Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have J.J. Devine sharing the childhood experiences that motivated her to use her voice to educate and enlighten the world.
I grew up in the 60s and 70s. It was a time in life when prejudice was as everyday as changing your clothes. Domestic Violence was the hush hush crime, (something that wasn’t spoken of, but instead, kept quiet about). I learned early on my views on prejudice and domestic violence. As a child I lived with an alcoholic abusive father heading up our household. I spent my childhood sexually and emotionally abused. I swore when I grew up I would make sure things were different in this world for other children. At the time, I didn’t know how I would do this, but I knew a change in this world needed to happen.
I will never forget the morning I seen the remnants of a burnt cross in a school friend’s front yard. It was a day that impacted not only my life but my writing as well. Maybe the day appeared cloudy because of the dark haze that seemed to engulf the morning. I held her while she cried, all the while she asked, why people wanted her to hate her niece, who was of mixed blood. I had no answers as a ten year old little girl. However, I did make up my mind right then and there, no matter what, this was not right. People should not judge someone because of the color of their skin or any difference for that matter.
When I picked up pen to write my first manuscript, I wanted to embrace some of the issues that helped form who I am today and held my heart so tightly. So when I wrote The Cheyenne Bride, my choice of heroine was from a Native American mother and a white father. Her struggle for acceptance is the basis of this book, followed by six more books in this series that I fondly refer to as The Acceptance Series. Each heroine has her own struggles, whether it be someone of mixed blood, domestic violence, or loving a hero of another race.
I adore romance and being a romance writer, however, I long for my readers to finish one of my stories and find themselves a little more enlightened on the world we live in. Even though The Acceptance Series is a historical based romance, so much prejudice and domestic violence still surrounds our world today.
Today, I do not stop at educating the world through writing, but also speaking out against domestic violence. Ten percent of all my sales go to a local shelter, Hands of Hope. I have spoken to criminal justice classes, to foster parents, even done ads for the shelter in hopes of one day stamping out the mindset that allows a child to grow up this way. For me, this is not a political issue but a moral one. Something each person needs to stand up and take notice of for it to finally become a thing of our past.
My best advice for anyone in this situation is, know you are not alone and there is a way out. Listen to your gut, it doesn’t lie to you. The road is not easy, but the escape is possible. The courage to take back your life lies within you, just reach for it, grab hold, and start pulling yourself out. It will be the sweetest freedom you’ve ever tasted.
One of my favorite affirmations…
I am my own person.
I have boundaries.
I am strong and centered.
I will not be intimidated by other people who are arrogant because of their own insecurities which are no concern of mine.
I will treat them with compassion because I do not fear them.
They have no power over me because I am my own person.
I am comfortable within myself.
I have boundaries.
I am strong and confident.
Murder is afoot in the Wyoming territory, forcing Chris Davis to make a matrimonial match he never would have taken otherwise. Especially when his bride-to-be is still in love with the man he holds responsible for his parents’ death. Torn between his morals and loyalty to his family, Chris Davis’ heart betrays him at every turn. Nichole lied about her heritage. Could she also be lying about not being a part of his parents’ death? He should just leave her to his enemy and be done with her, or kill them both. If only it were that simple.
Nichole Michaels, known to the Cheyenne as White Deer, grew up hearing her mother spin tales of the visions of the man she would one day marry. Believing them to be nothing more than myth, imagine her surprise when she finds herself standing face to face with a vision come to life. She is torn between the past and a man whose love is certain, and a man whose love promised to be the strongest tie she has ever known, yet may never be able to claim. Chris needs her, but is that enough to make her deny her heritage for the rest of her life? Her heart aches to know the depth of the love claimed in her mother’s visions. Is she strong enough to withstand a rancher with a heart of stone to find it?
Where to find J.J.…
What a powerful voice! Thank you for sharing your inspiring story, J.J.