Self-Love, Recovery and a Thriller Freebie!

body image

Embracing our physical selves can be one of life’s toughest feats. My personal battle with low body image started at age 5 and lasted into my late 20s, and in my years of eating disorder recovery and the thriving that’s followed, I’ve encountered hundreds, perhaps thousands, of women whose battles run deeper and longer. It’s not fair or right that so many of us loathe ourselves, or that we’re taught to place our personal self-worth on factors as trivial as dress size, facial features or weight. But all of that’s too easy in today’s world.

If there’s one thing that my personal journey has taught me, it’s that the cliche holds true: True beauty really does radiate from within. When we strive to fulfill our hearts’ and souls’ desires rather than expectations set by diet trends, the media or the entertainment industry, we feel and appear more beautiful in EVERY way. LIFE becomes beautiful, and so does our place in it. 

Anyone who’s overcome eating disorder will attest that coming to terms with this is the most difficult and important work one can ever do. Those who’ve found their way through darkness to the sunshine called full, forever recovery (I consider myself recovered) also know a special kind of glory that can be all of ours.

In honor of the beautiful folks who are grappling with eating disorders or related issues (disordered eating, depression, anxiety…), I’m running a freebie promotion of my novel, In Her Shadow, today through Saturday. Since my last freebie promotion boosted sales afterward significantly, I’ve decided to donate 10 percent of my profits for the month following to the National Eating Disorders Association. I’m so excited to support this wonderful organization.

In case you’re unfamiliar, here’s a glimpse at my novel’s story:

One woman locked in a basement, nearing death and longing for escape. Another baffled by the inexplicable symptoms wreaking havoc on her life. Both are lost and alone, yet somehow connected. And time is running out…

In Her Shadow cover_med

Near the tenth anniversary of her parents’ unexpected death, Claire Fiksen, a lovely young Harvard-grad and gifted psychologist in Minnesota, develops bizarre symptoms of an eating disorder that threaten her fledgling career, her relationship with a handsome young medical student, her grasp on reality and, soon, her life.

When her beloved grandfather reveals that there may be more to her parents’ death than she’s realized, Claire’s pursuit of healing becomes a desperate search for answers as she delves into her family’s sordid past. Meanwhile, someone is watching her every move, plotting to draw her into her own twisted web of misery.

Claire has something he needs, and he’ll stop at nothing to obtain it. Every step Claire takes brings her closer to the truth and danger. And her life, she discovers, isn’t the only one at stake.

 “As McLaughlin, a certified nutritionist and health writer, slowly reveals the mysteries behind Claire’s illness, as well as long-hidden truths and snippets of memories, the novel’s darkness gathers like storm clouds. An engaging story with an inventive structure and an intriguing focus on body-image issues.” — Kirkus Reviews

To nab your free e-copy, visit IN HER SHADOW on today through Saturday, August 10th at midnight.


SPECIAL EVENT! I’d also like to invite you all to a virtual party taking place on Facebook tonight from 6 – 8:30pm PST. I’ll be sharing an abbreviated live recording of my story, “Does Dirt Have Calories?,” sharing highlights from my recovery, taking and posing questions and keeping the virtual empowering drinks flowing! I hope you’ll stop by and join the fun.

For details, to RSVP and to join in once the party has started, visit BEYOND THE SHADOWS: A SELF-DISCOVERY/RECOVERY PARTY!

Thanks, all, for your ongoing support and overall awesomeness! You’re total bright spots in my day. ♥

Leave a comment


  1. Such a great deal for a great book! And nice of you to donate some profits thereafter to a great association.

  2. SPOT ON and stellar Kirkus Review, August. Well deserved.

    Knowing your story before and since added another layer to that “gather of storm clouds” for me.

    During my recovery from alcoholism, I went through detox with a young woman who suffered from anorexia. She was rail thin, had no body fat, and her skin and hair showed evidence of malnutrition. Yet, she trashed food, and told them she’d eaten. Each time she passed a mirror, she lamented how fat she was. It was heartbreaking. I left for rehab and don’t know what eventually happened, but they had to begun to measure her in ounces gained/lost and were close to committing her to a psych ward for forced nutrition unless she began to gain weight.

    And, on a far-fetched level, I understand how she felt.

    After I stopped drinking, my liver sent me a bouquet of flowers and a thank-you note. I switched to water and Tazo Zen Green Tea as beverages of choice. I began to exercise, and became aware of the nutrition I put in my body. All those changes yielded a loss of 45 pounds, yet a chubby girl still resides inside me.

    When I have a poked-out tummy day, I feel as if I’m pregnant. I fall back on lean protein and vegetables to deprive those happy tummy fat cells of sugar. I amp cardio and abs (most of the time). At some level, I know I’m obsessed with maintaining the body I always dreamed of having. It’s my bonus prize for giving Vino the heave-ho.

    Do you consider that unhealthy behavior?

    There are times a BOAW article makes me feel a bit of a fraud b/c I invariably check my mirror before I leave the house. And, I’m not checking because I fear I have my clothes on backwards. 😉

    • Thanks for the sweet words, Gloria! Eating disorders and substance addiction definitely share many parallels…

      Your dietary habits when you feel tummy-conscious isn’t terribly unhealthy nutrition-wise, though it may be lacking in complex carbs (which help reduce belly fat and boost our moods). If you simply cut refined carbs—swapped enriched flour products and sweets for whole grains and sweet potatoes, for example—you’d be better off. From an emotional standpoint, disordered eating involves any mindset and/or behaviors that significantly detract from our emotional wellbeing. If I had a magic wand, I’d use it to show you that you and your abs are beautiful and perfect, just the way they are.

      Hope that helps a little! Mirror-checking is a common thing…and not unhealthy if you’re not obsessive about it. 🙂

      • EEEE! I can have my whole grain deli thin sandwiches, then. SWEET! I also get fiber through fruits and veggies. I dislike the notion of popping pills to get the vitamin balance I need.

        I don’t judge the beauty of other people by clothes size or facial features. Why do I do it with myself?

        Standing by to catch that magic wand, August.

        As for obsessed about it? Nah. Not so much. I troll my closet for an outfit that hides the poof until I get it back under control. I feel self-conscious when I dress inappropriately for an event or for my body shape on that day

  3. What an awesome idea, August! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our personal experience help shape our view of the world and what becomes important to us. For you, your experience with self image made a huge impact on your causes. For me (though I don’t think I’d have ever called it that at the time), it was bullying. The way people speak to one another and their choices of words…and the long term impact on self esteem. I love to see how you come at what haunted you for so long from a position of strength and hope now. Kudos.

    • Another commonality between us! I’m not surprised. 🙂

      The thought of you being bullied makes my heart hurt, Kitt. You simply being you inspires me.

      • Strangely enough, I doubt it would have happened, nor would I have been susceptible had my brother not died, causing me to be put into private school.

  4. Reblogged this on Year 'Round Thanksgiving Project and commented:
    If you haven’t gotten this book yet, you MUST! It is a great read – and right now it is FREE!!!!

  5. This is so timely, August. I just blogged about that evil person named ED, I am so happy to hear that you are recovered! I’ve watched too many loved ones destroyed by this. I am so glad you wrote a book and I can think of at least three young ladies I know who would benefit from reading it. Thanks!

  6. Applaud your courageous battle and breakthrough–way to go! Thoughtful of you to remember others are still immersed in the struggle, and kudos for doing your part to help support the cause, not to mention eradicating silly notions that human beings have no worth unless they are a size this or that, etc.

    • Thanks for the encouragement! We all endure tough times, and when we can draw a bit of lemonade from them, it’s a win-win. 🙂 Wishing you wellness–of all kinds!

  7. What an awesome way to give back, August! Your story is inspiring and heart breaking at the same time. I see you as you are now, vivacious, gorgeous on the inside and out, and it’s hard for me to reconcile the woman I know with the challenged woman who still lurks inside of you. But I totally get it. We’re too damn hard on ourselves. I’ve already got your book, but I’m going to make a donation to the National Eating Disorders Association in your name. You are such a freaking rock star!

  8. You never disappoint, August. Well done!

  9. You are so right about beauty radiating from within. I think it does take most of us a long time to learn that. Your books sounds great! Is it available in paperback? I’m sorry I had to miss your party, but I was sound asleep (and have the drool marks to prove it!) 🙂

  10. Raani York

     /  August 9, 2013

    This is absolutely fantastic, August! You’re so generous and such a wonderful – and beautiful person – inside and out!!! 🙂 I’m very proud to have you as a friend!

  11. Kourtney Heintz

     /  August 9, 2013

    Terrific party August! 🙂 Counting down the days until Killer Nashville. 🙂

  1. Healing Wounds and Helping Hands | theinnerwildkat

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