Rave Reviews Book Club—2016 Book & Blog Party

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Buen día from Atlantida, Uruguay, South America! It’s winter in the southern hemisphere.

I’m delighted to participate in this event featuring talented authors from all literary genres—from all over the world.

Four winners will win eBooks for this stop. Your choice of:

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The Lullaby Illusion: A Journey of Awakening

OR

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Good Morning Diego Garcia: A Journey of Discovery

In order to win, you must comment on this post. Be sure to visit other blogs on the tour to be eligible for more prizes.

Born in Los Angeles, I spent most of my childhood in Tucson, Arizona and returned to LA as a young working woman. Inspired as a child by postcards from my globe-trotting great aunt, I left the United States at age 20 to see the “great big wonder-full” world.

I planned on being gone for a year, but ended up living my 20s and 30s in Europe and the Middle East. A Jill of all trades, I worked as a secretary and a freelance writer, taught computer classes, wrote songs, and became an accomplished artist while writing my first children’s book, Peel, the Extraordinary Elephant. A charming man who I met at a dinner party in Germany illustrated my book and later became my husband. Serendipitous events showed us that Universe had plans for us together.

After many years of writing and editing children’s books, the 2013 release of my first memoir, The Lullaby Illusion: A Journey of Awakening, represented a profound personal transformation and a new phase in my career. My second book in the ‘Journey’ series, Good Morning Diego Garcia: A Journey of Discovery is a psychological and psychic exploration forged in the chaos of horrendous storms in the Indian Ocean during monsoon season. Following the loss of a child, war in Cyprus, and with growing suspicions that my husband has a secret life, I confronted the elements, and viscerally realized that nothing is as it seems.

My third memoir is about soul connections and the force of pure energy which moves us to the unique place we belong in the universe, and how we fit into the bigger picture of life.

Doug and I love to explore different countries and cultures, learn about their history, and enjoy their distinct traditions and cuisines. We’ve just returned from a trip to Peru and Bolivia where we visited ancient civilization sites, saw alien skulls, and the mysterious Nazca lines in southern Peru.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope our paths meet again.

Susan Joyce

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Shame on UK & USA!

Shame on UK & USA!

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I first saw the island of Diego Garcia  when a damaged yacht I helped crew across the Indian Ocean landed there in monsoon season in 1975. Information in the pilot book stated that the Chagos Islands were a group of seven atolls with more than 60 tropical islands and that the US had leased it for 99 years in order to build a top-secret military base there. It was off limits for visitors but we urgently needed help and began our “Mayday-mayday-mayday!” calls for three long days until we were finally granted permission to dock there.

I didn’t learn the sordid history of Diego Garcia until we sailed on and docked in the Seychelles. While there I met natives from Diego Garcia who shared their sad story of being forcefully removed, their animals gassed, and being shipped to far away places by the UK with no concern for the welfare of the native people.

I am sad to learn that the Supreme Court in the UK has ruled that the Chagos native islanders cannot return to their homeland.

Shame on the US and UK for forcing the natives of Diego Garcia off their island homeland in order to build a top-secret military base in the Indian Ocean.

 

 

First Place! 2016 San Francisco Book Festival

(Gotta love the runner-up 😉 )

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http://www.sanfranciscobookfestival.com/winners_2016.htm

First Place San Francisco Book Festival!

BIOGRAPHY/AUTOBIOGRAPHY

WINNER: “Good Morning Diego Garcia” – Susan Joyce

RUNNER-UP: “A Perfect Spy” – Francis Hamit

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

  • “Running for my Life – Winning for CMT” – Christine Wodke
  • “Nothing Ever Goes On Here” – Ellen Newhouse
  • “Surreality: Strange Tales of a Man Sitting Down the Bar From You” – J.D. Bradley
  • “A Connisseur’s Journey” – Dr. Jeffrey Lant
  • “Through the Woods” – Margie Mack
  • “Letters from a Soldier” – Susan Mowry
  • “The Sibold Effect” – J.D. Miller
  • “A Chick in the Cockpit” – Erika Armstrong
  • “Silent No More” – Christine Orenic-Ward

Good Morning Diego Garcia—Excerpt Chapter 16

“I watched Alon and Dylan take in sails and lower the speed.

Another storm! More bashing waves. I sighed. Wish I could flap my wings and fly to the closest strand of land. Best to grab my book and move back inside to stay safe.

“We’ll ride them,” I heard Dylan say as I went below.

I returned to our room. Charles was nowhere in sight. He must be using the bathroom. I waited.

Wild waves hit us from all different directions and thrashed the boat about. I sat on my bed and listened to the alarming bashing sounds. Would the hull hold up? With all this stress?

I heard a gagging sound coming from the bathroom. Charles was retching. “Heaven help us,” I said out loud. Poor Charles! Bad enough to be depressed. Being sick on top of it all? I waited to see if I could help him.

After more vomiting, he staggered out of the bathroom looking pale.

“Can I get you anything?” I asked. “Ginger tea is good for the stomach.”

He waved me away and crawled back into his bunk.

I waited and watched the violent storm spin around us from our porthole window. It slapped us side to side with blasts of wind and pounded us with mountains of waves. My perspective shifted and in an instant I saw myself and the world in a different way. Perhaps I wasn’t atop an ocean on planet earth. Perhaps instead I sat in a turbulent area outside the atmosphere of earth? Perhaps in a vast field of past and present time in deep space. And how did my soul fit into this grand scheme called life?

Dust to dust took on a new meaning. I saw myself as a tiny speck of matter temporarily filling a space while living on earth. Absolutely scared to death, I felt more alive than I had ever felt. My senses were heightened to a whole new level; a new and different perspective of my finite reality. I felt a unique awareness beyond the normal five senses; an awareness on a higher level of understanding.

I thought of my upbringing; raised in a religious home, my parents instructed me to ask God for guidance for everything. Now I found myself asking myself for guidance. A voice told me to shine a positive light of energy around the boat to protect us. The message rang true. So I did.

In that moment, when everything looked upside-down and inside out, I sensed that everything was fine—just the way it was meant to be. Would this ‘positive energy’ be my savior?

By facing reality head on, I was discovering the meaning of living life to its fullest with senses wide open to listening and learning. Being aware, I felt empowered by the hum of nature and collective unconsciousness. It was a soothing song.

Exciting News!

Good Morning Diego Garcia has been named a Finalist in the E-BOOK NON-FICTION category of the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

I’m delighted!

Good Morning Diego Garcia—Excerpt Chapter 15

“Diego Garcia!—August 1975

Time is but an illusion.—Einstein

Relieved to have finally crossed the equator after so many wild days at sea, I washed a bucket full of dirty clothes, hung them on a line to dry, and sat on deck reading while the fresh ocean breeze dried the laundry.

I spotted a bright orange ball starboard. “Look,” I said pointing it out to others. “Is it a buoy?”

“Looks like one,” Charles said.

“A buoy in the middle of the ocean?” I asked.

“Could be weather related,” Charles said. “Collecting data for reports.”

“Or marking a navigational hazard,” Alon added.

“Let’s find out,” Dylan said. The men moved to adjust the sails and steer the yacht in the direction of the big ball.”

“By the time we reached the buoy, the men decided they had to check it out. Alon lowered the sea anchor bags to keep the boat in place, and lowered the ladder into the water.

Charles and Alon put on swim fins and lowered themselves into the ocean. Donning masks, they swam around the buoy to see what they could see in the water below.

When they surfaced a few minutes later, Charles said, “Can’t tell what it is, it’s tied to something further down.”

They snorkeled around the bouncing buoy again, pulled on the attached rope, and tried pulling the object loose. It didn’t budge. They surfaced to report they had no clue what it was or why it was there.

“We would need scuba tanks to go further,” Charles said. “It’s tied tight to something quite heavy.”

“Look,” I said, pointing to a large ship appearing on the horizon. “We have visitors.”

“They’re speeding our way,” Dylan said, looking through his binoculars.

“Coming straight toward us,” I added.

Charles and Alon scrambled up the ladder and placed it and “the anchor bags back on deck.

“Looks like a military vessel,” Dylan reported. “They’ve appeared out of nowhere.”

“Uh-oh,” said Charles. “Wonder what’s down there?”

When the ship got closer, Dylan identified it as a Russian military ship. It did a broad sweep around the Zozo and without delay sped away, heading east, and disappearing from view.

“Spooky,” I said to Charles. “Don’t think they’re collecting weather data. They must have been alerted when you pulled on the rope.”

Charles nodded.

Good Morning Diego Garcia—Excerpt Chapter 14

Indian Ocean, July 1975
A Bit of Calm

You don’’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.—C. S. Lewis

After what seemed an eternity, the winds had died to a whisper, and the threatening clouds had drifted away. The sea became flat and still. So still and smooth, it looked like a sheet of glass on a lake, but we were far away from any lakes. We were out in the middle of the Indian Ocean. I gazed at the peaceful blue sea and sky surrounding us, and walked around the deck at a slow pace, looking into the distance, as far as I could see.

Charles and Alon helped Dylan raise the sails. I heard Dylan complain about the difficulty of moving forward with a broken rudder and the loss of the mizzenmast. “Much harder to steer,” he grumbled.

I went back to our room to have a sea water shower while the weather was cooperating.

When I came back up, I saw Mia sitting alone at the table in the galley. Her eyes were tearing.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

She nodded and looked away.

I grabbed a cup of coffee and some dried fruit and nuts and returned to the deck.

Dylan reported he saw a ship on the horizon. I could see something faraway to the west. He went below and tried to reach them on the marine VHF radio, to ask if they could give us a weather report. He tried several times. No answer. He even tried contacting them with a signal mirror. No reaction. I saw his disappointment as they disappeared over the horizon.

I was fascinated with the signal mirror (a disk with a hole through it) and asked Charles about it.

“Standard,” Charles sort of explained. “A valuable communication tool. It reflects light from the sun to a nearby surface like your hand or a raft. Been in use since long before the VHF radio.”

“How does it work?” I asked.”

“You bring the mirror up to your eye and tilt it until you see a small bead of light. Next move the light toward your target. When your eye is in line with the target, you’ll see a bright spot. Pivot the mirror toward the object you want to signal. You can send signals by sending flashes of light. Doing this three times in quick succession is the international distress signal.”

“Oh!” I said. “Good to know.”

At last, Dylan was able to get an accurate read on our location. He told Charles we had gone south instead of southwest and we were heading in the direction of Diego Garcia.

“Diego Garcia? Is it a country?” I asked Charles.

Charles nodded.

So how was he finally able to get a precise reading?”

“During the storm we were pushed off course,” Charles explained. “The rough weather knocked the chronometer off the wall. Mia hung it back up, but forgot to tell Dylan.”

“Is it the time piece which hangs in their room?” I asked.

“Yes, he kept taking a fix on the chart based on the time showing on the chronometer. Unfortunately, it was not showing the right time.”

“How frustrating. How did he find the correct time?”

“Marine Radio. It’s amazing. Latitude can be found accurately using celestial navigation. Longitude, however, requires the exact time-of-day difference between the starting location and ending location. Without the precise information, the mathematical calculation can be off by 150 miles or more. Non-directional beacons from marine radio signals help obtain a fix of geographic location. A fix is computed by extending lines and reference points until they intersect.”

“Sounds complicated,” I said.

“It is,” Charles replied.

“Can Dylan get us back on course?”

“I’m certain he can navigate us to safety.”

“If he can, Sinbad is a good sailor,” I said, wishing it so.

The boat seemed to be sitting still; barely moving. But after so many stormy days, sunshine and a calm blue sea soothed my soul. I sat on deck and read for hours.