September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month, and I thought it a good time to repost this article I wrote some time ago in case you missed it (ICYMI). Why am I posting about suicide on my writing blog? Because In the Wilderness, the second book in my Egypt series, deals with suicide and it’s now going at a discounted rate.

Life is beautiful. 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.

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The Black Origins of Mysticism and Psychology

Psychology

Date Published: September 14, 2021

Publisher: Inner Traditions; 3rd Edition, Revised Edition of The African Unconscious



Reveals how spirituality and the collective unconscious of all of humanity originated in Africa

Examines the Oldawan, the Ancient Soul of Africa, and its correlation with what modern psychologists have defined as the collective unconscious

Draws on archaeology, DNA research, history, and depth psychology to reveal how the biological and spiritual roots of religion and science came out of Africa

Explores the reflections of our African unconscious in the present confrontation in the Americas, in the work of the Founding Fathers, and in modern psychospirituality

The fossil record confirms that humanity originated in Africa. Yet somehow we have overlooked that Africa is also at the root of all that makes us human–our spirituality, civilization, arts, sciences, philosophy, and our conscious and unconscious minds.

In this African-revisioned look at the unfolding of human history and culture, Edward Bruce Bynum reveals how our collective unconscious is African. Drawing on archaeology, DNA research, history, depth psychology, and the biological and spiritual roots of religion and science, he demonstrates how all modern human beings, regardless of ethnic or racial categorizations, share a common deeper identity, both psychically and genetically, connected with a primordial African unconscious.

Exploring the beginning of early religions, spirituality, and mysticism in Africa, along with philosophy, art, and science, the author looks at the Egyptian Nubian role in the rise of civilization and the emergence of Kemetic Egypt, revealing how and why ancient Egypt was separated from the rest of Africa in the Western mind–despite it being the most sophisticated expression of the Mother Continent. He examines the Oldawan, the Ancient Soul, and its correlation with what modern psychologists have defined as the collective unconscious. Revealing the spiritual and psychological ramifications of our shared African ancestry, the author examines its reflections in the present confrontation in the Americas, in the work of the Founding Fathers, and in modern Black spirituality, which arose from African diaspora religion and philosophy.

By recognizing our shared African unconscious, the matrix that forms the deepest luminous core of human identity, we can learn to see and feel that the differences between one person and another are merely superficial and ultimately there is no real separation between the material and the spiritual


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The United States Supreme Court’s ruling on the Texas ban on abortion by women who are more than six weeks pregnant continues to draw strong reactions from many sectors of our society. The reason I’m writing this post is to show the relevance of what happened to my protagonist in the first novel of my series Coming Out of Egypt to what is taking place in the news today.

So, ICYMI, here’s an excerpt of that blog post I wrote :

In my debut novel Coming Out of Egypt, the protagonist Marva and her sister June Garcia were both sexually abused by their father. Marva became pregnant and her father instructed her mother to perform an abortion on her. In a scene following her birthday party, Marva recounts to June what happened:

“I had to have an abortion because of Daddy. He made Mama do it to me. The pain was so bad he gave me a shot of gin to dull the pain. And it helped. That was my first drink. After that, I dropped out of school. I knew the teachers were talking about me. It was horrible. I don’t want the same thing happening to you. I don’t want anything to stop you from finishing your education and making something of yourself.”

In another scene where she is being questioned by a police officer:

“Marva, years ago you had an abortion, didn’t you?”

She sprang up from her chair. “Who told you about that?” She turned her back and folded her arms in a show of defiance. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Then it’s true. You did have an abortion.”

Seconds passed before she replied, “Yes, I had an abortion, and I don’t want to talk about it.” She paused. “I never had so much pain in my life.”

As you read the book, you will see that this traumatic event left a long and lasting effect on Marva, as I believe it does on a lot of women. Years ago in college, I chose abortion as the topic for my persuasive speech in Speech class. After a lot of research, I discovered that many women who have abortions either do so for economic reasons or they are pressured by their boyfriends or even their husbands.

From my biology class, I learned that life does begin at conception; that by the time a woman realizes she is pregnant, the fetus (or blob of blood as some like to call it) already has a heartbeat. All this information solidified my Christian belief that women should not have abortions. I guess my speech was so convincing I received the highest grade in all the speech classes in my year.

So what I’m going to say next may shock you. I don’t think a woman should have an abortion unless her life is at risk, however, I also believe she does have the right to choose whether she wishes to keep her baby or not. If she could look herself in the mirror and decide she wants to have an abortion, that’s between her and God. She and she alone will have to answer to Him when the time comes.

I know I’ll receive a lot of flak for this but I believe there’s a lot more to being a Christian than just being against abortion. There’s no big sin and little sin where God is concerned. I believe women should not have to suffer the way Marva and countless other women suffered long ago— when abortion was illegal — and some still do today. ‘Nuff said.

To learn more about Marva and June, go to my author page where you will see the other books in the Egypt series. The first book Coming Out of Egypt is just 99c. and if you are in Kindle Unlimited, you can read the other two books for free. Also, for Labor Day and until the end of this month, the other two books in the series, In the Wilderness and In the Promised Land are both discounted by a dollar each. Enjoy!

 


  Books 1, Cavendish Family Chronicles

Historical Romance (steamy)

Date Published: August 26, 2021



A penniless widow. A baron running from love. Will a marriage of convenience save them or tear them apart?

Widow Sarah Pennington has no time for love. Sending a son to Harrow is not cheap, and her husband’s lies left them in poverty. When she loses her position at the bookshop, she knows marriage isn’t the answer. Only her own hard work will save the day.

It seems Baron Eaden can’t love a woman without her dying. To keep his daughters, and his heart, safe, he roams the world, keeping his distance. But when his hunt for a rare book brings him back to London, he knows he must do the one thing he’s avoided for years—find them a mother. He needs a woman who’s up to the challenge, not one to fall in love with. Because he’s vowed never to make that mistake again.

The determined, lovely-eyed widow in the bookshop challenges Henry in every way. She’s exactly who his daughters need. But she’d rather have the book he’s after than his hand in marriage.

A marriage of convenience could save Sarah and her son, but when she finds passion in the baron’s arms, she realizes security isn’t enough. She wants Henry’s heart. If he can find the courage to trust her with it.


Excerpt

Sarah stopped their progress and pulled away from him. Twisting her hands in front of her, she watched her son walk farther ahead then drew in a breath, and seemed to conquer whatever ailed her. Henry enjoyed watching the process of her gathering fortitude for whatever it was she was about to say.

Did you truly come back to issue a third proposal of marriage?”

You know I have.”

She smirked. “Third time’s the charm?”

No. That suggests luck. Luck doesn’t obtain much of anything important. I’ve come prepared this time.” He resisted looking toward James. He kept his eyes pinned on hers. “The first time I proposed I did so on a moment’s whim. The second time, I’d determined that my whim was logical and correct, but I was not in the best of states to make a persuasive argument.”

She eyed him from boots to hat. “And you are in a better state now?” she asked.

While James had been fitted for new clothes, Henry had returned to Steven’s for a bath and a shave. He knew he didn’t make a shabby picture.

I believe I am prepared.” Henry stepped closer and untwisted Mrs. Pennington’s hands. Folding them in his own, he said, “Mrs. Pennington, we just met yesterday, but I believe we have much to offer one another. I’ll not repeat those arguments I made yesterday. You know them as well as I. Instead, I’ll say what I did not and should have.”

He’d not said words like he was about to say to any woman in over five years, and he’d never said them to anyone on so short an acquaintance. But they must be said. They were true, he found, despite it all. He reached a hand to her temple where a curl had escaped her simple chignon.

I think you’re exquisite,” he said. “I think you’re smart. I think you’re brave. I think there’s no woman in England I’d rather marry half as much as you.”

She blinked several times. Her mouth parted slightly. Her chest rose and fell faster than it had moments before.

I have one more argument, and it may be my most persuasive yet.”

Oh?”

He snaked his arm around her waist and pulled her against his chest. He dipped his head until their noses touched. “Always put your best argument last.” His lips brushed hers before sinking in to drink long and full. The kiss was to him like water to the desert-lost soul. Her soft curves pushed against his chest, her long, strong back beneath his fingertips, all overwhelmed his senses.

When her hands flattened against his chest, flexed, then roamed upward to wind around his neck, he moaned, then parted her lips with his tongue to drink of her more deeply.

She let him make a spectacle of them both in the street until he was convinced, completely and utterly, of her answer. He grinned in their kiss, pulling away to view her flushed face.

Well?” he asked. “Are you persuaded?” He needed to hear her say it. Yes.

Her hands still curled around his neck, and she stood on tiptoe, leaning against him. Her body resting against his for balance, for stability, felt like perfection. Better than the hot Egyptian sun. Better than a soft bed or warm bath. Better than being back at Cavendish Manor.

She smiled, bit her lip. He knew what her smile meant. It meant victory.


About The Author

Charlie Lane traded in academic databases and scholarly journals for writing steamy Regency romcoms like the ones she’s always loved to read. Her favorite authors are Jane Austen (who else?), Toni Morrison, William Blake, Julia Quinn, Tessa Dare, and Amanda Quick, and when she’s not writing humorous conversations, dramatic confrontations, or sexy times, she’s flying high in the air as a circus-obsessed acrobat.


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If I were to answer this question, I know immediately what I would say, “It holds my interest.” If I were to delve a little further to determine why it holds my interest, I think the answer I may come up with is the character/characters. It’s like remembering your favorite movie. What made you like it, tell others about it, want to see it again? The character/s captivated you.

Character – And so it is with any book I read. I want a protagonist who is relatable, interesting, and likeable. This does not mean you will like everything your character does, however, you may find the character’s actions justifiable. Which brings me to another point.

Motive – A character’s motive in the story should be tied in with either her intrinsic (internal) or extrinsic (external) needs. For example in my first novel Coming Out of Egypt, Marva the protagonist kills her father just before the story begins. What could be her motive for carrying out such a heinous act? Readers later discover that the killing was accidental and occurred during the process of Marva trying to rescue June her younger sister from their father’s abuse (external). Her internal needs were always to escape his abuse and forge a new life for herself and June. This brings me to the next important element:

Plot – This action on Marva’s part sets the plot into motion. Everything that follows is as a result of that first spur-of-the-moment decision. By this time the reader is either rooting for Marva, turning the pages to see what happens next, or she has tossed the book aside, thinking it a waste of time. I am happy to report that Coming Out of Egypt has not had one negative review. Everyone has had only positive things to say about her and about the book in general.

Marva is the star of the show. The other characters follow her lead, either to support her or to attempt to throw her into prison. Like Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice), Katniss (The Hunger Games), and Jane Eyre, Marva captures the image of a young woman willing to take risks and stand up for what she believes in.

If you have not yet read Coming Out of Egypt, you should do so now, while the price is just .99c. And while you are at it, why not get the other two books in the series, In the Wilderness and In the Promised Land.

Interesting title, isn’t it? I’m sure it will hook you the way it did me, but this book by Penn and Kim Holderness will hook you even more. It asks the same questions many of us ask ourselves: Is our marriage in trouble if we fight all the time? Is it possible to learn how to fight?

In Everybody Fights, couples will learn how to:

  • conjure the magic of metacommunication
  • break free of secret contracts
  • banish the three Ds—distraction, denial, and delay
  • carry their own individual baggage while helping each other deal with theirs

Everybody Fights is not only realistic, it’s entertaining, enlightening and life-changing (or marriage-changing, if you will.) If you want to learn how to “get better at fighting” and put the spark back into your marriage, I highly recommend you read this book.

You can purchase the book here: http://bit.ly/EverybodyFightsBook

Watch the video to learn more.

Would you like a pop quiz? Yes? Okay, here goes. What was the first social media platform and when was it started? Extra points if you didn’t google it. In case you couldn’t bother to look it up, the first social media site was SixDegrees.com, born in 1997.

Then we got Friendster (2002), My Space (2003), followed by the king of them all, Facebook. Other popular sites are Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest and a host of others, all having their own set of rules and all keeping us glued to our devices whether we want to or not.

I must confess when I first heard about Facebook I was determined to ignore it as I had done MySpace, but once I began writing professionally, I saw the value of Facebook to help me get the word out about my work. Then I discovered I could establish connections with like-minded individuals, friends and relatives from every corner of the globe and get to know people I would otherwise never meet. Social media is a wonderful tool.

But like everything else, it can be misused. We have heard in recent times about the accounts of prominent officials— not just here in America, but other parts of the world— being suspended. Some see this as an infringement on their freedom of speech; others see it as a necessary means of curtailing activities that can be harmful to individuals or the general public.

As with any freedom we enjoy, speech should be used responsibly. I don’t like it when people send me messages I didn’t invite them to or consider inappropriate, as happened recently. I was able to delete the message but could not block the sender and I didn’t have the time to contact Facebook there and then.

That’s just a small example of the way social media can be abused. I have seen other hate-filled responses directed at someone simply because they did not agree with the post. Social media should not be a battlefield but a place to establish worthwhile connections, exchange ideas and learn from each. So on this social media day, will you contact a friend and tell them you’re thinking of them and you appreciate having them as your friend?

Having said all of that, will you share this post with a friend and follow me on the platforms listed below? Thank you!

Facebook   Twitter    LinkedIn  Book Bub Instagram

Another Father’s Day has come around, and with it there will be family gatherings, now that the pandemic is almost behind us, and men will be unwrapping the ties and socks and smiling broadly as if it’s the first time they received one. Steaks will be grilling, drinks will be pouring, and laughter will be roaring. And that’s the way it should be.

After all, where would we be without fathers? We wouldn’t exist, right? So, let’s show our fathers some real love. Let that man know how much he means to you. When I watch paternity shows on TV and I see young men and women cry because they grew up without a father, my heart breaks for them.

But for many boys and girls who would have grown up fatherless, some loving and caring men stepped in and adopted those children so they wouldn’t have to grow up not knowing the love of a father. I always think of my adoptive cousin who has nothing but praise for my aunt and her husband who adopted her. My cousin says she received all the love and support as any biological child would.

In In the Promised Land, book 3 of my Egypt trilogy, Detective David Bowen and his wife Cicely adopted Marva the protagonist and her sister June, orphans, after Marva had been involved in a serious accident. The excerpt below is part of a scene where Marva reflects on what David had done for her and June.

Marva’s gaze returned to the picture of David in his khaki uniform, shirt bedecked with medals. The cap partly concealed his eyes, but the neatly-trimmed mustache, firm, chiseled mouth and cleft chin testified to his good looks.

What a history they had together. She could almost hear him saying, “Now, Sister, how many poor girls did you send trembling to the corner today?”

She would always laugh and say, “They’re not afraid of me as I was of you.” Then they would laugh together.

But it was true. There was a time when the sound of his voice sent shivers down her spine, as she wondered how long it would be before he threw the noose around her neck and hauled her off to jail. When she finally confessed to the murder of her father in her suicide note, David had been instrumental in having her committed to Corpus Christi instead of being sent to prison. And later, he and Cicely had adopted June and unofficially adopted her. And now he was in the hospital. How badly he’d been hurt they would have to wait until the morning to find out.

Marva stared at his picture again. They don’t come any better than David Bowen. I love you, Dad.

Book 3

To learn more about Marva and June and how they came to be adopted into a family, why not get the Egypt series now at the discounted price of $5.97?

You may be wondering what the headline above has to do with books and writing—which is the focus of this website. Actually, it has a lot to do with one of my books, In the Wilderness, book 2 of the Egypt trilogy.

But before I tell you the connection between In the Wilderness and PTSD, let me explain a little about what PTSD is. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
“is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. During this kind of event, you may not have any control over what’s happening, and you may feel very afraid. Anyone who has gone through something like this can develop PTSD.”

The report goes on to say that “PTSD is also more common after certain types of trauma, like combat and sexual assault.” If you have read Coming Out of Egypt, the first book in the series, you would know that Marva, the protagonist, and her sister June both experienced sexual abuse. The psychological effects of this abuse carried over into the characters’ lives in the second book, however Marva’s were more intense. When you read the book you will see why.

Without giving away too much of the story, I will tell you that Marva exhibited some of the related problems mentioned in the VA article: anger, depression, traumatic brain injury, suicide, avoidance, mistrust, and a lot more.

As a therapist who worked in behavioral health, I observed first hand the symptoms of PTSD in some of my patients. I can tell you that my heart went out to them, and with the rest of the team, I did my best to help them return to living a normal life — one without fear and mistrust and all the other symptoms they were experiencing. Many of them left the hospital feeling much better.

If you or someone you know suffers from PTSD, I’m here to tell you there is hope. There are many treatment options available; all you have to do is to recognize you need help, then speak to your doctor who will refer you to the right place. Surround yourself with people who are supportive. They may not always understand what you are going through, but that’s okay. Talking to others about your experience and reading books like In the Wilderness will also help.

Bear in mind that In the Wilderness is not a treatment book. It is fiction that is based on the life of the main character who suffered from PTSD; therefore, all of the content is not the mirror image of what PTSD is. I have layered scenes of romance, family matters, and the healing journey of faith against the backdrop of an exotic Caribbean setting for your information, entertainment, and inspiration.

If you would like to get a copy of this book, I encourage you to get it now while it is at the low discount price of 99c.

 

Women’s Fiction

Date Published: September 16, 2020

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing



Angelica Delfino takes a special interest in the lives of her three nieces, whom she affectionately calls the daughters of her heart. Sensing that each woman is harboring a troubling, possibly even toxic secret, Angelica decides to share her secrets—secrets she had planned to take to the grave. Spellbound, the nieces listen as Angelica travels back six decades to reveal an incredulous tale of forbidden love, tragic loss, and reinvention. It is the classic immigrant story upended: an Italian widow’s transformative journey amid the most unlikely of circumstances.

Inspired by Angelica’s example, the younger women share their “First World” problems and, in the process, set themselves free.

But one heartbreaking secret remains untold…


***Free ebook of No More Secrets – thru June 10th***




Excerpt

Tupperware in all the pastel shades. Head-to-toe clothing and accessories in the same hues. Who does that? Bellastrega shook her head at the avalanche of plastic that accompanied Velia Russo into the kitchen. She was already on her third trip back from the car, puffing and panting as she placed her food gifts on the kitchen table. Bellastrega could feel her jaw clenching at the thought of all those white devils—heavy sauces and creams and pounds of sugar—contaminating the kitchen.

Velia held one finger. “One more trip,” and then she was gone.

Bellastrega turned her attention back to the hearty vegetable stew that had been simmering on the stove. She sighed contentedly as she breathed in the aroma of the rosemary and Italian seasonings. Angelica’s favorite. As she glanced at the appetizing array of vegetables, she mentally calculated how long it would take to finish cooking. Everything was on schedule, and dinner would be on the table at six o’clock. Why had Velia decided to arrive three hours early?

From the start, Bellastrega had her misgivings about this all-girls weekend. She had listened while Angelica lovingly described each niece and shared her concerns regarding their unhappy lives. At first, Bellastrega had humored her, not realizing Angelica was intending to help her nieces get back on track. Her duty as aunt, she had explained.

Bellastrega had formed her own judgments regarding the three younger women. Usually right on target, Bellastrega had been surprised when this particular incarnation of Velia Russo arrived, laden with her food gifts. From Angelica’s descriptions, Bellastrega had expected a younger version of her mother, Rosetta, a heavy-set hausfrau and gossip, not this glamour-puss who could pass for a younger Martha Stewart. But first impressions could be deceiving.

Help. I need your help.” The whiny voice interrupted Bellastrega’s thoughts. Sighing, she lowered the heat and made her way to the living room.

Bellastrega resisted the urge to laugh as she took in the comical sight before her. To save herself another trip, Velia had decided to lug in a large Pullman using her left hand, carry a pastry box in her right hand, and use her teeth to hold on to her purse.

All this for a weekend get-together? What would she have packed for a longer trip? Bellastrega forced a smile as she took the pastry box from Velia.


About the Author

In 2008, Joanne Guidoccio took advantage of early retirement and launched a second act as a writer. Her articles and book reviews have been published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Joanne writes paranormal romances, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.


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***Free ebook of No More Secrets – thru June 10th***

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