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.

Some time ago, I wrote this post about the many ways authors can benefit from their local library. Most of that information is still relevant. For instance, I mentioned that it is difficult, but not impossible, for indie authors to get their books in the library. From recent discussions posted in some Goodreads groups, some authors still lament this fact, while others report having had their books placed in the library system with not much trouble.

With all of that information at the back of my mind, I decided to approach the African American Research Library in Fort Lauderdale where I’d done a book signing for Coming Out of Egypt. I spoke with the very pleasant lady in charge of acquisitions, and she requested a copy of my book so she could evaluate it. After several phone conversations, she got back to me with the good news: my book was deemed acceptable, and she would recommend it be placed in the collections. This was another process and required some more waiting.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I was notified that Coming Out of Egypt is now in the collections at the library and may be placed in other branches in Broward County as well. I am thrilled, to say the least. My goal is to have all three books in the series on all the shelves in the county. You can see the other books here. If you live in the Fort Lauderdale area, will you do me the favor of visiting the African American Research Library and Cultural Center on Sistrunk Blvd., and checking out my book? If it’s not available, please ask the librarian to put it on hold. Thank you so much!

If you haven’t done so yet, please sign up for my mailing list where you will receive updates on my books, giveaways and other author events.

I meant to post this earlier, but my day started out not quite the way I wanted it. You know how it is when you have a big day planned, that’s when things go wrong. So, I woke up with a cold this morning and had to take some cold meds and go back to bed. I feel much better now and am trying to make up for lost time. But it doesn’t matter. My invitation to the event is still open on my Facebook page at Women for All Seasons, so you can stop by and see what’s taking place.

Also happening today is the Instafreebie Romance Giveawayof sweet, contemporary romance and women’s fiction books. Coming Out of Egypt, the first book in the series, is in the giveaway, so now is a good time to get your free copy.

Not to be outdone is In the Wilderness, the second book in the series, now discounted to 99c for a limited time only.

Here’s a trivia question to end this post and give you a chance to win one of my books. The first three people to reply with the correct answer to the question below will win one of my books. Just tell me the title that you want. Okay, here’s the question: This Indo-Caribbean author, born in Trinidad, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001. Name the author and the novel that won him the prize. Please post your answer on my Facebook page at Women for All Seasons. I will leave it open until eight tonight EST.

A couple weeks ago, I posted that In the Promised Land, book 3 of the Egypt trilogy was coming soon. Well, now it's here. And until 6/29/2018, release day, you can get it for .99c. I'm excited about this book for 3 reasons:

1. It's gripping. Based on a true story, it features the rise of a Muslim coup in the beautiful island of Trinidad in the 1990s and the havoc it wrought for a short time. I have woven the story of Marva and June Garcia, main characters of the Egypt series, around it to show how this brought about dramatic changes in their lives.

2. It's romantic. Written from a Christian perspective, this story captures the romantic tension between the couples without any graphic love scenes, while allowing the reader to use their imagination.

3. It's conclusive. It draws the curtain on the lives of these two young women in a way that I think will satisfy readers who have followed them on their turbulent journey out of Egypt.

Order your copy today and when you read it, please leave a review on Amazon so that other readers will be guided into making a choice. And if you haven't yet signed up for my newsletter, please do so today.

Those are the words on a pretty little plaque that hangs in my guest bathroom. It features a very cheery design with bright, colorful circles and a few glittering pom poms. Whenever I look at it, I get the feeling that life is indeed beautiful.

But is it always?

This week the world was saddened and shocked by the suicide deaths of Kate Spade, handbag designer, and Anthony Bourdain, food writer and TV celebrity, famous for his weekly documentary “Parts Unknown.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates have risen nearly 30% since 1999. This is shocking to say the least. What is the reason for this? When we look at Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain and other celebrities, their lives seem to be beautiful, but “you don’t know if the roof is leaking until you get inside,” Anthony Bourdain.

You may be wondering why I’m writing about suicide on this blog. The reason is that the second book in my Egypt series, In the Wilderness, deals with this very topic. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, here it is in a nutshell:

Marva, the protagonist, is tortured by guilt after having killed her father as a result of sexual abuse. Certain that the police will one day arrest her for the murder, she sees suicide as her only option. But before she can carry out her carefully-laid plans, something terrible happens – something that uncovers her closely guarded secret and leaves her groping in the wilderness.

Here we see one of the factors that can contribute to depression and suicidal thoughts – guilt – but experts tell us that there’s usually a combination of factors that push someone over the edge. As someone who has worked in behavioral health, counseling suicidal patients, I have some idea of the burden these people carry. That is why I wrote this book – to give hope to people who are hopeless and understanding to those who love them and suffer along with them.

For a limited time, you can download the first chapter of this gripping novel by clicking the link or signing up on the pop-up form.

Happy Memorial Day to all you wonderful folks out there. The day is almost over, but I hope you had a relaxing day with friends and family and are ready to resume your normal routine tomorrow. Maybe you also got in some reading, or plan to do that before bed, which is always a blessing.

As for me, I spent the day catching up on emails and editing my new book In the Promised Land to upload to Amazon. This is the third book in the Egypt trilogy and I’m super excited to be finally putting it out there into the world. If you’ve already read the first two books Coming Out of Egypt and In the Wilderness, then you should be anxiously awaiting the grand finale.

Some time ago, I revealed the cover and blurb. Here they are again to whet your appetite. As a young nun at the Corpus Christi Home for Girls, Marva Garcia has always leaned on the Everlasting Arms for wisdom and strength to meet the day-to-day challenges of mentoring delinquent girls. But then the challenges multiply, and Marva sees her orderly world crumbling around her. As she tries to make sense of all this, Marva is increasingly drawn to another pair of arms that had been there for her all along. Can she love a man and still love God?
Fans of the perennial favorite The Sound of Music will love this Caribbean story of a nun’s struggle to balance her passion for God with her growing love for her childhood sweetheart.

If you enjoy reading this blog, please sign up to receive updates and special offers.

I am still in a state of euphoria following the royal wedding on Saturday, which is why I’m so late writing this post today. I’ve been viewing all the stunning photos splashed all over the internet and reading the comments—some of which are downright, Pulitzer-prize worthy—and berating myself for not doing some work.

So, here goes. This post is intended for my fellow authors, but readers are welcome to peep over their shoulders to see the reason for some terrible reviews you see on Amazon. When agents and editors reject our work, they usually say that the fault is not with our writing. The story is just not the right fit for them. Yeah, right. And I’m the Duchess of Sussex.

Sometimes, the writing is bad, very bad. Typos, grammatical errors, misspellings, you name it, it’s there. Recently, I gave a bad review to a book that was given me in exchange for an honest review, and, truth be told, it contained none of those flaws mentioned above. In fact, the prose was beautiful. Descriptive passages to die for. But that’s where it ended for me. Even though the book belonged to a genre I don’t read, I was prepared to give it a shot, but try as I did, I couldn’t connect with the protagonist, couldn’t understand her motive, and most of the time I couldn’t understand what was taking place. It was a very difficult read.

I felt badly about giving such a poor rating, but I had to write my honest impression. I was happy to see that some other reviewers gave the book four stars, but it just didn’t work for me. So, the next time you get a poor rating, take it with a pinch of salt, as we say. Maybe it wasn’t the right choice for the reviewer, or she was distracted by a wedding—hers or someone else’s.

You can still pick up a copy of Coming Out of Egypt, book 1 of the Egypt series for just 99c. and In the Wilderness for $2.99. If you haven’t joined this newsletter, you are missing out on special offers. So, please sign up on the form below. And look out for In the Promised Land, the third and final book in the series, soon to be on preorder.

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