tagged with: In the Wilderness

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.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day today, I want to pay special tribute to those mothers who did not birth a child, but raised children and made them into who they are today. These special mothers are aunts, step-mothers, foster mothers, adoptive mothers, and any woman who played a part in your upbringing.

These women chose to take care of you, love you, and make you their own. And so, I believe, they deserve special praise. I have an adoptive cousin who was raised by my aunt, and all she has is love and gratitude for my aunt and her husband who adopted her when she was a baby. I know of other people who have similar stories.

This is why I’ve included In the Wilderness, book 2 of my Egypt trilogy, in this book funnel Mother’s Day promo that is running all month long. In In the Wilderness, the two main characters, Marva and June, are adopted by Cicely, Marva’s former teacher, and her husband David.

Here’s a short excerpt to give you an idea of the relationship that exists between the characters:

That afternoon I hear Dad running up the stairs. I can usually tell from a person’s steps what kind of mood he is in. I think he is excited. He goes into his bedroom where Mom is, then someone knocks on my door. I get up and open it. They are both beaming at me.

“Where’s June?” Dad asks.

“She hasn’t come home yet. What’s going on?”

For answer, Dad waves some papers before my face. “June’s adoption came through.”

I step closer and take the papers from him. It says Order of Adoption and I see David and Cicely Bowen and June’s name and I don’t bother to read anymore. “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Mom. Thank you, Dad. We don’t have to go to court?”

Dad grins. “Nah. The judge knows me, most of the people in court know me. It was just a matter of having it entered in the records and signing the papers.”

We hug and kiss each other and I think I see Mom dab at her eyes. Mine are watery too. We are a family. Even though I am not formally adopted, it feels wonderful to have parents.

June does a little dance when she hears the news. That night we go out to dinner at Soong’s restaurant to celebrate. Miss Lucy and Miss Marilyn stay in and babysit the children. Later, as we prepare for bed, June says, “This adoption doesn’t change anything. I’ve thought of Mom as my mother for a long time.”

I get in beside her. “Me too.”

I think she is sleeping, but then I hear her say, “Sister?”

“Mmm?”

“You know when you were in the coma, I tried to remember a verse of scripture and couldn’t. Then Rev. Harris came and he quoted this verse. All things work together for good to them that love the Lord. Since then it has become my favorite Bible verse.”

I turn to her. “Why?”

“Because I see everything is really working out for the best.”

I ponder over what she said. “It’s true. Even my accident was for the best, I think. I learned to love and appreciate life, and God, so much more.”

“And you developed a new talent.”

You can read In the Wilderness for free on Kindle Unlimited, or you can also download it through this book funnel promo.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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“I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better” – Plutarch

Can you relate to that quote above? What kind of friend do you like, or better still, what kind of friend are you? Do you want friends who will tell you what you like to hear, or do you want friends who tell you the truth?

The Bible says, “Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. ” (Ephesians 4: 15).

In In the Wilderness, book 2 of the Egypt trilogy, June shows maturity when she refuses to be part of Wendy’s wild schemes and “speaks the truth in love” to her friend who is engaging in some risky behavior. Take a look at the excerpt below:

Wendy slowed her pace. “I’m going away this weekend.”

June glanced at her. “Oh, with your parents?”

Wendy sipped her Coke then smiled. “No, I’m coming to your house.”

June came to an abrupt halt, spilling Apple J on her white shirt. “Look what you made me do.”

“I’m sorry.” Wendy held out a handkerchief.

June dabbed at her shirt. “You mustn’t play games like that, Wendy.”

Wendy laughed. “It’s not a game.”

June handed the kerchief back to her. “Well, I didn’t invite you.”  

Wendy stopped and unslung her bag from her shoulder. She opened it and took something from the front pocket. June stared with mild curiosity at the photograph of a good-looking Spanish man probably in his late twenties. “Who is that?”

“Daryl.”

June gave her a questioning glance.

 “I’m going away with him.”

June almost dropped her bag. She forced herself to keep her voice low. “What do you mean? Going where?”

Wendy seemed amused. “You remember the last time you invited me to stay with you when my parents went to Tobago? Well, I was with Daryl.”

June opened her mouth, but no sound came. Wendy’s mother had been very worried, looking all over San Fernando for her, and now she was going to do it again. Only this time she was going to tell her mother she was at June’s house?

June grabbed her arm. “No! You’re crazy. Don’t tell your mother you’ll be at my house when …” She clapped her hand over her mouth, suddenly realizing the implications of what Wendy was saying. She was having an affair with this man, and she was using June to cover for her. Of all the lowdown things to do.

 “Do you know what you’re doing? You could get pregnant!”

Wendy was unfazed. “He uses condoms.”

June put her hand to her forehead. “You’re crazy, Wendy. You want to ruin your life? Exams are right around the corner. You should be concentrating on that instead of —”

Wendy slipped her soft drink into the side opening of her bag. “I’m not crazy.” Then she looked at June. “Everyone knows about the time you ran away to live with that man, so don’t preach to me.”

June felt the blood drain from her face. That episode with Marcus had occurred over two years ago, and June had put it behind her. An ounce of indiscretion that had caused her a pound of shame and heartache, when, unable to bear her sister’s controlling attitude, she had run away from home to meet Marcus. But she’d never lived with him, never had sex with him. Could she tell that to her friend, now staring at her with accusing eyes?

Wendy tossed her head. “I’ll tell Mummy I’m with Sharon or Althea. I have other friends.”

June stared at the girl’s stony face. “Wendy, please don’t do this. You’re messing up your life.”

Wendy quickened her steps and turned into a side street. June watched her for a moment, then on legs that felt like a ton, continued on her way home.

Want to learn how June’s friendship with Wendy turned out? You can get In the Wilderness when you join this promotion That’s What Friends Are For. A team of best selling authors have teamed up to bring you a fine selection of books about friendship, so make sure you get yours today.

Please invite your friends to join this promotion and subscribe to this blog so you can learn about more offers like this.

Be safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

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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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.

I believe 2018 is off to a great start. There are so many exciting developments on the literary scene, and new books continue to flood the market. I’m in the process of reviewing Finding Leda, a New Adult memoir, and will post the review when I’m done.

I will soon be making Coming Out of Egypt available on Smashwords once more so it can be found on Barnes & Noble and other retailers. I think it’s time to expose it to a wider audience. Also, I plan to publish In the Promised Land, the third and final book in the Egypt series early this year. This book is as captivating as the first two and I’m sure you will want to tell your friends all about it.

And this brings me to my news of the moment. In the Wilderness, book 2 of the Egypt series, is on a countdown deal starting today until Sunday. If you click right now you can get it for .99c, so hurry before the price changes. In the Wilderness has received some great reviews. Here are a few:

This book is so superbly written! I think the cover does a great job of setting the mood. This story will make you think, make you feel, and just touch you in a way you did not expect.
Wonderful characters, multi-dimensional and believable. A plot that’s pacing is right on and captivating, there are just not enough good things to say about this book. GREAT NOVEL! – Texas Book Nook

Wow, I truly enjoyed Angela Joseph’s writing style in this novel. Sometimes it can take me a bit to get into a story, but I felt like the way this story flowed was effortless. I truly enjoyed Marva as a character from the beginning and understood her motives throughout the story.
The story itself progressed nicely. I didn’t feel like it was rushed or dragged. I liked the focus of the novel. – The Indie Express Review

Good, honest reviews are to authors what honey is to bees, and as an author, I welcome them. So, after you’ve read In the Wilderness, will you post a good, honest review on Amazon?

Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list where you can be among the first to know about updates and special offers.
Until next time, keep on reading!