Life is messy…

Posted by on Jan 21, 2013 in #amazon, #domesticviolence, #Kindle, #mystery, #romance, #suspense, #thriller, contemporary romance, contemporary romantic suspense, romantic suspense, strong heroine, women's issues | 0 comments

Of all my books, perhaps The Last Resort is the most conflicted. It’s also the book one of my beta readers swears is the best I’ve ever written. It’s the book that nearly won a contest, but won one of the judges’ hearts – she asked to be notified if it ever reached print. (It has!) It’s also the book that receives the most mixed reviews – primarily a complaint that too much is going on. Which I have to admit makes me laugh even as I struggle with it.
Because life is messy, and complicated, and so much of events of The Last Resort are based on reality. Events that took place almost exactly as they happen in the book, and at the same time. Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty. Or innocent. I have to admit to being tempted to hold a contest asking readers to tell me which characters in The Last Resort are real…and which aren’t. I’m also grateful that some of the participants in those events are probably dead by now although I doubt they’d recognize themselves. People never do.
One reviewer even commented on the level of detail, objecting to a mention of the heroine raking leaves. Yet that rake shows up in a later scene. As a writer I had to explain why it was so conveniently placed there. I had to make it real.
Even the ‘rescue rangers’ are based in truth. Some time ago, I read about a woman who had organized a group of retired cops and ex-service people to help battered women escape their abusers. It was difficult and dangerous work, as they and any police officer could tell you.
I sometimes wonder if people have just seen too many Lifetime movies where the victim escapes into the arms of the one man who will love her, who will fight for her, and in the end save her from her abuser.
In real life, that just doesn’t happen. Most women who escape run to their families (where their batterers frequently find them) or live in shelters on subsistence. They have no money because their abusers made sure they had no access to any. Most are ashamed.
When they do call for help, they frequently panic immediately afterward. Many times cops become caught between the abuser and the victim, because the victim is all too aware that the laws don’t really protect her. In all likelihood her abuser will be back out on the street within hours. And looking for her. Unless she finds a shelter – most counties don’t have domestic violence shelters – he’ll very likely find her. A protection from abuse order is worth the paper it’s written on, it’s a formality that must be part of the record…but one that is almost guaranteed to infuriate the abuser – who never considers himself the bad guy. It’s shaming, and inflaming for them.
Leaving is the most dangerous time for most women, and the time when most die. One to three women in the United States daily.
So I wrote The Last Resort from my own experience, and it translated fairly easily. All the events in the book took place around the same time.
What I didn’t want to write was just another domestic violence book. I didn’t want it to be primarily about domestic violence. I wanted to write something that would be entertaining as well. I wanted the book to balance what I frequently see as a culture of constant victim-hood, with women and those around them defining themselves always by this one event for the rest of their lives. It doesn’t have to be that way.
I wanted to write about someone who would give women hope, an example of someone who had broken the chains of domestic violence. I wanted to write a book about a woman who had not only survived, but thrived and grew stronger because of it. I also wanted to show that it was possible to love and be loved again, to have a healthy relationship.
Someone like me.

Twenty percent of all the proceeds of The Last Resort will go to charities benefiting the victims of domestic violence.

Available from Amazon.com –  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0052UX3V6

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The Millersburg Quartet

Posted by on Jul 8, 2011 in #Nook, #Nook Book, #romance, contemporary romantic suspense, romantic suspense | 0 comments

When I started to write the Millersburg Quartet series, I wanted to write about the girls who had been geeks in high school, the nerds, the outcasts, the ones who were different, who never quite fit in. You know. Us.
We hung together, some of us, against the cliques and groups and some of us stayed friends for a long time after high school and college.

Ali was the smart one, taking college courses while still in high school. A meteoric rise though led to an equally meteoric fall. To add insult to injury she discovered that her boyfriend had gotten engaged. To someone else. With her life and career in shambles, she goes in search of her mother’s roots in Ireland. When she offers Aidan O’Connell a lift from his broken down car, she gains a handsome tour guide. But there’s a lot she doesn’t know about Aidan. Is he only looking for a brief Irish Fling?

Cam Kenyon has come home a different woman than the one that left. Always the sensible one, she’s now a respected psychologist. If only she could apply that new-found confidence  to Noah Denton, her old high school crush and the candidate for District Attorney. Some things haven’t changed. But when she learns Noah’s opponent is resorting to Dirty Politics, she can’t stand aside.

Molly was the theater geek but now she’s a teacher and her only forays in the theater are with the local community theater group. Then bad boy director Jack Tyler shows up, trying to wrestle his demons while rediscover his love of the craft. Getting involved with Jack is a risk. Is it one Molly’s willing to take? Will she make the Director’s Cut?

The wild child of the four, sculptor and welder Jesse Chamberlain has always been impulsive. For Mitch Donovan, whose world has been turned upside down, she’s just the thing to shake him out of the tailspin he’s been in. Suddenly he’s riding Two Up and the writer’s block that’s plagued him has vanished. The announcement of a new M. J. Donovan novel, though, brings a fan out of hiding. What he doesn’t count on is Jesse.

Here’s a bit of trivia for fans. Almost all of these stories were inspired by real life, some by real people and/or real places. Like the solo trip to Ireland from Irish Fling and the grotto in the woods with its homemade hot tub in Two Up. The rest I’ll leave you all to guess. I hope you all enjoy them.

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