Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wrtiers Wednesday:Alana Lorens/Barbara Mountjoy

Welcome. Today’s guest is an author who is multi-published in a variety of genre, including non-fiction. Please help me welcome Alana Lorens (aka Barbara Mountjoy). Alana has been a published writer for over 35 years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at the South Dade News Leader in Homestead, Florida.

Her list of publications includes the non-fiction book 101 Little Instructions for Surviving Your Divorce, published by Impact Publishers in 1999, stories; A CUP OF COMFORT FOR DIVORCED WOMEN, in December 2008, and A CUP OF COMFORT FOR ADOPTIVE PARENTS in June 2009.

Her Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series (as Lyndi Alexander) is available from Dragonfly Publishing; THE ELF QUEEN in 2010, THE ELF CHILD in 2011, and THE ELF MAGE in 2012.

Her newest release (as Alana Lorens) is SECRETS IN THE SAND, in the Crimson Rose line from The Wild Rose Press. CONVICTION OF THE HEART is her sixth published novel, which will be followed in July 2012 with SECOND CHANCES, a women’s fiction with romantic elements story. The Wild Rose Press is also publishing her contemporary romance novella THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE later this summer.

When she’s not busy writing, practicing law or teaching, she takes care of a husband and a bunch of kids and blogs on a variety of subjects, including autism, science fiction and life at Awalkabout. Wow, Barabara, that’s quite a lineup. There’s a lot to talk about, but would you start by telling us a little about your latest release?

SECOND CHANCES is about an Iraq War Veteran and some of the problems he faces. PTSD and domestic violence--not just a women's problem. Domestic violence is often a touchy topic—even those who are trapped in the middle of hell don’t like to bring it up or talk about it.
I can tell you from twenty-five years of experience that men who are victims, like the Iraq War veteran Rafe Johnson, in SECOND CHANCES, are even more reluctant to bring this into the light, even if it might mean they could get some help.

For some, the issue is that they are engaged in a same-sex relationship, and for many reasons they are reluctant to expose themselves to public regard.
For others, they are terrified to admit they’re being “hit by a girl.” Like in Rafe and Susan Johnson’s situation, she’s suffering from a horrible case of PTSD, brought on by an experience that happened to her when she too was a soldier serving in Iraq. Even though she beats him, he loves her dearly and wouldn’t hit her back. He tries to understand, but she keeps getting more and more out of control, striking out first at him, then at others outside the marriage. Finally the situation deteriorates to the point where Rafe has to do something, before someone else gets hurt.

I’ve had a few male domestic violence clients in my career, and I truly feel for them. One poor guy had his ex stalking him, day and night, and by the time he came to see me, he’d fallen so low that he wouldn’t even take out the trash without a shotgun in his hand. I’m sure you can imagine how many ways that situation could have gone bad. Finally we filed for an order of protection, and the court was able to convince this woman to get a grip before someone got killed.

BLURB: Inessa Regan, a 10-year associate at a Pittsburgh law firm, gets a pink slip when the economy tanks. Insecure, her pride wounded, she flounders helplessly until she meets Kurtis Lowdon, a man 15 years younger than she, an Iraq War veteran with cancer. He helps her take the first steps back from the pit of despair after she loses everything that defines her.

First as her client, then as her landlord, then as her partner, Kurt shows her the power of believing in oneself. Their journey is tainted with secrets from Kurt’s own past, as well as some of the horrors of war that have followed Kurt and his friends home from overseas. When his cancer returns, she must take control of her own life and fight to survive. His battle teaches her how to live; and she risks everything she holds dear to save him.

EXCERPT: Rafe and his Army friend Kurt are meeting with lawyer Inessa Regan to try to sort out his situation:

"I shoulda looked out for her. No one would have t-touched her if I’d been there!”Kurt walked around the desk to put a hand on Rafe’s shoulder.“Can’t change what’s done, Rafe. What’s important now is your current situation.” He took a seat on the desk. “Rafe says Susan’s been violent. I’ve seen the bruises. But he won’t retaliate—he feels responsible."

“She’s ch-ch-changed. She’s a whole d-different p-p-person!” Agitated, Rafe ejected from his chair and started pacing. “She was never like this with me, not before I was sent Stateside. After she got home, she was damned moody, man. We got into it at least twice a week, sometimes about nothing.

“She quit going to c-counseling after she lost the last job, just like all the others, always a fight with co-workers or a boss, and then it’s done. Seven months now we’ve lived mostly on my disability.” He turned to Inessa, gaze intent. “Living with her’s like living outside the wire, you know? I couldn’t stay anymore.

“When I told her I was leaving, she shoved me down the stairs. I had two broken ribs. I would even have let that go, ‘cause I know she’s had a bad time. But since I been home with my parents, she won’t leave me alone. She threatens me, threatens them, follows me all the time.

“I’m not worried about me, I can take it. Damn her, my parents have nothing to do with what happened to me, or to her! My mom’s too scared to go out into the back yard to water her flowers. I can’t let her do this.”

Inessa, not exactly sure of the military slang, but understanding the deep-simmered bitterness in his tone, considered the options.“You might have filed an action for protection from abuse. You didn’t.” Her fingers stopped tapping on the keys.

“Pride?”Kurt scoffed, “Would a judge believe Rafe was a victim? When he’s trained to kill someone with his bare hands? When he outweighs her by fifty pounds and stands over her by six inches? Really?”

“If he had broken ribs, he’s got medical proof. Better than he said, she said.” Inessa knew many male victims of domestic violence didn’t come forward because it wasn’t “manly” to get beaten by a girl. They also got an icy reception in a system that had sanctified the victimization of women. Women had shelters and support groups; men had their buddies’ couches and alcohol.

“Didn’t go to the hospital,” Rafe mumbled.“What?”A guilty look passed between the men.“Top fixed me up. Ace bandage for a couple of days, then just took it easy. Coupla pain pills, no fast moves--you know.”Inessa shook her head. “Medication prescribed by his own doctor, at least?”Kurt put on his best good-little-boy smile. “You don’t really want an answer to that.”

Very powerful, Barbara. It’s obvious this is a topic you’re passionate about.

Domestic violence happens to people of all social classes and incomes, and to both women and men. If you or someone you know is in a bad situation, here are some websites that might be able to help:
This article from the Mayo CLinic
: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/domestic-violence-against-men/MY00557

Men's Resource Center of Western Michigan has a quiz to let men know if they might be in an abusive relationship: http://menscenter.org/self-assessments/am-i-a-victim-of-domestic-violence/Men Web: http://www.batteredmen.com/The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence : ncadv.org


  1. Hi Barbara/Alana,
    Good to have you here. I think you're courageous to take on this topic, and I wish you the very best with it. Come back and visit again.

  2. Wow - that book sounds amazing. It's unfortunate that a lot of people are too scared to seek help in a domestic situation - both men and women. I wish you a lot of success with your book! Nice to get to know you better as well. Great interview ladies!

  3. Barbara M. What a perfect legal background to write this type of book. With the firsthand experience of your clients, you are a voice for the voiceless. Yeah. It sounds really interesting. Am looking forward to reading it.

  4. Thank you for coming by! I do feel very passionate about the issue of domestic violence whether it's by men or women.

  5. Beautifully written, Alana. You've put us there, made us feel for Rafe, in a very short time span. Congrats on the work you do and may you always be blessed.