Vanished, A novel by Mark Bierman

 

Today I wish to take some time to promote my novel, Vanished. Now, I must be honest with you, I never thought I’d write a story about human trafficking

How it all began and why:

My father was a building contractor and had been to the impoverished nation of Haiti a number of times. He would assist with the construction of homes, churches, and a few other projects. His return meant amazing stories and disturbing photos of tiny shanties where families lived, in cramped quarters, without running water or electricity.  In fact, often, there were open streams of raw sewage that ran close to these squalid huts.

In October of 2010, my brother-in-law accompanied my father to decimated post-earthquake Haiti. Yes, you guessed it, another construction project.

“Oh, take a journal with you and write in it every day,” I instructed them. “I want to write an article for a magazine about your experiences.”

The pair dutifully completed their “assignments” and I was blessed with a plethora of information and colorful stories. That’s when the idea came for a book. Yes, but why Human Trafficking? Well, I have spent years working as a Correctional Officer and my mind instinctively wandered to the criminal element, I also enjoy reading action novels. I really believe, too, that this book was a therapy for me, to cleanse my mind of the negative experiences of working in a prison.

Please be aware that the book contains NO graphic violence or sexual deviance. I DO NOT create rape scenes, nor describe grotesque injuries or deaths.

A quick summary of Vanished:

Tyler Montgomery loses his wife to cancer and is grieved beyond consoling. His father-in-law, John Webster, cannot bear the loss of his daughter, both men are headed for self-destruction. When the opportunity for the mission trip arises, Trudy, John’s wife, convinces the pair to go. Though she grieves herself, she puts their needs first and believes this Good Samaritan experience will be a distraction.

They arrive in Port-de-Paix, Haiti, which is relatively untouched by the earthquake and find their host, a missionary named Steve Tracey. He drives them to Rescue Haiti Mission, their home for the next month. At dinner that night, they meet a lovely young woman named Mahalia, who takes in the Mission’s laundry, and her sweet seven-year-old daughter, Chantale.

All goes well for the first while, until Mahalia bursts into the cafeteria during dinner, proclaiming that Chantale has been taken, her cherished doll found abandoned on the road. A local search leads nowhere, and the police are unwilling to help. Even Steve tells them to accept that little Chantale is lost forever. The earthquake has created too many problems and these children are never found.

Unaccustomed to such atrocities, and reeling with the pain of their own loss, the two Americans develop a strong desire to do the right thing. Steve resists, at first, citing the dangers and fallibility of the undertaking.

One day, in a fit of frustration, Steve declares that Chantale is as good as dead. Mahalia overhears this and reacts strongly. She ignores Steve and approaches Tyler, the look of sorrow in her eyes is what he sees in the mirror daily.

Mahalia shoves a photo of her daughter, and the doll into Tyler’s hands. She locks eyes with him and utters the words that begin a terrifying journey into the underbelly of Haitian society.

“Don’t listen to him. He has given up hope for many things. You are a good man. I know you can do this. Please find her! Please find my baby!”

Yes, John and Tyler are loosely based on my kin, and yes, there are some facts and experiences they had that are incorporated into the story. However, the majority of it is fiction.

This book was written mainly for the purpose of drawing attention to the world-wide issue of Human Trafficking that is prevalent in EVERY country.

Fifty percent of the profits made from Vanished, are donated to a charity that helps victims of human trafficking.

I’ve composed a poem that speaks about Mahalia’s thoughts as she deals with her grief:

Chantale, little angel, my barren arms embrace the ghost of you; they’ve squeezed the shards of my shattered heart, since the day you were snatched away.

Blurred by the rain of constant grief, my soul’s eyes search this decimated land; baby girl, where’d you go to?

Pointed fingers accused me, for surely, I fed you to the mongrels; pay no heed, my precious child, to the evil lies they say.

Come back Chantale, the flowers you picked crumble in the vase; my will to live falls with each petal, fresh ones will die quickly, unless touched by you.

In feverish madness, I’ve commissioned strangers to the rescue, placed faith in two men, pure of heart but naïve to the ways of monsters; forgive me Chantale, for my options were few.

If to the cruelty you succumb, please climb on the Father’s lap, whisper your plea; a hug from Heaven in a rainbow’s hue.

Please check out the book trailer:

I wish to thank the professionals at 4WillsPublishing for creating such a wonderful trailer!

Vanished made the top ten list! Jan Sikes is a very talented author. Please visit her website.

Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about Vanished.

If you wish to purchase a copy, available in ebook and print format:

Amazon.com       Amazon.ca      iBooks

Connect with Mark:

Website      Facebook    Twitter    Instagram

I am also a member of  Rave Reviews Book Club a wonderful community of authors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life “Truths”

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So, last night I spotted a leprechaun running towards the end of this rainbow! I must emphasize, meeting a leprechaun had been my life’s dream! I’d kept every depiction of these creatures that I’d come across. 
 Engaged in physical yard work, I’d decided to leave my glasses indoors for safe keeping. Naturally, I gave chase. 
As I sit here, in my tomato juice bath, praying this laptop remains on the edge of the tub, I would like to alert the local school, newspaper, and television station to the fact that I’m about to sue for spreading false and injurious information. I’m tearing down every crayon drawing of a leprechaun published by this “rag of lies,” that has been taped to my fridge since Saint Paddy’s Day.
Unfortunately, someone told me that including the entire kindergarten through grade three classes, in my suit was not feasible, so I urge all parents to educate your young about the truths of these vile creatures. 
* They are not friendly!
* If they TURN their backs towards you and STAMP their feet, RUN! What you get next is NOT gold, NOR does it taste like Skittles!
NO Tommy! This is just plain wrong!

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KCT IN’L Literary Contest Winner, Harriet Hodgson

Today I have the privilege of hosting talented author, Harriet Hodgson, winner of the KCT Literary Award , for her book, “So You’re Raising Grandkids!” 

Harriet Hodgson Revolution Banner

BOOK BLURB:

If you are a grandparent raising your grandchildren, help has arrived.

According to the US Census Bureau, more than 10% of all grandparents in the nation are raising their grandkids, and the number is going up. You may be one of the millions of these grandparents and it’s a role you never expected. Willing as you are to assume this role, you have some questions. How will I find the energy for this? Is my grandchild normal? What if I “blow it?” Each day, you look for ways to make life easier.

This book will:

•Help ease your worries and guilt;
•Offer tips for creating a grand family;
•Give methods for improving grandparent-grandchild communication;
•Suggest ideas for how you can connect with your grandchild’s school;
•Provide child development information;
•Recommend approaches to help your grandchild set goals;
•Stress the importance of having fun together;
•Offer ideas of how to foster your grandchild’s hopes and dreams.

So, You’re Raising Your Grandkids blends Harriet Hodgson’s wise and moving grandparenting story with recent research and findings. It shares her 21 years of caregiving experience, including seven years of raising her twin grandkids. Each chapter ends with What Works, proven tips for grandparents raising grandkids.

At the end, you’ll cheer for all the loving grandparents—including you—who are putting grandchildren first.

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Meet Harriet:

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Rochester, Minnesota resident Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance writer for 38 years, is the author of thousands of articles, and 36 books. She has a BS from Wheelock College in Boston, an MA from the University of Minnesota, and additional graduate training.

Hodgson is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). She is a contributing writer for the Open to Hope Foundation, The Grief Toolbox, and The Caregiver Space websites.

Visit www.thecaregiverspace.org/authors/hhodgson to read her articles.

Hodgson has appeared on more than 185 talk radio shows, including CBS Radio, dozens of television stations, including CNN, and dozens of blog talk radio programs. A popular guest, she has given presentations at public health, Alzheimer’s, bereavement, and caregiving conferences.

Her recent work is based on Hodgson’s 21 years as a family caregiver. She was her mother’s family caregiver for nine years, her twin grandchildren’s guardian and caregiver for seven years, and is in her fifth year as her disabled husband’s caregiver.  Visit Harriet’s RRBC Author Page to find out more about this busy wife, grandmother, caregiver, and author, as well as more information on her many other books listed in the RRBC catalog.

 

Life Lessons I Took from Books, by Patricia Furstenberg

Hello, welcome to my blog, or, if you are a regular, welcome back. My friends to the south are observing Memorial Day, a time to remember and honor those who gave their lives defending the United States.

My guest, Patricia Furstenberg,  is the author of Silent Heroes , an action-packed adventure about the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan. Please click on the link above to see my review.  Today, she discusses how books can teach us valuable life-lessons. I’ll let her take it from here.  

A good book can take us through a multitude of experiences and can bring us that little ray of light during troubled times, when we are dealing with a moral dilemma. A great book can also rekindle a blissful moment of pure happiness we once experienced, only to discard into a dusty corner of our minds. No book is useless from this point of view, any volume can become a true manna if read at the right time. We learn quicker from books, but books also help us clarify an experience we are currently dealing with. It can happen that a paragraph in a book is so enlightening that we see it as a life experience, allowing us to finally put into words a past even we went through, yet not fully dealt with.

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Like any life lesson from sources other than personal, those took from books cannot really be assimilated unless they overlap, at least partially, over our individual experiences. For example, it can be difficult to understand that you deserve love and that you are able to receive it if life has taught you differently. However, you do feel when you come across a wise word in a book that love might indeed suit you, so your soul becomes more prepared to accept the truth of those words.

Probably one of the most valuable lessons we learn very quickly from books is that things are rarely just white or black. Life comes in all shades and colours, no matter wat chromatic preferences we have; we cannot really categorize people, relationships, feelings, or visions.

When you feel lost, it’s almost a consolation to read Agatha Christie’s  An Autobiography and find out the trouble she faced and how she figuring out how to deal with them, so life can go on. Moreover, Austen’s Pride and Prejudice whispers that we shouldn’t be afraid if we don’t have all the answers when we need them, because it is the experience that shows us the path towards happiness. In addition, it is important not to wait for the definition of happiness to be given to us by other people because only we are the masters of our hearts.

Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo is a motivational classic read, showing us that it is never too late to make a radical change and even one single day can be extremely important in one’s life. Time is precious. From Oscar Wild’s Picture of Dorian Gray we learn that the present is probably the most important step along the winding road that life is, and that it is best to give up the past, yet never pretend that it did not happen. One way or another, each experience we go through has a meaning and a role in shaping us and thus our subsequent choices and future existence. Along the same lines J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit teaches us not to deny ourselves any experience just because it might become uncomfortable; for it each one has the capacity to become a defining moment of our existence.

Larsson’s Girl with a Dragon Tattoo delivers a message similar to the one found in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Larsson’s book shows us that anyone can become a hero, and that heroes can even be those who do not consider themselves as such; Tolkien’s trilogy tells us that sometimes even the most insignificant being can change the destiny of humanity. Any individual can play an equally important role.

Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl is a powerful life lesson through the words of a 15-year-old child. If you show imagination even in the darkest moments, this will shine a light on many qualities you never knew you possessed.

It may be that the people who have the greatest impact on our lives are not around us for a very long time. That is why is important to learn from them, about them, before they pass on. Those people, writes Mitch Albom in Tuesdays with Morrie, are the ones who help us become what we are meant to be.

For those with a love for words, Zusak’s Book Thief comes with a warning: words are valuable, don’t waste them; words are extraordinarily powerful tools. They can be used towards good or evil, so measure them carefully.

I love books for the lessons I actively learn from them and for the lessons I picked up without realizing. How not to try to do everything at once; how not to you try to change others, but to accept them as they are; how not to believe everything I’m told; how to go on an adventure, but also remember where I came from and that returning home can be even more pleasant; or how to give life purpose by helping others and how not to let those around me set their limits on what I am capable of achieving.

About Patricia:

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Patricia Furstenberg writes with passion about history that blends with fiction, about war heroes, human or canine, and she also pens humorous poetry & haiku about nature and dogs. With a medical degree behind her, Patricia is passionate about mind, brain and education and the psychology behind it. She also loves coffee and she loves to travel.

Her latest book, Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for, is a highly emotional read, action-packed, a vivid story of enormous sacrifice and bravery. Silent Heroes is a narrative about the value of life. Whose are the spoils-of-war? A new look at the War in Afghanistan, at the MWD, Military Working Dogs and the brave Marines fighting it, but also at the Afghans caught in it.

One of her first books, Joyful Trouble, was an Amazon Bestseller in Historical Fiction, Africa.
Her book of poems “As Good As Gold” became a #1 New Release the day it was published.

Patricia’s writing is filled with “creativity and vivid imagery” and she knows how to “capture the reader’s imagination.”
Her words penned in her children’s books “truly make the world a happier and more beautiful place!”

Patricia Furstenberg came to writing though reading, her passion for books being something she inherited from her parents. As a winner of the Write Your Own Christie Competition, the Judges “were impressed by her thorough investigation and admired the strength of her narrative; they were impressed by her style”. The judges thought Patricia’s writing style is “well structured, with a great sense of tension and suspense”, “confident and intriguing”. The Judges were Mathew Prichard, David Brawn from Harper Collins UK and Daniel Mallory from Harper Collins US.

An avid reader, Patricia Furstenberg enjoys historical fiction, especially the Late Middle Ages, and war stories that are a blend of facts, folklore, mystery and include a dog or two. She also loves contemporary fiction, especially mystery and crime, classical poetry and haiku. Some of her favorite authors include, without being limited to, Agatha Christie, Kathy Reichs, Elizabeth Kostova, Dan Brown, Ionel Teodoreanu, Camil Petrescu.

‘I love to explore the human imagination. I am a tourist of history, a permanent guest in the labyrinth of books, a student in the world of art.’

Patricia blogs extensively and has articles & interviews published by Huffington Post UK, Biz Community, Books by Women.

Connect with Patricia and purchase a book: 

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Pintrest / Follow Blog on Email / Linked in / LovelyBooksDE / Goodreads / BookBub  / Amazon.com / Amazon.UK