domestic violence

Can a rescue cat help two damaged people fall in love?

Thanks, Cynthia Terelst, for being with us today! First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? Where do you live? Do you have pets that are your loves? What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have?

Hi Everyone,

I live in Queensland, Australia with my two cats, Kimmy and Possum. Kimmy was adopted from a local refuge and Possum was a foster fail through a rescue. I foster kittens, and have had five in my home at one time. That was pure craziness, and I will be sticking to two or three from now on. It is rewarding to know that you are saving lives and preparing them for a wonderful forever home.

I do not have any formal training in writing, in fact my degree is in commerce, which is funny really when you think that numbers and words are opposites. I don’t think you need an education in writing to be a good writer.  Although, having an understanding of structure, flow and grammar helps. I find editing the hardest part of the process. Like most writers my first draft is about getting ideas and words on the page. Editing is perfecting those words and takes a lot of effort. You need to consider the plot, subplots, character arcs, flow, tension and much more.

The Cats Out Of The BagTell us about your most recent publication.

What inspired you to write this story?
What’s your favorite thing about the book? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

The Cat’s out of the Bag is my first published novel. It is a contemporary romance set in Australia. The two main characters are what some would consider tortured souls; Jesse is a billionaire from America who is trying to escape his empty life and Evie has rebuilt her life after escaping a bad relationship.

I felt it was an important story to write because it touches on family bullying and domestic violence. There is a lot of hope in this story and it is important for people to know there is always hope.

As it is set in Australia, I wanted to include different Australian scenes. Many of the places visited in my novel I visited with my daughter when we travelled around Australia with out cat and dog. Some of the places, like the Fairy Garden, needed research.  It was fun to learn about things I didn’t know before.

I added some comedy in there as well to lighten the mood.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Cats-out-Bag-billionaire-international-ebook/dp/B07ZC2Y2PG

How would you best describe your books?

My books are full of love and hope. Even though I deal with some tough subjects I like to add some comedy in. It is amusing to write characters’ reactions to Australian English and Australian culture.

What is your favorite genre to write? To read?

Gosh, I like to read just about anything. I have been reading a lot of romance recently to help with my writing. I am particularly fond of young adult dystopian. I have just started to read a space opera series because I wanted to know what I was missing out on.

What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I like creating life and watching it play out on the page. I wrote a scene recently where I cried and I hope the reader feels the same emotion I did.

I wanted to be a writer from a young age. My grandfather thought I might be a journalist like his father was. But young dreams have a way of changing. I even wanted to be a lawyer when I was thirteen. I had it all planned out. I would have a career and then have children when I was thirty-five. That didn’t eventuate either.

I wrote my first full length novel when I was sixteen.  Life interrupted and I put writing aside for over twenty years. Now I am back at it and I feel like I am doing what I am supposed to do.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?

I belong to Queensland Writers Centre. They send out a newsletter weekly. Another association I am a member of is Romance Writers Australia.  I am not a member of any groups where we get together to write or discuss writing.

I don’t find any one website useful. I google a lot when I get stuck.

Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

 No. I am lost in the zone, so it wouldn’t matter what I listened to. Sometimes I prefer silence; other times I like some background noise.

Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one?

I have written one contemporary romance, The Cat’s out of the Bag, which is available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. I have written a young adult novel which is yet to be published. I would like it to be traditionally published so it can be available in schools.

What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?

I am writing my second novel in the Love Down Under series, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie.  It is a contemporary, second chance romance.

On April 4 I will be joining two other authors for an author talk at Hervey Bay Library. I am hoping to do some other local signing as well.

What would you like to tell readers?

I would like to thank readers for their support.

Blurb

One van. Two hearts. Thousands of kilometres.

Jesse’s a self-made billionaire who yearns to get away from his empty life and the money-hungry parasites who inhabit it. The plan? Go to Australia, tell no one about his money and find himself. Instead of finding just himself, he finds Evie, who is everything anyone should aspire to be. Now, what he aspires to be, is hers. But to be hers, he needs to tell her everything.

Evie has left her past behind. She has rebuilt herself, and her life, into one of happiness. annaAfter she meets Jesse, while volunteering at a cat shelter, memories of her past filter back in. She is stronger now and wants to trust him. But after all she has been through, is trust even possible?

The quest to find a cat a forever home leads them to travel across the country together. Can the close quarters drive them to open up to each other? Or will it drive them apart?

Excerpt

Jesse

The wave petered out, and I paddled back to the line-up. Sitting, watching, waiting. The constant breeze in my ears and the sound of waves breaking relaxed me. Lulled by the gentle rise and fall of the swells, I thought about Evie.

She was one of the most complicated people I’d ever met. Whatever she had been through had made her strong and independent. But underneath, she was all doubt. I could see her trying to be brave, but that could change in an instant as her insecurities took over. I felt like it was a fight between Nick and me, and I didn’t even know the guy. I didn’t know how to beat a ghost. But I would. I would figure it out, and I would gain Evie’s trust, bit by bit.

Her. Me. That’s what I would strive for.

*****

CYNTHIA TERELST is a project officer by day and a writer by night. She is a contemporary romance writer who likes to share a little bit of history, some Australian sceneryu and a whole lotta love. Cynthia does not shy away from difficult topics, as she feels that they should not be ignored.

Author photoSocial Media Links

Website http://cynthiaterelst.com/

Newsletter https://www.subscribepage.com/p9p9y0

Blog http://cynthiaterelst.com/blog/

Twitter @CynthiaTerelst

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cynthiaterelstauthor/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/cynthiaterelstauthor/

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/cynthia-terelst

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/author/ref=dbs_P_W_auth?_encoding=UTF8&author=Cynthia%20Terelst&searchAlias=digital-text&asin=B07ZCTX8SB

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/cynthiaterelst

PTSD leads to assorted tragedies in SECOND CHANCES

PROVIDE COMFORTCheck out my feature of SECOND CHANCES at the blog home of Alicia Dean today, talking about heroine Inessa Regan’s passion for helping victims of domestic violence! https://aliciadean.com/2020/02/11/hobbycareerpassion-it-happens-to-nice-men-and-women-too-by-alana-lorens/

What happens when the madam falls in love? #MFRWHooks

SecretsintheSand_w5649_300After a run of bad relationships, Lily Pearl Evans has finally become an independent woman. In the New Mexico desert town of Chaparral, she works for herself, sets her own rules, and is determined no man will hold her back again.
Gene Nicholas worked for more than a decade to achieve his dream to be a doctor. Wanting to share his gifts with those less fortunate, he leaves south Florida to volunteer for Doctors Without Borders in Mexico.
When Gene provokes a showdown with the local Mexican drug cartel, he becomes a man with a price on his head. On the run, he ends up on Lily’s doorstep–a mystery man forced to conceal his past to protect them both. With the cartel’s dangerous web drawing tight around them, can Lily and Gene survive a drug lord’s revenge?

mfrw-book-hooks400.jpg

Buy the ebook:

Publisher  https://www.thewildrosepress.com/books/secrets-in-the-sand

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Sand-Alana-Lorens-ebook/dp/B004XJ5YIC/ref=sr_1_7?keywords=Alana+Lorens&qid=1570815927&rnid=2941120011&s=books&sr=1-7

Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/secrets-in-the-sand-alana-lorens/1030929480?ean=2940012668950 

Excerpt:

The women weren’t dressed in what he expected as usual afternoon casual wear in suburbia. No culottes or capris here. Their hair curled loose around bare shoulders. Two wore cocktail dresses; the rest some sort of silky lingerie. They seemed perfectly comfortable as his gaze crawled over their exposed bodies. Most wore no makeup, they were all beautiful.

Gene’s diagnostic brain clicked forward along some trail of logic. “Is this a…?”

The woman smiled. “Bordello? You could say that.” 

The redhead walked across the room toward him, the front of her skirt flowing open, revealing legs that couldn’t possibly be on the upward side of thirty, although his trained eye recognized subtle evidence of her age. She held out a peach-nailed hand. “I’m Lily Pearl Evans. Welcome to the Sassafras Social Club.”

He automatically took the extended hand, felt the softness of her skin against his. Up close like this, he could see she had cultivated an early beauty into striking middle-age allure. “I’m sorry to impose.”

“So, Mr. Richards, I’m curious what brought you to us.” Her fingers held his hand, turned it over to examine it.

He tried to pull away, but she held tight, her grip stronger than he’d expected. “What are you looking for?” he asked. What if the bordello had ties to Agustin’s cartel? Several of the girls had olive skin, dark hair and eyes. Thinking he was safe, he could have landed in the snake pit.

“Your fate line is very strong,” Lily said, tracing the midline of his palm.

“Is it now?” He didn’t look at his hand, his mind’s eye still seeing it covered in blood.

The warmth of her hand didn’t leave his. “An itch under my skin tells me there’s more to you than meets the eye, Mr. Richards.”

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A hero fighting his past finds the woman of his future in A Pride of Brothers: RICK

Please welcome guest author PEGGY JAEGER!!  Please tell us about your new book, Peggy.

Several years ago I had a 3 book series titled WILL COOK FOR LOVE published by Kensington/Lyrical Press. Book 2, A SHOT AT LOVE, featured a secondary character named Rick Bannerman, a Private Investigator and bodyguard who helped the hero and heroine at a crucial plot point.
When the book was published, I had so many readers write and tell me how much they loved Rick’s character, and asked if he were going to have his own story told. To tell the truth, I’d never considered it.
Bu then one day last year an idea wormed its way into my head, as ideas will, and I was able to flush out a story for Rick.
An ex-military sniper who takes his job seriously, Rick will go to any lengths to protect those in his care, and do whatever needs to be done to ensure a client’s safety. Focused, determined, and stealthy, Rick never lets emotion cloud his mind or decisions. With a disciplined body sculpted for battle and a quick, tactical mind, Rick wears the mantle of protector like full body armor.
From a childhood forged in violence and abuse, Rick grew into a man who vowed to never let himself lose control. He watched his father beat his mother daily until a dreadful night when he shot her to death. Rick runs on the principle that DNA will always tell and he is terrified of turning into a copy of his father. To prevent this he doesn’t drink alcohol, avoids committed relationships, and has never allowed
himself to fall in love.
He’s been able to live a solitary life with no entanglements so far.
I knew to help Rick be the man he was intended to be I needed to give him a love interest who could challenge him at every turn – professionally and personally – and one who he’d been conflicted about becoming involved with.
Abby Laine was just that woman. As a Lawyer, Abby helps women leave abusive relationships – much like his mother was in – guides them through the legal system and offers them a sense of hope for the future. She is smart, quick, logical, and never backs down when fighting for a client’s rights. She doesn’t suffer fools and calls Rick out on his defensive behavior and cocky surface demeanor at every turn. The
chemistry between these two was off the charts and it took a great deal of effort on my part to keep them out of one another’s arms when I was writing scenes.
Abby brings out all of Rick’s alpha protective instincts, but for the first time in his life, he wonders if maybe, just maybe, he can allow himself to love a woman without worrying about hurting her. Abby can certainly hold her own against him, and that’s more than a plus.
Trying to get these two to their HEA was so much fun! ( I think the two of them liked it, too! Heehee)

 

A PRIDE OF BROTHERS: Rick
Release Date 1.13.20
Publisher: THE WILD ROSE PRESS
Genre: Romance/Romantic suspense

Blurb:
Elite bodyguard and P.I. Rick Bannerman’s job is to protect. He doesn’t get emotional with his clients, but when a woman from his past is threatened, his next job becomes personal.
Family lawyer Abigail Laine is the target of a client’s vengeful husband, but refuses Rick’s offer of protection. He walked away from her four years ago, and she swore to forget him.
Now her reluctance to accept his help could cost Abby her life.

 

Excerpt 1 
“Right there.” She aimed her fork at him as if it were a spear. “Perfect example. You know I hate being called Abigail. I’ve lost count of the hundreds of times I’ve told you and you still do it, knowing it pisses me off. And”—she cut him off before he could speak— “your usual response is to lift your hands and say ‘and still’ when you’re called on it. Who does that? What kind of person persistently and purposefully annoys people?”
“So you’re saying I’m intentionally annoying?”
“Persistently, so. Yes. Makes the lawyer in me wonder why.”
Just the lawyer? “Any answers come to mind?”
“Plenty.”

“Care to share?”
She placed her fork down next to her plate and regarded him across the table. “You really want to hear this? Because if you know anything about me, you know I’m truthful. I don’t hold back.”
Oh, he was sure she didn’t. And wouldn’t. Her tenacity was one of the things he’d first been drawn to.
That and her fabulous ass.
“I’m a big boy,” he said with a grin. “I can take it.
She took a sip of water first, her eyes trained on him the entire time. “Okay. If you really want to hear this.”
He waved his hand for her to continue.
“I think you use your cocky, aren’t-I-simply-too- witty attitude to keep people at a distance.”

Excerpt 2 
“You’re really going to spend the night? Here?” she finally asked.
“And every other night until Genocardi is caught.”
She went stone still. “He doesn’t know where I live.”
“You can’t be sure of that. Neither can I, so…” He lifted his hands, palms up.
It was a wonder blood wasn’t seeping through her lips from the intense way she was biting down on her cheek.
“Look.” He leaned a hip against the sink, folded his arms across his chest. “I know you think there’s no worry or danger to you from this guy. But in my professional opinion—and please remember what I do for a living—you can never underestimate someone who’s gone off the deep end like this guy has. He may not be targeting you, may have forgotten all about you, but I seriously doubt it.”
She sighed, snuggled the cat closer, and buried her face in its fur.

“Josh can assign someone who’ll keep you as safe as I can. But do you really want someone you don’t know following you around all day? Possibly for several days?”
“God, no. I’d hate that.”
“Then isn’t it better I’m the one? You know me. You can trust me. You do trust me, right?”
Without hesitating, she replied, “Of course I do.”
He nodded again, relieved by her answer. He pushed off the counter, took a few steps toward her, and then reached out a hand to rub the cat’s neck as she was doing.
“I know this is hard for you,” he said, hiking his voice to be heard over Moonlight’s thunderous vocal vibrations. “Being invaded, having your privacy and your quiet life infringed upon. I’d be mad, too.”
“I’m not mad,” she said. “Just…inconvenienced.”
“Yeah, I get that. It won’t be for long, though, I’m sure. Your cop buddy will find Genocardi. As soon as the threat is gone, I’ll be out of your hair.”
She stared at him for a moment over the cat’s head. “You might want to grab my law book again, Bannerman.”
“Why?”
“Your argument’s pretty solid on all levels. Almost lawyer-worthy.”
“Now, there’s no need to be insulting, Abigail.” He pulled himself up to his full height and glared down his nose at her.
He was pleased when she laughed, since it had been his intent. “Go on and do whatever you need to do. I’ve got stuff to do as well,” he told her.
With one final glance at him, she moved from the kitchen, the cat still in her arms.

Purchase Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B081G7WDP4

Barnes and Nobel:   https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-pride-of-brothers-peggy-jaeger/1135068636
apple books (i-books)  https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-pride-of-brothers-rick/id1488238197
books-a-million:  https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Pride-Brothers/Peggy-Jaeger/9781509229369?id=7423724839353

Biography/Social media links:

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes Romantic Comedies about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. If she can make you cry on one page and bring you out of tears rolling with laughter the next, she’s done her job as a writer!

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, she brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after.

Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she’s created the families she wanted as that lonely child.
When she’s not writing Peggy is usually painting, crafting, scrapbooking or decoupaging old steamer trunks she finds at rummage stores and garage sales.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, Peggy is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter. As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at peggyjaeger.com where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go What??!

Social Media links:
Website/Blog: http://peggyjaeger.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/peggy_jaeger
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peggy-Jaeger-
Author/825914814095072?ref=bookmarks
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/peggyjaeger/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13478796.Peggy_Jaeger
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peggyjaeger_author/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/peggy-jaeger
You-Tube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDR8RRIlssIyS0FYZWeGqsg/videos?view_as=sub
scriber

Domestic violence: not always what you think

As several of my Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers did, I worked for many years with survivors of domestic violence. It happens to women and men, to poor and rich, to unknowns and even the most famous. Mostly the question is, how much it costs to hide what’s happening and what’s at stake.

I feel like people have been trying to educate the general public for so long about DV and the reasons why it happens and the reasons why people stay in relationships that could threaten their lives. It baffles me that it’s not generally understood. Especially by the person affected.

From WebMD:

(The signs are) not always as obvious as you might think. That’s because domestic abuse is about controlling someone’s mind and emotions as much as hurting their body. Being abused can leave you scared and confused. It can be hard for you to see your partner’s actions for what they really are.

Usually, physical abuse isn’t what comes first. The abuse can creep up slowly. A putdown here or there. An odd excuse to keep you away from family or friends. The violence often ramps up once you’ve been cut off from other people. By then, you feel trapped.

Having been married more times than I’d like to confess, I admit there are lies one tells oneself to keep moving forward. It’s not so bad. At least he doesn’t (smoke, drink, stay out all night, hit me, stalk me). Sure, there are people who have it worse than you. But why shouldn’t you want better? Life isn’t a dress rehearsal. You don’t get a second take at this life if you wasted too much of it settling for second, third or fourth-best.

In the current political climate, when women’s rights are being threatened or at least disregarded, some abusers are trying to make the subjugation of women a new “normal.” DON’T LET THEM.

How do YOU feel about you, in your relationship?

Toby D. Goldsmith, MD, in an article for PsychCentral , describes a list of symptoms a victim may have:

Victims of an abusive relationship may experience some of the following emotions and behaviors:

  • Agitation, anxiety and chronic apprehension
  • Constant state of alertness that makes it difficult for them to relax or sleep
  • A sense of hopelessness, helplessness or despair because the victim believes they will never escape the control of their abuser
  • Fear that one cannot protect oneself or one’s children. This person will turn down the assistance offered by relatives, friends or professionals.
  • Feeling paralyzed by fear to make decisions or protect oneself
  • A belief that one deserves the abuse
  • A belief that one is responsible for the abuse
  • Flashbacks, recurrent thoughts and memories of the violence and nightmares of the violence
  • Emotional reactions to reminders of domestic violence

Physical Symptoms

Victims of domestic violence can also have physical symptoms that aren’t directly caused by physical abuse. These symptoms are instead caused by the constant stress and tension of living in an abusive relationship. These symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Asthma
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Chronic pain
  • Restless sleep or inability to sleep
  • Genital soreness
  • Pelvic pain
  • Back pain

Does any of this sound familiar? For you or someone you love? Help is available at every income level and social standing. Find a public computer, do some research and reach out for that help. Start at the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, at thehotline.org.   Start at your local shelter. START.

Photo by William Murphy

 

 

 

Getting back on the dating horse again after 40

In CONVICTION OF THE HEART, attorney Suzanne Taylor is a single mother of teen girls who hasn’t really considered dating much–until she meets police sergeant Nick Sansone. It has been years since she’s gone on a date other than something super casual, so she’s anxious as hell over every detail. What to wear. Where to go. How sexy to look. She doesn’t know what Nick’s expectations are, and she’s not going to take her daughters’ advice (which was something along the lines of “woo woo momma’s got a boyfriend. Is he gonna see your tattoo?”

Here she is getting ready to go:

Her hair wasn’t right.

She stood in front of the mirror in the frou-frou restroom that served the office and the rest of the tenants on the floor. She hadn’t decorated it. The ruffled pink curtains and wallpaper practically bleeding fuchsia butterflies were not to her taste at all.

She took her hair down again. Pinned it back up.

How is it her clients always managed to begin the dating life without difficulty or reservation whatsoever? For Suzanne, it was a major trauma.

She held her hair left, right, her eye critical. The Moody Blues were a sixties band. The Age of Aquarius. Hippies. Free love.

Photo by Linda Mea Meoni

Hair down.

She took her hair out of its band, brushed it, then fluffed it with her fingers.

She’d chosen a feminine silk blouse, black with turquoise medallions, and black dress slacks instead of jeans, since they were going to the Benedum. If the concert had been at Star Lake, they’d have lawn seats and a blanket, and more casual would have been appropriate.

Suzanne thought about Nick, and a blanket, listening to music under the stars…going from zero to sixty pretty fast along that imaginative track. A long time since she’d made love with a man.

She shook her head to clear her mind. Focus.

Shoes.

The overnight bag she’d brought to the office held a pair of black pumps with a mid-height, chunky heel. She slipped them on, then looked in the mirror again.

Satisfied with her clothing, she dabbed on a hint of makeup, nothing garish, and added small dangle earrings, blue gemstones wrapped in silver, and a spritz of Opium, her favorite perfume. A deep breath gave her a moment to examine her appearance. A little less than professional, a little more than Sunday church. It would do.

***

What do you thinking about dating after forty? Easier or harder than at twenty? What special considerations have you made or seen others make to present a good first impression on a date?

 

CONVICTION OF THE HEART, a novel of romantic suspense, and the first volume in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series –available at the Wild Rose Press, Amazon, and other booksellers.