Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Never Surrender!

Today is the release of Elana Johnson's new book Surrender! I'm so excited! My ebook automatically arrived during the night!

This is the sequel to her debut book Possession (which my granddaughter is reading right now). It's set in the same world, but with different point of view characters.

What's it about?
Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.

All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn. 

Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque….

In celebration of Surrender's theme, I'm going to share an personal experience I had with never surrendering.

Not long before I turned twelve, my family moved to the Philippines, to my father's new Navy duty assignment. It was only a few days before school was going to start. I went to the swimming pool and met another girl, a year younger than me, Carrie.

She was afraid to jump off the high dive, so we sat up there for the longest time. I kept trying to talk her into it. She really wanted to do it, but looking down at the water was just too much for her, and she'd chicken out at the last moment.

"I'll go first, then," I said, standing up. "Once I get to the side, you can go." I put my hand on her shoulder. "You'll see how easy it is."

Carrie, nodded, never taking her eyes from the edge.

I jumped and fell down, feet first, slicing into the water with that familiar cooling and yet thrilling sensation.When I hit the bottom, my practiced knees bent, gathering the power from my fall to throw into the push up through the eleven feet of water. Back to the light. Back to the air.

With a forceful woosh, my body was flying up, up through the water. This was the best part for me, to be traveling so fast, not because gravity forced it on me, but because I'd harnessed the energy. My legs had sent me on the upward quest, and my face anticipated bursting through the water and breathing in the air.


Something heavy and strong hit the top of my head. My movement stopped as a searing pain drove down from my head through my spine. I couldn't move my arms. I couldn't breath.

I had to breath. I had to get to the top of the water. I had to get help. Something was terribly wrong.

Kicking my legs furiously, I made it to the top. But my lungs still wouldn't work. My arms still didn't work, but my hands managed feeble movements, so I made it the few feet to the side. Finally, my lungs let me gasp in a long, slow breath.

Carrie appeared at my side. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hit you. Did you . . ."

I screamed. And screamed. And screamed.

People swarmed around me, pulling me from the water. Off the side, Carrie sobbed. In a haze of pain, I tried to answer their questions. I just didn't want them to move me. Just not jar my back.

Riding in an ambulance isn't fun, especially when the idiot sailors who formed the ambulance crew acted like my little girl body was such a heavy burden for them to carry.

Shore Patrol went to my home to alert my mother there'd been an accident at the pool, so I wasn't at the emergency room very long before she came. My mother, who would only live another three years, brought such loving encouragement that I would be okay.

She was right. I was fortunate nothing had been broken, that only the ligaments and tendons had been pulled. It took time, but I did heal. I was never able to do gymnastics, though, which broke my heart a couple of years later.

Once I was healed enough to go swimming again, I was determined to jump off that high dive. I sat there on top, just like Carrie had, staring at the edge. After a while, I advanced a little closer and stared at the water. I moved aside to let others go. I couldn't do it. I went home with a sunburn.

But at the ripe old age of twelve, I wasn't going to let my fear defeat me. I wasn't going to surrender to it.

I went back to the pool. Climbing the long ladder, with force and determination, I reached the top. I didn't let myself think about it. I took a short run and jumped. I did it!

But when I hit the bottom I pushed toward the wall and not straight up. I might have defeated my fear, but I wasn't stupid.

What about you? What have you refused to surrender to?


  1. That's pretty horrifying, Donna. I can't imagine how terrifying it must have been to be in the water, unable to breathe or move properly.

  2. What a great story! that would have terrified me too!

  3. An excellent story, Good Luck to Elana on her book, and thanks for a wonderful review.


  4. Love the word "surrender" and using it with fear... I've never put those two words together before. LOVED this post, Donna. Loved it. And such a great example! You're so cool ;)

  5. That must have scared the stuffing out of you! Especially the not being able to move enough and breathe part.

    There was a little ski area in the town in CO where I lived. There were two rope-tows. You'd grab onto the rope, jump into the ruts, and the rope would pull you up as high as you could hold on.

    I wasn't the absolute best skier, but I was winning seconds in races. One day I didn't realize my bindings were iced. When I went to stop in a snowplow, the skis just went on through and my boots didn't come out of the bindings. I smashed to the ground and lay there for what seemed like hours and screamed.

    Finally the patrol clumped up to see what was wrong. It turned out I'd broken my leg and I had to have a hideous drive to the hospital in the back seat of the car.

    I was sitting in the car with a cast which covered my entire leg and was bent in the middle (extremely annoying when you've got an itch) when I saw my dad break his back on a toboggan.

    For a very long time I wanted nothing at all to do with skiing. All my friends were spending the day on the slopes while I stayed at home with a book. Finally jr. high hit and the boy I liked skied. That was the end of the drought for me.

    I stood at the top of the mountain (another ski resort) and remembered how much it had hurt lying in the snow and waiting to die. I almost chickened out but I didn't want to be one of those losers who has to ride the chairlift back down.

    Finally I pushed off and felt the wind whistling through my hair and the icy tears making trails into the neck of my jacket and I knew I was free!

    It's a very good feeling.

  6. What a story, what a post. I can't breathe with the awe of who you are.

  7. Heidi, Ouch! I've twisted my knee before while skiing and got a mild concussion, but never broke anything.

    The things we'll brave for a guy . . .

  8. Barb, the funny thing was that as I lay in the ambulance, my 15-year-old brother was heading into the bowling alley next door. He saw me in it, and his jaw dropped. Seriously, in spite of the pain, I laughed. He went on in and bowled.

    My mother was so mad when she found out he hadn't tried to find out what had happened. He said I was laughing, so it couldn't have hurt that bad. She reminded him that I'd been hurt enough to be in an ambulance.

    For some reason, it ended up being my fault he was busted. lol

  9. Oh my gosh, so she jumped on top of you??? How traumatizing~ I got pulled under a wave in Maui when I was about 8 or 9...I remember being absolutely terrified. It kept me out of the ocean for a few years. Drowning still holds a special fear for me.

  10. Heh we were too strapped to afford an ambulance. That's so scary to think you might be permanently impaired! And so young. And for such a stupid reason.

    I can remember standing up there looking down at the water too. It's totally mind-wiping. We used to jump off a bridge in Oregon. It was 30 feet to the water and you could see clear to the bottom. It looked like you were jumping right onto the rocks. Yeah. That was some delicious terror.

    That's how I ski too. There's nothing like staring over the headwall between your skis and seeing nothing but air--knowing people have died on that run. And what's particularly thrashing is doing it without your glasses 'cause you don't want to wipe out and ruin them. Yeah, you get the squinty picture.

  11. Holy cow, Jess. Those tides are scary! And fears like that can keep us from going to that place again.

    Yes, she landed right on my head, so it was like a head-on collision which magnified the blow. I've always imagined my head pushing my spine down at the same time the rest of my body was moving up. I've got arthritis in my upper back now as a result. By the time I'm 80 I'll probably be one of those old ladies who is bent right over.

  12. It was like jumping into the rocks, Heidi, and you jumped anyway? O_o

    The insanity of youth.

    When I skied I had goggles made for glasses that had a place on each side for the frames.

    Bivouac was hard enough without glasses. Yeah, right. I'm supposed to see the hidden troops in the trees. Point me in the direction of the trees . . . cuz I can't hardly see them!

  13. That must have been a very scary experience. Great story, though!

  14. So glad that you survived the aquatic misadventure (If one could call it that). You were very fortunate, indeed.

    I refuse to surrender to the chronic depression with which I have lived since my teens. Within the last year, I have found some new resources for my daily experience. That has made quite a difference. While I may not ever be entirely free of it, I am learning to live more creatively with this depression. That, I think, is a good thing.

    Blessings and Bear hugs.

  15. That is an amazing story, Donna! First, I can't imagine jumping off the high board, period. THEN to have someone land on you?! You were one brave girl to overcome that fear.

  16. Wow! Thanks for sharing this. I'm not sure I would have been brave enough to get back on that board. Good for you that you did.

  17. A great story, Donna. I can't think of a quick one so I'll just add that we don't surrender to rejection of our writing. That's one we can all relate to.
    Let me know what you and hubby think of the book you're reading. There was a lot of good about it, but I felt so much was skipped with summary. It seemed to hit me differently than how others rated it. But then, sci-fi isn't my fav. Hope you enjoy.

  18. That must have been such a terrifying experience for you and your family! I can't imagined someone jumping on my head while in the water! I'm so glad you were fine and survived!

    That's a great story to share on Elana's book release day!

  19. WOW! Donna, very powerful and moving story. I'm getting teary-eyed. You're amazing. I can't even imagine how scary that was.

    And I am so stoked for Elana's book! Whoo-hoo! I hope mine gets here SOON! Sounds A-MAZ-ING!!!

  20. WOW! Donna, very powerful and moving story. I'm getting teary-eyed. You're amazing. I can't even imagine how scary that was.

    And I am so stoked for Elana's book! Whoo-hoo! I hope mine gets here SOON! Sounds A-MAZ-ING!!!

  21. What a terrifying story. I got chills. I'm glad you got through it and didn't surrender.

    Happy book birthday to Elana.

  22. One of my worst fears ... being under water unable to breathe. At least I never had nightmares about this.

  23. Wow, this is one amazing story. I'm so glad you were able to heal and face the pool again. I can't even imagine what climbing that ladder to the high dive was like! You're a warrior!

  24. Your poor brother. lol

    How was your friend after that? Did she dare jump into the water again?

    Having someone land on me is my big fear. In diving class, we were told to always make sure the coast is clear before jumping. Great advice.

    Look forward to reading Surrender.

  25. how scary! encouraging that you overcame!

  26. Wow. What a powerful post, Donna. I so need to get my hands on your work. My own refusal to surrender is too long to post in a comment, but it can be found here: http://amindwandering.blogspot.com/2010/09/sdl-cure-for-perfection-my-response.html.

  27. That must have been a horrible experience; for you to overcome it and still jump is something we can all be inspired from. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

    Emily @ memorialrainbow

  28. Wow. Just....wow! So frightening. I've hurt my back many times (though not swimming), I've almost drowned, but not because of my back. I can NOT imagine being that incapacitated. Kudos for going back and diving off the board again. Fear is truly the one thing I think that holds most people hostage and causes them to surrender. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Heart wrenching and frightening, but powerful.

  29. My first thought when I read this was about an episode of Power Rangers...The pink ranger had an accident off a diving board, which probably fueled my fear of them...I've always been terrified of high dives, and I agree that pushing off the bottom of the pool and whooshing to the top is the best feeling. Your accident sounds terrifying, but I'm glad you were okay!


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