Please welcome author Kimberly McNeil as part of the Meg Mitchell blog tour!
When I first heard of this wondrous tale involving portals, fantasy elements, and San Francisco, I had to read it. Then I was so excited to learn that she would also share a snapshot of what helps her to be resilient in challenging friendships, and I was intrigued. What I didn’t know was that her personal journey of friendship and closeness with her siblings would reach a part of me that I could really relate to. I’m exited to share in her blog tour, with Laura Grace at Unicorn Quester, and take you deep and wide into her personality as a lady with quite strong stories to tell, both real and created.
Giving up on friendship
By Kimberly McNeil
I don’t make friends easily. I don’t trust many people with who I really am. I’ve been burned and betrayed too many times to let my heart hang open where anyone can see it.
Ever feel like that? Like your only purpose in life is to provide an emotional punching bag or a convenient scapegoat for other people? I can point you to seasons in my life where I must have had a “Kick Me” sign taped on my back, because that’s what everyone was doing. In elementary school, high school, college, even in my adult life, I’ve learned about friendship the hard way.
If someone you love has ever turned on you, then you know exactly how much it hurts. You entrust your heart—the core of who you are—to another person, and they use it as a club to beat you with. And the worst part of it? You justify them. You believe their lies. You convince yourself that you deserve to be treated that way, because it’s your friend. They wouldn’t mistreat you if you didn’t deserve it. They have your best interests in mind, after all.
At least, that’s what I did.
A dear friend, someone I considered a mentor, heard a lie about me. Maybe I should call it a partial truth. Those are the most damaging lies. But instead of asking me whether it was even true, this dear friend threw accusations at me. This person who I had looked up to for years solemnly informed me that I had let God down, that I was a disappointment, and that I had done deep harm to another believer.
I walked away from that tongue lashing like a whipped dog. Ashamed. Horrified. Stunned. And so full of self-loathing, I just wanted to lock myself away for the rest of time. This person was my friend, had been my friend for years, and I had to be guilty. Right?
I remember breaking down that day. I cried like I hadn’t cried in years. The thought of disappointing those I love, of hurting other Christ-followers, and being careless enough to not even realize it made me hate myself so deeply, I didn’t think I could bear to speak to another person again.
When a person you love that much won’t stand up for you, it’s a new low on your emotional barometer. One story about me was all it took to bring that relationship crashing to the ground. And if a friendship that had lasted that long could disintegrate so easily, was it even worth having friends at all?
Can I be honest? I still struggle with that question to this day. And if I said I didn’t have moments when I wished I could just run away and never speak to anyone ever again, I’d be lying. But my experiences with friendship have taught me a lot about myself and about people in general and about the amazing miracle of Jesus. And I’ve discovered that even though I don’t always want friends, I need them.
No one is strong enough to do life alone. I need people in my life who care about me—the real me, which means I have to be brave enough to let them meet the real me. That’s hard. But it’s the only way to make a real friend.
I wanted to give up. I wanted to push everyone away and never invest my emotions in another human being again.
I should tell you that I have five sisters, and none of us are related, not even by adoption. But we’re connected. We share our lives with each other. We share our hopes and dreams. We share our dark moments and fears. We depend on each other.
That’s how you identify a real friend. A real friend knows you for who you actually are, and they love you anyway. They give of themselves, and they don’t just drain your energy. They care about you for who you are, not for what you can do for them.
That doesn’t mean you’ll have a perfect friendship. Nobody is perfect. My sisters and I started as friends, and it wasn’t long afterward that we realized we were more than that. We’re family. Blood has nothing to do with it. We need each other. We speak truth to each other, even if it’s not easy. We listen to each other. That’s what friendship really is.
After this emotional disaster with this person I loved, I wanted to give up on friendship, but my sisters wouldn’t let me. And I’m so glad they didn’t.
And I guess that’s the lesson I’ve learned about love. Don’t let a false friendship drive you away from a real one. Don’t let the hurt and the scars left by one relationship color your opinion of a new one. Be wise. Learn from your choices. But don’t carry all the blame on your own shoulders, since there’s a good chance it doesn’t belong there anyway.
Friendship is always a risk, but nothing great was ever easy. Getting personal with people is messy, because people are messy. But if you’re willing to talk to each other, to believe the best about each other, and to be real with each other, you’ll go a long way together.
Be brave enough to be yourself. The friends you need will find you.
Meg Mitchell & The Secret of the Journal
Stories never end. They just get bigger.
You only have to turn the page.
Meg Mitchell lives in a castle, but she’s no wilting princess. Raised in an alien world by adoptive parents, she spends her time fighting Centaurs, training as an Andai warrior, and chilling in her favorite willow tree.
But when Meg uncovers her birth father’s journal, she discovers a cousin she didn’t know existed. Meg and her little brother and sister travel through an interdimensional rip to San Francisco to search for their cousin, setting off a chain of events no one could have foreseen.
When her sister is kidnapped, Meg enlists the help of teenage detective Barb Taylor and her genius little brother Jim. Following clues dropped by a mysterious benefactor, they embark on a cross-country adventure to rescue her sister and find Meg’s cousin.
Family is everything to Meg, but not all is as it seems. In her quest to reunite her family, she may lose more than she ever imagined.
Find it at these fine retailers: Amazon — Barnes & Noble — Crosshair Press
Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads list.
Amy Williams is a novelist, freelance writer, founding member of Crosshair Press LLC, and professional nerd. You can find most of her work under the name A.C. Williams, but she also writes young adult fantasy (The Legend of the Lightkeepers) under the pen name Kimberly McNeil. Amy is single and lives in her family’s 100-year-old farmhouse on five acres in the middle of the Kansas prairie. She loves cats and drinks far too much coffee.
Follow her on social media: Website — Facebook — Twitter — Instagram — Google Plus
Calling all book readers! Join Laura A. Grace and A.C. Williams (pen name Kimberly McNeil) as they chat about her urban fantasy novel MEG MITCHELL & THE SECRET OF THE JOURNAL on November 2nd from 8 PM to 10 PM EST (7 PM CDT and 6 PM PST).
Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with A.C., games, and giveaways.
Special guests Kat Heckenbach and Kara Swanson will also be sharing their books and joining in the fun.
And here’s the schedule so you don’t miss any posts in this epic tour:
Wednesday, November 1st
– Review & Interview – dolphin18cb (You are here)
Thursday, November 2nd
– Review & Guest Post – Thorn & Vine
– Character Interview – Unicorn Quester
Friday, November 3rd
– Author Interview – Lands Uncharted
– Fan-Made Book Trailer – Unicorn Quester
– Author Interview – Welcome to Arhyalon
Saturday, November 4th
– Review – Live Life Reading
– Review & Author Trivia – Of Pens & Paper
Monday, November 6th
– Review – It’s Storytime With Van Daniker!
– Spotlight – The Hermit Librarian
– Author Interview – Taneisha’s Book Blog & More
Tuesday, November 7th
– Author Interview – Jebraun Clifford ~ dream.write.repeat.
Wednesday, November 8th
– Review – The Overactive Imagination
Thursday, November 9th
– Blog Tour Wrap-Up – Unicorn Quester
Friday, November 10th
– Review – Taneisha’s Book Blog & More
Laura A. Grace says
Ah, what a powerful story of resilience! I feel this past year I have been learning what it means to be transparent with family, friends, and people in general. It can be horrifying (because like you said Amy, who wants to get hurt in a friendship and see it crumble?), but being the real you with others is so rewarding.
Thank you so much for sharing, friend, and I greatly appreciate you sharing her story Elizabeth and participating in the tour! This is very powerful!
Thanks for the opportunity Amy! Putting yourself “out there” is always a bit scary. I’ve had to do that a lot with moving and trying to meet new friends. And we’ve had a bumpy landing with our furniture getting lost and transition, so I’ve had to be pretty real. But I’ve also found some great ladies who’ve been super helpful with resources and that really helps. If I hadn’t risked being honest, I wouldn’t have had those resources when we needed it greatly. And they are lovely people too. So are you!