Please help us welcome author Cody Kennedy today on the tour for his latest release, Elpída, book three in the Elpída series. We’re happy to help Cody celebrate today, so enjoy, and also be sure to check out the giveaway too.
It’s Release Day for Elpída! An Unabashed Plea from Cody Kennedy
A very special thank you to all the wonderful folks at The Novel Approach for hosting me for the release of Elpída! I have celebrated the release of each of my books on The Novel Approach. EVERY BOOK. So much so, it’s an official tradition, and I owe Lisa a debt of gratitude for perpetually accommodating me. It means more to me than I can put into words. Thank you, Lisa! It’s great to be here!
Elpída is the final book in the Elpída Series. I did not create a blog tour, nor did I request reviews. This community has welcomed me with open arms, and done more to support this series than I could have imagined possible, and I chose not to focus on the “please buy the books in this series” aspect of writing. I chose to focus on why this series is important and what you can do to help support youth victims of abuse. This post has the tone of a lecture, and I make no apologies. If you aren’t into lectures, stop reading now. But don’t hesitate to enter the giveaway, below!
Elpída is the Greek word for hope. At best, hope is oft-illusive; at worst, it is that entirely-absent, intangible thing essential for victims of abuse—any kind of abuse, including bullying.
Talking about child sexual abuse is not easy. While we know it happens, we don’t want to know about it. We believe it happens to someone else in a far-off land, and certainly not in our neighborhoods. But the fact is statistics bear out that, in the U.S., one out of every four or five youth is sexually abused, and that number is estimated to be somewhere between 50 and 90% underreported. You do the math. Statistics further show that at least one, (most likely, two), youth is being sexually abused within a five-mile radius of where you live every three minutes of every day. That number has multiplied exponentially since the collapse of the economy. Some sources say between 2007 and 2013, child sexual abuse and trafficking increased 750%. Brutal statistics, to be sure, and most people simply don’t want to know about it—because it’s offensive, the knowledge can be traumatizing, people feel helpless to do anything about it, and because it is, in fact, a gruesome subject. But when we don’t want to know, we fail these youth because we fail to acknowledge them and, worse yet, what they endure. We deny their very existence. We put the final stamp of hopelessness on their lives and seal their fate by failing to acknowledge them and their plights. When we remove these books from shelves and eligibility for awards with feigned excuses and latent policies, we contribute to that denial.
Writing about child sexual abuse is even more difficult. To be knowledgeable about this distasteful subject isn’t merely to perform research, but to work with these youth over an extended time. To live through their memories, through their recovery processes, our systems’ failures to assist them, more horrific yet, to face those who willfully turn a blind eye to them—particularly to male victims of sexual abuse. Why boys? Girls have been taught to cry for help since the 1970s and there are a multitude of laws and resources to aid them. Boys will never cry for help because our society teaches them not to, there are no laws (rape laws are particular to females), and there are no resources for them. To add insult to injury, a male victim is worth nearly three times to a trafficker what a female victim is. Boys are victimized on par with girls. The average age of induction into child sexual abuse is four. The average life expectancy of a victim is seven years from the time abuse begins. By age twelve or so, victims are older than desired, and are then turned out recruiters. They recruit in our schools, after-school sports, and social gatherings. Not by choice—in order to stay alive. Nonetheless, the most common form of child sexual abuse is sibling abuse. It accounts for more than 40% of child sexual abuse. Please watch your children and relatives closely.
Fictionalizing child abuse in such a way as not to detract from the seriousness of the subject, and to promote hope and inspire youth to learn to live again after abuse is nearly impossible. I never intended to write this series, or Slaying Isidore’s Dragons and Safe, and I would not have written these books but for the boys I’ve worked with over the past thirty-plus years. To every Christy, Isidore, and Thimi out there, thank you for nagging me nearly to death.
Ómorphi chronicles Christy’s escape from a world of abuse, his move to the United States, his meeting Michael, and their fledgling relationship. While the story centers on Christy’s slow struggle to begin to live again, it also deals with coming out, hostile teammates at school and, eventually, the kidnapping of Christy by one of his past abusers and Michael’s daring rescue of him. Thárros chronicles their slow recovery and return to normalcy after the kidnapping, prom, graduation, and the trial to prosecute Christy’s kidnapper.
The trials to prosecute child abusers are brutal for victims. Every ounce of a victim’s life, every oscillation of a Caesium atom and the abuse suffered displayed to an infinite degree not only for all to see, but also for all to judge. Sadly, now, less than 1% of abuse and rape cases are prosecuted and, no matter the evidence put forth, the likelihood of success in such prosecutions is less than 50%. The trauma a victim endures to prosecute an abuser is double that of the initial crime(s). Why double? Because the victims relive every moment of the initial crime(s), as well as a new perpetration—that of injustice. What occurs in a courtroom is complicated, bound by rules that may appear nonsensical to the outside world, but most importantly: has nothing to do with justice. Please read Kim Fielding’s post “Where’s the Justice?”
Elpída chronicles Christy’s resolute climb out of the abyss of his past, and his determination to live yet again. He does this by sheer willpower, with Michael’s help, and with renewed motivation: Thimi is alive and Christy will stop at nothing to bring him to the U.S. Along the way, real-life events hinder and Christy and Michael’s relationship is placed on the brink. Christy must choose to be a victim no longer.
The chronicle is told through Michael’s eyes. Michael’s perspective continues through Thárros to a degree, but we begin to see things through Christy’s eyes for the first time. In Elpída, we have a chance to see much more through Christy’s eyes. It is raw, heartrending, and represents but a fraction of how victims of long-term abuse feel about themselves. I hope this series inspires you to get involved, I implore you to get involved, to do something. There is any number of resources to donate to and learn from. Here are just a few:
National Human Trafficking Hotline
National Organization for Victims Assistance
Be a Kid’s Hero
Darkness to Light
We Are THORN
Federal Bureau of Investigation (Please be sure to check your state’s bureau of investigation too.) Law Enforcement Bulletin
A note from Timmy: This series gave me the hope to live. Please don’t ignore the signs. It is shocking to me that no one saw what was happening to me. It is unbelievable that when I told people, they refused to believe me. Here is my review of Ómorphi. Every word is true.
In honor of the release of Elpída, Thárros will be FREE with the purchase of Elpída from now through June 6th. Thank you for reading this series and supporting youth victims of trafficking and abuse.
About Elpída, Book #3 in the Elpída Series
Michael and Christy attended prom, graduated high school, and Michael leads the USATF tryouts. With Oxford University on the horizon, his future looks bright and he believes life has returned to normal after Christy’s rescue. He couldn’t be more wrong.
Christy has been free from a life of slavery for more than a year and made remarkable progress due in no small part to the love he found with Michael. But the recent prosecution of a past abuser has shattered the life he so painstakingly built out of nothing but a mountain of horror. He now faces the daunting task of building a new life—yet again.
Twelve-year-old Thimi has been missing since Christy left Greece and, unbeknownst to everyone, has hidden out in a vacant mansion in Glyfada. Learning of Christy’s survival is the only thing that brings him out of hiding. People, open spaces, even the most common of sounds frighten him beyond reason. A mere ghost of a boy, Thimi arrives in the US with no knowledge of the outside world—the only constant in his life a purple marble.
Lost, shattered, and afraid, only hope gives them the strength and courage they need to begin anew.
About Ómorphi, Book #1 in the Elpída Series
High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. He’s a star athlete, has great friends, and parents who love him just the way he is. What’s missing from his life is a boyfriend. That’s a problem because he’s out only to his parents and best friend. When Michael accidentally bumps into Christy Castle at school, his life changes in ways he never imagined. Christy is Michael’s dream guy: smart, pretty, and sexy. But nothing could have prepared Michael for what being Christy’s boyfriend would entail.
Christy needs to heal after years of abuse and knows he needs help to do it. After the death of his notorious father, he leaves his native Greece and settles in upstate New York. Alone, afraid, and left without a voice, Christy hides the myriad scars of his abuse. He desperately wants to be loved and when he meets Michael, he dares to hope that day has arrived. When one of Michael’s team-mates becomes an enemy and an abuser from Christy’s past seeks to return him to a life of slavery, only Michael and Christy’s combined strength and unwavering determination can save them from the violence that threatens to destroy their future together.
About Thárros, Book #2 in the Elpída Series
High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. Almost. He has great friends, parents who love him just the way he is, and he was a champion hurdler until someone took out his knee when they kidnapped his boyfriend. Yet, Michael is determined to make the USATF tryouts in spite of his injuries.
Christy Castle is Michael’s entire world. Healing from years of abuse, his abduction by a predator has left him hiding a new secret as he tries to start his life again. Together, Michael and Christy work to recover from their wounds in time to make prom and graduate high school. To complicate matters, Christy is astonished to learn a fellow victim from his native Greece has survived. Christy will stop at nothing to bring him to the US to keep him safe.
But the prosecution of Christy’s kidnapper looms large in their futures and the struggle to return to normal only worsens. Christy’s past continues to haunt them and, when the prosecution turns ugly and Christy’s new life is torn apart, only their unrelenting courage and determination can save them from the nightmare that threatens to destroy their future together.
About Cody Kennedy
Cody is an author who lives, most of the time, on the east coast of the United States. Cody also writes adult mystery thrillers, fantasy, science fiction, and romance as Aisling Mancy.
Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Cody doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Cody contemplates such weighty questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Cody can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much-maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary.