Friday, 28 March 2014

Margie Church: Deep Enough to Bleed

A big welcome back to Margie Church.

Margie is a native Minnesotan who has a degree in television news writing and editing. While currently working in a nuclear power plant (no, she's not a Homer Simpson relation) she's also a professional editor and novelist. Margie has a number of pasttimes, but says her guilty pleasures include reading, listening to music (loves Italian opera and Bob Seger), and food (particularly fresh lobster, honey bourbon, and real vanilla ice cream . . . though not all together, I'm sure). When not writing or researching, Margie can be found at the opera, working on her bucket list (Alaska and the Outback are there), and trying to figure out a way to get onto the Letterman Show!

As you might tell, Margie has a great sense of humor, but she's as serious as it gets when it comes to her books. Today she celebrates the release of her latest book, Deep Enough to Bleed.

Deep Enough to Bleed is just about as serious as it gets too. Jolene is a young woman raised in an abusive household, along with her younger brother, Adam. The story opens in the middle of a scene of domestic violence which escalates into child abuse. I'll pull no punches. This story is serious and not for the faint of heart.

Moving forward, Jolene is now the sole guardian of her brother, who, thanks to his heroine addicted mother, has the emotional capacity of a nine year old. Adam is now sixteen. Struggling to find her way in the world, unable to trust, Jolene resorts to self-harm -- she's a cutter. But not just any cutter. She has a purpose, as her cuts form barb wire around her thighs.

Then she meets Brandon. He's kind to her, thoughtful, and seemingly understanding. But can she trust him? Most importantly, can she trust him with her deepest secrets . . . her upbringing, her sufferings, and even her cutting?

This is definitely a box of tissues story. But keep in mind, this is not just a story of a woman's life of abuse. It's also of her redemption. If you're looking for a book to tug at your heartstrings, if you want a gripping read, this is the one for you.

Before we get to the blurb and extract, Margie has graciously donated an article about this story. Please have a read. And when you're done, be sure to leave Margie a comment below. You'll go into the draw for a free copy of this book.
• • •

Conquering her past – Deep Enough to Bleed

I bet we can all think of people in our lives who overcame the worst of the worst. They are imperfect, yet their fire and thirst to survive inspire us. We also know people who succumbed to the hardness, the hurt that the world inflected on them. They became bitter and mean-spirited. They use their misfortune as an excuse to be sullen about life and pollute the happiness of those around them.

In Deep Enough to Bleed, Jolene has to choose between the positive or negative road to her future. Her life didn't start out great, but it certainly wasn't ghastly until her mother walked out on the family. She hated the man her father became. He tortured and beat her and her disabled brother. Her grandmother turned a blind eye to the real truth. To help her cope, Jolene became a cutter. The scars on her thighs are proof of her inner agony. Like many in her situation, she's managed to keep them and the reasons for her behavior secret.

Two things release that pain and put her on a healthier path. A bullet kills her father and ends the physical torture. The second is acceptance and love by two people who become her support system - her supervisor, Missy, and a man named Brendan Fen.

Jolene's choices are deliberate and her transformation to a healthier, more trusting perspective is measured. She makes mistakes but never loses sight of her goal. Her brother, Adam, remains a constant example to her about what never giving up means. Brendan proves that she's not a freak and certainly worthy of love.

Some of Deep Enough to Bleed may be difficult to read. Some readers may not think a parent can be so cruel or blind. During my research for the book, I spent time talking with physiologists, people who cut themselves, and young adults whose lives are anything but ideal. Some of their stories made my stomach turn and the tears flow. But when I looked in the eyes of these survivors, I saw Jolene and her brother. I saw that even though the scars were deep enough to make them bleed blood, sweat and tears, I also saw the victors. I wanted to tell their story of triumph.

I'm proud to introduce my newest novel, Deep Enough to Bleed, released today. It has taken me several years to bring it to market. I've gotten more rejections on this book than any other. It's been through oodles of revisions and three editors. I owe Tirgearr Publishing a huge debt of thanks for taking on this provocative book. We hope you enjoy it.

• • •
Orphaned on the brink of adulthood, Jolene must make decisions for herself and her younger, disabled brother, Adam. Decisions as painful as the blows they suffered at their father's hands. Cutting herself is the only thing making Jolene feel something besides misery and worthlessness.

Jolene has never dated, yet quickly recognizes Brendan is a great guy. She wants a serious and intimate relationship, but is scared to trust him with the truth. Will he think she's a freak if he learns of her secret compulsion? Will hearing about the horrible events from her past make him run?

"Are you happy now? You know how to beat kids. You loser. I hate you!"

Steve backhanded her.

Pain shot into her eye and radiated into her nose.

"Now I am." His voice was a growling pronouncement of doom. "Don't plan to come out of your rooms any time soon."

Her body a coil of pain, Jolene helped her hysterical brother the rest of the way upstairs.

When Steve Parks had said, "don't come out your rooms," he didn't mean until morning. He really meant until he said so. The first time he punished them this way, they were unprepared. Never again. She'd hidden supplies in their rooms to help them endure what was probably a weekend lockdown.

"You got five minutes to get up there, before I give you another taste of respect."

At the top of the stairs, Adam looked at her with the saddest expression. "I think I'm going to throw up, Jolene."

A fresh burst of tears flowed down her cheeks. "It's okay, I got ya." She nestled his face in the cleft of her shoulder, while he vomited on her chest.

Sobbing and shaking uncontrollably, he muttered, "Sorry, Jolene, I hurt so bad."

"I know. It's okay. I'm not mad at you. I love you so much, Adam. I'm going to get us out of here. I promise."

She didn't have time to change clothes. Jolene took an old towel out of his sock drawer. Cupping his chin, she kept her voice low while wiping his face. "Remember what to do. The clothes bag is under your mattress. Put all your dirty stuff in that bag and keep it closed tight to keep the smell inside."

Her father's threatening voice echoed in the hall. "You've got one minute before I come up there to give you some more. I was just getting started."

She glanced over her shoulder. "There are some granola bars in your sock drawer and two Tylenol. Take the medicine with the water I hid under your sweatshirts." She stared into his heartbroken face. "Don't forget, okay? Remember how we do this. I have to go." She kissed his forehead. "I love you. You're going to be okay."

Jolene hurried to her room, shutting the doors behind her.

A minute later, heavy thumps on the steps signaled his ascent. His knees and ankles crackled as he climbed.

She felt her face contort into a mask of hatred. She prayed he would die of a heart attack before reaching the landing. Avoiding all the squeaky spots on the wooden bedroom floor, Jolene went to her door and listened. If their father dared touch Adam, she'd take him on again. All she heard was heavy breathing and scraping while he fumbled with the skeleton key in the lock.

A board made a popping sound under his feet when he came to her room.

She wished she had the courage to open the door fast and shove him down the stairs. With any luck, he'd break his skull wide open.

Instead, she heard guttural, drunken noises and the click of the lock falling into place.

Sometimes she wondered what would happen if the house caught fire while they were locked upstairs.

brother, Adam. Decisions as painful as the blows they suffered at their father's hands. Cutting herself is the only thing making Jolene feel something besides misery and worthlessness.
• • •
Find Margie online --

Where to buy -- Kindle US, Kindle UK, Smashwords 

Don't forget to leave a comment with your email address for the draw! 


  1. Welcome back, Margie, and congratulations on the release of your latest book, Deep Enough to Bleed.

    Wow! This is some emotive read. First instinct is to say this book isn't for everyone, yet, my other instincts tell me that, really, everyone should read it. The subject of self-harm shouldn't be a taboo one. Like sex education, this should be something every parent talks about with their child at some point. And anyone who knows of any child in either an abusive household, who suffers bullying (even at school), or any child who even hints at being in an unsavory environment should be offered help. Hopefully, your story will convey that message to its readers.

    You said this story was years in the making. Where did you get the idea, or at what point did you say, 'I'm going to write this story'?

    1. Hi Kem! Thanks for your wonderful support. <3 Last year, I worked in a local high school among kids who lived in awful family situations. When life within our own four walls seems a lot better, we thank our lucky stars (as we should) and stick our heads in the sand (as we shouldn't). Deep Enough to Bleed is a story of hope. It does start out very harsh and there are difficult conversations and uncomfortable events smattered throughout the book, but it's not a depressing read. You are going to cheer Jolene and Adam on. I promise.

      I understand what it feels like to hate someone, truly hate them for their behavior toward others. I grew up in a very tough time when beating your kids was common and the expected way to raise them. I saw people go too far. It changed me. People are still going to far. Interestingly, I conceived the scene at her father's grave first. It took Jolene years to go there and she was victorious in her personal growth by doing so.

      Deep Enough to Bleed is another example of books I've written that don't fit the usual mold. I've written about polyamorous relationships, dominant/submissive roles, divorced people finding their way back together, gay men and women, people who take chances on life and become winners. If you're looking for something fresh and unique, you'll find it in my books.

      Again, Kem, I can't thank you enough for publishing this book. I hope we'll be on the NY Times bestseller's list very soon. :-)

    2. It's amazing how stories come about and how they develop. A spark of an idea, or a flicker of thought, can ignite an amazing tale.

      I think most people have witnessed or been the target of abuse at some point in their lives. School is ripe for bullying. I just don't 'get' mean people. I guess it comes not from being a bad person but from bad behavior which is most often taught in the home, either directly or indirectly. We are who we are by what we were taught growing up. As adults we must actively change bad behavior, BUT we have to recognize it's there in the first place. Most don't.

      I think when authors take a chance and write outside the box, it shocks people, but it also shocks them into reading it for many reasons. I hope those who read Deep Enough to Bleed will come away from it with a good feeling . . . of hope, redemption, find a way to trust again or more . . . and find ways to better themselves and to teach their kids what appropriate behavior is.

      And I hope it lands on the NYT bestseller list too ;-)

    3. I also hope it gives just one reader the courage to stand up for someone who needs their help or not be afraid to befriend someone who's been there.

      I've taken a lot of chances in my books. Most of them have been met with good responses. If you do your research and have good character development, I think people can suspend their disbelief and find the story compelling. I've gained a lot of fans that way!

    4. Yes, you're certainly an eclectic writer. What doesn't change, even if your genres and plots do, is that you're an emotive writer. That obviously comes through in Deep Enough to Bleed, but also it does in The Poet's Wife, also published by Tirgearr Publishing.

      Do you find readers prefer emotive books?

    5. Gosh the Poet's Wife is a beautiful story. I don't know where that one came from - I haven't been through that thankfully! Last summer I was doing a reading from The Poet's Wife. I'd prepared the excerpt - read it - rehearsed it numerous times. And when I read in front of the group, I got so choked up I had to stop. I wrote that story a few years ago and parts of it obviously still get to me.

      I don't know if readers want deep emotion specifically from the reading experience. They want to connect with a great story and I try to deliver that in 3D. Most of my fans say they felt like they were right in the room with the characters. That's such a compliment - that their own world washed away for a little while as they read my book.

  2. Margie, this is a wonderful excerpt and I want to read the book. A painful subject to write about
    but of great interest to readers.
    Have a wonderful day and I hope you sell lots of books.

    1. Good morning Cathy! I'm happy to hear it. Thanks for coming by and have a great weekend.