Today I am writing about something that is a little bit different from the stuff I usually post to this blog. However, in case you didn’t know it, I am a therapist and have worked in behavioral health for many years, therefore, mental or behavioral health is important to me. If you have read any of my books, you will see that. So, what am I getting at? In addition to encouraging you to read more, I would also like to introduce you to another form of relaxation – coloring. And what better way to do so than with mandalas?

Mandalas are said to have originated in India for religious purposes. Some religions still use mandalas for meditation and in their rituals. In recent times, coloring mandalas has become very popular as a therapeutic activity. It is believed that the repetitive movements of coloring the geometrical shapes cause the mind to focus on the activity and get rid of anxiety.

I have found this to be true when I did this with my patients, and while they colored, I frequently engaged myself in coloring as well. At the end of the session I felt relaxed, energized and refreshed, and my patients reported similar feelings. So, coloring is not for children or adults with mental illness, but for everyone. It’s a good stress buster, relaxer and helps bring out your creative side. So why not give your body and your brain a boost by coloring these mandalas?

Access your mandala book by clicking on the link below and enjoy hours of fun and relaxation.

mandala-book

The Clan of the Wolf, Book 2
Historical Romance, Native American Romance
Date Published: June 2018
Publisher: PK&J Publishing

Amazon: http://a.co/d/75gcUSO

He saved her life, then stole her heart….
To escape an arranged marriage, Mia Carlson, daughter of a U.S. senator, instead elopes with the man she loves. As they are escaping from her Virginia home, heading west, their wagon train is brutally attacked, leaving Mia alone and in grave danger. Rescue comes from a most unlikely source, a passing Lakota scouting party, led by the darkly handsome Indian, Brave Wolf.
Although Brave Wolf has consented to guide Mia to the nearest trading post, he holds himself apart from her, for his commitments lie elsewhere. But long days on the trail lead to a deep connection with the red-haired beauty. Yet, he can’t stop wondering why death and danger stalk this beautiful woman, forcing him to rescue her time and again. Who is doing this, and why?
One thing is clear, however: Amid the flurry of dodging assassin bullets, Brave Wolf and Mia come into possession of a powerful love. But is it all for naught? Will Brave Wolf’s obligations and Mia’s secret enemy from the past finally succeed in the sinister plot to destroy their love forever?

Warning: Sensuous romance and cameo appearances of Tahiska and Kristina from the book, Lakota Surrender, might cause a happily-ever-after to warm your heart.

When I began writing Coming Out of Egypt sixteen years ago, I never dreamed that sexual assault, the book’s subject matter, would be so much in the news today. But it is, and women from all walks of life are coming forward to tell their stories and they are inspiring others to do so. Does that mean that sexual assault will go away completely? I don’t thinks so, but it may deter some would-be perpetrators from carrying out these vicious acts.

Coming Out of Egypt is set in the 1980s, a time when such things were only whispered about. The protagonist is seventeen-year-old Marva who, along with her younger sister June, was sexually abused by their father. As with most sexual assault victims, the girls were too ashamed to tell anyone what they were being subjected to. One night, unable to take it anymore, Marva killed her father. This is where the story begins.

I am still amazed at the timeliness of this story and I think you will be too. Also, the psychological traits displayed by sexual abuse victims are well portrayed in these characters. But despite the disturbing subject matter, there is much light-hearted content to balance those agonizing moments:

June and her penchant for attracting boys; the passionate romance between Cicely and David; the vivid descriptions of the exotic setting and most of all, the redemptive message that unfolds as a flower (according to one reviewer) throughout the book.

Here is what some reviewers are saying about Coming Out of Egypt:

Solid book. Well written. Important topic. Engaging characters – CM

Coming Out of Egypt is a story of survival that grips your attention from beginning to end.- Eunice Matchett

The story of abuse in any form is hard to read, but more, when it is incest by a trusted parent. Who do you turn to when there is no one to turn to when a relationship goes wrong? God! This story shows what it looks like when the trust in a relationship is gone and there is no one to whom you can turn. Through many different relationships and through many different eyes we see how this walk looks and possibly feels. We are never alone or forsaken. – Titagee

If you would like to judge for yourself if what these readers said is true, why don’t you get a copy for yourself? Just click on the image below.

Have you ever thought about taking a writing course? Or, maybe sending something you have written to a publishing house and having it accepted? Well, now you can enroll in The Guidepost Writing Course and make your dreams a reality. This writing course, titled “How to tell a Great Story,” is a two-hour self-paced class designed to teach you how to write your own story or memoir that you can share with friends, family or even have published on a website or in a local or national publication.

The class is taught by master storytellers from Guideposts, using a formula that has worked for Guideposts for over 70 years. The course consists of twelve video lessons and comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.

You can learn more about the course by clicking on this link: https://guideposts-academy.thinkific.com/courses/how-to-tell-a-great-story

Here is what others are saying about the course:

Guideposts Academy 5 Stars
By Patricia Parish
July 8th, 2018

This course an incredible opportunity for me. No university could have done better. So much for so little money. I thank you all so very much. Will be sending something to you all regularly even if all I get is rejections! So grateful for the helpful information, I am tearing up as I write this. Patricia (Pat) Parish, Blessings to the teachers and all your personnel.

Rating: 5 of 5

Quick Course that is Very Helpful
By Barbara Litchfield
April 30th, 2018

Thus course is excellent! The short recorded sessions with Edward, Rick, Colleen, Jim, and Amy, were full of helpful information for writers in any genre. The workbook download helped me with note taking and reinforced the learning. I also am grateful that I can retake the course whenever I need a refresher. It is definitely worth $24.99.

You can find more reviews here: https://guideposts-academy.thinkific.com/pages/course-reviews?p=1

If you want to be like these people and receive this tuition for a minimal cost, then click on the image below and enroll today.

My latest book, In the Promised Land, book 3 of the Egypt series is the story of Marva, who became a nun because she felt that was what God wanted her to be. I must confess that before writing this book, I had never read a nun’s story or the very popular The Nun’s Story by Kathryn Hulme, first published in 1956. However, I had attended a Convent high school and upon graduation, I desired to become a nun. Even though I was not Catholic. Really. But that’s for another post.

I also became a great fan of the perennial favorite The Sound of Music – I watch it every Christmas – and fell in love with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Little did I know I would one day write a nun’s story. But when I wrote Coming Out of Egypt, the first book in the series, Marva, the protagonist, told me she wanted to become a nun. That because of the abuse she’d suffered at the hands of her father, she couldn’t be a wife to anyone, not even her handsome friend from childhood, whom she loved dearly.

I wasn’t sure I wanted her to become a nun. After all, my mother didn’t want me becoming a nun, so why should I give in to my creation’s pleas to become a woman of the cloth? But Marva has always been a strong protag, and so after suffering a horrible accident in In the Wilderness book 2, I agreed to let her have her way. She became a nun – a devoted one at that, she always gives her all to anything she does – and for a while, I felt content to letting her remain a nun. But, you remember that handsome childhood friend I mentioned earlier? Well, he never got Marva out of his system. And that’s as far as I’ll go with this. Let Marva tell you the rest. Let her explain her struggles between her love for Jesus and her love for Jason, and see what choice she makes in the end.

Get In the Promised Land on Amazon and when you do, please leave a review so that other readers can be guided in making their choices. And if you haven’t done so yet, please sign up for my newsletter and invite your friends to do so.

Hope you are enjoying your Labor Day holiday. I am taking full advantage of the stormy weather we’re having in South Florida today to catch up on some writing and reading as tropical storm Gordon moves through. Whatever you do today, take some time to rest and prepare for tomorrow.

When you think of a library, you think of a place that is always quiet, where people speak barely above a whisper, so you can read or browse the bookshelves with little distraction. Well, this past Friday evening, one of my local libraries, the South Regional – Broward College Library, did not fit this description. And no one complained because everyone was there to celebrate the 56th independence anniversary of the twin-island nation of Trinidad & Tobago. It was a time of food, fun, laughter and, as happens with every T & T occasion, music.

I was fortunate to have a table at the festivities where I met a lot of fellow Trinidadians, and sold a few copies of my book Coming Out of Egypt. I must tell you I was a little surprised, and pleased, at how much the title drew people’s attention, and here’s why. The story of the two sisters who came out of an abusive childhood begins in their hometown of Egypt Village, Trinidad. Egypt in the Bible represents a place of bondage; a place where the Israelites were kept in slavery for 400 years until God sent Moses to deliver them. The girls’ situation when the story begins is one of bondage – they were abused by their father, although that took before the story began. They eventually flee Egypt Village to elude the police and so they came out of Egypt literally. With the intervention of Marva’s teacher, they begin to overcome some of the effects of the abuse and therefore came out of Egypt figuratively.

That’s the reason for the title Coming Out of Egypt, and I had lots of opportunity to explain that to curious passersby, some of whom were familiar with Egypt Village. I just kept thinking I hope I have all the facts surrounding the setting straight, which is why it’s so important to research settings carefully when you are writing about a place.

You can also follow this gripping series with book 2 In the Wilderness and book 3 In the Promised Land by clicking these links.

Recently, we saw the passing of three famous people that I know of – Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and V.S. Naipaul, novelist, Nobel Prize winner for Literature (2001) and my fellow Trinidadian. I seldom write two posts so close together, but when I heard of Mr. Naipaul’s passing, I thought a tribute was fitting. Even more so when I saw that former president Barack Obama is reading his breakthrough, autobiographical novel A House for Mr. Biswas.

Of this novel President Obama said, “With the recent passing of V.S. Naipaul, I reread A House for Mr Biswas, the Nobel Prize winner’s first great novel about growing up in Trinidad and the challenge of post-colonial identity.”

No Trinidad student from my generation could have passed through high school without reading that book and Miguel Street. I even mentioned the latter in my first novel Coming Out of Egypt as one of the books that absorbed the interest of June, one of my main characters.

Naipaul, born of Indian ancestry, migrated from Trinidad to England in the 1950s and was henceforth referred to as a British author. Naipaul attributed his aspirations to become a writer to his father, a journalist, who, Naipaul said had a great reverence for writers and the writing life. Naipaul’s younger brother Shiva was also a writer. A prolific author of fiction and non-fiction, Naipaul has been compared to such literary giants as Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness), and Charles Dickens.

What struck me about V S Naipaul’s writing was his dry sense of humor and his detailed descriptions of objects that would otherwise be insignificant. In A House for Mr. Biswas, which Teju Cole (American writer, photographer and art critic) describes as lively, funny and malicious, here’s how he describes a kitchen safe: They had acquired a kitchen safe of white wood and netting. This too had been awkward to varnish and had been painted. One leg was shorter than the others and had to be propped up; now they knew without thinking that they must never lean on the safe or handle it with violence.

Naipaul himself named this novel as the one closest to him and the one that contains his funniest writing. His writing was not only funny, but he had that ability to tell a story in a way that made characters, setting and the author’s voice come alive in a way that, I think, few authors can. Vidia Naipaul inspired me, and I daresay many others, to become a writer.

I look forward to spending many pleasant hours rereading this epic masterpiece, when I do get it from the library. There are many holds before me, but I don’t mind. It’s worth the wait.

I am pleased to feature the Cover Reveal for this exciting new Women’s Fiction by E.A. Fournier

Still Breathing

Date Published: November 17, 2018
Designer: Damonza
Publisher: Acorn Publishing

Book description

Newly widowed and on the threshold of seventy, Lizzie Warton questions the value of her remaining years. Uncharacteristically, she decides for the first time in her life to do what she wants, instead of what everyone expects.

Against the wishes of family and friends, she sets out for Africa to work at a Ugandan middle school. When she lands at night in the Entebbe airport, her hosts are not there to meet her. Near panic, she hires a local taxi. The driver drugs her, steals everything, and dumps her limp body in a slum. Waking in the dark, she feels someone tugging off her shoes.

Without money, a passport, clothes, or medications, Lizzie is forced to start over and find a way to survive. Soon she learns that nothing in Africa is as it appears. The grind of daily life in the third-world is beyond anything Lizzie imagined. Nevertheless, encouraged by budding friendships in surprising places, and against every sensible instinct she’s ever developed, Lizzie’s own personal search for meaning becomes the grand adventure of a lifetime.

Excerpt

“Hey, muzungu! Over here!”

“Lady, best prices in Owino!”

“I have jeans. You want jeans? New styles from America!”

“Hey! Pretty white lady! Over here!”

“Best quality! Best prices! Today, only for you, muzungu!”

“I have a new shipment! Come and see!”

“Muzungu! Lady, what you need?”

Lizzie was sick of the accented voices shouting at her. She had yet to see another white woman in the claustrophobic market. Warned in advance, she had ignored the hands on her arms, the fingers trailing across her fingers, even the nudges to move her toward their shops, but she was fed up with the vendors’ constant calls aimed at her. Still, she doggedly maintained her wooden smile, even though she was gritting her teeth behind it.

At one point, a vendor called out a question in Luganda and someone else answered it. Lizzie was sure it had something to do with her. Laughter broke out and other voices chimed in with more quips. Grinning faces nodded at her as she walked away.

Lizzie shot a questioning look at Mrs. Birungi, who rolled her eyes, even though a smile tugged at her mouth. “It is nothing – just vendor talk. Ignore it. We need to go over that way.” Birungi pointed to a split in the congested path ahead, and steered them to the right.

Afiya pulled abreast of Lizzie a little later as they bobbed through a brief open place in the moving crowd. “They said they not sure if you are white or Ugandan.”

“What?”

“It was joke. Our people always make jokes.”

“How was it a joke?”

“Somebody said you half Ugandan.” The girl suppressed a grin.

“I don’t get it.”

“They said you have white top but Ugandan bottom.” Afiya smiled broadly as she said the line.

Lizzie looked back at her, puzzled.

“This kind bottom.” Afiya patted her own rump. “Word means both things. They admired your…bottom.” Afiya couldn’t help but giggle as she repeated the word.

Lizzie understood and sighed. “Well, I guess that’s not the worst thing I’ve ever heard.” In her mind, a little appreciative thought blossomed at still being noticed in that way, at all. She hastily chided herself and kept walking, but her hips now swayed a tiny bit more, nevertheless.

Originally from South Minneapolis, Gene Fournier earned a BA in Philosophy & Literature from St. Louis University followed by a Masters in Film from USC. Gene is a member of the Writers Guild of America west (WGA) and worked as a screenwriter and editor in Hollywood, but sadly, he never got that big break.

Seeking a return to his roots after twelve years in California, he accepted a Director of Media position with a multinational company headquartered in the Midwest. For thirty years he wrote, directed, edited and distributed corporate video programs around the world, managed live presentations, and orchestrated the creative elements for national and international meetings.

Retired now, with his seven children grown, and a dozen grandchildren to distract him, Gene is finally able to write down the stories he’s been carrying in his head all these years.

Contact Information

Website: https://www.eafournier.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gammera
Blog: https://www.eafournier.com/blog
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40097206-still-breathing

From now until 8/21 you can enter this giveaway for a chance to win a copy of In the Wilderness, the gripping sequel to Coming Out of Egypt. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Just click on the link below.
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/6547ca9f03e84f22

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Have you ever found that some things just happen at the right time? You are driving into the supermarket parking lot and a car pulls out of the spot nearest the door just as you are coming in? A lame example, maybe, but it happened to me this morning. But finding convenient parking spaces is not what this post about. It’s about a newsletter I received from an author I subscribe to. Yes, I subscribe to a lot of newsletters so I can learn new things. Anyway, this author doesn’t mind me writing about her because I have her permission to reproduce her article in its entirety.

For quite some time, she has been battling cancer. This post has to do with the results of her latest tests and why it is important to have a plan B. The reason I’m writing this is because I too have to have a plan B. In a few weeks, I’ll undergo a procedure to burn a mass on my kidney. I never thought it could happen to me. I have always been healthy, but hey, it happens to the best of us, and this is why Beth’s post is so timely and so encouraging.

Here it is:

Plan B.
Beth Ann Erickson

I just got off a great roller coaster ride called the “cancer checkup.” At first, this “vigilant monitoring” by my cancer team felt reassuring, comforting. “If they find something,” my doc said, “they’ll catch it early.”
Okay. Fine.
Except, the luster has worn off this gem. Last year, docs suspected I had ovarian cancer. After a nightmarish gauntlet of tests, poking, prodding, and general angst, it turned out I was ovulating. (What? A female ovulating? Whoda thunk?)
This year, it was plump chest lymph nodes that landed me in the test tube. With nearly two months of my summer burned up in uncertainty and stress, I like to think I’ve become fairly proficient in working Plan B.

Here are a few tips for when you need to formulate and implement an emergency Plan B:

When faced with uncertainty, whether it’s emergencies blasting your schedule, health emergencies, the echos of other people’s actions… here’s tip #1: Keep your editorial schedule flexible. Hard deadlines will add stress to an already difficult situation. Give yourself lots of lead time to ensure you can handle your projects with finesse.

Tip #2: Understand that some days will sweep you away. That’s just the nature of life… especially as you, and those around you, age. One trip to the MD can burn through an entire day. Easily. This is a big reason it’s important to keep your schedule flexible.

Next, be kind to yourself. Watching other writer’s success can be bitter sweet at this point. It can be difficult to look at your own circumstances and compare your career to another person’s. That’s an unfortunate trap you should be aware of and actively avoid.

Every human earth plays a part in their own orchestra. To compare your song to another’s is a futile activity. Enjoy your music. Allow others to play theirs, no comparison necessary. Truth is, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, mostly you live between these two points.

Also, be sure to have a contingency plan to adjust things fast. When I was in the middle of the latest, and quite serious, cancer scare, I had a way to swap around every project at a moment’s notice, relying on trusted team members to take care of essential tasks. I also worked ahead, for example, mailing royalty statements early to give me lots of wiggle room if my publishing schedule got decimated. I figured if I had my ducks in a row and everything went south, I could exit the office a while before all heck broke loose.

Lastly, treasure your faithful readers, team members, and be sure to thank everyone who supported you during your rough patch. Life can be difficult. None of us will make it out alive. The kind people you meet along the way are precious. Always remember that.

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.” http://filbertpublishing.com

While this article is targeted to writers, I believe most, if not all of you can benefit from Beth’s words of wisdom. As for me, I’m taking each day as it comes, doing the best I can, and trusting God to do for me what I, or the doctors, cannot do for myself. Until next time, I covet your prayers.

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That’s the mantra that’s been on the lips of folks here in Broward County, South Florida since the summer began. And with good reason. If you are looking for ways to occupy your kids while they are on vacation, your local library -whatever part of the country you live in – is one of the best places you can turn to. Not only do the kids have access to books, videos and storytelling sessions, but they can also use the computers equipped with free wi-fi.

And for adults, the library is not just a place to read or check out books, but a place where you can attend workshops on a variety of topics, including health, wellness and business. Some of the libraries offer videoconferencing equipment, large format printers and wireless printing. But that’s not all. At the Jan Moran Collier City Learning Library in Pompano Beach, you can take part in music production. This facility offers all the instruments you need along with a music mentoring program.

This past weekend I attended the South Florida Book Festival at the African-American Research and Library Center in Fort Lauderdale. It was a packed event with lots of authors and presenters. Apparently, tables were allotted on a first- come, first-serve basis, so I lucked out. Still, I had a wonderful time, chatting with some of the authors and exchanging cards. And I had the special thrill of seeing my book, Coming Out of Egypt prominently displayed alongside the other new books.

As a child growing up, I loved the library. It was the place where I met old friends and made new ones; where I explored distant places, flew over raging seas and climbed perilous mountains. It was the place where I lost myself and found myself. Today, as an adult and an author, I value the library even more. I hope that all of you reading this already love your library and will take advantage of the many resources it offers.

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