Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Off Season: A Novel of Healing by E.S. Ruete - Book Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Dottie woke up wondering where she was and why she was so cold. The first thing she noticed was that she must be outside – she was lying on cold ground and snow was hitting her in unusual places. That’s when she noticed the second thing. Her skirt was pulled up past her waist and her panties were gone. Damn those bastards. It started to come back to her.

Dottie is now on an odyssey; a journey not of her choosing; a journey of healing, integration, and reconciliation that will involve her partner, her friends, her enemies, her church, her whole community. And her rapists. As she fights her way through social stereotypes about rape and rape victims, she also finds the strength to overcome society’s messages of who she should be and lays claim her true self. But the memories, the loss, the anger – and the fears – never go away. No woman chooses to be raped. I asked Dottie why she chose to tell me a story of rape. She said that millions of women, hundreds every day, have stories of rape that never get told. She told her story because she could. Because she had to. Because maybe people would hear in a work of fiction a Truth that they could not hear in any other way.


“Look to your left. That person has divinity inside them. Look to your right. That person has a divine spark. Now tap the shoulder of the person in in front of you. When they turn around, say, ‘Namasté. I honor the divine spark within you.’

“As you prepare to celebrate Christmas, as we prepare to invite one another to the communion table, think on this: Mary was an unwed mother, but she was not unclean. Joseph was a lecherous old man, but he was not unclean. The shepherds lived in the fields with the sheep, but they were not unclean. The Magi were heathens from a pagan land and probably not circumcised, but they were not unclean. And Jesus was born among the donkey dung and slept on top of a cow’s supper, but He most assuredly was not unclean.

“Let it be so.”

As Pastor Allen spoke, Mandy sat with her arms folded across her chest and her legs pressed together. When others were looking left and right, she didn’t move, and when she was tapped on the shoulder, she didn’t turn around. She just pursed her lips into a tighter line.

But those who sat near her thought they saw the least glimmer of a tear in the corner of her eye. Whether it was for her church, or for the Pastor, or for herself, no one could guess. Even Mandy didn’t know. But part of her, a part she was afraid of, a part she was trying to ignore, thought that maybe, just maybe, it was for Dottie.


Is it hard for a man to write from a woman’s point of view?

Well, yes, of course, but maybe not as hard as you think. First of all Dottie and I have a lot in common. We are both in love with very special women. Once I internalized that love proceeds pretty much the same no matter the genders involved, it made it very easy to identify with Dottie. I made her my age so that we would have roughly the same historical referents, have grown up with the same things.

Probably the best insight into my writing process is Alice in her eponymous Chapter 8. Alice asked Dottie, “What are you afraid of?” Then every time Dottie stopped talking, Alice said, “I’m still here. I’m still listening.” That’s what I did for all my characters, but especially for Dottie.

The questions varied for some of the other characters. But that question, “What are you afraid of?” is particularly important. One of the sources of conflict and division in our culture today is that everyone has positions. Positions are hard and fast and allow no room for balance with the opposite. If you want to bring people together, to find common ground, you have to find out the cares and concerns that led them to take their position. Then you can start to look for positions that meet everyone’s concerns, that address what people care about in an inclusive way.

The best way to find out what people care about is to ask what they are afraid of. The concerns that are most deeply felt are not concerns, they are fears. You have to get to the fears to find out what it is that you really need to address. This is what Dan did for Mandy in Dan’s eponymous Chapter 22.

So to get back to your question, once I got in touch with the very human fear of violation, of having control taken away, of having a trauma in you past that you don’t know how you’re going to deal with, of having a wound you don’t know how to heal, then it was just a matter of listening to Dottie express that fear in rape survivor language.

About the Author

E.S “Ned” Ruete is an author, speaker, group facilitator, women’s rights activist, LGBTQIPA+ ally, lay preacher, guitar picker, and business analyst. He is the author of Seeking God: Finding God’s both/and in an either/or world and Lead Your Group to Success: A Meeting Leader’s Primer.

Now retired, Ned lives in Niantic, Connecticut with his second wife. He continues to offer pro bono group facilitation and facilitation training to schools, churches, community groups and not-for-profit organizations. He has led strategic planning retreats for United Action Connecticut (UACT), Fiddleheads Food Co-op, and ReNew London. He is actively involved in LGBTQIPA+ advocacy and annually attends and presents sessions at the True Colors Conference. He is a member of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) formerly served on the Association Coordinating Team (ACT, the IAF Board of Directors). He was associate editor of Group Facilitation: A Research and Applications Journal and has contributed articles to Group Facilitation, The Facilitator, and other publications on group facilitation and management consulting.

Off Season is Mr. Ruete’s first fiction work

See his consulting products at MakingSpaceConsulting.com

and his books at MakingSpaceConsulting.com/Publish: (The book is $0.99 during the tour) http://www.makingspaceconsulting.com/Publish.html

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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