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Everyone Makes Choices And Has Regrets

Mary Camarillo
Mary Camarillo Author Interview

The Lockhart Women follows the lives of a mother and daughters as they navigate life post divorce. When things start falling apart the family must pull together to persevere. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Brenda Lockhart marries a postal worker, has her children early in life and is a stay at home mom. When the novel begins, she feels like she’s put all her eggs in the wrong basket but she doesn’t know how to change anything, until she’s forced to. I wondered what that would have been like. I chose a completely different path for my life. I was single until I was 36 and never had children. When I was in my late thirties (Brenda’s age) women would tell me they wished they’d waited to start a family, that they’d had a career, and had more fun before they settled down. They envied my freedom. Some even admitted they regretted having children. I was always puzzled by that. Everyone makes choices and has regrets.

Were you able to achieve everything you wanted with the characters in the novel?

I found it effective to tell this story from three viewpoints. It allowed me to show these women from different angles. I’m fascinated by how our self perception can be so radically different from how others see us. My characters are not always likable but they are very human. These women can be shallow, self-centered, reckless, foolish, and overly eager to please the wrong people. They keep secrets and they don’t always try to understand each other but they do love each other. They are a family and they eventually realize how important that is.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

One of my favorite reviews called The Lockhart Women “a brilliant exploration of class, race and gender, conceptualized in the time of the OJ Simpson trial.” Women’s agency and lack of agency is a central theme to the novel. Brenda Lockhart believes looks are the key to a woman’s power and she is devastated when her husband leaves her for someone she considers much less attractive. Brenda’s never worked outside the home and now she needs to find a job.

Not unlike today, women in the nineties dealt with inherent workplace sexism. For example, the lead prosecutor in the OJ Simpson trial, Marcia Clark, was constantly criticized for her appearance by the media. Her short skirts, her perm and the worry about who was watching her children was discussed much more than her prosecutorial skills. Addiction to social media is another important theme. Brenda gets hooked on the Simpson trial. TV in the 90’s was changing. Helicopters started following car chases, Breaking News and Must See TV were new concepts. The Simpson trial was also our introduction to the Kardashian family.

Other themes in the book are entitled athletes (Simpson and Allison’s boyfriend) and domestic violence. The importance of family and friends is a central theme of The Lockhart Women. It takes a while for my characters to come around to this realization, but they eventually get there.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m working on a novel set in a more contemporary time period, 2017, in Huntington Beach, California. There are a lot more men in this novel, which is an interesting challenge for me. The publication date as of now is fall of 2023.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Brenda Lockhart’s family has been living well beyond their means for too long when Brenda’s husband leaves them—for an older and less attractive woman than Brenda, no less. Brenda’s never worked outside the home, and the family’s economic situation quickly declines. Oldest daughter Peggy is certain she’s heading off to a university, until her father offers her a job sorting mail while she attends community college instead. Younger daughter Allison, a high school senior, can’t believe her luck that California golden boy Kevin has fallen in love with her.

Meanwhile, the chatter about the O. J. Simpson murder investigations is always on in the background, a media frenzy that underscores domestic violence against women and race and class divisions in Southern California. Brenda, increasingly obsessed with the case, is convinced O. J. is innocent and has been framed by the LAPD. Both daughters are more interested in their own lives—that is, until Peggy starts noticing bruises Allison can’t explain. For a while, it feels to everyone as if the family is falling apart; but in the end, they all come together again in unexpected ways.

The Sound of Wings

Three women from different social backgrounds, united by their shared interest in the creative arts, have their fates collide at an auction. Bound by their insecurities, their encounter reveals the dark secret they have buried inside themselves. The secrets slowly come to light as their friendship solidifies. However, it is not only the bond they share that proves therapeutic to those women, but also that flutter of wings, signaling the everlasting presence of the vital forces in their lives.

The author of the book, Suzanne Simonetti, expertly depicts the anxieties and uncertainties of the human mind through the voices of women of various ages, experiences, and circumstances. From the struggling writer who fears losing his son’s legal custody to the ‘real-life Cinderella’ of Cape May Krystal Axelrod. Each character in this women fiction novel is on the hunt for their individuality. The motherly affection contributes an important part in the story, cropping up through Jocelyn, Goldie, and Pearl, the housekeeper.

In addition to focusing on its human characters, this psychological thriller also explores and depicts animal faculties. The statement “Her babies always knew where to find the love and could easily decipher whether they were in companies of allies and foes” provides the reader with an interesting glimpse into animal nature observed by the author. In titling The Sound of Wings, which begins and ends with the arrival of monarch butterflies, the author does an excellent job of conveying the sentiment behind the work’s subject matter. The concept Suzanne Simonetti has associated with butterflies and their arrival will fascinate readers.

The Sound of Wings, by Suzanne Simonetti, enumerates the practicalities of life with its mystical elements. The theme of self-belief, or lack thereof, runs throughout the book and the characters. Characters displayed courage and determination through their interactions with each other. The pace of the narrative will appeal to people who enjoy slow-paced novels that spend time really developing their characters and telling their stories. This women’s fiction novel will prove to be a page-turner if you enjoy mystery fiction, with plenty of drama and a drizzle of occult and spiritualism.

Pages: 297 | ASIN : B08F2BJP1N

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After Happily Ever After

After Happily Ever After: A Novel by [Leslie A. Rasmussen]

Maggie was unhappy. There was simply no way around it. Her husband was distant and uninterested, her father was in an assisted living facility, her mother was as unsupportive as ever, and the daughter that she had given up her career for couldn’t wait to move away for college. It all left Maggie wondering where her place in the world was, as she tried to deal with the looming inevitably of change that waited on the horizon. It took a chance encounter that she would never have expected to ignite the chain reaction that brought everything crashing down in a way that helped her to finally begin putting together the pieces.

In After Happily Ever After, the first book from Leslie Rasmussen, we meet Maggie as she’s in the midst of a full blown mid-life crisis. Having been a stay at home mom for nearly 20 years, being faced with an empty nest is just one of the many things life has decided to throw at her suddenly. Marital problems, the inevitable loss of her father, other family drama, frustrations and uncertainty about re-entering the workforce, and unexpected attention from a handsome stranger- Maggie wonders daily if she can withstand the pressure. Over the course of the book, Rasmussen writes a story that is without frills and presents every day just as it happens, which is precisely its biggest strength. Maggie is most women at some point in their lives, in at least one aspect of her struggles. That very relatability makes her easy to sympathize with and become invested in. Her husband, Jim, and daughter, Gia, are never fleshed out enough as characters to create more than a surface impression, but that just stands to further illustrate the point that this book is about Maggie.

In that vein, this book explores the idea of identity. While it’s easy to read it as a simple story of a woman dealing with the stress of life, the first crisis Maggie encounters, and the one that continues as an undercurrent throughout, is the question of who she is once her primary role is no longer a mom. What does that make her, where does that leave her? As most people are defined by their roles inside and outside the home, Maggie faces the fact that with Gia gone, she fills a purpose in neither. The lack of availability from those she should be able to seek for support only snowballs everything into a larger problem.

I found myself completely invested in Maggie’s future and unable to put the book down. After Happily Ever After is an emotionally resonant story following a compelling character through a crisis that is relatable, grounded and engaging. This is definitely a book I would highly recommend!

Pages: 272 | ASIN: B08DK22T13

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Rabbit in the Moon

Rabbit in the Moon by [Heather Diamond]

Rabbit in the Moon, by Heather Diamond, is a gripping account of her life, a forty something woman and her husband Fred, who is from right outside of metropolitan Hong Kong. The memoir tracks her life starting from Texas, to Hawaii, to Hong Kong and then to the Continental US. Starting with how she meets her future husband at a conference in Hawaii, it explores the ups and downs of her relationship and her own life.

The writing style is engaging. Even though it’s an account of a real life, with no plot twists or cliff-hangers, yet the book manages to keep you gripped and is hard to put down. The language is simple and easy to understand yet descriptive enough to take you to the place the author talks about.

The emphasis on underlying themes is brought out beautifully without letting it hijack the entire narration. This is an engaging and impassioned memoir that touches on intercultural marriage but is about so much more. Other themes explored are the importance of family, contrasting the culture of America and Hong Kong, most importantly living life and bearing its ups and downs with bravery and courage. It is a thought-provoking book about new beginnings, and finding a path in life no matter the age. The fascinating mid-life reinventions of this forty something year old woman is what kept me back to this book again and again.

The overall tone of the book is humble. There is no room for harshness, being self-critical or setting unrealistic expectations. It presents the bare thought and emotions without trying to cross over any moral bar. Memoirs can often get preachy, but I really enjoyed how Heather Diamond’s story simply conveys her life journey, as it happened, as unbiased as possible. There is a certain softness yet courage to the overall tone that makes you connect to Heather, which is the best part about the book.

Rabbit in the Moon is a compelling memoir that will appeal to anyone looking for a heartwarming true story of a cross-cultural relationship and the candid reactions of a woman who takes it all on with vigor.

Pages: 203 | ASIN: B08VNSB71D

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Praying Wife Healed Husband – Book Trailer

Praying Wife, Healed Husband is a riveting account of Marcy Myles-Clark’s spiritual fight on behalf of her husband, Theirrien “Tee” Clark, as the clock was ticking on his life. His was one of the worst COVID-19 cases known to one of America’s top hospitals in the early stages of the 2020 Pandemic. Hear how Marcy’s remarkable and relentless faith stirred up a bounty of prayer warriors to breathe hope into a hopeless situation. As the entire world has been challenged by varying degrees of virus upheaval and panic, resulting in ever-increasing death toll statistics, this book reminds us that there is a human element to this crisis that supersedes numbers. It reminds us to take inventory of our spiritual life while we still can. It reminds us that with every trial in life, we have the opportunity to respond with faith or with fear. When Marcy chose faith, miracles happened. Before March of 2020, Tee & Marcy were your typical, fun loving, empty-nester couple, living their lives to the fullest. Then, in the blink of an eye, life as they knew it drastically changed. During March 2020, COVID-19 struck their household forcing them to endure the ultimate test of faith to not only sustain their marriage and finances but life itself! Tee spent 46 days isolated, for the most part, from his beloved wife and family as Johns Hopkins Hospital’s worst COVID-19 case at that point in time. With 28 of those 46 days in a medically induced coma, it wasn’t looking good for Tee from a physical and medical standpoint. This book will have you devouring every page consisting of Marcy’s journal entries, progress notes from Tee’s medical team, and inspiring text messages to and from her friends, family, and spiritual leaders. You’ll be intrigued by Tee’s personal account of matters as he fought to defy death several times while intubated. Fortunately for Tee & Marcy, they had excellent health insurance and other affairs in place to overcome this major curveball life threw their way. As a bonus, enjoy their self-help section full of expert advice and resources to assist you in getting your own house in order regarding your health, wealth, and relationship wellbeing. Now, more than ever, you must protect yourself in these times of crisis.

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Who Says, Women Can’t Lead? – Book Trailer

This book is about a biblical topic that is probably as controversial now as it was when Christ walked the earth.

What it has to do with is whether a woman can be called by God to any of the leadership positions in the church.

The traditional perspective that a woman is to be subservient to church authority; to her husband in the home; and the conjecture to males in the leadership positions of society has permeated culture for thousands of years.

I believe there is a worldwide audience of men and women in church, the political realm, and the home that would be interested in finding out if there is an alternative view to this biblical perception that would present a convincing case by providing both circumstantial and direct scriptural evidence that would support a women’s ordination in the church, her rightful place in the home, and her capacity to assume leadership roles that have for so long been against cultural norms.

Could an argument be made that might support such by providing both circumstantial and direct Bible scriptural evidence?

Join me in the search for the truth in this matter.

We will begin a thorough study by looking at those Jews who were called to the service of the priesthood, followed by some of the other positions of leadership such as Judges, Kings, and Prophets of the Old Testament, and ending with looking at those who were called to the leadership offices of the New Testament church, while including all that is in between.

In connection with this, we will revisit the many reasons that have been used in the past to support the conjecture that only males are called, such as Adam being created first by God; Eve being formed from his rib and being made to be his help meet; the husband designated as the head of the home; Jesus only appointing males to be his disciples and the slogan that this is the way it has always been.

You’ll find this study enlightening, thought-provoking, and with the presentation of earth-shattering direct evidence that will turn traditional views about this subject on their head.

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Destined To Date A Good Man

Destined To Date A Good Man: No More Counterfeits! by [Thomas, Daisy]

Dating is hard. Finding a man that aligns with your values and personal beliefs is even harder. There are a lot of men out in the world that are just looking to take advantage of a women, that don’t believe women are equal or deserving of equal treatment, and that honestly care only for themselves. Daisy Thomas has put together a book to help women navigating the world of dating avoid the problem men and find a partner that is grounded in God and good intentions.

When you start reading this book, you will find it reads more like a dissertation or informational article. Daisy Thomas’s writing style is very direct and to the point, so you won’t get warm fuzzy feelings reading her words of wisdom. Some of the main topics that she covers is trusting your gut, identifying counterfeit personalities, and finding men that share your values in God and family. There is a strong emphasis on finding a person that has a Godly heart and Godly intentions as well as one that shares your values with family and how to live. Daisy Thomas emphasizes finding someone to share your goals and dreams with that is going to support you and not kill your spirit to feed their own personal agenda.

This is a short book, only around 100 pages. However, it is filled with knowledge of how to recognize abusive behavior in a partner. It highlights the patterns that most abusers make and gives you the tell-tale warning signs so you can hopefully get away before it is too late. Anyone that believes in God, and that God has a plan for you, this is a good read for. It uses direct quotes from the bible to back up her views, it is well written to convey her message, and shows women there is more out there and they don’t have to settle for the first man that shows them any interest.

Pages: 110 | ASIN: B07982KQ8G

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Lessons from the Frogs I’ve Kissed

Lessons from the Frogs I've Kissed: I have made all the mistakes in the book so you wont have to by [Kolnik, Krystal]

If you can imagine it, Krystal has experienced it. If you’ve ever wondered what an abusive relationship truly feels like, Krystal can tell you. If you’re curious as to what a true survivor looks like, take a good long look at Krystal–her life is a testament of dedication, overcoming the worst of the worst in relationships, and learning from one’s mistakes. When Krystal finds Pete, she believes she has found forever. She could never have foreseen that the world into which she would bring her children would be one in which their father would make their lives a living hell.

Krystal Kolnik’s Lessons From Frogs I’ve Kissed is one of the most heart-wrenching stories of love and loss I have ever read. The strength it takes Krystal to simply live from day to day in the presence of such a dismissive and disloyal husband is completely stunning. As I read page after page filled with descriptions of her husband’s indiscretions and manic outbursts, my heart ached and I was filled with a rage of my own.

Krystal’s willingness to open her heart and spill her experiences for the world to read is beyond admirable. More than that, her story resonates with both men and women across the globe. Abusive relationships of one type or another are, sadly, a common occurrence. Readers who are desperately seeking validation will see themselves mirrored in the way Krystal is drawn back to Pete time and time again as his hollow promises are broken one after another–so goes the life of a victim of domestic abuse.

From Krystal’s own struggle to believe or not to believe Pete to her family and friends’ choice to conceal their own knowledge of Pete’s ongoing affairs, the author details each and every crushing blow before calmly describing the ease with which Pete is able to slide from his duties as a father and husband into the life he prefers as a sleazy cheater and abusive sociopath. Without having to present him as an actual character, Krystal succeeds in giving readers an antagonist worthy of all the hatred they can muster.

Krystal details the day-to-day struggles of being a single parent wanting to date in today’s world. Her descriptions of her young daughter’s vision of her father are almost too much to bear. Her recollections of his tantrums and abuse make my stomach turn. Krystal and her children have lived through more than their share of hard days and deserve all the good times life now has to offer.

Relationship after relationship, Krystal lays it all out on the line and goes for broke. Time after time, she is met with adversity. She does a wonderful job of making readers feel her pain and frustration–her descriptions of online dating are relatable in every way.

This is easily one of the most engaging stories I have read in years. Krystal’s mistakes become her lessons and, in turn, become the reader’s as well. Were it not for authors like Krystal, many of us would continue to feel alone in our frustration and misery. Krystal opens the door for communication. For that, I am grateful.

Pages: 342 | ASIN: B07NP6FNXC

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