“Secrets in the Woods: An Emilia Long Mystery” by J.E. Smythe #Excerpt

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The dark garage parking lot was dimly lit by a flashing light fixture above the wall. The concrete floor echoed with footsteps of those who made their way to their cars. Emilia Long stood in the shadows checking the time on her cell phone. She leaned against the cold cement wall and folded her arms in nervous anticipation.

She then heard the sound of heels clunking against the concrete floor of the garage. She peeked out from the shadows and waved over a tall blond woman who was dressed in a neatly tailored skirt suit. Emilia had been in communication with the woman for some time. She was on the brink of breaking a national story against one of the wealthiest men in the state of New York. The woman was the wealthy man’s Executive Assistant and mistress. She was the only one who could give Emilia what she needed to break the story.

As an Investigative Reporter, Emilia had broken many news stories, but this was going to be the biggest. She’d hope that the woman hadn’t changed her mind and had brought with her all the documents that Emilia needed to write her story.

The woman approached Emilia holding a briefcase in her hand. Emilia smiled at her but could see the uncertainty on the woman’s face.

“I’m glad you came,” Emilia said to the woman.

“Well, I almost didn’t,” the woman replied.

She opened her briefcase and pulled out a large file. She hesitantly handed it over to Emilia.

“Everything you need is in there,” the woman said.

“Thank you so much for this. What are you going to do now?” Emilia replied with gratitude.

“I told him that my mother was sick, so I was taking a leave of absence. When this hits, it’s probably going to be an indefinite leave of absence,” the woman said.

“I promise, I won’t use your name. I don’t want this to disturb your life. He never has to know that this came from you,” Emilia told her.

“My life has been disturbed for a long time. I’ve just been in denial about it,” the woman said.

“What do you mean?” Emilia asked.

“Is this going to be part of your story?” the woman responded.

“Absolutely not. It’s strictly off the record. Besides, it looks like you need someone to talk to,” Emilia said.

“I’m from a small town in Maine. It’s beautiful there. The water, the air, you can’t imagine anything more peaceful. As I look back now, I’m not sure why I ever left. I guess I was chasing something. Anyway, I came to New York for college and never looked back. I barely called home,” the woman explained.

“Home is always there. At least that’s what I hear,” Emilia said.

“That’s what I hear too. So, I’m finally going back. It’s time for me to figure myself out,” the woman said.


Excerpt 2:

Emilia sat on a wooden bench holding a cup of coffee in her hand dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, and short leather jacket. She wore dark sunglasses to hide the puffiness of her eyes from crying. She had gone back to her apartment after meeting with the fake Elizabeth Potter and cried the whole night. Thoughts of the real Elizabeth, her mother, roamed through her mind the entire night. She wondered what she sounded like, did she have a favorite color, book, or TV show. But she mostly thought about what happened to her.

“Why am I meeting you in front of a hospital this early in the morning?” Chanel said as she walked up to Emilia.

Emilia looked up at her through her dark shades, “To get some answers.”

“At this hospital?” Chanel asked as she sat down next to her sister.

“Because this may be the only place that I can get some answers,” Emilia said.

“Like what?” Chanel asked.

“Like, I was born in Arbor, North Carolina,” Emilia answered.

“Yeah so?” Chanel asked again confused.

“So, how did I end up at this hospital in Brooklyn, New York?”

Chanel looked around bewildered. She, like Emilia, had always assumed that Emilia’s birth mother was somewhere in New York.

“Here, this was in the folder too,” Emilia handed Chanel the newspaper clipping with the picture of Lizzie.

Chanel looked at the clipping and smiled, “She’s beautiful Em.”

“She was in high school when she had me,” Emilia said looking far off into the distance.

“Well, that explains why she gave you up. Same thing with my birth mother,” Chanel said.

“Yeah, I guess,” Emilia replied

“So, what are we going to do?” Chanel asked.

Emilia looked at Chanel. She took off her sunglasses to better connect with Chanel’s eyes. “There’s more to this story,” Emilia said. “There’s more to my story, and I have to find out what it is.”

Secrets in the Woods coverTitle: Secrets in the Woods: An Emilia Long Mystery

Author: J.E. Smythe

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Secrets in the Woods is a gripping tale about Emilia Long- an Investigative Reporter and her quest to find out the circumstances surrounding her mother’s death. Long’s quest begins after reading documents left for her by her adopted mother revealing that she was abandoned as an infant at a Brooklyn hospital. The revelation led Emilia on a suspenseful journey to find her birth mother.

But finding her is not so easy. Her investigations reveal that her birth mother disappeared months before her birth and that the disappearance was linked to a murder. With the key suspect in her mother’s disappearance locked away in jail on unrelated charges and the townspeople, including the Sheriff, unwilling to help her, Emilia finds herself at a dead end. In an unimaginable twist of fate, Emilia discovers more than she bargained for. Some Secrets are really better left untold.

In addition to her 9 to 5 attorney job, Smythe is also the co-founder of the publishing company, Lady Esquire Group, LLC. The Attorney Author describes herself as a half analytic and half creative who was blessed to figure out how to join those halves together.   Her other books include: Through Grandma’s Eyes, Zora’s First Day and a Few Good Friends. When asked about the motivation for writing her latest work, she explained: “I’m a lover of the Cozy Mystery genre but I found that there were not a lot of those books written by African American Authors with African American characters. I just wanted to put a whole new face on such a fun and exciting genre.”

Smythe’s adept writing style in Secrets in the Woods is enticing and captivates readers from the first page. The novel feature a cast of believable characters and numerous twists and turns that will have readers begging for more.

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About the Author

J.E. Smythe is an award-winning author born in Liberia, West Africa, and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, and Gaithersburg, Maryland. J.E. is also an attorney who attended Allen University and received her Law Degree from Massachusetts School of Law. While working as an attorney, J.E. just could not let her passion to write die. She decided to take her legal writing skills and write her debut fiction novel “A Few Good Friends.” J.E. currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina where she has Co-founded Lady Esquire Group, LLC management, and publishing firm. She is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Twitter: @jesmythe1
Instagram: @jesmythe1


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Is Fibromyalgia Hereditary?

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Affecting more than 5 million Americans, fibromyalgia is the most commonly diagnosed chronic pain disorder today. But is fibromyalgia hereditary?

Well, that question is more complicated than it may seem. A relatively newly recognized disorder, with its modern definition and diagnosis being solidified in 1972 by Dr. Hugh Smythe, and only seen as an actual condition by the American Medical Association (AMA) in 1987, there haven’t been as many opportunities (or enough funding) to study fibromyalgia as there have been with other conditions and disorders.

So what does this mean for sufferers of fibromyalgia? What does modern science say about the possibility of passing on fibromyalgia to your children/grandchildren?

What causes fibromyalgia?

According to the American College of Rheumatology:

There is most often some triggering factor that sets off fibromyalgia. It may be spine problems, arthritis, injury, or other type of physical stress. Emotional stress also may trigger this illness. The result is a change in the way the body “talks” with the spinal cord and brain. Levels of brain chemicals and proteins may change. More recently, Fibromyalgia has been described as Central Pain Amplification disorder, meaning the volume of pain sensation in the brain is turned up too high.

With such a broad description of the possible causes of fibromyalgia, it is clear that the disorder is not very well understood, even by medical professionals. But even when this is the case, there have been some breakthroughs in the study of whether or not we can answer “is fibromyalgia hereditary.”

Is fibromyalgia hereditary?

Like many other rheumatic diseases, fibromyalgia is believed to be the result of a genetic tendency that could be passed down to one’s genetic offspring, especially from mothers to daughters.

Defined as possibly being “epigenetic,” rheumatic diseases could be a result of specific genes being “turned on” by environmental factors that otherwise might stay dormant.

A quick breakdown of the phenomenon of epigenetics from The Guardian reads:

Epigenetics is essentially additional information layered on top of the sequence of letters (strings of molecules called A, C, G, and T) that makes up DNA.

If you consider a DNA sequence as the text of an instruction manual that explains how to make a human body, epigenetics is as if someone’s taken a pack of highlighters and used different colours to mark up different parts of the text in different ways. For example, someone might use a pink highlighter to mark parts of the text that need to be read the most carefully, and a blue highlighter to mark parts that aren’t as important.

There are different types of epigenetic marks, and each one tells the proteins in the cell to process those parts of the DNA in certain ways. For example, DNA can be tagged with tiny molecules called methyl groups that stick to some of its C letters. Other tags can be added to proteins called histones that are closely associated with DNA. There are proteins that specifically seek out and bind to these methylated areas, and shut it down so that the genes in that region are inactivated in that cell. So methylation is like a blue highlighter telling the cell “you don’t need to know about this section right now.”

So what does this all mean? Does this necessarily mean that fibromyalgia is hereditarily passed?

As of right now, the only answer that science can give to the question, “Is fibromyalgia hereditary?” is that it very well possibly could be. Without more study, peer-reviewed research, and fundingwe simply don’t know more than the simple fact that fibromyalgia seems to cluster in family lines with no real pattern or ease of diagnosis.

For more information on fibromyalgia, please visit the American College of Rheumatology.


The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com and posted here for sharing purposes only. For additional information, please visit their site, The American College of Rheumatology, or consult your personal physician.

Army of Authors Blog Tour: Haylie Machado Hanson

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“Forests of Mist” Launch

Hello, readers! I’d like to apologize in advance if this blog is incoherent. I’m bone-tired from being up all hours of the night feeding Girl Spawn, who coincidentally came early on launch week. Two October babies for me, what a lucky gal I am!

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The biggest news I have (writing-wise, I happen to think Girl Spawn joining the world is pretty big news) is that Calliope Jones and The Forests of Mist launched on Amazon on October 21st!* I’m so excited for you guys to be able to download it and read it. I hope you love it. I know I do, but I’m biased. So please, download it, read it, review it! Beta feedback was this book is better than the first, and I tend to agree.

And with that, I’m off, since Girl Spawn forgot I just fed her, like, 15 minutes ago. My literary baby is far less demanding. And doesn’t keep me up all night. Well, I can’t promise my literary baby won’t keep you up all might until you finish it. In fact, I wish you many sleepless nights as you Dive into Callie’s exciting new adventure!

You can find Forests of Mist here.