Aicha Zoubair

Jessica Bell

Saturday, September 20, 2014

#Excerpt from Shadow Journey : A Mrs. Blackstone Story by S.D. O'Donnell @sdodonnell #GoodReads

The afternoon my husband, Ted, got the bad news, I asked our daughter to come over for dinner. Alice was 25, a single professional trying to make a name in the world of high finance. Whatever that meant. I taught botany at the local community college and Ted taught high school math, but according to her, we weren’t capable of grasping the ins and outs of investing money.

I’d long ago stopped trying to understand the child I brought into this world.

She usually demanded two weeks’ notice to schedule any kind of event, including dinner. I begged her to find time that night, and she finally agreed to stop by on her way home from a business engagement. She wouldn't guarantee a time.

Ted paced the house all night, wanting the telling over with. Alice and I had never grown out of the daughter-versus-mother conflict usually restricted to a child’s teenage years. Ted, though, always doted on her.

Eleven o'clock rolled around, and he was too exhausted to stay up. I eventually fell asleep on the couch, still waiting.

A loud knocking startled me from a dreamless, uneasy stupor. I was grateful to wake up because I thought the dark feelings would fade. Instead, a knot twisted in my stomach.

I caught a hint of dawn through the curtains. The clock showed 5:30 a.m. This was Alice on her way to work.

When I opened the door, she pushed through. "Where's Dad?"

"Still asleep. It's a bit early, don't you think?"

She shrugged, pushed her jacket sleeve up to look at her watch. "You insisted on seeing me."

“Would you like some tea? I've created a new mint blend with a hint of ginger that's guaranteed to perk you up."

“You know how I feel about your teas.”


“Mom, please. I have about five minutes to spare. Could you just spit it out?”

"Spit it out," I repeated slowly, then glanced at the closed door to our bedroom. Maybe it was best if Ted didn't have to deal with her initial reaction.

"At least sit down." I gestured at the sofa.

She sat and rested her hands on her lap, fingers interlocked as the thumbs danced a constant twirl around each other.

I settled across from her, working hard not to grind my teeth. "You got my message about taking your dad to the ER?"

"He was feeling faint or something, right?” she said, turning her head toward the digital clock sitting on the bookshelf across the room.

I waited until she took the trouble to look my way. "We got some news about why. They said ...”

I stumbled, unable to actually say the words out loud.

Alice's thumbs stopped mid-circle. She put her palms against the cushion and perched forward on her seat. "What? What is it?"

She looked like the little girl who fell asleep cuddled up with me at night on the sofa, afraid to go bed because she thought we’d disappear while she slept. I sat next to her, took her hand.

"It's a brain tumor, honey."

She knocked my hand away and jumped up, face pale.

"Are you sure?"

I nodded and stood, reached out, thinking I might hug her, but she was already running down the hall. She blasted the bedroom door open. I continued standing, waiting for her and Ted to come join me.

A minute later, someone closed the bedroom door. I could hear Ted's hushed tone, full of reassurances.
Shadow Journey

Love ... Loss ... Secrets

A Haunting Psychological Read

She starts alone.

"I SIT IN THE GAZEBO, alone. No cup of tea. No neighborly conversation to help fill the silence. Haunted by 85 years worth of musings, I watch the sun set and feel my age."

She ends alone.

And exposes a closely-guarded secret of 35 years in between.

˃˃˃ Meet Mrs. Vera Blackstone

First introduced in the thriller Deadly Memories, she quickly became a well-loved character -- even though she isn't the main one. But you don't have to read Deadly Memories before you enjoy this novella.

˃˃˃ Warning

This story will make you think and stays with you long after the last word is read.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Short Fiction
Rating – PG-13
Connect with S.D. O'Donnell on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Craig Staufenberg on Not Setting Deadlines @YouMakeArtDumb #SelfPub #IndieAuthors #WriteTip

How to Meet Deadlines and Remain Sane

The simplest strategy is to not set deadlines. This is very easy when you’re writing the book for yourself and plan on self-publishing. It’s hard to let a deadline drive you crazy when it’s not there in the first place. Though then you may run into the creeping dread and anxiety that comes from not having a clear idea of when the project will be done. Or even if the project will be done. It’s easiest to not set deadlines when you’re sure that you’re going to finish the thing—which you can only be sure about if you have experience finishing projects in the past.

A better model— you can set a longer hard-limit deadline for the end of the project, and then avoid creating any little ones. For example, you can say you want to have your book done in a year. When one year passes after starting the project, you’re done, and you release the best version of what you have. Then you just let the year proceed without a lot of micromanaging of your schedule, or draft completion, or any other smaller deadlines and milestones. Once again, this relies on some understanding that you’re actually going to be able to finish the project, and that you’ll work on it throughout that year. Not a huge problem when you really love the project, the characters, the story, and you feel compelled to make the thing. And then, as long as you have a hard end to the project, you can float around inside that time and feel certain it’ll get done.

This is my preferred method. I don’t like rigid structures and tight deadlines. Other people do. Other people perform great by managing everything down to the week or day or hour. For me, over-managing the creative process and setting too many deadlines for myself makes me tone deaf to my natural working rhythms. I will trick myself with my set schedule, and I will complete every deadline the night before it’s due. Maybe if I didn’t have that schedule in place I would have completed that phase of the project three days earlier. But that deadline sticks in my head, so instead of following my drive to work on that phase before it’s due, I tell myself “I have until Sunday” and then I swallow my interest in working on the project then and there, and end up putting it off till right before midnight on Sunday.

All of this is a fancy way of saying I like to work on my projects when it feels right to work on them. As long as I keep the project top-of-mind and continue to daydream about it—and journal a little bit on it daily—then I’ll have an accurate feel when I’m ready to make a push and when I’m not. But if I set a firm schedule, I end up working when the schedule wants me to and not when I, and the project itself, want to put in a few hours.

This is a personal thing. A personality thing. If it sounds like mayhem to you, then you should have a more ordered way of producing your work. And if you’ve never finished a project before, then the external stressors of timelines and deadlines and milestones could be very useful for you. But if you, like me, don’t fit into that style of working, then know this—it isn’t necessary. It’s a shame that most people who write books and articles about how to “get things done” tend to be very organized, disciplined, hardline, schedule-the-process-to-the-minute sort of people. Not because they’re necessarily better at getting things done, but because they’re much more likely to write a book on the subject. This creates a bias where we think these people have all the answers for everyone.

They don’t. Plenty of people get lots of things done while putting only the lightest reins on themselves. And lots of us both prefer how that freedom feels, and work much better without external or internally imposed restraint. By accepting that about ourselves, we finish more projects, we produce better work, and we enjoy our lives more, than we would if we tried to fit a strict system. So I suppose the secret to not losing your mind over all these deadlines is simple—know yourself, know how you get things done, and honor that. More often than not that means being easier on yourself, rather than forcing yourself into a tighter cage.

And as a passing note—if you’re worried that you won’t finish your project if you don’t have a jailer on your back, then I’d suggest you might not like this project (or writing in general) as much as you think you do. The easiest way to stay sane while completing a project in a reasonable amount of time is only working on projects that you love, and working on them doesn’t feel like a burden.

The Girl Who Came Back to Life

When you die, your spirit wakes in the north, in the City of the Dead. There, you wander the cold until one of your living loved ones finds you, says "Goodbye," and Sends you to the next world. 

After her parents die, 12-year-old Sophie refuses to release their spirits. Instead, she resolves to travel to the City of the Dead to bring her mother and father’s spirits back home with her. 

Taking the long pilgrimage north with her gruff & distant grandmother—by train, by foot, by boat; over ruined mountains and plains and oceans—Sophie struggles to return what death stole from her. Yet the journey offers her many hard, unexpected lessons—what to hold on to, when to let go, and who she must truly bring back to life.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Middle Grade
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Craig Staufenberg through Facebook and Twitter

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Three Sisters by Bryan Taylor Share Their Favourite Movies #Humor #Politics #NowWatching

To celebrate the release of the book, The Three Sisters, I asked each of the three sisters to tell me what were their three favorite movies with nuns in them were, and then which movie they jointly chose as their favorite “nun” movie of all time.
Regina Grant: Since I like classic Hollywood films, I chose The Singing Nun (1966), Come to the Stable (1949), and Heaven Knows Mr. Allison (1957).  The Singing Nun is my favorite of the three.  It’s lots of fun in a mindless way, and Debbie Reynolds as engaging as ever.  You can’t help but like the movie, even if it is pure fiction. The nun it was based upon, Soeur Sourire, committed suicide 20 years after the film was made, after a life of financial difficulties. Come to the Stable was written by Clare Booth Luce who also wrote The Women.  It’s an engaging film in which some irreligious people help the sisters build a children’s hospital showing the spiritual and secular can work together. Heaven Knows Mr. Allison is set during World War II on an island in the Pacific, and is about a castaway marine who falls for a stranded nun. They work together to avoid the Japanese when they arrive on the island.  It is quite an engaging drama.
Theodora Suora: I prefer the more intellectually challenging films, so I chose Doubt (2008), Black Narcissus (1947) and Dead Man Walking (1995).  Doubt is my favorite of the three.  The first time you see it, you are inclined to view it from Sister Aloysius Beauvier’s point of view, but if you watch it from Father Brendan Flynn’s point of view, you’ll see his view makes just as much sense as hers, whence the doubt.  Black Narcissus is about a community of nuns who try to establish a civilized community in the Himalayas in the former bordello of a Rajah. It is wonderfully photographed and each of the characters is finely drawn. Dead Man Walking takes on the difficult subject of the death penalty and handles it with poignancy. Both Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn give wonderful performances.
Coito Gott: Since Theodora always tells me what a rebel I am, I didn’t want to disappoint her, and I chose Viridiana (1961), La Religieuse (1966) and Lilies of the Field (1963).  Viridiana is Bunuel’s take on what happens when an idealistic nuns meets the real world.  With some interesting twists and turns, she ends up helping the poor in ways she never would have if she had stayed in the convent. La Religieuse is based upon Diderot’s novel, perhaps a bit modernized, perhaps a bit slow, but nicely done. Anna Karina is wonderful as always.  Lilies of the Field is fun as you watch the sisters manipulate Sidney Poitier to get him to help them build a new chapel. After all, nuns are irresistible, aren’t they?
And which movie did we all choose as the best movie about nuns?  The Trouble With Angels, of course.  There is a certain charm to this movie that make it difficult to resist despite its silliness. It’s based upon the novel, Life with Mother Superior by Jane Trahey, and has enough rebellion and antics in it to keep you entertained. We’re sure anyone who went through Catholic School could identify with the two “angels” in the film.  The sequel, Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows is fun, but doesn’t work as well.  You can tell it was more of a creation of Hollywood to profit from the popularity of the first movie, but it is an interesting reflection of its time.
Of course, there are many others that didn’t make our list, but deserve an honorable mention. We decided not to include any nunsploitation films or movies that are only tangentially related to nuns.  The ones that didn’t quite make our list included Sister Act (more Whoopi Goldberg than nuns), The Bells of St. Mary’s (too saccharine), The Sound of Music (more about Nazis than nuns), Change of Habit (Elvis meets Mary Tyler Moore), The Nun’s Story (Audrey Hepburn is enjoyable, but the movie is slow), Agnes of God (good cast, too somber), Nasty Habits (Nuns meet Watergate, but lousy), The White Sister (entertaining but silent), The Devils (Ken Russell meets nuns), and of course, The Flying Nun TV Show (not a movie).
The one book which would make a really, really fabulous movie someday would be The Three Sisters, but if you can’t wait for the movie to come out, be sure and read the book.
Nuns just want to have fun! But when three former Catholic nuns have too much fun and get in trouble with the law, they become nuns on the run.
Driving back to Washington D.C. where they work at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Parts, the three sisters are arrested in Tennessee. After defeating the local deputy in strip poker, they escape from jail, and are pursued by the zealous Detective Schmuck Hole, who has personally offered a $10,000 reward for their capture on The 700 Club. Little do they know that when the three sisters visit the Washington Monument, their lives will change forever.
Set in 1979, The Three Sisters is a sacrilegious satire that skewers not only organized religion, but the government, the media, intellectuals, corporate greed and every other part of the establishment. Maybe not the greatest story ever told, but possibly the funniest.
Buy @ Amazon
Genre – Humor, Satire, Catholicism, Politics
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with Bryan Taylor on Facebook

@GaryTroia on Writing Quicker Than Your Doubts Can Form #AmWriting #IndieAuthors #SelfPub

1, The first tip is essential and obvious. If you want to be a decent writer: Read a lot and write a lot. If you want to be an athlete: Eat well and train hard.
2, Read excellent writers and classics. See how they go about the craft.
3, Read poor writers for no other reason than to feel better about yourself.
4, If you want to excel at anything, discipline is the key. Set achievable goals that can be reached every day.
5, There is no such thing as writers’ block. If you think you have it, write about your day. I have never heard of bricklayer’s block, or surgeon’s block, or…you get the point, don’t you?
6, Don’t force yourself to learn new words, you learn new words naturally by reading.
7, Don’t try to write like you think a writer should write, just write like only you know how to write.
8, Write quicker than your doubts can form.
9, Write a first draft with freedom and without a critical eye. Add a critical eye on all subsequent drafts.
10, The last tip is as important as the first. If you want to be a decent writer: Read a lot and write a lot.
For the first time ever, this collection of short stories by Gary Troia brings together, in chronological order stories and memoirs from Spanish Yarns and Beyond, English Yarns and Beyond and A Bricklayer’s Tales into one complete volume.
“Excellent! A collection of short stories about depression, alcoholism and drug use. Very compelling reading. I read this short story collection all in one go.” (Maria, Goodreads.)
A Bricklayer’s Tales is the ultimate “I hate this job” story, written as a collection of short stories and memoirs, each one revealing a snapshot in the life of Ray. Troia captures the tedium of working in a low paid, menial job and living hand to mouth. This book of short stories is sad and questions the reader to ask questions about their own life. This book achieves clarity without trying.
Ray has three expensive hobbies: drinking, drugs, and running away. Without the income that Bricklaying provides, he would not be able to maintain his chosen lifestyle, so he compromises his principles and continues with his trade.
A collection of short stories and memoirs that include:
The Cuckoo’s Egg. Boyhood antics lead to tragedy.
My Grandfather’s Shed. The making of an English key
No Comb on the Cock. Gypsies, champion fighting cocks, and career choices.
What I Did In My Summer Holidays In 1000 Words. Could having an idea ever be considered a criminal act?
My Best Mate’s Head. Did a weekend of boozing save Ray from certain death?
The Shetland Isles. A trip to sunny Benidorm, a chance meeting with some Glaswegians, and a cold, miserable job in Lerwick.
Pointing a House in Islington. Too much alcohol and cocaine don’t mix well on building sites!
Angel Dust. The peculiar story of a man whose new life in America leads to conversations with Ancient Greek philosophers
Peyote. Hippies, LSD and an idyllic refuge
Return Ticket. Handcuffed and ready for deportation. A sad departure from the States
When I Joined a Cult. Sober dating as Ray discovers religion.
Bilbao. How very, very English!
Teaching Other People. The grass is always greener-the escape from bricklaying.
A Week in the Life of Ray Dennis. With the prospect of no money for food or alcohol this Christmas, Ray has to find work quickly.
Catania. A meeting with a Sicilian fox, some Neapolitans, and a man with a camel haired coat.
Advert In The Art Shop Window. Will a new building job in Spain be the start of a new life?
Gaudi. A flight to Barcelona for a kebab, and a look at the Sagrada Familia.
The Day My Soul Left Me. “To be or not to be? That is the question”
How Not to Travel to The AlhambraHung-over, the wrong fuel, the car breaks down. Will they ever make it to Granada?
The Road To Ronda. A terrifying drive to Ronda, was it worth it?
Poking A Carob Tree. A new home and new neighbours, just in time for Christmas.
Spain Reborn.No more commuting to London. Lets celebrate!
Home From HomeA parallel world where the Spanish have taken over Weymouth.
Three Common Carp.An epic battle with a whale and marlin it is not.
Mrs. McClintock. An absurd farce in which a Glaswegian couple retire to Spain
Steak, Egg and Intensive Care. A harmless dinner leads to hospitalisation.
The Unchangeable Chameleon. Can a leopard change it’s spots?
A Bricklayer’s Tale. The story of a disillusioned, alcoholic bricklayer
A collection short stories and memoirs of British dark humour.
 Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Fiction, Short Stories
Rating - PG-16
More details about the author
Connect with Gary Troia on Facebook & Twitter

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

SAGA OF THE NINE : Area 38 by Mikey D. B. @mikeydbii #SagaoftheNine #Area38 #Dystopian

“Good morning everybody, I am Professor Lisa Rodgers and this is Governmental Theory 3410.”

“Have you ever had her before?”  Mica quietly asks Marian.

“Nope, but I heard she is really good.  She’s not very popular among the faculty, being more conservative than most.  It’s why I signed up for this class actually.  I like having a different perspective on stuff like this.  Plus she’s my aunt.”

“I’m assuming every one of you in here belong here.  If not, please leave quietly.”

No one budges.

“Good.  Let’s get started then.  Does anyone know when the law stating that a President of the United States could only serve two terms was discontinued?”  As she expects, nobody raises their hand.  “It was in 2020.  Okay.  Let’s see if you know this piece of historical information: Who here has heard of the electoral college?”

Very few know the answer but no one raises their hand.

“That was not a rhetorical question.”

Marian shoots her hand into the air.

“Yes.”  Still no expression, despite Marian’s enthusiasm.

“Wasn’t it how we elected the president in the late 20th century?”

“Yes it was and it even lasted a few years in this century.  Do you know how it worked by any chance?”

Marian, impressed with herself, nudges Mica and nods her head like a boss.


“Marian.”  Mica nudges her back and points to Professor Rodgers.

“Sorry,” Marian begins to blush.  “Can you repeat the question?”

Despite the scattered chuckles, Rodgers masks her embarrassment for her niece.  “How did the electoral college work?”

Stumped, Marian shrugs her shoulders.  “I don’t know, Professor.”

Mica is the only one who reluctantly raises his hand.

“One person.  That’s more than I expected.  Yes, go ahead Mister…”

“Rouge.  Mica Rouge.”

“Go on,” Professor Rodgers says.

“Well it’s kind of complicated,” he begins, “but I guess in a nutshell, every state had a certain number of votes that went towards electing a president.”

“How many votes did each state get?”  Professor Rodgers asks.

“It depended.”

“On what?  What determined the number of votes a state got?”  She asks again, trying to get to the root of it all.

“The number of Senators and members of The House of Representatives.”  He really wishes that somebody else knew this stuff.  He looks to Marian for some support but she just shrugs her shoulders again.  As soon as Mica turns back to Professor Rodgers, Marian smiles, charmed by the man sitting beside her.

“And how did a presidential nominee win the votes of a state?”  Just a few more questions and the Professor will get her point across.

Mica picks his brain for this rarely used information.  “Wasn’t it by a popular vote of the people in that state?  All the registered voters voted and whichever candidate got the most votes won all of the state votes?  It was a winner take all system.”
“Yes, that is exactly how it worked.  Well kind of.  It was a winner take all system in forty-eight of the fifty states.  Maine and Nebraska were the sole exceptions.  Why did we have a system like this and not the system we currently have?”  She asks Mica, but the question is opened to the class.  

“Doesn’t our system of Congress being the ones who elect a president work better?”

Mica doesn’t wait for someone to take the answer; he knows it and he knows exactly where the professor is going with this.  “It’s more efficient yes, but less democratic.”

Professor Rodgers is slightly impressed with this young man.  Maybe Carter was right about him.  

“How so?” she asks.  “We elect our Senators and Representatives.  The idea of a Republic is to elect officials who we think will put our ideas forward and into action.”

“Yes, but it comes down to checks and balances,” Mica argues, finally getting to the point Professor Rodgers was aiming for.  “If Congress is the one to elect the president, they can skew the results, creating a lot more room for corruption in the system.  They are held less accountable by us, the people.”  Mumbles and silent gasps fill the room.

“He has a point.”  The Professor patiently waits for the class to calm down.  There are more and finer details to this law, she thinks, but he’s brought the discussion to where she was directing it.  “Senators are now in office until they die, which wasn’t always the case.  The amendment that changed the way we elect a president also changed the way we elect Congress.  Before we turned to the election system that we have, there were people trying to create a constitutional amendment where when we the people voted, the person with the most votes won, period, in what is called a ‘popular election.’  They wanted the voice of the people to be heard from the people themselves, not Congress and not from electoral votes.

“In 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000 all those who lost the election won the popular vote and had the most citizens voting for them.  Seems pretty unjust, huh?  The Electoral College was like a popular vote mixed with a congressional vote, but instead of being a democratic process it became more of a game, some might say, to win the states and not the people.  But that’s politics for you.

“Back to what Mr. Rouge was saying about checks and balances and how a lack of that can create corruption.  There are some that argue that the idea behind checks and balances is inefficient.  It slows down progression.  Too many people’s opinions in the political ring,” Rodgers folds her hands, “can cause the system to lock up.”

“And that’s a problem because?” a student asks.

“Because the government can shutdown like it has, time and time again.  So,” Professor Rodgers continues, “people tried to simplify the election process in hopes of simplifying the checks and balances, but they went about it in the opposite way than most were hoping.  Instead of having a popular vote from the people, the voting changed to Congress, giving more power to the Government and less to the people.”

“Why?”  Marian asks herself.

“Exactly.”  Professor Rodgers says, overhearing Marian’s whispered question.  “So why do I bring this all up?”

Saga of the Nine

Change affects everyone and it is no different for Jackson. Living in Area 38 for as long as he can remember, he knows of no better way to exist than under the tyrannical rule of Christopher Stone, son of Stewart Stone from The Nine of The United Governmental Areas, aka The UGA. This all takes a dramatic turn when Jackson finds a red, metal box buried in his yard, filled with illegal artifacts—journals, a Bible, CDs, etc.—that are from a man of whom he has no recollection of: Mica Rouge.

 The year is 2036 and Mica, unlike Jackson, does know of a better way of life but is torn apart as he sees his country, The United States of America, crumbling from within by group known as The Political Mafia. The Mafia has infiltrated levels upon levels of governmental resources and it is up to Mica and a vigilante group known as The USA Division to stop them and their dark Utopian vision. To their demise, and at the country's expense, The Division fails and has no choice but to watch The Constitution dissolve and transform into The UGA.

In a final stand, having not given up hope, Mica and what is left of The Division, give one final fight in Colorado, or better known as Area 38. However, all is lost as The Division is betrayed by one of their own, Stewart Stone. Mica is left with no choice but to hide in exile, leaving what little history he can of himself and the great United States of America, with his wife, long time friends, and newly born son in hopes that they will one day finish what he could not.

Jackson, having found this legacy twenty-seven years later, decides to start the war that will end The Nine, and he with an outcast group known as The Raiders, begins his fight with Christopher Stone in Area 38. Filled with betrayal, unity, despair, hope, hate and love Area 38 follows both Mica and Jackson in their attempts to restore what they believe to be true freedom, and where one fails, the other rises to the seemingly impossible challenge.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Dystopian Thriller
Rating – PG13
More details about the author
Connect with Mikey D. B. on Facebook & Twitter

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Erin Sands on Her Personal Life, Her Favourite Quote & More @TheDunesBook #NonFiction #TBR


Born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in the Bay Area of Northern California, Erin grew up with an innate love for dance, theatre and the written word. A graduate of Loyola Marymount University, Erin began her career in the arts as an actress and choreographer. After booking several notable roles in television and film, Erin began to use her gift of writing in blogs featuring political and social commentary, as well as developing content for theatrical use.

Although The Dunes, is a divine departure from Erin’s previous writings it is by far her most cherished work to date. “I wrote The Dunes initially as self therapy because I needed to release some painful experiences and disappointments from my past. I had this thirst to walk in the complete fullness of life with joy as my constant companion. I had no idea what effect it would have on other people. But when I saw people read it and be released from fears that had held them back for years…when I saw people forgive and be able to walk in the freedom forgiveness brings…when I saw people commit and serve and how those things opened up new opportunities in their life, I was just humbled. Humbled by the awesome power of God and humbled that I had been allowed to go along for the ride”.

When asked why she writes, Erin pauses and reflects on the truth of her heart. “I write because although I am only now beginning to truly love the process, I have always loved the outcome. Like a composer, words become my notes. I string them together in song eliciting the response of my reader, grafting a picture of my soul. Where besides the written word can you effect change so utterly and so succinctly? What besides the written word can pierce the universal collective mind? Everything begins with a thought, but it isn’t until that thought is articulated in written word and those words passed down can life changing movement happen. It must be written, it must be expressed on tablet, and when it is, we all become greater, whether the writing be genius or fatuity, it has evoked thought and debate. Why wouldn’t I want to be apart of that phenomenon? Why wouldn’t I want to share my story, give my testimony…add my paradigm to the mix? Whether it is a novel, a poem, an essay or an article, it is humanity visited. An insight into a new or sometimes shared truth. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. And with that I live my life”.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
It’s funny but writing a book sharing your experiences and insights about overcoming self-doubt and fear in no way exempts from moments of self-doubts and fear in your own. I think it is something that on one level or another, as long as you are growing and challenging yourself, you will sometimes encounter. I do think the difference will be how you deal with it. Hopefully with grace, class and a very introspective insight into your triggers. Nowadays when those feelings come up for me I face them head on. I take a minute to truly examine what it is that is making me feel that way. Is it irrational?  Is it motivated by an experience from my past? Is it blocking me from fully experiencing life? When I locate the source of my feelings, I pray about it and do it anyway. I do “it” whatever “it” is in spite of any fear or trepidation. If I am feeling insecure, I do it anyway. If I am feeling scared about the outcome, I do it anyway. I determined long ago that although I may not be able to control my feelings, I do however, have control over my actions and I do “it” afraid.

What scares you the most?
The thing that scares me the most is not doing all that I feel that God has placed on my heart to do, like travelling and experiencing different cultures and learning new languages. I have been to 4 different countries and I am currently learning two different languages (Spanish and Sign-language) but there is so much more I want to learn and there is so much more I want to see. Not taking the opportunity in life to do those things scares me. The idea of reaching the end of my life and to not have fully explored the profound beauty of this earth would deeply sadden me.

What motivates you to write?
I am motivated by passion. If there is a topic that I feel passionate about politically or socially I write about it. If a story pops into my mind, I turn it into a script, a play or a short story. I am very motivated by the “moment”. I initially wrote The Dunes because I was journaling. I was going through a very tough time emotionally and I decided to turn what I was feeling into an allegory. I had no idea if what I wrote would resonate with readers or have any affect outside of my personal life. I did know, however, that I was willing to put it to the test. I put an ad on Craigslist asking for strangers to read my book, answer the journal questions and do the challenges while I chronicled their journey on film. The results amazed me! I witnessed peoples lives literally transform. I knew that I had something very real on my hands and I knew that I needed to get it published. That’s the beauty of writing. To be able to share an experience or make someone smile or laugh just because they can identify with what you have written is motivating in and of itself.

What are you most proud of in your personal life?
In my personal life I am most proud of my relationships. I have been blessed to exist in a community of family and friends that truly cherish and appreciate each other. We celebrate life, God and each other. This is by design. You have to seek people out of like mind and like interests, who enjoy life, value peace and will challenge you to be better. I have made an active choice to surround myself with those types of people. My life is low on drama and high on fun, love, laughter and enlightenment.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
I am a United States citizen and I reside in Southern California. I love my country and my state so there is no place else I would rather live. That said, I also LOVE to travel. I love learning about other cultures and experiencing different traditions. This year I went to Mexico with my husband and learned all about the Mayan culture and explored the Mayan ruins. Those are the things that make life worthwhile to me. Seeing other parts of the world and learning and experiencing the history behind different civilizations and cultures.

If you could study any subject at a university what would you pick?
The book that I am reading right now is: Guns, Germs and Steel…the fates of human societies by Jared Diamond. I love history. I love to read about political and the history behind the cultural development of different people throughout the world. I have a Bachelors degree in Dance and Theatre but I am definitely going to pursue getting a second degree in history because I find cultural archaeology extremely interesting.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
As I embarked on my self-publishing journey I also embarked on a journey of inspired quotes. Before I published my book, I would literally just take the time to meditate about life and write down my thoughts in the form of quotes. I put my quotes on top of a picturesque background and began posting them on Facebook and Twitter. The response has been out of this world! So as of today, although I enjoy many quotes by the likes of Maya Angelou and others, my favorite quotes are my own. One that really struck a cord with people was: What has procrastination ever done for you that makes you remain so loyal to it?

Who designed the cover?
Derek Murphy of CreativIndie designed my book cover. The great thing about Derek is that he is willing to work with you until you get your cover design exactly the way you like it. The book cover is one of the most important aspects of your book. It needs to say everything in a glance. It gives the reader a glimpse into your story and your vision as well as what you want to share with them. I am not going to lie; getting your cover just right can be a challenging journey. Derek and I went through several revisions before I was satisfied. The process really helps you to become more acutely aware of what you are trying to deliver to your reader. It is your first “hello” and it is important. I was very happy with my cover design in the end. I think it is a perfect articulation of the journey aspect of The Dunes as well as the beauty and the transformative nature of that journey.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?
The two most difficult parts of writing The Dunes were the allegory sections in the first and second revelations and the Commentary section. The allegory section of The Dunes tells the story of two characters: The One and The Other. Although, as the story unfolds the reader quickly learns that The One and The Other represent a man and a woman, I chose not to reveal which was which until the very end of the second revelation. I did this because I did not want the reader to identify with the character simply because they shared the same gender identity. I wanted the reader to identify with the character in which they shared the same fear paradigm. So for the first two chapters you do not know which character is the woman and which character is the man. You just know each of the characters challenges and fears. Still…it is incredibly hard to write without pronouns. I was relieved when I got to the third revelation and I could write more freely. Writing the commentary section of The Dunes was challenging because I had to be very transparent and share some very personal experiences from my life. But I knew that there was no way that I could ask readers to take this very introspective journey if I wasn’t willing to do the same in return.


If there was a journey that could masterfully change your life in seven revelations...would you take it? 

In life, sometimes the kernels of wisdom and the richness of revelation can be found in the most innocent of stories; and so it is with The Dunes. Join one man and one woman in an exquisitely simple yet remarkably profound journey as you discover with them that the mountain you must climb in order to live the abundant life of your dreams is located squarely within your heart. 

Illuminated in seven revelations; The Dunes carries the reader on a journey to not only examine the obstacles that are holding them back in life but to conquer and over come them as well. With each revelation The Dunes intimately calls on the reader as the journey companion to face a challenge…a dare if you will that requires an uncompromising commitment to change. In the family of faith-based self help books, The Dunes stands alone, simultaneously taking the reader from fiction to life and back again, equipped with a tailor made journal for the readers inner most secrets and reflections. The Dunes is part allegory, part testimony and part journal, but the best part is the healing it offers your heart. When you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone and step into the miracle of your life…The Dunes awaits. 

CAUTION: Readers of this book are subject to significant changes for the better. Side effects may include frequent smiling and enjoying life in every season.

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Genre – Non-fiction
Rating – G
More details about the author
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