PTSD – IT’S A REAL AND PRESENT DANGER

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Two Parkland shooting survivors are no longer surviving. A father of a Sandy Hook victim took his life this past week as well. These are the very real and present dangers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that affect anyone who has suffered a trauma directly or peripherally.

My first introduction to PTSD occurred back in 2004 when I was contacted by a man and his wife who wanted help telling their story. Their therapist thought writing might help them both recover from the debilitating effects of PTSD. They found an article I’d written in a magazine in the doctor’s office and gave me a call. The first time they called, they were tentative and wouldn’t even tell me what had happened to them that had left them traumatized.

I met with them at a coffee shop. They were reluctant to talk. So, I did what I sometimes do when I’m nervous. I chattered. I told them about my life which had taken a major hit in the past three years. Something about my honesty made them trust me, and they told me their story. As I listened to their tale, I realized I too had been suffering from PTSD symptoms ever since the murder of my two great nieces by their mother in 2001.

I wrote the book for Brent and Barbara Swan and went through their horrific experience with them, which helped us all. Brent had worked for Chevron in the 1990s as a helicopter mechanic. He was stationed in Angola . He’d do six weeks on and six weeks at home. There was a small faction who’d formed an unrecognized government because they wanted the proceeds from the oil production to come to them. One morning as Brent drove to the airfield, he was kidnapped by the rebel government and held hostage for sixty days or “two moons” as he viewed his time in captivity. The U.S. government had strict guidelines about not negotiating with terrorists. Chevron had to work on his release undercover. The rebels loved Brent because he acquiesced and was a good prisoner even though they loaded up their AK-47s each morning next to his bed so he could never forget he was a hostage.

When the release was negotiated, the rebels gave Brent an honorary citizenship certificate with all their signatures. They gave him a map of all their camps, and group photos with their hostage. Brent turned it all over upon his release to the authorities.

And nothing happened. No arrests. Nothing. Brent came home and resumed a life as normal as he could. Six or seven years passed and 9/11 happened. Then all of a sudden the U.S. government became intent on bringing all known terrorists to trial. They started with the head of Brent’s kidnapping team and then the feds called Brent and told him he was the star witness.

Brent and his wife Barbara went into full survival mode PTSD when he had to travel to Washington, DC, and face his kidnapper and testify. Brent fell apart at the trial and afterwards. Barbara didn’t fare much better. When I met them in 2004, they were struggling to pull themselves out of the trenches of psychological warfare. After that initial meeting, I didn’t hear from them for more than a year.

Then I wrote their book, Two Moons in Africa (Patricia Camburn Behnke)Today I’m happy to say they are better but still living with the quirks that come from the PTSD.

My PTSD reasserts itself in times of stress or sometimes just because it can. In the past, I’ve dealt with it by writing about things other than the trauma I experienced back in 2001 and 2002. But this winter when it returned with panic attacks and depression, I decided it was time to write about how the deaths of loved ones has had an impact on me and how I cope with life’s irregularities. So far, my own self-imposed therapy is working.

I will have to finish the book before I decide if I’ll publish or not. It might turn out i’m simply writing for myself unless I see benefit to others going through similar situations.

As the news of the suicides hit this week , I considered what we can do to help those who suffer after trauma. Staying silent is not an option. Here’s a few things without even researching or digging very deep.

  • If someone doesn’t show signs of trauma after an event, it doesn’t mean she isn’t feeling isolated and alone in her fear, paranoia, grief. Without being a pest, keep her on your radar with calls, texts, cards, and/or visits. Any acts of reaching out to show her she isn’t alone may be just the thing they need.
  • Let him talk about the tragedy if he brings it up. Too many times if I tried to talk about the murders, others changed the subject. One person has told me several times he can’t deal with hearing about it because it’s too sad. Other people tell me they don’t want me to get upset by talking about it. It’s upsetting when it’s ignored, and we all should remembered that.
  • Each of us has our own timetable for grief and mourning. Do not attempt to dictate what you believe to be the proper time for someone to be over “it.” It only makes the grieving person feel as if something is wrong with her.
  • Don’t discount how a traumatic event has affected another person. Soon after I returned to work after the murders, a co-worker said to me, “Why are you so upset? It didn’t happen to you.” That set me back in my healing process by years. I still hear that voice in my head in the worst of times.

There are more I’m sure, but those are the immediate ones. Share any others you might have by leaving a comment. It can only do good because the alternative only creates another opportunity for PTSD to take hold of another life.

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Series Book Review: Behind the Love Contemporary Romances By P.C Zick | Cloe Michael’s Reads


Thank you, Cloe Michael’s Reads for the reviews of all four of the books in the Behind the Love series.

As you get ready for the Fourth of July, it’s time to load up the Kindles with plenty of exciting and romantic beach reads. To help you achieve that very goal, you can download Behind the Altar, Book One, for free June 27 and 28. Behind the Bar, Book Two, will be on sale for $0.99 cents.

Behind the Altar, Book One I could not put this book down I am not big on religion but it worked in this book because of the lessons learned in it.  I loved how Dean and Leah had a strong connectio…

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Source: Series Book Review: Behind the Love Contemporary Romances By P.C Zick | Cloe Michael’s Reads

Click below to purchase one or all of the books in this series.

Behind the Altar, Book One
Behind the Bar, Book Two
Behind the Curtain, Book Three
Behind the Door, Book Four

#NEWRELEASE – BEHIND THE DOOR

BTDBehind the Love contemporary romance series continues with the release of the newest story in the saga of Victory, Florida. Behind the Door stars Sally Jean, who played pivotal roles in the three preceding books in the series. Often misunderstood and always seeking love, Sally Jean needed to have her story told to show why she sought love, yet felt at the same time she didn’t deserve it.

When I first started writing romances in 2014, I thought it would give me a break and help recharge my writing batteries. With the completion of the first book in the Behind the Love series, I’d been revitalized, and even though, there is a formula or pattern that most romances follow, I could write the plot happenings with my own touch.

I discovered romance didn’t have to be light and fluffy. It could deal with real life issues while still bringing the hero and heroine together in the end. It happened without much thought. I’ve always said language is the most powerful tool we have, and if we can tell a story to convey an important message, all the better.

While I don’t propose I’ve settled or ended issues facing us, I do suggest that admitting them can go a long way toward healing.Behind the Love -Social Media

BTA Cover.jpgBehind the Altar, Book One brings out issues of child abuse–sexual and mental–and domestic violence. It also starts a thread about homelessness and the tragedy of our veterans coming home to face an unwelcoming society. Leah, the heroine of Behind the Altar, helps the homeless in her small town by running a soup kitchen. Throughout the series, Soup’s On becomes a focal point for each plot as it grows and expands.

01ddd-btbBehind the Bar, Book Two shows how the past can inform our present, and not always in positive ways. Domestic violence takes a starring role in the love complications between Susie and Reggie. Before they can give their love a second chance, they must unravel the complications caused by hiding secrets from their youth.

38aff-btcBehind the Curtain, Book Three follows Susie’s sister as she always struggles with the fallout from having an alcoholic father who beat his wife. Lisa protected Susie until the father left, and then Lisa became the sister who needed protection. Also, Soup’s On and its residents from homeless veterans to migrant farmers hoping for a better life play an integral role in the plot.

BTDBehind the Door, Book Four covers PTSD and its fallout, particularly with veterans returning home with no safety net. Also, Sally Jean’s childhood comes to the forefront. She was a neglected child as her parents were more interested in one another than they were Sally Jean. She was an intrusion to their love affair, which caused her to seek love in all the wrong places and from all the wrong people. She reveals she doesn’t deserve to be loved, and the plot takes her on a journey to find out she does.

All of the books give glimmers of hope even in the face of tragedy. Readers have often responded to the stories and related the situations to their own lives. Maybe that’s not what romance should do. But it’s what I do. One reader suggested I should provide help information for the issues in my books, so when I revamped the first three books this year, I added phone numbers and websites to help with each of the issues profiled within the plot.

A reader recently received an advanced review copy of Behind the Door. She thought I’d captured the tragedy of PTSD vividly. She knew because she’d been suffering from it for years.

To celebrate the release of Behind the Door, please take the opportunity to download Behind the Bar, Book Two, for free (May 15-19). And Behind the Altar is only $0.99!

Click on the titles below to download your copies of all four books in the series.

Behind the Altar

Behind the Bar

Behind the Curtain

Behind the Door

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BOOK REVIEW FRIDAY – TALES TO COUNT ON

TALES_final_fullTales To Count On by S.R. Mallery, a unique collection of short stories, contains a variety of genres, including historical, Gothic, and fantasy. They are organized by word count, which the author says often determines the story when written under the constraints of submission guidelines. Interesting concept that developed into a full-blown eclectic combination of historical, contemporary, and mysterious stories.

Full disclosure: I edited and formatted this book. The “work” became a labor of love as I became enamored with the characters and the delightful storytelling ability of Ms. Mallery. Reading them provided me with hours of enjoyment. I’m a fan of S.R. Mallery’s writing, which is what brought us together in the first place. Click here to read my reviews of her other books, Sewing Can Be Dangerous, another collection of short stories, and Unexpected Gifts, a delightful novel of one young woman’s discovery of her roots.

If you’ve ever read any of the O Henry short stories and enjoyed them, you’ll be in for a treat with her newest book. Each one has some type of twist at the end. That’s a tricky task for an author who has to lead the reader down one path and completely change direction by the end to surprise even the most astute detectives. S.R. Mallery is a master at the technique and proves it thoroughly in Tales To Count On.

The craft of short story writing requires a special talent. Maybe that’s why they aren’t as popular as they once were. Maybe it’s because the big name magazines are no longer at the forefront of the publishing world as they were during the heyday of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Salinger, and Parker. Those writers made their names and their leap to literary infamy through the publication of short stories in The New Yorker or Atlantic Monthly. It takes a talented writer to create a short piece that contains all the same elements within a full-length novel. There must be characterization, believable dialogue, conflict, rising tension, and a climax. There must be a compelling story with mood to set the tone and powerful settings and descriptions. All of these techinques must occur in 500 to 4,000 words. And that’s just what they do in S.R. Mallery’s Tales To Count On.

The range and depth of the stories caused me to sit back in awe of her genius when I first read them. Preparing to write my review, I reread some of them and my awe only increased. She explores issues, such as domestic abuse, mental illness, employer/employee relations, PTSD, and abusive parents. The stories take the readers to varied settings and time periods. Her point of view shifts as a literary technique in one story involving a traffic jam, allowing the reader the unique perspective of voyeuristically peeking into the lives of a varied group of travelers and the impact the stalled vehicles have on each character’s world.

Each of the multi-layered characters are developed with efficient precision from the snarky journalist whose karma comes back to haunt him to the young woman portrayed as a sexy young virgin during the French Revolution. Shocking endings all, so I can’t say much more than I have. What I can say is readers of all preferences will find something to love in this collection of stories that reveal much about the human condition.

Most of all, the shocking endings show the reader that nothing is as it seems on the surface.

If you’re looking for stories that are intelligent, well-designed, and edge-of-the-seat worthy, then you won’t be disappointed with Tales To Count On.

Click below to read my interviews with S.R. Mallery on Author Wednesday.

 S.R. Mallery – December 4, 2013

S.R. Mallery – April 22, 2015

Purchase Links

S.R. Mallery Amazon Author Page

Barnes & Noble Page

Kobo Page

 

NOTE: Because Amazon frowns upon authors leaving reviews for other authors, I no longer leave reviews on their retail site. However, I will continue to review books here on my own blog for Book Review Friday. Authors are welcome to share my reviews with their own social media networks and to publish excerpts of my reviews as editorial reviews on Amazon. My list of TBR books is long, but I’m always willing to consider new works. If I enjoy a book, I review it.

Giveaway at Goodreads

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

I wrote a nonfiction book in 2009 for and about a man and woman in Chiefland, Florida, who suffered first through an act of terrorism in Angola and then faced full-blow Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms for nearly two decades as they faced the trials of the man’s kidnappers. Two Moons in Africa: Barbara and Brent Swan’s Story of Terrorism by Patricia Camburn Behnke (my former name).

From January 26 to February 26, I’m offering a giveaway of two autographed hardcover copies on Goodreads.

The book also is  for sale on my website, in both paperback and hardcover. Visit the e-store on at www.pczick.com for details on ordering.

Book Giveaway For Two Moons in Africa

Giveaway dates: Jan 26-Feb 26, 2013

Description: Two Moons in Africa (nonfiction book 2009) – On October 19, 1990, Brent Swan, of Chiefland, Florida, was kidnapped in Angolo by members of the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda in Angola. When he was finally released 61 days later, Brent provided the FBI with complete descriptions of his kidnappers and their camps, but it took until 2003 for just one of those kidnappers to be brought to trial, with outstanding warrants still on file with the U.S. Justice Department for three others. The U.S. government contacts the Swans and gives them information when they might need Brent as a witness, and each time they receive a call, they are thrown back to 1990 and forced to relieve the nightmare once again. There are days when they aren’t sure who the real terrorists are. Two Moons in Africa: Barbara and Brent Swan’s Story of Terrorism brings Brent out of the jungle with Barbara at his side. It is the story of Brent’s literal journey into a dark and dank jungle at the hands of rebels. It is the story of Barbara’s journey as well as she awaited first his release and then his recovery. It is the story of the love between two people who suffered and survived. But it is also the story of a country crammed with deadly land mines and embroiled in decades-long civil wars. It tells of a people destroyed by hopeless poverty while oil fields and diamond mines sit within view but beyond reach. It shows the true meaning of Africa as the Dark Continent. It is the story of rebels so intent upon their cause that the troubles of one American family have no bearing upon their fight. In fact, these fighters for Cabinda’s liberation felt they were so right in their cause, they made Brent Swan an honorary citizen of a country that does not exist except in their minds. It is also the story of how victims of terrorism are treated in the aftermath of the terrorist act as justice is sought but not always achieved. Two Moons in Africa represents their desire to tell the story. It is Barbara’s and Brent’s attempt to take control of a situation that has been out of their hands since 1990. But it has never been out of their minds or hearts or souls.