TV Shoots: All in a Day’s Work

Television shoots aren’t what you think. I enjoy doing them, because they’re about books—and anything to do with reading is sexy, right? But they are far from glamorous.

I can’t recall how many I’ve done now—for Dateline, 48 Hours, 20/20, Dr. Phil, CrimeWatch, ID Discovery—but they are all remarkably similar. Behind the scenes I sit, cell phone off, waiting for the cameraman (so far, they have all been men) to adjust the lighting, the background, and me. My mic, clipped to my shirt collar or jacket lapel, my hair, and my glasses, which usually come off, due to the glare on my lenses.

In short, TV shoots consist of long moments of conversation punctuated by short bursts of touch-up sessions, to powder my shiny nose. Or fix my flyaway, baby-fine hair. When this happens, the producer sitting across from me (so far, all women save one) will ask for clarification about a question I’ve answered, or I will provide a detail about the story that she hasn’t yet asked me. Just in case she doesn’t.

I do my homework so I’ll be prepared, having reviewed dates and timelines for that particular story, because when you’ve written several books, you can’t risk confusing a salient detail from one book with another. This is crucial, because sometimes the producer or show’s writer isn’t prepared.

That happened in Colorado in September 2015, forcing me to repeatedly correct the TV crew. These weren’t small errors, either; they had the potential to create a liability for the network. Thank goodness that was the only time I had such a dreadful experience, and worried that my book might be misrepresented on national television. Trust me, no author wants that.

The most recent TV shoot took place in Annapolis, Maryland, near the harbor, which was filled with sailboats and larger craft. I had sat on the deck at Pusser’s Caribbean Grille the night before, eating dinner and watching the sunset. The next morning, I walked around town, sightseeing, then dressed and did my makeup. More made up than usual, since the bright lights from TV cameras would wash me out if I didn’t.

Alex Haley and family in bronze

They sent a limousine service to collect me, which was one of the highlights of my day. Not because I didn’t have to drive myself, although that was certainly nice, but because it was interesting. As I chatted with the driver, I learned that he was in Boca Raton, Florida, last year while I was working a few miles away in Pompano Beach. I also learned about his business, and why his 18-year-old son will soon triple his father’s income.

By and large, it’s the people I meet who make these TV shoots most enjoyable. A cameraman named Brian, who knew my book as well as I did. Now that’s impressive! A freelance producer who changed her career track from attorney to TV, because practicing law can be downright depressing these days. Oh, and then there’s the nonprofit she runs for disadvantaged youth, which is her first love.

U.S. Naval Academy

One of the most colorful producers I met, bruised and battered from her long days behind the scenes, worked in Los Angeles, California. There, she prepped guests and helped them ward off potential meltdowns, panic attacks or, worse yet, physical fights with each another. I later heard she gave it all up for the love of her horses, and the love of a man. Now that’s romance worthy of a TV show.

I forgot to take along a jacket for this last shoot, so while the temperatures outside hovered in the high 80s, we felt like we were inside a meat locker. The room was so frigid we stopped periodically, just to go outside and warm up. That and hot coffee kept my teeth from chattering, something that would have given the sound guy grey hair, I’m sure.

Speaking of sound, when the Dateline producers, two elegant, intelligent New York City women, came to town, they turned a vacant storefront in the Mountaineer Mall into a TV studio. But during the on-camera interview, loud pounding next door forced us to stop repeatedly, causing the producer to repeat entire questions. Every time we began speaking, so did the pounding, like a metronome in perfect time to our interview. After several minutes, the producer had to ask management to quiet things down. Otherwise, we would never have wrapped up.

The same thing happened in Annapolis. Except this time, the noise was from a hotel cart rolling by, right outside our door. And then there was the family with several boisterous children. They exited the pool to wait for the rest of their group, before leaving. Finally, we had a quiet space to continue the interview.


Being on set is fun, and can be exciting, but those times are far and few between. Most of the time, like today, I’m cleaning house, replying to emails, running errands, and tending my flower garden.

Tomorrow I renew my search for my missing daughter, and continue working to settle my late husband’s estate—the little things that highlight most of my days.

* * * * *


Dear Readers,

My seventh book, Shatter the Silence, a love story and the long-awaited sequel to my memoir was released May 2016. That’s on the heels of Tales of the Vintage Berry Wine Gang, a collection of my newspaper columns from 1988-91, which came out in April 2016.

For an in-depth look at the damaging effects of the silence that surrounds abuse, please watch my live TEDx talk, given April 13, 2013, at Connecticut College.

Have a great day and remember, it’s whatever you want to make it!

~Daleen

People Cite Trump as Reports of Hate Crimes Against Muslims and Gays Increase After Election

First came the stealthy knock, carried out under cover of darkness.

Then the sound of footsteps, running away from the house.

And then, the horrible message: “TRUMP is our president now. Get out of our neighborhood now FAGGOTS!!”

I hate that word. I refuse to utter it and hate to even type it. Or share it on social media, which I felt forced to do today.

Corey Hurley found the note, printed in black ink on a piece of plain notebook paper. It was lying at his feet when he opened the door after being awakened at 3 a.m. Thursday morning.
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“I was terrified,” Hurley said during a telephone interview. “I knew things were going to start getting a little crazy . . . but I didn’t know it was going to (happen here).”

When I first read the note, posted on a stranger’s Facebook page, I was carried back to 1992. To the day when I took time off work to visit the principal at Kingwood Elementary School, an hour away from Clarksburg – and begged administrators to stop the harassment and name calling. The same name as appeared on the paper found at Hurley’s feet, paper that any child in America might use to complete a homework assignment. The same word directed at my son, Zach, then age eight.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the last 24 hours have seen a significant increase in reports of hate speech and hate crimes around the country. Most have been directed at Muslims, but some in the gay community are being targeted, too.

Like happened to Hurley – and his partner, Kyle Chester.

And my son, who in didn’t know even what sex was at age eight. Much less sexual orientation. All he knew was that the boys in his class didn’t like him. And my visits to his school, and even later, a letter from my children’s therapist, did little to change that.

“This one that you sent me (that Hurley and Chester received) looks like one of the more aggressive that I’ve seen on the anti-gay front,” Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, said.

That unit monitors hate crime traffic. Beirich said the Harrison County case is one of “many, many instances we’re hearing about across the country, where people are seemingly victims of what appear to be hate crimes and reference Trump.”
kyle-and-corey
This is the first time since 2008, when another President took office. “We haven’t seen an outbreak of what looks like hate incidents since Obama was elected,” Beirich said, “when something similar happened.”

But then, the SPLC saw a “rash of hate incidents (against) black people,” because some people were angry about having a black President.

It’s a different dynamic now, though. “In this case,” Beirich said, “people who look like they support Trump or have sympathies with Trump are attacking minorities.”

Numerous reports have been fielded, she said, of “Muslims having their headscarves pulled off and a ton of incidents in schools . . . there seems to be a rash of these incidents across the nation.”

By the time Zach was in high school, the situation was no better. “I always got threatened in high school. I didn’t tell you because you would have just made it worse.”

One day during a break from theatre practice, Zach was walking outside near the football field. The players were tossing a ball around when “one of them threw the ball at my head, and very narrowly missed me.” Zach threw the football “all the way across the football field so they had to go into the woods to get it.”

Some of the players approached Zach as he walked back into the school. One boy wanted to fight. “So I just stood up to them and let him get into my face and I wouldn’t back down.” The football player turned and walked away.

Hurley, a lifelong Harrison County, West Virginia, resident, has never experienced this kind of violence. “It’s always been more accepting,” he said. “I’ve never had any problems with my sexuality from people before, so I was kind of shocked to see that it happened here in Clarksburg.”

Frightened and shocked, Hurley woke up Chester, who took action. The Lexington, Kentucky, native made sure their home was secure – and then told Hurley they had to call the police.

They did. Chester spoke to Deputy Chief James Chamberlain, with the Clarksburg City Police Department. And patrol cars drove by “a couple of times” afterward, but that’s all. When Chester called later this morning, an administrative worker told him the police couldn’t do anything else. Not until, Chester said, they had “concrete evidence as to where it came from or who did it.”

It’s difficult to understand how police could gather concrete evidence when, 12 hours later, no officer had shown up to even begin the investigation. I tried to reach Chamberlain, but he did not return my call. However, not long after, Hurley and Chester did get a phone call. They were told to go to the Clarksburg police station and file an official report. A “very nice” officer collected the hateful note left at their door.

So now, the investigation into a potential hate crime has begun.

Beirich said it’s hard not to link this kind of hatred with the President-elect. “Trump is referenced in some way. If you’re going to use the word ‘Trump,’ you obviously think this is somehow connected to your support of the President-elect . . . Given Trump’s xenophobic, racist, and so on comments during the campaign,” she said, “it’s not surprising that some people would feel emboldened to do these things.”

While the SPLC doesn’t yet have a tally for how much hate speech, or how many hate crimes have occurred since Trump became President-elect, Beirich said it’s “several dozen.”

They don’t yet know how serious it is, but sadly, incidents like these are happening in America’s schools. At all grade levels. “We’re particularly concerned about stuff happening in schools, involving children,” Beirich said. Muslim students, especially, are being targeted. Being told to “get out of the country.”

The SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance program has specific information available for teachers, to help them deal with the backlash.

“It’s tragic to see this happening,” Beirich said, while urging all victims to report such hatred to police, as well as the SPLC. And urging police to officially investigate.

“Any of those kids could have kicked my (butt),” Zach said. “I stood up to them – no, I didn’t back down from them. There’s a big difference.”

I asked him to clarify.

Zach did. “Standing up to someone is when you realize that something bad is happening and you actually confront them about it. Not backing down is just standing your ground if someone confronts you.”

I asked him if it worked.

“It definitely helped,” Zach said. “If I had acted in a different manner, maybe more submissive, they would have tried to do more. But if you let them know you’re not going to back down, they have a little more respect for you.”

Respect. That’s what this boils down to. It’s all Hurley and Chester really want, too. So they’re getting their friends involved, to help spread this message:

“We’re human beings, too, just like everybody else,” Chester said, “and we deserve the same rights and respect that anybody else does, in any neighborhood across the country.”

Editor’s Note: My website is being revamped, and more changes are in the works. So I hope you’ll pardon the mess and be patient, as I iron out all the kinks.

* * *
My seventh book, Shatter the Silence, a love story and the long-awaited sequel to my memoir was released May 7. That’s on the heels of Tales of the Vintage Berry Wine Gang, a collection of my newspaper columns from 1988-91, which came out in April.

For an in-depth look at the damaging effects of the silence that surrounds abuse, please watch my live TEDx talk, given April 13, 2013, at Connecticut College.

Have a great day and remember, it’s whatever you want to make it!

You Just Don’t Understand: What Clinton Really Said About Benghazi

All human leaders are fallible, to a greater or lesser degree. They will lie and steal and make deals behind closed doors – or grope women, just because they can.

That said, I couldn’t quite understand why the Benghazi incident continues to have such an impact on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. So I began digging. And, after looking at the language Clinton used during the Benghazi tragedy, I recalled a fantastic college course I took, which used as its textbook You Just Don’t Understand: Men and Women in Conversation, by Georgetown University’s linguistics professor Deborah Tannen.

In that book, Tannen helps us understand the underpinnings of conversation between men and women. What I learned most from that class, and Tannen’s book, is to listen carefully to what people say. And what they don’t.

Here then, my reporter’s hat on and pencil in hand, is my neutral takeaway:

Then-Secretary of State Clinton did as she was told by a superior – likely President Obama – by linking the Benghazi attack to an anti-Muslim video. BUT, if you pay attention to what Clinton did NOT say, you can read between the lines quite easily.

After reading a summary of the Benghazi attack in The Atlantic, and another one from NBC News, about the Republicans’ report on that tragedy, as well as FactCheck’s detailed and thorough timeline of the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack, this is what I believe.

But please, don’t take my word for it. That would be a mistake. Instead, put on your thinking cap and, using FactCheck’s hour-by-hour timeline, see for yourself.

Roughly about 10 p.m. that same night, Clinton issued her first public statement about the attack. BUT, her use of the word “some” as in, “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” tells me that SHE did not believe that to be the case.

This proves true when, one hour later, at 11:12 p.m., Clinton sends an email to her daughter, Chelsea, saying this: “Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an al Qaeda-like group: The Ambassador, whom I handpicked and a young communications officer on temporary duty w a wife and two young children. Very hard day and I fear more of the same tomorrow.”

That email wasn’t discovered until 2015. However, let’s talk about what it does show – a woman clearly in pain, over a loss she considered personal. And that email seems to tell the greatest truth about what the U.S. administration knew, and when they knew it.

So why did Clinton lie to the American public? Or did she? Maybe she just repeated the party line that an anti-Muslim video inspired a mob attack.

I think this is more likely: In ensuing public statements, Clinton continues to distance herself from that very stance, using the word “some,” as in “some people – but not me,” she is trying to tell us – believe the video inspired the embassy attack.

That singular phrase is very telling. For if Clinton believed the anti-Muslim video was responsible, or knew that for sure, she would have used the pronoun “we.” Yet she didn’t.

However, President Obama continued to tell the American public, on late-night TV and other shows, such as The View, that Benghazi was the result of a mob attack due to the religious video.

Could that be because he was up for reelection?

In a nutshell, President Obama, as the top dog, should be blamed for misleading the public – not Clinton – who was simply following orders. And who risked being axed, if she broke from the party line and told the truth. And let’s be honest: she wouldn’t be the first whistle-blower to lose her job, would she?

So, perhaps for Clinton, it came down to this: What good can I accomplish then, if speaking the truth gets me fired?

* * *
My seventh book, Shatter the Silence, a love story and the long-awaited sequel to my memoir was released May 7. That’s on the heels of Tales of the Vintage Berry Wine Gang, a collection of my newspaper columns from 1988-91, which came out in April.

For an in-depth look at the damaging effects of the silence that surrounds abuse, please watch my live TEDx talk, given April 13, 2013, at Connecticut College.

Have a great day and remember, it’s whatever you want to make it!

Orlando: My Son Could Have Been Murdered

My heart is heavy after hearing the news out of Orlando. Upon realizing that the mass shooting at a gay nightclub is the worst one in U.S. history.

My son Zach, during AIDS/LifeCycle 2016.

My son is gay. So was my Uncle Robert. I’ve been around gay family members since the early 1970s, after my mother finally found my missing uncle. He had run away from home decades earlier because of family mistreatment over being gay.

I loved my Uncle Robert. He was as handsome as Clark Gable, a snappy dresser, and one of the most charming men I’ve ever met. He and my mother had a happy reunion when he visited our West Virginia home, and again later, when we drove to Los Angeles in 1975 to see him. Because of Uncle Robert, I saw the famous smog L.A. is home to and tasted spumoni for the first time, experiencing its delicious flavors of chocolate, pistachio, and cherry-almond. I can still remember waking up in his little apartment, which he shared with a male “roommate.” Hear my parents—yes, even my somewhat bigoted father—chuckle about how the fellow was really Robert’s lover. My uncle, you see, had not come out. No wonder, given that he felt forced to flee his own home because of being gay.

But Uncle Robert’s sexual orientation didn’t change my mother’s love for her brother. A religious woman, she knew true Christianity allows no room for homophobia. It didn’t change my father’s (who was agnostic) admiration of him, for the intelligence and charm his brother-in-law exuded. And it certainly didn’t matter to me that my Uncle Robert was gay. To me, he was simply my fun-loving, smooth-talking uncle. My mother’s older brother, whom she didn’t know was dead or alive, yet loved enough to find out, spending considerable time and energy and finally tracking him down through the Internal Revenue Service.

My son is gay. In fact, until recently, he worked in gay nightclubs in Washington, D.C., Miami, Florida, and San Francisco, California. I am not a nightclub person. They are too loud and too bright for me, neither of which I can tolerate for very long. But living so many miles apart, and both of us having hectic schedules, visiting him at work was often the only way we could see each other. Like the time I had a long layover in Miami, where I visited Zach at Halo; I’ve visited both when the clubs were open and when they were closed. Doing this, I came to know something of the people who do frequent these places. And I can tell you this: never once did I feel unsafe. As a woman who herself has been a crime victim, at the hands of a straight man, that’s important.

But more than that, I came to realize that for party-loving people, gay nightclubs offer a popular, hip social scene. You meet all kinds of people there, from millionaires to Congressmen to single mothers. Most intriguing to me was the fact that not all of them are gay. Which makes what happened in Orlando doubly tragic: in targeting what is perceived as a gay hangout, the killer undoubtedly killed straight people, too.

Zack is currently in L.A., where he was one of 2,300 cyclists who rode 545 miles over seven days for AIDS LifeCycle, raising $16,000 in the process for medical research. (His team raised $70,000.) He is the kindest, sweetest man I know, as well as one of the brightest and most generous. As a small boy who picked and brought me flowers, and who was beloved by all his female classmates from the time he entered kindergarten until he graduated high school thirteen years later, Zach remains a true gentleman. He is also quite handsome and when he enters a room, heads turn.

As a mother, my heart would break if I received a call saying a mass murderer had entered a nightclub and killed my beautiful son.

Goofing off with Zach during his April layover in New York City.

As a mother, I weep for all the mothers, sisters, daughters, and aunts who weep for their loved ones, slain in such a barbaric way in Orlando. Whether they were gay or straight makes no difference. I weep that any human would slaughter another over something as complicated and so misunderstood as sexual orientation.

We are not judge and jury of our fellow man, any of us. We lack the capacity to understand or recognize why people are as they are. And we certainly can’t read hearts—the only true measure of any man. No, we are instead misguided, imperfect creatures capable of giving offense and taking it, on any given day. Any hour.

I am praying for Orlando. And for the rest of us, and for what lies ahead, if such senseless violence and hatred against our fellow humans continues unabated.

* * * *
My seventh book, Shatter the Silence, a love story and the long-awaited sequel to my first memoir was released May 7. That’s on the heels of Tales of the Vintage Berry Wine Gang, a collection of my newspaper columns from 1988-91, which came out in April. Prior to those two books, Guilt by Matrimony was released last November. It’s about the murder of Aspen socialite Nancy Pfister.

My memoir, Sister of Silence, is about surviving domestic violence and how journalism helped free me; Cheatin’ Ain’t Easy, now in ebook format, is about the life of Preston County native, Eloise Morgan Milne; The Savage Murder of Skylar Neese (a New York Times bestseller, with coauthor Geoff Fuller) and Pretty Little Killers (also with Fuller), released July 8, 2014, and featured in the August 18 issue of People Magazine.

You can find these books either online or in print at a bookstore near you, at BenBella Books, Nellie Bly Books, Amazon, on iTunes and Barnes and Noble.

For an in-depth look at the damaging effects of the silence that surrounds abuse, please watch my live TEDx talk, given April 13, 2013, at Connecticut College.

Have a great day and remember, it’s whatever you want to make it!

~Daleen

Editor’s Note: Effective June 2, 2016, Ms. Berry’s blog began appearing each Thursday, rather than Monday, as it once did. Berry is a New York Times best-selling author and a recipient of the Pearl Buck Award in Writing for Social Change. She has won several other awards, for investigative journalism and her weekly newspaper columns, and her memoir, Sister of Silence, placed first in the West Virginia Writers’ Competition. Ms. Berry speaks about overcoming abuse through awareness, empowerment and goal attainment at conferences around the country. To read an excerpt of her memoir, please go to the Sister of Silence site. Check out the five-star review from ForeWord Reviews. Or find out why Kirkus Reviews called Ms. Berry “an engaging writer, her style fluid and easy to read, with welcome touches of humor and sustained tension throughout.”

Five Years Later — 9/11 Reflections

EDITOR’S NOTE: As I sit here in a friend’s Pompano Beach apartment, every few minutes another small plane flies overhead. I am directly under their flight path on this, the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks here in the United States. After mulling over every way our lives are different now, I can’t imagine writing anything other than what I did in 2006, on the five-year anniversary. Except that now, with the uprising of ISIS, life is far more fragile now. Please read on for that original Sept. 11, 2006, post. I’ve added photos from my trip to New York City, taken earlier this summer. ~Daleen

Not long after beginning flight instruction, student pilots will hear the phrase, “If your radio goes out, turn your transponder to 7600 — not 7500. Because, if you do that, air traffic control will think you’ve been hijacked.” Those three codes are stressed repeatedly, drilled over and over: “Squawk 7600 for radio failure, 7700 for an emergency, and 7500 for a hijacking.” These are the most common codes needed, and when dialed into the transponder (a type of radar), allow your aircraft to show up on the air traffic controller’s radar screen, for identification and tracking purposes.

I learned that in September 1999, just two years before the World Trade Center fell and the Pentagon was attacked, in an event which involved four hijacked U.S. airliners. I was a student pilot then, fulfilling a childhood dream that began while sitting in the right seat of my father’s little single-engine airplane, flying back and forth between Martinsburg (MRB) and Clarksburg (CKB). A flight instructor, he often took me up in the air with him, teaching me to scan for other traffic while up there.

The day after September 11, I was scheduled to take another flying lesson. But the Clarksburg Benedum Airport was locked down tight, and no one was getting in. Least of all me, just another student pilot in pursuit of a private pilot’s license. But after authorities announced the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Middle Eastern men who, like me, were also in pursuit of that coveted license from the Federal Aviation Administration, my status as a student pilot took on new meaning. Unlike me, as the world has since learned, their motives were sinister in nature.

In the five years since the 9/11 attacks, I have received my license — earned it, with every minute of flight and ground training, and every dollar spent. Once I was allowed back in the air along with all the other general aviation folks, every opportunity I had to fly was accompanied by more than a few moments of meditation on the marvels of flight, of what a privilege it is to be able to hold a pilot’s license, and of how wonderful it is just to defy gravity and head toward the heavens.

What changed for me personally is that I finally made it to New York City, something I longed to do since that terrible day. Part of the reason for my visit was probably the journalist coming out in me, and part of it was my intense curiosity, which causes me to question everything around me, as a way of trying to make sense of it. Yet the biggest reason was in wanting to see firsthand the location where the world changed for us as Americans, for me as a person and a pilot, and especially for the many families who lost and then had to leave their loved ones behind that day.

Since that time, I have been to NYC five times — an average of once a year for the past five years. The first was in August 2003, when Ground Zero was a large, cavernous hole, taking up too many city blocks, and surrounded by metal fencing taller than I am. The second was a whirlwind trip with a group of college students, made on the second anniversary two years after the attacks, when the twin lights reflected into the night sky, and surviving family and friends gathered to weep, remember, and memorialize their lost loved ones. The third trip was a year later to visit new friends I’d made earlier that summer, and the fourth was in early 2005, on my way back from Canada. The fifth trip was six weeks ago, for a writer’s conference and again, to visit friends.

In the meantime, I continued flying. Not long after 9/11, two of my daughters and I boarded a jet and flew to San Francisco, to see their sister perform in a college play. The day we returned home, November 12, was the same day another jet (America Airlines Flight 587) crashed into a Queens neighborhood in New York, deepening American’s fears that yet another terrorist attack had occurred. I flew again, going solo a year later, once again to visit my daughter. Since then, I’ve flown to Spain (not long after the March 11, 2004, Madrid railway terrorist attacks), to Canada (where a U.S. Customs official nearly refused to allow me back into the country, because I had forgotten my passport), and to Fort Lauderdale, this past spring, for a work-related conference.

I remember exactly where I was when I first heard the news that day. It’s just one of those things you never forget, something that’s indelibly etched on your memory. Having come off the afternoon shift, I went to bed early that morning, waking just as the news was being reported. I heard that an airliner (later identified as American Flight 11) had crashed into the North Tower when I went into my kitchen to get a drink and did what I normally did — turned on the radio. That’s when I rushed to the television, to see if the news was being broadcast live. It was, and as I saw smoke coming from the World Trade Center, I called my daughter to tell her the news. She was at work, and quickly turned on the radio, as well. While we were on the phone, I watched as the first tower crumbled, as easily as if it was a child’s sand castle. We had just hung up and I had gone back to the TV, when fifteen minutes later, a second jet (United Flight 175) struck the South Tower. It was unbelievable, like a horror movie where the ending comes out different than anything you expected. That coverage was suddenly interrupted, with breaking news that the same thing had happened at the Pentagon, when American Flight 77 crashed there. By the time it was all said and done, four jetliners — including United Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania about an hour from here — had been used as weapons against the United States.

September 11 became our Pearl Harbor, the day the world changed for our generation. It’s true, sadly so, but true nonetheless. But with that has come some good, for not only was humanity at its absolute worst that day — it was also at its very best, as thousands of people throughout the country (and more, around the world) reached out to lend a hand during that time of crisis.

Today is the fifth anniversary of that dark, dark day in America’s history. I’m not sure what it’s taught the world, or even Americans, but I know what it’s taught me. To treasure each day, to spend time with loved ones (instead of taking them for granted), to make that time truly count, and to simply laugh when the chips are down, and the world seems like it’s going crazy. For, like it or not, danger is everywhere. It might be just around the corner, at the next traffic light, at the end of a one-way street, or even on the next flight. And there’s not a thing we can do about it — except make sure if and when danger strikes, we’ve lived our lives in such a way that we’ve got no regrets. About anything.

Especially about dialing the wrong number into our aircraft. Remember, 7500 should only be used when there’s a hijacking. For everything else, just remember to take life as it comes, one day at a time.


* * * *
My seventh book, Shatter the Silence, a love story and the long-awaited sequel to my first memoir was released May 7. That’s on the heels of Tales of the Vintage Berry Wine Gang, a collection of my newspaper columns from 1988-91, which came out in April. Prior to those two books, Guilt by Matrimony was released last November. It’s about the murder of Aspen socialite Nancy Pfister.

My memoir, Sister of Silence, is about surviving domestic violence and how journalism helped free me; Cheatin’ Ain’t Easy, now in ebook format, is about the life of Preston County native, Eloise Morgan Milne; The Savage Murder of Skylar Neese (a New York Times bestseller, with coauthor Geoff Fuller) and Pretty Little Killers (also with Fuller), released July 8, 2014, and featured in the August 18 issue of People Magazine.

You can find these books either online or in print at a bookstore near you, at BenBella Books, Nellie Bly Books, Amazon, on iTunes and Barnes and Noble.

For an in-depth look at the damaging effects of the silence that surrounds abuse, please watch my live TEDx talk, given April 13, 2013, at Connecticut College.

Have a great day and remember, it’s whatever you want to make it!

~Daleen

Editor’s Note: Ms. Berry is a New York Times best-selling author and a recipient of the Pearl Buck Award in Writing for Social Change. She has won several other awards, for investigative journalism and her weekly newspaper columns, and her memoir, Sister of Silence, placed first in the West Virginia Writers’ Competition. Ms. Berry speaks about overcoming abuse through awareness, empowerment and goal attainment at conferences around the country. To read an excerpt of her memoir, please go to the Sister of Silence site. Check out the five-star review from ForeWord Reviews. Or find out why Kirkus Reviews called Ms. Berry “an engaging writer, her style fluid and easy to read, with welcome touches of humor and sustained tension throughout.”