Books

What happens when children are denied love and then left to their own devices? Follow Me into the Dark traces the unraveling of a family marred by perverse intergenerational abuse. Kate is a young baker whose mother is dying of cancer. Gillian is an oversexed, hyper-intellectual who looks like Kate and is sleeping with Kate’s stepfather. Jonah is Gillian’s odd but devoted stepbrother, who increasingly matches the description of the “Doll Collector,” a menacing serial killer. With Kate flailing in her mourning and beating back unwelcome memories, snippets of her family legacy are revealed just as the Doll Collector’s body count grows.

A complex, dark expression of the deprived heart and the desperate lengths children will go to in order to create family.

“The raw terror of Sullivan’s novel lies in her depiction of family, of motherhood, not as safe haven but as private, internal danger. The horror comes from within, from inside the house, from inside the family, from inside the mind.”—Los Angeles Review of Books

“A searing portrayal of a woman’s complicated grief. . . . An original, spellbinding, and horrifying read.” —Kirkus (starred review)

“Sullivan’s haunting novel should have a strong appeal for fans of dark, psychological suspense.” —Booklist

“Follow Me into the Dark is a dark, dense, and rewarding debut novel.” —Largehearted Boy

“Haunting prose and intelligent twists haunt and thrill, while her lyrical prose simultaneously adds an elegance and beauty to every scene and character. Sullivan does not apologize for the derangement of the characters, because this is a reality that could be happening right next door. It makes for both a seductive and demented novel of pure genius. It is a jolting and invigorating ride.” —Bellingham Review

“The book is exceptionally dark and filled with abuse. It’s bleak and depressing but powerful.” —Books of Blood

“Within the first words you’ll find yourself pulled into something rich, luminous, and unsparing. I’m reminded of contemporaries like Merritt Tierce and Ottessa Moshfegh, but Felicia Sullivan achieves both an emotional intensity and pacing that is simultaneously seductive and blistering. Follow Me into the Dark is both an invitation and a dare. Accept both. You’ll be glad you did.” —Joe McGinniss Jr., author of Carousel Court

“A haunting and wholly engrossing story of uncommon moral complexity, with prose bright and swift as lightning.” —Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me

“Precise and powerful, Felicia Sullivan’s gorgeous novel takes you on a journey through the darkest sides of human nature, with arresting images and unforgettable characters that don’t let go.” —Liza Monroy, author of Seeing As Your Shoes Are Soon To Be On Fire

“A gripping exploration of pain, anger and revenge. It will stay with you long past the last page.” —Kelly Braffet, author of Save Yourself

Days before Felicia Sullivan graduated from college, her mother disappeared; she hasn’t been heard from in more than twelve years. It was possibly the last betrayal her mother, a beautiful, volatile, deceitful drug addict, would add to those that built their relationship, which subjected Felicia to a nightmare childhood on the toughest streets of 1980s Brooklyn. Growing up in the close company of dealers, users, and a host of unsavory characters, Felicia became her mother’s keeper at a shockingly young age—getting her to the hospital after her overdoses, enduring her cruelty and narcissistic rages, and accepting the abuse or indifference of numerous so-called stepfathers. Years later, damaged and ashamed of her past, Felicia invented a new, brutally hard-partying persona to show to the world: she became her mother.

Affecting, honest, and utterly extraordinary, The Sky Isn’t Visible from Here is a book about secrets and forgiveness—the story of a young woman unraveling . . . and then putting her life back together again.

“A poignant memoir.” —Publishers Weekly

“Sullivan appears to defy odds, moving past childhood poverty and her addict mother’s abuse to gain an education and career…It’s amazing to read how she transformed herself into a carbon copy of her college classmates, seeming to escape her traumatic rearing so completely”—Elle

“Sullivan’s bracing, pared-to-the-bone prose evokes compassion by being impressively free of the narcissistic self-worship that so often infects books of this stripe.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A young woman from Brooklyn “looks at her rocky childhood growing up with a beautiful, drug-addicted mom” in this remarkable memoir.” —Vanity Fair

“A poignant memoir by writer Sullivan palpates the wounds of growing up with an unstable, cocaine-abusing mother.” —Library Journal.

“Felicia Sullivan’s mother disappeared on the night Felicia graduated from college. The daughter would go on to an Ivy League education and numerous accomplishments—but eventually, just like her missing parent, she would succumb to alcohol and cocaine abuse. In this “brave and lovely” account, Felicia looks at the ways she was shaped by the shame of her past, and how she finally overcame it.” —Roxana Robinson

“Looking back on the tough streets of Brooklyn in the 1980s, where she lived among drug dealers, users, and substitute fathers who tended to be indifferent at best and abusive at worst, Felicia reveals how she became her mother’s keeper, taking her to the hospital when she overdosed, withstanding her narcissistic rages, and always wondering why her mother would never reveal the truth about the father she’d never met. The Sky Isn’t Visible from Here is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, and an “extraordinary memoir [that] will keep you awake at night and haunt your dreams.” —Dani Shapiro, author of Family History

Instagram

  • My freelance career is nearing its best-by date. This realization didn’t come from some climactic third act. Instead, it was an acknowledgment of a simple truth: everything expires. The shiny and new loses its sheen and pallor. What once made you bolt out of bed becomes the thing you run from screaming. You tally the things you keep losing, which loom large and incalculable. You’re bombarded by seemingly motivational Instagram quotes that tell you to keep working, keep hustling, keep pushing through it. What the platitudes neglect to add is that some battles should be abandoned. Sometimes it’s okay not to play your hand and to walk away from the table. There is a difference, albeit subtle, between what’s hard and what’s Sisyphean.
.
Yes, I want to go back to full-time. Yes, I have no idea how I’ll pay rent this week but I’m surprisingly calm because there are some things out of my control.
.
I do have a whole slate of morning interviews for a role back east later in the week so I’m pumped about that. Check out my new medium post (link in bio).
.
Image: cosmaa / Getty Images
.
.
  • I’m honestly crying tears of gratitude. I should tell you that I’m not a cryer. Unless it’s those Sarah McLachlan animal shelter commercials and then I’m a puddle. But I’m getting really excited about how this @medium series is coming together. I’ll probably top 50K words including the downloadable resources. And I’m even more humbled that my friend @lorissas (we’ve known one another since 2002 and we’ve worked together since my book publishing days) created these gorgeous custom graphics. I really want my collection branded in the blues and to reflect my vibe as much as possible. I’m spending my own $ to license photography and illustrations.
.
All because I’m really fucking tired of faux marketers who don’t know of what they teach. Or they teach what has worked for them, their blog or IG, which doesn’t necessarily translate to big brands. Then you have scammers who make it hard for the legit marketers who have to go through hoops because companies have gotten burned by incompetence.
.
I also want to make use of my educational privilege. I went to an excellent private college and Ivy League graduate school. I had the privilege of working for brilliant marketers, from whom I learned everything I know. And I want to share that as much as possible. For free. This is my goal in 2019–create and share tons of pedagogical content. For free.
.
I’m so excited!!!!! Shout out to @omgstephlol for believing in my vision and putting up with my craziness.
.
.
.
.
#fuckfauxmarketers #makinguseofmyprivilege, #brandstrategy #marketing #marketingtips #strategy #thehustle #freelance
  • THIS WEEK. Well, let’s see... I wrote a total of 32K words, accepted an offer to be one of a few operating owners of a funded content start-up (no $ now but I think this will blow up), I had another interview with an agency in Philly and we talked money, balance, neuroscience and I like their vibe. I’m not moving cross country just yet so let’s all take a pause. I finished a good book, started another. Got my mammogram results back—no cancer! I got angry with my health insurance company like the rest of America. Part of me hopes I can get a full-time job so I can enjoy a consistent paycheck for a hot second. Celebrated a month off the sauce (let’s not get telenovela about this). I cleaned my house and burst into tears talking to my bankruptcy attorney because apparently no one cares that you’ve been making on-time payments for over a year and you’re going through a rough patch. It stormed and I loved it and prayed for more rain. It’s sunny now. I have a first line for a new chapter but I can’t write because all I’m thinking about is work and how I’ll make rent. But here it is: “Love in their home had become its own form of violence.”
.
I met up with @bhatmon who always makes me smile and if I move back east she’ll be the one true thing I’ll miss. I listened to podcasts, read science articles, and wished that I could get a neuroscience degree but a kind reader pointed me in the direction of MIT’s free classes so I’m jazzed. I emailed a rescue service and filled out an adoption application but no one ever wrote my back so that made me sad.
.
I have no idea how I’ll at for anything but I can’t freak out over that which I can’t control and like that. And love is kind of violent if you really get to thinking about it.
.
I’m annoyed that I’ve lived get for over three years and I haven’t seen nearly enough. And on it goes.
.
.
.
.
#weekendvibes #weeklyrecap #realtalk #instayum #thehustle #amwriting but am I?
  • Love can sometimes create its own form of emotional violence.
.
I used to rummage through photos as a means of being cruel to myself. You used to be thin! You used to be slightly fashionable! You used to be disciplined! And as the edges softened, as your wont to do as you get older and let a lot of the hardness within you go, it occurred to me that the things I used to want and love were violent. I was ruthless to my body to get it to a certain shape instead of eating to sustain myself and moving to feel. I went at everything so hard! Then I worked all hours of the day and night until it made me literally sick. My hardness, my love and desire to look and be a certain way, was hurting me.
.
Now. I’ve softened in all senses of the word. I’m calmer. I have a different (and healthier) view of my body and what it means to be beautiful, and I have strong boundaries that guard against the people with whom I work and the projects I’ve taken on. I’ve fired abusive clients. I make clear when and how I work. And I put me first. I have a lot of writing to do to make $ to pay rent this month but I rested yesterday because I need it. I didn’t realize how tiring writing could be when you’re doing it for 10-12 hours a day. Sometimes you need rest.
.
Now, I look for pictures like this when I’m happy. When I’m laughing as feeling joyful and hopeful. Because I’m trying to be kinder to myself.
.
.
.
#tuesdaymotivation #bekind #beingboss #boss #thehustle #amwriting
  • Writing exhausts you. So much so that, come evening, all you can do is stare blankly at a television screen. You can’t read because you can’t bear to see another word.
.
I’ve been on a heater, writing for 10-12 hours for the past two days. I wake at four and start working at 4:30. It’s my best time. I’ve finished 3 of my 9 medium pieces and believe me when I say that teaching something, especially solely in written form, is a lot harder than I anticipated. But it’s work that gives me pride. Plus it’s a little money that goes towards paying my bills.
.
Tomorrow is a call for a freelance strategy gig with a philly healthcare agency, more work, and possibly a delivery of fried chicken. Here’s hoping.
.
.
.
.
#thehustle #amwriting #f52grams #clementinedaily #beingboss #thefreelancelife #freelancewriter #faceplant
  • #tbt of me sweating my ass off in S. Africa, wrinkles et all.
.
In the midst of me having a two-day long rage blackout over my garbage $600/month healthcare that won’t even cover my MRI, I learned two exciting pieces of news.
.
The medium series is a GO, you guys! I’m shaking with excitement because faux-marketer scam artists and their wack courses are a pandemic. They don’t have experience in what they’re selling. They haven’t achieved for others what they’re selling beyond their own channels. And they don’t actually understand what they’re selling. I can’t tell you how many lead magnets and PDFs I’ve downloaded and webinars I barely lived through where people didn’t even understand the basic principles of brand platform development. They got the terminology wrong. They got the process wrong. Data was non-existent. I was APPALLED at the AUDACITY of these dumb chumps. So I decided to create a FREE mini course that takes you through the full brand platform process. I’m publishing one overview (9K words), and 8 follow ups that flesh out the overview. You’ll get information in layman’s terms, complete with exercises and real-world examples. I’ll also be sharing a link when all of this is up where you can view all articles FOR FREE, bypassing the paywall. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. I didn’t realize how hard this would be, creating lessons that were instructive and easy to understand. I’m setting aside time to finish this while I do client work that pays the bills. I am happy medium is paying me, which is pretty awesome.
.
This is the first in a series.
.
The OTHER news is that I was offered operating ownership (not equity) in a content start-up that I truly believe will blow up like nitro, to quote Biggie. I love the company. I’d be working with hella smart people and my work would be advising on the brand, marketing and editorial. The offer took me by surprise and I was humbled and honored. While there’s no $ up front, the ownership really piques my interest. I can’t give any more details than that, but this is pretty cool.
.
Now I will lie down. .
.
.
#selfie #bignews #bignewscomingsoon #amwriting
  • Get ready for the magic, people. I’ll be back to sharing food posts in 2019!!! I just came back from an awesome party and I’m inspired and filled with so much energy.
.
I’m planning a monster tutorial series (with graphics) on marketing strategy, brand development, and audience segmentation and I’m publishing this FREE on @medium. Don’t buy courses from scam artists who’ve never worked on real brands. I’ve got 20 years and I know what I’m talking about. I’m also considering in-person trainings at the corporate or individual level (not free). I don’t want to do courses as I teach best in front of people.
.
I’m going to finish this book. I’m going to try to leave my house and network a little more with people I dig. And I’m trying to get to the East coast before March to see my peeps.
.
And I’m going to fight for financial stability and be kind to myself!!
.
Let’s do this!!! Tell me what you’re doing. And hey, if it’s surviving know that is an achievement in and of itself.
.
.
.
#bigenergy #bigmagic #tuesdaymotivation #newyear #instayum #cannoli #bigplans #realshit #letsdothis
  • Instead I wrote SIXTY pieces, of which I’m so proud. I wrote over 200K words, which is like 3 books considering my last novel clicked in at 70K words. I feel good having written my way through some of my most darkest moments. Haven’t read my stuff? That’s sad for you, my friend. Resolve that by hitting the link in my profile. Also, big love to @omgstephlol. .
.
.
.
#amwriting #weekendvibes #authorsofinstagram #medium #icantgoonillgoon #beckettquoteibviously

Follow Me!