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NEWS & EVENTS:

11/15/2016: The ABCs of Dealing with Death | Lynn Shiner | TEDxHarrisburg

10/02/2016:
10:00 am to 2:00 pm: 2016 Speaker for TedX Harrisburg at the Midtown Cinema

09/18/2016: 9:15 am to early afternoon: Forum discussion at St. James Lutheran Church, Gettysburg PA

06/26/2015: Lynn Shiner gave a presentation to the Victims Resource Center Luncheon.

06/22/2015: Lynn Shiner joined WILK's Sue Henry with a preview of her presentation she will give Friday at the Victims Resource Center Luncheon.

05/20/2015: Simpson Mechanicsburg Library (Lower Level) - Book Discussion/Signing

03/29/2015: Hershey Public Library Crime Victim's Awareness Panel Discussion - Book Signing

12/21/2014: Pittsburgh Post Gazette Op/Ed by Lynn Shiner. Subject: Abused to death

10/16/2014
: The Authors Zone (TAZ) 2014 Award have announced that Stabbed in the Heart has won 3rd place in the category of Memoirs.

10/1/2014
: DV Awareness Month at Shippensburg University


Q & A with Lynn and Nancy

Meet the Authors:

Lynn Shiner, Author, Stabbed in the HeartLynn Shiner

In addition to being a recently published author of Stabbed in the Heart, Lynn Shiner is the former Director of the Office of Victims’ Services with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. In this position, she was involved in the development of a plan to  meet the needs of crime victims throughout Pennsylvania through the distribution of more than $100 million dollars in state and federal funding.

Lynn has 37 years of experience in state government. She came to the Commission with a passion to ease crime victims’ pain after she experienced a tragedy of her own.  Her young children, Jen and Dave, were murdered on Christmas Day 1994. She is committed to making changes to improve the lives of other victims and advocates for the protection of children through the Jen and Dave Law. Lynn has turned the Victims Compensation Assistance Program into a national model through streamlining processes, legislative changes, and technology enhancements that ensure that the Program is victim-centered and eases the financial burden on victims and their families.

She has raised more than $160,000 for the fight against domestic violence and to help individuals improve their parenting skills.

In 2004, she was presented with the National Crime Victim Service Award by Attorney General John Ashcroft. In 2014, she was presented with the Visionary Voice Award by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Lynn has worked hard to make a life without her children. She’s fallen and gotten back up many, many times and is proud that she now can embrace each day by asking how she can make a difference in someone else’s life. While she’s on this earth, it’s her small gift to her children.


 

Nancy Chavez, Author, Stabbed in the HeartNancy Chavez

Nancy has made combating domestic violence her mission. She experienced domestic violence in her own marriage, and then lost Randi, her only child, in a murder plot hatched by her daughter's husband.

Following her daughter's murder in January 2003, she established Randi's Race, a 5K Run/Walk for Hope and Courage, which has raised more than $271,000 over the past nine years. The proceeds benefit Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland & Perry Counties (in Pennsylvania) and other community organizations. Nancy also created the first support group in those counties for survivors of domestic violence homicide.

To fulfill her dream of helping children and families who are exposed to and/or are victims of domestic violence, Nancy created Randi's House of Angels. Its services include both individual and group therapy for traumatized children. Nancy also has sponsored a three-day camp to empower children who have experienced domestic violence.

She has worked in Pennsylvania State government for more than 32 years, including in several executive level positions. While working full-time, she attended college part time for 15 years, eventually earning a Masters of Public Administration degree from Penn State University in 1995.

Nancy is featured in the Pennsylvania Commission for Women's book, "VOICES - African American and Latina Women Share Their Stories of Success," which features 50 women considered to be positive role models for girls and young women.

She has received several awards for her advocacy including: Dunkin Donuts Community Hero Award in 2011; the first Harrisburg Patriot News and Direct Energy Volunteer of the Year Award, 2012/2013; Ruby Award from Soroptimist International, 2012; and an Honorary Doctorate from Central Penn College in May 2012.

She also is a graduate of the Survivors Speakers Bureau through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and trained as a mediator for victims of violence for the Department of Correction.



Nancy Eshelman, Author, Stabbed in the HeartNancy Eshelman

Nancy Eshelman has been a working journalist since the mid-1970s. She spent the bulk of her career at The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, PA, where she was a reporter, an editor and a columnist. She began writing a weekly column in 1989 and continues it now, in retirement. Her columns run the gamut from politics to grandchildren, sometimes provoking outrage and other times laughter or tears. A collection of her columns, "Nancy Eshelman: A Piece of My Mind" is available at amazon.com.

Nancy likes to call herself a late bloomer. She graduated from college at 30, already the mother of two sons. She has received writing awards from The Pennsylvania Newspaper Association and The Associated Press Managing Editors and has repeatedly been named Best Newspaper Columnist by the readers of Harrisburg Magazine. She is a graduate of Millersville University and holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from Temple University. She spent a semester teaching journalism at The Pennsylvania State University as Editor in Residence and also has taught at Temple University, Penn State Harrisburg and Lebanon Valley College. She now teaches part time at York College of Pennsylvania.



Questions and Answers:

 

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Questions and Answers with Lynn and Nancy
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Why did you write Stabbed in the Heart together?

When we began this project, we were convinced that our journeys were very different, primarily because Jen and Dave's father committed suicide after murdering them and Randi's murderers are spending the rest of their lives in prison without a chance for parole. We learned from each other that whether it's suicide or a trial, both have an impact. We discovered that we have similarities and differences in how we grieve. We grieve at our own pace and in our own way. The more we shared with each other, the more apparent it became that, depending on the topic, the 10 years that separated our losses can put us in very different places.

What we clearly have in common is a commitment to honor other victims and survivors of homicide and to let them know that they are not alone. We also share a willingness to offer our personal experiences to the families, friends and acquaintances of those who have faced the horror of murder in their lives.

Why did we choose Nancy Eshelman to write this book?

We both have demanding yet rewarding jobs and are also very active with family and the community. We knew that we needed to enlist a third person to facilitate intimate discussions, help us to decide what to share and take our collective voices/stories and make the book a reality.

We chose Nancy because of who she is as a person. She is a compassionate, caring individual with a heart of gold. She has interviewed us over the years on several occasions. She is respectful, thoughtful and insightful, and while a journalist must be able to hear and record what a person is saying, she does more. She truly listens and is able to bring the person she interviewed to life for her readers.

She is known for writing about the "tough topics" but delivers the message without mincing words. She is articulate, humorous, sarcastic, witty, passionate and honest. We believed that to be a recipe that helps others to be more willing to hear the message. We have learned much from Nancy over the years and are extremely grateful that she was our messenger.

What makes this book unique?

We have read crime stories for many years. Most have the same format: A ghastly crime, a police investigation and a trial. Immediately after reading the book or even years later, we both found ourselves wondering, whatever happened to that individual? While the crime and criminal justice process can draw us in, we wanted to share what happens in the immediate aftermath as well 5, 10, 15 and 20 years later. We have come to the conclusion that society doesn't handle death well, especially murder.

For us, murder may have ended Randi, Jen and Dave's lives and their physical presence, but we still have a strong relationship with our children. We wanted to share how we continue our relationship with our children and what motivates us.

While crime itself is horrific, it's over in a matter of minutes. The journey is forever. In our opinion, the journey is more important for others to grasp than the crime itself. We wanted to share our personal experiences with family, friends, co-workers, clergy, media and others and demonstrate how critical a role they play in our well being.

Who is your target audience?

Our message is geared towards victims, survivors, family, friends, advocates, media, clergy, professionals and the community. We both feel strongly that the book could impact and provide practical advice on how to cope with the devastating consequences of homicide for ANY reader who consumes it.

Was it difficult to go back and re-live the crime and the journey?

Yes, it was difficult yet therapeutic. We never forget what happened, but we both are at a point where we have stopped re-living and dwelling on the details of the crime and for Nancy, the criminal justice process.

For the book, we had to go back and re-live the actual crime by reading newspaper articles, police and coroner reports, and talking with family, friends and professionals to capture details that both of us either didn't remember or maybe chose to forget, that we felt were important to our story.

What this process revealed is that we are both in a much better place. While the details are always difficult to re-live, our reactions and how we processed those details showed us how far we have come in our journey.

In addition, reliving our journey also meant reminiscing about Randi, Jen and Dave and who they were, moments shared and how important they continue to be in our lives.

What do you hope that readers will take away from the book?

That something positive can come out of our personal tragedies and for all who read this book. It is our hope that the reader now understands a little more about victimization and the impact of crime and will no longer avoid the eerie and the awkward.

While reaching out to a parent whose child has been murdered is by no means an easy task, it is our hope that it will no longer be daunting. Those simple words, "I'm sorry this happened to you or I can't imagine what you are going through," will have a lasting impact and open the door for communication. When survivors ask why this happened to them, the readers now know they don't have to have the answer. They are comfortable in silence or are able to express how unfair, wrong or tragic the death was.

It is also our hope that the readers know that it is okay to talk about the person who was murdered. They should not be afraid to share a memory of the deceased. If they didn't know the deceased personally, they should no longer be afraid to ask the parent what kind of person he or she was or to ask the parent to share a memory.

The readers' ability to touch victims' lives, to listen, to be comfortable in the silence, to support, to simply be there during some of the worst moments of their lives will be a blessing. We cannot state strongly enough the incredible value and difference family, friends, clergy, co-workers and the community can make in the lives of others who have experience homicide. We all have an important role to play.

How has the book impacted you personally?

Sharing our deepest thoughts, fears, memories, tears and laughter has helped each of us to grow. We are proud of ourselves for having the courage and discipline to make our book a reality and know without a doubt how proud Randi, Jen and Dave are of their moms.

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