A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming

Travel France in this suspenseful adventure of an SIS trying to get to the bottom of a mystery.

Synopsis

On vacation in Egypt, an elderly French couple are brutally murdered. Days later, on the streets of Paris, a young accountant is kidnapped. When Amelia Levine, due to take over as the first female Chief of MI6, disappears without a trace while in the south of France, it is the gravest crisis MI6 has faced in more than a decade.

Desperate to find her and to keep the press from learning that she’s missing, Britain’s top intelligence agents turn to one of their own: disgraced former MI6 officer Thomas Kell. Those out of the Service only months before, Kell is riven one final chance to redeem himself – find Amelia Levine at any cost. What links the random attacks against these seemingly unrelated people? The trail leads Kell to France and Tunisia, where he uncovers a shocking secret and a conspiracy that could have unimaginable repercussions. Only Kell stands in the way of personal and political catastrophe.

I have never read a book such as this one, and I was excited to know that this book is part of a series written by Charles Cumming.

I got to explore Paris, I felt like I was a fly on the wall and witnessing the action that happens. Like it was happening before my very own eyes.

You can follow Charles Cumming on his following sites:

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How to Conquer Journal Writing in 5 Easy Steps by Karen Brown Tyson

“I would love to write a journal.”

I hear this statement a lot followed by, “But I can’t keep it going.”

Like a lot of you, I said the same thing for years. I would write in my journal at the beginning of the year or the start of a new month and stop after a few weeks.

But no matter how many times I tried and quit, I know the benefits of journal writing.

Journaling is therapeutic

In dealing with life, lots of people find relief in therapeutic writing. The three types of therapeutic writing you can use include:

Pen poetry is a creative way to write about your feelings using images and emotions.

An open letter allows you to write a letter (but not mail it) to a person highlighting what’s going well or an issue you have with a specific person.

Freewriting or journaling allows you to write about what’s on your mind without worrying about style, punctuation or grammar.

For the few weeks when I wrote in my journal, I found power in being able to write about what happened in a day or a week. Understanding how I feel and seeing how I respond to life events over time is not only therapeutic but also empowering.

After many failed attempts, I finally built a journal writing habit using several steps, including the five listed below.

Step #1 – Make a commitment

To change my journal writing habit, I made a commitment contract with myself. The contract was a simple sticky note posted where I could see it every day. Every writer’s commitment contract is different. For my contract, I committed to writing five to seven days per week.

Step #2 – Start small

  • As a Lean Six Sigma communicator, I know the power of the Kaizen approach which uses small steps to improve a process, a habit or a product. To strengthen my journal writing habit, I started small by writing three sentences per day. Once I mastered three sentences, I added more sentences until I was writing a paragraph
  • Step #3 —  Use a trigger

    To help me write daily, I use a trigger or a cue that leads me into my journal writing habit. Peter Gollwitzer, a professor of psychology, determined that people were more successful at achieving their goals when they wrote “if-then” statements where “if” represents the cue and “then” is your planned action. Here’s my statement, “If I am in bed, then I will write three sentences in my journal.”

    Step #4 — Protect the chain

    I love the fitness app on my smartphone.  Once I complete three challenges each day, the app displays a perfect circle with three closed rings. For your journal writing habit, keep track of your progress by putting a checkmark or ‘X’ on a calendar. Don’t let the chain break by missing a day. Each day represents progress.

    Step #5 — Schedule a weekly review 

    At the start of each week, I read all of my entries from the previous week. During your weekly review, assess how well you did in keeping your journal writing commitment. Don’t beat yourself up if you missed a day or didn’t write for a long time.  List what’s working and what’s not.  Make adjustments quickly and get back to writing.

    Karen Brown Tyson used journal writing to complete her book, Time to Refresh:  A 21-Day Devotional to Renew Your Mind After Being Laid Off, Fired or Sidelined.  

    Karen works online, in person and by phone as a communication and writing coach. Karen helps her entrepreneurial clientele focus on business and nonfiction writing.