Secrets of Skin and Stone
By: Wendy Laine
Publication Date: June 5th, 2017
Something is wrong in Hidden Creek. The sleepy Alabama town is more haunted than any place fiend hunter Grisham Caso has ever seen. Unearthed graves, curse bags, and spilled blood all point to an evil that could destroy his gargoyle birthright. The town isn’t safe for anyone, and everyone says fiery Piper Devon knows why.
Piper wants to leave Hidden Creek behind. She’s had enough of secrets—they hide in the shadows of her room and tell her terrible things are coming. Too-charming city boy Grisham might be her only chance to save herself.
To survive, Piper and Grisham have to shed their secrets and depend only on each other. But what lurks in Hidden Creek still might take everything away from them, including each other.
Self-harm in Fiction
Trigger Warning: As in my novel, I’m including this trigger warning that I’m talking about self-harm and briefly about suicide in this post.
I started cutting when I was twelve years old. At the time, I didn’t know I had obsessive-compulsive disorder. I didn’t realize there was a name for what I was doing. In the chaos of my mind, it was a way I’d developed to cope with an increasingly disorganized mental state. In my experience, many people with obsessive-compulsive disorder rely on self-harm as a coping mechanism. After I opened up about it as an adult and published a post on my blog about cutting and OCD, I was contacted by a lot of people who’d kept it hidden as I did.
Mental illness has been a taboo subject for too long in our society and the cost is high. One of my other most popular posts on my blog is about OCD and suicide. In high school, in my desperation to escape the endless cycle of striving for this perfect ideal of me and failing, I considered suicide. My biggest driving emotion toward that was the belief that I was alone in my condition and that I was deteriorating. I thought I’d only get worse and I was ashamed that I couldn’t control my behaviors. Control is very important to those with OCD. And I felt so alone.
While I’ve always been an avid reader, I didn’t find characters that mirrored what I was going through when I was younger. Even today, most books portraying OCD stick to very common symptoms like organization, being exceptionally clean, and behaviors of germaphobia. Few realize some of the other symptoms like dark thoughts and also a tendency to self-harm. Reading even one book with such a portrayal when I was younger would have been a light at the end of the tunnel for me.
Books focused on overcoming various disabilities are now on shelves, but I wanted to write something different. I wanted a book that normalized OCD and self-harm. People who deal with both still have lives beyond their condition. Piper is more than just her OCD and her history as a cutter. I hope readers of Secrets of Skin and Stone see that she’s a compelling person with exceptional talents who deserves happiness and love. My daughter was diagnosed with OCD when she was a child and I want a better world for her. That’s one of the reasons I wrote this novel. Thank you for letting me be on your site, and I’m always willing to be a sounding board for anyone dealing with either and can be contacted through my blog.
With Piper pressed up against my back, every rise and shallow of her body brushed mine as the bike bumped along the dirt roads around Hidden Creek. She had her fist bunched up in the fabric of my shirt. Was she scared? Her sudden burst of laughter ratchetted up my body’s temperature and then she yelled, “Go faster, Gris!”
I went faster. Her excitement was nearly tangible. Her fidgety shifting was for a whole different reason. A good reason.
The sunlit fields full of newly blooming wildflowers seemed to match Piper’s new mood. She was carefree—something I hadn’t seen in her yet, and I liked it. That I’d thought of this and dragged my bike over made me like it even more. It was feeling more like a date and less like an attempt to interrogate her.
Piper laughed again, tightening her legs on either side of me.
Even though it was still cool and not even noon, I started to sweat under my helmet. The humidity and heat of summer would be unbearable, but I planned to be long gone before this spring season had passed. I shouldn’t get too attached to the girl with me.
I was up to about 95 percent certain she wasn’t roping in the fiends—purposefully. The curse pouches I’d removed from her room last night had different ingredients than the one I’d found at the mill—nothing uncommon or unusual. But they still drew in fiends. I’d killed three outside her room and shoved two more out her window.
Piper somehow managed to scoot even closer. Her legs were right up against my thighs, and I could see her knees out of the bottom of my helmet.
I went faster.
Wendy Laine is the penname of author Wendy Sparrow. Writing is in Wendy’s blood as are equal parts of Mountain Dew and chocolate. Wendy has been telling tales since she was a child with varying amounts of success. Her parents clearly anticipated her forays into the paranormal because she heard “The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ over and over. She lives in Washington State with a wonderful husband and two quirky kids and is active in Autism and OCD support networks. She can usually be found on Twitter where she’ll talk to anyone who talks to her and occasionally just to herself.
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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. The author image, info, giveaway, and more were provided by YA Reads Book Tours.