Have To Skip a Post

Posted: June 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

Will be nursing my daughter back to health.  She is having surgery this Friday (June 8).  I’ll be back the weekend of the 16th.  Hope to interview a pet psychic!



For my second book in the Dead By My Side series (Dead In My Heart) I’ve been doing research about domestic abuse and shelters for women.  Tony’s character is going to have a love interest in the form of a medium or psychic (Gemma) and  I decided to introduce another character—her mother (Aurora).  Aurora’s character is going to run a shelter for women.  While researching  the subject, I ran across an article in an old edition of O, the Oprah Magazine, a June 2008 edition.  The article was titled “The Battered Pet” by Barry Yeoman.   I was reading material at a bed and breakfast I visited recently.  I’m usually irritated when “old” magazines are the only reading material provided.  Especially the old Readers Digest provided in my doctor’s office.  However, in this case, I was glad I ran into this information.  It raised a subject that never occurred to me.  Abuse perpetrated on the pets of battered women.

The article recounts the experiences of Marcella Harb-Hauser, DVM, of San Rafael, CA.  The story which broke my heart was in 1992 while she was interning at a New York vet hospital.  A woman brought in a Yorkshire terrier whose eyes had been glued shut.   The pet owner told one of the doctors that she had to get the dog back that night or there would be trouble with her boyfriend because they weren’t allowed to leave the house.  The client returned again on another visit.  That time the dog’s eyes were glued shut and so were the ears and sexual organs.

The article goes on to say that:  “With devastating frequency, animals are the collateral victims of domestic violence.   Dogs and cats, lizards and rabbits, horses and other farms animals – abusers torture and kill them, or threaten to do so, in order to maintain control of their spouses.”  The sad thing is that it works.  At the time this appeared in Oprah’s magazine, most shelters didn’t accept animals.  And according to various studies at that time:  “between 18 and 88 percent of shelter residents delayed leaving their tormentors for fear that their animals would be injured, or worse.”

Never having been the victim of abuse, as I was reading the article, I found myself wondering why women would choose to stay with their abusers because of a pet.  One victim explained it:  “It may seem bizarre, even crazy, that we stay in these situations because of our pets.  But we rely on these animals to give us comfort.  It’s almost like therapy.  You have something you can hold, that you can love, that loves you back.”

We all know that some battered spouses are unwilling to press charges against their abusers.  ASPCA’s Randall Lockwood states, “Sometimes , then, the most surefire way to prosecute a batterer is on charges of animal cruelty, which, if severe enough, is a felony in many states.”

This article certainly opened my eyes and I was glad to learn that thanks to the efforts of veterinarians like Harb-Hauser, victim’s willing to come forward, and organizations like the American Humane Association, shelters and lawmakers are taking notice.


Image  —  Posted: May 28, 2012 in Shoes

In the process of writing Dead By My Side I’ve had the good fortune to meet a number of law enforcement professionals and learned a great deal about crime scene and criminal investigations.  My daughter is a librarian at a college in Northern California.  While helping a student research case law, she came upon a website which I am very excited about.  It is a mystery and crime writer’s dream.  Just a very small sampling:

DNA taken from an abandoned container

I am a big fan of TV crime shows (The Closer, CSI, Criminal Minds).  And something that comes up time and again is police taking DNA from a drink container or a tossed cigarette without obtaining a warrant.  I’ve always wondered whether it was legal.

Third party consent

If a suspect has a computer, can a spouse give his/her permission for officers to search the computer files?

In “plain view”

In the course of serving a routine warrant, an officer sees a bloody knife and a trail of blood leading into another room.  He can seize the knife…right?  Maybe not

  • Was it “Lawful discovery”
  • Did he/she have “Probable cause”
  • Did he/she have “Lawful access”

Learn about this and much, much more.  This site is a virtual clearing house of criminal justice proceedings of all types.   Learn about arrests, entrapment, probable cause, lineups, motions to suppress, basic searches and “special searches” such as e-mail, voicemail, text messages.  Read actual case reports with actual court rulings (i.e., state supreme court, US Supreme court , appeals court, etc.).

The site is from the Office of the District Attorney of Alameda County entitled “Point of View.”  The link is:   http://le.alcoda.org/publications/point_of_view/

Check it out!


Image  —  Posted: May 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

I’m sorry for the late post, but my oldest daughter just walked the stage for her Master’s Degree.  I am one proud mom!

Today’s post has to do with my experiences with “the other side.”  These experiences have brought me hope.

I lost my mother when I was in my early thirties.  My sister and I were very close to her and were devastated when she passed.  The night of her memorial, at exactly two in the morning, I woke to the sound of her voice calling my name from the foot of my bed.  I startled my husband when I sat straight up in bed.  He asked what was wrong and I told him about hearing my mom calling my name.  I did not tell my sister because I thought it would upset her.  Years later, my sister and I were talking about our mom and she said that she’d woken from a sound sleep the night of our mom’s memorial.  She said she heard mom calling her name and it seemed to be coming from the foot of her bed.  It was two in the morning.

My husband of twenty-six years died of a sudden heart attack at the age of forty-seven.  I experienced two unbelievable events that sent chills up and down my spine. 

For many years I had terrible nightmares.  They were all the same.  I dreamt I was being choked.  I would wake up clawing at my neck and gasping for breath.  My husband was always there to sooth me out of my panic.  The night of his memorial, I woke from another one of those dreams.  The music we’d chosen for the memorial was from The Lion King.  The Circle of Life was the song which ended the service.  I always had the radio playing during the night, it helped me sleep.  When I woke from the nightmare, the very next song to play was The Circle of Life.  I’ve never experienced those nightmares again.

When the date was drawing near to what would have been our 30th wedding anniversary, I was driving home from work along country roads.  I was thinking about my husband and started crying uncontrollably.  I almost pulled over to the side of the road, but got myself together and continued on.  I was driving up to a stop sign when I noticed the license plate of the car in front of me.  My husband’s name was Robert. The three letters in the center of the California license plate read “BOB.”  Afterwards, when I got home I started to wonder if I’d imagined those letters.  A couple of years later, while driving to work on that same road with a friend, that car with the same license plate was on the road ahead of us.

Bob and I, like many others I would think, talked about dying many times over the years.  He always said, as did I, that if one of us passed on before the other, to “look for a sign.”  I agreed at the time, but I never really believed it would happen.  I do now.

Have you had similar experiences.  Of this kind, or any brushes with The Other Side?  I would love to hear about them.

An FYI. Someone asked me the other day how to make a comment on this blog. If you click on the “thought balloon to the right of the screen, you can leave a comment.