They just keep on growing………

 

Well the damn weeds will not pull themselves the fuck out. So I am on my knees, I’m stooped over and I’m killing my already killed back doing what nobody else seems to think they need to do. Yeah sure having a landscaper would be great, but I’m the damn landscaper, not that I’m scaping the land, but I sure as hell am trying to keep it from becoming overgrown with weeds. I’m also stripping paint off of a coffee table so I can repaint it, I don’t yet know what color I’ll be doing it, maybe something bright and unexpected or maybe boring black.

Faithless~

Karin Slaughter’s Grant County series continues with Faithless, once again revisiting Sara Linton the Part Time Medical Examiner and pediatrician, her ex husband Police Chief Jeffery Tolliver and Detective Lena Adams. Slaughter deftly weaves the characters backgrounds into her narrative of the current crime. In this installment Sara and Jeffery stumble upon a grave of a young woman who was buried alive.

Domestic abuse is one of the topics that Slaughter explores here…with the continued abuse of Adams and a subplot involving a possible witness. Other  issues such as abortion, fundamentalist Christianity and Bible thumpers with unholy dealings and traditionalism dip and swirl throughout the novel. Her treatment of these issues, and others, is extremely evenhanded, with all points of view presented equally and with the author not taking any particular side, either implicitly or explicitly. As a result, the exploration of these issues adds to, rather than detracts from, the plotline. Slaughter’s primary focus is on the characters, all of whom are very much human and flawed in their own way.

550 pages ~2 day read

Stillwater Trilogy or duology~

Just finished 2 more Brenda Novak books from the Stillwater Trilogy, missing the first, but here is a review of the two I read. Will have to find the first one….sigh.

Dead Giveaway~

After a painful divorce, detective Allie McCormick comes back to her childhood town of Stillwater to start a new life with her six-year old daughter. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that her father happens to be the chief of police and offers her a job. Immediately, Allie begins to work on a cold case–the strange disappearance of Reverend Lee Barker nineteen years ago. But the time factor is not the problem. The main problem is the chief suspect, handsome and brooding Clay Montgomery, who everybody in the town hates and believes to have murdered the Reverend.

As the investigation unfolds, and Allie falls deeper into her relationship with Clay, she realizes the man she has fallen in love with could not be capable of murder. She decides to help him to the end, even if that means putting herself in danger and fighting the whole town and its most important family. Will she succeed? And what if the famous Reverend, who everyone respected to much, turns out to be the most despicable of criminals?

Surprising twists and turns and a couple of interesting sub-plots keep the story moving at a fast pace until the very startling ending. Novak has a keen gift for combining suspense and romance, as well as for creating real, sympathetic heroines and darkly mysterious heroes that beautifully stand out from the typical stereotypes of the genre. The way Allie `solves’ the case at the end is smart and unexpected.

Dead Right~

Novak’s last Stillwater novel revisits the small Mississippi town, where journalist/newspaper owner Madeline Barker is still seeking closure two decades after the disappearance of her father, a town minister. When police find her missing father’s Cadillac submerged in a quarry outside of town, Maddy is determined to discover, finally, what really happened. Maddy hires L.A. private eye Hunter Solozano to solve the case, but neither expects to find romance: Hunter is an embittered divorcé, and Maddy recently broke up with a domineering boyfriend. While their relationship simmers, Hunter discovers some disturbing truths about Maddy’s father and his domestic life; before long, a series of sinister phone calls and a botched robbery raise the stakes.

I’ve met a purpose in my life!!

A while back I began a series of short stories I wrote and filed under “The Write Stuff” https://rubycantu.wordpress.com/category/the-write-stuff/  these are/were based on my own personal experiences as well as others from when I worked in a Domestic Violence shelter and answered the hotline and helped battered women escape their abusive situations. When I started this project I really had no idea what the impact would be on my readers, I have a faithful reader who shared my stories with a friend of hers that was going through a horrific situation. She simply asked her friend to read them in hopes that she would recognize herself in these stories, and it worked. Through private emails we chatted for a while and finally she worked up the courage to call me and tell me her story, she wants me to write her story and it is something I am working on. She isn’t ready to see it on a screen yet and I am sure the story isn’t finished yet. But she took the first step and contacted the National Domestic Violence Hotline. http://www.ndvh.org/

Help is available to callers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Hotline advocates are available for victims and anyone calling on their behalf to provide crisis intervention, safety planning, information and referrals to agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Assistance is available in English and Spanish with access to more than 170 languages through interpreter services. If you or someone you know is frightened about something in your relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.

We have since had a series of calls between us and shared tears as well as laughter and she now has hope, the most powerful thing she has told me or that anyone has ever told me is that she now has hope. That I gave her hope. That sends chills down my spine, I wasn’t looking to have that powerful of an impact on anyone but it is life changing in a way to know that because of me she has made the decision to seek help and hope.

This has made me consider the idea of perhaps returning to this type of work once I am released to enter the work force. The only thing about that is that on a local level I may not be able to do it, I would have to look into who is running our local facility. One of the reasons that I left it before was due to the politics of the staff and an entanglement I found myself involved in that sucked the life out of me. But I am older and somewhat wiser now…..I think…lol.

The EX Files ~ Part 10

Family, everyone has family, some-  you may not want to be around and others you love dearly. She had always been close to a few members of her family, she had been roommates with a couple of family members and during the years they roomed together they also took many road trips. They were not about to give up those trips and the good times they shared when they packed as if they would be leaving for a month. Their trips were mainly weekend getaways but they wanted to make sure they had an outfit for any occasion or event that might come up. Usually they would sight see, visit family, explore little towns, go on shopping trips and made plans to dine at five star restaurants.

She invited him to join them every time they made plans to get together, her and her aunt, he always declined and wished them well. She made sure she called and let him know they had arrived safely, during these getaways he would always become chatty when she called him, he would try to talk to her for hours as if he missed her terribly. She knew that wasn’t the case, he wanted to make sure she wasn’t out of her hotel room.

When she would return from these trips he would wear her down about her not calling and being considerate. He would berate her for going out to clubs or restaurants and even shopping. He couldn’t understand why she couldn’t just stay in the room by the phone waiting for his call. He accused her of stepping out on him, accused her aunt of setting her up on dates and wanting to separate them. The arguments were endless and always escalated into yelling matches.

Hours after all the yelling would wear her down and she broke down in tears he would come and sit next to her and tell her he just loved her too much. The thought of her with someone else drove him mad with jealousy. She would point out that her son and her aunt were with her and they were too busy to be meeting up with anyone. He then pointed out that her aunt was her ally and surely was the one responsible for their troubles and was plotting to separate them.

Eventually these weekend getaways would come to a halt. He had succeeded in alienating her from her friends and now he was working on her family. She would be his and only his.

To read the complete series go to “CATEGORIES” on the right side and click on “THE WRITE STUFF”.

Disclaimer**Given the nature of the books I have been reading lately I am inspired to write a few short stories revisiting parts of my life that included episodes of domestic violence….I will be calling this series “The Ex Files” very clever right….lol….I thought so….it will be an amalgamation of my personal experiences steeped with those of others that I was very close to. The parallels are uncanny in some instances….but the patterns of abusers and abusees are almost always the same…it’s like the same behaviors are either taught to the next generation or there are some secret classes being held somewhere in some secret location.**

The EX Files ~ Part 9

To read the complete series go to “CATEGORIES” on the right side and click on “THE WRITE STUFF”.

The phone, the goddamn phone, she used to love having hours long conversations with her friends and family.

make it stop ringing~

He would come home from work and pick up the phone and hit redial, at first she wasn’t sure what he was doing. A few days later her aunt casually mentioned that he kept repeatedly calling her home number and then make up some ridiculous story about meaning to call someone else but hadn’t realized she had used the phone. He was back to checking up on her, but she wasn’t going to argue with him, she began the habit of dialing her own number after she was done using the phone, this way when he picked it up and hit redial he wouldn’t embarrass her by calling her family “accidently”.

He was also incessant about the conversations that would happen within earshot, he would ask her questions about those conversations, and then he would question why she had made a certain remark. She had to replay both sides of the conversation to his satisfaction. Soon she asked all her friends to not call her if he was home, it was ridiculous to have to give out his schedule, but it became tiring to have to replay every conversation.

One day the phone rang and she picked it up, she asked the caller to hold, she went over to him and handed him the phone and walked away to continue her chores. He returned minutes later, a look of confusion on his stupid face. He asked her why she handed him the phone when the call clearly was for her, it was her aunt. She let him know she no longer was going to replay all her conversations, she was tired of that nonsense, and every phone call she ended began an inquisition. From now on he could take all her calls and let her know if there was anything of importance for her.

Sadly many of her friends stopped calling, stopped coming around, he had a way of making everyone that was close to her feel very uncomfortable.

He had accomplished what he set out to do, he had managed to isolate her even more

Disclaimer**Given the nature of the books I have been reading lately I am inspired to write a few short stories revisiting parts of my life that included episodes of domestic violence….I will be calling this series “The Ex Files” very clever right….lol….I thought so….it will be an amalgamation of my personal experiences steeped with those of others that I was very close to. The parallels are uncanny in some instances….but the patterns of abusers and abusees are almost always the same…it’s like the same behaviors are either taught to the next generation or there are some secret classes being held somewhere in some secret location.**

The EX Files ~ Part 5

***To read the complete series go to “CATEGORIES” on the right side and click on “THE WRITE STUFF”.***

She realized that he was an insecure man, jealous, controlling and not all together very bright, but he also had a mean streak to him that terrified her. She had in mind that her vows were meant to last a lifetime, but would she? Every day the reminders of her stupidity were repeated, he could not let her get out of the house without reminding her that she was his.

In another world, the one where she would go to for her job, she had friends, she had laughter and she had freedom. There she could be herself, she could have articulate conversations, she could share a joke, her friends got her sense of humor, they didn’t judge her, and they didn’t want to change her. She was perfect just the way she was. She was the only one that could not see it.

He began to notice the changes in her and determined that he did not like where things were going. He could see that she had begun to rebel against him, he wasn’t going to allow that. He began to call her throughout the work day; it got to where she had to stay close by the phone when the clock indicated his shift at his job had ended. She was embarrassed that he was calling her so much; she didn’t want her coworkers to hear her conversations with him. She would have to reassure him that she was indeed at work that was confirmed by her answering the phone. When she didn’t answer he would berate her for not getting to the phone, she tried to explain to him that at times she would be assisting customers making it impossible for her to get to the phone.

One beautiful spring day was marred by the reflection hitting a vehicle out in the parking lot and shining into the store front window. Her coworkers came to her and warned her to be careful when she left home after her shift ended, they had noted the car and its driver parked around the lot in different places, but always with a vantage point into the store front. She became mortified when she realized it was her husband. Now she realized why the calls had become infrequent, she also realized why their son was always warm to the touch when she got home and picked him. He had kept their son with him in the car exposed to the hot son while he kept an eye on her.

It was a maddening situation and she knew she would be in for a long night, she had not done anything but go to work and return home after her shift. She already was aware that every evening upon her return he would go to her vehicle and check the mileage and question any discrepancy on the odometer. She dared not go anywhere else and risk his rage and accusations, she had no other place to go but to her job. She would even take her lunch with her so that he wouldn’t question the additional miles on the vehicle. When her coworkers invited her out she would make excuses about not having money on her, or not being hungry or explain that she had brought her lunch.

Her coworkers had already figured out who the stalker in the parking lot was, they had overheard her on the phone with him and had seen her being dropped off before. They were respectful of her privacy and did not want to embarrass her; they wanted to reassure her that she had friends who cared. Soon they were able to convince her to join them for lunch, no excuses allowed, they would drive her, they would pay her lunch, and they would just be happy with her company even if all she did was sit there and have a drink.

Disclaimer**Given the nature of the books I have been reading lately I am inspired to write a few short stories revisiting parts of my life that included episodes of domestic violence….I will be calling this series “The Ex Files” very clever right….lol….I thought so….it will be an amalgamation of my personal experiences steeped with those of others that I was very close to. The parallels are uncanny in some instances….but the patterns of abusers and abusees are almost always the same…it’s like the same behaviors are either taught to the next generation or there are some secret classes being held somewhere in some secret location.**

The Ex Files ~ Part 4

**Domestic Violence is not just physical abuse, it includes, verbal, emotional and also includes psychological as well as other forms of abuse. Domestic Violence should not happen to anyone…EVER. **

She set out to find a babysitter and a job, she had no prior experience but was smart and willing and able to do anything, start from the bottom and work her way up. She picked up a paper and drove up and down the streets to familiarize herself with the area; she kept her eye out for any “Help Wanted” signs.

Once home she took her paper to her bedroom and looked thru the paper and began calling the numbers for those offering childcare services. She set up meetings and asked for directions and felt confident that the next day would yield her favorable luck.

She discussed with her husband her intention of setting out for a job, he was not pleased to hear this, but was also quick to let her know it would be a relief as he wouldn’t have to listen to her ask for money anymore.

One of the driving forces for her to secure a job had been the degradation she felt having to continually ask for money to buy household items, groceries and even for her own personal items. He had always been in control of the finances and had no intentions of sharing that with her. He kept her on a strict budget and would blow up anytime she would ask him to pick up milk, diapers or anything that might be needed during the week. He was quick to let her know how stupid she was that she couldn’t even buy enough to last for a week. She tried explaining to him that with his sister and her family now living there and using everything they had bought, things were just not lasting as long.

He refused to acknowledge her explanations, it was her fault and that was that. It was pointless to argue with him so she did the best she could, she had resorted to makeshift diapers using whatever she could find, and she diluted the milk and even had to let their son wear dirty clothes.

Her sister in law was a forceful person; she had moved in and taken over as head of household. She had monopolized the kitchen, dining room, living room and one bedroom, leaving her only the one bedroom in the back of the trailer. The frustration of having to pacify her son with water and finding that the treats she had bought for him would disappear made for additional tension. She tried to discuss this with her husband but he wouldn’t listen to her, instead he resorted to accusing her of being greedy, again there was no winning, again it was all her fault, for after all she was too stupid to buy enough for everyone.

She stepped out to make her appointments with the possible childcare providers and the first stop was not a positive encounter, too many kids and no sense of control. She thanked the lady and went on to her next appointment, what a difference; the provider had 2 children under her watch including one of her own. They discussed payment and agreed that the next day would be the first day; she was pleased that things were looking up.

As she drove around before heading home she noticed a small strip mall and decided to stop in and browse around before heading back home. She had her son with her and they were looking at the items on the shelf when a clerk came up to ask if they needed help. They began a conversation and soon she felt a rapport with the clerk, she asked the clerk if she knew of any job openings. As luck would have it they were looking for someone to work part time, they talked briefly and set up a time for her to return with a completed application.  

 

Disclaimer**Given the nature of the books I have been reading lately I am inspired to write a few short stories revisiting parts of my life that included episodes of domestic violence….I will be calling this series “The Ex Files” very clever right….lol….I thought so….it will be an amalgamation of my personal experiences steeped with those of others that I was very close to. The parallels are uncanny in some instances….but the patterns of abusers and abusees are almost always the same…it’s like the same behaviors are either taught to the next generation or there are some secret classes being held somewhere in some secret location.**

 

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