Sunday, January 28, 2024

Charity Sunday - We Rise by Lifting Others


Many times, when I speak with readers or when I'm interviewed, I am asked how I start writing. It all started at the Center for Hope & Safety. When I served on the board, I was not an author, nor 
had I ever thought of writing a book.

I became good friends with Deny, the woman who was the board secretary during my tenure as board president. She was a physicist and told me she was writing a book. I asked what it was about she told me she was writing a romance story.

I was excited to be with an aspiring author, and I offered to brainstorm, beta read, and help in any way I could. To make a very long story short, we decided to both write a book and package them as a duet. While her heart was with the books we were writing, she had other obligations. Aside from a full work schedule, she needed to take her daughter college hunting, and she had to train for the New York Marathon. While we continued to do our work for the shelter, on a personal note, Deny was the person who encouraged me to continue writing my book. She is the one who celebrated with me when it was published. She is the one who encouraged me to write more stories.

Center for Hope & Safety (formerly Shelter Our Sisters) is dedicated to assisting Bergen County, NJ, victims and survivors of domestic violence and their children by turning fear into safety, helplessness into strength, and isolation into hope.

For a full disclosure, I can proudly say I am a former board member and board president. Working together with the men and women on the board, we continued to develop the programs to fulfill the needs of the adults and children victimized by domestic violence.

During my tenure on the board, I met dedicated people who worked tirelessly, driven by the belief that every person has the right to be safe, empowered, and free from violence and fear. 

501(c)(3) nonprofit agency founded in 1976 they strongly believe that every person has the right to be safe, empowered, and free from violence and the fear of violence. Their mission is to help you heal and grow through a wide range of services that give the tools needed for a victim to leave the violence and empower them and their children for new beginnings.

The only private, non-profit agency dedicated to sheltering Bergen County families and individuals who are affected by domestic violence, the Center for Hope & Safety provides a comprehensive umbrella of support services to help adults attain safety, build a strong foundation for healing, gain self-reliance, and stop the cycle of violence.

Their services include:

  • 24 Hour Emergency Hotline that operations 365 days a year.
  • Safe House/Emergency Shelter Program, safe confidential housing with basic needs as adults and children escape violence 
  • Children's Programs designed to stabilize a child's environment and counteract the effects of abuse.
  • Transitional Housing provides the interim step toward self-sufficiency for survivors graduating from the Safe House
  • Community Services to help with diverse needs, such as counseling, support groups, case management, risk assessment, safety planning, and more.
  • Economic Empowerment helps people with career counseling, job development, and housing counseling services
  • Project CHILD provides weekly individual and group therapeutic treatment to support children ages 4-12 who are victims and/or witnesses of domestic violence.
  • The Domestic Violence Liaison Program provides expert consultations to the NJ Division of Child Protection & Permanency (DCPP) as needed.
  • The Center for Hope & Safety Legal Services is Bergen County's only free in-house legal services for victims of domestic violence with staff attorneys available for legal representation as well as providing advice when appropriate.

Financial contributions make it all happen. Here is where you can donate:

 I will donate two dollars to the Center for Hope & Safety for every comment I receive.

Meanwhile, to thank you for joining me today, I have an excerpt from the book that started my writing career, Knight of Runes

"Friends. FRIENDS. Oh my gosh, listen to me. If you only pick up one book this upcoming summer, it needs to be Knight of Runes. Imagine Game of Thrones and Outlander having a lovechild whose nanny was Jane Austen. Yes, I am serious. No, I am not kidding. It's that good." - Stacie Tyson  ~ Pursuing Stacie

Rebeka Tyler, a distinguished expert in medieval and Renaissance studies and a casual martial arts enthusiast, never envisioned herself as a warrior. However, thrust into the 17th century, she finds herself caught in the conflict between two powerful druid masters. While deciphering ancient runes and unraveling a family secret to secure her return, Rebeka engages in battles for survival against in a society she knows well from her studies, as well as against the malevolent druid, Bran.

Amidst the struggle, emotional complexities arise with Lord Arik, the druid knight, as long-buried truths about their shared past come to light. The key to triumph lies not in individual efforts but in a partnership between Rebeka and Arik. Yet, this alliance comes at a steep price - her heart and, if fate favors her, her rightful future. In this riveting tale, the boundaries between love, destiny, and sacrifice blur as Rebeka navigates a world of ancient mysteries and profound connections.


England - May 1605

I should not have stayed away so long.

Unable to shake the ominous feeling of being watched, Lord Arik kept the small group moving quickly. On high alert, his eyes continually swept the underbrush bordering the rain-slicked forest trail. He and his three riders escorted the wagon with the old tinker and the woman quickly through the forest. At length, he slowed the pace, the horses winded as they neared the Stone River.

“The forest is flooded,” he said. “I suspect the Stone will be as well. Willem, ride ahead and let me know what we face at the crossing.”

Willem did his lord’s bidding and quickly returned with his report. “The river ahead runs fast, m’lord. The bridge is in ruins and cannot be crossed.”

Arik raised his hand and brought the group to a halt. “We must make repairs Doward,” he said to the old tinker, “there’s no room for the wagon at the river’s edge. You and the woman stay here and set up camp. Be ready to join us at the bridge when I send word.”

Logan, Arik’s brother, spoke up. “I’ll keep watch here and help Doward and Rebeka.”

Arik nodded and, with the others, continued the half mile to the bridge. “I am not pleased with this new delay.”

“It can’t be helped, m’lord,” Simon said. “We would make better time without the wagon.”

“We cannot leave Doward and the woman in the forest on their own, not with what we’ve heard lately. We’ll have to drive hard to make up the lost time,” Arik said as they came to the crossing.

The frame of the bridge stood solid, but the planks were scattered everywhere, clogging the banks and shallows. Arik leapt from his horse onto the frame to begin the repairs. “Hand me that planking.” Arik pointed to the nearest board.

Simon grabbed the nearest plank and examined it. “Sir, these boards have been deliberately removed.”

Arik reached for the board just as an arrow whooshed out of the trees and slammed into the plank’s edge. Willem pulled his ax from his belt. In a fluid, practiced movement, he spun and sent his ax flying. The archer fell into the river and was swept downstream, Willem’s ax lodged in his forehead.

A dozen or more attackers broke through the stand of trees. Poorly dressed fighters carrying clubs and knives moved toward them. There was only one sword among them, held by the leader—Arik’s target.

Arik tossed the board into the river and readied his sword. “They plan to pin us here at the river’s edge. Come, we’ll attack before they form up.”

Arik and his men surged forward, driving a wedge through the enemy’s ragged line, forcing what little formation they had to scatter and fight, each man for himself.

A man, club in hand, rushed at Arik. Before the attacker could bring his weapon into play, Arik pivoted around him. He raised his sword high and slammed the hilt’s steel pommel squarely on the man’s head and moved on before the man’s lifeless body collapsed to the ground.

Willem and Simon, on either side of Arik, advanced through the melee. Their swift swordplay moved smoothly from one stroke to the next, whipping through the air. They slashed on the down stroke and again on the backswing, sweeping their weapons into position to repeat the killing sequence as Arik and his soldiers steadily advanced, punishing any man who dared to come near them.

“For honor!” Logan’s war cry carried from the small camp to Arik’s ears.

Arik stiffened. Both camps were now under siege. He pulled his blade from an enemy’s chest. The body crumpled to the blood-soaked ground. Arik breathed deeply, the coppery taste of blood in the air.

“For honor!” he bellowed in answer. His men echoed his call, arms thrown wide, muscles quivering, the berserker’s rage overtaking them.

The remaining assailants fled headlong back into the forest.

Motioning to his men to follow, Arik raced toward Logan and the camp. He could hear shouts and cursed himself for not seeing the danger earlier. He crested the hill and came to an abrupt halt.

Logan’s sword ripped through the air as he protected Doward. The tinker drew his short blade and did as much damage as he could. But it was the woman Arik noticed. Her skirt hiked up, she twirled her walking stick like a weapon, with an expertise that left him slack-jawed. She dispatched the enemy, one by one, in a deadly well-practiced dance.

A man rushed toward her, knife in hand. The sneer on his face didn’t match the fear in his eyes.

She stepped out of his line of attack, extended her stick to her side and, holding it with both hands, swept the weapon forward, striking the intruder across the bridge of his nose. Blood exploded from his face in an arc of fine spray as his head snapped back. Droplets dusted her face, creating an illusion of bright red freckles. As he fell, she reversed her swing and caught him hard behind his knees. He went down on his back, spread-eagled. The woman swung her stick over her head and landed a precise blow to his forehead that knocked him unconscious.

As the woman spun to face the next threat, her glance captured Arik’s and held. In the space of an instant, time slowed to a crawl. Her hair slowly loosened from its pins and swirled out around her. His breath caught, and his heart quickened as a rapturous surge raced through his body. Something eternal and familiar, with a sense of longing, unsettled him.

In the next heartbeat, she tore her eyes away, leaving him empty. Time resumed its normal pace. Another fighter lay at her feet.

Arik joined the fight.


Buy Link: Amazon


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  1. Ruth! Thank you so much for joining Charity Sunday. Wonderful charity, and fantastic excerpt.

    And I loved the origin story for the book, too!

    1. I applaud you for what you are doing. And, I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt.

  2. Thank you for letting us know about this wonderful organization!


    1. You are so welcome, Trix. Thank you for helping me donate to the Center for Hope & Safety!!

  3. A really great cause to support. Thank you for bringing the organization to attention.

    1. The Center of Hope & Safety does wonderful work. Thank you for stopping by.

  4. Ruth, sorry to be so late. Loved the excerpt and your cause!

    1. Not a problem. I'm glad you stopped by and read my blog and about the Center for Hope & Safety.