Off to the Literary Races!

When I wrote my two children’s books, I was pretty much on my own to market them, which I did not do extrememly well. An indie publishing house picked up “The Prettiest House on the Block: A Revealing Story of Domestic Partner Abuse”, and what a difference! So far I have had two newspaper interviews, a radio interview, and an online event to benefit Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania pending. I also have a vendor fair coming up and a virtual talk for a local Rotary club. Energized, I scheduled several more events for while I am in Pa. next week because it’s my home town, and my publisher is in the neighboring town of Allentown. (Fun fact: Billy Joel’s song wasn’t actually about Allentown; it was about Bethlehem, but he didn’t like the way that sounded, so he made it ‘Allentown”, from what I heard. Allentown, in reality, had no steel mills at all. They were in Bethlehem.)

I would like to share some more things with you about my new book because October is Domestic Violence awareness month and I’m encouraging everyone to purchase this book because it is an important resource for people in this kind of pain. I’m not counting on making a lot of money because, frankly, after the publisher’s royalties and amazon’s cuts, my take home is peanuts. It really IS more of a public service than a cash cow, unless of course, Oprah picks it up! LOL! The narrative below is a copy of what will be appearing in the Book Buzz section of the North Carolina Writer’s Network website. The links below that are to the radio interview I had with an NPR station, WDIY in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, and to my book on Amazon. And then you will know “The rest of the story”! (RIP Paul Harvey.) Stay safe and healthy!

Book Description:

This is a fascinating story of one woman’s struggle with domestic abuse, but it is much more than that. I have taken the story of Donna Miflin and her husband, Max, and dissected it, interspersing education on the subject itself; on the medical conditions of both, which were paramount to their stories; and on the psychological  aspects of this intricate web of abuse. I explored nature vs nurture, discussing how dysfunctional childhoods can work in tandem with genetic factors to create adult abusers and victims. I included ways to get help, and also how to formulate an escape plan, considering safety first. I talked about the demographics of victims, and included much encouragement for victims all throughout the book. My hope is that whenever victims start losing their hope, they will remember my words: “You got this!”

Alcohol abuse, drug abuse, spousal abuse, narcissism, blended families, promiscuity, infidelity, unplanned pregnancies, loss, grief, and white collar crime are all part of Donna’s life and her identity as a person and combine to make this a book that is difficult to put down. If you are a victim, a survivor, a concerned friend or family member, an educator, a domestic violence advocate, a counselor, or a spiritual advisor, you will find this book “immensely valuable” as one reviewer put it. Another said that the only problem with amazon reviews is that “she couldn’t give it 10 stars.” (Martie R)

Domestic violence is a perpetual, intractable societal problem which has been made worse by COVID 19. When I began writing this book, I had no idea of the impact it was destined to make being published in the middle of a pandemic. DV hotlines and shelters are overwhelmed right now with no signs of easing up at this point. My goal for writing this memoir/novel is two-fold: to provide Donna Miflin (not her real name) with catharsis and a sense of closure, and to provide increased awareness of this menace of society.

Pat’s Bio

Patricia Schoch is a native of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania but has lived in several cities in North Carolina since 1990. She is a retired Registered Nurse with a strong clinical background, including serving as a Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE), a.k.a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), which is what led to her advocacy for sexual assault, domestic abuse, and child abuse victims.

Pat has written two children’s books, “The Giggle Box”, and “the Town of Alpaca”, the latter of which won third place at the CIPA EVVY awards in the Children’s Storybook Fiction category in 2019. “The Prettiest House on the Block” was her first foray into adult books. She has written for the Agora Cosmopolitan, a Canadian newspaper, and has done several Freelance projects. Prior to the pandemic, Pat was writing kindergarten curriculum for an Irish educator and author living in China and working at a school that teaches Chinese children the English language. Unfortunately, this project is still on hold. Currently, along with promoting her books, Pat writes a health column for her local newspaper, The Wake Weekly.

Pat has been happily married for 46 years, has four adult children, one very smart, talented and beautiful granddaughter, and four very smart, talented, and handsome grandsons. She currently resides in Wake Forest, NC with her husband and large, fluffy, sweet, gorgeous Native American Shepherd dog.

Book Blurbs:

“Immensely valuable. One woman exposes the darkest time of her life and learns the difference between judgement and responsibility.” Sherrill A Masi – Sales Associate

“Prettiest House on the Block is a compelling and at the same time chilling narrative about the scourge of spousal abuse. A study of loss, grief, shame, emotional and physical abuse, the book provides an insightful view into a delicate topic which is all too common, too frequently unrecognized, and so often underreported. The author provides important advice and a measure of hope for those so affected.” Robert Hill, MD, FACEP, Emergency Physician.

“Ms. Schoch tells the story of “Donna, a woman experiencing Intimate Partner Violence at the hands of her husband, “Max”. Her story serves as both a warning and a strategy for anyone looking to navigate either existing and/or potentially abusive relationships.” Kim Rosen, LICSM, psychotherapist

Link to Radio Interview:

https://www.wdiy.org/post/author-patricia-schoch-lv-arts-salon#stream/0

Link to Book:

Hidden Dangers of COVID 19: Love Shouldn’t Hurt

 “Husband for Sale”. We have all seen funny memes on Facebook during the quarantines of COVID 19 and thank goodness most of us have been able to see some semblance of humor in the darkness of this period in our lives. When can our kids go back to school? When can I go back to work? Will I even have a job to go back to when all this is over? Cohabitating with another person, or more if there are children or aging in-laws in the house, is hard enough as it is, but when you add quarantine and 24/7 isolation with each other, it adds another whole layer to the foundation. When people retire, I have heard jokes about how they will be able to tolerate the other person when he or she is home all the time, but many a truth is said in jest, and this is a real concern for some people. Routines are disrupted and things one may have disliked about another that used to be like a pebble in the ocean may now look like a boulder in a dry creek. Most household members can ultimately learn to cope and live with each other with minimal damage until the existential crisis is over, but not all.

The crisis we have been facing since Feb 2020 has given birth to even more concerning crises for some couples. Not every couple lives in bliss.  According to a February 2018 article sponsored by eHarmony, 64 % of couples reported they were happy. That leaves approximately 36% that are not. A certain percentage of these unhappy couples may have an even darker side: they may be either perpetrators or victims of domestic abuse. One in four women and one in seven men have been injured at the hands of an intimate partner. Every three seconds someone is assaulted by someone with whom they should be sharing love. Since the COVID 19 pandemic, calls to crisis centers and demands for emergency shelter have been overwhelming. These are the unseen tragedies directly related to COVID 19 that you may not see in the news every day. All of the stressors that everyone feels are exponentially worse for those with anger and control issues.

The term Domestic Violence has been all but replaced by the term Intimate Partner Violence, since not all violence occurs within the confines of a domestic situation. It can occur with dating couples, even in high school. It’s not always women who are victims, either. Although usually in less violent ways, women do abuse men. These cases often go unreported because men may be embarrassed about being assaulted by a woman. She might also threaten to take the children away from him, or if she controls the checkbook, she can withhold financial information from him. She might also threaten him with slander to family, friends, and even employers. In addition, there are no shelters for men at this point due to the supply and demand factor. Since there are generally more women than men who are abused, and because the danger to women is greater because men are usually more violent than women, the demand is not there for men. There is help for men, though, in the way of counseling resources and the legal process, if necessary.

There is another group that is also underrepresented in the statistics, and that is same-sex couples. There is a dearth of information on this group because few studies have been done on them, but, despite what may be the perception people have, it seems that the incidence of IPV may even be higher than that of heterosexual couples because of stressors that are unique to them, mostly from a societal standpoint. They need more specialized help than others, from professionals experienced in dealing with those with this unique set of issues. There is little doubt that more studies need to be done on same-sex couples and Intimate Partner Violence.

When I wrote my book, ”The Prettiest House on the Block: A Revealing Story of Domestic Partner Abuse”, I had absolutely no idea of the significance it would carry when it was released. My subject and I wanted to increase awareness of this persistent and devastating piece of our world, but we were oblivious to the impending  pandemic that would change our lives forever. I go into great detail on many aspects of this problem in my book, which is available on amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Prettiest-House-Block-Revealing-Domestic/dp/0999146092/ref=sr_1_1?crid=21MX4G0A71RLC&dchild=1&keywords=the+prettiest+house+on+the+block&qid=1600750507&sprefix=the+prettiest+house%2Cfinancial%2C162&sr=8-1, and at

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-prettiest-house-on-the-block-patricia-a-schoch/1137577058?ean=9780999146095.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you or someone you know may be in trouble, please call The Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or if you cannot speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474. Love shouldn’t hurt.

What Are We Worth?

As the clock approaches midnight, I’m choosing to write this blog instead of crying. It remains to be seen whether it will plug up or stimulate the tear ducts. I suppose it could be considered a follow-up to the last one but I am so close to bursting into tears right now that I need to do this.

I have a bad habit of posting a political article that I find interesting and informative and then immediately regretting it or getting one upsetting comment that causes me to take it down. Either way, some people have seen it. Why should I care? We all have our opinions, right? And we are entitled to them because it is our constitutional right, right? Not quite. That piece has become so diluted that the political landscape looks like Moses parting the Red Sea.

I have heard people jokingly say that the internet is the work of the devil. I laughed, like everyone else did, but I’m beginning to wonder. Oh, it has been lots of fun, has helped businesses grow, keeps us all in touch with people from lifetimes past, and gives us all a space to brag about our families, pets, and even our gardens. Guilty on all three. All good stuff, but it is also a hotbed for criminals, pedophiles, pornography, etc.

Currently it is causing chaos and division in a way I have never seen before in my life, and I am no spring chicken. Not only do we have unsavory politicians and journalists in colors of red or blue, now we have a venue for them to spew their hate, deceit, and lies, creating chaos in people’s lives. Before the internet, people would discuss politics at the bar, at the barber shop, at family gatherings, even on street corners, and there were always debates, but as far as I know, politics did not cause the degree of hated that it now is causing. We can all still have fun and socialize on Facebook, but now there is an evil imbedded in the code that is seeping into every little space and fracturing lives and friendships, indelibly defining who we are with each stroke of our keyboards.

What makes me so sad is that, currently, we are not only defined by the things we choose to share with people, but by which politician or political party we choose to support. Even though lies and deception are rampant on both sides of the political coin, people only choose to believe what they want to believe, those on the other side be damned. There are so many nooks and crannies in the muffins we get served on a daily basis through biased media that we can’t even tell on which side the muffins are buttered. And is it real butter, or fake butter? The manufacturers have churned the products to be so smooth that you just never can tell. And that’s exactly what they want. Unfortunately, many people don’t believe that or want to believe it of their chosen leader of the free world.

I decided a long time ago that I would not be voting for “the man” but for the party that most closely aligns with my belief system. Curiously, it seems like one side will be voting for “the man” because they passionately despise the other one, and one side will be voting for the passionately despised “man” because they passionately despise the agenda of the other party, and ne’er the twain shall meet. That would be fine, in itself, except that people are tethered to one side, passionately hating the other, and there is little room for civil discourse. Passionately. Yes, I’m aware that I have overused the word, and have done so intentionally, because that is the only word that can nicely describe the emotions that have created the thick, immobile pollution of hate hanging heavily in the air we breathe, and that infiltrates the very depths of our hearts and souls. Emotions are expressed in words that jump nimbly onto our computer screens from keyboards.

What are we worth as people? We used to choose our friends because of similar interests, mutual friends, their children’s parents, etc. Our worth was measured by solid friendships, loyalty, shared backgrounds, willingness to help when in need, compassion, talents, character, and love. Those values are no longer important because now all of those things have been condensed into one angry category: who you will vote for. This measure of worth as a friend is decidedly unfair for several reasons, the most important being that we only have two choices. What if we believe half of what one side espouses and half of the other side? We have to choose one, even if we may not be happy with parts of their agenda, because we only have two choices.

Our value as friends and as people should never, ever be attached to a faction, (i.e, a party), that is divisible from the whole. Some of us are not red or blue, but varying shades of that purple I talked about in my previous post, but we don’t have purple as a choice, only dark red or dark blue. And yet, people on both sides continue to blame, chastise, name-call, and insult each other, even friends, because they are positive that they are totally right and the rest are totally wrong, and that is almost never true. Even in divorces, the scales may be tipped more to one side than the other, but because no one is perfect, the “blame” must be shared.

I’m not perfect, either. I admit to some of these bad thoughts, myself, and I know that. I continue to try to change those, but friends, it is not easy right now. I will try harder. Again. And again, until the discontent and confusion is wiped completely from my heart. (The devil loves discontent and confusion, too.) Everyone should be acknowledged and respected for their views, not called stupid or ignorant, or any of the other words I see flying around incessantly. I know a lot of very intelligent and caring people on both sides. No one corners the market on that.

Can we all please just take a few steps back and take a deep breath. Let’s get rid of the pollution and breathe fresh air into our lungs, our hearts, and our souls. Someone will win, and someone will lose. Life will go on, but if we burn bridges now with the people that matter to us, and even the ones that might matter a little less, they may impossible to reconstruct. And for what?

I Want Purple Koolaide

My heart is really heavy. It makes me so sad to see all the name-calling and denouncing of people on Facebook just because of their political leanings. Everyone is drinking the Koolaid. The people on the left are drinking blue Koolaid and the people on the right are drinking red Koolaid. What if I like purple Koolaide? We need a third party, a purple party. Right now we only have two choices: vote for the party (not the man) that most aligns with our beliefs, or don’t vote at all. I know “the man” will be the one at the top, but if we can’t believe in the other party, then what choice to we have? Frankly, not voting at all is looking more appealing to me all the time. That way I won’t have to claim responsibility for putting either one of them in office, and then I’ll let all my friends know, too, so they don’t hate me, anymore.

The danger to not voting at all is that it gives an advantage to the party (not the man) that does not align with your beliefs. Remember that the Senate and Congress are there, too, supposedly to help guide a president, executive priviledge notwithstanding. Lies and misinformation are rampant on both sides, and if anyone doesn’t believe that then they need to open up their eyes. Does what we find important to us make us bad people if it’s not what another person believes? Is all this worth losing friends over?

I feel like crying when I see all the hate directed at people, even those who used to be friends. Is it worth it? Is your party affiliation worth losing friends over? If it is, then I guess you weren’t really friends at all, because mature adults should be able to see past political affiliations to who people are inside. And don’t say that who we vote for shows who we really are because that is total BS. It’s only one part of our whole as people. People look at things differently but it doesn’t make one wrong and the other right, just different. And it doesn’t mean that someone believes in ALL of the points on a given side, it’s just that we have only two choices, and if they are both crappy, then does that mean we all have to hate each other? It’s not our fault this huge country cannot come up with better people to run for president.

I have friends that I disagree with and I still love them. Part of that is because I have always loved them and refuse to let this change that, part is because I can see their side of the arguments, too, part is because we might not discuss it, and part is because they still love me. (I hope!) I want our hearts to go back to the days before COVID 19 and this awful, awful election. I want our hearts to see what we liked about our friends before all this, and if we can’t do that, then I guess we were never friends to begin with.

It’s Here!!

It’s Finally Here! Get It While It’s Hot and don’t forget that October is DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH. The Prettiest House On The Block: A Revealing Story Of Domestic Partner Abuse is now on the market! Please share this post even if you don’t want to buy this book, yourself. Crisis shelters are overflowing and the number of phone calls to crisis centers is overwhelming, another sad result of COVID 19. Victims need help now more than ever. I’m not opposed to making money but I would much rather make a DIFFERENCE.

https://www.amazon.com/Prettiest-House-Block-Revealing-Domestic-ebook/dp/B08DQZ4N9K/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+prettiest+house+on+the+block+book&qid=1598935375&s=financial&sr=1-1

We Can’t Be Held Accountable For the Sins of our Fathers

Is anyone else sick and tired of the partisan BS going on in our country? Nothing but hate, mistrust, lies, and deceit everywhere. This is not the country I grew up in, and although I still love her and will stand by her always, I’m saddened by what is going on.

That being said, and lest one thinks I am trying to discredit Kamala Harris, I want to asuure you that I am not, regardless of how I may or may not feel about her as a vice-presidential candidate. This information is less important to me as an observor of the 2020 election as it is to assert a strong belief that no one is responsible for their families owning slaves so many years ago, even politicians. Especially politicians. Kamala Harris cannot be held responsible for her ancestors’ actions any more than any other individual of any color in this country should be held responsible for the actions of theirs. However, the fact that she has been chosen as a vice-presidential running mate should give everyone pause to consider who is (or is not, as the case may be) supporting all of the violence directed towards innocent people because of their ancestors’ heritage as slave owners. Is there any irony to be inferred here or not? If this is a valid argument for all the hate in this country, then it would stand to reason that voters should reject her as one of the leaders of their country, but will they? If they don’t, then this argument for hatred needs to be archived.

It is indisputable that change needs to be made in reference to current events and inequalities, but constantly bringing up slavery and blaming people who had nothing to do with it is counterproductive to the elusive goal of living in peace. Many times I see or hear things that say “don’t look back because that’s not where you are going. Look ahead.” Certainly, one must look back to a certain degree in order to change long-standing bad habits, but that’s where it must end, in positive change, peacefully. Would you cut all your fingers off to keep you from chewing your fingernails? I didn’t think so. How can you change your habit if you permanently destroy the source of the problem? The habit of chewing fingernails may be solved, but soon you will be chewing on your fingers, and so on. You can’t change the bad habits of people through antagonism. You can destroy them but then it will only cause more problems and pain in the future. They just get more angry, and the hate continues. Do you see where I am going here? Our ancestors’ evils must stop being pounded into everyone with a battering ram. It’s making things worse, not better.

What this country needs to do is put it to rest. (No matter who wins the election, since, of course, everything is political.) Put it to rest and move on with real change in mind, based on what’s going on today, not 100 years ago. I know some may say that the violence IS because of what is going on today. Partly true and partly BS. Rioters should not use that as an excuse to unleash their monstrous sides on innocent people, and that’s what I believe much of the “protesting” is, at this point. I wonder how many of them even remember why there are out there destroying lives? We must stop the violence now, in any way we can, if we can ever expect to develop some sense of peace again. https://greatgameindia.com/kamala-harris-slave-owner/

September 1st is Almost Here!

I am not fond of getting my picture or video taken and even less fond of having to do one, myself, but apparently this is the way to go for marketing. After much nailbiting and cajoling myself, I finally did it. My husband shot it after about, um, I have no idea how many times, and this is best I have to offer! I do hope you will take at look at my book, The Prettiest House on the Block, on September 1st. You never know who you might help.

And the Dream is Realized!

I. Am. Pumped! The pre-sales of “The Prettiest House on the Block” have started! It is on Kindle at the link below. Paperback comes out Sept 1st. If you purchase this, please leave a review on Amazon and/or barnesandnoble.com. Let the games begin!!https://www.amazon.com/Prettiest-House-Block-Revealing-Domestic-ebook/dp/B08DQZ4N9K/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+prettiest+house+on+the+block&qid=1595961087&sr=8-1

Bloomin’ Thought for the Day: Benefits of Patience

Isaiah 40:31 (New King James) – “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles; They shall run and not be weary; They shall walk and not faint.”

Yesterday, as I was walking down my sidewalk, my eye caught a smidgen of white color. There, on my previously-bare gardenia bush, were two flowers. I had all but given up on this plant, but I kept after it with plant food, water, and a few coffee grounds, and there they were, the stunning white flowers of the gardenia. I didn’t catch their intoxicating fragrance because the bush is still fairly low to the ground, and it’s a bit of a chore for me to bend down and stay there long enough to drink in the blossoms’ heavenly scent, but I thought to myself, “This was worth the wait!” Patience has not always been one of my strong points, but my delicate gardenia flowers reminded me of the value of patience, and of a song I used to sing with the contemporary music band in church, “Everlasting God.” I love that song, and its words came to mind as I gazed at the fruits of my patience: “Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, as we wait upon the Lord, as we wait upon the Lord.”

Many times in my life I have prayed to God for strength, for patience, and for the wisdom to accept whatever His will is for my life, even if it is different than my will. The funny thing about prayer is that it isn’t always answered in our own time frames or within the limits of our meager human understanding. We live in a microwave world, expecting instant results when we put our requests into God’s hands, but it doesn’t work that way. I was like that at one time, impatient for my prayers to be answered and sometimes indignant when they weren’t, but looking back on all my prayers, I can see that they have been answered. Those answers didn’t come from a burning bush, they weren’t always what I asked for, and they certainly were not always in my time frame, but they were answered. Some of God’s decisions I have yet to understand, but I have enough years on me by now to believe that those He made for me or for the recipients of my intercessory prayer were for the best, regardless of what I thought would have been better.

Prayers are answered if you wait on the Lord; you just might have to dig a little deeper into the puzzle of His will to figure it all out, or to accept His answers if they weren’t satisfactory to you. Keep your eyes, ears hearts, and minds open to God’s voice. Your strength will rise as you wait upon Him, and you will be raised up on the wings of eagles. Great will be your reward if you place your trust in Him.

Bloomin’ Thought for the Day: Love One Another

John 12: 34 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

When I was planning my new rose garden, I chose 5 roses, each with a different color. I’m not a vanilla kind of gal; I need a variety of flavors in my life. I think that’s why I worked in Emergency Rooms for the majority of my nursing career. We never knew what was coming in, so we had to be on high alert through the whole shift. I enjoyed the challenges each new day presented, and the knowledge I acquired from them. There was always something new to learn.

I’m feeling a bit frustrated right now, though, because the challenges that are smacking me in the head are those that we are all facing, not just nurses and doctors. We are all trying to discern ways to deal with COVID 19. This is something that none of us have ever experienced, and one that seemingly has no end.

There is a larger problem, however, that also seems unlikely to end any time soon. The racial tensions in America are at the highest levels I think anyone has ever seen, and I can’t help but think we are making matters worse instead of better. Hate is spilling over the top from both sides, racial and political, and the chasm between them seems to be growing deeper.  As a child, I never felt any fear or animosity against anyone unless they hurt me, and even then, by the next day the transgression was forgotten. I still give people who hurt me multiple chances at reconciliation.

Now, though, I struggle to understand, or make sense out of, the violence that is poisoning our lives. I’m angry seeing innocent people being harmed or killed or businesses destroyed. So many people have tried to explain that this is in response to many years of persecution that African Americans have endured. As much as I do understand that, no one can convince me that violence is the answer, especially since I believe that the residual riots have little to nothing to do with the initial trigger. Changes need to be made for sure, but it will take time, and we have to be patient. I must believe that peace will come. I don’t know when or how, and the resolution may be painful, but I can’t imagine we can sustain ourselves as a nation with all this hate and anger.

As I was enjoying my rose garden today, I was struck by the fact that, of the seven rose bushes I planted, all are either already beautiful, or showing healthy growth, but one: my Peace Rose. Granted, I planted it later than the rest, but it’s not even showing even tiny signs of growth yet.  I placed it right in the middle of the multicolored roses. As I contemplated the question of whether my Peace Rose will grow or not it, I became sad. Isn’t it a bit like the turmoil of today? Different colors on both sides of the virtual battlefields, and peace hasn’t yet begun to grow.

Just as African Americans are trying to achieve recognition and reparations in the world, God is also at work trying to do the same thing. I believe He is pleading with us to turn our attention to Him and to His sovereign words, the most important of which is love. If we would all do that, “red and yellow, black and white”, and remember that we are all “precious in His sight”, this world might stand a chance at survival. “Jesus loves the little children of the world”, and adults, too, and He charges us to do the same.