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:

Patsmall

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review of Jewel, written by Jan Sikes

The Blurb:

For almost eighteen years, Jewel has known little beyond hopelessness and hunger. Barely existing in a ramshackle cabin, on the edge of a Louisiana swamp with her little sister and their mother, she sees no way to stop the downward spiral. When her mother falls gravely ill, Jewel learns that her life is about to take a drastic turn. But will it lead to joy or more devastation?
Take a heart-warming journey with Jewel as she struggles to rise from the clutches of poverty and shame.

My Thoughts: 

A poignant tale that has, without a doubt, played out too many times in reality. An impoverished family that consists of a sickly mother and her two daughters, must come to terms with their reality.

In those days, before the safety net of social assistance, the painful choice was made by Jewel’s mother to send her daughters away, in hopes of a better life.

Jewel was ushered into an alien world of lavish parties and magnificent homes, but everything comes at a price. It’s impossible not to sympathize with this young woman because of her tragic circumstances, and youthful innocence.

An emotional connection with characters is the mark of an excellent book. No issues with that in Jewel. It’s a quick read that wraps up neatly, though it left me with the desire to learn one unanswered question.

I recommend Jewel for the reader who enjoys a short tale of dire straits, desperate measures, and uncertain endings.

Five Stars!

Jewel by Jan Sikes

Meet Jan: 

Jansikesround

Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, has been called a wordsmith by her peers.

She published four biographical fiction books about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart there is something worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love…True love that you read about in fiction stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits these stories.

She also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a passion for music.

She has published a book of poetry and art and nine short stories.

She is widowed, lives in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals, has five incredible grandchildren and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History, and the Executive Council at Rave Writers’ Int’l Society of Authors. She is also a member of the Writer’s League of Texas and Authors Marketing Guild.

Connect with Jan and purchase her books: 

Amazon.com

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Blog

She is also a member of Rave Reviews Book Club

 

Six-Word Story

callofnature

John answers the call of nature!

The Lonely Mountain gets a Makeover

 

A seed landed on an ancient, beardless Mountain. Upon seeing the specimen, the mountain scoffed, surely nothing would come of it. Such a puny, insignificant thing could not possible affect a massive, immortal being such as he. His rocky exterior was impenetrable. Over the eons, neither rain nor wind, had been able to topple him.

Creatures such as the mountain goat, the eagle, and the mountain lion had lived and died in his peaks. As agile, mighty, and ferocious they may have been, a mere slip of a boulder had crushed more than a few. Who, or what, was this speck of dirt? What right did it have to habitat his body?

Day after day, the winds blew and Mountain waited for the seed to blow away, yet nothing of the sort occurred. Unknown to its rocky host, the seed had found a small alcove and was protected from the wind. It had also found a small crack in the rock and had begun to take root. Tiny string like roots were, at first, the only things preventing a freefall. Eventually the seed outgrew the alcove and was subject to the brunt of the wind’s fury.

The mountain rejoiced, for it thought surely this was the end, but the little beast hung on. Time passed and the tree grew, in spite of, or because of the storms. Mountain was shocked and impressed, he could feel the roots growing deeper inside of him, splitting rock and gathering nourishment from the slightest source.

One day, when spring arrived, Mountain woke up to see that tree was covered in thousands of beautiful blossoms. Such color had never adorned his drab exterior. This time, he rejoiced for a different reason. This time he was glad his friend had possessed the resilience to not only survive but thrive.

And so, it is with you. In this time of pandemic, economic fallout, and great uncertainty, find an alcove and set down roots in whatever bit of hope and joy you can find. Bloom where you are planted!

 

An Interview with Musician Thomas Mastin; A Tale of Trials, Resilience, and Faith

Today I’m privileged to host, once again, nineteen-year-old singer/song writer Thomas Mastin. Some of you may recognize the name from a previous interview we did back in December of 2018. Please click on the link, if you want to read that one. Please note, that some of the links on that post are no longer available or relevant.  His current social links and some videos can be found at the end of this short interview.

Interview With Up And Coming Musician, Thomas Mastin

Thomas and I go a few years back, I remember a time when he needed two hands to swing one drumstick. Ok, maybe not that long, but it’s been a pleasure watching him grow from a young kid playing his heart out at church, into the talented musician he is today.

I’m offering you a brief glimpse into his journey. A tale of struggles, perseverance, Faith, life detours, and lessons. Thomas’s ‘can do’ spirit is an inspiration!

Me: You’re not a shiny penny to the music industry. You’re young, but you’ve already had a significant amount of experiences. Can you share some of those?

Thomas: Two summers ago, I was a drummer in a band called Arbour Season. We played a lot of venues in Florida including Busch Gardens, Splitsville in Disney Springs, and Mother’s Restaurant in Tampa. We’ve also done House Shows, which are exactly what they sound like. The band would do their gig at a residence either indoors or out.

Me: There’s been some ‘bumps in the road’ since those sunny Florida days. Can you share what’s happened and how the course of your career has changed?

Thomas: Well, as things go, we parted ways and I charted a course for a solo career, however, I’m a social guy and decided it wasn’t for me. I met Nathan Hardy, an amazing guitar player and fellow song writer. We formed Hello July. The name came to us one day, when we were in Nashville. I saw a poster for a band called Goodbye June. I jokingly mentioned Hello July. The agency that signed us, Brave Enough Agencies, supported it.

We began singing Blues, but our genre has evolved into a mixed style of rock and pop. It almost sounds a bit like Cold Play, and U2.

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Thomas Mastin & Nathan Hardy

I’ve gone through an issue with my voice. As it turns out, I was straining my vocals, making them inflamed and they bled at times. Someone who knows more about singing than me, said to be careful, or there could be permanent damage. I’m taking some lessons and going a bit easier. I’m also learning certain diets that can help or harm your voice.

Me: I hope coffee’s okay!

Thomas: (laughs) “Oh yeah. I couldn’t do without it. I also couldn’t do without the ton of people reaching out to me right now. I didn’t expect that. It’s incredible! People have offered free lessons, I’ll have to choose which offer to take.

Pastor Dusty (Parkway Church, Amherstview, Ontario) has also been a huge inspiration. When I was eight, he told me, “If you can’t sing for five people, you can’t sing for 5,000.”

I’ve never forgotten that saying, even put it in the notebook that I use to write music. Those words remind me to be humble and with the trials of the past year, I’ve lost an arrogance. I’m no longer that high schooler who expects everything to fall into place.

Me: I think people can relate to struggles. We all have them and there’s an appreciation for an artist who is open about their challenges. They realize they’re not alone. Listening to music is often an emotional experience for most people. It can soothe, recall distant memories, and bring joy. You’ve been given a special gift.

Thomas: Yes, and now I’m in a place where people can relate to me better. This past year has taught me who I really am and that I sing, not for fame, but for God and to inspire listeners. It’s been hard for some to wrap their heads around the fact that I’m not pursuing a Christian music career, exclusively. I understand that, really, because when you grow up in the church and you say that you’re pursuing a music career, they expect Christian only. But I want to reach those who are struggling, both Christian and non. The band, NeedToBreathe, does this. They play worship songs on Sunday mornings, but festivals throughout the week.

We are planning a tour of Canada first, before eventually heading to America. We’re hoping to start with a few local House Shows. I’m willing to travel to the Toronto to Ottawa areas, and beyond. We have one booked, a couple from our church, they want to be the first.

Thomassinging

Thomas in action!

Me: Does Hello July have any videos?

Thomas: We’ve made four. Speaking of a humbling experience, one day I was in a line-up at the grocery store and a woman behind me recognized me from a video. I asked her how she liked it, expecting a positive answer.

“It’s a good thing you’re pretty!” she said.

(laughs) I was surprised but answered, “Well, I’m glad I’m pretty, at least.”

Me: We all get those. They’re great reminders that not everyone appreciates your work. Most of the time it’s a matter of personal tastes. Personally, I don’t pay much attention unless a particular issue is mentioned by several different people.

Check out Hello July singing Coldplay’s  song, Yellow.

 

 

Hello July on YouTube

My name is Thomas Mastin, I’m a 19 year old singer song-writer from Roblin, Ontario! Here are some links to my social media and one of the videos my bandmate Nathan and I have put out.

Find out more about Thomas and Hello July 

Hello July on Facebook 

Hello July on Instagram

Thomas Mastin on Facebook

Thomas Mastin on Instagram

 

 

Guest Post by Robbie Cheadle

Welcome back! As Christmas fast approaches and (some of us) are looking for that ‘perfect gift,’ might I suggest a great book? Today I have the pleasure of hosting talented author, Robbie Cheadle! I’m sure her books would make a wonderful stocking stuffer! Today, she will be discussing her children’s book, While The Bombs Fell. If you like what you see here, purchase and social media links can be found at the very bottom of this blog. Thank you, Robbie, for visiting me today, and thank you, dear reader, for your visit, as well. Enjoy!

While the Bombs Fell, a fictionalised biography.

What I intended when I wrote this book for children.

While the Bombs Fell is a fictionalised account of my mother’s life growing up in Bungay, East Anglia in England during World War II.

My mother, Elsie Patricia Eaton nee Hancy was only one year old when Britain declared war on Nazi Germany on 1 September 1939. This book commences in June 1942, when she was just over three and a half years old. My mother has some very clear memories of her childhood, but she cannot recall all the detail as she was too young.  Even if she had been a bit older, I doubt she would have known the name of the Dig for Victory campaign for example. She can, however, remember all the vegetable gardens her mother and their neighbours had in and around the town.  She can remember that the nearby city of Norwich was badly bombed during the war but she doesn’t recall specific details such as the  women and children evacuating the city in the early evening and passing the night in the countryside, away from the bombing. This was in May so the conditions would have been cold and miserable. It is for this reason that I say this book is a fictionalized biography. I have had to fill in the gaps in my mother’s memories with research and a bit of fiction.

I wrote While the Bombs Fell for children so that they could visit the days of this war in a fun and simple way and experience what life was like for children living in this time. My hope is that will remember the experiences and anxieties of Elsie and know that war is a terrible thing for everyone involved, not just the soldiers on the fronts.

I wrote this book along similar lines to the Little House on the Prairie series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder which give an account of her life growing up as a small girl in the United States of America in the late 19th century. Her books provide all sorts of interesting details about life at that time and how her mother did different household tasks on different days and made butter, cheese and bread from scratch. Food was very important for the settlers and Ingall’s books include detailed accounts of killing a pig and preserving the meat as well as hunting and killing deer and a bear in the woods. One day her father discovers a honey tree and the family delight in this unusual treat. Her mother also has to pickle and preserve of fruit and vegetables to see the family through the winter.

I aimed to share similar details about my mother and her family’s lives during World War II.

Is there a plot?

I have had a few readers comment that this book does not have a plot and that they expected a story along the lines of a thriller or a murder mystery story. There have only been two such comments out of over thirty reviews, so a lot of readers understood my intention which was to provide historical insight into the lives of people who lived through the war in an entertaining way.

There is a plot, but it is a subtle one, as with other books in this genre, like the Little House books and I am David. The plot of the Little House books is to illustrate how Laura adapted to the many changes in her life and matured into a competent and well-rounded person. The plot of I am David is his journey to find his mother while explaining how his life in the camp had impacted on his ability to trust other people. It is a story of survival and hope.

While the Bombs Fell is also intended to be a story about hope. The hope of Elsie’s family that the war will end and they will return to their normal lives. The hope that no-one in their lives will be killed in the war and that Britain would prevail. The respect and gratitude of Elsie and her siblings towards the American soldiers, called the Bungay Buckaroos, who were stationed at the nearby airbase, clearly demonstrated how the British appreciated the intervention of the US and the role they played in fighting, and ultimately winning, this war.

About While the Bombs Fell

The Blurb

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War II?

Elsie and her family live in a small double story cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often, they come and the air raid siren sounds signaling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite, the war raging across the English channel, daily life must continue with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its scary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic WWII recipes.

A recent review

Five-star Amazon review:

What a lovely, poignant book! It’s the only one I’ve read that describes what life was like for very young children growing up during World War Two. There is also quite a bit of English history included, which I found quite interesting. The wartime recipes are a nice touch.

It’s told from the perspective of a girl aged 4-6 years old and focuses mainly on the daily life of kids living through horrendous times, without truly understanding what was going on in the adult world. Many of the stories told reminded me of my Dutch father-in-law’s descriptions of growing up during WWII in the Netherlands.

About Robbie:

Robbiecheadle2

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  • Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
  • Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
  • Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and
  • Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

It’s appropriate for young children as well as young readers. Fascinating read.

Purchase links

https://www.amazon.com/author/robbiecheadle

OR

https://tslbooks.uk/product/while-the-bombs-fell-robbie-cheadle-and-elsie-hancy-eaton/

Follow Robbie Cheadle at:

Blog: https://robbiecheadle.co.za

Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/blog/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/167743577260827/?source_id=362530197427007

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

Follow Roberta Eaton at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Blog: https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/2019/12/16/openbook-research-resources/