliving the event in real time.

Final tidbit: The person who suffers from PTSD is at higher risk of misusing drugs and overusing alcohol. Substance abuse and dependence as a co-morbid diagnosis is therefore common and an important aspect to address.

NOTE: ***Once the DSM 5 comes out, PTSD will be in its own category. I look forward to seeing how this new classification system works and how it encapsulates a very serious and life-altering illness.***