Online Friends Release Romantic Novel on Domestic Violence

6 04 2009

VIRTUAL WORLD – Tomorrow’s Promise: A New Beginning was released this week with the simple click of the mouse. Seventeen writers from across the US and the Caribbean contributed to the story which looks into the lives of women coming in and leaving Hope House, a domestic violence shelter.

The idea began simply as a forum exercise by Kyt Williams-Gardner (Treasure Hunter), business owner and grandparent from Tacoma, WA. She was encouraging others to write a story with her, everyone contributing only about three or four lines at a time. Within two months, the story developed into a full blown discussion about relationships, the roles of men and women, how women should fight back and encouragement to reclaim their lives and love again.

The story can be read at and can also be downloaded there in its entirety as a PDF.

“We wanted others to enjoy the project and hopefully learn from it as much as we did writing it,” said Nerissa Golden (Truly Caribbean Woman), who designed the blog and contributed to the story. “As someone who has personally experienced domestic violence, women need to know they are not alone and it can be overcome.”

“Collaborating with all of these amazing people, gave me a chance to fight off some old demons,” said Kyt Williams-Gardener. “Having lived to overcome the violence and reclaim my life, it was an opportunity to talk about it openly and inspire others that they can and will do the same.”

The story quickly found its own fan base across the internet and many looked forward to the twice weekly updates of completed chapters. Readers fell in love with the heroes Hunter and Grey and cheered on the heroines Trish and Bren as they stepped out to start new lives and confront their pasts.

Trish was the director of Hope House, which she began after fleeing a life of abuse from the hands of her husband. Like many women she jumped headlong into helping others but leaving areas of her own life unfulfilled. Throughout the story the authors created Leah an older woman with grandchildren who finally decides to walk away after almost 30 years of abuse; Monica who was brutalized by her spouse; Sabrina and Wendy and other amazing women showing incredible strength and support for each other.

“I joined the project after it was well on its way but I knew it was something I needed to contribute to,” said Malakia Thomas, (a US Air Force Officer, residing in Chesapeake Beach, Md). I jumped right into a powerful chapter of Leah’s life — as she shared and reminisced on the crossroads moment that brought her to Hope House.

“I really didn’t know what I wanted to say nor did I have any particular direction, I just wrote what came to me — I found it much easier to stand outside myself (and be “in character”) and write from that perspective. I believe my hand was guided by the Spirit and my own desires to conquer… things I’ve witnessed and experienced as well as articulate my desires and struggles in life, love and religion/spirituality. I can identify with so much of the story; the characters of Tomorrow’s Promise represent bits and pieces of my past life as well as my hopes for the future. While the story was an absolute joy to write, I experienced such a range of emotion while writing and reading so it could definitely take an emotional toll here and there, as well, but it was all for a reason. More than anything, I’ve always wanted this story to touch others, even one person… if one person finds this tale brings them a measure of hope — that would make me extremely happy.”

Both men and women contributed to the story. David Frank of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania saw the story as a way to vocalize his concerns on abuse. “I know that this book will truly be an inspiration to women who have had to endure abuse, and will hopefully allow them to come out of their circumstances, and be made whole again,” the father of three girls and one son said. Monica Johnson, an entrepreneur in Detroit, Michigan said she wouldn’t want another woman to go through what she experienced and hopes the story can give others hope.

Information on all of the contributors is available on the blog at

The story’s title was chosen after readers were asked to send in their suggestions. Tomorrow’s Promise: A New Beginning is actually a merging of two titles as they tied for first place.

“There were so many great ideas given and we decided to name each chapter to use as many of the suggessted titles as we could,” said Williams-Gardner.

“We hope everyone will invite their friends to read the story, forward it to friends and family. We are also adding tools to help women through the process and to inspire them not to give up but to love themselves enough to get out and get help,” said Golden an author who lives in the Caribbean. “Women who have never experienced it can often be the biggest stumbling blocks to another woman’s healing. So it is a great way for people to understand what is happening in the minds of the women and be more compassionate in helping them through the process of recovery.”


A Place Called Hope (Chapter 1)

30 03 2009

Hunter was mad! The trucks heater was battling to keep the freezing air from overtaking the cabin, his cell was in a dead zone and he was lost. 

“Why do I let Trish talk me into these things?” he muttered to himself.

“I know why I let Trish talk me into these things,” Hunter thought, “’cause I would do anything for her. I have never met a woman so special in all my life. The way she cares, the way she lives, the way she gives. She reminds me of why I love black women so much. I just wish I could build up the nerve to ask her out again.”

The truck pulled up to the bus stop Trish had directed him to. He’d never picked up a woman in this part of the city before and certainly not in this high-class but very remote neighborhood. Hunter checked the address on the paper and the road sign nearby. Yes, he was at the spot and the only person in sight was a regal looking woman with a haunting smile.

It couldn’t be her he was to pick up, could it? As he rolled down the window to ask the question, the elderly woman approached. “Hunter?” was all she said and as he nodded a reply, she walked around and got into the truck.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sunrise (Chapter 2)

30 03 2009

The next morning Trish couldn’t help but think about Hunter’s willingness to help her in anyway he could. She picked up the phone to call him but was surprised to hear his voice through the receiver.

“Hello, Trish is that you?  It’s me, Hunter. 

“Yes, it’s me. Good morning,” she nervously touched her hair to see if it hid the scar. 

You are playing with your hair again,” he said. “You are beautiful.”

It always amazed him that he found Trish so attractive, even with the jagged scar that framed the left side of her cheek. 

“Thank you,” Trish replied, halting the movement of her hand. “I wanted to tell you thanks for picking up my client. Your help is always priceless.” 

“You don’t have to keep saying that. I love helping you this way,” Hunter countered. “I hope she gets the help she needs. I can’t imagine having to start over at her age but if anyone can help her, I know you can.”

You amaze me every time, Hunter” said Trish.

The silence crackled as neither one knew what to say. Hunter wanted to blurt out that he had spent the night tossing and turning wishing that he could do more than pick up and drop off for Trish. But he didn’t. He was a patient man and it had taken him this long to get her to open up enough to share her vision for the woman’s shelter with him. Read the rest of this entry »

Home Again (Chapter 3)

30 03 2009


Bren was startled from a wonderful dream, by a man that was sitting across from her, he was lightly tapping her shoulder and saying, “Hey miss, and I think this is your stop.”

She tried to make sure her makeup was freshened as the lights began to come up on the train. Passengers were rustling about, securing their belongings.

The train pulled into the station and Bren stood on the platform, looking around for her sister Jai, and her roommate, Carlotta. A feeling of trepidation overwhelmed her as she wondered if she made the right decision to come back home. She had moved away from people that were more like her family, than her own family was.  Could she fit into life in this small town?

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Voices (Chapter 4)

30 03 2009


Hunter’s phone rang, and on the other end was Trish.

“I’m on the way, and please forgive me for being late.”

“There is nothing to forgive, and take your time. I am not going anywhere,” Hunter replied.

He and Trish had been having “meetings” for more than three months, and she had never been on time. There was always a last minute issue that needed her attention.

Hunter glanced through the window, and watched couples as they walked by, some laughing and some pressing their bodies close to each other’s. He longed for that relationship with Trish, but was willing to wait, because he was sure she wanted that too. He must have been in really deep thought, because he did not see Trish enter the restaurant.

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Flashbacks (Chapter 5)

30 03 2009

“Hello,” this is Trish. “How can I help you”?

It appeared to be busier than usual, only because Trish was unfamiliar with the new phone system. She was a little annoyed, because of the annual inspection of the facility was later in the week, and there was so much to do.

“You can help me by going to lunch with me,” the sexy voice on the other end replied. A fire immediately lit her heart, and burst out through her voice.

“Yes, yes,” she was almost embarrassed because of her quick and over-readiness to accept.

Hunter smiled. “What’s going on over there”?

“Everything,” Trish replied. “Gail is out sick today, and I decided to give a hand with the phones. That was a bad mistake. Hold on, hold on a second,” Trish said frantically.

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A Cautionary Tale (Chapter 6)

30 03 2009


Trish took a moment and looked at the women gathered. The faces changed every 18 months but the look was always the same. She didn’t get tired of seeing their eyes go from being frightened of a slammed door or glass breaking to brimming with confidence when it was time to leave. Some women didn’t have the courage to go through the process and she usually took it personally when they left after only a few weeks. But Trish knew deep down it was not so. It had taken her seven tries before she actually left her abusive husband without looking back.

“Okay everyone. Let’s get started,” Trish said raising her hand to silence the women. “We want to welcome Monica to Hope House.”

The women all clapped and sent words of encouragement to Monica, who was sticking as close to Leah as she could.

“Usually it would be Monica’s turn to share her story but I don’t think she is ready for that just yet. So, I thought I would share a bit of my own, as it’s been a long time since I have done so. In fact none of you here now have ever heard it.  Read the rest of this entry »