New Book: Murder Survivor’s Handbook

Murder Survivor’s Handbook
helps family members adapt to
and navigate the aftermath of murder.

Release date: September 25, 2014

Murder Survivor's Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & ResourcesWhen a loved one is murdered, the survivors—the co-victims—are plunged into a head-spinning world of traumatic grief, criminal investigation, criminal justice, and the long-term consequences of violent loss. Sensational news coverage may compound the trauma of their loss.

Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources helps these survivors wend their way on this overwhelming journey they never chose to take.

Written by Connie Saindon, MA, MFT—along with many other voices—the book will be formally released on Sept. 25, 2014, to coincide with National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims.

The book will be available in print and ebook formats.

Saindon’s professional as well as personal experience have given her a unique perspective that few others have. Not only did she learn first-hand about criminal death following the murder of her sister, she learned that she is a Survivor in every sense of the word. However, she also found that little was known about the impact of murder on survivors.

Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources fills that void for the survivors, the co-victims of murder. It provides information, resources, and strategies for learning to live with the aftermath of a homicide, including safety issues, dealing with the criminal justice system, addressing the news media, and coping with traumatic grief, while preserving the memory of a loved one.

Also in the book, Survivor Writers describe their own experiences and, through their tips and suggestions, lend a helping hand to those who follow in their footsteps.

The Foreword to the book is written by Edward Rynearson, MD,
Medical Director, Separation and Loss Services Program, Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, WA, and the author of Retelling Violent Death.

Praise for the book:

This is exactly the book I would have loved to have had so I wouldn’t have made so many mistakes; I would have had some idea how this entire process works.

—Dayna Herrroz, Survivor/Co-victim
Peer Advocate/Violent Loss


This book is wonderful. You covered all the steps that victims have to deal with. The chapters are broken down and very easy to read and follow. The resource section after each topic is great.

—Rose Madsen, Families &
Friends of Murder Victims, Inc.


This book is fantastic! It will be so helpful to survivors, professionals and our colleagues working with Homicide Survivors.

—Director, Crime Victims Assistance
Unit, District Attorney’s Office


• Nonfiction: Death, Grief, Bereavement
• Publisher: Wigeon Publishing
• Wholesale distribution: Ingram
• Publication date: September 25, 2014
• Size, print edition: 8.5 x 11
• Pages: 244
• Formats:
• paperback; ISBN: 978-0-9896913-0-7; $19.95
• e-book: Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, etc.; $7.99

About the Author
Connie Saindon, author, Murder Survivor's Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & ResourcesConnie Saindon is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and among the few specialists in the field of violent death bereavement. She is the founder of the nonprofit Survivors of Violent Loss Program in San Diego, which began at the University of California-San Diego outpatient clinic in 1998. Her commitment to violent loss bereavement is related to the murder of her sister, aged 17, in 1961.

She is author of The Journey: Ten Steps to Learning to Live with Violent Death (2008), an adaption of the Restorative Retelling Model for adult self-help and paraprofessionals. She also is a contributing author of Violent Death, Resilience and Intervention Beyond the Crises (2006).

When not pursuing her professional interests, Saindon may be found kayaking in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, skiing, walking her dog, or taking photographs. A native New Englander, Saindon splits her time between Boothbay, ME, and San Diego, CA.


For additional information or to schedule an interview:

Larry Edwards
(858) 292-9232

Connie Saindon

Learn more at:
Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources

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Violent Loss Can Rip Families Apart

My sister’s birthday. We used to always make time for a phone call on our birthdays. We were best of friends. But no longer. Violent loss, a criminal investigation, and sensational news coverage—which ideally would bring families together—all too often rips families apart, destroying that safe harbor family members need during traumatic and highly emotional times.

Dare I Call It Murder? - A Memoir of Violent LossThis is one of the issues I address in Dare I Call It Murder?: A Memoir of Violent Loss, because I have learned that, sadly, this phenomenon seems to be all too common. This is such an important factor I open the book with it, and I address the issue in detail in the closing chapters.

My fervent wish is that when a loved one dies a violent and/or criminal death, particularly in the case of murder, that family members come together to support one another rather than increase the trauma by bickering among themselves.

Read an excerpt from the book . . .


Dare I Call It Murder? — A Memoir of Violent Loss
Book Event, August 1, Te Mana Cafe
Facebook Page
Book Blog

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Book Signing, August 1, Te Mana Cafe, San Diego

Another book event on the calendar: Te Mana Cafe, a friendly place where the motto is “Aloha in a Cup.”

If you’re in the area and can come by to say hello, it would be great to see you. (And Marguerite would appreciate your patronage.)

I may even break out the fiddle.

Te Mana Cafe
Friday, August 1
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

4956 Voltaire Street
Ocean Beach (San Diego), CA 92107

Also appearing at the event:

David Ward, San Diego Book Awards winner for the memoir Accidental Immigrants.

Douglas Grant, author of two novels: Imaginary Lines and Preemptive.

We hope to see you there.


For further updates, please visit:
Dare I Call It Murder? — A Memoir of Violent Loss
• Book signings in Kirkland, Seattle and San Diego
Reading selection by book clubs
Facebook Page
Book Blog

Again, thank you for your support and kind words.

Be well, do good, and may you have fair winds.


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Save the Date River of Remembrance September 20, 2014

Polishing Your Prose:

River of Remembrance ceremony in San Diego, in conjunction with the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims, Sept. 20, at the Memorial Oak Garden.

Please pass the word around . . .

Originally posted on Survivors of Violent Loss:

Survivors of Violent Loss (SVL) and
The Cara Knott Foundation invite you to the
River of Remembrance Ceremony
In honor of National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims
Crime Victims Oak Garden
Saturday, September 20, 2014 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

The River of Remembrance Ceremony is an informal peer-support event where you will have the opportunity to tell other crime survivors about your loved ones life and how you would like us to remember them. You can paint a rock with your loved ones name on it and put it into a “river” or participate in our t-shirt activity by painting a t-shirt and hanging it on our “memory clothes line.” You can bring your own rock or t-shirt or some will be available at the event as will paint and Supplies. You can also engrave smooth river rocks at Conti & Sons 619-264-2480. Rocks should be 6”-8” maximum.
Bring a…

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Comment Re Kirkus Reviews

Excellent observations by Giacomo Giammatteo in his blog post: Watchdog: Is Kirkus Selling Dreams – or Do They Deliver? I got a Kirkus Review for my latest book—Dare I Call It Murder?: A Memoir of Violent Loss—and I believe (one never really knows) it helped get the book into libraries and book stores, so I figure it paid for itself, at the very least. I also see it as icing on the cake in terms of reader purchase decisions. But I also know authors who did not get very good Kirkus reviews, and some who chose not to have their reviews published. I see it as a calculated gamble, as Giacomo says, and I believe I did it with eyes open.

The best sales tool is word of mouth, and that has held true for me—readers recommending my book to others, either through their own reviews (Amazon, Goodreads, etc.) or posting on Facebook and Twitter. I would never recommend those expensive review packages or advertising programs, especially from third-parties, such as ASI, Lulu, or any other publishing service. My only advertising has been the $60 insertion in the Ingram catalog (via Lightning Source), and I figure that was worth it.

I am fortunate in that my book sold well coming out of the gate, and Amazon took it from there, fueling the sales. I think the best thing an author can do, besides having a good product, is starting an online/social media marketing campaign well in advance of publication so the book catapults off the launching pad. If that is achieved, the Amazon Machine will pour more fuel on the fire.

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“Dare I Call It Murder?” 1-Yr Anniversary; New Titles on Horizon

Book Update

Dare I Call It Murder? - A Memoir of Violent Loss

Today marks the one-year anniversary of launching Dare I Call It Murder?: A Memoir of Violent Loss. And what a fantastic year it’s been. Not only getting the book out, but reconnecting with folks I haven’t seen in so many years, and making new friends.

Thank you readers, again, for your support, encouragement and kind words, and for helping to make the book one of the top-rated and best-selling memoirs at

I especially thank Janis, my dear spouse and partner in life, for her unwavering support.

Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources by Connie Saindon, MFTThe book passed several milestones, and now I have two new book projects on the horizon, Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources, and another that I need your help on deciding what to call it.

Read the entire update at: One-Year Anniversary;
New Titles on the Horizon


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‘Dare I Call It Murder?’ Wins SD Book Award for Best Published Memoir; Congrats to All Winners & Finalists

award winner: Dare I Call It Murder?: A Memoir of Violent Loss - Best Published Memoir -  San Diego Book Awards - 2014What a thrill and a delight, as my friend George Militzer (RIP) used to say, to have my book Dare I Call It Murder?: A Memoir of Violent Loss honored last night at the San Diego Book Awards as the Best Published Memoir.

With members of my writing group, Laurie Richards, Jenny Russell, and Jean Forsythe.

With members of my writing group, Laurie Richards, Jenny Russell, and Jean Forsythe.

I know it’s a cliché, but it’s still true and heartfelt: I can’t say “Thank You!” enough to all of the fellow writers, fellow survivors of violent loss, friends, and family members who helped me polish and publish this book, and to all the readers and supporters who turned the book into a highly rated Amazon best-seller. And thanks to the SDBAA for sponsoring this event to recognize the contributions and achievements of San Diego’s writers.

I especially thank Janis, my dear spouse and partner in life, for her unwavering support and for encouraging me when I was ready to throw in the towel. (Unfortunately, she did not feel well and could not attend the awards event last night.) (And yes, dear, I know I need a haircut.)

I’ve said this before, and please forgive me for continuing to say it, but the success of the book is bittersweet. I would have preferred to never have had to write it and about the devastation the violent deaths of my parents, Loren and Jody Edwards, wreaked upon our family.

The truly rewarding aspect of this is that people are getting the message about violent loss and what happens to the survivors, the living co-victims, in the aftermath of violent death. I get emails and cards from people who have had similar tragedies in their lives, thanking me for writing the book, for letting them know they are not alone. It’s nice to know that it is helping people in ways I never imagined. For that I am grateful.

Milt Burgess and Larry Edwards -  San Diego Book Awards .

Milt Burgess and Larry Edwards.

Congratulations to all the other winners and finalists, including two authors whose books I edited:

  • David Ward, winner, Best Unpublished Memoir, for Accidental Immigrants, a memoir about three young Englishmen who set off from Argentina in their Land Rover to drive the Pan American highway to the United States.
  • Milt Burgess, finalist, Sci-fi, for Water Shock, in which water expert Charlie Reagan does battle with evil people, true believers, natural disasters, and failed water policy in the southwest U.S.
Margaret Harmon - Larry Edwards - award winners

Award winners: Margaret Harmon and Larry Edwards at the San Diego Book Awards, June 21, 2014.

Other notables include:

  • Margaret Harmon, Best Published Anthology, The Genie Who Had Wishes of His Own
  • Layla Fiske, Best Published Historical Fiction and Geisel Award, The Fig Orchard
  • Janice Steinberg, Best Published General Fiction (tie), The Tin Horse
  • Zoe Ghahremani, Best Published General Fiction (tie), The Moon Daughter
  • Mike Sirota, Best Published Action/Thriller,Freedom’s Hand
  • Matt Coyle, Best Published Mystery Sisters In Crime Award, Yesterday’s Echo
  • Terry Ambrose, finalist, Published Action, Suspense & Thriller, License to Lie
  • Martin Roy Hill, finalist, Published Mystery, Empty Places
  • Karen Kenyon, finalist, Published Poetry-Anthology, Selected Poems of the Gypsy Poets (I attended Karen’s writing class some 25 years ago.)

Finally, congratulations to Chet Cunningham, for being honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, which he truly deserves. Chet, who has more than 400 books to his credit (he’s shooting for 500), is one of the founders of the SDBAA, as well as the San Diego Writers & Editors Guild, and has served as a mentor to many of the region’s aspiring writers, including me.


PS: For those you who are thinking, “Didn’t you win this award once before?”: Sort of. Two years ago the manuscript won in the Unpublished Memoir category.

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