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Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Living After My Son's Suicide - guest post by Judi Merriam


On the afternoon of December 23, 2011, Judi Merriam's eighteen-year-old 
son, Jenson, took his life - an act that blindsided everyone who knew him - changing her life and those of her family forever. The suicide of a loved one is devastating for those left behind and brings deep despair and seemingly endless grief. Judi was forced to confront profound feelings of loss and guilt and a future so very different from what she thought it would be. In this honest and soul-searching memoir, Judi reflects with grace and courage on the experience of living life after an unfathomable loss.   



About the Author:

Judi Merriam loves her roles as wife, mother, singer, actor, director, speaker, and writer. When these vocations allow her free time, she can be found hiking, swimming, sewing, reading, or watching British murder mysteries. Her most favorite people on earth are her husband, Brian, and her two living children, Tyler and Kalina. Judi makes her home in the historic Mohawk River Valley located between her beloved Adirondack Mountains and New York City. She sings and speaks for various churches and community organizations throughout Upstate New York and has played an extensive number of leading roles, as well as directed, for musical theater companies across the same area. Judi is continuously grateful for the sustaining grace of God as she walks through the messiness of life in this broken world. It is her heart’s desire to shine a light of hope into the lives of those who grieve, especially parents who have lost children to suicide


Excerpt from Empty Shoes by the Door


Life is so very different from what I thought it would be. It’s fragile and amazing and terrifying and broken and glorious and devastating all at the same time, and it can change in a matter of seconds. A breath can continue a life, or a breath can end a life. Sometimes the ending of a life or the continuing of a life comes down to a choice that should not be ours to make.

On the afternoon of December 23, 2011, the sweetest, kindest, most loving, endlessly creative, intelligent, thoughtful, and polite young man I’ve ever known, died by suicide and robbed my world of one of my most precious treasures.  He’s my son, Jenson; my second born, blue-eyed, smiling eighteen-year-old. My life hasn’t been the same since he left this earth, and it will never be the same again while I’m still here. 

This is my story of Jenson, his life, his death, and how I’ve survived without his physical presence throughout my days since he died. I write this so I’ll never forget who he was and who I am because of him.  I write so others will understand who and what I lost on that day Jenson chose to end his life.  I write because he wrote, and it seems a fitting way to tell my chosen details of the intriguing, complex, brilliant and fine young man he was and what my survival has looked like. Jenson was a master weaver of stories and loved the written word in a most passionate way. Stories were the cornerstone of his creativity, whether in written form or in film.

This isn’t my husband Brian’s story, or my daughter Kalina’s story, or my oldest son Tyler’s story; it’s mine, and I’m telling it the way I think it should be told. More than anything, though, I want you to know that because I take so much time to speak of only one of my dear children, this by no means lessens the great love and admiration I have for my other two, or my husband. I am, most frequently, their biggest champion when challenging those who would challenge them. I would willingly lay down my life for any one of these dear ones in the nucleus of my present soul-cluster of four. They are my treasures, my heartbeats, my DNA of love and commitment. If you ever get to meet my amazing family, it will be a good day for you. 

 I often wonder if I’m too dark or negative in what I’ve written, but I can’t answer that question. Sometimes I’m dark; sometimes I’m light; sometimes I’m both at the same time because of the gamut of sensations that go hand in hand while walking through grief and mourning on a daily basis for several years. After tragedy stakes a claim in our lives, grief runs in waxes and wanes like the moon’s monthly journey across the sky. I am whatever I am as I speak the truth of my memory’s moments throughout these pages. I imagine it’s the same for any of you who may be reeling in the aftermath of whatever has brought grief to your hearts and minds. 

I may come across as a woman of negativity, but be patient as you read, for without darkness, there wouldn’t be light when the sun rises and morning arrives. Charles Finney tells us not to doubt in the darkness what we know in the light. When truth is spoken, darkness loses its power. We have to move through the darkness in order to inhale relief when the light comes. And when the light comes, we gain a perspective we couldn’t see when all was black before our eyes.

I don’t hate the darkness, but when it’s all there is, my eyes endlessly flutter here and there to find a pinpoint of light – a star, the moon, a glow on the opposite shore, an illuminated window - anything I can fix my eyes on so as to nurture the hope all is not totally black. Total blackness suffocates the life in my soul, but that pinpoint of light on the horizon tells me darkness is not all there is.

If you want a happy ending according to the world’s standards, this isn’t the story to read. Although pain and grief aren’t all consuming the way they once were, my family and I continue to walk with them, and I anticipate we will for the rest of our days on this side of heaven. I suppose it would make everyone feel better if I could say “and we all lived happily ever after,” but life isn’t a fairytale, and I refuse to be delusional or live my days in denial.

We can’t escape reality no matter how hard we try; it always catches up with us and finds our heart’s hiding places. If we don’t accept truth early on, grief redefines itself into even greater darkness and devastation. Fairytales aren’t true no matter how many times we cross our fingers or wish upon a star.

I believe truth is typically the best course, so I follow Brene’ Brown’s advice and “rumble” with it regularly not wanting deception to claim victory. I’m convinced the only healthy way to deal with the factuality of a suicide is to meet it face to face from the heart wrenching moment it happens and not redefine it into something more acceptable. We also need to personally dictate how we’ll deal with it so as to avoid any delusion that would capture our thoughts and change it into something it isn’t. It’s impossible to dress up a suicide death and be truthful about it at the same time! Some try, but I don’t believe them. 
I desire the truth of my own brokenness and survival shine a light on your personal path of grief if you need a pinpoint upon which to fix your eyes and gain encouragement. And I hope this glimpse of one of my fine children allows you a small understanding of what this world lost the day Jenson died, as in the words of Charles Dickens, “And can it be, in a world so full and busy, the loss of one creature makes a void so wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth of eternity can fill it up?” 




Thank you Judi for today's guest post. Please reach out if you or someone you know needs help.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

A 5 Star Rating for Until Next Sunday

 

 



Hi! I'm Carmen and I'm a freshman at a small rural high-school in Wisconsin. I'm just starting drivers ed and when I'm not tractor driving or playing with cows and horses I LOVE to read!

I'm excited to be part of the WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour with author and Audry Fryer and her book Until Next Sunday. 

As a high-school Freshman I have books I have to read for school, books I read for fun, and books I start reading and want to share with everyone I know. Audry Fryer's book is one I think everyone should read. I loved it so much I'm sharing a copy with my school library so my friends and future students can read it as well. 

Here's a bit about the book:

 After bravely leaving the life she knew to come to America, 
illness threatens Rosina’s happily ever after. 
When separated, will letters keep their love alive? 

Rosina leaves Italy to build a better life, but the reality in America is nothing like the dream. She is far from the Italian countryside and the beautiful olive groves where she grew up. Here the work is endless, and the winters are cold and desolate. She never expects to find love in such a place. 

Then she met him. Gianni, the shoemaker’s apprentice, is gentle, handsome, and everything she never knew she needed in her life. 

But when Rosina falls ill and is quarantined, their future is at stake. All she can do is cling to the beautiful letters Gianni writes. Each week she tries to survive the long, lonely days until next Sunday for his brief visit. 

Will fate bring Rosina and Gianni together once more? Or are they destined to remain star-crossed forever? 

Until Next Sunday is a sweet historical romance inspired by a true story. It is based on actual Italian love letters which were discovered a century after they were written (some of which are contained in this book.) It is a portrait of the times, and a true immigrant experience. Feel the force with which these two lives find love, against all odds.

Purchase your own copy on: Smashwords, Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo.

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.

Social Media Links:

#untilnextsunday



...............review by Carmen J. Otto (that's me!)

The only negative thing I can say is I wish I had started this book after more books were available. I love reading a series because once I fall in love with a character I feel deflated when our relationship ends abruptly at the end of the book. That's how I'm feeling right now... I want to read about them having babies and raising them, and grandchildren and the many meals and recipes they all shared. Anyway - that's literally the only negative thing I can say. My mom would tell me to turn that around and say something positive: I can't wait until there are more books available about this amazing couple and their beautiful love story! (there mom...)

I love that the actual letters have been included - it helps tell the story. Reading some of the blog posts and interviews with the author make me realize how difficult it must have been to fill in the pieces between the letters. I think Audry did a really great job weaving things together for me as a reader. It felt pretty seamless. I can't imagine what it must have been like for either Rosina or Gianni to be separated during a time when they couldn't just send a text or snapchat to one another. (it kind of makes me appreciate living in the here and now.)

I'm positive if I were someone who found letters like these, that I would want someone to help me figure out the story behind them. I really appreciate all the time and work that went into creating Until Next Sunday and I'm looking forward to more books (hint hint) and the movie! Thanks Audry Fryer and WOW! for giving me this opportunity to read and review this wonderful five star book!




- Future Blog Tour Calendar


Today @ Bring on Lemons with High School Student, Carmen Otto
Teenager Carmen Otto offers her 5 star review of Audry Fryer's Until Next Sunday. Otto can't wait for her school library to add this gem to their collection! Read more from Carmen about this historical romance today!

May 31st @ Reading is My Remedy
Chelsie Stanford of Reading is My Remedy offers her review of Audry Fryer's Until Next Sunday. Find out what Chelsie has to say about this historical romance and it's talented author!

June 1st @ Lisa's Reading
Lisa from Lisa's Reading has Audry Fryer's Until Next Sunday in the spotlight today! Stop by and see the historical romance everyone is talking about!

June 2nd @ KnottyNeedle Creative
Judy from the Knotty Needle offers her review of Audry Fryer's Until Next Sunday for readers of her blog. This is a delightful historical romance and readers will want to hear what Judy has to say!

June 2nd @ Beverley A. Baird
Beverley A. Baird reviews Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. This historical romance is getting lots of attention - find out what Beverley thinks!

June 3rd @ Author Anthony Avina
Author Anthony Avina reviews fellow author Audry Fryer's latest historical romance, Until Next Sunday. Find out from one author to another what Anthony thinks of this book!

June 4th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion
Linda of Boots Shoes & Fashion interviews Audry Fryer about her latest historical fiction, Until Next Sunday; don't miss this insightful interview!
https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/

June 5th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Madeline Sharples welcomes a guest author to her blog - today, readers will hear from Audry Fryer about Until Next Sunday as well as learning what Audry has to say about Top Strong Female Characters in Literature.

June 9th @ The Frugalista Mom
The Fruglista Mom, Rozelyn, shares her review of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer! This is a book and review you won't want to miss!

June 10th @ World of My Imagination
WOW! Blog Tour Manager Nicole Pyles shares her review of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. Nicole's review wraps up the book blog tour for this historical romance - find out what Nicole has to say about this beautiful story!



ABOUT TODAY'S REVIEWER







Carmen is a teenager from Wisconsin where she enjoys all the animals on her family farm, reading, swimming, and spending time with friends! 


Friday, May 20, 2022

Crystal Otto's 5 Star Book Review of "Waterbury Winter". A Novel by Linda Stewart Henley

 

I'm excited to be here today as part of a WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour with author Linda Stewart Henley for her book Waterbury Winter. Thank you Nicole from WOW! for the invitation to read and review this delightful novel. 

A bit about the book:

Barnaby Brown has had enough of freezing winters, insurmountable debt, a dead-end job, and his solitary life as a young widower with no one but his beloved parrot Popsicle. He yearns to move to California and reawaken his long-lost early life as an artist. But new troubles come in threes. His ancient car crashes into a snowbank. Popsicle escapes through a window carelessly left open. 

A New York gallery owner offers to represent Barnaby’s paintings—but is he on the up-and-up? All of it serves to shock Barnaby into confronting how low he has sunk, and he vows—again and again—to change. He has a few obstacles, starting with his heavy drinking and long-term neglect of his ancestral home. As he takes steps toward a better life, he re-discovers the value of old friendships and latent talents seen in new light, and finds the courage to consider a second chance at love. Rejoining the mainstream of life presents several startling mysteries he must unravel, with a few mortifying but enlightening stumbles.

A heart-warming novel about ordinary people reclaiming their dormant potential, Waterbury Winter celebrates the restorative value of art and the joy to be found in keeping promises.

Publisher: She Writes Press (May 2022)
ISBN-10: 1647423414
ISBN-13: 978-1647423414
ASIN: ‎B09CCSJM6H
Print length: 264 pages

Purchase your own copy of Waterbury Winter on Amazon, Bookshop.org, and Barnes and Noble. You can also add it to your GoodReads list.

About the Author

Linda Stewart Henley is the author of Estelle: A Novel. Among other honors, it won Silver in the Independent Publisher Book Awards for Historical Fiction and was a finalist for The Eric Hoffer Book Awards as well as for the 2021 Nancy Pearl Award. She lives in Anacortes, Washington, with her husband. Waterbury Winter is her second novel.

Visit her website at www.lindastewarthenleyauthor.com. Connect with her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/lindastewarthenley.

Praise for Waterbury Winter

“A reflective, witty, and fun story that elegantly crosses genres and addresses intriguing themes.”— Kirkus Reviews

“A heartfelt journey of two lost souls finding grace . . . and each other. Waterbury Winter is a must-read for anyone who believes in second chances and the power of kindness—or who wants to believe in them. This is one of those books that, when you have to put it down, you can’t wait to pick it up again.” —Donna Cameron, Nautilus Award–winning author of A Year of Living Kindly: Choices that Will Change Your Life and the World Around You

"... a page-turner. I found I could not put it down until I had reached the end. It makes you think about how you are handling your life and if you are stagnating because you are too afraid to take a chance. I enjoyed reading this book from the first page to the last and found the ending the best, due to the fact that I had started rooting early for the main characters." —Readers Favorite, 5 stars

“A tour de force reminiscent of A Man Called Ove. Barnaby Brown’s interactions and experiences unfold in such a way as to endear him to the reader. He’s not perfect, but his imperfections are what reveal his gentle and generous spirit, and we root for him at every upturn and downturn. Waterbury Winter is a memorable masterpiece.” —Saralyn Richard, award-winning author of the Detective Parrott mystery series and A Murder of Principal 

“Linda Henley manages to combine drama, romance, humor, and even an art theft mystery in the highly entertaining Waterbury Winter. The novel introduces us to Barnaby Brown, an artist who is so down on his luck there’s no farther to slide. Through fast-paced writing and a series of remarkable plot twists, Henley constantly surprises the reader as Barnaby (accompanied by his faithful parrot, Popsicle) stumbles mightily in his efforts to redeem himself and become the man he wants to be. A many-layered novel, Waterbury Winter is, above all, a moving tribute to the healing power of art.” —Laurel Davis Huber, award-winning author of The Velveteen Daughter

“… a heart-warming story of loss and love, challenge and resistance, and the power of creative expression. Henley’s masterful descriptions of character and place make these pages the perfect spot to hang out. Readers will make themselves at home, cheer for the protagonist, Barnaby, and be totally charmed by his opinionated parrot, Popsicle.” —Romalyn Tilghman, award-winning author of To the Stars Through Difficulties 

5 Star Book Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto 

Waterbury Winter is about ordinary characters who are so incredibly well written they become anything but ordinary. Barnaby Brown is far from perfect and yet he is loveable and I was cheering for him throughout the story. Love and Kindness can change the world - and it certainly changes Barnaby's world for the better. This is such an endearing story with likeable characters and a wonderful storyline. If you, like me absolutely loved A Man Called Ove - you'll find Barnaby Brown to be a new favorite too! I absolutely give Waterbury Winter 5 Stars and recommend it to both my retired mother and my teenage daughter! 



- Upcoming Blog Tour Calendar

TODAY May 21st @ Bring on Lemons
Crystal shares her thoughts about the charming Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.

May 24th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Make sure to visit Anthony's blog and read his review of Linda Stewart Henley's book Waterbury Winter

May 25th @ Beverley A. Baird
Join Beverley again as she features Linda Stewart Henley's post about inspiration in art. 

May 26th @ The Frugalista Mom
Visit Roselyn's blog as she reviews Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley. 

May 27th @ A Storybook World
Deirdra's blog features Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.
https://www.astorybookworld.com/

May 30th @ Liberate and Lather
Stop by Angela's blog today and read her thoughts about Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley. 

May 31st @ The Faerie Review
Lily spotlights Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.

June 2nd @ Pages & Paws
Join Pages and Paws for their review of Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley. 

June 4th @ World of My Imagination
Nicole reviews Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.

June 5th @ Jill Sheets Blog
Visit Jill as she interviews author Linda Stewart Henley.



Tuesday, March 15, 2022

WOW! Blog Tour for "Until Next Sunday" by Audry Fryer




I am thrilled to invite you to a WOW! Women on Writing Book Blog Tour with my dear friend and talented author Audry Fryer! This book is inspired by a true story. The novel is written by Audry and the story is by: 

Linda Kotowicz

Susan Schobert

and Laurie Shanaman


Letters have been translated by Biagio Dorso




Praise: “This inspiring love story of two young Italian immigrants in 1920’s Philadelphia sparkles with heart and authenticity.” ~ Award-winning Author Lark Brennan


Until Next Sunday

Inspired by a True Story


After bravely leaving the life she knew to come to America, illness threatens Rosina’s happily ever after.


When separated, will letters keep their love alive?

After bravely leaving the life she knew to come to America, illness threatens Rosina’s happily ever after. When separated, will letters keep their love alive?


Rosina leaves Italy to build a better life, but the reality in America is nothing like the dream.


She is far from the Italian countryside and the beautiful olive groves where she grew up. Here the work is endless, and the winters are cold and desolate. She never expects to find love in such a place.


Then she met him.


Gianni, the shoemaker’s apprentice, is gentle, handsome, and everything she never knew she needed in her life.


But when Rosina falls ill and is quarantined, their future is at stake. All she can do is cling to the beautiful letters Gianni writes. Each week she tries to survive the long, lonely days until next Sunday for his brief visit.


Will fate bring Rosina and Gianni together once more? Or are they destined to remain star-crossed forever?


Until Next Sunday is a sweet Historical Romance inspired by a true story. It is based on actual Italian love letters which were discovered a century after they were written (some of which are contained in this book.)


It is a portrait of the times, and a true immigrant experience. Feel the force with which these two lives find love, against all odds.


Get Until Next Sunday – Today!


Available in ebook, paperback, and hardback through Amazon(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09QVMBXSD?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420) , Smashwords, and popular sites like Apple Books, Barnes&Noble Nook Book, Kobo, and more!


Add Until Next Sunday to your Goodreads shelf! (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60169629-until-next-sunday)



The Blog Tour will begin on May 9th and last until the first of the new year! You can participate by reviewing the book,  spotlighting the book, or interviewing the author. 


Publisher ‏ : ‎ Of Ink & Pearls Publishing Co (February 14, 2022)

Language ‏ : ‎ English

Paperback ‏ : ‎ 278 pages

ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09QVMBXSD

#History of Mid-Atlantic U.S.

#20th Century Historical Romance (Books)

#Victorian Historical Romance (Books)



Physical copies available in the U.S.  or PDF available for all!


I'd love to have you for this Blog Tour! 

Questions? Send me an email: crystaljotto@gmail.com or call/text: 920-645-7529


 If you'd like to participate in the tour - please complete this form!



Thursday, March 10, 2022

A Goat in the Kitchen?

 

So - I've been away from blogging for awhile - but I'm getting back at it!
If you want to know more about that story - you can find it here:

Basically life and my bad attitude was getting in my way...
Here I am with a fun story I hope my children will share
with my grandchildren 
who will share it with my great grandchildren
and so on...

Let me start by saying I wasn't always a dairy farmer. Several decades ago I was a Coach sunglass wearing business woman who traveled exotic destinations staying at expensive hotels - dining at elite restaurants and attempting to do it all. At that time, I was determined to have it all as a single mother. I wanted to prove I could climb the corporate ladder, raise children, own a home, have the perfect body, the right clothes, etc...

Then I got fired.

I had to start living the life I thought I had been living. Read that again. I thought I had my priorities straight. I thought my faith came first and then my family and then my career. What had actually happened was my career and the fancy clothes, balance in the bank, and the lifestyle and become so important to me that when I lost it, I considered taking my life. At that time, I owned a beautiful home, had healthy happy children, a supportive family, and everything most people want - but I couldn't see all those blessings because I had lost a JOB.

What a blessing it was that I had been fired! I can say that now! I spend every day being thankful for the things money can't buy. I'm still wearing the Coach sunglasses because somehow they haven't become lost ... but believe me when I say, there's no way this cow milking mama can afford to replace them. In fact, I just dug around in my purse to see if I had enough change to get gas station coffee. 

What's that got to do with a goat you ask?

Well... the girl I just told you about would NEVER in a million years have a goat in her kitchen. Not temporarily, not momentarily, not EVER!

Check this out!

Yup - this is ME...
Here's what's happening in this pic:
I am sitting on my bathroom floor at 11pm
WITH a goat.
This 3 week old baby goat nearly died.
After a visit from the vet and some medicine, 
it was my job to warm up the goat enough so she'd eat.
This is my pink hairdryer and my neighbors goat...
Who would have thought?

Long story short, the neighbors were gone on vacation and their teenage daughter needed help. Instead of heading to bed, I threw on my barn boots (and my hubby's sweatshirt - don't tell him) and headed to the neighbors barn where I found a lethargic baby goat. I snuggled her into my sweatshirt and called the Vet. He gave the baby (who we named Sweetie) some antibiotics and some sugar water to help her. She had gotten so cold she couldn't eat and because she wasn't eating, her blood sugar had dropped. She had been getting sicker and sicker. She was one of three babies and the stronger siblings were pushing her away from mama - so she was tiny and not doing well at all. 

Anyway - the Vet recommended at least 24 hours of a warm environment and bottle feeding and then she could potentially go back to her mom. The neighbors and I decided it might be best if I brought her home and kept her until they returned from vacation. I know nothing about goats by the way - but a baby is a baby, right?

I warmed her with my hair dryer, cuddled her on my chest while sitting on the couch, fed her with a bottle, etc... but once she was feeling better, she was a totally different animal (figuratively speaking). The laundry basket I thought she'd stay in became an obstacle to jump and climb and I found her attempting to eat my towels, garbage bags, hair, electric cords, etc... 

Did I mention it was 1am when all this was happening? 

We still had ONE baby gate I had forgotten about - it sure came in handy as I finally found a safe space for Sweetie. IN MY KITCHEN! Here I am, a neat freak ... and now there's a goat in my kitchen, but it seemed logical as the hand towels could be moved, the cupboards could be closed, and the floor is linoleum and could be cleaned easily. (yes, goats can wear diapers, but at 1am there wasn't a way to get disposable diapers)

With Sweetie settled in the kitchen, I thought I could head up to bed. 

Did you know goats (especially baby goats) really need other goats to be happy? We learned that quite quickly - we also learned that unhappy baby goats can make a lot of noise. Now it's 2am and my children and my husband are all awake and aware there is a goat in the kitchen (except my 13 year old son who is upstairs sleeping like a baby - this is just a superpower teenage boys have I guess)! 

The awoken children took turns petting Sweetie and helped me feed her and I chased them back to bed promising the goat would be in the kitchen in the morning! How exciting, right?

I tried putting the goat to sleep but just like an infant, every time I'd tiptoe out of the room, her eyes would open and the crying would begin. 

Guess who slept on the kitchen floor with the goat?

Yup...

When my farmer woke up at 5am and came in search of his coffee, he found his wife spooning with a goat in front of the dishwasher.

One of us slept like a baby and the other one slept for about ten minutes!

The next night, my 13 year old son graciously slept on the floor (it was a Friday night - so no school) after saying "mom, you're just too old to sleep in the floor". He really wasn't wrong and I appreciate his kindness.

So - that's the story.

Sweetie has since been returned to her family and we hope to visit her often - and we also hope she remembers her time on our kitchen floor very fondly.

I am not rushing out to get a goat or have another baby, but hopefully someday my family will say "she was always up for an adventure" and they'll laugh about the night they awoke to a crying baby goat int he kitchen!

That's all for now folks!

May your days be filled with love and laughter!

Hugs,
~Crystal



Tuesday, December 28, 2021

"I'd give it 6 stars if I could" says Michelle DelPonte as she reviews "Breaking the Silence" by Nancy King

 


Thank you WOW! Women on Writing for sharing the moving memoir, Breaking the Silence by Nancy King! I was excited to be one of the first to read this book and even more excited to share my 5 Star Review! and just when I thought things couldn't get any better, I was able to share this inspirational memoir with my friend Michelle DelPonte who couldn't get her hands on it fast enough! Before we get to Michelle's review - let's find out more about the book itself! 



About Breaking the Silence: 

Secrets. Lies. Silences. Stories told by parents and their families to protect themselves. A father who defends his wife despite her damage to their daughter’s health and welfare. A mother, shielded by her husband, who perpetuates murderous acts of violence against the daughter, and keeps secret her husband’s sexual “play” with the young girl.

And yet … Nancy King, determined to learn the truth of her childhood and the heartbreaking effects it has had on her adult life, uncovers the secrets. Sees through the lies. Breaks the silence.

Empowered by the stories she told herself as a child, she learns to use stories as part of her work as a university professor teaching theater, drama, world literature, and creative expression. Gradually, with the help of body work and therapy, she finds her voice. Says no to abuse and abusers. Reclaims herself and life. Writes a memoir.

She climbs mountains. Weaves tapestries. Writes books. Makes friends. Creates a meaningful life.

This is her story.

Publisher: Terra Nova Books (July 2020)
Paperback: 386 pages
ISBN-10: 1948749491
ISBN-13: 978-1948749497
Genre: Memoir

Breaking the Silence is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Bookshop.org. Make sure you add it to your GoodReads list.

About the Author:


I was born in Brooklyn, NYC. From the time I was 8 years old, until I left for college at 17, I traveled by myself into Manhattan to take a dance, theatre, or music lesson. After class I was free to wander about the City until I had to leave for home at 4:30. I ate in small Mom & Pop ethnic restaurants, savoring food I could neither spell nor pronounce. Theatre and dance tickets in the balconies were cheap and museums were free. All I needed were two nickels for the train rides, a nickel in case I had to make a phone call, and a quarter for lunch. The City was mine to explore. These years made an indelible impression on me in many ways: I enjoyed being with a diverse group of people, attending a variety of arts performances, and making my way in unfamiliar worlds with confidence and curiosity. 

Early experiences with abuse both at home and school led me to becoming a teacher, writer, playwright, and essayist, always focusing on issues of empowerment. I have taught creative writing, storymaking, drama, and literacy workshops in schools, universities, professional development programs, prisons, Head Start, mental hospitals, recreational centers, programs for children and adults with learning differences, and older adult programs in the US and abroad. 

In 1985 I was diagnosed with a rare and anomalous form of leukemia. When treatment allowed me to think in terms of years rather than months, and ten years after becoming a full professor at the University of Delaware, I received my PhD, in multi-disciplinary studies focusing on literature, psychology, and philosophy. 

As an award-winning author of seven books of nonfiction, my focus has always been on developing creative expression, arts-based approaches to learning, and student-centered learning. I have also written five novels, one of which, The Stones Speak, has been optioned for a movie. The focus in all of my writing and teaching has always been on empowerment. My newest book, a memoir, Breaking the Silence, is about the healing power of stories.

Visit the author's website at www.nancykingstories.com.

--- 5 Star Review by Michelle DelPonte

I was ecstatic to be chosen to read this memoir! Yes, the subject matter may not be for everyone, but as an adult who had been sexually abused growing up, I needed to connect with someone who had been through similar trials. Nancy King's "Breaking the Silence" did not disappoint. Reading about King's difficult times and how she overcame them and moved forward was empowering to me. 

Let me assure you, some of it was emotionally tough, but the resilience and dedication to finding the truth that Nancy portrays in "Breaking the Silence" is astounding. This author uses her gifts to cope, heal, survive, and ultimately thrive in life. She also goes one step further by sharing her story - she helps others who are navigating their own traumas. She provides hope and potentially healing for her readers.

This is easily a 5 star book. I would give it a 6 if I could! 







 --- Blog Tour Calendar

November 29th @ The Muffin
Join us at The Muffin for an author interview, giveaway, and blog tour launch post for Nancy King's memoir, Breaking the Silence.

November 30th @ Mindy McGinnis
Mindy McGinnis interviews Nancy King about her recently published memoir, Breaking the Silence. Don't miss this engaging interview!

December 8th @ Lost Wisp of Cosmic Dust
Sreevarsha Sreejith shares her review of Nancy King's memoir, Breaking the Silence. Stop by Instagram to learn more!

December 9th @ KnottyNeedle Creative
Judy reviews and shares her thoughts after reading Breaking the Silence by Nancy King. Find out what she thinks about this recently released memoir.

December 10th @ Madeline Sharples Choices
Fellow memoirist Madeline Sharples spotlights Nancy King's Breaking the Silence on her blog today. Readers will be inspired by this newly released memoir!

December 13th @ Lisa Haselton Reviews and Interviews
Lisa Haselton reviews memoirist Nancy King about her recently released Breaking the Silence. Readers won't want to miss this opportunity to be inspired!

December 16th @ Word Magic: All About Books
Today's book spotlight at Word Magic is Nancy King's memoir Breaking the Silence. Readers will also hear from Wisconsin student Carmen Otto as she shares her thoughts after reading this insightful story. 

December 17th @ Bring on Lemons with Crystal Otto
WOW!'s very own Crystal Otto shares her insight into the beautiful and inspiring memoir, Breaking the Silence by Nancy King.

December 20th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Author Anthony Avina spotlight's the newly released memoir Breaking the Silence by Nancy King. Find out more about this moving memoir and it's inspiring author today!

December 24th @ The Faerie Review
Lily at the Faerie Review shares her book review of Breaking the Silence by Nancy King. This is a memoir about a mountain climbing author who has inspired many (despite all odds)! 

December 26th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Author Anthony Avina reviews Breaking the Silence by Nancy King. Find out more about this moving memoir and Anthony's thoughts after reading it!

December 27th @ Christy Flutterby
Fellow author Christy O'Callaghan reviews Nancy King's Breaking the Silence and shares her thoughts with readers on her blog. Find out more about this moving memoir and it's resilient author! 

TODAY!!!!! December 28th @ Bring on Lemons with Michelle DelPonte
Wisconsin mother and healthcare worker Michelle DelPonte couldn't wait to get her hands on Nancy King's memoir Breaking the Silence. Today Michelle will share her review of this touching memoir. Stop at Bring on Lemons to learn more!

January 1st @ Boots Shoes and Fashion
Readers at Boots Shoes and Fashion will be enlightened as Linda interviews Nancy King about her newly released memoir Breaking the Silence. Don't miss an opportunity to learn from someone who has overcome the odds!

January 2nd @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Fellow memoirist Linda Appleman Shapiro hosts Nancy King and Breaking the Silence as today's feature book on her blog!


***** ABOUT TODAY'S REVIEWER



Michelle is a busy mom, healthcare worker, and autism advocate. Michelle lives on the shores of Lake Michigan with her beloved family. 



*****