Friday, 15 May 2015

Guest Post: The Hardest Love by @LizaOConnor

Why are we so protective of our memories? Even bad memories.
If your appendix gets infected, you’ll have it removed.
So why are we reluctant to do the same with our memories? Why do we cling to memories ruining our lives?  We don’t really know if the memory is even true. Our brains have been proven to be highly faulty?
Humans, ALL humans, are terrible recorders of facts. There is massive evidence proving this. Much of what you remember isn’t accurate the day you experience it. Keep recalling the event and it will become less and less accurate. So when a memory is ruining your life, why do you cling to it? There are many ways to remove it.
Here’s a core fact: Memories are NOT fixed or chiseled in stone. They can and do change every time you recall them. 
And when a memory is destroying your life, there are many ways to change it. Here are a few:
1) Drugs: If propranolol (a drug to lower your blood pressure) is administered before recalling the event, then when the memory is restored by the brain, it is often a milder, less frightening version.  Use of Anesthetic gas Xenon: If applied at exactly the right moment, it can strip away the negative feelings associated with a memory.
2) Memory reconsolidation: The easiest time to change a memory is when it is active.  In my book I have Sam alter his memories with the use of a ‘better outcome’ computer generated video of the event he went through. He’s told it is the cumulative scenario from the other soldiers in his unit. While it seems to heal him in one view, that night, his prior memories fought back making things worse than ever. But upon seeing the video again and receiving a CD of the event to watch whenever he questions the ‘truth’, he finally retakes control of his life.
3)Optogenetics:  Simple explanation: while the trauma is triggered, the parts of the brain that light up are identified and particles are attached to them. Then with a laser, neurosurgeons turn the memories off. They are not destroyed and can be turned on at a later time. In my book, Sam considers joining the small clinical trial to be run on humans, until he realize that the only way to get to the hippocampus is to cut a hole in his skull. That convinced him to choose the video option instead.
According to stats, over 14 million American’s suffer from PTSD and the count could be much higher, since a great deal of people suffer from trauma (real or imagined) that do not meet the criteria to be classified as PTSD, but still their trauma diminishes their lives on a daily basis.
Once someone proved how easy it was to alter a memory, all sorts of new options started popping up. Some psychiatrists object to the new methods, but honestly, if you can remove your pain without drugs, having you skull opened, or spending years in therapy along with a drug regiment why wouldn’t you at least give it a try?

The Hardest Love
A Long Road to Love Series
By Liza O’Connor

Sam Lancaster is a lost man. Since returning from the war in Iraq, his life has been spiraling out of control. Attempting to escape his troubles, first he moves to a small town of Denton, Iowa, where he becomes the sheriff and beats up the local trouble. When that ceases to work, he seeks peace at a Vermont hunting lodge, where he gets arrested for shooting fish rather than throwing them a line. After spending five months in a work camp to pay for his many crimes, he gets out only to discover Carrie is in dangeragain. Convinced he’s the only one who can keep the little Pint Size safe, he rushes back to NYC.
During his absence, Mars has turned the Lancaster estate into a sanctuary for injured vets. Sam agrees to take a test that proves he has Swiss cheese memories that are inaccurate and dangerous. Even knowing this, his PTSD continues to worsen. While he’s deemed to be a poor candidate for a new method of self-correction, his many friends will try anything to save him.
When danger shows up at the Sanctuary, Mars gives him a mission to evaluate the potential threat from certain staff members. On top of his list is Sam’s new girlfriend. Figures!

“Well, if you want cheered up on my days off, I’d be glad to kick the hell out of your demons.”
Aggie’s comment brought Sam to a halt. No way would Mars share his history with his new staff. So who did? Carlos?
A second later, Aggie pulled up and returned to him. After an intense stare down, as if she were reading his mind, she ruffed up his hair, which had probably been pre-ruffled since he forgot to brush it before leaving. “I was offering to spar with you.”
That wasn’t happening. “Sorry, there are only a few people I can safely spar with. I would never risk hurting someone already debilitated with the name of Agnes.”
He couldn’t wait to see how she took his refusal. Inexplicably, he hit the floor hard a second later and her foot pressed on his neck.
“Easy!” he yelled. She gleamed with pride at her achievement, which had been nothing more than a lucky, underhanded blow.
When she removed her foot and reached down to help him up, he grabbed her hand, intending to flip her onto her back so she could appreciate how hard the floor was. Incredibly she managed to deflect his every move. Finally, by feigning a move which required her to respond by shifting her balance, he yanked her down onto his chest.
She laughed. “You are too good not to realize that was a bonehead move if I wanted to kill you. So, I’m thinking you’re tired of sparring and wish to try something else.”
Her gorgeous smile hovered inches above him. Her strong body pressed against his. Feeling a need to possess her, he gripped the back of her head and brought her lips to his as he rolled her over, so he was on top.
Just as his brain was about to overheat from one of the finest kisses he could recall, a familiar throat clearing doused his fire. He broke away and helped her up before facing Mars. “This was totally my doing. I knocked her off her feet and kissed her.”
After a stern glare at Sam, Mars turned to Aggie. “Are you all right?”
“I’m fine,” she said, all the while smiling.
“Do you want to press charges?”
She stared up at the ceiling, considering the matter. “I’m off duty today and tomorrow. Can we have Sam confined to my quarters?”

Released May 5, 2015
A Long Road to Love
The Hardest Love
Book Five

Other books in the A Long Road to Love series
Book One
Worst Week Ever
“Love this book and couldn't stop laughing from beginning to end.” 5 stars – Alves - Amazon

Book Two
Oh Stupid Heart
“Be warned though, this book is completely different from The Worst Week Ever. Yes, there is still humor, dry wit, situations that you would think...NOT AGAIN but this one humanizes Trent more.” 5 stars - Brian’s Mom – Amazon

Book Three
Coming to Reason
Once again, Ms. O’Connor has written a brilliant book about the complexities of relationships, good and bad. Again, to me, the book is the best break up book EVER and it left my heart singing in the end. Best.Book.Ever…

Book Four
Climbing out of Hell
 “In typical @Liza0Connor fashion, crazy things happen which make you laugh outloud.”

Liza O’Connor
Liza lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels. She loves to create interesting characters, set them loose, and scribe what happens.



  1. Great post! Book sounds awesome, Liza!

  2. I love this book and I agree with not having my brain opened. But I do like the idea of changing my memories using visual therapy. Now if I can use it to make me taller and skinnier, I'd be so happy!