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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

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Monday, March 08, 2010

Bits and pieces: Chat, prizes, women in prison...

The Colorado State Senate


Hey, everyone.

I wanted to let you know that those of you who’ve won copies of Naked Edge (and who’ve sent me your addresses) can expect a package in the mail very soon! I still need address from some of you, however. If I don’t hear back by the end of the week, I’ll pick new winners. So please send me your addresses!

After the Epilogue Chat update: The chat will be held this coming Saturday, March 13, at 7 p.m. MST (that’s 9 PM for the East Coast and 6 PM for the West Coast) in a Chatzy chatroom. I will post the URL of the chatroom here that afternoon, so check back here before the chat starts, and click the link to join us. Chatzy is very easy to use with only minimal registration required.

Remember this is a spoiler chat for those who’ve already read Naked Edge and want to talk about it with others.

Blogging today: I'm blogging with Denise Agnew and The Branford Bunch today at http://tinyurl.com/yz7rkec. It’s another chance to win a copy of Naked Edge and to ask questions.

Women in prison:
Those of you who read Unlawful Contact know that it focused heavily on challenges faced by women in prison. That’s a topic I’ve covered a lot over the years, most recently when I wrote about the treatment pregnant women receive in prison. Part of the HEA in Unlawful Contact ** mini-spoiler ** is that Reece, the senator hero from Extreme Exposure, passes a bill that makes it illegal to shackle pregnant inmates in labor.

Yes, unbelievably, most states in the U.S. allow incarcerated women to be shackled during this most vulnerable and sometimes scary time of their lives. Not only do they give birth surrounded by strangers — even the baby’s father isn’t allowed to be in the room — but these women are also chained to their beds and kept under armed guard. Talk about overkill!

Can you imagine a woman in active labor trying to run away from an armed guard?

I’ve been trying to bring attention to this abuse (as I see it) for a long time. My most recent article on the subject seems to have caught some attention. So on Wednesday I’m having a private meeting the president of the State Senate to discuss the issue.

Wish me luck! I hope I can make my state lawmakers understand that chaining women to a bed during this time only further damages already damaged human beings. And it puts their babies at risk. This is so important to me. I became a journalist to help people who otherwise would be ignored by our society, and this is an issue that tears at my heart.

This will be a busy and somewhat stressful week for me, but I’ll be back and we’ll move on with the fun stuff I have in store for us, like an interview with Gabe Rossiter.

And THANK YOU for your messages and e-mails! I’m delighted that so many of you have enjoyed the story and happy to know that Julian and Marc have some competition in Gabe. One reader described Gabe as “a hero for the ages.” That would probably embarrass him, but I bet that Kat would agree.

17 comments:

Lori said...

Go get him! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. And hello? Running away while in labor? Ummm... NOT.

Linda A. said...

Best of luck with the meeting, Pamela. Go get 'em!

Thanks, Lori and Linda. It really is a BIZARRE state of things, isn't it? It's proof — I think — that men have made most of our laws.

I'll do my best.

Debbie H said...

Pamela, I will be with you in spirit, cheering you on.

Keep us informed about the outcome, K?

Crystal said...

Hope your meeting is successful.

As I mentioned to you in a previous e-mail, I truly wasn't aware of this issue and as a woman who has given birth 3 times, I simply can not imagine being shackled to a bed while attempting it.

I think knowledge is power and getting the word out on any issue is halfway to change, so I again say thanks for what you do. Both as a journalist and an author of novels. Were it not for the latter, I would not have known that this kind of abuse happens. I so appreciate that you can combine a beautiful love story with an issue that definitely needs some legal review and changes.

Perhaps a Senator who thinks shackling is a good/valid idea should be willing to put himself/herself in the position of sitting through labor with the expectant mother.

And, please, keep us informed. (Honestly, I know you will.)

Hi, Debbie — Thank you! I will! I'm putting together a packet of info for him tomorrow. Then on Wednesday I have to wear something nice. Bah. I will put on pantyhose, but only for "the cause"!

Hi, Crystal — I hope it's successful, too. I can't fathom why we as a society do this. When I asked the prison folks about it, they said, "Remember, these women are convicted felons." But most of them are convicted of drug use and possession, not murder or assault. And even convicted felons feel pain. Having a baby hurts more than anything I know. (Wow on having three. I had two -- one completely natural with no interventions and the second with an epidural 'cuz I wasn't going to go through that again). But I digress...

Thanks so much for saying what you said. I've always felt romantic fiction could have a purpose beyond escape. The books deal with the most important relationships in a woman's life, so why not have some real issues involved? I know that's not everyone's cup of tea, but I'm grateful that you value it. :-)

I'll suggest to the senator that he try to defecate a watermelon while chained to a bed... but I'll save that for my last resort. ;-)

There comes a point when it's no longer about security, but humanity.

There's no reason for the chains if you've got armed officers who are doing their jobs.

Well put, Saranna. There's just no one a woman in active labor is going to be able to run away from a guy with a gun.

I read one nurse's account of a woman who was brought in to the hospital, her wrist handcuffed that of a guard who was twice her size. Her prison uniform was dripping wet with amniotic fluid, and she was doubled over in pain. And she was only 15.

Made me ill to read that.

Another account: A pregnant woman was arrested and kept in jail. She went into labor and was kept shackled by her ankles during her labor. They had to rush to get the guard so that her ankles could be unshakled in time for her to push her baby out. Then she was taken back to jail, separated from her baby. She had torn pretty badly and begged the guard not to make her squat and cough during the strip search, but the guard told her she didn't care if it hurt and to cough harder. In the end, the woman was only convicted of a MISDEMEANOR and released from jail. All of that... for a minor crime. What should have been one of the most beautiful experiences in her life destroyed by thoughtless application of "official procedure."

Can you tell this gets me steamed?

Mary G said...

Hi Pamela
Good luck. Hopefully with your common sense & way with words you will get throught to these people
probably most of whom have never been in labor.

Ronlyn said...

WOO HOO Pammy! Way to go with getting the attention and I know you'll kick ass in that meeting.
(((((((((((hugs))))))))))))
I'll be thinking of you tomorrow.

Kara C said...

Pamela,
Those stories are both heartbreaking and infuriating. I will be thinking of you tomorrow during your meeting. With any luck, my biggest hurdle tomorrow will be inside recess duty if it rains! :)

Diane W. said...

Go get 'em, Pamela! If I learned one thing as a reporter, it was "the squeaky wheel gets the grease". Or as I often heard it "rephrased"....."It's that &^%$# from Channel 5 again. What should we tell her this time?" LMHO...whatever, it worked!

Oh, and I'm halfway through "Naked Edge" and absolutely FORCING myself not to peek ahead to the end. And, I LOVE it, btw!!

Diane :)

Hi, Mary — Thank you. And you're right. They're guys. What do they know about it?

Hi, Ronlyn — Thank you! I appreciate the hugs and good wishes. I'm working up an info packet this afternoon design to refute all possible contrary arguments before anyone else has a chance to open his/her mouth. :-D

Hi, Kara — Oh! Indoor recess. I used to love that. But I was a kid, not a teacher. Good luck! I'll hope for sunshine. And I agree -- heartbreaking and infuriating. Makes me so angry.

Hi, Diane — I had one guy tell me, "People sh*t their pants when they hear it's you on the other line." Good! They should! LOL!

PLEASE DON'T SKIP! You'll ruin the ending for yourself it you do. Instead, please suffer through the emotional roller coaster that I have prepared designed to build a sense of desperation and despair... before delivering the HEA. I promise. It is a happy ending!

And I'm psyched to hear you're enjoying it.

Sorry for the typos. You all must wonder how in the world I manage to run a newspaper. ARGH!

oklanannie said...

Good luck with the State Senate! I commend you and admire you for taking up the challenge.

I retired from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals after 20+ years and during that time saw and read many many similar types of challenges. Some days I came home disgusted and sickened by similar types of abuses.

I'm not sure the pantyhose will be appreciated!! But I stand amazed that you are willing to go that far!!! (Hate those suckers!)

Reel said...

Way to go Mom! Tell me how things went!

Hi, Oklanannie — I didn't make it in to the pantyhose. My back was such a mess today that I could barely walk, much less wrestle myself into disgusting pantyhose. LOL!

I just put up a new blog about how today went.

Reel — Hey, angel! Check out my post. My phone is off, and it's upstairs and I'm barely movable at this point. Can you come help? Oh, wait, you're in NEW YORK. Dadgumit!

I need a trained service dog, I think. Not even a joke.

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