Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Guest Blog and Giveaway: Shadowed Horizons by Shyla Wolff

character traits - Kyley

Hi. My name is Shyla. I’m the author of Shadowed Horizons and Shadowed Origins in the Anath series. After many years as a nurse, and a prior life in military police, I’ve accumulated much information from different aspects of the topic that became part of my series.

 Through life’s experiences, a recurring situation has plagued my thoughts and sometimes defeated my best efforts to help. Though there are those that would choose to ignore this sometimes self-perpetuating problem, child abuse in not only fairly common but at times, difficult to manage.

Kyley, one of my characters in the Anath series, is a survivor. One thing that helped her is the fact that even though she was a lifelong prisoner up until her escape, her abuse didn’t begin until puberty. Therefore, she had an opportunity to form her baseline personality/character in a less harsh environment than what her teenage years turned out to be.

In our society however, this is not generally the case. 45% of abused children are under the age of five.

Sometimes, all it takes for a child to see and gain insight is one person, someone who is kind, compassionate, caring. This role model may only be in their life for only a short time, but long enough to make a lasting impression.

In my Anath series, daily tutors kept a running dialogue with Kyley about what was normal. Even though she questioned the validity of their lives, she was at least exposed to the idea of what life could be. Through desperation, inspiration, and a twist of fate, she found not only her freedom, but someone to teach her about normal life.

In the Anath series, fiction follows fact. Kyley’s introduction into her new life was tremendously aided by three shepherds. Today, many counselors use animal-assisted therapy to address issues such as grieving and loss, improve expression of feelings, reduce anxiety, improve ability to trust and much more.

In the medical field (as in many others), we are required by law to report suspected child maltreatment. This cannot be emphasized enough. I repeat, suspected abuse, not confirmed abuse.

In the throw-away world we now occupy, I still believe it’s possible to perpetuate humanity’s better qualities. If this sometimes means spotlighting the filth in order to excise and eliminate, so be it.

The next time you’re in a shopping mall, grocery store or your child’s classroom, look around. There’s a child in need of help. He/she won’t ask for it. They will even deny and lie about their bruises. It’s what they’ve been programmed to do. Don’t wait and try to investigate. Most people are not equipped to do so. Report it, anonymously, online, whatever. That’s better than letting a child suffer. Step up, be the adult, help them.

One in ten children will suffer some type of abuse. One in sixteen will suffer sexual abuse. In a society that supposedly treasures their children, I find this reprehensible. Even though most victims aren’t fatalities – their maltreatment has long-reaching affects.

 Not only do we need to better protect our youth, we need to help the survivors break the cycle. Some learn to do so without help. I’m no expert but am ever thankful for their courage and insight. Surely they must have a guardian angel on their shoulder.

Statistics verify that families with substantiated child abuse and who also own pets show that animals were abused in 88 percent of these homes. (DeViney, Dickert, & Lockwood, 1983). Another study showed that in women seeking shelter, 71 percent had pets that their partner threatened, hurt or killed. 32 percent of these mothers reported that their children had hurt or killed their pets (Ascione, 1998). There are as many signals and signs of abuse as there are types.

Today, in many communities, human services, animal services and law enforcement agencies are sharing resources and working together to address this issue.

Animal assisted therapy groups serve in an incredible variety of venues and circumstances including but not limited to hospitals, nursing homes, mental and physical therapy, schools, disaster areas, even some states’ attorney’s offices where children’s depositions are recorded.

Many studies substantiate the beneficial emotional and physical effects of therapy dogs. Few will deny this. However, we must first identify those in need, then see them connected with those that can help.

There is so much information out there on these topics and a lot of agencies volunteering to help. I could write all day and not scratch the surface. However, I think the point is made—help those in need.

Shadowed Horizons
Book 1
Shyla Wolff

Genre: paranormal romance

Publisher: Extasy Books
Date of Publication: 12-15-14

ISBN: 978-1-4874-0162-7

Number of pages: 275
Word Count: 72,000

Cover Artist: Latrisha Waters

Book Description:

Love should never be a choice between family and the man who’s claimed your heart.  

A warrior’s life is the only one Kiera’s known since her psychic brethren adopted her from the streets as a child. Though she possesses equal preternatural ability and fighting skills, they will always see her as their youngest and in need of protection.

According to their leader’s psychic vision, her twofold destiny includes saving a computer prodigy’s life and a mate who pulls her from death’s clutches. Carlin, an electronics genius, develops software/hardware which could destroy any government. Without malicious intent, he seeks to prove possibilities beyond his current reality. Bored with the aspects of his social life, he yearns for a family.

When Kiera saves Carlin from the clutches of a psychic terrorist who stalks him for his program and skills, neither is prepared for the immediate connection formed. From the first skirmish, both their lives are caught up in a maelstrom of danger and desire. Kiera struggles to keep Carlin and his work from the terrorist who wants to destroy the U.S. while resisting the extraordinary attraction between them.

Can Carlin convince her they were meant for each other and survive her warrior brethren? 

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Carlin strode beside his bodyguard through the dimly lit parking garage fidgeting with his keys. “Adam, this does not make it to my top five favorite places to visit.”
A rat skittered across the floor in the shadows, and he imagined it turning a gimlet-eyed stare on its intruders. Filth, gas, and pizza from a nearby restaurant thickened the air, reminiscent of the alley apartment he occupied during college. Small pools of dingy light challenged macabre shadows for dominance—and lost. Clashing of the bleak rays and murky silhouettes added an ominous, prophetic feeling he couldn’t shake. Water stains mingled with the shadows to create fleeting two dimensional monsters. Carlin was not a fan of Rorschach. Crap, I haven’t been spooked like this in years.
Adam shrugged. “Sir, as your bodyguard, I admit this isn’t my idea of a secure location either, but it is the closest enclosed parking available to meet with your client. The open street leaves you too vulnerable. As much as you cherish your privacy, I’m surprised you agreed to help at all.”
“He’s a college buddy, needed help with a simple, high-tech security task. Seems twenty-first century technology left him in the dust.”
“Next time, why don’t you at least suggest meeting during the daytime?” Adam’s narrowed eyes and tilted head as if listening to a far-off sound—usually spelled trouble.
“Next time, remind me a proctologist’s exam would be more enjoyable, okay?” Sweat beaded his forehead despite the cool December breeze drifting over the graffiti-covered knee wall.
“Yeah, I’m feeling it too. Let’s get the hell out of here.”
Carlin’s skidding on a badly patched piece of concrete prompted his bodyguard to scan the area around them. Dirt and crumbles skittered, their audio report echoed off the walls.
"Watch your step, sir, we don’t need to broadcast our location." Adam murmured as he reached out to steady him.
“You know…” Carlin muttered, “Folks generally think of me as a good analytical and concrete thinker. Perhaps whatever higher power gifted me with intuitive abilities for logistics and computers decided on a mental tariff—common sense.”
"My sixth sense says trouble’s GPS has already locked on. Stay close.”
The gentle slide of Adam’s gun from its shoulder rig compelled Carlin to suck in the cool night air, searing his lungs.
“Sir, instincts are the best survival tool we have. They’re rarely wrong. Better safe than sorry.”
Sharp chirps split the silence, Carlin’s cell threw his heart rate into overdrive. Hair on his nape prickled as he fumbled in his pocket. With an all-thumbs equivalent, he extracted the nuisance and hit ignore.
Massive pillars supported the five-story concrete structure. Rounding one to his left, his foot stalled mid-step when Adam snatched him sideways. The colossal thug he almost plowed into blended into the shadows.
“Jesus!" The man personified hulkish features with abject malice in his gaze. The split-second observation brought Carlin a rush of adrenaline. "You're huge!" Brown hair pulled back in a ponytail swept his shoulder giving the look of a mob enforcer. A bulge of pitted, tanned skin separated a straight line of bushy eyebrows. Dark eyes appeared to hold a terrible knowledge and gave his hard stare a cold calculating look.
The brute’s gaze raked Carlin's body head to toe. Chipped yellow teeth appeared as his thin lips pulled back in a wide grin. "Time to meet your maker, prodigy." He mimicked Carlin's sidestep in a lightning-fast move and knocked Adam's gun from his right hand. Its ricocheting underneath a nearby Toyota produced multiple tin-like clinks.
Time seemed to fracture. Adam's left arm shoved Carlin to the side. His assailant took wily advantage in that flash of time. He watched his bodyguard go down hard from his attacker's leg sweep.
One blink and a dagger appeared in the thug's hand. Its arc and swift speed toward his belly made it little more than a glimmer in the weak light. His neurons couldn't fire fast enough to follow its passage. Two feet stood between Carlin and a trip to his maker, complements of this walking nightmare.
About the Author:

Life teaches us many lessons. One of the most important ones Shyla’s learned is to take the time to enjoy family and friends. Our circumstances change on a daily basis. However small the differences may seem, they add up over time. Through a lifetime of various trials and tribulations, she’s discovered the enjoyment of sharing her stories with those that would relish participating in the journey of extraordinary people through their everyday lives.

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bn100 said...

looks interesting

Mary Preston said...

I love this cover.