More Praise for The Twisted Circle: A Novel

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There is no betrayal quite like religious betrayal, and there is no circadian cycle quite like this twisted circle. What makes [The Twisted Circle] more poignant is knowing the author draws from some of her own experience having been in a religious Catholic community for seven years. The novel is written in a fast pace that carries the reader along places, encounters, and historical events around the 70’s and 80’s in Guyana where the author was born. Read more at “The Books of 2021.”

R.H. (RUSTY) FOERGER is a Canadian award-winning retired fire office and former lay pastor, teacher, missionary, and mentor for over 33 years. He blogs at "More Enigma Than Dogma."

“A Report to the Academy: The Modern Caribbean” – Poem by Trinidadian Poet Raymond Ramcharitar

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Front Cover of the Poetry Collection Modern, Age, &c by Raymond Ramcharitar [Photo of Sculpture by Winslow Craig]

My Poetry Corner November 2021 features Part 1 from the four-part, long poem “A Report to the Academy: The Modern Caribbean” from the poetry collection, Modern, Age, &c, by the Caribbean journalist, poet, and cultural critic Raymond Ramcharitar. Born in Trinidad, he studied at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Economics (1991), Masters in Literature in English (2002), and Doctorate in Cultural History (2007).

After completing his doctorate, Ramcharitar received three overseas fellowships: Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Warwick University, UK (2008); Visiting Scholar at New College, University of Toronto, Canada (2010); and Poetry Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference at Middlebury College, Vermont, USA (2011). He currently lives in Trinidad where he is a communications consultant for the ANSA McAL Group of Companies.

In speaking of his third poetry collection, Modern, Age, &c (Peepal Tree Press, UK, 2020), the poet said that he balanced the book among three themes: political (Modern), personal (Age), and the whimsical (&c). The tone varies from sardonic, to satiric, to lyrical.

Modern is about the malaise: the diseases of our time: depression, anxiety, isolation—The broader themes of loss, disintegration,” the poet said. As he recently turned fifty, Age is his way to examine the shredding of the social contract. “I started to look back to find the threads that hold me together, as a parent, a man,” he said. “And try to find where everything changed: the plan for utopia, or progress, when did it become a tweet, or post on Facebook or Instagram?”

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More Praise for The Twisted Circle: A Novel

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5.0 out of 5 Stars: A young nun’s journey through the minefields of politics, poverty, and the Roman Catholic Church

The Twisted Circle is rich and vivid with the descriptions of people, places, geography, and unfortunately the politics of Rosaliene Bacchus’ native Guyana during the tumultuous Seventies and Eighties. Told from the vantage point of a young nun and schoolteacher, Sister Barbara, serving in a rural, poverty-stricken area, this novel also renders the very fabric of the Roman Catholic Church and exposes behind the scenes interpersonal relationships which at times are as dirty and vicious as the period of political turmoil. Rosaliene’s characters are as well-fleshed out as her descriptions. I highly recommend this novel.

~ AMAZON REVIEW, NOVEMBER 10, 2021, BY DON MILLER, AN AMERICAN INDIE AUTHOR OF SEVERAL BOOKS. DON LIVES IN SOUTH CAROLINA, USA.

The Writer’s Life: Killing Your Darlings

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Photo by Iamngakan eka on Pexels.com

When I finished my first complete draft of The Twisted Circle: A Novel in 2016, the total word count of 92,602 had exceeded the desired 80,000 words that literary agents and publishers require for newbie authors. Subsequent revisions in tightening sentences and scenes did not achieve the magical number. In 2017, I took the undesirable and difficult step of removing a beloved minor character. This is known as ‘killing your darlings.’

Over the years, the phrase ‘to kill your darlings’ has been attributed to many famous writers: Oscar Wilde, G.K. Chesterton, and William Faulkner. But many literary scholars credit British writer and University of Cambridge Professor Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. In his 1916 book On the Art of Writing, he recommended writers to “murder your darlings.”

After spending over a month researching details of her background, I killed off Sylvia Flores since her character played a negligible role in my story’s main plot line. It hurt. This fictional character was my way of memorializing a Filipino woman whose tragic, premature death in Guyana’s northwest rainforest region has stayed with me after all these years.

The real-life woman was the wife of the Filipino resident doctor in charge of the Mabaruma Hospital at the time I lived and worked in the region. Owing to the isolation of the region and lack of proper medical facilities, Guyanese doctors then and now avoid the post like a death trap for their medical career.

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Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay

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Front Cover: Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay
Photo Credit: Peepal Tree Press

Around 120 world leaders and Heads of States, as well as about 25,000 delegates, are meeting at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow from November 1 to 12, 2021. COP26 is humanity’s “last, best chance” to secure global net zero emissions by 2050 and keep the average global temperature from rising 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels. Failure to achieve this threshold will make extensive regions of our planet uninhabitable. Some areas are already facing famine, loss of coastlands to the sea, and other climate change disasters. Many of these areas are small-island nations where their cries for help have yet to be heard. Listen to what Barbados Prime Minister Mottley had to say at the Climate Summit.

In her latest book of speculative fiction, Daylight Come (Peepal Tree Press, UK, 2020), Jamaican author and environmental activist Diana McCaulay envisages a future when daylight kills. In 2017, after reading about the impact of extreme heat on construction workers, farmers, and people without shelter in India, McCaulay began thinking what it would mean for a tropical country like Jamaica if it became too dangerous to be outside during the day.

“Suppose it got so hot that we all had to work at night and sleep in the day?” McCaulay asks in her Author’s Note (p.195). “And suppose there was a girl, a teenager, who simply couldn’t sleep during the day?”

Daylight Come begins in 2084 on the fictitious island country of Bajacu. Sorrel, the restless heroine, is fourteen years old. She lives in the dying city of Bana with her forty-five-year-old mother Bibi. Situated in the coastal Immersion Zone where the Domins rule with brutal force, the city faces daily threats from the encroaching sea.

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Thought for Today: Climate Science Denial

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Front Cover: The Truth About Denial: Bias and Self-Deception in Science, Politics, and Religion by Adrian Bardon

The climate change issue is a perfect storm for conservative personality and conservative ideology. It is a form of impact science that represents a massive threat to the existing social and economic order, and in so doing, incidentally threatens demographic identity groups invested in the status quo. Solutions will require massive government intervention, the prospect of which is particularly threatening to the especially individualistic, small-government aspects of American conservative ideology.

Excerpt from “Science Denial” (Chapter 2, p.109), The Truth About Denial: Bias and Self-Deception in Science, Politics, and Religion by Adrian Bardon, Oxford University Press, New York, USA, 2020.

CHECK OUT: The Yahoo News/YouGov survey on U.S. climate change attitudes conducted online from October 19 to 21, 2021.


DR. ADRIAN BARDON is a professor of philosophy at Wake Forest University, North Carolina, where he teaches courses on political philosophy, philosophy of religion, philosophy of space and time, and the history of philosophy. He is the author of A Brief History of the Philosophy of Time (OUP 2013), as well as numerous scholarly articles on time, perception, politics, and the history of philosophy.

“My Empire” by Iranian American Poet Kaveh Akbar

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Iranian American Poet Kaveh Akbar
Photo Credit: Poet’s Website

My Poetry Corner October 2021 features the poem “My Empire” from the poetry collection Pilgrim Bell: Poems (Graywolf Press, 2021) by Iranian American poet Kaveh Akbar. Born in Tehran to an American mother and Iranian father, Kaveh was two years old when his family migrated to the United States, first settling in Pennsylvania. When Kaveh was five years old, they moved to the Midwest, living in Wisconsin and later Indiana. Since his parents only spoke English at home, the poet speaks little Farsi, his first language.

Akbar earned his MFA at Butler University in Indiana and a PhD in creative writing from Florida State University. He currently teaches at Purdue University (Indiana) and in the low-residency MFA programs at Randolph College (Virginia) and Warren Wilson College (North Carolina). Since September 2020, he also serves as the poetry editor of the progressive magazine, The Nation.

Pilgrim Bell is Akbar’s second poetry following his recovery from alcohol addiction. In “Seven Years Sober,” he writes: Trust God but tie your camel. Trust / God. The bottle by the bed the first / few weeks. Just in case. Trust…. He acknowledges in “Cotton Candy” that his mother wept nightly for eight years / my living / curled its hands around her throat / not choking exactly but like the squeeze / of an outgrown collar…

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Forest Spirits or Bush Spirits of Guyana’s Indigenous Peoples

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Silk Cotton Tree – Santa Mission Indigenous Settlement – Guyana

On October 8, 2021, President Joe Biden signed a presidential proclamation declaring October 11th as a national holiday in celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Does this mean that we will no longer remember this day as Columbus Day? Growing up in what was then British Guiana, I was taught to regard the Genoan explorer Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) as a hero. During his four voyages to the New World, he explored a vast area of the Caribbean Region that he called the West Indies. The gentle and kindhearted indigenous Arawak peoples who first welcomed Columbus and his crew knew not the misery that this encounter would later unleash upon their world.

Based on what Columbus told Peter Martyr, who recorded his voyages, Martyr wrote: “They seeme to live in that golden worlde of the which olde writers speake so much, wherein menne lived simply and innocently without enforcement of lawes, without quarreling, judges and libelles, content onely to satisfie nature, without further vexation for knowledge of things to come.” [As quoted by Edmund S. Morgan in his article “Columbus’ Confusion About the New World”]

Not until his third voyage (1498-1500) did Columbus sight the coastline of Guiana but made no attempt at landing. The Dutch, the first to settle Guiana, referred to this forbidding region of dense tropical rainforest, stretching between the Orinoco and Amazon Rivers on the South American mainland, as “The Wild Coast.” After two centuries of Dutch rule (1600s to 1803) and another century of British rule, the indigenous peoples of then British Guiana, called Amerindians, had lost sovereignty over their territories. Beginning in 1902, the British forced them into reservations.

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Dog Bone Soup: A Boomer’s Journey by Bette A. Stevens

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Front Cover – Dog Bone Soup: A Boomer’s Journey by Bette A. Stevens (USA, 2014)

In Dog Bone Soup: A Boomer’s Journey, Maine author Bette A. Stevens reminds us that being poor should not define who we are as individuals. With determination as well as the helping hand and guidance of those who care, we can become the person we aspire to be. Herself a boomer, Stevens takes us back to America of the 1950s and 1960s. On leaving home to enter the U.S. Army, eighteen-year-old Shawn Daniels looks back on growing up in Lebanon, Maine, where his family was scorned as “nothing but poor white trash.”

Shawn’s narrative contains no mention of the year or his age. Only his school grade records the passing years. His earliest memory is of watching mice scamper across the rafters as he lay in bed at nights. Having one as a pet appealed to him. Their home was a two-room log cabin with two small windows. About four years old at the time, he was too young to understand how harsh conditions were for his mother to raise three kids without electricity and indoor plumbing.

When his mother moved out, taking only his baby sister with her, Shawn’s life and that of his younger brother took a downward turn. Gone were his days of fishing with his dad. For about a year or so, the brothers lived in a foster home with strict rules. They went hungry and were often confined to their room as punishment for misbehavior or bad table manners.

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The Twisted Circle: Latest News

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I am pleased to announce that The Twisted Circle: A Novel is now also available as an eBook at the booksellers listed below:

Rosaliene’s Shop at Lulu (Both Print & Ebook)

Amazon (Both Print & Ebook)

Barnes and Noble (Both Print & Ebook)

BAM! Books a Million (Print Only)

Book Depository (Print Only)

IndieBound (Print Only)

Rakuten Kobo (Ebook Only)