Excerpt from The 30 Year Secret: A Journey of Self-Discovery

Excerpt from The 30 Year Secret: A Journey of Self-Discovery

I’m working on multiple projects right now, one of which is a fictionalized version of a client’s real life. Titled The 30 Year Secret: A Journey of Self Discovery, it follows the main character Theresa’s awakening after she receives earth-shattering news about her origins.

From the book description:

Does the truth really set you free? What if you discovered one day that everything you believed about your life was a lie?

For Theresa Chianti, the revelation of a 30-year secret rocks her to her core and initiates a journey of self-discovery where the pursuit of truth threatens her relationships and forces her to draw upon courage she never knew she had. Will her quest for answers lead to peace of mind or usher in more heartache?

Armed with a mother’s example of enduring faith, she’ll come to appreciate the transcendent power of maternal love on her quest to achieve a level of self-awareness never before experienced.

Here’s an excerpt:

The thick, distinctive aroma of incense hung in the air as Theresa made her way into Our Lady of Lourdes, the large wooden door creaking shut behind her. In the late afternoon of a weekday, the pews stood empty, save for a few devoted souls – most of them on bended knee – scattered throughout. She scanned the massive room with her eyes, taking comfort in the biblical scenes depicted by stained-glass windows and the presence of an enormous, intricately carved crucifix hanging above the altar.

She couldn’t remember the last time she walked into church simply for prayerful reflection. Since Toni Ann’s birth, she’d made a conscientious effort to attend weekly Mass, but it often felt rote and forced. Being here in the quiet, observing the pure devotion of the elderly folks who made it a daily practice to connect with the Lord on their own filled her with a sense of wonder.

She smiled as she thought of her own mother, whose faith in God never wavered. Would this time here alone help her to summon the courage she needed?

Satisfied that the few people present either didn’t know her or were too wrapped up in their own meditations to notice her arrival, she made her way to the altar. After genuflecting and making the sign of the cross, she proceeded to the assembled collection of candles to the right, a few feet in front of the statue of Mary. She pulled a dollar out of her pocket and slid it into the donation box. Taking a long match out of a container of ashes, she dipped it into the flame of a burning candle and murmured a prayer as she lit a new one for her special intention. Then she settled her knees onto the cushioned kneeler and closed her eyes.

God, please give me the strength to do what I gotta do, she pleaded. Help me to be calm and get what I need from Sara, for the sake of my little girl. And God, thank you for Ma. Thank you for letting me end up in a home with love. Thank you for giving me such a strong woman for a mother. Please keep her healthy. Please keep her from ever finding out about this meeting. I know, I need to see Sara in person; I just don’t want Ma to ever find out because it would hurt her too much. Help me keep this secret, God. I know it’s wrong to lie, but I love her so much, I can’t tell her the truth.

Uncontrollable tears poured from her eyes, smearing black mascara on her pale skin, but she didn’t care as she prayed with an energized passion and purpose, her hands covering her face. When finished, she took a few gulps of air and held onto the bannister for a few minutes to steady her shaking shoulders. Once composed enough to walk, she took a seat at an empty, nearby pew, where she remained in peaceful silence until an involuntary flash of memory startled her.

A knock on the door.  A man and a woman smiling at her. Her father, Joseph Chianti, enraged.

“She’s either ours or yours; get the hell out!” she heard him bellow in the theater of her mind. The scene then faded into a marina, where she saw herself as a child sitting on a raft with her brother Joseph. Her body felt the steady rise and fall of the water as she watched this younger version of herself squeal with delight under the warm summer sun. Drifting, drifting, drifting away, until…panic. In her head, she heard the children screaming in terror, two young captives on their way out to sea when a rope securing them to the dock somehow unraveled.

“Grab the pole, Joseph; grab the pole!” the seven-year-old girl yelled out to her brother. Theresa felt her entire body convulse with fear as she watched them cling helplessly to the only thing preventing them from becoming shark food.

A moment later, she almost screamed out loud when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

Ghostwriting fiction tends to be a much longer process than nonfiction, but I’m working hard to complete this incredible story by the end of the year. I’ll post an update soon.

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The 30 Year Secret: A Journey of Self-Discovery

The 30 Year Secret: A Journey of Self-Discovery

Coming soon from Writestream Publishing and author Samantha Kincaid.

From the Foreword:

As the old saying goes, “Writing is therapy.”

I wrote this book for a multitude of reasons. First, the process of transforming my incredible true story into a fictional tale was therapeutic on a personal level. It helped me to put my actual life events and circumstances into perspective. Within these pages, through the characters of Theresa Chianti and Lucy Napoli, I tried to express my deep gratitude to my mother for giving me the greatest gift I could have ever received after an unplanned conception: a home filled with love, even if lacking in material comforts.

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, where my mother, brother and I lived in a studio apartment with a kitchen and bathroom. None of us had the luxury of a private bedroom; instead we slept on convertible couches, chairs, or cots depending on whomever happened to be visiting. Thanks to our apartment building’s unaddressed infestation, we could always count on the constant companionship of roaches. And while I remember our father as a loving man who always treated me like a princess, his financial irresponsibility meant that my mother worked two grueling waitress  jobs to keep food on the table and send us to Catholic school.

Between the ages of eight and ten, my brother and I were often separated for long periods of time. During the summers we’d live with relatives since my mother had to work. Even though he loved us, my father struggled with his own demons which prevented him from stepping up. Still, I never lacked for love.

Now imagine reaching the age of 30 and receiving news that shatters everything you believed to be true about your life. That’s exactly what happened to me one day when my oldest sister called to request my presence at her house immediately. I assumed she was going to tell me about another death in the family since we’d had more than our share of them at the time. When I arrived, I was struck by how pale she looked and knew that whatever she was about to share was not good. However, I was completely unprepared for what she disclosed.

As it turned out, no one had passed away. But figuratively, all of my beliefs about my birth, childhood and upbringing were destroyed.

A single tear fell from my eye. How could I not know? How was it possible I hadn’t figured it out on my own when the signs had all been there?

So many questions.

Theresa’s journey is my journey. Certain circumstances, places and people have been adapted for fiction but what you are about to read is based on my own life. Whatever you are dealing with, I hope you’ll find inspiration in the strength of maternal love which I know from my own experience transcends biology, legally binding contracts, and financial hardship.

With gratitude and love, I dedicate this book to my mother, a woman who lived for her children. She may not have been perfect but her love for us never failed to reflect the love of God and her devotion to the Catholic faith.

Stay tuned for details as we get closer to the release date.

Cover design by Kimberly McGath.

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Ash Wednesday Musings

Ash Wednesday Musings

Growing up Catholic and attending Catholic school, Ash Wednesday always felt like a somber day of remembering one’s bodily mortality, e.g. “Remember man that thou art dust, and unto dust you shall return,” and deciding which decadent treats (chocolate, soda, cake, etc.) you were willing to give up. For better or worse, the day became synonymous with dieting for many people, as the concept of self-denial centered around food and beverages. Some argued that you could have Sundays “off” while others insisted you must stick to it for the full 40 days.

Why the discrepancy?

According to Catholicism.About.com:

Lent, the period of prayer and fasting in preparation for Easter, is 40 days long, but there are 46 days between Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, and Easter. So how are the 40 days of Lent calculated?

A Little History

The answer takes us back to the earliest days of the Church. Christ’s original disciples, who were Jewish, grew up with the idea that the Sabbath—the day of worship and of rest—was Saturday, the seventh day of the week since the account of creation in Genesis says that God rested on the seventh day.

Christ rose from the dead, however, on Sunday, the first day of the week, and the early Christians, starting with the apostles (those original disciples), saw Christ’s Resurrection as a new creation, and so they transferred the day of rest and worship from Saturday to Sunday.

Sunday: The Celebration of the Resurrection

Since all Sundays—and not simply Easter Sunday—were days to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection, Christians were forbidden to fast and do other forms of penance on those days.

Therefore, when the Church expanded the period of fasting and prayer in preparation for Easter from a few days to 40 days (to mirror Christ’s fasting in the desert, before He began His public ministry), Sundays could not be included in the count.

Thus, in order for Lent to include 40 days on which fasting could occur, it had to be expanded to six full weeks (with six days of fasting in each week) plus four extra days—Ash Wednesday and the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday that follow it. Six times six is thirty-six, plus four equals forty. And that’s how we arrive at the 40 days of Lent!

While I’m supportive of anyone using this time to deprive themselves of sweets (and lose weight in the process), I also love this idea from Aleteia.com:

During Lent we want to de-emphasize ourselves and emphasize our dependence on God. Almsgiving (materially sharing with those in need) is one of the three “pillars” of Lent. (The other two pillars are prayer and fasting.) We can give in ways other than money. In giving up things around our house that we don’t need, we can detach from “stuff” while helping others.

Here’s the challenge: During the 40 days of Lent, find one thing each day you no longer need. For most of us, this should be really easy. It could be a kitchen item, a jacket, a bike, an unopened gift hanging around. Go through your closets, drawers, basement, even the garage.

Click here to read the full post.

For me, it’s also about releasing old beliefs and thought patterns while embracing the knowledge that we are all children of God. With that in mind, here are some suggestions. During Lent 2017, let’s fully let go of:

  • Self-Doubt
  • Worry
  • Fear
  • Laziness
  • Impatience
  • Jealousy
  • Selfishness
  • Distrust
  • Comparing Ourselves to Others

Instead, embrace our individuality as creations of God. Celebrate the unique gifts He has given to each of us. Vow to use them in service to your family, friends, neighbors, community, country, workplace and/or business. Stop the comparison/jealousy game and recognize that we are all here for our own purpose. It has been said that “comparison is the thief of joy.” I fully agree.

No matter how you honor the season of Lent, remember to express gratitude for all that you are and all that you have. Focus on your blessings, not your problems. By doing so, you just may find that God will guide you through every obstacle.

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Writestream Tuesday with Declan Finn, May 6 at 1 p.m. Eastern

Author Declan Finn.

Author Declan Finn.

Please tune in tomorrow at 1 p.m. Eastern when author Declan Finn returns to Writestream to talk about his books including The Pius Triology, his thriving career (he just got a contract!), publishing, social media and anything else on his mind. Just click on this link to the Blog Talk Radio Writestream episode:

Join author, blogger, writer and internet radio host Dariaanne for Writesream Tuesday on May 6 at 1 p.m. Eastern when she welcomes returning guest Declan Finn to the show. Declan is the author of several novels including Codename: Winterborn, A Pius Legacy, A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller and It Was Only On Stun. Recently, he announced some very exciting news (and advice to always check the spam folder): he got a contract from Damnation books for his novel Honor At Stake!

He’s also a fellow member of the CLFA on Facebook. Declan and Dariaanne will talk about his prolific writing career, and his thoughts on publishing, marketing and winning back the culture.

During the live broadcast we welcome your calls at 347-945-7246 and your participation in the live chat. Visit The Pius Trilogy blog here.
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