Festive Dessert for Christmas and Easter, Romanian Cozonac, a Sweet Bread Recipe, Reteta Cozonac

Cozonac is not only a culinary tradition , but a lesson in history as well. First baked in Ancient Egypt, sweetened with honey and filled with nuts, it soon appealed the Greeks plakoús, πλακούς – who added raisins and walnuts into its filling. Next, the Romans loved it, adding their own spin to the recipe, dried fruits, and sharing it all over the Roman Empire – Romania included.

Cozonac Recipe

NOTE: this recipe makes 4 loaves (and 3 baby ones, please see below). Half it if you want to make less.

The cozonac is a sweet bread with filling, so having a filling is crucial for an all rounded taste.

TIME: preparation alone, between 3 – 4 hrs with baking time (because the cozonac must be allowed to rise twice). To reduce this time you can prepare the nut filling the day before).

This recipe makes 4 loaves and 3 baby ones

The recipe for cozonac consists of two parts:

  • the filling (this is a nut filling, but if you are allergic to nuts or prefer not to use nuts, you can skip this part and use 250 g small cut Turkish Delight or plain chocolate spread instead);
  • the sweet bread dough.

Nut filling recipe (for 2 loaves):

  • 250 ml milk (I used a lactose-free coffee creamer)
  • 425 g ground walnuts (TIP: you can put the walnuts in a sandwich bag and roll them over with a rolling pin – please see below)
  • 170 g white sugar
  • 40 ml rum extract (you can substitute with 10 ml vanilla extract)
  • 10 ml lemon extract (or lemon juice)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp good cocoa powder (even 3 Tbsp if you love cocoa)


You can put the walnuts in a sandwich bag and roll them over with a rolling pin to ground them.
Cut the Turkish delight in quarters. You can use snow sugar (icing sugar) to stop it from sticking.

How to prepare the nut filling:

Melt sugar in milk over medium heat.

Melt sugar in milk over medium heat.

Add ground walnuts and stir for 10 minutes, until mixture is thickened.

Add ground walnuts and stir for 10 minutes, until mixture is thickened.

Remove from the heat and add cocoa, rum extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest. Set aside and let it cool.

Remove from the heat and add cocoa, rum extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest.

Sweet bread dough recipe (makes 4 loaves):

  • 1 l milk (I used a lactose-free coffee creamer)
  • 2 kg white flour
  • 12 Tbsp white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 40 ml rum extract (or use 5ml lemon juice + 10ml Vanilla)
  • 6 -9 eggs at room temperature (depending on the size, e.g. 6 XL or 9 small). Use the freshest eggs you can find. The yolks will also give the cozonac, when cooked, a lovely light-yellow tint.
  • 300 g butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 packets fast rising dry yeast (3×10 g)
  • 1 beaten egg for brushing the top of the loaves (or milk)

TIP: you will need a mixing bowl big enough to accommodate both your fists and still to give you enough space to knead the dough. A big cooking pot can also be used.

Mix butter, 1/2 of the milk and sugar in a saucepan and place it over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Add the other 1/2 of the milk and let it cool until just warm.

Mix butter, 1/2 of the milk and sugar in a saucepan and place it over medium heat

Beat the eggs and blend them in the lukewarm milk mixture. Add lemon zest and rum / vanilla essence. Mixture should be +- 35 Degrees before adding it to the flour (too cool and the yeast will not be activated; too hot and it will kill the yeast).

We used 9 small size eggs.
You need 3 tablespoons of lemon zest in total.

In a large bowl place the white flour, sprinkle the salt and the dry yeast and give it a little mix. Make a hole in the center, like a well. Add the butter-milk-sugar-egg-essence mixture in this well. Mix with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are blended together – see images below.

In a large bowl place the white flour, sprinkle the salt and the dry yeast. Add the butter-milk-sugar-egg-essence mixture in.
Mix with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are blended together.

Next you need to knead the dough with your fists for about 15 minutes. Knead then fold it over, turn the bowl 180 degrees and repeat. This will get the yeast to work. If the dough sticks to your hands pour a little bit of cooking oil (a teaspoon the most) over your hands and rub them, then knead again.

Knead then fold it over, turn the bowl 180 degrees and repeat.

Just when you are done (15 minutes later) tug the dough in all around turning it into a nice, flat ball, rub a little bit more cooking oil over its top and all around the walls of the bowl. This is important as the dough will rise, you don’t want it to stick to the walls of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic and a clean tea towel and place in a warm spot. Allow the dough to rise until double in size. (about 20 – 30min)

Cover the bowl with plastic and a clean tea towel

Meanwhile, oil and flour your loaf pans and sprinkle your working area with flour. You can feel like a kid again and draw something…

Oil and flour your loaf pans and sprinkle your working area with flour.

Once the dough doubled in size kneed it down the dough once or twice, then divide it into the number of loaves you decided to make.

Once it doubled in size kneed down the dough once or twice

Pick one of the balls of dough and, while holding it above the working surface, stretch it a bit. Lay it flat and roll it with the rolling pin until it is about 3-4mm thick. In lengths, it has to be a little bit longer than your cooking pan. With a butter knife divide it in three.

For each loaf: roll the dough about 3-4 mm think, cut it in three strips.

TIP: consider how many loaves you will make and divide the nut filling or the Turkish delight accordingly.

Fill each of the three strips with the fillings desired. Roll each strip, pinch both ends and pinch along the rolled edge. Plait the three rolls together into a loaf. Carefully pick it up and place it in the pan.

Fill each of the three strips with the fillings desired. Roll each strip Plait the three rolls together into a loaf.

Repeat for the remainder loaves.

Repeat for the remainder loaves.

Place each cozonac into a greased and floured loaf pan, brush with egg or milk and cover with a lightly greased plastic and a clean tea towel.

Place each cozonac into a greased and floured loaf pan, brush with egg or milk and cover with a lightly greased plastic

Allow the loaves to rise for another 20-30 minutes in a warm place.

Switch on the oven at 170 degrees Celsius or 340 Fahrenheit (Gas 3-4).

Bake for about 45 minutes or until light brown.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until light brown.

Set the pans on their side for 5 minutes.

Remove from the pan using a butter knife and then allow the cozonac to cool completely before serving – if you can resist it.

Serve with milk, coffee, tea, ice cream, red wine or with hard boiled egg and spring onion for breakfast!

Cozonac is best enjoyed with milk, coffee, tea, ice cream, red wine…

Merry Christmas! Craciun Fericit!

What about you? What is your favorite Christmas meal?

If you decide to make cozonac using the recipe above, do send me a picture of your cozonac. I would love to post it here!

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Christmas Tree and Saint Nicholas, #Christmas #Tree #Nicholas #gift #shoe #Haiku via @PatFurstenberg

Christmas Tree and Saint Nicholas, two Christmas Haiku

So tall for small child,

Only Dad reaches its top.

Christmas tree promise.

~

6 December holds a special place and my heart, it brings the first thrills of Christmas joy and of small miracles.

You might not know, but in Christian Orthodox tradition 6 December is the day we celebrate Saint Nicholas (Saint Nicholas of Myra, Nicholas of Bari or Nicholas the Wonderworker), who was an early Christian bishop of the ancient Greek city of Myra in Asia Minor (now Demre inTurkey). It is said that he was legendary for his secret gift-giving. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, and students.

Saint Nicholas resurrecting the three pickled children. Source wikipedia.
Saint Nicholas resurrecting the three pickled children. Source wikipedia.

How Saint Nicholas became the patron saint of children is quite an astonishing tale. Now remember that all the written records of his life were made on papyrus or parchment, less durable than present day paper, thus had to be re-copied by hand in order to be preserved for future generations. One story speaks of a wicked butcher who, during a dreadful famine, lured three little children into his house, killed them and placed their remains in a barrel to cure, planning to sell them later as ham. Nicholas, who was visiting that region to care for the poor and the hungry, saw right through the butcher’s white fabrications and resurrected the pickled children by making the Sign of the Cross.

Saint Nicholas Haiku

Clean shoes and bright hopes-

Children go to bed smiling.

Mom’s a child at heart.

~

Welcome to Christmas Haiku! This December you can enjoy a winter themed haiku each day until Christmas Day. From the 25th of December I will post a super-special series of haiku on a humorous theme. My Christmas prezzie for YOU! Subscribe to my blog (newsletter sign up on the right column or beneath this post) and never miss a haiku with your morning coffee or favorite cuppa! Merry Christmas!

You can enjoy more haiku on this page of my website or in my brand new haiku book: Christmas Haiku:

An inspirational collection of winter and Christmas themed haiku to help you relax.Enjoy a daily haiku paired with gorgeous seasonal images as well as haiku for “The 12 Days of Christmas”

Find it on Amazon worldwide: Amazon US, Amazon UK.

Here’s a sneak peek:

 

 

You can also read haiku and poems in my book As Good AS Gold:

I‘ve really enjoyed reading this collection of poems. Pat has found just the right voice for the puppy and his adventures. Has been a great comfort to me” (5* Amazon Review)

This is a fine selection of puppy poems” (5* Amazon Review)

As Good As Gold is also available in e-book, paperback and Large Print, colorful pictures, a dyslexia friendly edition:

get it on Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Espana, Amazon Deutschland.

Find all my book on Amazon. Enjoy!

Text and Haiku-San © Patricia Furstenberg.

I hope you enjoyed my haiku. Let me know your thoughts in comment below.

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Movie Music Monday, Flying Over Africa from Out of Africa via @PatFurstenberg #OutOfAfrica #quotes #moviemusicmonday

Movie Music Monday, “Flying Over Africa”, music by John Barry, from “Out of Africa” via @PatFurstenberg #OutOfAfrica #quotes #moviemusicmonday

“When you have caught the rhythm of Africa, you find out that it is the same in all her music.”(Karen Blixen, “Out of Africa”)

out of africa - courtesy hippo wall papersIt has been many years since I first watched “Out of Africa”, yet what made a big impression on me then stayed with, helping me outline an era, sketch what it takes to be a resilient woman in unfamiliar land and remember that nature’s beauty as well as people’s surprising humanity are everlasting treasures within reach.

“When in the end, the day came on which I was going away, I learned the strange learning that things can happen which we ourselves cannot possibly imagine, either beforehand, or at the time when they are taking place, or afterwards when we look back on them.”

Memorable aspects: John Barry’s music, Meryl Streep’s flawless Danish accent (she practiced her accent by listening to recordings of Isak Dinesen reading her own stories), Karen telling the story based on Denys’ first line:

“There was a wondering Chinese named Cheng Huan living in Limehouse and a girl named Shirley…”

the breathtaking views of the African game, the greatness of Ngong Hills, the coffee plantation with its noble Kikuyu people.

“Where did you get it?”
“Mombasa. Get in!”
“When did you learn to fly?”
“Yesterday.”

Isak Dinesen (the pseudonym of Danish author Karen Blixen) lived for seventeen years in British East Africa (now Kenya). Her autobiographical book “Out of Africa” together with additional material from one of her subsequent books, “Shadows on the Grass” adapted into a screenplay and directed by  into what we know as the magnificent movie we all know.

Below are a few of my favorite quotes from “Out of Africa”.

Karen’s precious memories of Denys shining a light on how deep their relationship was :

“He even took the Gramophone on safari. Three rifles, supplies for a month and Mozart. He began our friendship with a gift. And later, not long before Tsavo, he gave me another. An incredible gift. A glimpse of the world through God’s eye. And I thought: ‘Yes, I see. This is the way it was intended.’ I’ve written about all the others, not because I loved them less, but because they were clearer, easier. He was waiting for me there. But I’ve gone ahead of my story. He’d have hated that. Denys loved to hear a story told well.”

Karen Blixen, 1903 and Meryl Streep in 'Out of Africa'
Karen Blixen, 1903 and Meryl Streep in ‘Out of Africa’

Perhaps one of the most widely known movie quotes of all times:

“I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Equator runs across these highlands, a hundred miles to the north, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet. In the day-time you felt that you had got high up; near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold.”

A concept I try, how I try every day, to live by:

“Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.”
I may not dream that much, but I acquire the same joy through writing:
“People who dream when they sleep at night know of a special kind of happiness which the world of the day holds not, a placid ecstasy, and ease of heart, that are like honey on the tongue. They also know that the real glory of dreams lies in their atmosphere of unlimited freedom.”

Denys Finch Hatton, 1915, and Robert Redford in 'Out of Africa'
Denys Finch Hatton, 1915, and Robert Redford in ‘Out of Africa’ –

Is this quote below unveiling an optimistic side of Karen Blixen, or a life-long, concealed, low self-esteem?

“Now take back the soul of Denys George Finch Hatton, whom you have shared with us.
He brought us joy, and we loved him well.
He was not ours.
He was not mine.”
The movie ends with this heartbreaking quote by Karen Blixen:
“If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plains quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?”
I like to believe yes. Did you know that the Nairobi suburb that emerged on the land where Blixen farmed coffee is now named Karen?
~

“Out of Africa” quotes are property and copyright of their owners. “Flying over Africa” movie clip is provided for educational purposes and personal use only.

This meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You can pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday. I thoroughly enjoyed this blog feature on Mischenko’s lovely blog, ReadRantRockandroll .

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Haiku-San, Ocean, #Haiku #Sunday #HaikuSan via @PatFurstenberg

Ocean, a Sunday Haiku: Haiku-San

Crashing solemn waves

Seagull’s woeful cry above.

Ocean’s lonely tune.

~~~~~

Read more poems inspired by the force of sea and the bravery of animals in my latest books:

Vonk the Horse: Spark, the Bravest Stallion of the 18th Century
Vonk the Horse: Spark, the Bravest Stallion of the 18th Century

Vonk the Horse: Spark, the Bravest Stallion of the 18th Century.
Sail the high seas to the end of the 18th century, the middle of winter in the southern hemisphere. When a ship hits a bank of sand near the Cape of Storms (Cape Town), all spectators on land fear for the lives of those on board for the waters are frigid and currents strong.

eBook, 99c/99p/0.99EUR or read free on Kindle Unlimited: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Australia, Amazon Canada, Amazon Deutschland.

Jock of the Bushveld: Africa's Best Loved Dog Hero by Patricia Furstenberg
Jock of the Bushveld: Africa’s Best Loved Dog Hero

Jock of the Bushveld, Africa’s Best Loved Dog Hero. Jock, the runt of the littler, the smallest of puppies, lived to enjoy a full and adventurous life at the side of his master. Even those overlooked and picked on can grow to become brave and reliable dogs, deeply loved by their owners. Jock and his master shared a life of adventures in the African bush, transporting goods for a living, hunting their food together and sharing the warmth of the fire under a blanket of stars at night. Happy to have each other.
eBook, 99c/99p/0.99EUR or read free on Kindle Unlimited: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Australia, Amazon Canada, Amazon Germany.

Huberta the Hippo: Amazing Adventures of a Happy River Horse
Huberta the Hippo: Amazing Adventures of a Happy River Horse

Huberta the Hippo, Amazing Adventures of a Happy River Horse. Read about the adventures and misadventures of a real African hippopotamus that, one day, at noon, decided to migrate south: “The moon sees all from way up high, I wish to also see the world go by.” It took Hubert many years to travel 1 600km south, along the South African coast. Along the way Hubert made many friends and enemies as he was a friendly hippo but with a rather large appetite and he didn’t quite followed the human rules. Nobody knows why Hubert migrated, but we do know that he was happy when he reached his final destination and that only after his death was discovered that he was, actually, a girl.
eBook, 99c/99p/0.99EUR or read free on Kindle Unlimited: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Australia, Amazon Canada, Amazon Deutschland.

You can find more Haiku in my new book of poetry, As Good AS Gold:

It is uplifting, positive and a pleasure to read and as a dog lover it warmed my heart, some made me laugh, some made me think, some made me smile inside.” (Donna’s Book Blog)

A beautiful, uplifting and endearing read – I loved it!” (5* Amazon Review)

As Good As Gold is also available in Large Print, colorful pictures, a dyslexia friendly edition: get it on Amazon UK, Amazon US 

I chose the name Haiku-San as it derives from Haiku, meaning unusual verse in Japanese (hai=unusual, ku=verse, strophe) and San, the honorific Japanese title when speaking about people. San is also the phonetic transcription of the first syllable of the English word Sunday, Sun-day hence Haiku-San, a Sunday feature on Alluring Creations involving Haiku I write.

Text and Haiku-San © Patricia Furstenberg.

(Image courtesy Jakob Owenss, Unsplash)

I hope you enjoyed my haiku. Let me know your thoughts in comment below.

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Cat Riding through a Field of Rice on a Bicycle, #cat, #poem, #Japan, #kitty #猫 # ねこ#neko #pet #nature via @PatFurstenberg

Cat Riding through a Field of Rice on a Bicycle

Shh, hums the rice, swaying with the wind,

Whoosh, sings the breeze, warm and mild.

Cling-cling-cling, the silver bell sings along

While the bicycle runs along the road.

A basket in the front.

What’s inside?

 

The air is sweet with cherry scent,

The boy is careful at the bend.

He knows the road, his eyes on basket –

Where something small sits in this racket.

First time out,

In the basket.

 

And now and then a nose pops up,

Sniffs just above the basket, plump.

A cherry blossom petal landed in the punnet?

It grew paws, tail, and purrs when you stroke it?

Has whiskers too,

As white as snow.

 

The orange head looks left and right;

It rains, the rice smells fruity

Yet no rain drips on the small crown

The boy holds an umbrella.

And on and on

Their bicycle they ride.

 

The boy hums with a smile, calming the warm bundle

And every now and then he strokes the silky nuzzle.

And quite so often, it is said,

They ride their bicycle to town and back home again.

Where they cook,

The two of them.

 

On autumn days, fragrant and cool,

They ride to pick up mushrooms.

And when the first snow hugs the ground

They ride it still, is rumored –

The boy, a silver bicycle

And… cat.

 

What keeps them cycling, rain or shine?

Or during snow or weather fine?

Is it the never-ending field, the road that stretches infinite?

Or is it that they love how wind through hair and fur articulates?

And how and air smells sweet and fragrant

Just for the two of them, Jun and Haku.

 

This poem was inspired by “How I trained my cats”, a video by Japanese vlogger and YouTube-er JunsKitchen – enjoy!


You might also like:

Belle Cat, whiskers on my mat

Perfectly Captures What It Means To Be A Cat.” (5* Amazon Review)

The poem will capture the imagination of children showing them the joys of owning a cat and how different they can be.” (5* Amazon review)

When a stray cat, lost and hurt, is given a second chance she grabs it with all of her… paws!
Based on a true love story between a cat and her human, told with compassion and humor.

Available as eBook and paperback on Amazon.

Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon JAPAN, Amazon Canada

Haiku-San, Cherry Blossoms

Pets — Understanding Your Child’s Affinity Towards Animals

Blog Post Image courtesy Federica Diliberto, available free on Unsplash.

 

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What the World Cup and Wimbledon Finals, Barack Obama’s Visit to South Africa and Mandela’s Centenary Have Taught Me, #WorldCup #Wimbledon #Obama #Mandela #SA #lessons #tolerance #motivation

What the World Cup and Wimbledon Finals, Barack Obama’s Visit to South Africa and Mandela’s Centenary Have Taught Me

Middle of July is packed with world class sporting and political events. Russia hosted the 2018 FIFA World Cup, South African Kevin Anderson qualified in the Wimbledon 2018 Men’s Single Final (last time South Africa came this far was 97 years ago, Brian Norton in 1921), and former US president Barak Obama will deliver the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, marking the Centenary of Madiba’s birth.

For me, in the FIFA World Cup 2018 the ball really began to roll in the Quarter-finals, with Belgium winning against Brazil 2-1 and Croatia winning on penalties 4-3 against Russia. Then, surprisingly or not, England lost 2-1 against Croatia in the semi-finals.

England’s lost against Croatia taught me that:

Even if you loose, you still achieved so much more simply by participating.

“‘It doesn’t matter that England lost. They came fourth out of all the countries in the world’“:

And that the journey is more important that the destination:

“Just a reminder that England lasted longer than… Germany, Argentina, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Uruguay, Belgium “:


I was touched by the thank you’s pouring from both sides (fans and team) as a result of The Three Lions’s journey through the Fifa World Cup.

Always remember to thank your supporters, no matter of their numbers or where they might be.

Don’t be afraid to dream.

“To everyone who supported us. To everyone who believed this time was different. To everyone who wasn’t afraid to dream. To everyone who knows this is only the beginning. Thank you. We hope we made you proud.”:

It was touching to hear the English fans singing Oasis as they left the World Cup. That’s the spirit, England!

Pain is easier to endure if shared:

Lessons learned form the Croatian National Soccer Team and their supporters:

To me, the Croatian National Soccer Team was the underdog of the 2018 Fifa World Cup. Their dribbling techniques, sportsmanship, FAIR PLAY and team spirit are equal to none.

Plus they have these amazing supporters.

These Croatian Firefighters have entered in history as they just miss the penalty win for Croatia as Duty calls:

At the end 2018 Fifa Final, when Croatia lost 4-2 against France, the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović stood in the rain, without any umbrella, to congratulate, hug and wipe the tears of the Croatian soccer players, showing her support, admiration and appreciation towards their outstanding game.

No matter what you do, you will draw strength from your support team. Make sure you have one.

Because at the end of the day…

it matters what you feel in your heart:

From Wimbledon’s Men’s Single Final there was a lot to learn on fair play, on being humble and on how to graciously accept defeat. The words of South African tennis player Kevin Anderson express all this:


Kevin Anderson also teaches us a great lesson on
giving back and remembering one’s roots:

“It means so much for me to have played in the @Wimbledon final. There are so many positives and great memories I will be taking with me. Thanks to everyone from South Africa and around the world for your support and messages”:

and on endurance and perseverance:

On Barack Obama’s visit to South Africa, to deliver the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture – celebrating the centenary of Madiba’s birth.

“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up” (Nelson Mandela)

There is a lot to be said about the Nelson Mandela’s legacy, teaching us that change for the better is always possible, never give up hope.

“Even when the odds are long and the times are dark, change is always possible. But only if we’re willing to work for it and fight for it.” @MichelleObama’s message to gathered in South Africa this week:


Certainly history in the making: pay attention and remember.

LIVE STREAM 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture by Barack Obama, 17 July 2018:


Former US president Barack Obama will deliver the Mandela lecture in Johannesburg on Tuesday, the 17th of July, with 15 000 people expected to attend.

“It’s not about who we like but what we are trying to address in a particular moment and the audience that we are talking to.”(The Mandela Foundation’s chief executive, Sello Hatang)

Barack Obama will inaugurate his most significant international project as an ex-president, with an announcement on Monday that the Obama Foundation plans to convene 200 young people this July in Johannesburg for five days of meetings, workshops and technical training. (The New York Times) Also, Obama’s visit to South Africa:

“It gives him an opportunity to lift up a message of tolerance, inclusivity and democracy at a time when there are obviously challenges to Mandela’s legacy around the world,” (Benjamin J. Rhodes, a former speechwriter for Obama who still advises him.)

“There’s an enhanced sense of tribalism in the world,” he said. “Our unifying theory is that the best way to promote inclusive and democratic societies is by empowering young people in civil society.”

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…”(Barack Obama)

What a lesson on tolerance.

You might also like to read:

The 5 Lessons I Learned From Madiba

Keep Your Faith South Africa

 

 

 

 

 

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Inaugural South African Indie Film Festival Sets The Bar via @PatFurstenberg

Writing about the Inaugural South African Indie Film Festival was such a thrill, I am so proud of these guys and of their achievements!

Local IS Lekker!

SA Indie Film Fest 2018 entry ticket - courtesy http://saindiefilmfest.co.za/

SA Indie Film Fest 2018 entry ticket – courtesy SAIFF

The Rainbow Nation, South Africa, has given the world the iconic, inspirational spirit of Nelson Mandela and the voice of Miriam Makeba; the talent and gorgeous looks of Charlize Theron and the spirited and witty Trevor Noah.

Drenched by the southern sun and bathed by two oceans, the South African spirit is forever replenished — this time, to give the world a blend of breathtaking scenery and dynamic, independent filmmakers. The inaugural South African Independent Film Festival (SAIFF) is a fresh platform for both emerging and experienced filmmakers, local and international.

The 2018 South African Independent Film Festival on May 24 celebrated some of the very best independent film from the world stage. SA Indie Film Festival aims to give a platform to the vibrant and diverse artists working in independent film today. (SAIFF Press Release)

With screenings taking place at the historic Labia Theatre — home of independent cinema in Cape Town — South Africa’s first Indie Film Festival showcased 22 short films, documentaries, music videos and even VR films from all around the world, from Belgium to South Africa.

The international panel of judges featured renowned South African and international industry professionals including actor Sean Cameron Michael (“Blood Drive”, “Black Sails”), actor Brandon Auret (“District 9”, “Chappie”, “Elysium”), director Ryan Kruger (“Doomsday”; musician; conceptual shooting style), lead singer of Prime Circle Ross Learmonth, actor/singer Steve Wall (“Vikings”, “Rebellion”, “Silent Witness”) as well as DOP Roy Zetisky and actor Joe Vaz (“Dredd”, “10,000 B.C.”).

Read my full article on the Huffington Post SA here.

Huffington Post SA
HuffPostSA

 

 

My thanks go to James C. Williamson for his time and wonderful support in writing about the SA Indie Film Fest.

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You Can’t Go It Alone by Jessie Cahalin @BooksInHandbag, Author Chat and Book Review by @PatFurstenberg

It gives me great pleasure to share with you the chat I had with lovely Jessie Cahalin best known as the original, highly creative and ever so supportive of all authors @BooksInHandbag. Jessie just released her debut novel You Can’t Go It Alone,  a book focusing on life through IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), love and the importance of music and friendship.

Here are my thoughts on You Can’t Go It Alone by Jessie Cahalin

You Can't Go It Alone by Jessie Cahalin
You Can’t Go It Alone by Jessie Cahalin

Sophie and Jack are the main characters of this novel and the story opens as they just moved in Vine Cottage in the village of Delfryn. We soon discover that life for this young couple is not a “picture postcard” as Sophie dreams of, as they undergo a treatment of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). The emotional roller-coaster they both go through and the pressure it puts on their relationship are presented with feeling and in-depth knowledge.

Jack’s parents, Jeanie and Max and their camper nicknamed Molly, bring humor and, surprisingly, a lot of action into the story. They, too, have their own struggles. I enjoyed the positive shift in relationship between Sophie and her mother-in-law Jeanie.

Next door, in Dove Cottage, lives Ruby with her daughter Daisy and partner Dan. Ruby has to deal with her own personal struggles. We discover that, sometimes, by opening up to others, unexpected help comes when we most need it. Nearby is Rose Cottage where widower Jim Evans lives alone with his dog, Lassie. There are a few secrets here that burden his last days, but also unexpected, happy news.

The main setting for this novel is, however, The Olive Tree Café run by Italian descendants Rosa, her jealous husband Matteo and their talented daughter Olivia. Why is Matteo so suspicious of his wife and daughter? Is it only his Italian blood to blame? And what keeps Rosa’s spirits up?

As one character says: “Maybe all the secrets hide in each branch and they fall away with the leaves.”

My favorite character was Rosa. I liked her creativity, all the effort she put in her small yet chic cafe while making time for everyone, her dedication towards her husband (even since the times they were just engaged) and how she knew how to support her young daughter Olivia. I liked how she kept her heart young.

You Can’t Go It Alone is a novel that appeals to all the senses.

The nature comes alive through Cahalin’s picturesque descriptions: you feel the April breeze through your hair, the rain washing over your face only to be dried up by warm sunshine.

Crickhowell, South Wales inspired Delfryn
Crickhowell, South Wales inspired Delfryn

“As they neared Delfryn, the light vanished from between the lush green trees, and the grey sky absorbed the colour.”

You hear the sounds, thunder and laughter, billowing voices and a little girl’s giggles, soulful chitchat and women singing, happy clinking of cups and saucers mingled with guitar music, tires screeching, laughter and sobs. An innocent girl laughs as she skips along the pathway to her “Magic Garden” and you hear the pebbles under her shoes.

It is a book filled with fragrances too; rosemary and lavender, freshly grinded coffee and cocoa dust, the earthly scent of olive oil and sweet tomatoes on bruschetta; the scent of wet ground and leaves and the sterile, impersonal smells of hospital.

It is a book of memories and secrets, of what it could have been, of what it really happened but most of all of what the future holds for all the characters: hope. The importance of communication and of speaking the truth is intertwined with each character’s journey.

Just as in the opening line of You Can’t Go It Alone,

“As Sophie looked up at the sky, its vast blueness held endless possibilities.”

this novel is alive and filled with love, for each other and for life, and a zest for life. It is the perfect pick-me-up read, with warm, engaging characters, a gorgeous setting and unexpected situations, both sad and humorous.

Find You Can’t Go It Alone on Amazon:

Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia

Jessie Cahalin Outside Bloggers' Cafe
Jessie Cahalin Outside Blogger Cafe

For such an amazing novel setting I headed over to Jessie’s Blogger Cafe to discus her thoughts and dreams for this book.

Patricia:  Jessie, we have been communicating for a year now and working together on my book launches.  You seem happy and positive about life and we have developed such a special, supportive relationship.  Can you capture your life in two sentences?

 @BooksInHandbag
@BooksInHandbag

Jessie: I’m the proud author of You Can’t Go It Alone and creator of Books in my Handbag Blog.  Life is great, and my only regret is not connecting with the bookish world earlier.

Patricia:  How would you describe You Can’t Go It Alone and the central themes?

Jessie:  You Can’t Go It Alone explores the impact secrets can have on relationships and pursuit of happiness. The themes of the novel are: love, infertility, bereavement, loneliness and literacy.

The reader is invited to the fictional Welsh village of Delfyn where you can gain a little taste of Italy while listening to the music.

Patricia:  Identify one of the key emotional journeys in the novel.

Jessie:  Through Sophie and Jack, I show how a couple struggles to deal with IVF while getting on with life. Surrounding the characters with other people meant I could integrate emotions, comments and situations faced by couples like Jack and Sophie.   Moreover, I decided it was important to give the husband a voice and this is conveyed via a blog.

Patricia:  You introduce women from different decades, explore differences in their opportunities, and move in and out of their lives.  Can you explain this?

Rosa, the leading lady of the Olive Tree Café, must face issues in her marriage. Sophie, a teacher, helps others to communicate but struggles to communicate with her husband, Jack, about their IVF journey.  Married in the seventies, Pearl struggles to pursue her dream.

Patricia: In your book you approach the medical and emotional struggles of a couple going through IVF proving that a lot of research went into it. Can you share how you went about researching for your book?

Jessie: The IVF journey is from personal experience. When writing the book, I did research fertility websites and records of our treatment.  Over the years, I have also spoken with many women about the experience and have realised I was not alone. And, I am always happy to support others who are going through the treatment. In You Can’t Go It Alone,  I wanted to covey the experience through characters placed in real situations; hopefully it will connect with the readers.

Patricia: Gosh, Jessie, I had no idea you went through IVF. Having just read Sophie’s story I do admire you so, your determination and strength… *hugs*

Which character was the closest to your heart?

Sophie’s struggle is close to my heart.  I can connect with the frustration and anger she experiences.  Sophie has worked through the anger at her situation and is learning how to count her blessings.  I had to nudge her to think of her husband’s perspective as she had become a little self-involved, but she is a kind person who can’t stop helping others. Although Pearl has an absent presence, I also feel connected to her through Jim and may tell her story, in more detail, in the future.

Patricia:  I would love to read a follow-up to You Can’t Go It Alone! Who would you like to read your book?

I hope the story will resonate with everyone and should appeal to anyone who likes a good story and real, flawed characters. Despite the heavier themes, it is a feel- good book and conveys my commitment to the simple things in life.

I hope the book would support to anyone who is going through IVF or is about to embark on the process.  The novel has light-hearted moments and presents hope.  As C. S. Lewis said, ‘We read to know we are not alone.’

Patricia:  What do you do when you are not writing?

Jessie: When I am not writing, I adore walking, cooking and procrastinating.  Walking helps me to sort out tangles in my narratives or blog posts.  We live in an area where there are some impressive mountain treks and costal walks, and we also have beautiful castles on the doorstep.

Jessie Cahalin’s Biography:

Jessie is a word warrior, bookish and intrepid virtual explorer.  She loves to entertain with stories, and is never seen without: her camera, phone, notebook and handbag.  Having overcome her fear of self-publishing, Jessie is now living the dream of introducing the characters who have been hassling her for decades. Her debut novel, ‘You Can’t Go It Alone’, is a heart-warming tale about the challenges women still face in society.  The novel has light-hearted moments and presents hope.

Jessie hails from Yorkshire, North England, but she loves to travel the world and collect cultural gems, like a magpie. She searches for happy endings, where possible, and needs great coffee, food and music to give me inspiration.

Connecting with authors via her Books in her Handbag Blog is a blast. She showcases authors’ books in the popular Handbag Gallery and has fun meeting authors in the virtual world.  Fellow authors have deemed her ‘creative and quirky’ and she wears these words like a blogging badge of honour. The challenge is to get out there and meet the authors face to face.  She has already set up a few interviews for June and have travel adventures planned.

Her debut novel showcased on the virtual red carpet and was supported by the wonderful bookish community. One day, she would dearly love to roll out the red carpet and host a huge book launch for indie authors.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B06XQ5RVD5/
You Can’t Go It Alone by Jessie Cahalin

About You Can’t Go It Alone

Love, music and secrets are woven together in this poignant, heart-warming narrative.

Set in a Welsh village, the story explores the contrast in attitudes and opportunities between different generations of women. As the characters confront their secrets and fears, they discover truths about themselves and their relationships.

The reader is invited to laugh and cry, with the characters, and find joy in the simple things in life. Listen to the music and enjoy the food, as you peek inside the world of the inhabitants of Delfryn.

Let Sophie show you that no one can go it alone. Who knows, you may find some friends with big hearts…

‘Jessie creates soulful connections between her characters and the reader.  These relationships crescendo and blend until the reader is into the full depths of human nature.  It’s not every day one finds a book they can’t put down.  This is reserved for the undeniably human writer.’

Jennifer. C. Lopez

Connect with Jessie Cahalin through her website, Facebook: Jessie @BooksInHandbag and Facebook, Jessie Cahalin Author, on Twitter @BooksInHandbag  or drop her a line jessiecahalin@aol.co.uk

Remember: You Can't Go It Alone
Remember: You Can’t Go It Alone, by Jessie Cahalin @booksinhandbag

 

 

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Two Authors. Worlds Apart. The Jennieration – Pat Furstenberg

Two Authors. Worlds Apart. Serendipity on their Side.

What is better for an author than to do a book signing event? Maybe a book signing half way across the world?

Better than a book blog tour?

When my new book publisher asked me to do a book signing at an historic book shop in some quaint little town within the state of Ohio, I didn’t hesitate for a second to agree. First, because I’d never set foot in the New World and I was so curious to find out if everything in North America is really ‘bigger than life’ as they say! But more importantly, because the bookshop where I’d been asked to do my signing could only have been a plan of pure serendipity or fate.

*** 

Of all the bookshops all over the world I was about to walk into hers! Jen, with her uncurbed enthusiasm. Talented author Jennifer Lopez!

*** 

So now, here I am at this very moment, nervous with excitement for the experience. I’m holding a red rose, searching among the myriad of busy Americans around me, for Jen and her red rose.

I know people do look a tad different when you meet them in person as apposed to their website or Twitter, so I’m hoping she’ll recognize me. We’re to meet for coffee first, here at this small and chic (I am impressed) coffee place right next to the bookshop. It feels like I’ve stepped into a world of times past. The coffee shop is one that’s been there for a very long time and has that old vintage feel. I see large windows at the back of the cafe- there are people looking down. I remember then, Jen saying the bookshop and café sat right atop a waterfall. I could hear it now—despite the bustle. Wow. This was definitely not what I imagined the U.S.A. to be like. Maybe because we aren’t in a large city.

And yes, I’ll answer your question before you even speak; we decided to meet like this for the fun of it! Is there a more exciting way for two writers to meet, I’m asking you?

*** 

There she is. We walk toward each other unable to contain our smiles and laughter.

Jen hugs me tight and says,

 “Finally a real hug instead of a virtual hug! You are so precious Pat.”

We tap our roses together and chuckle.

“Come on Pat, I’ve gotten us a table. The café will be clearing out soon- as the afternoon rush is over.”

The waiter sets down our two cups of expresso.

PAT: Ahhhh… It’s chilly here so this is perfect Jen. We’ve wanted to chat about so many things, but with our kids, family and writing, well—we just never have the time. I love your humanitarian efforts and you know it’s something we both feel passionate about. I’ll never forget when your Middle School ESL students read my book HAPPY FRIENDS and how they responded. It felt so great to hear that my little book had been appreciated in such a way.

JEN: Pat, it was so awesome to experience. Then, when your book JOYFUL TROUBLE came out, it spoke on such a deep level to both kids and adults alike. Ella and I were thrilled to write our endorsement for the cover. Are you so excited to be signing today for all your special animal stories?

My coffee’s gone cold, or is this the second cup already? We’re too engrossed in discussion to notice.

PAT: I can’t even begin to express my happiness Jen. Talking about JOYFUL TROUBLE (now in Large Print) is so fun—maybe because it is based on a true family story. Also it really seems to appeal to young and adults alike. I think it’s his human nature that makes the dog such a huge success. Through his sheer size, he commands respect. He reveres his sailor friends and has a loyalty towards them that is unsurpassed. The things he does…well, dogs do have this rare quality about them, to sense when they are needed. But Joyful Trouble is also a peaceful dog (almost As Good as Gold), a contrasting quality with his size.

Perhaps the fact that there is no self-interest in Joyful Trouble’s actions—yet they leave the reader astounded. I am grateful for its positive impact.

JEN: It sure does have a positive impact, Pat. Animal stories reach into the hearts of readers because of the unconditional love and tenderness their actions express. They themselves are lessons we humans can learn a lot from.

PAT: How did you develop such a tremendous love of Culture, Jen? I’ve always seen & admired it—so I have to ask.

JEN: I think we both feel it within us, Pat—you know? I’ve known culture is strongly rooted in you as well. Even your efforts to convey acceptance and the love of differences in HAPPY FRIENDS was tremendous. Maybe it’s something so deep, it’s a challenge to explain. I can’t say mine came from upbringing, because I didn’t grow up in a family completely immersed in this appreciation. So, I guess I’m inclined to feel as if my love if culture and the ‘uniquenesses’ of the world were just innately present and then grew. Every time I would interact with someone from another country, see a beautifully unique face from the rest of those around me, hear a new language, or be invited by a friend to take part in a cultural family celebration—it touched me deeply—all of it…

As I grew older, I read more and more about the cultures of our world, the rich traditions and the beauty in differences. I was magnetized by the sheer simplicity of cultures different from my own and how this very simplicity took nothing away from the people—in fact—it contributed tremendously to people’s happiness. It was as if there was no drive compelling me more so, than this deep reverence for culture. I believe my writing is an extension of this reverence for a simpler life and that kind of genuine happiness. That’s why I love HAPPY FRIENDS. Anyway, eventually I had to go, to live, to be a part of it for myself. Once I’d experienced the deeply endearing qualities of life and people in Italy, Spain and Mexico—I was forever changed. I felt myself connected, rooted forever-more in these distinct and beautiful cultures. What about you sweet Pat?

PAT: Well, I am so excited to visit America! I find it interesting and stimulating to see new places and be among people of a different culture. It’s quite diverse here, which is exciting to see. The way individuals think and their attitude towards the simplest facts in life is of great interest to me. When I grew up in Romania we didn’t have much access to the world outside its physical borders due to political restrictions and regulations. So other cultures were like a forbidden fruit. You would get what you could from movies, from books, by reading foreign author’s works and learning about their respective countries. I was lucky enough to be able to travel after the fall of the Berlin wall and the fall of the Communist regime. I felt like a sponge, ready to assimilate everything I saw. From art and music to the way people live and spend their free time; their national imprint and the way climate influences their lives. Everything was fascinating…

South Africa is the rainbow country. People from many nationalities live in harmony, or so we try. We have 11 official languages. What people share is their humor, the fantastic foods, the blue sky and the love for music.

It is a country that has inspired many artists and writers and it definitely influences my writing. Although my roots remain Romanian as does my heartbeat, I say.

JEN: I love that! Oh my gosh- it must be incredible living in Africa and still having that depth of appreciation for your own culture. Not only that, but you explain it so beautifully—something that affects so many: the desire to truly know the world—but be restricted from this possibility in its purest form. Media and the movies can actually taint one’s perspective regarding the truths of a culture. Thank goodness for good cultural literature.

PAT: Yes, you know, when I grew up I would study about famous Romanian people of culture who left to further their educations in ‘The City of Light,’ Paris. This was the beginning of the 20th century. And they all missed the blue sky from back home, the way the birds sing, the way the air smells. I could not understand that longing – until now. That is culture to me, being rooted in your own. I guess it is the way our hearts have been wired.

JEN: So interesting…all of it. And really, I feel we could talk forever. Are we still okay on time Pat? I don’t want you to arrive late to your signing?

PAT: We are just fine, it’s not until 7:30pm and I set aside this time to be with you. Let’s share a pastry. How does the Raspberry Custard Tart sound?

JEN: You picked my favorite!

I raise my hand and motion to the lad behind the counter. He smiles and points. He heads over with two forks and the tart.

JEN: So, children inspire your writing as does making a difference. How did you get to be such a dear one? Huh?

PAT: I think when we have our feet firmly grounded in our roots, in what drives us—as you say—(the moral compass), then all we want is to make a difference. Having roots is very import for our children. And books can help a great deal in discovering one’s roots. Because books tell stories and stories do have a source. Before ‘the story’ was printed, it was told—at the beginning of its time—and it went from mouth to mouth. Each story was sparked by one previous to it. Each is rooted in an old folk tale, somewhere in a forgotten corner of the world…

Just as Joyful Trouble and Happy Friends, my stories- depict unusual friendships between animals. Friendship regardless of differences…

Animals and children have this special gift of seeing beyond boundaries; to them there are no boundaries. Nothing stands and nothing should stand between a child and their hopes and dreams and life learning…

With Animals, when they look at each other, they see the possibility of friendship, especially baby animals.

Children, when they look at each other, they see beauty and they see the possibility of a friendship or the excitement of learning.

JEN: YES!! So then the nature of an animals’ emotional intelligence is essentially what draws you to write about them? There is such a clear undeniable connection between the purity and selflessness of children and animals.

PAT: Right and since we now live in a hyper-technologically-driven world, what was important yesterday might not have the same value tomorrow. The world is most definitely changing.

IQ- Intellectual Quotient, was of high value… yesterday.

Today, Emotional intelligence- EQ is what our children need to excel in life. Being aware of your feelings and of the feelings of those near you, knowing how to express them and how to put your feelings into words.

Animals can sense things long before we do. They can read our emotional cues; this is why writing about animals is so exciting and attractive to me. Animals have no boundaries when given the opportunity to thrive in an environment, they do not shield their emotions, they do not misunderstand them.

Giving animals human qualities in a story can have an amusing effect but in the end it isn’t the real life. Because animals are so much more emotionally intelligent than we know…

Children can easily relate to animal stories because children have an innate desire to care for and look after those smaller than themselves. Care, as they are being cared for. And who out there, is smaller than a child, but a baby animal or, at least, a furry character from a book? It’s why so many generations of children loved Winnie-The-Pooh, or Paddington Bear.

JEN: You yourself have proof of this beautiful truth in the story of Joyful Trouble. I love this because there are some who don’t acknowledge the keen emotional intelligence of animals. Their potential to contribute to each human’s life is unfathomably beautiful. My sister would love you as well. She has a highly intuitive sense related to animals and for this I admire her. Another fellow humanitarian- she cares for animals and advocates for them as you do. Pat, we just connect on these ideals and it makes me overjoyed…

Do you enjoy the Raspberry Custard Tart? It feels such a privilege to share with you and I still can’t believe we are sitting here together!

PAT: It’s yummy and I could sit here all day. It’s like the café cleared out for us to have this time.

JEN: That’s because they’re all getting ready for your book signing—is what’s happening! You know what- We also have this funny Elephant connection-you and I do. I just remembered this. The little elephant, Pete- in your Happy Friends book. My sweet daughter, Ella and I loved Pete and the cute story behind his becoming part of the book. —Ella herself has the Elephant’s namesake because of the deep emotional intelligence these stunning animals exhibit throughout their lifetimes with loved ones and the matriarchal strength that guides their family.

PAT: I know. I love the cover of your Fearless Thinkers book with the two Elephants. That book is a help to many families, aspiring to take a different path with parenting. It is evident that you wrote the book with the intention of helping others too. Elephants sure are an inspiration for both of us Jen. And yes, my idea to write about an elephant came not only from the plastic, old, yellow toy elephant (Pete) we have at home, but also from my mother’s interest in elephants and what they symbolize: courage, wisdom, strength, family. Perhaps the fact that elephants have a matriarchal family also influenced my decision!

But Pete, our yellow toy elephant with a twinkle in his eyes, was just sitting quietly on his shelf… until one day when he couldn’t keep quiet anymore and told me that he had a story to tell. Could I help him?

Turns out, my children’s book- Happy Friends was just that.

JEN: I know. So super sweet. The simplicity of that inspiration!! Well, let’s take a quick walk down to the waterfall so we can take in the sounds of nature and you can prepare for this evening’s events. The time has flown. I did mean to ask what your future plans are though Pat. We can’t leave without knowing what’s next—besides time with our kids—of course.

PAT: Well, I have lots of children’s books in my plans for the future, most of them about dogs! Fun stories, some sad ones as well—they are based on true events. One needs to raise awareness about animals’ feelings and their status and import in our busy lives.

JEN: Yes, I agree. Your FOUR latest books (that you’ll be releasing in the next few weeks) after your well loved-Happy Friends and Joyful Trouble, remind me of the tremendous stories you hear of around the world about Unlikely Animal Friends. They are utterly heart-warming. There’s been so many beautiful reviews and guest posts for your books. We loved your cover reveals for: Puppy, The Lion and the Dog, The Elephant and the Sheep, The Cheetah and the Dog. OHHH! What treasures!

PAT: Thanks Jen. I hope they will be cherished in many homes for years to come. You know, I wanted to ask you the same thing—what’s next for you in your writing and in your career? You keep so busy with your Spanish Interpreting, your writing and your Homeschooling of Ella to boot! Do you plan to continue all of this?

JEN: You know how we are. Where there’s a passion- there’s always a way. So my passion to support the Spanish-speaking Cultures is ongoing. It’s as if it were embedded in my DNA. My hope is to continue my involvement in bridging the language and cultural gaps with TheJennieration.com through Interpreting and Translating. It is always incredible for me to witness others embracing the rich family traditions, ideals and work ethic of Latin Americans. They are some of the most tremendous people—and precious neighbors in Central and South America. Here in the U.S., we SHARE the very same continent—all of us in ‘The Americas’…and our American Continent’s farthest points reach both the North and the South Poles. I do plan to continue my writing, editing and proofreading. How can we not? It is our fuel, right?! Words, language and communication equate to passion and connection with culture. My own upcoming books… well one has been in the works for quite some time. The program has existed for 15+ years and I am finally putting it into book form. A writer’s work is never done though- so I keep making the tweaks.  When I am fully satisfied, you’ll be one of the first to know.  It’s a rapid Spanish Language Instruction book—an intrinsically Easy-to-Learn Spanish Program—different than any out there I’ve seen in my own research over the years… The other is a series of short stories called: Empathy Power. Much like your true animal stories, these are powerful due to their truth—each carrying a unique message. As an educator, my hope is for them to captivate while they educate. Time will tell my friend…

Well Pat, now it’s time we take that walk. I can’t wait for your book signing!

PAT: I can’t either Jen. Thanks for sharing this time with me, this has been incredible. I love conversations like these- where each of us can share a bit of ourselves, our deeper thoughts, our aspirations—and I just can’t believe fate allowed us this chance. The universe works in mysterious ways and far be it for me to question them. I’d rather embrace them and live to tell about them.

As they are about to leave the cafe, Pat looks back and smiles at the two spoons, two espresso cups, one plate with a bit of raspberry drizzle and the two red roses that were left on the table. She smiles and thinks….

HAPPY FRIENDS!

*****

Thank you for joining us today.

Read Jen’s Reviews of Pat’s books- Joyful Trouble & Happy Friends:

CLICK FOR REVIEW OF JOYFUL TROUBLE on AMAZON: 

CLICK FOR REVIEW OF HAPPY FRIENDS on AMAZON:

Initially published on Jen’s website. This is a collaboration between two authors.

 

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Joyful Trouble, Bestseller and Most Gifted Book on Amazon UK

Joyful Trouble is a Bestseller on both eBook and paperback format as well as a Hot New Release and No.1 Most Gifted in Africa for Young Adults on Amazon UK!

To celebrate this I am offering a few of my other children’s books for free.

Why don’t you visit my Amazon Author Page to choose some?

UK customers please click here.

US customers please click here.

Here are some of the amazing reviews Joyful Trouble received:

“Such a lovely book!
This heart – warming story is definitely about friendship and the strong bond that links men and dogs…and what a better “lens” to see the beauty of this friendship than a story told by a Grandfather to his sweet little grandchildren…!
But this story is most of all about the transforming power of love. Even the title talks about this: even though at the first sight the words “joy” and “trouble” are mutually exclusive, the situation changes under the magic touch of love….and becomes “joyful trouble”..
I definitely recommend this book for both children and adults: each generation will find its message and certainly feel better after reading this well told story!”

“I came across this little story which reminded me of home in Cape Town many years ago when my family and I visited Simon’s Town and posed next to a statue built in honour of a great friend – a large Great Dane. I loved the way Ms Furstenberg retells this naval story in the setting of a grandpa and his grandchildren spending time together and he relating Joyful Trouble’s story to them. I thought she did a marvellous job of this loveable dog’s passing – comparing it to the little boy’s kite – even I felt a tinge of sadness for this dog who touched so many lives. I highly recommend this story to be read even to younger children before going to bed, doing so in the same way the story is told – every time the little ones visit granddad, he tells them a little bit more. The chapters are just the right length for such a reading session. I’ve sent the link to my 10-year old granddaughter so that her mother can download a copy for her.”

This is a wonderful story which tells a wonderful tale about a military service dog whose efforts will warm your heart. As a dog lover and trainer, it never seems to surprise me how loyal and dedicated ordinary dogs are. They make such a wonderful impact in our lives. However, when these dogs are serving alongside our soldiers and sailors, defending our country, their heroic tales are more inspirational. I think the author tells this story very well. It is relatable and I’m sure many children will gain a lot from reading it. It is a great read for adults too!”

Very cute book that I read to my 7 year old daughter and she loved it. Fully recommend to any children, and not just dog loving children.”

A wonderfully skilled blend of fact and fiction, beautifully narrated, and really touches on the important things in life.”

Such a heartwarming, lovely story. Great for all ages. A cute twist on a true story. Like all of her books, you feel good when you read it.”

Such a well written and heart warming story for all children. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Captivating read from the first page!”

“A book written for all the senses : tactile information, kinaesthetic, auditive….a strong auctorial voice explains every situation, making it possible for the reader to live it as a film.”
“A delightful story narrated by Grandad about a mischievious fun loving dog who gained the friendship and respect of the Navy Seamen. Patricia brilliantly conveys the child-like innocence and wonderment of the children. The story will make you “awww” as well as “lol”. Parents will enjoy reading Joyful Trouble to their little ones.”
I have just finished reading “Joyful Trouble” and I loved it!
Really funny and excellent likeable characters, especially the little brother Tommy. A charming read for those of us who understand the joys and pains of owning dogs.
Well worth a read, you won’t be disappointed. :-)”
You can buy Joyful Trouble from Amazon UK here.
US customers, please get Joyful Trouble here.

Joyful Trouble, a book that reads like a movie
Joyful Trouble, a book that reads like a movie

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