The Next Chapter
Author: Melanie Young
In a flash of a second or even a nanosecond, your life can take on a different direction. Each day brings with it many unexpected events that can alter the way we think, act or live the rest of our lives. As we turn the pages of a book and begin each new chapter, the author introduces more information about the characters, develops the plot and excites the reader to continue reading using vivid descriptions of the scenery, the actions of the characters and enveloping the reader and wrapping them so tightly within the pages of the book until the very last word on the last page. This brings me to my review of The Next Chapter by author Melanie Young.
Carol Davidson, wife, mother and wedding photographer’s life is shattered in one brief moment. After speaking with her husband, Jim, not one hour before about their upcoming cruise for their 26th anniversary, the excitement, the happiness and the anticipation of spending this momentous occasion together will forever fade in her mind as the doorbell rings and an officer tells her of her husband’s fate in a deadly car accident. Like many people who lose their spouse, Carol created her own envelope or bubble that completely surrounded her and withdrew into her own world leaving many outside to fend for themselves. With a thriving business, a great next door neighbor and wonderful assistant, she devoted her time to Enchantments, her business and left her daughter and son-in-law outside the parameters of this bubble keeping others just within the walls but not too close.
After four years of mourning Jim, her daughter Andrea and husband Jason visit her with exciting news and want her to come and live with them in Florida. Debating her choices and whether she wanted to give up her home, her tangible memories of Jim and her business, Carol faces some really hard choices and must decide whether a house and material things matter more than her daughter who wants to know her mother and lost the chance with her father due to the accident. What choice does she make? What does her daughter say to her when confronted that finally pushes her to decide?
Visiting Andrea and Jason she meets Andrew a divorced father who Andrea and Jason buy their home and auto insurance from. Immediately taken with Carol he becomes an ardent fan of her moving to Florida. But, that decision is hers and although they seem to bond, Carol is still not ready for a real relationship and Andrew hopes to change that.
As Carol is sorting through and cleaning Jim’s office she comes across a letter that he wrote to her that will forever change her life, her mindset and cement her decision. A sincere, heartfelt, and beautiful letter from Jim to Carol, allows the reader to enter their lives, even for a moment to help understand the strength of their relationship and how strong that bubble that envelopes her formed as a shield to prevent anyone from getting too close and breaking the barriers for fear of being disloyal to Jim. But, after reading his words in his own hand, things will change for Carol, Andrea and her soon to be business partner in Enchantments, Sarah
Andrew the auto and home insurance salesman soon encounters his competition in Eddie the car salesman who definitely resembles Jim. The author takes us on a journey along with Carol with a woman who makes many life changing decisions, including where she will live, whether to have Sarah her assistant buy into her business as a partner, and learning to live life to its fullest. What does happen between Carol and Andrew remains to be seen. Will she prefer the man who looks like Jim? Andrea, Jason, Carol, Andrew, and her new granddaughter Jamie Grace will spend their lives on this exciting journey called life. With her best friend Joan’s sage and wise dating advice, which sounds like what my mother told me, and the support of her family, only time will tell when and if the next chapter in Carol’s life will be written. Dating does mean getting to know someone better to see if you really want to know them, as Joan states so brilliantly. My mother would add, the only thing a man is entitled to is the pleasure of your company and no fringe benefits. A date means going out and having conversation and that’s all. Relationships form over time and require trust, respect and understanding as you learn through Carol and Andrew. Good old fashion values definitely come through in this novel.
Author Melanie Young brings to light the many issues that women deal with when they lose a spouse. Understanding how Carol reacted and feels reminds me of my mom after losing my Dad. She enveloped herself and isolated herself too and did not want to break the walls of that bubble and let the world and the sun back in. But, she did in her own way and now will Carol pop some holes in that bubble and allow it to burst, or will she forever not write the Next Chapter. Well written, with characters whose personalities are clearly defined and the many journeys that Carol takes, the reader hopes that her future will have many Next Chapters with happy endings. Let’s hope she lets the sun shine and back into her life.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
Author of the Bertha Series of Books and Memories are Precious
I give this book a beautifully photographed picture of
Five People: Carol, Andrea, Jason, Jamie Grace and you decide who gets the final spot.
Up and coming Port St Lucie author Melanie Young has just released her newest book, The Next Chapter, a novel about lost love and new beginnings.
The Next Chapter is the story of a solid marriage of love, happiness and fulfillment; until that fateful day when it is ripped apart by a terrible automobile accident. Carol Davison is left torn apart, grieving that for that which will never be again. How will she survive? How does she move forward? How does she turn the page in “The Next Chapter” of her life?
Read The Next Chapter and see how Carol Davison learns life’s lessons, heals, and finds love again.
Port St Lucie author Melanie Young moved from Spokane, Washington a year ago and promptly settled into her passion for writing. She and her husband, Dean, enjoy the small town atmosphere of the bedroom community of Port St Lucie, along with their two dogs, Ginger and Tommy.
Melanie also leads a local writers group, which meets at Barnes and Noble on US1 in Jensen Beach on the first Wednesday of every month at 7:00 pm. Feel free to join her there along with other local writers for meet and greet, or just to hang out.
The Next Chapter is her first release, but certainly not her last. It can be purchased at lulu.com, amazonkindle.com, amazon.com and her online bookstore at http://auntmel.ecrater.com. If ordered from her online bookstore, you will receive your copy signed. Melanie is also doing a drawing for a tote bag filled with goodies from the book, The Next Chapter, as well as a copy of her next book, Read My Shorts. Contact Melanie at firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Good luck to all who enter.
I want to let you know how much I enjoyed Dream Catcher. Stan’s story is so important, a story for our time, in helping us to see how essential it is that each child is accepted, included, and embraced in society and what they have to offer. Stan was fortunate that he had family and friends who fought for this and who believed in him. Thank you for writing this book, for sharing the gift of your family’s experience — the gift of Stan’s story. It is so perfectly titled.
Back in the eighties, I volunteered at a church for what was called Saturday School for adults with Down’s syndrome and autism and other cognitive challenges. Class was usually followed by a church service that these beautiful people themselves led and conducted. I thought they were pretty amazing. They understood alot more than what we often gave them credit for. I sometimes wondered what they were doing in a class all by themselves and had alot of mixed feelings about it. It seemed that the class was more for the “benefit” of others who didn’t want these people mainstreamed, aside from the “once a year” services when they were actually included. I remember thinking that this is how it should be every Sunday.
I used to be in total amazement of a little girl at one of the schools I used to substitute teach in. She was about seven and blind and was allowed to be in a regular classroom. Do you know that little girl could type word for word a whole story that I would read to her? She would type as I spoke. I would wait between sentences, but she let me know in no uncertain terms that I didn’t need to wait for her to “catch up”. She was always one step ahead of me.
The other side of that coin are schools who group all “special needs” or cognitively impaired children together, shut up in a classroom by themselves with no interaction with other children, even for lunch. I realize the challenges but there’s something wrong with this. It seems that all it does is foster and reinforce old stereotypes. Both sides lose.
Some years ago I suffered neurological symptoms that affected my speech and mobility. My entire life was flung upside-down in a matter of moments. I was pretty much homebound for sometime afterwards and I will never forget the intense pain of the isolation I felt. But many of these children endure isolation even into adulthood for all their lives.
When friends at my current church asked for help for the Buddy Walk (for Down’s children), I volunteered. They have a son with Down’s and had been involved with organizing the walk for several years. It was very rewarding to be involved with an organization that promotes inclusion of these children and interaction with them. We live in a society that loves and worships what is “normal” (if even that can be defined), a society that often doesn’t have the time or capacity to cope with people on a personal level out of the ordinary “stream” of life.
Your book offers hope by standing strong against stubborn stereotypes. I heartily recommend it to every parent and teacher. It should be in every educator’s library. Thank you, Yvonne, for investing in writing this book. I believe it will be a strong voice for acceptance as more and more people are inspired by it.
Wishing you continued success!
Moments of Mine – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
The Trouble with Trouble
The trouble with trouble
Is it takes so long
To make things right
That once were not wrong
To forget and move forward
To put out of our mind
The mischief that hounds us
We can’t leave behind
The trouble with trouble
Is that it’s so hard to see
It happens to others
But certainly not me
I have friends who love me
That truly love me and care
But they cannot help
If my troubles aren’t bare
Please God give us strength
To ask for our needs
That those who love us
May be blessed by their deeds
Your love surrounds us
Through our friends we are sure
They fill our lives daily
With a love that is pure
I now know that you care
Your love for us all
Is shown through tough times
If we would only call
We know that sometimes
Life is certainly not fair
That You will settle our troubles
When we Truly Believe You are there
As I read the poems written by Jerry White, and the stories behind each poem, I couldn’t help but feel the love and devotion flow from each word. Mr. White has a way of taking any circumstance, both happy and sad, and turning it into something beautiful. The poem above was one of my favorites and I think you too will be able to feel his love for God, family and friends as you read this piece of word art.
Grief: An Invisible Genre until Now
New heart-rending memoir is about how one woman survives a tragic loss
Lynnwood, WA – Those who read Anne Rule’s 1999 book and New York Times bestseller, A Rage To Kill, would know that the first chapter (A Bus To Nowhere) is about the true story of the heroic Seattle Metro Transit driver who was tragically shot and killed in the line of duty on the Aurora Bridge the day after Thanksgiving, 1998, in an unprovoked act of violence, the worse in Metro history.
But Rule’s recollection of the driver and his family was based solely on hearsay and public knowledge. Now, for the first time, Elise Crawford—the brave man’s widow—in this stirring memoir A Promise Kept courageously allows us a glimpse into how her world was shattered—and how she managed to put the pieces back together.
The life-altering paradox of that fateful day, November 27, 1998, marks the beginning for the driver’s young widow who journals her spiraling descent into hell through a complex system of paths, obstacles—including the tragic death of her mother—and betrayals through which she inevitably becomes lost, essentially missing for nearly eight years in a labyrinthine maze of grief. By no means a poster child for grief, she leans the hard way that grief cannot be outrun, that it has to be faced head on.
In A Promise Kept, she reveals her true feelings, raw emotions, and mental anguish she suffered needlessly while making her way down that road less traveled—the journey of grief. Riding every wave, letting the ebb and flow of the tide of grief flow over her, she learns valuable lessons that she never wanted to learn, about the value of life, faith, and self-discovery. Most importantly, she learns that of all the stages of grief, the most difficult of all is the stage of acceptance, the only one that will show her out of the door of the past and into the present toward healing.
Elise Crawford was born on a cold and wet November day in the Motor City the year U. S. troops were sent to prevent the South Vietnamese government from collapsing, during election week the year the was signed into congress, the year Kellogg’s introduced Pop Tarts, and the year that the first close up photographs of Mars were taken. Elise moved with her mother and younger sister, Jenny, to Seattle in 1968.
Although not formally educated as a writer, Elise has been writing creative fiction since she was eight years old. Elise holds several Associate of Arts degrees; one in Liberal Arts, two in Social Sciences, and one Technical. Throughout her college education she maintained her membership with the Phi Theta Kappa honor society while raising her two children single-handedly and working on the college campus part-time teaching college level English to fellow ESL students.
Elise is a native of; she and Roberto reside in , with their four cats—Sniffles, Lucky, Foxy, and Fluke. Their CEDAR-AL business continues to flourish and prosper. Elise has two grown children; a son, Dale, and a daughter, Lexi. Her son, Dale, is currently serving in the as an aviation ordinance man. His ultimate goal is to become a Navy SEAL. He plans to make the Navy his career. Her daughter, Lexi, lives in southwest Washington, works full-time in a bank, and attends a technical college full-time. Her ultimate goal is to become an architectural engineer.
A Promise Kept is Elise’s first book; “Spiritual Intervention” was her first short story prior to the writing of this book. She is currently working on Wednesday’s Child, a prequel to A Promise Kept.
With a sequence of poignant chronological photographs, A Promise Kept not only gives readers “the rest of the story” of that tragic day, but also reaches out to other survivors of tragic loss in hopes they come away with the strength and courage needed to face, to accept, and to begin their own grief journey, regardless of the nature of their loss. If you are searching for a real-life story of love and tragic loss to relate to, and to seek hope and comfort from, then you will want to read A Promise Kept.
The Mayor Wore Sapphires By Martha Tucker
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
The nucleus of a cell is fragile and needs to be protected from harm. Like the yoke of an egg before the egg is cracked, the outer shell stays strong and protects the inner yoke from harm. Life has many fragile and delicate moments that need protection as the people do. Changes in our lives often bring resistance to that fragile outer shell of that egg or stretches that cell and its nucleus and the shape and form will no longer remain the same. But, when the changes that are needed to make that nucleus stronger and that shell harder to protect and create something better, there are those that will go to no lengths to make sure it happens.
Visions are more than what psychic sees when they give you a reading or tell the police of a government agency what they see in their minds in order to help solve a crime. Visions are often the long rage goals that you might have for a city’s growth, your own life to more ahead or for an entire community to flourish. It takes a person who believes in the extraordinary and does not sit back and settle for the usual to have strong visions, strong convictions and carry them out. Mel Tate was such a man. On September 9, 1981, Melvin Tate, the Californian Mayor of Compton was struck down by a bullet not only meant to kill him but his goals, values and ideals for his community. Black communities such as his were ridden with drive by shootings, drug wars, and little or no opportunity for jobs or expansion of their economy and little or no help to educate teens and young adults about life in general. Martha Tucker brings these issues and more to light in her groundbreaking first novel, The Mayor’s Wife Wore Sapphires.
When you take your visions and you stretch them to make that nucleus of that cell wider and the yoke of that egg stronger, you sometimes find a lot of resistance as did Indigo Tate did in this novel that makes a real statement about changing society and the way people think about each other and how we achieve our goals.
Although the time period might be the 80’s the message that the author is driving home is still prevalent and even more vital today. Our schools need to be improved, drugs need to be a thing of the past in our cities and states, corruption in government needs to be eliminated and guns need to be off the streets and not readily available. As our new President stated before he was elected, now is the time for change and it will take all of us to make sure that happens.
Mel Tate was a man with a vision for the people of Compton, California. He believed in change and he was a unique politician and wanted to create a special training program called World Hub for the people of his city. When he found out that millions of dollars that were appropriated for this project was missing, his goal to become his state’s Congressman were shattered. Deciding not to run and see his dream through, he tells his wife, that leaving their life outside of Compton was no longer an option. Convincing him to change his mind would have probably stopped the horrific chain of events that followed. All Indigo wanted was a better life and to leave Compton and live in Washington and help her husband create a better life for her and her family.
What did the City Planner, the Chief of Police, the District Attorney, the most powerful Congressman in the city and Councilman have in common, the belief that Melvin Tate’s way of thinking was not their way and he had to be stopped at any cost. Standing on the podium to unveil his new World Hub Project, Melvin Tate was gunned down in cold blood injuring his wife too. But, what was the real motive for this shooting? Who was the real target? That will require looking deeper into the nucleus of this fragile cell and the now broken shell of this fragile city whose outer shell was shattered when this powerful man was killed.
Martin Luther King believed in racial equality for everyone and that every person of every race should have the same opportunities in life. Indigo Tate believed in his vision and wanted the same for the people of Compton and she would go to undying lengths to complete what her husband had started and any cost.
There are many ways to increase the economy of a city. You can create jobs, opportunities for students to be able to attend college, and open doors to people who would ordinarily have nothing by helping to eliminate drugs, corruption, crime, drive by shootings and government conspiracies where you live. But, for those who hate change and feel the only way to increase and inflate the economy is to sell drugs to teens for profit, help a foreign country in its war by making sure they have the guns they need and using a city for South American Drug Lords to bring in their drugs and make a hefty profit, someone needs to stop them and someone tries.
Indigo Tate loses everything when her husband is killed. Her entire world comes falling down and she needs to rebuild not only her life but protect her children too. But, when you find out that there is no one you can trust except yourself and your own instincts, you really need the courage and fortitude not to break apart even further.
Watching her husband shot right in front of her and then getting shot herself, Indigo Tate was not going to let his murder go unsolved or the mystery behind why he was targeted go unpunished. But, how far will she have to get and at what expense. Proud of what her husband wanted to do for Compton by creating World Hub, which would not only bring jobs and business to her city, but would help bring technology, manufacturing, marketing, training and more in order to help change the lives of the people there for the better, she would do all she could to make his dream come true.
Indigo ‘s goal was to create rid her city of drugs, stop the drive by shootings of innocent children, help the homeless and raise the level of education for the children in the city in order to create not only a safer environment for the people, but to erase the barriers between Black and White too. What a great and wonderful objective and goal. But, there were those, close to her and to her late husband who pretended to support his ideals and her goal to follow through with his mission to end poverty and crime in her city through World. Hub.
Thinking that she would have the support of many of her husband’s backers and constituents she decides the only way to succeed is to become Mayor of Compton and continue his work. Never think the ordinary always go for the extraordinary is what her father told her growing up. Never settle for mediocre when you can be the best and never let them know you are afraid. Do not let anyone see the fear in your eyes and keep strong.
Indigo belonged to a group called the Diamonds. A group of Black woman who were the Who’s Who of Beverly Hills and were powerful not only in the decisions that would be made in her life but in the lives of others too. Dupree Pascal, her husband Congressman Frank Pascal would play an integral part in the events that would shatter her life and those of others too. Congressman Kahn, who wanted to be Mayor and hoped that she, would back him and his ideals for Compton. John Varner, the most sought after campaign manager in the country, wanted his piece of the pie too. Each having their own secrets to hide and each with his or her own agenda, no one wanting her to succeed.
World Hub would create a better life for everyone in Compton and would help educate young mothers in childcare. It would create jobs in manufacturing, commerce, technology, marketing and more. Eliminating drugs from the streets, getting rid of guns and lowering the crime rate this project would change the way people lived for the better. But, her so-called friends had other ideas and the people she thought closest to her and hoped to protect her did not.
As deadly as the war in Iraq and any World War, Indigo Tate launches one of her own against crime, corruption, hate, conspiracy and deceit at any cost. With no one to trust and everything to lose she works relentlessly to find out the killed her husband and why a young teenage drug seller was framed for his murder.
What happens sends a message that is so powerful and so strong it keeps the reader transfixed until the very last word of this book that sends a strong message. The ending will send you wanting for me and leave you thinking: Can this really happen? Is the fight for justice and to keep our kids safe ever going to end? What does happen to the project that Indigo fought so hard to make happen and at what cost does she become Mayor of Compton and at whose expense besides her own? You need to read this first time novel by Martha Tucker who definitely has a voice that needs to be heard and a pen that has to write the next chapter for Indigo and the people of Compton. The story does not end on the last page and this reviewer wants to more.
I would definitely give this book FIVE PERFECTLY CUT BLUE SAPPHIRES placed in that circle and nucleus to make it stronger. The sapphire is the Stone of Destiny. The stone provides and holds within its power mental clarity and perception and financial rewards. It symbolizes truth, sincerity and faithfulness and all of the attributes of Indigo Tate. By wearing that stone around her neck it drew protection for her, increased her wisdom and oversaw her destiny. It is truly the stone of prosperity and worthy of our Indigo Tate who brought that to Compton and more.
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