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/

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Blog http://cynthiaterelst.com/blog/

Twitter @CynthiaTerelst

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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/

New Audiobook Release for Lyrical Embrace! Ebook, too!

Lyrical Embrace - Audio

Out-of-work violinist Erica Timberly decides enough is enough. She leaves her abusive boyfriend and flees the big city, but then her car breaks down in the middle of the night. Though wary of men, she accepts help from Dylan Haynes, a stranger driving by on the road, and soon recognizes him as the sexy former drummer of her favorite indie rock band. Maybe, just maybe, her run of bad luck is finally turning around.

Music teacher Dylan Haynes knows Erica is in trouble, and her black eye is only the first clue. The stubborn yet vulnerable woman needs a friend, but he’s determined to give her everything she deserves.

Will Erica listen to the music in her heart and trust Dylan, or will her past always threaten her future?

Excerpt

Dylan deepened the kiss and lightly tugged on her bottom lip. Tears streaked his flushed cheeks as he smiled at her. “I’m so grateful I found you, baby. I heard you screaming. When I saw that bastard press a gun to your head, my heart nearly exploded. I thought I might lose you. I promise you, Erica, I will never control you as Phil did. You will always have the ability to choose. I just want to make you happy.”

She gripped his hand and brushed her lips across his calloused knuckles. “I know. You do make me happy. You took a bullet for me.” A sob constricted her throat, but she pushed it down.

A blast of noise rent the air. Fireworks filled the sky, visible in the alley from the narrow stretch of space between the buildings.

Erica loved the bright colors and designs, but hardly cared about watching the spectacle. She dropped her gaze back to Dylan.

A grin spread across his face. “It’s been one wild Fourth of July. Why don’t we do something more low-key next year? How about no guns and crazy exes? Just us, the creek, and a bottle of wine. Clothing optional.”

She laughed softly, amazed he could make light of the situation. “That sounds perfect. Absolutely perfect.”

****

Series: Deerbourne Inn (book 4)

Narrator: Georgia Allens

Audiobook Rights Holder: Amber Daulton with Daulton Publishing

Audiobook Release Date: January 23, 2020

Ebook Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Ebook Release Date: February 11, 2019

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Length: 40k

Heat Rating: 3 Flames

Want to hear a sample?

 

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43225610-lyrical-embrace

 Audio Buy Links (US)

Amber Daulton’s Media Kit for Lyrical Embrace — AudioAmazon – https://amzn.to/37zIyKx

Audible – https://adbl.co/36q03LL

iTunes – https://apple.co/2RlLmVH

Audio Buy Link (UK)

Amazon – https://amzn.to/38DbXUc

Audible – https://adbl.co/2uxsN8g

Interested in the ebook instead? You can grab a copy here:

 Books2Read – http://books2read.com/u/m0MYaV

 About the Author

Amber DaultonAmber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.

Amber lives in North Carolina with her husband and four demanding cats. Feel free to visit her at http://www.amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com.

 

Social Media Links

 

Facebook Author Page – http://www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1

Street Team – https://www.facebook.com/groups/572204316296198/

Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton

Amazon Author Page – http://amzn.to/14JoZff

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/amberdaultonauthor/

Book Bub – https://www.bookbub.com/profile/amber-daulton

Book Gorilla – https://www.bookgorilla.com/author/B00ALQITWY/amber-daulton/kcc

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amberdaulton

LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-daulton/87/538/368

Google Plus – https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AmberDaulton

The Wild Rose Press – https://www.thewildrosepress.com/authors/amber-daulton

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.

Meet Inessa and her complicated life!

I’m on the Romance Lives Forever blog today with an introduction to Inessa Regan from SECOND CHANCES!!  Thank so much, Kayelle Allen! Come by, check it out, and get a copy for your Mother’s Day reading!!

If you’d like to learn more about the story, check out the book trailer, or the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers page!

March’s Women’s history month– Second Chances

secondchancespromo.jpgExcerpt:

Inessa’s gaze flicked to the opening in the fence. The man waiting there stepped through, approaching with apparent reluctance. When he wavered at the steps, Ann took his arm and helped him onto the porch.

“Inessa Regan, this is Kurtis Lowdon. Kurt, this is Inessa Regan, the lawyer I told you about. She is fabulous! She can draft up what you need in no time at all!”

Inessa studied the man, taking in his thin frame, shadowed brow, and very close-cropped blond hair. Something about him wasn’t right. She set her wine glass aside and waited for one of them to explain.

“Sorry to disturb you,” he said. His apology was followed by a boyish grin, and that’s when the oddity of the picture came together. He moved and stood like an old man, but he had to be less than thirty, perhaps just college age. “Annie insisted.”

“It’s her way.” Inessa managed an answering smile, shreds of courtesy tugging at her conscience. “I usually don’t see clients outside the—” Realizing she was about to say “office,” the irony stopped her. “Well, seeing as I don’t have an office, I’ll have to make different arrangements.”

“No office?” Ann’s brow twitched, but she hesitated only a moment before barreling right on. “You can help him, though, can’t you, Nessa? Kurt’s just finished his second round of chemo. He wants to make sure his life is in order—just in case, you know? I told him not to worry, that everything’s gonna be perfectly fine, but he’s so stubborn, you know, like men are, and thinks it all has to be written down in black-and-white…”

Ann babbled on, but Inessa didn’t really listen. She looked into Kurt’s blue eyes and recognized there knowledge of his imminent mortality. His smile, however, was undimmed in spite of it. She felt like an ass for indulging her self-pity over an employment setback.

“Nice to meet you,” she said at last, leaning forward to shake his offered hand.

“Same here.” The warmth of his regard jolted through to her toes as their hands met. He glanced down at her feet. “Never met a barefoot attorney before. I guess I thought you were all born wearing wingtips.”

Nonplussed, Inessa finally laughed.

“Aha! My new marketing brand. ‘The Barefoot Attorney.’”

“It could work.” A mischievous streak sparkled in his eye. “When can I meet with you? Time is of the essence, as you people say.”

“I don’t know. I’m not even sure where.”

“Nothing wrong with right here, if you ask me. How about tomorrow? I’ll bring breakfast?”

That smile. Hard to resist. He and Ann together were like an oncoming city bus. Best get on, or get run over.

“Umm, well, all right. Sure. Nine a.m.?”

“Perfect. Thanks.” He squeezed her hand again and stepped back.

“Great!” Ann gushed. “I just knew this would work out! And so convenient, too. You’re a saint, Nessa.” She stamped a foot on the porch as the gray cat poked its head up out of the bushes. “Moonbeam! Get your butt back home now!” The animal vanished into the growing darkness. “Come on, Kurt, honey.”

She took his arm, and they walked away, Ann talking a mile a minute. The young man paused to wave before he closed the gate.
After he was gone, his smile lingered with Inessa, stirred something deep within her. She tried to get hold of herself. Inessa Lin Regan, that’s nonsense. You’re old enough to be his mother.

Well. Maybe an older sister.
Maybe.

An unexpected bubble of joy trickled up inside her. As night settled in and the stars flicked into visibility one by one, she finished her glass of wine slowly, looking forward to breakfast for the first time in years.
——————-
SECOND CHANCES, by Alana Lorens, from Zumaya Embraces; Trade paperback, $14.99, ISBN 978-1-61271-080-8, 236 pp.; Ebook, $5.00, ISBN 978-1-61271-081-5 (Kindle), 978-1-61271-082-2 (epub)

Available wherever fine books and ebooks are sold.)

secondchancespromo

She serves, too–but at a price

SecondChances-promoOne of my Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer novels, SECOND CHANCES, tells the story of Inessa Regan, a forty-something lawyer who is unexpectedly thrust into the world of solo family practice. She comes to know an Iraq War veteran, Kurt Lowden,  and his soldier friends, some of whom have serious issues from their time abroad.

PROVIDE COMFORT

One of the worst is the Post Traumatic Distress suffered by Susie Johnston, the wife of Kurt’s best friend.  As an intelligence officer, she’d be invaluable to her unit, gathering information about threats and targets from prisoners. Wall-to-wall counseling, in the local jargon.

But as a woman in a battle unit, she also faces risks she should never have to face: assaults by men in her own unit. Female soldiers in such theatres speak of being afraid to go to the latrine at night, staying in their beds for safety.

Susie is raped during one such trip to the latrine, and the resulting trauma triggers domestic violence and worse on her arrival back in the States.

Sadly, this is not the stuff of fiction.

And as in Hollywood and Washington, the pressure not to disclose, report and prosecute these crimes is hard on women. While the military gives lip service to criminalizing and going after sexual assault perpetrators, the reality is that no one wants to hear about it.

According to an article in the Washington Post, “sexual assault was something female troops did not dare talk about for fear that they would face retaliation and be discharged with a ‘mental health diagnosis.’ ” They go on to say that 62% of those who report face ostracism and retaliation.

In a 2016 story, Huffington Post quotes groundbreaking Chinook pilot Olivia Chavez as saying “she was sexually assaulted multiple times by several different men while on active duty.” Her determination to keep her job made her force all the trauma inside–leading to a worse trauma later when she finally had to deal with what had happened.

2856908465_1033eaedcaby theisKojorthReading comments on these stories, there isn’t a lot of sympathy for the women. Many blame the system that put men and women together on the battlefield, especially when the system as set up is so skewed toward men (i.e. even in VA hospitals, many times the women veterans don’t have equal access to restrooms and other facilities). Hardly anyone says, “Why can’t the men just stop raping women?” Is that really such a difficult concept?

What has happened to many of the 280,000 women veterans coming back from the Middle East is unspeakable. Their trauma leads to homelessness, mental health treatment, even suicide. The HuffPo articles says this: “A report released last year showed that for women veterans between 18 and 29 years of age, the risk of suicide is 12 times the rate of nonveteran women.”

Twelve times.

Unacceptable.

Maybe as the stigma of calling out criminal behavior lessens in the civilian world, we can hope that it does the same in the military world. At least the military leaders should lead and protect those who serve with them, instead of taking advantage, and the bureaucracy set up to help those who are assaulted despite policy should step up and make that happen. If our military is to be one of the best in the world, then we should hold them to high moral standards as well.

At least, in celebrating Veterans’ Day this year, we can remember those women who sacrifice their very soul for the right to serve.

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

***

SECOND CHANCES, a book from Zumaya Publications, begins the day attorney Inessa Regan receives a pink slip after ten years of faithful service. She’s been a mid-level associate her whole career, partners telling her what to do, providing her with an office and everything she needs. Thrown out into the legal world on her own, she doesn’t know how she’ll survive.  Her neighbor brings her first client, Kurt Lowdon, a young Iraq veteran with cancer, who’s looking just to have a will made. Inessa struggles to give Kurt what he needs, and he helps make it easy for her.

Once his immediate needs are met, he takes her under his wing and brings her more clients as well as a place to open an office to see them. Things begin to fall together for her, including a very special friendship with Kurt that becomes something more. But his past military service, and the friends he’s made there, begin to cause problems for them both, as well as issues his drug-addicted sister delivers to his doorstep. He still hasn’t kicked his cancer, either, and Inessa wonders if falling in love with him is a blessing or a curse.

Book trailer here

Buy now! on Amazon     Barnes and Noble