Tag Archives: Domestic Violence

Loving Someone Who Hurts You

Loving Someone Who Hurts You

My novel Sam’s Song discusses the taboo subject of domestic violence. Many thanks to Sarah Fader for this guest post.

Domestic violence is a serious problem that affects people of all races and genders. There are two parties involved in an abusive relationship, the abuser and the survivor (the abused). Some people might not understand why a person who was getting physically abused would stay in a relationship. To the outside observer this doesn’t look like love, it looks like violence. Here’s an innocent person who is being beaten or intentionally hurt in a violent manner by someone whom they’ve grown to trust and love. Why would they stay in this situation?

People stay in abusive relationships for a multitude of reasons. First, the abuser isn’t always mean. In order to gain the trust of the survivor, the abuser can be charismatic and even appear warm and loving. Once they’ve secured an attachment and gained the trust of the abused, they have power over them. Another clever trait of an abuser is that they put on a good show to the outside world. People often don’t believe survivors because the abuser is a good “actor.” They might be well-known in the community as a good father or a hard-working professional.

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There are many different forms of abuse that fall under the category of domestic violence. Physical abuse is a form of harm that can sometimes be seen. When a person is abused they may have broken bones or bruises. The abuser has to come up with clever ways to hide what they’ve done to their partner. They might threaten to harm them further if they tell a family member, friend or the authorities what’s actually going on.

In domestic violence relationships, there is a constant dynamic of power and control. The abuser wants control over the survivor. They will do just about anything to get this control and maintain it. They often cut their partner off from family, friends, and any social contact outside out of the abuse. The survivor (or the abused) feels that they need the abuser in their life, because they’re made to feel that they have no option other than to stay in the relationship. And the abuser continually reminds them of this. The abuser might say things like “you can’t do any better than me,” or “you’re nothing without me.” This makes the survivor feel like they are trapped and cannot leave the relationship. They also start to view abuse as love, because that’s all they know.

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Sometimes people do not realize they are in an abusive relationship until other people make them aware of signs of abuse. The abused person may not believe their friend at first. They might make excuses, become defensive or blame their friend for being jealous of their partner. All these behaviors make it difficult for the survivor to affectively see what is going on in their abusive relationship.

If you suspect that you are in an abusive relationship you might think to yourself “where can I find a therapist near me?” There are so many resources that you can use to find a mental health professional whether that person is an online therapist or one that you meet in person. If you suspect that a friend or loved one is in a domestic violence situation speak up and let them know that you are there to help. Nobody should suffer alone.

For further advice please visit:

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy

Sam, the Genesis of a Series

During the summer of 2014, I had an idea to write a private detective novel. I outlined the main character, a female narrator with a wacky sense of humour who lived and worked from a houseboat. The initial idea made me laugh, but then I realised that the character was too light-weight and didn’t really appeal to me. I was about to abandon the idea when I swivelled in my chair, looked up from my notepad and a little voice inside my head said, “Why don’t you write about me?”

That voice belonged to Samantha Smith. I don’t believe in ghosts or harbour fanciful notions about ‘inspiration’ – writing is a craft that requires dedication and discipline – but Sam appeared to walk through the wall, a fully-formed character. Within a finger click, I knew her name, what she looked like, and her background. It was a magical moment. I’d found my narrator, or more accurately, she’d found me.

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So, I had Sam. I knew where she worked from – not a houseboat at this stage, but events would take her there – and her family history. But what of the other people in her life? A relationship strand to the story seemed like a good idea and so I created Dr Alan Storey. The humour element remained important, therefore enter Sam’s mentor, Detective Inspector ‘Sweets’ MacArthur. Sam was a loner at the start of the series, but as the stories progressed a number of regulars joined the team: Sam’s friend and colleague, Faye Collister, a beautiful woman with a troubled past and chronic OCD; Mac, a heavy with a heart; and later, Blake, a man who combines the renaissance with the Neanderthal, plus many others.

With Sam in place, I needed a story idea. So I wrote a list of potential subjects. Music topped that list and the initial story developed into Sam’s Song, a book that’s reached the #1 position on the amazon.com private detective chart on six separate occasions. My idea was to write a one-off novel. However, two-thirds of the way through the writing of Sam’s Song I realised that Sam had the potential to be a series character. Thirteen books later, she is fulfilling her potential and has developed substantially as a character.

MOCK-UP PAPERBACK FAMILY HONOUR

The mystery genre has always appealed to me, hence my decision to write mysteries. However, I knew from the outset that the mystery element within my stories would be one strand. The relationship element would be the second strand and the third, and arguably most important strand, would be the emotional strand, based on psychological problems and sociological issues. This third strand is the starting point for all my stories and represents their heart. I have written about domestic violence, alcoholism, drug addiction, eugenics, delusions, schizophrenia, suicidal tendencies, rape, OCD, phobias, obsessional behaviour, depression and many other subjects. The Sam Smith Mystery Series is about mysteries, but it is also about individuals in crisis and finding ways to help them through that crisis.

With fair weather and good fortune, I hope to write forty books in the Sam Smith Mystery Series. To date, I am a third of the way to that target. It has been an exciting journey so far with sales beyond my expectations, audio books and translations. I have made friends amongst my fellow authors and received warm words from my readers. Sam has served me well. I love her as a character and feel that I know her as well as I know any person.

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If the emotional issues mentioned in this article or my books affect you, your family or friends then please seek professional help and advice. You can also visit the BetterHelp website and receive support there. If you have landed on this page due to the emotional issues mentioned here, I wish you well.

The first thirteen books in the Sam Smith Mystery Series have been great fun to write. Sam will return later this year in Boston, book fourteen in the series, my homage to the American private detective novel and the late Robert B. Parker. The Devil and Ms Devlin, and Snow in August will follow.

My books are available in paperback, eBook and audio book formats from all major retailers. If you haven’t done so already, please check them out, and thank you for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam’s Easter Supplement

Welcome to Sam’s Easter Supplement, a weekly digest of news from Sam’s world.

This week, I have been researching material for Digging in the Dirt, book twelve in the Sam Smith Mystery Series. This story is centred on an archaeological dig, which takes place in Kenfig, a vast expanse of sand dunes along the South Wales coast. The photographs show a small section of the sand dunes, a real-life dig conducted there in 2011 and an army camp. The army camp was created by American soldiers who arrived in the dunes to prepare for D-Day in 1945. My fictional dig will feature this army camp.
I’m delighted to say that Sam’s Song is still in the top five of the Amazon private detective chart. I’m also delighted to see that Amazon have linked my books with Robert B Parker, one of the greats of the private detective genre. If you haven’t already done so, I recommend that you read Promised Land, a modern classic.

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And while we are on the subject of great writers here is Kurt Vonnegut offering sage advice on the craft if storytelling. In this five minute film Kurt Vonnegut explains the essence of storytelling. Within the humour of the film is a basic truth, which Vonnegut used to great effect in his novels. Also, here is one of many quotable quotes from the great author.
“If you want to really hurt your parents, go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
 
If you have read any of my books, especially Sam’s Song, you will know that the subject of ‘gaslighting’ is featured. Here is some sound advice on this sensitive subject Psychology Today
As ever, thank you for your interest and support. More news next week.
Happy Easter!

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Sam’s Song Five Star Review

A five-star review for Sam’s Song, the 72nd review of the book

Sam is a Private Detective with a lot of baggage. Others have done well to describe the storyline so I want to focus on content and quality. For me, this was a solid five star read. The character development is amazing and by the end of the first chapter the reader has a pretty good idea of just how messed up Sam’s life really is. Add in the constant drama of self-indulgent, sometimes crazy supporting characters that make it difficult to discern fact from fiction, bad guys that you instantly dislike and an ex-husband that needs a good throat punch and you have a novel that you just can’t help but enjoy.

The book is professionally edited with few if any errors, the plot is suspenseful and the overall story is truly engaging. Sam’s Song has it all – suspense, drama and hope. Throughout the novel the author navigates the reader through a suspenseful investigation while experiencing a rollercoaster ride of humor, frustration, anger and love. For me, the characters made the plot realistic… each character had flaws, which made their story even more genuine and enjoyable. Even lovable, caring Dr. Storey had some baggage he was struggling to overcome. I would definitely recommend it to others and look forward to reading the next book in this series.

https://www.amazon.com/Hannah-Howe/e/B00OK7E24E/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1482440674&sr=8-1

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Books Are Us

Phew, a busy weekend! Sins of the Father was published this weekend and the book has broken my personal record for sales on a publication day. Along with that I have the proof copy of the print version to assess, for publication in August, and I’m working with Suzan Lynn Lorraine on the audio book version of Ripper. Suzan has excelled herself with the narration and I think Ripper will be our most impressive audio book to date. I must also mention Lucy Llewellyn at Head and Heart Publishing Services and thank her for her considerable creative contribution to the audio book cover. In addition, I’ve also completed a 125 page outline for the next book, Smoke and Mirrors. Wonderful to be writing and collaborating with such talented people.

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Sins of the Father – Pre-Order

Published on the 29th July and available for pre-order now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks and Smashwords, Sins of the Father, book eight in the Sam Smith Mystery Series. This book is about Sam’s father, an ex-con, who walked out of her life when she was a baby. Thirty-three years later, Sam discovered her father’s true identity and met him for the first time. Connected as kin, yet strangers, this is Sam and her father’s story.

Amazon Link

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To #1

Over the weekend of July 16-17-18, Sam’s Song reached the #1 position on the amazon.com private detective chart and #62 on the main amazon.com chart. With this series of articles I intend to offer background on how my book reached those heights; hopefully, this information will be of interest to followers of the series and fellow authors alike.

To start at the beginning, the writing of Sam’s Song. I have always been an avid reader and my favourite genre is the private detective novel. In particular, I admire the series created by Robert B Parker and Marcia Muller. I wrote my first play at school, aged nine, so writing has always been a part of my life. After a number of minor writing adventures, including articles and short stories, I wrote four private detective novels featuring two private detectives. I regarded those novels as my apprenticeship and they were not offered for publication. After those novels, life moved on and with my long-term partner I started a family. I continued to write during that time, mainly for my own amusement.

Then, in 2014, I decided to write another private detective novel. But who should I have as my narrator? My first draft featured a woman who was a bit flaky to say the least and the novel developed into a comedy. However, I soon discovered that my comedy was centred on one joke, and that, over the length of a novel, that joke would wear thin. So I placed my notes in a file and started again.

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Sam at #1

I knew that I had the basis for a novel, but no central character. I knew that my narrator would be female, in her early thirties, that the story would contain some humour, and that the book would have a strong psychological thread. But still no central character presented herself. Then, one day – I can picture the scene now – I was sitting sideways at my desk, scribbling notes when I looked up and paused for thought. At that moment Samantha whispered into my ear, “Why don’t you write about me?”

I don’t believe in ghosts, the supernatural or anything mystical, yet when Samantha walked into my life it was a magical experience. I believe that writing is basically a craft you fashion through hard work and dedication, yet this character was talking to me. And she told me her life story. Everything about Samantha and the main characters in Sam’s Song was done in one take. I didn’t require a list of names, locations or personality types, Sam, Alan, Sweets, etc came to me fully formed. I couldn’t believe my luck. Could writing really be that easy? Yes, and no.

The next step was to find a subject to write about. This time I did make a list, and because I love music, I settled on that. Again, the characters of Woody, Derwena and Milton came to me quickly and I wrote the first draft in no time. While reading through that draft, I elaborated each chapter until I had the story mapped out. At that stage, the chapters with Dan, Sam’s abusive ex-husband, were the most detailed, but soon the other chapters developed as well.

With the storyboard as my guide, I sat down to write Sam’s Song. What you see in the book is basically the first draft, with editing modifications and proofreading corrections. When the first draft was complete there were no major rewrites.

If I wrote Sam’s Song today, it would be totally different, probably more serious, reverential, and less fun. But from day one, I allowed Sam to tell her story in her style. I type out her words and edit them, but they are Sam’s words, Sam’s stories. Sam’s Song would be different if we wrote it today because Sam is a slightly different person, a bit older, a bit wiser and, on a good day, more secure.

So, I had a 250 page novel, which I was proud of. More importantly people close to me, people who don’t offer praise lightly, liked the book. What to do next? Seek out a publisher? Publish it myself? More about that next time.