Tag Archives: Just Beneath the surface

3 women will die today. They will die at the hand of a husband, lover or former lover. That is a statistic from the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and I will be committing a portion of the proceeds from Just Beneath the Surface to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  Just Beneath the Surface will also be discounted.

This is the story of a woman who is emotionally imprisoned by a violent man, a woman who believes she can ‘fix’ this broken, angry and unpredictable partner, a woman who believes if she could just be a little bit better, and love him a little bit more…she just might survive. She doesn’t even realize that she has set her daughter on the same path of passion and pain. If you or someone you love is living in danger, and you are located in the United States, check this list for a support hotline in your state.


“And another thing. I’ll be damned if I come home and have you mouth off to me like I’m right back at work all over again. I’m sick of people running over me. You in particular. So you sit there and think about what you caused! I was never like this until I met you. Move.” He stepped over me.

Move !” he bellowed.

I crawled away from the bedroom door so that he could get out. I was glad he was leaving. I was so shaken and confused that I hardly believed this was happening. And although I had the sting to prove it, I was in denial, as there was no way the man that I married had hit me.

 Chapter X


 I stood in the bathroom avoiding the mirror as I tried to take the swelling out of my bottom lip. Did Spencer just hit me? Yes. Spencer hit me. Spencer just slapped me. Spencer just backhanded me to the floor. It hurt so badly that both of my eyes were still watering, and I was not even crying; I was too stunned. Besides, my kids were waiting on me. I had no time for tears.

I did not know if my feelings, my last bit of pride or the actual busted lip hurt worse. Why did he have to hit me? I never would have imagined myself in a relationship covering bruises and biting my tongue, walking on egg shells and lying to myself.

How would I explain my swollen lip? What was I going to tell Diamond? How would I explain to Jules? What would they tell Michael? Why was I even considering covering up for him, as though it was my job to lie for him?

There were days when Michael hurt my feelings so badly with his insensitivity that I wished he would just shove me around or cheat on me so I could have a real reason to leave him. Now that I had been hit, I still could not imagine leaving Spencer. What was wrong with me?

I hated to picture it but I did, his hand raising and meeting my face with such force that I fell to the floor. I envisioned the way I must have looked when I fell to the floor, staring up at him with my hand to my bloody lip. It happened so fast that I did not even have a chance to cry. And Spencer only looked down at me as if to say “now what,” and ironically enough, I was thinking the exact same thing.

I had an imaginary line, and Spencer crossed it by leaving fingerprints on my body then by squeezing my arms until I cried. I drew new lines, and he continued to grab me by my arms. I drew another line, and he put his hands around my neck and banged my head into a wall. And now he had hit me.

“Open the door,” he said.

“Give me a second?” I said, wincing as I lay a wet towel against my lip.

Why did I hide my bloody towel under the cabinet and grab a new towel as if I was embarrassed for Spencer to see the crimson stains?



Just Beneath the Surface – Amazon ( Just Beneath the Surface will be discounted for the month of October)


Stay tuned for an interview, facts and much more, all about Domestic Violence Awareness Month, in the upcoming weeks.

You will probably find this to be an interesting way to start a post. Especially at a time when I am sharing and spreading the word about the Just Beneath the Surface re-release (a happy occasion). But I suppose I am, at times, peculiar, and so, I do peculiar things. And I want to share the following email from an online magazine, with you; here goes:

Jul 29 (3 days ago)

to me

Rhonda, Thank you for sending us “Don’t blink, don’t turn away” to **********. We regret to inform you it was not chosen for publication in an upcoming issue. Editorial decisions are often subjective, so we hope you’ll continue writing and submitting. Sincerely, Editor and Staff *********

Have you ever received a letter or email like this? Are you afraid of receiving a letter like this? Does the thought of receiving an email like this stop you from trying? Because for a long time, the idea of a rejection letter stopped me from submitting. The silence or dismissal from people I believed would support me stopped me from sharing. (And I don’t mean coddle me/make a huge deal of my aspirations — I’m easy to please; just a teeny bit of support). Am I the only one?

I still struggle with sharing what I call “book stuff” with my family and friends. I even created an author profile (along with my FB author page), so that I would never be tempted to bombard loved ones with incessant excerpts and links.

But back to the above email. It’s short and sweet. No harm, no foul. No matter how much I’m doubting myself or where I’m going as a writer, when I receive these emails (and I’ve seen my fair share!!!) I don’t fall apart. And you shouldn’t, either. Know why? It’s right there in the email. “Decisions are often subjective” …

Not only does this mean, they know what they’re looking for, and if what you have written doesn’t fit, it won’t be chosen, but it gives me the motivation to channel my energy. It gives me the motivation to create something I’ll tell myself will be even better for next time. It gives me the motivation to look at what I have written with a much more critical eye. I know I’ve said this, before about “rejection,” but it is nothing more than an opportunity to grow. Tear yourself away from the “R” word and redefine it. Focus on the passion inside you. Begin a new project or continue with your works in progress, keeping in mind, the fuel to evolve.

One door closes, another one opens. Keep your eyes open and wait for that opening —  not shut, obsessing over the doors that are closed. I’ll try to take my own advice. 🙂


Onward and upwards! Moving forward …
Just Beneath full
Ready for the final re-release related interview excerpts?? This one’s from Wednesday —  a  (very) fun chat with Vickie Johnstone of Vixies Stories:
“Which character from your books do you like most / are most like?
Good question. I don’t think I am like any of my characters. When it comes to creating characters, I like a blank canvas. The farther I can stray from myself or anyone I have ever met, the better.
Fave things: animal? food? drink? film? colour? band? song? place? item of clothing?
My favorite things – hmm, let’s see…
Animal: too many to count, especially if we talk about the baby animals!
Food: it really depends on my mood, but lately I love pistachios.
Drink: my favorite drink right now, I’m going to have to say 100% Natural Lipton Iced Tea.
Color: blue
Band: several, but right now I’m listening to Raised by Swans and Miguel.
Place: anywhere people are happy, content and peaceful.
Item of clothing: a black Jimi Hendrix shirt with the quote: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.”
This one’s from (this interview is from last year, before the publisher put their final touches on this passage, before the designer created a new cover)
“Do you have a favorite line or excerpt that you would like to share from your book?

Before I could open the door Spencer grabbed both of my hands and pulled me close to him, “Clubs? Drinking? Lies?” he growled. He threw me back over to the passenger side of the car, raised his fist again, and began punching me repeatedly in my left ear. I instinctively covered my ear with both of my hands. I screamed over his shouting that I could not hear him over the ringing sound. I could only hear my heartbeat.

The longer I sat unable to make out what he was screaming at me, the more hysterical I became. But I managed to sit perfectly still as I crouched over. What if I was deaf? What if the ringing and swishing sounds never stopped?

I opened the door and fell onto our driveway. I felt so dazed, but I had to run. Wherever I ran would be better than going inside of the house. As I pulled myself up using the car door, I could hear his loafers scratching at the pavement as he edged closer.

What are some of your favorite ways to promote your work?

I really enjoy interviews; I like sharing my passion, and explaining more in depth about what I am trying to convey.

I have been very consistent, and quite prolific, but I am guilty of spending more time starting and finishing novels, than I have spent promoting my work — I am very new to promoting.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

I am actually a night owl. Generally, if I have planned a day devoted solely to a novel, I start typing around 9pm, and type through the night, and early morning. If I take a nap, it is a very short one — I like to use every moment I can, because time flies when I am working.

I will make sure I have plenty to drink, I will probably forget to eat, and normally, I do very little planning. If I am stumped, I sit down, and work chapter by chapter. Some days, I work on two books at once; I probably look very disorganized, but there’s a method to my madness.

What are some ways that you like to relax?

Writing is my number one way to relax, as long as I know everyone in my family is happy and taken care of.  I love coming up with new ideas, creating new characters and dialogue, or the feeling of finishing something I started.”

Check out the rest of this interview:


… And that concludes my week-long re-release celebration. I thank you for stopping by and thanks for reading! To show my gratitude, today only,

 Just Beneath the Surface is free on with coupon code:  YX22N

Hello, all!
Thanks for joining me in day four of my week long re-release shenanigans! I will start by sharing an excerpt from a guest post with nextgenmilspouse, which I am very excited about :

Toward the end of 2004, one year after becoming a military spouse, I had begun to adjust to a new city: Abilene, Tx. I had my daughter at the end of 2005. I knew instantly, that I would be a stay at home mother, and I dedicated my life to my family. And although seeing every first step, hearing every first word, has been a blessing which I am forever grateful, I realized that I was missing something — I had forgotten about taking the time to daydream.

One afternoon, I sat down at our computer, turned on some music, and that year — 2005 — I completed my first novel. After writing my first novel, I realized that that for me, writing and storytelling are the essence of me. Despite my aversion to sharing what I had written to anyone outside of my immediate family, I knew deep down, that I was cultivating a piece of me, that deserved to be fostered.

Eight years and two children later, I have learned, that taking the time to do something that I enjoy, the sense of completion, writing something that could potentially touch someone’s life, became my driving force. I am learning to balance the military lifestyle, marriage, the demands of parenthood, my insecurities, writing, keeping up with my websites, and school.

Check out the rest of the article I had the pleasure of writing for the lovely folks over at nextgenmilspouse


With finding balance and finding peace, comes knowing yourself and being comfortable with those things (even the silly things) that make you you.

Here are a few of those things:

1. I published and unpublished my novel, Where were you, (the prequel to Fountains) maybe 4 or 5 times, before taking it offline. If you ask me why, I could only shrug and say: “I really don’t know. It just made me nervous.”

2. Poor sense of direction. Actually none. I have no sense of direction.

3. Between the hours of 11 pm and 3 am, I am wide awake, and at my most creative.

4. When it comes to writing, I am a bit scandalous, unable to be faithful. For me, there’s no such thing as writing one book at a time.

As I’m writing, my wandering eye leads my heart elsewhere (to start or finish writing other books) and I am likely going back and forth to avoid writer’s block. I am going back and forth because this (somehow) really helps me delve into what I am doing.

5. Umm .. I “liked” my own facebook author page  ..

.. And that’s about all I can think of, for now. Oh, one more thing!

6. Tomorrow, Just Beneath the Surface will be free on Smashwords, for 1 day only.

So please, join me, tomorrow, the last day of my week long re-release celebration, and pick up your free copy of Just Beneath the Surface!


Since this is the week of my Just Beneath the Surface re-release with Inknbeans Press, this will be a week filled with excerpts, interviews and more.

Today, myself and Sherry Pringle of Healthy Happy Relationships, have our first chat — a bit of girltalk — about a few of the issues in Just Beneath the Surface. Feel free to jump in!


In Just Beneath the Surface, the topic of living together unmarried, for several years, after having children, is a huge part of a couple’s breakdown. There are also disagreements about one man’s need to run home after every fight.

What, in your opinion, Sherry, is the difference between living together girltalkand getting married?

My husband and I lived together for over 1 year before we got married. Although we had no kids, I noticed a huge difference in my level of commitment for our relationship after getting married. I felt like before the wedding I still had the option to leave if I wasn’t happy in our relationship.

We were not a unit yet so I still felt like I was solo and looking out for myself. I didn’t feel completely invested. I still had that, “I gotta’ do me” mentality at times. Our wedding day changed everything. After speaking our wedding vows out loud in front of all our loved ones and making that commitment to God and to each other, our bond grew stronger from that day forward. We became truly united in our lives. He has my back and I got his back. We are each others biggest supporters,  best friend, and confidant. We both felt more trust and belonging after getting married. There’s a powerful sense of security that comes along with marriage, that you just don’t get while cohabitating.

I would have to say the biggest difference between living together and getting married is our level of investment into the relationship. When you’re married, you’re all in, this marriage stands for you and your life. It’s not easy watching anything that you’re fully invested in fail. Before marriage, we were in the same boat, but had our own life jackets. After marriage, our life jackets became one. When things get rocky, now, we either sink or swim together in this ocean of life.

2. If a woman feels that her significant other is a “momma’s boy,” (no offense, guys …) how can she be sure she is not exaggerating? Where is the balance?

I think the best way to know if you have a momma’s boy is, like with many things, your gut feeling. There are a few general things to look out for, which will let you know you’re not exaggerating.

– If your man suddenly metamorphoses from a man to a boy in the presence of his mother. You get that icky feeling all over, and you don’t know whether to hurl or to slap him back into reality when you see them interact.

– He is still letting his mother make major decisions for him and his life, instead of a)figuring things out on his own or b)consulting with you before he calls Momma for help.

– If he is not sticking up for you when it come to his mom and allows her to continually over step boundaries. A man has to be willing to stand up to his mother in order to protect his wife.

Ladies, if you truly have a momma’s boy on your hands, you’ll know exactly what I mean by these.

3. What, in your opinion, should she do to express her concern in a healthy way?

The best way to express your concern is to first check your attitude and your intentions. Be sure you’re not just out to criticize or judge your man. Set a goal for getting more understanding and really expressing your needs. Truthfully, we all want a man who respects his mother, right? So if what you’re truly seeking is more of a balance, start by acknowledging the love he has for his mother, and then simply ask for what you need from him going forward.

You may even have to out right ask him, “Are you ready to open up that space for the number one woman in your life to a woman other than your mother?” His answer to this question will let you know if he’s ready to drop being a momma’s boy and willing to let someone, hopefully you, take on the leading lady role in his life. And if the answer is yes, that’s your moment to step up by asking for what you require as the woman in that role.

Thanks, Sherry. Couldn’t have said it better myself!

I had fun, and I can’t wait until next time.

Find out more about Just Beneath the Surface. Download your copy from Smashwords or Amazon

Here is an excerpt from an interview I did with (The first thing you will notice, if you decide to take a look at the interview in its entirety, is the original Just Beneath the Surface book cover.)

“Have you ever gotten an inspirational book-related moment at work and had to go run and write and it down?

I am constantly having to run and write things down! I have ideas, plots, and character ideas popping into my mind at nearly every moment of every day. When I did work, I put the ideas in my phone or emailed them to myself so I would not forget them.” interview


So … since throughout this week, I will be sharing excerpts and interviews, I thought that today, I would share a few things you may not have known.

1. When I self-published last year, I remember someone telling me that if you are putting more funds into self-publishing, than what you are bringing in, you are making a huge mistake.

I took the advice to the extreme a bit. No, I definitely took it to the extreme. Past extreme. I thought that I would create my own book cover. Yes — my own book cover. If you read the above interview, you will see the book cover I made before I met designer, Laura of

2. My mind is suspended in the clouds with the characters in my novels when I’m writing and editing.

Once I am finished, I do not enjoy going back to read what I have written. That is why I do not share very many excerpts; I tell myself that I am going to, but once I start reading my novels, I start deleting and changing things. It neverrrr stops.

For that reason, I do not like going back to look at “old” projects. Not because I am not elated and excited to share, but because if I don’t step away, I will critique myself, change things, remove paragraphs, chapters, people, until the pages are completely blank.

 3. I finally have a home, an indie publisher, for my books. But I’m still terrified of sharing excerpts, much less submitting my stuff for reviews.

But each new day is a new opportunity to release that fear; I’ve gotten much better, and today, I have an excerpt to share:

Why did I have to let those hands touch me? Why was I staring at him and watching him touch me? Those mean punishing hands. Those violent raging fists. But not now — now they were so gentle. They massaged my hands so tenderly it practically tickled. He ran his fingers up and down the inside of my left arm and shook his head as tears streamed down his cheeks.

Why had I not pulled away? What kind of sick gluten for punishment was I? Rationale, which for me happened to be bloody memories, flooded my mind. Just as I managed to think a sound thought and attempted to take my arms away from his tender touch, he moved up to my collar bone, then my face. His fingertips began apologizing, grazing over my cheeks. He closed his eyes and stepped toward me until our bodies touched. He kept walking toward me until we were both against the wall. He then buried his face in my blouse as he began to weep.

“I’m so sorry,” said Spencer. “Do you understand me? I’m so, so sorry.”

Just Beneath the Surface

Hello, all!

I try not to go overboard with posts about myself or my books, but as I mentioned Saturday, Just Beneath the Surface is my first official re-release with my publisher! Throughout the week, I will be posting excerpts and sharing bits of information about my novel.

 Today, I will share my new website page, my author trailer, and a link to one of my first interviews.


excerpt from my interview with reviews from here:

“Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?

Well. There was a moment where I realized my heart was heavy not only for victims of abuse or domestic violence, but my heart was heavy for those who were being judged in their situation. When I say judged, I am talking about the myths.

People who think that the victims of domestic violence are to blame for their own situations. People who think the victims of domestic violence deserve to be hurt, or like to be hurt – or else why stay?

These are just a couple of many things that stirred something inside of me.This prompted me to create a main character who was strong, confident, and very relatable. Something that I say often, and truly believe, is that with being relatable comes empathy. With empathy comes less judgment.” read entire interview


an interview with the authors show:

Kendall Berkley never understood why
women would stay in abusive relationships
or allow themselves to be battered and
humiliated. It would never happen to her.

She had it all: two beautiful, intelligent
children and a successful career. She
knew she would never let a man abuse
her, and if he did she would walk away.

She knew all this until the day she mar-
ried Spencer. He treated her like a
queen…until he’d had a bad day, or the
house wasn’t spotless, or she looked at
him wrong. No matter how much blood
was shed, or how many bruises had to be
hidden, or how many lies she had to tell,
she stayed for the sake of her marriage.

Sometimes a woman has to choose
between broken vows and broken bones.


Inknbeans website page:

Domestic violence is one of the main issues in the book and Rhonda uses her writing skills perfectly to convey the blows, throws and punches. – unicorn reviews