Rachel Thompson

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Thursday, October 16, 2014

5 Strangers, a Craigslist Ad & the Making of a Book by Erin Sands @TheDunesBook #AmWriting #NonFiction

5 Strangers and a Craigslist Ad

I never intended to write a book. In fact, I was too busy crying and asking, “Why God? Why?” to actually make time to be an author. Although I have always been a pretty good writer, the personal crisis and emotional melt down I was having at the moment took precedence. Have you ever heard of the saying, “Pain is often the birthplace of a revolution”? No? Well, I wrote that. It is one of my inspired quotes and it is exactly how my book, The Dunes, was born.

I initially wrote The Dunes because I was journaling. I decided to turn the challenges that I was experiencing into an allegory. I never intended for anyone else to read it. It was purely a creative form of self-therapy. In fact, years later when God put it on my heart to expand The Dunes and make it into a book with journal questions, testimonies and challenges…I had no idea if what I wrote would actually resonate with readers. I did know, however, that I was willing to put it to the test. I put an ad on Craigslist asking for strangers to read my book, answer the journal questions and do the challenges while allowing me to chronicle their journey on film. http://bit.ly/U9LRSz

The five strangers who answered my ad are the bravest people I know. Not because they answered my ad but because they had each come to a place in their lives where they wanted something more and were willing to release the things that had been holding them back in order to get it. To say we were a motley crew is an understatement. The ages and backgrounds ran the gamut. A sincere heart for change was the consistent thread. Over seven weeks, these five strangers searched their hearts, released their fears, forgave past hurts and stretched themselves in ways that were uncomfortable. Yes, there were some days with tears; but the joy, the growth and the freedom that they all now experience, made it well worth it. http://bit.ly/1hxaOC1

During my journey with those readers there were moments when I wanted to quit. Following five strangers lives over seven weeks and trusting them to not only read my book but to authentically put their best foot forward in conquering their own demons was a bit nerve wracking. It forced me to examine my own issues of trust and vulnerability. As they were going through their “Dunes” journey, The Dunes was growing its author yet again in a whole new way.

In the end, when I saw how deeply The Dunes affected each of the readers and how profoundly their lives had changed as a result, I knew that I had to get it published. I used the footage of their experiences as my book trailer but more than that I use the truth of each of their transformations to remind me of the time five strangers and an author dared to believe.


Born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in the Bay Area of Northern California, Erin grew up with an innate love for dance, theatre and the written word. A graduate of Loyola Marymount University, Erin began her career in the arts as an actress and choreographer. After booking several notable roles in television and film, Erin began to use her gift of writing in blogs featuring political and social commentary, as well as developing content for theatrical use.

Although The Dunes, is a divine departure from Erin’s previous writings it is by far her most cherished work to date. “I wrote The Dunes initially as self therapy because I needed to release some painful experiences and disappointments from my past. I had this thirst to walk in the complete fullness of life with joy as my constant companion. I had no idea what effect it would have on other people. But when I saw people read it and be released from fears that had held them back for years…when I saw people forgive and be able to walk in the freedom forgiveness brings…when I saw people commit and serve and how those things opened up new opportunities in their life, I was just humbled. Humbled by the awesome power of God and humbled that I had been allowed to go along for the ride”.

When asked why she writes, Erin pauses and reflects on the truth of her heart. “I write because although I am only now beginning to truly love the process, I have always loved the outcome. Like a composer, words become my notes. I string them together in song eliciting the response of my reader, grafting a picture of my soul. Where besides the written word can you effect change so utterly and so succinctly? What besides the written word can pierce the universal collective mind? Everything begins with a thought, but it isn’t until that thought is articulated in written word and those words passed down can life changing movement happen. It must be written, it must be expressed on tablet, and when it is, we all become greater, whether the writing be genius or fatuity, it has evoked thought and debate. Why wouldn’t I want to be apart of that phenomenon? Why wouldn’t I want to share my story, give my testimony…add my paradigm to the mix? Whether it is a novel, a poem, an essay or an article, it is humanity visited. An insight into a new or sometimes shared truth. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. And with that I live my life”.


If there was a journey that could masterfully change your life in seven revelations...would you take it? 

In life, sometimes the kernels of wisdom and the richness of revelation can be found in the most innocent of stories; and so it is with The Dunes. Join one man and one woman in an exquisitely simple yet remarkably profound journey as you discover with them that the mountain you must climb in order to live the abundant life of your dreams is located squarely within your heart. 

Illuminated in seven revelations; The Dunes carries the reader on a journey to not only examine the obstacles that are holding them back in life but to conquer and over come them as well. With each revelation The Dunes intimately calls on the reader as the journey companion to face a challenge…a dare if you will that requires an uncompromising commitment to change. In the family of faith-based self help books, The Dunes stands alone, simultaneously taking the reader from fiction to life and back again, equipped with a tailor made journal for the readers inner most secrets and reflections. The Dunes is part allegory, part testimony and part journal, but the best part is the healing it offers your heart. When you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone and step into the miracle of your life…The Dunes awaits. 

CAUTION: Readers of this book are subject to significant changes for the better. Side effects may include frequent smiling and enjoying life in every season.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Non-fiction
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Erin Sands on Facebook & Twitter

Saga of the Nine: #Area38 by Mikey D. B. @mikeydbii #AmReading #SagaoftheNine #Dystopian

The rusty metal box is as tempting as it is frightening and the taunting dilemma puts Joe and Jackson on the edge of their seats.  Tentatively, Jackson flips the latches and carefully unpicks the lock.  Rust particles tumble to the table top to yield a euphoric mystery.  It was buried for a reason--a reason good enough to kill for.  Books will at the very least put them on stage with Christopher; it’s conspiracy against The Government.  Audio is labeled as disturbing the peace, therefore you’ll be on stage.  Pictures disturb the mind, and ideas the heart.  The two friends are all too aware that the box most likely contains something that will eventually lead to their demise.

“Should we?”  Jackson’s hands rest on either side of the lid hoping Joe says “no” but secretly wanting him to say “hell yeah!”.

Hesitantly Joe masks his anticipation.  “Yeah.  Why not?”

That’s not confirmation filled with enthusiasm, but Jackson pries the rusty box open without delving into the endless reasons as to why or why not.

“A book!”  Joe instantly shouts, the memories flooding back to him.

All fear is gone.  Joe yanks it out and begins flapping dust in every direction as he flips through the delicate paper pages.  Jackson counts it and every artifact carefully to create a mental inventory: a black fat book, three dark blue books, an ancient audio device, a series of discs and a chain necklace.
Immediately Jackson reaches for the only object that won’t get him killed and begins to examine the tiny metal links of the necklace.  He slips it over his head and dangles the relic from his neck, watching the ancient key swing from left to right until his jacket stops the momentum.  Next he reaches for the audio device, surprised technology like this can still be found.

“Holy Bible?  Odd word, bible.”  Wonder why it’s holy, he thinks before slamming the black book down, creating a wave of dust in the process.  Frantically, he then reaches for one of the discs and asks, “What’s a CD?”

“And what’s an iPod?”  Jackson mumbles to himself, reading the metallic lettering.  He flips the device over and notices a small red button.  Pressing it, the screen illuminates.  A small white apple appears for a short while until a bright menu takes its place.

“Wow!”  Joe proclaims.  “It still works!”

“Yeah, I think it has one of those solar, nuclear, forever lasting batteries.”

“Where the hell did yuh hear that?”

“A friend.”  Jackson thinks of Conner and the tidbits of random knowledge he’s accumulated from him.

Joe is about to delve in and interrogate Jackson as to which friend he is talking about, but becomes distracted by the shimmering of the CD object.  “What do you make of these?”  Joe hands him a small stack of plastic square casings.  Inside each casing sits a shiny, compact disc.  Joe picks up one labeled John Mayer and is quick to discover the glare that can be created when angling them just right.  Without hesitating he blinds Jackson.

“These things are awesome!”  He giggles with joy.  He can’t believe he found it, and in all places Grandma Lisa’s old yard.

“Yeah, super cool.”  Jackson places the small stack down and goes back to the iPod device.  He scrolls through the various menus until finding a series of foreign words.  “American Backstory, The USA: a founding?”

“Hey Jackson!  This one has yer name on it.  Well kind of.”  Joe hands him one of the shiny encased discs labeled: The Rouge Family: DIA BBQ USA HQ Oct 14, 2037.  Jackson shivers at reading the words, and as Joe continues to reflect light throughout the room, Jackson makes one more discovery Picking up a petite tan envelope found in between one of the blue books labeled Journal, he compresses the contents to feel a number of different pieces of papers.  He spins it around to reveal one last spooky sight.

“To Jackson from Mom and Dad.”  He reads it reverently and in seconds, a rush of adrenalin floods through his veins.  “Joe.  Put everything back in the box.  Now!”

Saga of the Nine

Change affects everyone and it is no different for Jackson. Living in Area 38 for as long as he can remember, he knows of no better way to exist than under the tyrannical rule of Christopher Stone, son of Stewart Stone from The Nine of The United Governmental Areas, aka The UGA. This all takes a dramatic turn when Jackson finds a red, metal box buried in his yard, filled with illegal artifacts—journals, a Bible, CDs, etc.—that are from a man of whom he has no recollection of: Mica Rouge.

 The year is 2036 and Mica, unlike Jackson, does know of a better way of life but is torn apart as he sees his country, The United States of America, crumbling from within by group known as The Political Mafia. The Mafia has infiltrated levels upon levels of governmental resources and it is up to Mica and a vigilante group known as The USA Division to stop them and their dark Utopian vision. To their demise, and at the country's expense, The Division fails and has no choice but to watch The Constitution dissolve and transform into The UGA.

In a final stand, having not given up hope, Mica and what is left of The Division, give one final fight in Colorado, or better known as Area 38. However, all is lost as The Division is betrayed by one of their own, Stewart Stone. Mica is left with no choice but to hide in exile, leaving what little history he can of himself and the great United States of America, with his wife, long time friends, and newly born son in hopes that they will one day finish what he could not.

Jackson, having found this legacy twenty-seven years later, decides to start the war that will end The Nine, and he with an outcast group known as The Raiders, begins his fight with Christopher Stone in Area 38. Filled with betrayal, unity, despair, hope, hate and love Area 38 follows both Mica and Jackson in their attempts to restore what they believe to be true freedom, and where one fails, the other rises to the seemingly impossible challenge.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Dystopian Thriller
Rating – PG13
More details about the author
Connect with Mikey D. B. on Facebook & Twitter
Website www.mikeydb.com