Real stories from victims of extraordinary circumstance who chose to survive.

So often we attribute survival to purely just living through a singular event. In writing we call that the Inciting Incident. The term survivor in that way tends to take on a passive role. I think we often say survivor when in fact we mean victim. But 'victim' sounds so weak, so we instead say 'survivor' because it indicates strength and perseverance.

The truth is, anyone can be a victim, but being a survivor takes a lot more than we often realize and give true survivors credit for. Survival Over Surrender celebrates the journey of being an active survivor. We aim to give a voice to people who make the choice to stay alive, and let them tell their story in their own words. Every one of them is remarkable in their own way.

Who am I and why did I start SoS?

I'm Melissa Geissinger and I live in Bodega Bay, California. The story behind why I decided to start this website began when I lost my home in the Tubbs fire that careened through the densely-populated city of Santa Rosa, California unexpectedly the early morning of  October 9, 2017. Just two months later, my son Apollo was born with a severe heart defect and would undergo four major surgeries by the time he was eight months old. I happened to be writing an historical fiction novel which takes place during the 1906 earthquake and fires in San Francisco. I was writing about characters that survived an awful trauma, and it was only after I went through a similar experience myself that I finally understood what it meant to be a survivor.

I want to help tell people's stories. The real stories that are more powerful than any fiction could ever be. If you have something you would like to contribute, please read our submission guidelines.