Petal in the morning sun. . . . #petalrainfield #chinesecrested #hairyhairless #dogstagram #ilovemydog #ilovemychinesecresteddog #dogmom

Petal in the morning sun.
#petalrainfield #chinesecrested #hairyhairless #dogstagram #ilovemydog #ilovemychinesecresteddog #dogmom

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Petal’s got her rainbow PJs on, all ready for Pride! (grinning) . Anyone going to the Toronto Dyke March this Saturday and wouldn’t mind some company marching? I’ll be bringing Petal. . . . #cherylrainfield #YAwriter #LGBTQwriter #booknerd #bookworm #ireadYA #survivor #feminist #LGBTQ #lgbtqia #pridemonth #petalrainfield #chinesecrested #hairyhairless #dogstagram #ilovemydog #ilovemychinesecresteddog #dogmom

Petal’s got her rainbow PJs on, all ready for Pride! (grinning)
Anyone going to the Toronto Dyke March this Saturday and wouldn’t mind some company marching? I’ll be bringing Petal.
#cherylrainfield #YAwriter #LGBTQwriter #booknerd #bookworm #ireadYA #survivor #feminist #LGBTQ #lgbtqia #pridemonth
#petalrainfield #chinesecrested #hairyhairless #dogstagram #ilovemydog #ilovemychinesecresteddog #dogmom

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No child should be separated from living parents or kept in a cage. As a torture survivor, as a human being, this horrifies me. I stand against this. If you can donate, please do. Help to spread the word. Let’s change this. You can also add your name to the statement on that link to show your support. #kidlitsaysnokidsincages #nokidsincages #kidlit #YAlit #familiesbelongtogether #nofamilyseparation

No child should be separated from living parents or kept in a cage. As a torture survivor, as a human being, this horrifies me. I stand against this. If you can donate, please do. Help to spread the word. Let’s change this.

You can also add your name to the statement on that link to show your support. 
#nokidsincages #kidlit #YAlit #familiesbelongtogether #nofamilyseparation

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KidLit Says No Kids In Cages. Please consider donating, signing your name, or both

No child should be separated from living parents or kept in a cage. As a torture survivor, as a human being, this horrifies me. I stand against this. If you can donate, please do. Help to spread the word. Let’s change this.

You can also add your name to the statement on that link to show your support.


#nokidsincages #kidlit #YAlit #familiesbelongtogether #nofamilyseparation

Interview with author and survivor Ron York, and giveaway of one of his books

Today I’m speaking with Ron York, fellow survivor and gay author of Kept In The Dark and Songs From An Imperfect Life. If you’d like to enter the giveaway for one of his books, leave a comment below (and mention which book you’d like).

Ron York’s book Songs From An Imperfect Life is brave: Ron York has no memory of his third birthday party, or the fact that his father was not present. Family photos reveal a smiling child, while letters and newspaper clippings explain his father’s absence – he was in jail after being arrested for molesting Ron’s 13-year-old cousin.

The following year, the York family had relocated from Miami to Nashville. They joined First Baptist Church and tried to start over. His parents, busy keeping the secrets of their own past, were unaware that their 7-year-old son had begun keeping secrets, too. Over the next several years, Ron was molested by three men within their church. And by the age of 10, the sexual activity had expanded into downtown movie theaters, department store restrooms and beyond.

Songs From An Imperfect Life is a raw, honest of a broken child’s need for attention, and his journey to heal.

  • Cheryl: Do you get people asking you if you’re gay/queer because of your child sexual abuse? I’ve had people ask that – or assume that – of me because of my child sexual abuse experience. And what do you say to them? (I have my own answers, but I’d love to hear yours.)

    Ron York: No one has asked that of me but then again, no one knew about my abuse until last year. I do believe we are born that way and in reading my mother’s letters from when I was three, I clearly see the tendencies beginning. I was fortunate that the sexual abuse shown me was never violent. I was made to feel special, needed, wanted. The extra attention became a drug as puberty set in and as gay feelings developed. I have wondered if I had been molested by a woman if I might have felt differently. I would think that would have been uncomfortable and the abuse more traumatic.

    I also think we’re born as we are. (smiling at you)
    Did it feel healing to write your books – or to hear people’s responses to your books?

    Ron York: I had always tried to block those memories and therefore did not think of myself as needing healing. However, when I wrote Kept in the Dark and revealed my dad’s arrest for abusing a minor, I felt that I needed to be honest and admit that I had also been abused (not by my father) as a child. It was then that people reached out to me to tell me their own stories. Abuse became an everyday subject in my life and memories began to reappear. It was then that I realized that keeping something buried is not the same as coming to terms with it. I needed to examine my life and create a timeline that began with the seven-year-old me being abused and what happened next, then next and my behavior, acting out and risk-taking. It became healing because for the first time in my life I could see the whole picture and not just a vignette or two. And the response has been overwhelming. I am blown away by how many people have encountered some form of abuse in their life or with someone they know. The feedback has been positive for my honesty. And as wonderful as that might be, it’s the fact that many have told me how my coming forward has helped them. It has confirmed for me that I’m on the right path.

    Cheryl: I’m glad you faced the abuse you went through and spoke out about it through your books. It takes courage to do that. And it definitely helps to face what we’ve been through.
    What do you wish people knew about you?

    Ron York: I’m not sure there is much more that hasn’t already been said or that I’ve written about myself. I’ve had a train wreck of a life often hidden behind a smile, a facade. But I’ve also had a wonderful life filled with incredible experiences and I’m blessed with amazing friends. We do not have to let our past define us.

    Cheryl:I’m glad you’ve had much good mixed in with the hard.

    What do you wish people knew about child sexual abuse?

    Ron York: I am not an expert or a professional in this field but I am a survivor of abuse. I can only speak from my own experiences. My childhood was filled with secrets and sexual activity long before I ever knew it was wrong. And like many, I took the path that led me into risky situations which I’m amazed that I’m still standing. As a child in the late 1950s-60s I never felt there was anyone that I could talk to about what was going on or the confusion I was feeling. I thought I’d be in trouble telling my parents. I couldn’t tell anyone at church as that is where the sexual activity began. And being a child that was often bullied, I wouldn’t want any of my friends to know what was happening. I think one of the most important things that we can do to help the abused, is to listen. We often are busy trying to figure out how to respond when someone is talking that we don’t fully listen to what they are saying. Letting someone tell you their story without judging them is one of the first steps in helping them, in my opinion.

    Cheryl: I agree with you – listening to survivors helps.
    Why was it important to you to write your books?

    Ron York: For me, I had kept secrets and a hidden life for so long that once I cracked the door open, I felt I needed to swing it open wide. It’s very freeing to spill your secrets but you also have to be ready to not care what anyone thinks. I will admit that I worried what the response might be but there was no need. If there have been any negative feelings, at this point they have not reached me. And the sheer volume of positive feedback, love and support would offset any if there were.

    Cheryl: I’m glad to hear that! What do you hope people will get from your book?

    Ron York: My biggest hope is that people will realize that we all have secrets and if they deal with abuse then we need to speak up. We are not alone and we can overcome and use our powers for good.

    Cheryl: I agree. We are not alone, and it helps to know that and to speak out. Thank you so much for speaking with me today, Ron.

  • About Kept In The Dark
    The jail was located on the top 9 floors of the Dade County Courthouse in downtown Miami. The young father could look down from the 21st floor, to the street below. His wife and child would come each night, stand on the sidewalk and wave to him. They would flash the car lights to signal they were there and he, in return, would strike a match from his window to let them know he was watching. Although separated by just a few miles, they were only able to see each other each Sunday, for 2 hours, through glass and wire. Writing letters became their way of communicating and 100 letters were exchanged during an 8-week period.

    This was a secret my parents, family and a few close friends took to their graves. No one ever told me and I was too young to remember. And yet, a box containing the letters, yellowed newspaper clippings, faded photographs and cards of encouragement from friends was left for me after everyone was gone.

  • About Ron York

    Author. Artist. Musician.

    J. Ronald M. York graduated from Belmont University with studies in voice and piano. He spent the next two decades in the field of interior design before opening his first art gallery. When not in the gallery, York can be found in his studio painting, at his piano composing, or assisting numerous nonprofit agencies with fundraising. He currently resides in Nashville with his cat, Miss Trixie Delight.

  • I am now offering manuscript critiques for #writers, specializing in #kidlit and #YAlit novels

    I now offer manuscript critiques for writers, specializing in YA and middle grade novels, as well as adult suspense and thrillers.

    I think it’s important to receive honest feedback and real encouragement about your writing. I know that I’ve needed to hear the positives about my own writing before I’ve heard what isn’t working. I will point out things that I like and that are working in your manuscript, as well as things that I think need more work, and why (in my opinion), as well as what may be missing. I believe that getting honest feedback from other, experienced writers helps improve your work and get it closer to a publishable level faster.

    I am a multi-published YA author, with five books traditionally published and one self-published; I have an editing certificate from George Brown College in Toronto; and I have critiqued manuscripts for my writing peers for more than 14 years.

    If you want feedback to make your work better, check out what I can offer and my fees.

    Strong Positive-Message T-Shirts, Hoodies, Notebooks, and more now available. #Survivors are strong. #MeToo #TimesUp

    I’m happy to announce that my t-shirts and hoodies are now available available for sale with no minimum at Threadless.

    The three designs:

    • You Are Stronger Than You Know;
    • Sometimes You Have To Be Your Own Hero; and
    • You Don’t Deserve To Be Hurt, Not By Anyone – Not Even Yourself
    are available with or without the added hashtags #MeToo #TimesUp on many products with no minimum order at Threadless, including notebooks, water bottles, pencil cases, and more, and of course T-shirts and hoodies.

    If you’ve read my books or seen me on social media you’ll know that I write about strong-girl (and emotionally strong boy) characters, and that I draw deeply on my own trauma and healing. I had to save myself over and over again until I was finally safe, and I had to draw on my own strength to survive. I believe we are often much stronger than we think we are, and sometimes we don’t know just how strong we are until we’re faced with painful situations where we have to draw on our own strength to cope. I also believe that sometimes we just have to tell the right person, and keep on telling until we are heard, in order to get help.

    You ARE strong. Remind yourself or let someone you love know you believe in them.

    Think teens should be able to read #LGBTQ fiction? Please support this #YA queer anthology

    I think it’s SO important to get #LGBTQ fiction into teens’ hands, to help queer teens see reflections of themselves and know that they are not alone, and they are okay just as they are.

    If you agree, PLEASE consider pledging your support to a #LGBTQ fantasy/magic YA anthology on Kickstarter that I have a piece in. You can pledge as little as $1 to show your support. 10 out of the 12 stories have queer main characters.

    This project needs to be fully funded in order to become a reality, and it is only half funded!

    If you pledge $10 you get an ebook copy when the anthology comes out, pledge $25 and you get the ebook and physical copy of the book.

    My short story “Protection” has a lesbian with magical powers who faces a bully.You can read an excerpt.

    Kirkus’ review of Jennifer Mathieu’s MOXIE makes me want to buy it all the more.

    We need books that support and *believe* rape survivors, and that fight back against misogyny and rape culture. And teen characters taking things into their own hands is part of what #YAlit books are supposed to do – have main characters who take their own actions. YA fiction is FICTION – and MOXIE sounds empowering. As a rape and torture survivor, as a feminist, as a woman who stands up against rape culture and misogyny, I can’t wait to read it!

    Read the review for yourself and see. MOXIE is on my to-buy list.

    If you want to reserve a copy of MOXIE, too, find it on and Barnes and Noble in the US, and and Indigo in Canada. And don’t forget about your local indie bookstore who will order it in for you!

    Help get #LGBTQ fiction into teens’ hands! Support this queer anthology on Kickstarter.

    Help get #LGBTQ fiction into teens’ hands! Support this kickstarter and for a $10 pledge you will get an ebook copy when the anthology comes out, a $25 pledge will get you an ebook and physical copy of the book when it comes out. You can pledge as little as $1 just to show your support, or a bigger donation if you like. 10 of the 12 stories have queer main characters, including the lesbian with magical powers in my short story “Protection.” You can read an excerpt from my short story here. We only have 22 days to reach our goal and we need your help!

    Happy Pride!


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