News Release

For Immediate Release


Date: October 17, 2008

Domestic Violence Grabs Authors by the Throat

Denver, Colorado: Many people know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but October is important for another issue close to women’s hearts. It is Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Writers, Christine Duncan and Narelle Bitunjac, are taking the month to tell people how they can help domestic violence victims. Duncan, who writes a mystery series set in a fictionalized Denver battered women’s shelter, along with fellow blogger, Narelle Bitunjac, is taking the month of October to educate readers of their blog, Http:// about domestic violence and its many shades. “Domestic violence is such a serious problem,” said Duncan. “Many people feel overwhelmed by it. They feel it’s too big a problem to fix so they do nothing.”

At Rule of Three, readers will be able to read about how to identify signs of Sibling Abuse, learn something about the history of the movement to help victims of domestic violence in the U.S and learn why battered women don’t leave. Guest Posters will include a representative from the Family Violence Prevention Fund ( , and author, and victim advocate, Lacresha Hayes (http://therapeofinnocence.blogspot) each of whom will talk about their work.

Studies show that domestic violence will affect one in five women in your life, some studies put it even higher. Will it be your BFF? Your sister? You? Come and find out about it at

*************************************************** * * * Treble Heart Books Publishing Releases New Mystery Novel * * *


Wheat Ridge, CO 80002


Christine Duncan,


OCT. Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Inside A battered Women's Shelter-

Denver Co., 10/12/04

It looks like any house on the block--maybe even your block. There is no sign in front, nothing to set it apart. Unless you are on a need to know basis, no one's going to tell you what is going on there either. It's a safe house--a shelter for battered women. The location has to be kept secret to protect the women who take shelter there. The women who live there can't tell anyone where it is--not a prospective employer, not their dad and certainly not their abuser.

"Agreeing to keep the location of the shelter a secret is just one of the things battered women seeking shelter agree to do," says Christine Duncan the author of Safe Beginnings, a mystery novel set in a battered women's shelter. "In the course of my research for Safe Beginnings, I found a lot of curiosity about safe houses. People want to know what goes on there. One thing that most people don't know is that battered women typically enter into an agreement with the shelter to be in counseling and attend house meetings, and might even accept a curfew so that they can attend the meetings."

Duncan, who says she placed her book in the shelter setting so that people could understand more of the dynamics, goes on. "It is a complicated time in the life of a battered woman. Many of them need the education the shelter gives them about domestic violence. Many blame themselves for what has gone wrong in their relationships. They are led to set goals for their relationship, and goals to get themselves on their feet if they decide to leave the relationship. All in all, a lot is expected of these women. Many times there is a time constraint since many shelters are only a temporary solution and expect the women to leave in a short time--typically anywhere from two to six weeks. Longer term shelters are more rare and that may explain why so many women return to their abuser. I wonder how many of us could remake our entire lives in two to six weeks."

October is Domestic violence awareness month. If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-799-Safe (7233) This is a national toll free number.


Five things you can do to help:

Many times people feel frustrated in the face of a big problem such as domestic violence. Here are five things you can do that can make a difference:

1. Donate clothes to your local shelter--not just your clothes--pack up your kids' stuff too. Toys too. Many times women leave with nothing but the clothes on their backs and their kids.

For the same reason,

2. Donate cosmetics, shampoo, deodorant, combs and the like. (Unused) sample products will be much appreciated.

3. Volunteer. Many shelters need people to sort donations, answer phones and the like.

4. If you know a woman in this situation, be a lifeline. Listen. Battered women can easily become isolated from people. They need a friendly ear to talk to. Be there. Don't give up on them because they don't leave right away. Sometimes it takes a while to gather courage and resources.

5. If you see (or suspect you are hearing) a battering incident, call 911. ********************************************************

* Treble Heart Books Releases Mystery About Battered Women * * *

Contact: Lee Emory at Http://

Treble Heart Books
1284 Overlook Dr.
Sierra Vista AZ. 85635
(520) 458-5801

or Christine Duncan Http://

(303) 456-2652

Release: Immediate

Denver is the setting for Christine Duncan's novel, Safe Beginnings, nothing new in that except that the mystery is set in a battered women's shelter. The heroine is a counselor at the shelter.

"I wanted to do a novel about battered women." said Duncan. "I didn't want to preach, but I wanted to make the point that we as a society have not yet solved the problem of domestic violence. I also wanted to create a mystery heroine who was a real woman, coping with problems that many of us cope with every day. Then I read in the paper about the fire at Women in Crisis Shelter in Jefferson County and my imagination just took off. How would the women cope? How could they feel safe in a shelter that already had been a crime scene?"

Safe Beginnings begins with a fire that breaks out in the battered women's shelter, forcing counselor Kaye Berreano to race to evacuate her residents. But it's too late for one. The newresident, Mary Ellen, is dead.
Farrell, the blue eyed, police arson investigator, believes Kaye knows who set the fire. He makes it clear that he suspects Roger, Kaye's soon to be ex, who had been at the safe house earlier, arguing with Kaye. Farrell's other theory is that Mary Ellen set the fire herself in a suicidal moment.
Kaye knows three things. She's no murderer, and jerk though he is, neither is Roger. And she'd bet her career as a counselor that Mary Ellen wasn't suicidal. With her hours cut due to the fire, Kaye is determined to find the real culprit.
Could it be the roommate who fought with Mary Ellen on the night of the fire? How about Amanda who beat her husband George and is remanded to the battered women's shelter by a quirky court order? Then there is the fanatical minister who unwillingly brought Mary Ellen to the safe house. Could this be murder in the name of Jesus? Come along with Kaye, as she sets out to find the arsonist.
Treble Heart Books is releasing Safe Beginnings in both HTML electronic format and as a trade paperback. (Http://

For more information, obtain a copy of the book for review or to arrange an interview, contact Christine Duncan at (303) 456-2652


Safe Beginnings was on Inscriptions Magazine's 2001 Book of the Year List!

"Safe Beginnings" by Christine Duncan

Reviewed by Jan Kozlowski (

Published by Treble Heart Books Http://

Format: Electronic

ISBN: 1-931742-85-5

Rating: * * * * stars

Kaye Berreano has a lot on her plate. She is the night shift counselor at a battered women's shelter, she's in the middle of a messy divorce and she's trying to raise a teenage son and daughter with little help and much hindrance from her soon-to-be-ex.

Then things get worse. A suspicious fire, preceded by a threatening phone call, starts at the shelter during her shift and while she bravely struggles to get everyone out, one of the residents, a new arrival, who no one was overly fond of, is killed.

Suddenly Kaye's life goes from being merely complicated to spiraling nearly out of control. Farrell, the police arson investigator suspects that Kaye knows more than she's telling and may indeed be covering for the arsonist

The threatening phone calls continue, but the police down play their importance. Kaye's hours are cut due to the shelter's relocation and the paycheck that she is owed has somehow been hung up in administrative red tape. Her ex-husband decides that he wants custody of the kids and her pregnant niece mysteriously goes incommunicado.

Instead of crumbling under the massive internal and external pressures, Kaye decides that her best option is to take matters into her own hands and solve the crime herself. As she investigates though, the number of suspects mount and the facts become even muddier than she could have imagined. Could one of the women have killed a fellow resident? Was it a misguided suicide attempt? Was Kaye's own husband involved?

Christine Duncan's debut mystery novel, the first in a projected series, is a fast paced, well-plotted and highly suspenseful read. The strength of the story is in the astoundingly real personality and voice of the main character. Kaye is, unlike some other fictional female sleuths, a woman we all are intimately familiar with. She isn't a brilliant, hard-edged attorney, a gourmet forensics expert or a karate kicking private investigator. Kaye is an ordinary woman, trying her best to multi-task her way through the day, who is suddenly thrown into an extraordinary situation

where she proves that she can not only keep her head on straight, but successfully use it to solve the crime and reclaim her life.

I thoroughly enjoyed "Safe Beginnings." Mysteries can be notoriously difficult to write well, but Duncan has done an excellent job of balancing the plot, giving us enough story lines and characters to make it interesting, but keeping it from being convoluted or frustrating. Her characters were well drawn and soundly three-dimensional and her use of the battered women's shelter as a background gives the reader the opportunity to see inside a world that too few of us truly understand.



by Christine Duncan
Treble Heart Books
ISBN 1-931742-85-5
HTML $5.00 for a download, $6.00 for a diskette
Available later this spring as a trade paperback $13.99 (plus $3.50shipping)
Cover Designer: Lee Emory
Review by: Evelyn Gale
All About Murder Reviews

Five daggers

Kaye Atchinson--Berreano is night counselor at Beginnings Battered Women’s Shelter. She’s taken back her maiden name in the middle of a messy divorce settlement and fighting for custody of her teen-aged daughter and son and an equitable property settlement from her husband who not only hid his assets, but has impregnated her replacement. Kay and the children are living in substandard conditions waiting for this settlement. Her pay at the shelter is minimal, her ten-year-old VW boasts a hundred thirty thousand miles and her ex lives with Bambi, er, Brenna, in Kay’s professionally decorated home and drives a new Volvo. As if that isn’t enough, Roger accosts Kaye in the parking lot on her way to work, in full view of her clients, in an effort to get her to fire her lawyer so they can reach a settlement alone. A fine way to start a shift.

About nine p.m. Kay receives a harassing phone call. About three a.m. the smoke alarm goes off. Kaye manages to fight her way into the burning room to make sure all the residents are out and barely pulls an unconscious Mary Ellen from the room before the EMT arrives to help. MaryEllen dies in the hospital. It was definitely arson, now murder. The window in the burning room had been opened, to fan the blaze?

Had the L.A. Crips gang learned one of their members was being transferred to the Denver shelter? Amanda was the most unusual resident–the judge sentenced her to Beginnings for beating up her husband. Roger’s Volvo was towed from the snow lane a short distance from the shelter later that morning.

Had one of the husbands tried to burn down the safehouse? What about the preacher who brought Mary Ellen to Beginnings, he ranted and raved about women belonging with their husbands no matter what? Kaye, wasn’t sure what happened or where each woman had been in the house that night. She had been aware of sounds and made suppositions and allowed herself to be led to believe things she wasn’t really sure of. In addition, she forgets to mention some things she does know to the police, so, though they don’t exactly suspect her, they think she’s protecting the arsonist/murderer.

Ultimately Kaye helps Officer Pete Ferrell solve the case and in the process may have found a new friend?

Safe Beginnings is a cozy mystery with a very good plot that keeps the reader guessing. For a first-person story, it moves quite well and gives an interesting insight into the workings of a shelter. The characters are very well-rounded and the editing is good, making Safe Beginnings an easy read. I look forward to Ms. Duncan’s next novel.

Five daggers.

Read some great reviews of mysteries, thrillers and true crimes novels.

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