To Thee We Do Cry by Patricia Monohan


Title: To Thee We Do Cry
Author: Patricia Monohan
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 112
Genre: Spiritual
Format: Ebook
Purchase at AMAZON

 In what was the most devastating event of their lives, Tom and Pat Monahan lost their nine-year-old grandson, Tommy, in a house fire in December of 2007. This unimaginable tragedy rocked their lives with pain and sorrow beyond description, of a kind and strength they had never dreamed of. As a way of dealing with this unspeakable grief, Pat Monahan practiced what she preached as a professional bereavement counselor: she began journaling her feelings to work through the pain. Following the depression that comes with grief, she realized that this process was a major key to lifting her depression. In hopes of helping others whose faith has been shattered following the loss of a loved one, Pat presents her recorded thoughts and struggles in To Thee We Do Cry. She describes the impact her grandson Tommy’s life and death had on the entire community of Staten Island; she also emphasizes the importance of coping with the struggle with spirituality while faced with such trauma. In the end, it is faith that will guide someone suffering from a loss back to living a full life once more.

  amazon  

PATRICIA MONAHAN and her husband, Tom, have seven children and eighteen grandchildren. She retired after twenty-seven years as a New York State–Certified alcohol and substance abuse counselor. Following her father’s death, she was trained by the Archdiocese of New York as a bereavement minister.  

Patricia is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

645
Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins September 1 and ends on September 13.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, September 16.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Interview with Lady Colin Campbell, author of "Daughter of Narcissus"





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lady Colin Campbell is a highly successful and prolific author of several books, including London and New York Times bestsellers, and has been a prominent and often controversial figure in royal and social circles for many years. She perhaps is best known for her international bestselling book Diana in Private, 1992, and her subsequent extended and revelatory biography of the Princess of Wales, The Real Diana published in 2004. She has written books on the Royal Family, been a long term columnist and appeared numerous times on TV and radio as an experienced Royal Insider and expert on the British aristocracy. In 1997 she published her autobiography, A Life Worth Living, which was serialized in The Daily Mail. Born in St. Andrew, Jamaica, she was educated there and in New York, where she lived for seven years. She is connected to British royalty through common ancestors and marriage. She has two sons and lives in London.

You can visit her publisher online at http://www.dynastypress.co.uk/.

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

Daughter of Narcissus is a memoir of my family’s struggle to cope with and move on from my mother Gloria’s narcissistic personality disorder.

NPD is not an easy disorder to deal with, but by being as frank as I could be, I hope I have provided some insight for the reader into what one’s choices and options are, as how one can recover from an NPD parent and go on to be a happy, fulfilled and productive individual.

Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?

Something specific did indeed inspire me to write Daughter of Narcissus. I was staying with a great friend in New York and we were discussing our NPD mothers when one of America’s most respected psychoanalysts suggested that I write a book on the subject using my family’s personal experience as the vehicle. She said that she believed I had the ability to do justice to the subject. This in itself was highly complimentary, as she is such an eminent psychoanalyst that a vote of confidence from her, especially on a subject like as complex as NPD, was worth anyone else’s recommendation a hundredfold.

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

The eminent American psychoanalyst Dr Erika Freeman was the inspiration for Daughter of Narcissus. When she first suggested that I write about how my family and I survived our mother’s narcissism, I recoiled at the prospect of violating my mother’s privacy. But Erika convinced me that since Gloria was dead, and my family’s experiences might help or inspire others, I almost had a duty to share what I had been through with others. Upon reflection, I thought her point of view had merit, and when it became apparent that my sisters had no objection, I decided to go ahead.

Who is your biggest supporter?

I have never had any one person who would qualify as my biggest supporter. However, I have always had several people who are supporters. In my early days as a writer, Barbara Taylor Bradford was particularly helpful. Later on, the Australian journalist/author Catherine Olsen stepped into Barbara’s shoes. Other friends who are not professionals and might therefore not want their names mentioned have also been supportive over the years.

Your biggest critic?

My biggest critic is fortunately dead. His name was Nigel Dempster, and he was a vicious, poisonous gossip columnist who waged vendettas against a variety of people, including Sir James Goldsmith, the Aga Khan, and Queen Noor of Jordan, for no reason at all except that he was full of hatred and loved hating. When he was retiring – he died of a rare neurological complaint – the Daily Mail in London compiled his Hit List. I was No. 2 on it, immediately below Jimmy Goldsmith. People used to say that I should take being in such hallowed company as a compliment of sorts, but that was scant consolation for the vile and evil things that he used to say.

What cause are you most passionate about and why?

The cause I am most passionate about is civil liberties. I think that we in the West are in danger of seeing our supposedly democratic governments erode many of the freedoms our forefathers spent nearly a millennium acquiring, starting in 1215 when the Magna Carta was signed.

When I was a student in New York in the late 60s we were taught that Thoreau was wise indeed when he said that ‘the least government is the best government’ and that ‘civil disobedience’ could be something admirable. That does not mean that governments should not be responsible and that they should not provide services, but it does mean that they should not be regulating our lives to the extent that the government in Britain does, nor that the US government should violate international treaties such as the Geneva Convention, or use the threat of terrorism to suspend habeas corpus and hold people with charge, trial, or legal representation. We must as a civilization realize that MILLIONS of people died to achieve the freedoms we took for granted for the second half of the 20th century. Do we really want to throw a victory to haters of liberty, whether they come draped in exotic garments or in pin striped suits in Westminster and Washington?

What is the most important thing in your life right now?

My children are by far the most important thing in my life. I cannot envisage ever putting anyone before them, but that does not mean I spoil them. Indeed, one of the lessons I learnt from having a narcissistic mother is how important it is to NOT spoil your child. I believe in praise when it is deserved and scolding when that is appropriate, and while I would hardly say I am a perfect mother or that my boys are angels, they are pretty good guys who can see through the rubbish that is so prevalent in every day life.

What are you currently working on?

I never start one writing one book until I have finished promoting my last one, but I am already contracted to edit and write the foreword for an 18th century memoir dealing with the French Revolution, after which I will be doing a book on the social skills that secure success.

What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?

I think my greatest achievement as a writer to date has been producing the only contemporaneous biography of the Princess of Wales that have stood the test of time well enough for all its contents and conclusions to have been proven to be factual. It took quite a lot of courage to let the world know that Diana was not a saint or an angel, but a complex, contradictory woman with both virtues and vices. When I wrote Diana in Private, I was roundly lambasted – indeed, some of my critics were so hysterical that you would have thought I had said she was Joseph Stalin in drag. As the well-known English anchor, Richard Madeley, had the good grace to admit on his television show, “You were right and we were wrong”.

What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?

I will rely upon the opinion of Dr. Anna Brocklebank, who feels that Daughter of Narcissus is set apart from other books in its genre by virtue of being a “penetrating and insightful examination of a serious subject in the form of a memoir which actually raises that medium to new heights”.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from life so far?

The most important lesson I have learnt so far is that what ultimately makes one’s life worthwhile isn’t what happens to one, but what one does with what has happened. I believe that the ancient alchemists lost their way when they thought that we can convert base metal into actual gold, but the principle of alchemy nevertheless applies in spiritual terms, and all base metal can be converted into spiritual gold if you have the right attitude. In Daughter of Narcissus I show how my mother had every gift God could have given anyone, yet she ended up a bitter, twisted, miserable human being because she never assumed responsibility for herself and her fate.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Daughter of Narcissus is a stunning analysis by Lady Colin of her own dysfunctional family positioned at the heart of upper class Jamaican society from the middle of the 20th century to the present day. Covering the end of the British Colonial Age and the rise of a liberated generation, whilst addressing the narcissistic personality of her mother, the author brilliantly interconnects the sociological, political and personal. As she dissects the family dynamics lying beneath the appearance of wealth and power, Lady Colin’s understanding of personality disorder is revelatory: compelling the reader to comprehend the destructive and tragic reality concealed by rational language and behavior.

Set against a backdrop of glamour, wealth and fame, this compulsive book is both a fascinating history of one socially prominent family, and a uniquely detailed analysis of narcissism, its manifestations and how to survive them in order to lead a purposeful and affirming life.

 

Interview with Carol Sue Gershman, author of "The Jewish Lady, The Black Man, and The Road Trip"

Carol Sue Gershman

Constantly reinventing herself, Carol Sue Gershman attened the Miami Dade College Memoir Class and decided that she would turn her two and a half page "Adventure in Love Story" into a book. Never having written before, it was passion that drove her each day to write.

After spending 25 years in New York City, she was one of the first to arrive into the new phenomenon of Miami Beach (South Beach) She is presently writing her next book while working on laws to ban smoking in residential buildings.

Now at 73 she will take her completed book back on the road re-living the cities and states visited on the road trip. You might just see her driving her hot yellow mustang convertible packed with books, hats and what it takes for life on the road.

Interview:
Could you please tell us a little about your book?
My book is primarily a sizzling love story between a passionate, fun loving, interracial , late 60 year old couple. It is a story about life; marriage, children, grandchildren, race, sex, travel, obsession, dormant talents, facelifts and birthday parties, all told in flashbacks. Long over due, I candidly tell what it took to cross the racial boundry at 69, and passionate late life sex.

Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?
Yes, my lover walked out on me and I wanted him back. I was obsessed with that thought and it kept me glued to the computer for 9 months morning noon and night. I wanted to shock him with the book, realize our mistakes and go back together again.

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?
Unquestionably, he was.

Who is your biggest supporter?
At the beginning it was one of my class mates. Then my girlfriends supported me all of the way never tiring of listening to my writings and critiquing them.

Your biggest critic?
my ex- husband....great feedback

What cause are you most passionate about and why?
Banning smoking especially in condo buildings where residents are helpless in their own homes. I had to leave my beautiful home that I owned in Miami (still own it) because of my up stiars neighbor who moved in after me and smokes. I tried everything, pleading with him, fans, diffusers, living behind closed doors and giving up the beautiful Miami fresh air and nothing worked; my chest and lungs hurt and I would wake up hoarse from his night time habit. I had to move. In the end, he is the looser. I left him to destroy his lungs each day.

In the last year have you learned or improved on any skills?
Yes, public speaking. My biggest fear was to get up in front of an audience and speak. I was terrible at it. All I thought about up there was ME and what the audience was thinking of ME. I did not relate or connect at all. I joined Toastmasters on my daughters suggestion, a wonderful organization, and now....... give me an audience and I will speak. I watch the audience closely to see if I am holding their attention. If I see anyone glancing at their watch, I change my tone quicky.

Do you have any rituals you follow when finishing a piece of work? Yes, What's next?

Who has influenced you throughout your career as a writer?
My teacher and class mates at Dade County College; also two friends.

What is the most important thing in your life right now?....
Promoting my book till it reaches the big screen or something profound comes out of it.

What are you currently working on?
Promoting, promoting, promoting and promoting; It is taking me to the unknown; everyday is something new in achieving my goals..

Do you have any advice for writers or readers?
For writers; my advice is to keep writing, get your message out there. Unfortuantely one will never get rich from writing sans a national author. I find myself constantly going through swinging doors and the challenge is to open one.

For Readers, contacting the new author and critiquing good or bad is a wonderful gift.

Is there an author that inspired you to write?
I cannot say so, although during the time I was finishing my book, Eat, Pray and Love was the best seller and I ate, prayed , and loved mine would be too.

What are some of your long term goals?
Well, I would like to become famous. Yes I would. Nothing would make me happier than being on national tv, or giving continued lectures on inspiring women and a few good men to live agelessly and passionately. Then of course selling the movie rights.

What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?When people tell me I have inspired them to change something for the better in their lives.

What do you feel is your biggest strength?
Perfection in achieving my goals. I am unstoppable and find it difficult to take no for an answer. Sometimes I have to restrain my self so to keep the door open for another time, rather than being tenacious as I can easily be. . I am not shy about knocking on doors.

Biggest weakness?
Promoting myself on the internet. That is why I am talking to you.

What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?
It tells the truth and that sometimes is not easy. I am candid in my writing escpecially about what it took to cross the racial boundry having grown up in the 50's... It tells the truth about passionate rewarding sex between two 60 year olds. Too many young people do not think that older people have sex.... Yes we do, I tell them.

You know the scenario – you’re stuck on an island.† What book would you bring with you and why?
The dictonary. Can you imagine how my vocabulary would be increased when I left the island.

If you could go back and change one day, what would it be?
The day my mom collapsed in my arms. and passed away weeks later.

Are you a different person now than you were 5 years ago?† In what way/s?
Oh my goodness yes. On the race issue alone; I no longer see color. I date both races now and have well crossed over the racial boundry. I worte a book. Who would believe that? As I said in my book, I started out as a daisy and have grown into a giant sunflower and all in five years.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from life so far?
To be compassionate; to tell the truth. I was never a person that lied, but I would be shy or embarressed to say what I meant or reveal much about myself. I have learned to open up and walk my talk and say what I mean; once again I could slow down a bit in that department and keep my mouth shut at times. Who wouldn't?

Is there anything you regret doing/not doing?
I regret not making more investments in South Beach in Miami, which became my home. I was given the opportunity to be a very wealthy woman because I was there first. I was fearful of loosing money that I did not have. Had I borrowed, WOW. I would have had untold wealth. Looking back on it, nobody lost. It was a sure bet. I guess the lesson is to take the opportunity when it is given to you in life. Opportunities are hard to come by. I regret not staying closer to my parents and not being nicer to them. Who knew, that they were so precious.

What is your favorite past-time?
oh well, now? the computer, sending newsletters about my book, getting responses from reader and answering them.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Live your dreams and do not listen to your friends if they try to stop them!

About the Book
A late 60 year old, interracial, innovative, passionate couple travel from Miami to Montreal in a hot yellow mustang convertible visiting family and friends that takes the reader far past the turns of the road.

Cleverly written in flashbooks, this memoir is about life: Marriage, children, grandchildren, race, sex, guilt, loneliness, birthday parties, facelifts, travel, and obsession.

When her lover walked out, it was obsession that drove her to write. Carol Sue Gershman took all of her negative energy and pain and turned it into a book. She hoped that she would shock him with their story; they would read it together, realize their mistakes and go right back together again. She describes her obsession at this age not to be any different from when she was 14 years old.

This book is long overdue; Having grown up in the 50’s she holds back nothing about what it took for her to cross the racial boundary. She details older people having passionate sex telling the younger generations, YES WE DO.

In this page turning and sometimes humorous memoir, she lives agelessly and passionately. Women and a few good men will learn that THEY CAN TOO, if they do not pay any attention to how old they are!

Explore your own passion and purpose as you read this sizzling memoir.

 

Interview with Kathleen Cunningham Guler, author of "A Land Beyond Ravens"

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

A Land Beyond Ravens, as all the other books in the Macsen’s Treasure Series, is a historical spy thriller set in fifth century Britain. It continues the story of master spy Marcus ap Iorwerth’s efforts to keep the country free from oppressive Saxon dominance and to aid in the fulfillment of Myrddin Emrys’ (Merlin) prophecy that a great king called Arthur will one day take the crown. In this, the final installment, Marcus discovers the emerging Christian church is gaining enough power as an independent faction to dangerously shift control of Britain. At the same time, his beloved wife Claerwen, gifted with second sight, is plagued with strange dreams that connect inexplicable doom to both Arthur and a long lost grail sacred to Britain’s high kings. But as Marcus struggles to distract the church, he and Myrddin also set up the very doom Claerwen sees. It seems they accidentally set things in motion that will send a lot of folks off chasing something called a grail…

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

The period of fifth century Britain is unfortunately bleak in offering facts for the purpose of writing historical fiction. While I don’t write alternative history, I do ask a lot of “what if?” questions to try to fill in those glaring blanks with logical explanations and motives. The original barebones sketch for A Land Beyond Ravens required the story to include a grail sacred to the high kings, a sense of the growing influence of the Christian church in Britain, and that Arthur would finally become high king. A few other notes floated around involving the main characters of Marcus ap Iorwerth and his wife Claerwen, as well as Myrddin. That, and the framework that history and legend provided as a backdrop, was all I had when I started writing. The main “what if?” turned out to be: what if the seeds of the quest for the Holy Grail were planted long before the adventure began? What if those seeds were planted on purpose? What if it was by accident?

Who is your biggest supporter?

The critique group I’ve belonged to for the last eleven-plus years supports my efforts more than anyone. They are a talented and diverse bunch, fearless in offering advice, constructive criticism and encouragement.

Your biggest critic?

Ditto the previous answer. Good, solid, complete criticism is more constructive than any praise.

What cause are you most passionate about and why?

I love seeing kids enthusiastic about reading (thank you Harry Potter!) and would like to see illiteracy wiped out for good. It’s time to get away from useless, mind-numbing, time-wasting, beer-drinking, so-called entertainment that makes “Screaming Mimi’s” out of people. People do have intelligence—they just need to learn that an activity like reading can provide far better entertainment if they use their minds! Just my two cents.

In the last year have you learned or improved on any skills?

I learned how to create my own book video! It’s posted on my blog: http://kathleenguler.blogspot.com

Do you have any rituals you follow when finishing a piece of work?

Most writers never feel their work is truly finished. There’s always one more word change or another thought that comes to mind after it’s been sent in. James N. Frey, author of How to Write a Damn Good Novel, wrote “You will know when your novel is finished. You will feel like throwing up whenever you look at it.” When I get to that point, I set the manuscript aside for two to four weeks, let my mind rest, go do something else, then come back to it with (I hope) fresh eyes. I will read the entire piece out loud to myself. Sometimes I’ll record it and listen back to it to flush out anything else that needs tweaking. Then I take to the post office, gaze at the envelope like it’s my kid going off to kindergarten, maybe even give it a light kiss (the clerks think I’m nuts), and send it off to my editor with a silent prayer to the gods she will like it.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently re-editing Into the Path of Gods, the first book in the series. Since it came out more than ten years ago, my writing style has matured and my editor asked me to update the book. The whole series will be re-released in electronic form next year and possibly trade paperback as well. I’m also in the beginning stages of researching my next project, which will be a novel-length work of several interconnected stories, each set in a different time period.

Do you have any advice for writers or readers?

To writers: I would say, if your characters are telling you to go in a different direction, listen to them. They are probably right. Marcus has often dragged me around kicking and screaming where I’d never planned to go. When I gave in and followed him, the pieces of the story finally made sense. I had been trying to force him into situations he never would have gotten himself into. Sometimes I think he’s smarter than I am. In fact, I’m sure of it.

What do you feel is your biggest strength?

I’m not afraid to throw out something that doesn’t work. When I drafted my second book, In the Shadow of Dragons, I dumped the last third at least six times before I felt it was right. I also threw out eight chapters in the beginning of the third book, The Anvil Stone, and started over. The first chapter was good, but I hated the plot line after that. So I restructured it (listening to Marcus again) and found the direction that ultimately paid off. I believe there are many aspiring authors who refuse to revise. It’s an essential part of writing, just like research, and can be as enjoyable and satisfying as the initial writing itself. It’s where the craft of writing becomes art.

What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?

A Land Beyond Ravens creates a completely different voice for fifth century Britain. The Arthurian portion is on the fringes of the main story, which is a combination of historical fiction and spy thriller. I never wanted to do another retelling of the legend because that’s been done over and over.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from life so far?

Stubbornness can be a good thing. It can be bad too, depending on the scenario, but if you want to achieve a goal in this tough world, persistence is key.

Is there anything you regret doing/not doing?

In some ways I wish I’d had the guts to pursue a career in archaeology. I love the exploration of the physical remains of history and trying to puzzle together what it all means. It would have also given me the opportunity to travel and possibly live in other countries. I have an art degree, which I don’t regret at all, and probably have enough work in history and literature to have earned degrees in both of those as well. I can’t say I truly regret anything in my life—I love this journey of writing historical fiction and hope to continue on it as long as I my mind has sense.

What is your favorite past-time?

Hiking the beautiful Rocky Mountains that surround the place I live in northwest Colorado. If only I had more time for it!

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Just that I’ve been blessed with a good life and along with it the gift of writing. I’ve learned to run with it, not squander it. It was meant to be.

And please know I appreciate the opportunity to chat with you today.

Kathleen

About the Author


Novelist Kathleen Cunningham Guler is the author of the multi-award winning Macsen’s Treasure Series. Drawing on a long background in literature and history as well as her Welsh and Scottish heritage, she has published numerous articles, essays, reviews, short stories and poetry. The author is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the International Arthurian Society and participates in various writing organizations.

You can visit her website at KathleenGuler.com

A Land Beyond Ravens

About the Book


No one in 5th century Britain knows more secrets than master spy Marcus ap Iorwerth, and that makes him a dangerous man. It also makes him a hunted one. For nearly three decades he has manipulated stubborn, irascible kings and warlords in a quest to not only unite them against foreign invasion but to stop them from destroying each other as well. And along with his beloved wife Claerwen, he has followed a greater, even more perilous pursuit—to forge a clear path for the fulfillment of Merlin the Enchanter’s famed prophecy that one day a great king will take command, the king known as Arthur of the Britons.

Now, with Arthur at last on the brink of adulthood and already showing great promise as a leader, Marcus discovers that the emerging Christian church is gaining enough power to dangerously shift control of Britain. At the same time Claerwen, gifted with second sight, is plagued with strange dreams that connect inexplicable doom to both Arthur and a long lost grail sacred to Britain’s high kings.

As foreboding mounts, Marcus struggles to prevent the church from crushing Arthur’s chances of becoming an effective king. But how he goes about it sets up the very doom that Claerwen sees. Will she be able to stop him? Or will her visions send Marcus to his own doom as well?

 

Interview with Joy DeKok, author of "Rain Dance"

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

Rain Dance introduces readers to Jonica and Stacie and asks this question: Can a Christian, pro-life, infertile woman and an atheist, pro-choice women who chooses abortion become friends?

Who is your biggest supporter?

My husband, Jon.

Your biggest critic?


Myself. I’m tough to please and often doubt my own abilities.

Do you have any rituals you follow when finishing a piece of work?

I do. Jon and I go to our favorite restaurant in Rochester, MN – Michael’s. He celebrates my accomplishments and I thank him for his support.

What is the most important thing in your life right now?

My faith – although it’s different than it used to be. It’s far more personal and I’m far more certain of God. It’s this deep mysterious faith – the kind that doesn’t have all the answers and doesn’t need to.

Do you have any advice for writers or readers?

To writers: write your heart. To readers: read writers who write from their hearts.

What are some of your long term goals?

Right now, one of my other dreams is coming true – I’m a certified life coach and I’m specializing in author coaching. One of my clients is very close to publishing her first, second, and third books. Her success is as exciting as my own! I’m going to do some micro-conferences in my new office – 8 writer’s max – where I can concentrate on their dreams.
So, I hope to write and publish many more of my own books and see my clients write and publish even more.

What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?

Readers. Women who love the novel and tell me their stories. I am honored and enriched by them all.

What do you feel is your biggest strength?

The ability to see greatness in others.

Biggest weakness?

To see only my weaknesses.

What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?
There no easy answers for either character. Their circumstance and choices leave permanent scars. They are flawed, strong, and real.

You know the scenario – you’re stuck on an island. What book would you bring with you and why?

The Bible. It’s full of history, romance, science, intrigue, love, forgiveness, and hope.

If you could go back and change one day, what would it be?

I’d let my husband ask me to marry him. I asked first and he had these great romantic plans. He was only days away from asking. So, I’d wait.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from life so far?

When you have someone who believes in you – you start to believe in yourself. Then, you have the privilege of passing this on by intentionally believing in others so they can believe in themselves. Then you do this again and so do they.

What is your favorite past-time?


This varies greatly with my mood. Lately, it’s journaling – my pen moving across the pages. I enjoy using color, fun pens, and getting real with myself and God. What an adventure!

Join Joy DeKok, author of the contemporary women's novel, Rain Dance (Sheaf House, August '09), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in October on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Joy DeKok and her husband, Jon, live in Minnesota on thirty-five acres of woods and fields. Joy has been writing most of her life and as a popular speaker shares her heart and passion for God with women. In addition to writing novels, she has also published a devotional and several children’s books.

Visit Joy online at: http://www.joydekok.com/, http://www.believe4kids.com/, and http://www.gettingitwrite.net/.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Jonica is infertile. Stacie chooses an abortion. One is prolife the other prochoice. Both are suddenly alone in misunderstanding, facing hypocrisies in their belief systems, and grieving – one the death of a dream and the other the death of her child. As their hearts break where in the world will they find healing and grace? Can shattered dreams be part of the plan?

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT RAIN DANCE!

"This book is a must read for all women. Although it is a fictional story the author has brilliantly captured the many issues that women struggle with and offers hope that can only be found in Jesus. She also shows how looking beyond our own circumstances can bring blessings into our lives and the lives of others. I’ve ministered to broken women for over twenty years and I’m thankful for resources like Rain Dance that will reach women who are hurting and give them hope." - Sue Liljenberg, International Director, Healing Hearts Ministries International

"Rain Dance is truly a prodigious book...a must read." - Ane Mulligan, Editor, Novel Journey

EXCERPT:

Chapter 1

Jonica

Life as I knew it ended.

In the waiting room I sat in the front row, hoping the chair next to me would remain empty. A year ago, when we first came to the clinic, hope ruled. The receptionists smiled and welcomed me with friendly small talk.

It didn’t bother me that the infertility department was in the same section of the clinic as OB/GYN. I loved watching new moms cradle their little ones wrapped in soft blankets, toddlers by their sides.

Once, while a woman nursed her fussy newborn daughter, I sat on the floor and played Hot Wheels with her three-year-old son. When the nurse called his mom, he grinned at me and said, “Tanks!” as we collected his cars from the floor and put them in his bag. He grabbed his mom’s outstretched hand, curling his fingers around two of hers. The reach pulled up his red Pooh T-shirt, and his little belly button peeked out. I yearned to feel my child’s hand hold fast to mine.

Painful tests, frequent invasive exams, nauseating drugs, terrible periods, and embarrassing questions became my reality.

The gals at the desk no longer chatted with me. Instead, they accepted my appointment card and directed me to sit down. The air filled with baby sounds and smells now made me sick. Bile burned my aching throat.

I clenched my jaws and begged the Almighty silently, Please don’t let anyone ask, “How far along are you?” I’m tired of telling women with swollen stomachs that I’m here for infertility testing.

I buried my nose in a magazine that Ben, my husband, had received in the mail and wanted me to read. As I browsed the first few pages, my mind wandered.

I’d made this appointment to tell Dr. Steele we no longer wanted medical intervention to help us conceive. It cost too much in every way. Our health insurance didn’t cover any of the testing, and we’d paid more than ten thousand dollars with no end in sight. Putting a dollar amount on the changes inside our marriage proved impossible. Our intimate life revolved around my temperature. Charts and a thermometer took the place of candles on the nightstand.

Each month when my flow started, our failure to conceive was once more confirmed. Every cramp slammed the truth home. No success again. Will you always betray me? I accused my body. I chastised myself: You keep messing up. I defended myself to my internal tormentor: It isn’t my fault.

Then the cycle started again with the silent hope . . . maybe next month . . . easing its way back into position.

I didn’t want to disappoint Dr. Steele. His raw passion for the work inspired respect and his stern demeanor intimidated me. I longed to be one of his success stories instead of admitting defeat. A high voltage man specializing in in vitro fertilization, he focused his energy on finding an answer. He didn’t consider quitting an option.

I lifted a silent cry to God. Infertility is harsh and relentless. Where are You in all of this?

I stiffened my spine and tried to swallow the lump in my throat. I ordered my tears to stay put. This wasn’t the time or the place.

I regretted not calling his assistant and leaving a message. Why did I have to see his furrowed brow and hear his certain criticism?

A still small voice said, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you.”

I knew the Voice but was in the mood to argue. I was so fragile and broken I was sure that nothing I said could possibly help anyone.

Pick someone else! My heart screamed.

He didn’t.

A couple of chairs down, two women talking interrupted my internal babbling. “This blotchy upholstery makes me dizzy. Of course, it could be the morning sickness.”

The other huffed as she pushed on her side. “This one won’t keep his foot out from under my ribs!”

When a nurse called the woman with the rib tickler, she stood up with a soft grunt and followed the nurse, one hand on her back, the other resting on the mound of unborn baby under her maternity top.

I had dressed in comfortable clothes for the appointment: jeans and my favorite soft pink sweatshirt. The loose fit sometimes hid my flat stomach. In this room I was an oddity—a true outsider.

In a flurry of color and energy, a woman stood in front of the chair next to me. Shiny, jaw-length, jet-black hair and jade green eyes sparkled in the clinic lights. Her flat stomach caught my attention and I wondered if she was like me.

“Hi! Is anyone sitting here?” she asked.

“No.”

She sat down and crossed her jeans-clad legs. Her purple silk blouse and short, clear-lacquered nails glistened. The scent of jasmine swirled by, then seemed to waft back to her as if unable to bear the separation.

She pushed her hair behind her ears, and dangly silver earrings twinkled. “I’m Stacie.”

“My name’s Jonica.”

“Pretty name.”

“Thanks.”

She pulled a book out of her bag and asked, “So, how far along are you?”

I gave my new answer, “I can’t have children.”

The statement sounded clipped and whiny, so I added, “We’ve been coming to the infertility clinic for months, but now I’m here to terminate medical intervention.” Instead of confident, the words sounded defensive.

“Can’t, but still want to, huh?”

“Yes. But not this way.”

She raised a sculpted eyebrow. “I’m here to terminate something too—a pregnancy.”

She rushed on. “I’m new in a local law practice. My goal is to be a partner one day, representing women and children damaged or wronged by men. A pregnancy right now could hold me back or even halt my advancement. I need to establish myself first. There’s time for a family later—much later. I’m glad we can choose if or when to complete a pregnancy.”

She took a deep breath and exhaled, then tightened her lips and turned to her book, flipping it open. The light danced off a silver-trimmed boot as her foot began to swing slightly.

Tingles of shock pricked my fingertips and toes. My lips went numb, and my throat constricted. I took a deep breath and looked down. Her offensive made me want to defend life, but I didn’t have the strength. I needed to conserve my energy for my meeting with Dr. Steele.

I turned a page in my magazine and stopped. Every muscle in my already stressed body tensed. The photo in front of me showed the tiny hand of an unborn baby resting on a surgeon’s finger. The doctor had performed corrective surgery in vitro when pre-natal tests confirmed spina bifida.

God, give me the courage to show this to Stacie.

The nurse stepped up to the microphone and called my name. I closed the magazine, offered it to Stacie and said, “I’m done with this. You might find it interesting.”

She looked up briefly, took the magazine, and tucked it into the outside pocket of her purse. “Thanks. Nice to meet you.”

“Same here.”

I followed the nurse down the hall, watching her waist-length auburn braid swish against her straight back and thinking I’d just lied. It wasn’t nice to meet Stacie. I could have lived my whole life never having heard her pro-abortion dissertation.

The nurse indicated the examination table. “Dr. Steele will be right in for your consultation. Just have a seat.”

While I waited for the doctor, my dread increased. Dr. Steele was confident we could conceive with a little help from a friend: him. Photographs and thank you letters lined the walls. Smiling parents held babies and celebrated birthday parties. Happy faces beamed from family pictures.

I remembered the questionnaires we had filled out about our health, motives, and ability to pay. The doctor invited us to add a page about anything we wanted. Ben and I wrote about our faith.

Dr. Steele read it and commented, “I feel much like a creator myself.”

Ben said, “We believe in only one Creator.”

Our physician shrugged and diverted our attention to the first test. He kept all conversations professional from then on despite the intimacy involved in our circumstances, even when disappointment moved me to tears in front of him. I guess that made it easier for all of us.

I gripped my damp, cold hands in my lap, while my thoughts tip-toed back to the woman in the waiting room. I decided it was time for a pity party.

How could this happen today of all days? I’m saying goodbye to a dream and she sits next to me? There’s nothing wrong with her goals. All the things she wants to do are good, but she is willingly sacrificing her baby on the altar of achievement. Does she think that because abortion is legal all women agree with her? Who was she trying to convince—herself or me? It’s not fair. Why can she conceive and I can’t?

Before I could battle the subject out further, the door swung open on silent hinges and Dr. Steele entered. His short, bristly gray hair stood straight up. Hazel eyes with amber flecks smiled from behind gold-framed glasses. His yellow smiley-face tie softened his starched shirt, creased trousers, and shiny shoes. A stethoscope hung around his neck.

“Hello, Jonica.”

We shook hands, and he sat in his desk chair.

“Where’s Ben?” he asked, as he slid a brochure on in vitro fertilization toward me.

His chair creaked when he leaned forward. “We can start anytime you’re ready.” He paused for a moment anticipating an affirmative answer.

A Godzilla-sized cramp squeezed my stomach.

I heard myself say, “Ben and I are done. Our insurance doesn’t cover the financial end of it, and the emotional costs are far too expensive. We don’t want to face the moral and ethical dilemmas that heroic medical methods involve.”

All my practice in front of the mirror at home hadn’t improved my verbal delivery here either.

He snapped his chair into the upright position. His eyes lit with a golden fire, and his lips drew a straight line across his face. He ran his hand through his hair, and let out a loud, slow breath.

“I can’t believe an educated and intelligent couple like you and Ben can’t see the future in medical science. Why let some outdated religious beliefs keep you from realizing your dreams?”

“God is the Creator of science. He knew you before your conception and gave you life as well as your incredible abilities as a doctor. He is the One who leads Ben and me in all areas of our lives. We’re uncomfortable with frozen sperm, harvested eggs, and test-tube babies. We don’t want to deal with three to six microscopic embryos—which we believe are human beings—inserted into my body and possibly losing them all. Each time we lost one, we’d grieve. We’ve decided to focus our love on the children already in our lives.”

“That’s quite a sermon.”

Suddenly short of breath, I couldn’t get a single word out. Cool air crossed over my tongue so I knew my mouth was open. The sensation caused a reflex action, and I pressed my lips shut.

“I’m sorry you feel this way. My confidence is in human abilities and science. Many Christian couples come to me for help and are grateful for our methods.” He flipped my file shut and continued, “What makes you superior to them?”

“We’re not better than anyone else—and if it works for others without guilt, I’m happy for them. It just isn’t right for us. I’m sorry I sounded so defensive. I hate it when I get that way. We made this a prayerful decision. I hoped you’d accept our choice. I didn’t want it to end this way.”

“This is goodbye then. I wish you the best in your life.” He rose to leave.

“Do you ever wonder if you’re wrong and God is real?” I asked, also standing.

He held the door open for me. “I don’t need to hear about your beliefs. I read your forms, and other Christians come here. I’ve heard it all before.”

I reached into my purse. “I’d like to give you a small gift as my thanks for your effort to help us.”

“Clinic policy doesn’t allow us to accept gifts from patients.”

“Maybe you’d like to borrow this book from me then.” I handed him The Case for Christ.

“This is a new one,” he muttered, glancing at the back cover.

“I know you’re disappointed and so are we. Please know we appreciate your knowledge and the time you spent with us. I’d love to be able to send you a photo of a little girl who looks like me or a little boy who looks like Ben celebrating a birthday or Christmas. Without divine intervention, that’s not going to happen.”

The lump in my throat warned me I was close to tears, but I managed to say, “Goodbye Dr. Steele.”

The golden flames in his eyes receded. “Good-bye.”

I watched him walk away. For all his gruffness and disbelief, I would miss him. He wanted to help us conceive and couldn’t. In a way, we’d both just lost. I walked down the hallway in the opposite direction. It was over.

When I returned to the waiting room, I heard the receptionist call, “Stacie Cutter.” Stacie got up and followed her out of my sight down the other hall.

I wanted to run and considered finding the stairs. Instead I paced while the elevator made a slow climb to my floor. A man on crutches and a woman in a wheelchair shared my descent and got off on different floors along the way down.

I dug the keys out of my purse while I speed walked to the parking ramp. Shaking, I missed the lock on my car door and the key scratched the paint.

I got into the car. Yanking on my seatbelt, I grabbed my payment stub from behind the visor. The tires squealed as I took the tight ramp corners a little faster than usual.

Hold on until you get home, I commanded my tears.

I paid the smiling man at the booth, then three red lights and two stop signs later pulled into our driveway. I ran up the sidewalk, unlocked the back door, and threw my purse on the counter.

I stood in the middle of the kitchen with both fists clenched so tightly that my fingernails gouged my palms. My mind registered the pain, and then I pressed harder.

I sobbed out loud, “Lord, I’m angry! Why us? We waited for intimacy until marriage. We did what You asked. We love children. We tithe, we pray, we go to church. We believe in You, and we always will. Please tell me why You give children to women who will throw them away. Father, I feel so empty!”

Only the ticking clock answered my cry.

God said no. Our dream died, and Ben would always come home to only me.

 

Interview with Carol Zelaya, author of "Emily Waits for Her Family"

Read Emily Waits for Her Family and follow the true story of the special bond between a tiny bird and a little girl, from first meeting to leaving, from new life to old friends. This story is told in a timeless, three-part series, with an easy-reading rhyme, and is certain to delight and touch your heart.

Could you please tell us a little about your book?
The 1st book is the springtime book, when Emily builds her nest, waits for her eggs to hatch, and feeds her chicks until they are able to leave the nest on their own. The 2nd book is the summertime book that teaches children how to take care of the birds in their yards by providing food, water, shelter and a birdbath. The 3rd book finds the little girl in the story moving away to a country home and going through an entire winter missing her little friend Emily, wondering if she will ever see her again. The following spring provides a big surprise.

Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?
Yes, this is a true story, and I was inspired by a chickadee repeatedly making her nest in the flowers outside my window. I was able to witness the entire process of her building her nest and caring for her young firsthand.

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?
The mother chickadee who I named Emily, of course!

Who is your biggest supporter?
My biggest supporters have always been my friends and family, who without their constant support and encouragement during the entire 7 year process (yes, seven years!), I might have not have seen this project through to the end. My late husband was one of my biggest supporters.

Your biggest critic?
My biggest critic has always been me.

What cause are you most passionate about and why?
I absolutely love all animals and support no kill shelters. I am passionate about children with cancer and other life threatening diseases, for they are our heroes.
In the last year have you learned or improved on any skills? My three books were all published last year, and since then I’ve learned a lot about the necessary marketing and media.

Do you have any rituals you follow when finishing a piece of work?
I go over and over it a hundred times myself first and then ask family and friends for their opinions and that of their young readers as well…how did their grandchildren like the story?

Who has influenced you throughout your career as a writer?
Every book I have ever read has had some small influence on me as a writer.

What is the most important thing in your life right now?
The most important thing in my life right now is family. Keeping close with my grown daughter, son and all my family have become even more of a priority to me since losing my husband to a fatal heart attack in November of “08. Family is everything.

What are you currently working on?
Marketing and promoting my three children’s books, which were all published and released last year.

Do you have any advice for writers or readers?
If you get an idea, put it down on paper, rather than relying on memory alone. Keep a writing journal. Most importantly, always listen to your own inner voice.

Is there an author that inspired you to write?
Maya Angelou has inspired my own poetry.

What are some of your long term goals?
To have my children’s books handed down to future generations and withstand the test of time. To leave behind a little part of me and something that I have contributed to this world. Eventually, I would like to write and publish a book for adult readers too.

What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?
To have a parent write to me telling me how much their child loves Emily’s story and that they want to read my three books over and over again!

What do you feel is your biggest strength?
I never give up, no matter how great the obstacle is.

Biggest weakness?
That I sometimes don’t know when to give up.

What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?
The fact that it is a true story from which children can learn about nature really sets it apart. Children are taught to interact with nature through observation, never interference. The back of each book has a log where children can record their chickadee findings. The rhyming also helps children learn to read. The art in these books is also realistically depicted, down to the tiniest detail of a bird or flower.
You know the scenario – you’re stuck on an island.

What book would you bring with you and why?
A blank notebook and a pen to write my own book.

If you could go back and change one day, what would it be?
The day my husband died, I wish that I would have been able to get him to a hospital right away, as soon as his symptoms started. Because we were in a Mexico, it took 15 minutes for paramedics to arrive at our hotel room. Had I known that it was our last day together, I would have never left his side for a moment. I regret that there was no opportunity to say good bye. I would not have gone to the beach to read my book while he was resting in our room that afternoon. I would have told him that I loved him.

Are you a different person now than you were 5 years ago? In what way/s?
Yes, five years ago I didn’t know anything about building a house or publishing books. I have knowledge and experience now that I didn’t have 5 years ago.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from life so far?
Never assume anything. Say and do everything now while you have the opportunity, because your life can change in an instant.

Is there anything you regret doing/not doing?
I have no regrets because everything in my life, good or bad, has led me to become the person I am today…the university of Carol Zelaya.

What is your favorite past-time?
I love to be with my four little dogs, read when time allows, see a good movie, share a good meal with family or friends, and travel. Reading a good book on a beach would be my favorite thing to do on vacation.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Yes, in my dreams Emily the Chickadee is read world wide and even becomes a favorite movie character of young children, like Disney’s Tweety Pie!

Carol Zelaya lives and writes in the Portland, OR area. She has written Emily’s story in hope of educating children about nature’s precious gifts that are all around us when we take the time to notice.

Zelaya is touring the Pacific Northwest in 2008 and is donating signed copies of her book to several low-income neighborhood schools and libraries to share her love of reading and nature.

You can visit Carol online at http://emilythechickadee.com/about-carol.html


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Carol Zelaya is a former nurse, recently widowed, and mother of two grown children. She grew up in the Chicago area, where she eventually met and married her husband and where they raised a family. Having relocated to Oregon in 1996, Zelaya began her love affair with nature and its beautiful creatures. Inspired by her surroundings, she started taking pictures and writing. Writing poetry led to writing three children’s books, of course, in rhyme. Zelaya’s Emily the Chickadee books are the true story of the special bond between a tiny bird and a little girl and the true meaning of family.

Carol is now moving to the San Diego area to be near her children. You can visit her online at http://www.emilythechickadee.com/.


ABOUT THE BOOK:


Read Emily Waits for Her Family and follow the true story of the special bond between a tiny bird and a little girl, from first meeting to leaving, from new life to old friends. This story is told in a timeless, three-part series, with an easy-reading rhyme, and is certain to delight and touch your heart.