Oh Brothers, Where Art Thou?

 

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My sister has breast cancer.

While Republicans were meeting in closed door sessions with Speaker Ryan and Donald Trump, trying to figure out a way to gut health care for Americans, my sister was undergoing the genetic testing for the BRCA gene. The test costs $4,000. We aren’t sure yet if her insurance will cover the test or not.

We need the answer to the test because my aunt and my uncle have had breast cancer. Since they are siblings that throws my sister into the high risk category for the BRCA. If her insurance pays for the test, and the test confirms the family for BRCA, that affects me, my brother, all of our children and our cousins and their children.

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Never Too Old to Take the Plunge

 

Jon High Dive

In my travels as a writer, one question I am often asked is if I grew up wanting to a be a writer. It’s a reasonable question. Many, if not most, of my writer friends were writing stories as young as six or seven. From the time they could pick up a fat pencil, they were making up stories, dreaming of the day they would become the creator of their own storybooks. From time to time, people ask me for help in getting a children’s book they authored published. For the record, I’ve never published a children’s book and know absolutely nothing about it. Books, like medicine, have their specialties. Seeing an OB/GYN about a brain tumor would be akin to asking a true crime writer how to get a romance novel published. While we all practice the same profession, the application of that profession is completely different.

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On Writing: Cry in the Night

 

The following interview is with Lance Jay, author of A Cry in the Night. Jay has written numerous books under different names. This work is available in eBook and paperback. This recent work is a romantic suspense story.  Click here to order your copy.

Q: Where did the idea of this work originate?

A: I live in a tourist town where undocumented workers can be quite vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous business owners. I heard about a practice in which student workers are invited for “internship opportunities.” Before they come, they sign away their rights to fair wages, etc. for “free” room and board.  Originally, this was intended as a way of giving students internship/study possibilities. However, it can be abused and used as a way of getting cheap work and providing really hazardous living conditions. One of our local churches is working to put a stop to this practice.

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Catching up with Ms. Cosper

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Whenever I get to the Georgia Museum of Agriculture in Tifton, Georgia, where our boy now works, I look forward to a hug and a visit with Ms. Ferol Cosper. A 100-years young, Ms. Cosper works at the museum. Drives her own self to work still, she does. Packs her peanut butter sandwich and brings her apron with her. Ms. Cosper will be the first to tell you she can’t cook.

“I couldn’t cook a thing when I got married,” she says.

The young couple lived with her husband’s parents. Ms. Cosper’s mother-in-law offered to make the biscuits if Ms. Cosper would cook the eggs. Easy enough, right? If you had ever cooked an egg. Ms. Cosper had not. So, quick-thinker that she is still, Ms. Cosper told her mother-in-law, “Why don’t you show me exactly how your son likes them and I’ll watch you so I know how to make them like you do.”

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Some Place East of Fort Benning

 

 

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There is this red dirt drive just off the highway, some place east of Fort Benning, Georgia. If you are speeding or lost in dreams yet unrealized, you’ll surely miss it. You might not even notice the sign declaring Floria’s Folk Art Gallery. Or the circle-board painted blue declaring Jesus is Soon to Return. Drive by too quickly and you’ll miss entirely the Letter from Hell.

Back in 2007, the first time I met Floria, there was only a small sign outside the shop. If Floria hadn’t been wearing her signature floral hat and busily working on a project outdoors, I would have missed her then. Thankfully, I have mastered my mama’s technique of stopping on the dime and giving nine-cents change. That first time, I came away from Floria’s with a picture of an African American girl reading a book. It sits in the frame Floria painted atop a bookshelf in my office. It cheers me, that painting does, and serves as a reminder of the places I’ve been and the people I met along the way.

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