Tag Archives: Abuse


Divide by Zero, by Sheila Deeth

I’ve been telling stories since the day I learned to talk—or possibly earlier. According to my mum, I was constantly talking even before I knew words, so perhaps I was born telling tales.

I’ve been writing stories since the day I learned to write—a task that was delayed, I suspect, by my innate laziness. Teachers used to “borrow” me from class in elementary school, so I could keep their students quiet with my made-up tales. Then, one day, the principal (the wonderful Sister Bernadette) put a rather large reel-to-reel tape recorder on the desk in front of me, accompanied by an extremely large and scary microphone. She said if I wouldn’t learn to write my stories, she’d just have to record them, one by one. The pencil being less scary than the microphone…

And I’ve been waiting to tell the story in Infinite Sum, since the day a trusted adult first abused me. But don’t worry; the novel really isn’t my story, and Sylvia is not me. My protagonist’s feelings are just as real and honest as if they were mine, but I think her tale is much better told because it’s hers. After all, I’ve been telling stories, fiction not fact, since the day I learned to talk. It’s what I do.

Today I started writing a dedication page for my soon-to-released second novel (hence the title to this post). I’ll have to start by thanking all those kind people who rejected my first attempts. I’m glad they stopped me from trying to publish my own story. I’m glad they rejected the thinly disguised (and overly serious, unbalanced and introspective) novel that it became. And I’m glad Second Wind have accepted this new and (I think vastly) improved iteration. It’s fiction, and I feel like it’s finally made Sylvia real to me—for all that she’s a stranger in my head. It’s made my childhood self real to me too. So I’m really grateful to my publisher.

I’m also enormously grateful to my mum. She has told me repeatedly, since the day I left home, that I really should make use of my storytelling and writing skills. Without Mum’s constant prayers and encouragement, Sylvia’s story would never have been written. Thank you Mum.

And now I must thank all those generous friends who’ve encouraged me with early reviews—in particular authors Catherine Cavendish and Paulette Mahurin, and most especially mystery author Aaron Paul Lazar who applied his razor-sharp fine-tooth comb to the final edits of the text. Thank you so much!

And you, dear readers, thank you too. If you read Divide by Zero, this novel’s for you. And if you haven’t got around to reading it, well you’ve still got time because Infinite Sum hasn’t yet been released. In Divide by Zero, you’ll meet a girl and the village (or subdivision) who raised her. You’ll wonder, if you’re anything like me, why she allowed things to happen as they did. And you’ll finish reading just in time to open up Infinite Sum and find the answer.

I’m so very thankful that Second Wind Publishing have trusted me enough to accept a second novel after Divide by Zero.

But most of all I am grateful—I will always be grateful—to God for teaching both me and Sylvia that forgiveness never was our job.

Sheila Deeth is the author of Divide by Zero and Infinite Sum, one published and one soon to be published by Second Wind Publishing. She’s currently working on Subtraction, the third in the series. And Imaginary Numbers will follow soon afterward.


Filed under fiction, life, Sheila Deeth

Stalking Is Serious

In the fictional world of crime writing, stalkers make noteable characters. Their activities are obsessive, freaky, and often downright frightening, which creates and builds tension throughout a novel. But in the real world, a stalker’s motivations and actions are harassing, dangerous, and too often deadly.

With technological advancements continually upgrading, stalkers have increasingly new ways to make their victims’ lives more miserable than ever. There are countless programs and avenues for criminals to explore and use.

For example:

He can monitor his victim’s computer programs.

She can use a program that hides her own phone number and displays another’s on her victim’s Caller ID. And disguises her voice so even those closest to her won’t recognize it.

He can remotely access his victim’s voicemail, ensuring she doesn’t receive her messages. But he does.

She can send an anonymous email to cover that she is the one who is actually sending it.

He can post inflammatory, false, or enticing information about his victim that includes her name, address, phone numbers, and email address on a social network, which in turn causes her to receive harassing messages, sometimes visits, from strangers.

She can “friend” her victim’s family, friends, and other contacts on social networks to get personal information about her. And use it in insidious ways.

He can download a program on her phone that allows him to set up an account for himself to access her information and track her. Tip: only let people you completely trust borrow your phone to “make a quick call.”

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, “Protect Yourself From Computer Hackers,” it is very easy to hack into someone’s home computer and see what the eye of the camera is looking at. A slick, sick way to obtain an insider’s information about someone. Cover the eye of your computer camera.

I am currently working on the sixth book of the Winnebago County Mystery Series, and in the subplot one of the deputies, burly Vince Weber is a victim of stalking.

So what can you do if you know, or suspect, you are being targeted in this kind of abusive activity? Report it to the police. And preserve any evidence you have. If you get an unsettling phone call or email, do not delete it, as you may want to do. Sometimes it takes a person a while, and a number of incidents, before she recognizes she is being harassed. Save any suspicious message you receive. And if there are more messages, a pattern is emerging, and helps the police develop a case.

More and more stalking cases are being successfully uncovered and prosecuted. Stalking can lead to serious and tragic outcomes if the offender is not caught and stopped. Stay safe.

Christine Husom is the author of the Winnebago County Mystery Series.


Filed under writing