Travel to Southern Italy: A Region Featured In The Novel, Until Next Sunday 

by Audry Fryer, author of Until Next Sunday

Researching the Campania Region of Southern Italy had to be one of the best parts of writing my latest novel, Until Next Sunday. If only I could have conducted my research in person!

In Until Next Sunday, the main character, Rosina, makes the brave choice to leave her hometown of Torchiara, Italy, in late December 1919. She has a specific reason for her departure (which you’ll discover in the story). Still, leaving everyone and everything she knew for a new life in America is heart-wrenching. 

While someday I hope to visit the setting in Italy at the beginning of my novel, the family with whom I collaborated to write the true story based on their grandparents’ love letters was able to take a trip to this region several years ago. While there, they visited the home where Rosina lived before leaving for America, and they had a visit with the family of Filomena, Rosina’s cousin and closest childhood friend.

Rosina’s hometown of Torchiara, and Naples, where she disembarked for America, are in the Campania Region of Italy. Located in the Southern portion of the boot-shaped peninsula, Campania encompasses the coastal Mediterranean areas of the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, the Cilento National Park, and the islands of Capri and Ischia. 
Campania has a variety of cities, picturesque coastlines, and historical places to visit. Naples is the bustling capital city. The Amalfi Coast hosts dramatic coastlines with mountains that rise steeply from the Mediterranean Sea. And, the ancient city of Pompeii is located in Campania. 
One of the tastiest regions in Italy, Campania offers a variety of well-known Italian dishes and drinks. It’s the birthplace of pizza, especially pizza Margherita. Campania is also known for spaghetti, mozzarella, limoncello, and cannelloni. And it excels in providing some of the best espresso and cappuccino in the country.
Centrally located in the Cilento National Park, Torchiara overlooks the blue Mediterranean Sea with groves of ancient olive trees lining the hillsides. This picturesque village enjoys mountain breezes, lower humidity, and views of Salerno Bay. On a clear day, you can spot the island of Capri in the distance. Torchiara boasts over a thousand years of history along its cobbled stone streets, ancient palaces, and quaint churches. 
Although born in Battipaglia in the Campania Region of Salerno, Rosina spent most of her youth in Torchiara. Her childhood home sat along one of the cobbled stone streets in this hilltop village. Before leaving for America, Rosina worked in the olive groves on the mountainside. 
According to Linda, one of Rosina’s granddaughters, “When I would comment on my Grandmother’s soft hands and beautiful skin, her reply was, ‘I worked in the olive groves of Torchiara, where some of the finest Virgin Olive Oil comes. And the oil from picking olives was the best lotion for keeping my skin so soft. So throw away your expensive creams and use a little olive oil each day! So what if you smell like a salad? It’s worth it!”

These three pictures were taken by the sisters that visited their grandparents’ home over ten years ago.

As the capital city of the Campania region, Naples is a dynamic location. And not just because it sits beneath the shadow of Mount Vesuvius! It’s also the third-largest city in Italy.
Naples has a diverse and complicated history with some triumphs and many setbacks. In my book, Until Next Sunday, Rosina disembarked from the port in Naples for America in 1919.
Although Southern Italy and Naples are considered much poorer regions than Rome and northern Italy, this region still offers many tourism opportunities. You can visit ancient sites and various castles, stroll through art museums, and indulge in a pizza or a shot of espresso.
If you travel West and slightly to the North of the Campania Region, you will come to the Eastern, mountainous coast of Italy known as the Abruzzo Region. Gianni, Rosina’s love interest in Until Next Sunday, originally called Teramo in the Abruzzo Region home. Teramo sits between the high peaks of the Apennines and the Adriatic Coast.
One of the region’s well-known dishes is homemade gnocchi. Rosina would prepare homemade gnocchi for her family at their Sunday dinners. You can find Rosina’s recipe for gnocchi in the opening pages of Until Next Sunday and within the free book club kit download from my website.

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed this mini-tour of Italy. This region was fascinating to research. I love how a book can take you on a mental vacation to faraway places like the mountain village of Torchiara or the bustling city of Naples. Someday, I hope that I get to go there in real life! How about you? Is Italy on your travel “wish list”?

About the Book

About the Author

Audry Fryer is an author and professional freelance writer from Pennsylvania. Formerly a teacher, Audry wrote her first novel while her toddler son and twin babies napped. As her children have grown into teenagers, she has expanded her writing career. Audry lives with her family and two pugs in a quiet corner of Southeastern PA. To learn more about Audry, please visit her website at www.audryfryer.com

Be Kind To Yourself And Your Body: Wisdom from Tiffany Cleveland

For some reason, the beginning of the New Year feels like the perfect time to start something new.  I’m not sure if fitness center marketing started that or if it really feels like an organic time to Get. On. Track. 

The old habit: 

  • Start a workout program with full vigor.
  • Watch it fizzle into a twice a week half-hearted treadmill jaunt.
  • Watch that turn into equal parts “I’m too tired” and self-shame.
  • Give it another go in a few month ‘cause New Year, New Me

Setting Goals That Matter

I’m talking about prioritizing changing the shape of your attitude before your abdomen. I know, the term “self-love” is really thrown around a lot.  It sounds like a big task but it is really important and it takes practice and discipline–just like getting that booty you’ve always wanted.  But it can help change your life, not just your body.

The Things We Tell Ourselves

I think the part that I always struggled with is: How do I love myself when I’m just so imperfect? How do I believe that I’m perfect AND have so many goals to be better? 

The truth is that you ARE perfect right now. You are a miracle!  And like a miracle of perfection you have the inner push to be better every day. So, be your own today’s version of perfect and it’s okay to push for tomorrow’s version of perfect sans the self-shame of not being perfect. Clear as mud?  

The New Habit List

This new habit list is a starting point.  Take what resonates with you and leave what doesn’t. I do recommend trying them a few days in a row before completely disregarding them.  

Change is almost as uncomfortable as the day after lunges. You can make them fit your agenda, beliefs, and timelines. I just ask that you stay curious and make sure they feel good to your soul.

  1. When you wake up and go into the bathroom, look into the mirror.  Look into your eyes and smile at your reflection.   

A few things can happen here.  There is a good chance you’ll say, “This is stupid”. I ask that you stare a little longer. This isn’t easy for everyone, so have patience. You might get emotional.  

Looking into your eyes might feel a lot like looking into your pain points, your sleeplessness, your insecurities. Notice the thought and let it go. Smile again. 

No matter how you feel about what you see, this IS you. This is where you get to start your new journey today. Have gratitude that you’re standing and you have another opportunity to start a mini-adventure.

  1. Do your bathroom business to include any self-care that lifts your mood.
  1. Before you leave, put your hands on your hips, pick your chin up and close your eyes. Take a few deep-cleansing breaths. 

On every inhale, count to five and imagine breathing in fresh, clear, clean air. 

On every exhale, count to seven and imagine breathing out any thought or worry you’ve ever had. 

  1. Keep your eyes closed.  Now imagine how it feels to be who you want to be. 

If your goal is to be a healthy person, embody that feeling. What does it mean to you? What does it mean for you? How would you feel in your clothes? How would you feel in front of strangers or at the gym? 

With your eyes closed, put that costume on and walk like a boss. Own your body and your attitude and everything that comes with it. Know that you are that healthy person and take that with you throughout the day.

  1. Make decisions as that healthy person.  

During the day we make hundreds, even thousands of decisions.  When you come to a valid choice point, ask yourself “Which one of these would a healthy person choose?” The answer is usually clear, if it’s not then it might not be relative at all.

  1. Use discretion and not judgment. 

If you choose the cake over the oatmeal for breakfast, say it out loud: “I am choosing to have cake for breakfast instead of oatmeal.” 

You have the opportunity to be honest with yourself without shaming your choice. This is a concept that I did not grow up understanding, and it is one that brought a huge shift in my perspective. But clearly, sometimes cake for breakfast is a must.

  1. Be patient with yourself.  

If you have any trials with anxiety or insecurities, this work may be almost as exhausting as the first day back to the gym.  Keep going. You got this. 

Final Thoughts

Try this method for a few weeks.  Notice the ease that comes with smiling at you.  Notice how other people respond to you. 

When negative thoughts pop in, let them. They are just thoughts; notice them and let them go. 


Author Bio

Tiffany Cleveland is a light and encouragement to all who know her. She dabbles in all the things she loves: volunteering at the Food Bank, writing, mountain biking, and Youtubing. She describes herself as “just a girl who understands that unconditional love is a slow dance of choice and a practice of repetitive choice”.

Tiffany grew up in a small town in eastern PA and blossomed into her “ever-changing self” in North Carolina, Italy, Japan, and the desert that speaks to her soul: Tucson, Arizona.

When she is not busy serving as a Master Sergeant in the Air Force, Tiffany embraces experiences that take her out of her comfort zone, deep conversations over decaf espresso, and sitting in stillness to hear the inaudible nudges from above.  She has a passion for learning, and she loves brave, incredibly compassionate people doing wildly good things in this world.

Pamela Taylor’s “Pestilence: Second Son Chronicles, Volume 3”

Blog Tour for Pamela Taylor’s book, Pestilence: Second Son Chronicles Volume 3

Welcome Back!

If you are just joining us, this blog is part of a book tour promoting a new historical fiction novel by Pamela Taylor, Prestilence: Second Son Chronicles Volume 3.

Note: The author sent me an autographed copy of the book in exchange for this review.

Pamela Taylor’s book series, Second Son Chronicles, is a historical fiction series using familiar historical settings to tell the story of a family that is fictional. It is not a reimagining of actual people or events–like some historical fiction–and readers may have to remind themselves of that as they read.

The book opens with the sudden death of a beloved king and his rapid replacement by an impetuous son. It doesn’t take long to see that this new king is going to lead the realm in a downward spiral. The story is all told to us by a second son and brother of the new king who has some mysterious destiny of his own yet to be fulfilled.

This book begins mid-action with characters and plots that have been brewing for two books prior to this one. Though the writer does provide a family tree and a sketch of the kingdom at the start of the book, it is hard to understand what is happening if you haven’t read books one and two first. If you read excerpts of the books on the author’s website, linked here, you get a sense of the story without the full depth of it. This is about a family of royals where the second sons–unlikely to become kings–have value and voice. This is also a story that rarely sits still; some scheme or battle is always in the middle of happening or being plotted.

Though there are uncanny resemblances to Henry VIII in some of what happens in Pestilence, the author makes it clear that this is a work of fiction inspired by events of the past but not about any person(s) in particular. The author responds to this idea in the book:

Readers will note similarities with northern Europe, but my decision to fictionalize the setting was a matter of practicality for my characters. European history from this period and its major actors are too well known for it to be plausible that a different set of kings and nobility might actually have existed.

Taylor, Pamela. Pestilence: Second Son Chronicles Volume 3, “Author’s Notes”, Black Rose Writing: Texas, 2020. pg 218.

Pamela Taylor’s work is particularly well designed to showcase language. At one point, the narrator creates a historical record of the new king’s reign that looked and sounded like an actual document that I could research and find. The characters, too, feel real because of the depth of research behind authenticating them within their era. Taylor transitions seamlessly from formal to casual speech; she is surprisingly eloquent as a noble as well as an accented servant. I can only imagine this book series would come to life in full cast audio production.

Taylor’s work would have every right to be laden with words we cannot understand outside of the context, but she makes it a particular point not to do that. Language is intentionally modernized slightly to save readers from referencing dictionaries to understand her work. It is a subtle nod to the audience that does not affect the story but greatly assists the reader.

I greatly respect the work Taylor has put into creating this entertaining series, and I plan to order books one and two to get the full story. If you are looking for an adventurous, mysterious, historical novel full of scandal and glory, check out the Second Son Chronicles. It will not disappoint.

Allegory and Underline Themes in “Pestilence” and the Second Son Chronicles Series by Pamela Taylor

The following is a guest post written by the author, Pamela Taylor, for the WOW blog tour promotion of her newest book.

From Dickens to Tolkien, from Molière to Gene Rodenberry writers through the ages have used their pen to comment on political and social issues of their era. Dickens chose stark realism while Molière opted for broad comedic satire. Tolkien embedded his message in a fantasy world; Rodenberry’s
métier was science fiction. I don’t even pretend to place myself among that pantheon of authors, but I chose them to make the point that exploring challenging issues often succeeds best within the context of entertainment.

My primary goal in writing the Second Son Chronicles is to entertain readers. I hope they enjoy the journey of Alfred (the series protagonist) as much as I’m enjoying bringing it to life. But for those
readers who like to look below the surface, there are some themes to be discovered. And for me, the past was a good, non-threatening setting in which to do so. I specifically chose the beginning of the Renaissance because it was a time when new ideas were spreading rapidly – and yet skepticism
still abounded and those in positions of power were often quite happy to quash anything that didn’t fit their narrative of what the world should be.

The full series examines a wide range of social and political issues of the last fifty or sixty years.
Modeling Alfred’s wife on some of the strong women of medieval and early Renaissance times allows me to explore women’s roles and rights. Having a less enlightened society bordering Alfred’s
kingdom provides the opportunity to discuss cultural differences and questions of nation-building.
The rise of the merchant class at this time in history is an excellent context in which to explore the growing influence today of big business. And the overall state of medicine at the time lends itself easily to the topic of health care.

Pestilence takes place at a time of serious upheaval for Alfred’s kingdom. The disruptions engendered by the new king’s authoritarianism highlight class divides and pave the way for the
emergence of demagoguery, xenophobia, militarism, and neglect of basic functions of governing.
What happens illuminates the very real human cost of a lack of social supports. And the situation forces those who still believe their duty is to the common good to find unexpected paths to achieve those ends.

My goal for the allegory underlying Alfred’s story has never been to be prescriptive or pedantic. I hope only to encourage readers to think.

As the dedication reads: “This series is dedicated to the hope that thoughtfulness, compassion, respect, and rational dialogue can triumph over bigotry, greed, mistrust, and self-righteousness to create a world that is truly a better place for all of
humankind.”

Thank you, Ms. Taylor, for stopping by our blog today. Check out the blog tour for more posts and reader reviews. You can find our review here on July 1st.

True North: The Importance of a Father

Guest Post By Shelton D. Whitman

I still remember what it was like playing baseball when I was a kid. I’d walk out onto the diamond, step into the batter’s box, tap my number four Louisville slugger bat on the home plate, and look out toward the pitcher and the fields behind him. At that moment, I knew where I was and what I needed to do. There was no question. I was there to swing the bat and hit that ball and run through the bases. There wasn’t any time to question why I was there or what I was going to do. In a couple of seconds, a hard baseball was going to come my way traveling upwards of 90 mph.  

About five year ago, I had a stroke that ended up setting me back in a huge way in my health. My mobility was shot. My talking was severely challenged. I was a pastor and an accomplished singer, but all that was lost. Diabetes ravaged my body and continues to today despite my best efforts to control it. It produces sores on my legs that have sent me to the hospital many times. It has taken my sight and almost my life.

I’m wearing the highest level of reading glasses as I write this, and I still can’t really see what I am writing. I have cried out to God repeatedly, and I am sure he has heard my cry. Nevertheless, I don’t understand how I spent so many years doing all these great works for Jesus, and sometimes feel so disoriented that I can’t find my True North anymore.     

Life moves on quickly. Sometimes you are at the diamond knowing exactly what to do; other times you are in the hospital bed crying out to God for understanding. Changes happen every day. The things that are familiar and comfortable become the fond memories that get us through the tough times. Hold on to those memories. Hold on to all you know is true. THAT is your True North when the rest of the world is confusing. This life we live is an incredibly short trip; it is up to us to make the most of our journey and chart our course towards Heaven.


Shelton Whitman served as an ordained minister for over thirty years in Colorado and North Carolina. He was well known and loved for his smooth, Elvis-like singing voice and his fiery sermons. He retired early due to health issues, and now lives with his wife, Wanda, in rural North Carolina on the farm his father and grandfather started.

 

How Memories Help Overcome Loss

A Guest Post By Shelton D. Whitman
Desperation began with a strong urge to cry uncontrollably. It moved to a choking feeling, and I was suddenly overwhelmed. Emptiness echoed inside; I was lost in a tunnel crying out, “anybody here?” and hearing nothing back. Sometimes the sound of silence is the loudest sound of all.
As the seven strong young Army men of the honor guard from Fort Bragg went through their program to honor my dad, I struggled to keep my composure. They escorted his casket to the grave, played Taps on the trumpet perfectly, folded the American flag that had draped his coffin, and presented it to the family. They fired a 21 gun salute and picked up every shell. They carried my dad to the mausoleum he would rest in and sealed it closed.
At no time did I feel in control of myself. In fact, I was sure that I wasn’t even there. My mind just shut down. I guess it was trying to protect me. When the dam broke, a flood of emotions overtook me, and there was nothing I could do but yield. The tears flowed uncontrollably, and I made no effort to stop them.
My thoughts soon drifted to better days. I remembered happier times I had with my dad and two brothers out fishing in a cool, Colorado river or trolling down an eleven mile reservoir for Kokanee Salmon. I could hear the sizzle of the fresh catch as they fried on the pan over the open camp fire. The taste of their warm, salty meat hit my tongue as though I was there experiencing it all again.
I remembered walking for miles into the Meeker and Creede,Colorado to big game hunt elk and deer. We would start walking early in the morning when the air was so cold we prayed for sunrise to come ribbon across the mountain and thaw us. We would start the day with boiled potatoes in our pockets to keep our hands warm. Later, we would eat them for breakfast. I remembered the deep bellowing bugle of a bull elk and the way I stood in awe at his majestic silhouette. Our hunting trips were not always successful, but we had a tremendous time just being together and enjoying the adventure of the outdoors.
All of a sudden, I was back again–crash landed into the reality of what was happening now. This amazing man who had conquered wild game and worked hard to provide a good life for his family, this man who served multiple active duty tours in the US Army and was shot at and nearly died but survived, this man who seemed larger than life, this unending giant was being laid to rest. Ernest Shelton Whitman–my father–who had begun his life on this patch of soil in Duplin country, was being laid to rest in the same patch of ground he got started in.
Duplin county in North Carolina is largely a rural county. Chicken, turkey, and hog farms abound. The land is quilted in large patches of corn, cotton, tobacco, and watermelon. Trees form natural borders with neighbors and cluster around creeks and streams that snake jagged lines through the county. Modern day GPS devices often get lost finding the private roads and lanes that lead to peoples’ houses.
On September 27, 1938, a native son was born to Robert Steele and Ethel Whitman. Ernest Shelton was the third child born to them, and he was the second child to die following them. The death of Ernest Shelton Whitman reflected the life of Ernest Shelton Whitman. His wife, three sons, three daughters-in-law, six grand kids, and six great-grand kids looked on in shock and disbelief as wonderful words of honor, respect, and comfort were spoken to them. Pastors Jeff Dale and Doug Bartlett spoke very well. I am thankful for all those who stood strong with our family and helped us through such a difficult time.
I am the eldest son, and my recollections may be slightly different than the rest of the family. This day proved to be one of the worst days I would ever have to navigate. Much of the day just went by me; I just tried to remember to keep breathing. Over the next days, weeks, months, and years, the reality of all this would somehow be absorbed into the fabrics of our lives. We would learn to stand a little taller, hold on to each other a little longer, and fight a little harder to move on. I’m not sure how three years have already passed, but the calendar says it is true.
It still just doesn’t seem possible that he is gone. I still break down into an emotional mess at the mere remembrance of my father, a man larger than life itself to me. I don’t know why he is not there when I call his house fully expecting him to say, “hello, son.” I still vividly remember the last time I saw him alive. We were looking through his impressive collection of watches. He handed me watches, one at a time, his face beaming with pride and satisfaction as he told me about each one. Then he surprised me by presenting me with his much coveted Omega wrist watch. I was thankful and stumbling over my words; he was smiling and glad to have such a reaction. We parted each other’s company with familiar words: “love you, dad. See ya next time”. But there wouldn’t be a next time. I wouldn’t see him again until he lay dying in his hospital bed.
I don’t know how one goes on from something like this. I guess we have to just keep putting one step in front of the other, and try to remember to breathe. I can’t see the numbers on the watch dad gave me when I wear it, but I wear it anyway to remember him. My memories growing up with my dad have become more precious to me. Memories have great power to heal us. When I need to talk to my dad, I look back into those memories and think about the man he was and would be today if he could be here.


Shelton Whitman served as an ordained minister for over thirty years in Colorado and North Carolina. He was well known and loved for his smooth, Elvis-like singing voice and his fiery sermons. He retired early due to health issues, and now lives with his wife, Wanda, in rural North Carolina on the farm his father and grandfather started. He shares his thoughts on his blog at: https://sheltondwhitman.wordpress.com/

Transforming an Adult Non-Reader into a Reader

This post is written by Fiona Ingram as part of a blog tour for her latest book, The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper. For more about Fiona or to join her blog tour, check out the information here.


Transforming an adult non-reader into an interested reader might seem, at the outset, to be an insurmountable task. How does one persuade someone who is perhaps now entrenched in their ways, who perhaps has a fixed mindset, that reading is fun and once they start they will discover a new way of thinking?

There are a few reasons an adult is a non-reader.

This could be physical, either poor eyesight or dyslexia that has not been properly diagnosed, and this should be addressed. Perhaps they read as a child, but life, work, busyness, stress, the vagaries of modern living made it impossible to settle down with a book at the end of a hard day, and so they got out of the habit of reading. It could be they were never taught properly during school, were mocked for being ‘slow,’ and did not have either parental or teacher support when they needed it. They may have had to leave school early to go out to work and bring money into the family. The list can go on.

There are easy ways to start a transformation from an adult non-reader to a reader, but it will be slow, depending on the person’s physical abilities and the willingness to learn.

Children may feel embarrassed about not being good readers, but an adult will feel this even more. An adult must rid themselves of any feeling of guilt or shame at not reading. Turn the ‘page,’ so to speak, wipe the slate clean and get ready for a new beginning.
The teacher/tutor or facilitator of the adult reading group can come up with wonderfully creative ideas to get those little grey cells working and to get the group interested.

Start small.

Find out what each person is interested in, what subjects or hobbies they enjoy. Everyone is interested in something. It can be anything from knitting to car maintenance to an interest in whale watching. That is the first and possibly most important step. An excellent task is to invite the group members to bring something – a magazine or newspaper article or a book from the local library – to the group and read an extract to the group for five minutes, outlining something of interest to the other members. The time required is short, most of the meeting will be spent listening to others read their extracts, and suddenly the whole idea is more of a warm and friendly get-together than a cold lesson in the ABCs.

Take the session outdoors.

If the weather permits, and there is a park or an open green space nearby, the tutor can take the students outside, let them relax on rugs (brought for the purpose), and each person reads a short poem. Luckily most modern poems are very short, and a collection won’t be hard to find. Of course, everyone will say they can’t read poetry, they never read poetry, and the last time they read a poem was at school, but soon they’ll all see that no one is a shining star; everyone is in the same boat. Discussion will naturally follow suit.

An adult non-reader will possibly automatically assume that reading always involves books. Not so. Magazines (any kind), the newspaper, journals, publications such as Time Magazine or National Geographic, or collectible part series for hobbyists all have value.

It doesn’t matter what someone reads, as long as they read.

Show and Tell.

Another fun task is to ask the group participants to work on reading something at home, be it an article, newspaper or just a few chapters of a book, and to tell the group about it when they next meet. They can speak for up to two minutes, nothing too long. If this is a topic that piques their interest, you’ll find the person will surprise themselves.
Show and Tell is such a fun way to get people involved. Let the members bring something to show the others while they ‘tell’ them about it. This can be interesting and perhaps even tasty if someone decides to use a recipe for cookies as part of the show, brings cookies, and then gets to tell everyone about the ingredients.

Swop topics.

Everyone writes down on a piece of paper the topic that they are most interested in. Then the members pick the paper slips out of a hat and that’s their topic to research and bring to the next meeting. This can result in some hilarious stuff. Allow people to swop so they don’t feel forced to do a topic but encourage people to rise to the challenge. Keep tasks short, simple and to the point. The facilitator can also do some extra homework and find titles of books – either fiction or non-fiction – on the topics that the group members are interested in. Often people don’t know what they’d like to read after years of not reading.

These suggestions sound like a whole lot of activity and not much reading, but the point is not to sit and watch someone wade painfully through a book. It’s to find the spark that ignites the person’s interest in picking up the printed word for themselves.

Enthusiasm and energy are required to get these non-reading wheels turning, but it can be done. As with youngsters, getting people interested in something is easier when they are having fun!


FionaIngram.jpg (1) (1)

About the Author

Fiona Ingram is a children’s author, but up until a few years ago, she was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked her new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with her mother and two young nephews. They had a great time and she thought she’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned book series later, she had changed careers. She has now published Book 3 (The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper) in her middle-grade adventure series Chronicles of the Stone, with many awards for the first book,

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, and a few for Book 2, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and one already for Book 3! She also teaches online novel writing for aspiring authors and she finds that very satisfying. Relaxation time finds her enjoying something creative or artistic, music, books, theatre or ballet. She loves doing research for her book series. Fiona loves animals and has written two animal rescue stories. She has two adorable (naughty) little dogs called Chloe and Pumpkin, and a beautiful black cat called Bertie.

You can find Fiona at –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/secretofthesacredscarab/

Website: www.chroniclesofthestone.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/FionaRobyn

Author Site: http://www.FionaIngram.com

Blog: http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2868182.Fiona_Ingram

Creating a Children’s Book Series

This post is written by Fiona Ingram as part of the blog tour for her latest book, The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper. For more about Fiona or to join her blog tour, check out the information here.


Developing a children’s series is both rewarding and taxing for the author, and possibly gratefully welcomed by parents whose children suddenly discover a hero they can relate to and whose actions keep them riveted. Isn’t it wonderful when a child begs, nay, commands its parents to go out and buy the next in a favorite series because they ‘absolutely must know’ what is going to happen next? There are many children’s series currently on the market and perhaps many adults are reading them as well as their children.

Developing a children’s series is not an exact science and not a guaranteed road to writing success.

Sometimes an author will start out with an idea, and try to stretch the story over several books, but to no avail. They discover that when a story is done… it’s done! On the other hand, an author may find that the story takes off and grows into something that spills over the last two words (“The End”) and shapes itself into another and then another and then another book, before winding down to a great final climax. Yet another scenario is when the author creates a set of characters that have several adventures, each one clearly contained with a storyline. The characters have a particular history or set of circumstances to retain the familiarity for readers who keep coming back for more action.

Can a writer tell if the story has the potential for a series?

The plot will evolve naturally if the characters are appealing, and if their personal growth and development hold readers’ attention. Again, appealing characters are not worth anything if the action and conflict are not compelling. There must be a perfect marriage between plot and characters to sustain the strength of a series.

So why do children love an exciting series?

A gifted author will be able to create characters that readers can relate to, and either love or hate. The readers get to know the characters well as the action evolves and, as each book comes out, can explore something new about their heroes. Characters become friends to the avid young reader, who shares in the hopes, dreams and choices the characters make. Readers are amazingly loyal to their favorite characters, even though they may often disagree with the characters’ choices. A good writer can explore these further, enabling readers to begin to make their own choices, especially in a moral dilemma or emotional conflict.

Parents who make the time to read with their children, or who are interested in their children’s book choices, will be able to discuss these issues further. It’s a great way of dealing with ‘sticky’ issues because the discussion is less focused on the child and more on a fictional character. It may be easier for a child to express an opinion if discussing a topic via a character’s choices.

Sensible advice to writers

There are many good reasons why a first-time author should NOT start out with a series. But wait a moment, I hear you ask, aren’t you marketing your own books in a series. Yes, although I hadn’t planned on that initially. I thought I’d create lots of exciting, unrelated adventures for my heroes. But just after the halfway mark in Book One, things changed and the mythology behind the story grew and grew into almost a story on its own.

It was then that I surrendered and said to the characters, “Okay, you win, it’s a series.” Whereupon they all burst into mad cheering, especially the ones who made it into Book Two.

Perhaps writers shouldn’t set out to ‘create’ a series but rather let an original good story develop, allowing the characters and plot potential to determine the result.

FionaIngram.jpg (1)

About the Author

Fiona Ingram is a children’s author, but up until a few years ago, she was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked her new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with her mother and two young nephews. They had a great time and she thought she’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned book series later, she had changed careers. She has now published Book 3 (The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper) in her middle-grade adventure series Chronicles of the Stone, with many awards for the first book,

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, and a few for Book 2, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and one already for Book 3! She also teaches online novel writing for aspiring authors and she finds that very satisfying. Relaxation time finds her enjoying something creative or artistic, music, books, theatre or ballet. She loves doing research for her book series. Fiona loves animals and has written two animal rescue stories. She has two adorable (naughty) little dogs called Chloe and Pumpkin, and a beautiful black cat called Bertie.

You can find Fiona at –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/secretofthesacredscarab/

Website: www.chroniclesofthestone.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/FionaRobyn

Author Site: http://www.FionaIngram.com

Blog: http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2868182.Fiona_Ingram

Using Computers to Improve Reading Skills

The following post is by Fiona Ingram and part of a blog tour promoting her new book, The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper. To join the blog tour, see the list of dates posted here.


What makes children want to read, and how do parents encourage them to read, especially in a world where there is a dizzying array of technological devices to draw them away from the printed word. How can one make reading fun in a media driven world where social media and technology have such an impact on the
simple act of reading?

Digital and visual literacies are the new wave of communication specialization. Most people will have technologies readily available not only to communicate but also to create, to manipulate, to design, to self-actualize. Children learn these skills as part of their lives, like language which they learn without realizing they are learning it. Our children are natives of cyberspace—they are digitally well informed. The greatest challenge is moving beyond the glitz and pizzazz of flashy technology to teach true literacy in this new milieu, without losing hold of the basic building blocks of reading the old-fashioned way.

There are many creative ways to get kids to rediscover reading and one of them is by engaging them with something all kids understand: computers.

Many parents see computers as an obstacle to children reading the printed word. Many parents also fear that their children will lose out on the tactile pleasure of handling a real book, of learning to love and cherish firm favorites, and that their concentration will be affected by the instant gratification of technology-driven devices. This is also true where children show distinct signs of illiteracy yet can instantly manage to work a cell phone and tap into the sub-language that defines texting. However, some novel and fun ways of using technology creatively will get kids right where parents want them—reading! Parents can use computers to get kids more interested in reading by letting them create their own ‘books’ and projects.

Empower Your Child

Kids love playing around on computers so turn the idea of reading around—let them create their own story, become an author. What could be more empowering! This will allow them ‘ownership’ of the story, and that’s an irresistible challenge for any child.

Creative Thinking

The subject can be about them, an incident, or a fictitious character. They’ll not just create it but illustrate it (either their own drawings or using free images available from the Internet), design it and print it out. Parents will be amazed at what happens once the child takes charge of their own project. You can help your child develop the story, getting them to write it out first by hand, and then going through it several times (maybe another family member can also give their input). They can then create the project on the computer.

Share the Results

When their book project is finished, parents can suggest the child hand it in to their grade teacher for inclusion in the school magazine or newspaper. Or perhaps it can be a gift for a grandparent or family member. You could even have it properly bound at a local stationer.

Offer Praise

Praise and success are incredibly motivating factors in any child’s development. They’ll automatically feel inspired to achieve more. Now parents can introduce new activities that show printed books in a very novel light.

Read Together

This is a good time to find a book you both like and, besides reading together, ask your child to suggest alternative actions on the part of certain characters, asking if they agree on how the story is unfolding, and how they would have written the characters’ actions if they disagree. Encouraging a thought process will make your child feel their opinion counts. Once the book is finished, have your child create their own ‘review’ on the computer, print it out and either post or email it to your local bookshop or library. Imagine their pride and delight if the review is published in a local newspaper or put up on the library notice board.

Wonderful Websites

Most successful children’s books and book series have websites with interesting aspects to explore. Is the series set in a real or fantasy place? Do the characters have important choices to make? Don’t be afraid to let your child get onto the computer and read all about the series, the author, the movie, the actors, the settings, and the characters. Ask your child questions about what they have learned and praise their research.

Far from being an obstacle to reading, computers can enable children to think creatively in producing their own literary projects. Taking ownership of something unique and special will encourage a child’s confidence and inspire them to read and research more. Parents can assist their child to achieve the desired results by helping with practical aspects of the book project, by praising their child’s efforts, by involving other family members or teachers, and by reading together with their child.


FionaIngram.jpg (1)

About the Author

Fiona Ingram is a children’s author, but up until a few years ago, she was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked her new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with her mother and two young nephews. They had a great time and she thought she’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned book series later, she had changed careers. She has now published Book 3 (The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper) in her middle-grade adventure series Chronicles of the Stone, with many awards for the first book,

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, and a few for Book 2, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and one already for Book 3! She also teaches online novel writing for aspiring authors and she finds that very satisfying. Relaxation time finds her enjoying something creative or artistic, music, books, theatre or ballet. She loves doing research for her book series. Fiona loves animals and has written two animal rescue stories. She has two adorable (naughty) little dogs called Chloe and Pumpkin, and a beautiful black cat called Bertie.

You can find Fiona at –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/secretofthesacredscarab/

Website: www.chroniclesofthestone.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/FionaRobyn

Author Site: http://www.FionaIngram.com

Blog: http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2868182.Fiona_Ingram

The Rainbow Child and her Paper Mom

This story was written by Mabel Ingram, daughter of Fiona Ingram, and is part of the Blog Tour promoting her mother’s book. Mabel is writing in her youth; she is under 18 as she writes this post.

My name is Mabel Ingram. I was raised by my Paper Mom, Fiona Ingram, who is a children’s author, and my birth parents. I call Fiona my Paper Mom because first she fostered me and then later adopted me, becoming my mom on paper, but she made sure I never lost sight of my roots and my biological family. Fiona calls me the Rainbow Child because I was born just before the end of apartheid in 1994, the change that heralded what Nelson Mandela called the Rainbow Nation in South Africa. My mother was a domestic worker who had not finished school. With very little education and five children to look after, my mother was always a lady with a plan in mind and her biggest dream was for all her children to finish school and be independent.

As the last born, with an over 5-year age group between me and the last of my siblings, I was a bit out of touch with everyone. When I started school, it was quite difficult not only for me, but for my mother as well. With my mom having little to no education and teaching herself how to speak and read English, homework was a battle for us both. That’s when my Paper Mom, Fiona, came into the picture.

My mother, who was working for Fiona at the time, asked for her help. At this point I was about to repeat Grade 4. This was my second time repeating a year at school as I had repeated Grade 2 already. Repeating really brought down my self-esteem, making me more self-conscious about myself because my peers were two years younger. That’s when I start to think, ‘What is wrong with me? Why can’t I be like other children and enjoy all aspects of school and not just lunch time with friends?’

English was my biggest hurdle. Struggling with writing and reading meant I could not understand the lessons taught. This affected all my subjects in school and my self-confidence. I was slowly losing hope and determination. Fiona saw the potential within me, and so she fostered me. I came to live with her. We read all kinds of books together, and she introduced me to reading in a fun way. I now had a proper homework schedule and Fiona made sure I attended extra lessons after school. These English and Maths lessons helped me to improve and understand what was being taught in class.

Mabel pic collage

Children are sponges, they pick up on things you say and how you say them. I started learning from Fiona. English is second nature to my Paper Mom. She was also working as an editor and was the right person to help me through school because she has so much love and passion for the English language. Life was giving me a second chance and so I was introduced to goals. It was hard sticking to the goal of getting an education because when you’re a child all you want to do is go outside and play. But I had to work twice as hard to catch up with my peers and achieve my goals.

I finally made it to high school, the biggest push. At this stage my spoken English and understanding of language was far better than my written English. There were also more essays one had to write in just about every subject. High school was just as challenging as junior school. My first year of high school was at a private school. This all went to my head as I rebelled against continuing with my extra lessons. But both my biological mother and my Paper Mom were there to guide me firmly down the right path. The following year I went to a government school where I did not feel the need to show off. And so, I focused on myself more, I focused on achieving small goals, passing the weekly tests, passing the term papers and, most important, passing the grade! Learning was fun now, reading was amazing, and who knew so many wonderful places and people could be created by words on paper?

At this point I saw I’d also had a mental block, but if you enjoy something it does not feel like you’re working. Maths was still a problem, but I could understand what was being asked of me. English, history and geography were the lessons I loved and excelled in. I enjoyed school so much that the one year I was in the top 10 in my grade. There were about 30 of us in one class and about 4 classes of that grade, so it was a great achievement for me. Not only did I pass Matric (grade 12), which was my high school goal, I passed Matric well enough to get accepted into a tertiary institution.

With a clear understanding of where the problem is, learning can improve. A good support system makes learning easier. Looking back, it was not easy for me, but I made it through with good guidance and support. I would encourage all young people to find a mentor or person who will support you in your goals and help you in fixing your weak spots in learning and reading. Fiona, my Paper Mom, changed my life in so many ways. She literally gave me a new life.

Fiona Ingram’s Blog Tour for The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper

Good morning readers! If you have been following me long, you know that I have been involved in a blog tour before that promoted another writer’s work. A blog tour is like a traveling book tour, but all the traveling happens across blogs. The writer writes specific posts and shares them across the participating blogs, bloggers read and post reviews of his/her book, and promoters get the word out about the tour for a lot of people to come and see it. I was a bit skeptical to get started, to be honest, because I am very protective of you and the voice of the message(s) I share with you. Nevertheless, the tours afford me the opportunity to introduce myself to people who would not have found me otherwise. I have taken a chance on them with writers I felt were worth the effort, and I have not been disappointed.

Fiona Ingram’s blog tour starts this week and I can’t be more excited about this author! I’m so excited, that I am writing this extra post outside of the ones I agreed upon just to tell you about her. 

I have a lot of respect for writers–especially children’s book authors. I have a lot of respect for Fiona because she also adopted a child. Her adopted child will be stopping by to share her story on my blog about her “paper mom”. You don’t want to miss it. Check out the blog tour listed below and stay tuned to the posts forthcoming on my blogs from this author.


 

WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR OF The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper

Tour Begins August 13th

Book Summary

A plane crash! Lost in the jungle! Hunted by their old enemy, will Adam, Justin, and Kim survive long enough to find the Third Stone of Power? With only a young boy, Tukum, as their guide, the kids make their way through the dense and dangerous jungle to find the lost city of stone gods, where the Stone of Power might be located. River rafting on a crocodile-infested river and evading predators are just part of this hazardous task. Of course, their old adversary Dr. Khalid is close behind as the kids press on. But he is not the worst of their problems. This time Adam will clash with a terrible enemy who adopts the persona of an evil Aztec god, Tezcatlipoca, and is keen to revive the ancient tradition of human sacrifice. Adam, Justin, and Tukum must play a dreadful ball game of life and death and maybe survive. Will they emerge alive from the jungle? Will Dr. Khalid find the third Stone of Power before they do?

 

Print Length: 318 Pages

Genre: Middle-Grade Fiction, Adventure

Publisher: Bublish, Incorporated (November 2017)

ISBN: 978-1946229465

 

The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper is available to purchase on Amazon.com. 

FionaIngram.jpg (1)

About the Author

Fiona Ingram is a children’s author, but up until a few years ago, she was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked her new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with her mother and two young nephews. They had a great time and she thought she’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned book series later, she had changed careers. She has now published Book 3 (The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper) in her middle-grade adventure series Chronicles of the Stone, with many awards for the first book,

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, and a few for Book 2, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and one already for Book 3! She also teaches online novel writing for aspiring authors and she finds that very satisfying. Relaxation time finds her enjoying something creative or artistic, music, books, theatre or ballet. She loves doing research for her book series. Fiona loves animals and has written two animal rescue stories. She has two adorable (naughty) little dogs called Chloe and Pumpkin, and a beautiful black cat called Bertie.

 

You can find Fiona at –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/secretofthesacredscarab/

Website: www.chroniclesofthestone.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/FionaRobyn

Author Site: http://www.FionaIngram.com

Blog: http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2868182.Fiona_Ingram

 

— Blog Tour Dates


Today @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning with coffee than a muffin? Grab your cup of morning brew and join us today when we celebrate the launch of Fiona Ingram’s book, The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.  You can read our interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

 

August 14th @ Write Like Crazy

Make sure you stop by Mary Jo’s blog Write Like Crazy where Fiona Ingram talks about why your child doesn’t like reading and how to fix this.

http://www.writelikecrazy.com

 

August 15th @ Girl Zombie Authors

Come by Christine’s blog where Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts on writing about different places for kids.

https://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com/

 

August 16th @ Jessica Samuel’s Blog

Come by Jessica’s blog today where Fiona Ingram talks about how to transform your non-reader into a reader.

https://jessicasamuelsauthor.com/

 

August 19th @ Madeline Sharples’ Blog

Stop by Madeline’s blog today where author Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts with young writers on writing and creating characters.

http://madelinesharples.com/

 

August 20th @ Mari’s #JournalingPower Blog

Stop by Mari’s blog where author Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts on developing characters that children will relate to.

https://www.createwritenow.com/journal-writing-blog

 

August 20th @ Bairn’s Bard

Stop by Rebecca’s blog Bairn’s Bard today where you can read a post by Fiona Ingram’s daughter and also you can read about Rebecca’s thoughts on the book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.

https://bairnsbard.wordpress.com/

 

August 21st @ Cover2Cover Blog

Stop by Steph’s Cover2Cover where you can read Fiona Ingram’s blog post about choosing books for your kids.

http://cover2coverblog.blogspot.com/

 

August 22nd @ Look to the Western Sky

Come by Margo Dill’s blog Look to the Western Sky where Fiona Ingram writes about her experiences fostering (and later adopting) an illiterate African child who is now a lovely young woman who loves reading.

http://margoldill.com/

 

August 22nd @ A New Look on Books

Come by Rae’s blog where Fiona Ingram writes about the joy of writing for children.

https://anewlookonbooks.com/

 

August 26th @ Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi

Come by Karen’s blog where Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts on how to encourage your kids to start writing.

http://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/

 

August 27th @ Mommy Daze: Say What??

Stop by Ashley’s blog where Fiona Ingram talks about helping kids read better with homeschooling. A must read as school is about to start!

https://adayinthelifeofmom.com/

 

August 27th @ Rebecca Whitman’s Blog

Come by Rebecca’s blog where you can read Fiona Ingram’s post about using computers to improve reading skills.

https://rebeccawhitman.wordpress.com

 

August 28th @ Jennifer’s Deals

Stop by Jennifer’s blog where she shares what she her thoughts about Fiona Ingram’s incredible middle grade adventure book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.

https://www.jennifers-deals2.com/

 

August 29th @ Jill Sheets Blog

Stop by Jill’s blog where she reviews The Temple of the  Crystal Timekeeper and shares what she thinks about the book.

https://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

 

August 30th @ Story Teller Alley

Visit Veronica’s blog and check out her thoughts on the book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.

http://storytelleralley.com/blog

 

August 31st @ Mommy Daze: Say What??

Make sure you stop by Ashley’s blog again where she shares her thoughts on Fiona Ingram’s book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.

https://adayinthelifeofmom.com/

 

August 31st @ Rebecca Whitman’s Blog

Stop by Rebecca’s blog again where you can read Fiona Ingram’s post about writing a children series.

https://rebeccawhitman.wordpress.com/

 

September 1st @ Cathy C. Hall’s Blog

Visit Cathy’s blog today where Fiona Ingram shares the top ten things you never knew about Mexico!

https://c-c-hall.com/

 

September 2nd @ Break Even Books

Come by Erik’s blog Break Even Books where Fiona Ingram talks about how to make your books both enjoyable and educational.

https://breakevenbooks.com/

 

September 3rd @ Beverly A. Baird’s Blog

Join us over at Beverly A. Barid’s blog where author Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts on developing a children’s series.

http://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

 

September 4th @ Cathy C. Hall’s Blog

Make sure to come by Cathy’s blog again where she shares her thoughts on Fiona Ingram’s book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.

https://c-c-hall.com/

 

September 5th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog

Come by Jill’s blog today where Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts on writing for children.

https://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

 

September 5th @ Ali’s Bookshelf

Stop by Ali’s blog where Fiona Ingram talks about whether books can help children cope with life.

http://alisbookshelfreviews.blogspot.com

 

September 7th @ Beverly A. Baird’s Blog

Join us at Beverly’s blog again for her thoughts on Fiona Ingram’s adventurous book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.

http://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

 

September 7th @ Anthony Avina’s Blog

Stop by Anthony’s Blog where you can read Fiona Ingram’s post about why a book series is so good for non-readers.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

 

September 9th @ Anthony Avina’s Blog

Make sure to check out Anthony’s blog again where you can read his thoughts on Fiona Ingram’s book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

 

September 10th @ Misadventures with Andi

Come by Andi’s blog where you can read Fiona Ingram’s post about why children love reading about other countries and cultures.

https://misadventureswithandi.com/

 

September 10th @ Whitman’s Academics

Stop by Rebecca’s blog where Fiona Ingram’s talks about turning a non-reader into a reader.

https://whitmansacademics.wordpress.com/

 

September 12th@ Coffee with Lacey

Stop by Lacey’s blog where she reviews Fiona Ingram’s book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.

coffeewithlacey.wordpress.com

 

September 13th @ Coffee With Lacey

Be sure to stop by again when Lacey interviews author Fiona Ingram and chats about her newest book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.

coffeewithlacey.wordpress.com

 

September 14th @ World of My Imagination

Come by Nicole’s blog where she shares her opinion about Fiona Ingram’s middle-grade fiction book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.

http://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com

 

September 15th @ Story Teller Alley

Stop by Veronica’s blog Story Teller Alley to read Fiona Ingram’s post on how she came about to write the series The Chronicles of the Stone. 

http://storytelleralley.com/blog

 

Free Spirits and The Sense of Belonging in Wendy Brown-Baez’s Catch A Dream

This week’s post is a guest post from author, Wendy Brown-Baez, on her book tour for Catch A Dream.

What if home is not where we come from but where we feel we belong? What are we willing to give up to stay?

In Catch a Dream, Lily reflects on traveling: “Is it because I don’t believe in borders and want to cross them freely like the birds do, without nationality, without history, without strife and war, the barriers and borders of separation?”
After years of traveling as a free spirit, Lily has a deep inner longing to put down roots. She states that she wants to be free to travel like the birds do, without borders, and yet there is also the intrinsic human desire to belong, to be part of a community. Is it possible to have that connection with a place that is not where we happened to be born? At what point do we give up freedom to travel and explore in order to land?
Lily has this uncanny connection to the land of Israel although she is not Jewish. The combination of her fascination with Jewish history, the strength of family all around her, and immersion in the cycles of Jewish life inspire her to plant roots. But the reality is that she must either convert to Judaism or marry an Israeli citizen in order to stay permanently. The laws of immigration were decided by the religious parties when Israel first became a state: their objective is a Jewish nation. Neither option appeals to her.
She wrestles both practically and philosophically with how to stay where she feels she belongs.

This is so relevant to today’s discussion about immigration. People give up homes, leave behind families, communities, a career or profession, the security of living where you speak the language and know the culture, to start over somewhere else. Some immigrants never lose their longing to go back. Others sink down roots for generations in their adopted country. Sometimes immigrants are escaping war or oppression or extreme poverty and it can be very dangerous to make the crossing, even to the loss of life. And to go back is also dangerous and can mean arrest or death. Political asylum can rescue someone in this situation but it can also exile them. But sometimes we reach the limits of what we can give up. Sometimes the price is too high.

I wanted to stay in Israel but if I converted, my son would have to convert. He wanted to return to the USA where he spoke the language (although fluent in conversation, academics in Hebrew were hard) and he wanted to play football. I came back to the states planning to return but then I started thinking about the mandatory army service which he would be obligated to do. As a dedicated pacifist, it didn’t sit well with me. Could I go against my beliefs to fulfill my longing? In the end, I just couldn’t. That price was one I wasn’t willing to pay. Life moved on but I carry with me the beauty of the land, the heartbreak of the conflict, and love of the Jewish people and Jewish traditions, in my memories and in my story. I have also learned that when we plant roots, our friendships deepen and our circles of connection develop. “Grow where you are planted,” is a saying I have often contemplated since leaving Israel.

books images (1)

About the Author

 Wendy Brown-Báez is the author of a poetry CD Longing for Home, the full-length poetry collection Ceremonies of the Spirit (Plain View Press, ’09), and chapbooks: Transparencies of Light (Finishing Line Press, ’11) and Elegy for Newtown (Red Bird Chapbooks, ’14).  She has published both poetry and prose in numerous literary journals and anthologies, both in print and online. She received McKnight, Mn State Arts Board and Saint Louis Park Arts & Culture grants to bring writing workshops into non-profits and community centers.

Wendy has facilitated writing workshops since 1994 including at Cornerstone’s support groups, the Women & Spirituality conference at MSU Mankato, Celebrate Yourself women’s retreats, All About the Journey healing center, The Aliveness Project, Unity Minneapolis,  El Colegio High School and Jacob’s Well women’s retreat. Wendy received 2008 and 2009 McKnight grants through COMPAS Community Art Program to teach writing workshops for youth in crisis. The project at SafeZone and Face to Face Academy developed into an art installation showcasing their recorded writings. When it was noted that students’ reading scores improved, she was hired as Face to Face’s writing instructor.

In 2012, she was awarded an MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant to teach writing workshops in twelve non-profit arts and human service organizations. She continues to teach at Pathways: a healing center, in Mn prisons, and in community spaces such as public libraries, yoga studios, churches, and cafes.

Wendy has taught memoir at MCTC continuing ed and through Minneapolis community ed.

In addition, Wendy has managed shelters for the homeless and visited incarcerated teens. She is trained as a hospice volunteer and as a facilitator of Monologue Life Stories. Wendy studied alternative healing, ceremony, and spiritual traditions with Earthwalks for Health and lived in Mexico and Israel. She has collected wisdom teachings from these diverse cultures, as well as written memoirs of her adventures.

You can find Wendy Brown-Baez at:

Website: www.wendybrownbaez.com

Blog: www.wendysmuse.blogspot.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/wendybrownbaez

GoodReads: www.goodreads.com/wendybrownbaez

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wendybrownbaez.author

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/wendybrownbaez

Catch A Dream Book Summary

A woman’s healing journey begins in a country embroiled in relentless turmoil. In Israel, the first Intifada has just begun. Palestinian frustration for a homeland erupts in strikes, demonstrations and suicide bombings and Israel responds with tear gas, arrests, and house demolitions. Lily Ambrosia and Rainbow Dove arrive in Haifa with their children on a pilgrimage to sow seeds of peace. Lily’s fascination with Jewish culture inspires her to dream she can plant roots in the Holy Land. She falls in love with the land itself, with its people, and with Levi, a charming enigma, dangerous but irresistible. Eventually, she is fully immersed in Israeli life, earning her way as a nanny, hanging out in cafes with friends, and attending Yom Kippur in the synagogue. Her son rebels against the lifestyle she has chosen and war with Syria looms on the horizon. Will she be able to stay? What does she have to give up and what will she be able to keep?

Print Length: 196 pages

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publisher: BookBaby (March 24, 2018)

ISBN-13: 9781543925579

Catch a Dream is available as an eBook at BookBaby and Amazon.

Catch A Dream Book Blog Tour Dates (in Chronological Order)

May 21st @ The Muffin

Grab a muffin and a cup of coffee and read Women on Writing’s interview with author Wendy Brown-Baez and enter to win a copy of the book Catch a Dream. 

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

May 22nd @ Memory Revolution

Jerry Waxler relates to the main character in To Catch a Dream as if she was a real person. His post reflects on lessons learned in this fertile ground between “memoir” and “fiction-based-on-fact.

memorywritersnetwork.com/blog

May 22nd @ Memory Revolution

In a second post, Jerry Waxler will share Wendy Baez’s own words about the choices she made to publish her true life story as a fictional novel.

memorywritersnetwork.com/blog

May 23rd @ World of My Imagination

Exercise your imagination over at Nicole’s blog The World of My Imagination where she reviews Wendy Brown-Baez’ book Catch a Dream.

http://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com

May 24th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog

Make sure to stop by Jill Sheet’s blog to read Wendy Brown-Baez fascinating guest post on conflict and peace. The author answers the question – is peace possible without forgiveness?

https://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

May 24th @ Rebecca Whitman’s Blog

You should also stop by Rebecca Whitman’s blog where Wendy Brown-Baez talks about free spirits and belonging. What if home is not where we come from but where we feel we belong? What are we willing to give up to stay?

https://rebeccawhitman.wordpress.com/

May 25th @ Margo Dill’s Blog

Come by Margo Dill’s blog to catch another guest post by author Wendy Brown-Baez. This moving post is about motherhood and how can we be a good parent and yet fulfilled as a woman?

www.lorisreadingcorner.com

May 26th @ Mommy Daze: Say What??

Come by Ashley Bass’ blog to check out Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on trauma and healing. How can we stand up for ourselves? How can we reclaim our voice when we have been silenced by trauma?

https://adayinthelifeofmom.com/

May 27 @ Beverly A. Baird’s Blog

Make sure to stop by Beverly’s blog to find out her thoughts about Wendy Brown-Baez book Catch a Dream.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

May 29th @ Mari’s #JustJournal! Blog

Stop by Mari’s blog to read Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on journaling and self-reflecting writing. A must-read if you love freewriting or journaling!

http://www.createwritenow.com/journal-writing-blog

May 30th @ Story Teller Alley

Come by Veronica’s Story Teller Alley blog and find out how Wendy Brown-Baez book came to be in the Story Teller Alley feature “Where Do Stories Grow?”

http://storytelleralley.com/blog

June 1st @ Words from the Heart

Come by Rev. Linda Naes’ blog to read Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on the topic loving someone who is not good for us.

https://contemplativeed.blogspot.com/

June 2nd @ McNellis Writes

Come by Margaret’s blog when she shares Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on the subject of travelling in countries during times of unrest.

mcnelliswrites.com

June 3rd @ Margo Dill’s Blog

Stop by Margo’s blog where she reviews Wendy Brown-Baez book Catch a Dream.

http://www.margoldill.com/

June 4th @ Mommy Daze: Say What??

Come by Ashley Bass’ blog and find out her thoughts on the moving book Catch a Dream.

https://adayinthelifeofmom.com/

June 5th @ Madeline Sharples’ Blog

Take a look at Wendy Brown-Baez guest post over at Madeline Sharples’ blog where the author talks about writing to heal. A must read during these troubled times!

http://madelinesharples.com/

June 7th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey

Stop by Kathleen’s blog where she shares Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on writing authentically about difficult or painful topics.

https://krpooler.com/

June 8th @ Words from the Heart

Take a heartwarming journey over at Rev Linda Naes’ blog Words from the Heart to find out her thoughts on Wendy Brown-Baez book Catch a Dream.

https://contemplativeed.blogspot.com/

June 14th @ Become Zen Again

Come by Shell’s blog Become Zen Again where she shares her opinions on Wendy Brown-Baez moving book Catch a Dream.

http://www.becomezenagain.com/the-book-shelf

June 18th @ Strength 4 Spouses

Stop by Wendi Huskin’s blog Strength 4 Spouses where she shares Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on writing to heal.

www.strength4spouses.blog

June 22nd @ Strength 4 Spouses

Stop by Wendi Huskin’s blog where she shares her thoughts on the book Catch a Dream. A must read for your upcoming summer vacation!

www.strength4spouses.blog