Behind Begonia ...

I was sick when I started to write the book. I lived and Harrisburg with my ex-husband. We were struggling financially, facing eviction, and our marriage was coming to an end (although neither of us realized this at the time)

I smoked cigarettes and drank way too much alcohol (I hid the drinking) I was home sick and so lonely. I turned to food for comfort and I gained 70lbs to my staggering 240lb five foot 2 inch frame.

I was so hurt... I smiled and joked to hide it, but it was killing me. My diabetes went out of control and I learned that sneaky little disease came with brutal side effects.

This was the back drop to this novel. I cried when I sat down to write it. It filled up notebooks while I struggled to keep my little publishing company floating. When you read the book you will feel my pain, because I gave it all to her. Begonia was the outlet. I gave all of my pain to her, every last drop.

I was evicted out of my apartment in Feb 2009... well, I can't articulate the feeling of failure and self hate this brought a long, so I won't even try. I had to move in with my in-laws and work 16 hrs a day, everyday with a cold that morphed into bronchitis that turned into pneumonia to get back on my feet. I bought a house in a month but the damage I did to my body to achieve that little feet still lingers today.

I was back and forth in the hospital...

drinking constantly...

and writing daily...

I had a story to tell. Begonia Brown became my escape... she was my best friend... she was strong through her trials... I was weak. I needed her...

On June 19th I  came home to Philadelphia with nothing more than the clothes on my back.

I was sick, could barely walk. My mother had to feed me and bathe me like I was an infant. My best friend Shaconna took care of me when my mother could not. I hardly had the strength to write.

However, when I did... it was pure fire.

It could not have made it to print without the following people (angels)
Junnita Jackson... my friend who made the cover (over and over again... sorry Junnita lol)
Nora Gruenburg ... my editor that is worth her weight in gold, platinum, and titanium.
Madonna aka Sankofa the poet... who typed the bulk of it

and my son... who woke me up to write when depression held me hostage in my own bed.

In October of 2009 I recieved my divorce papers in the mail, and sent Begonia Brown to the printer...

It is what it is...


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  1. Oh Julia, I am so sorry you went through this. I feel like we would be such awesome friends if we lived closer to one another, but I am glad to be your Facebook friend anyway. I understand your pain, we had our house foreclosed on us 2 years ago too. Everyone thinks cuz I am an RN that I am rich, but I am not. We had no income during my maternity leaves for either of my kids and it took a toll, a snowball effect. Your writing is akin to my scrapbooking. You have to have that outlet to live. And the awesome part is the work we have to show for it at the end. Keep on writing! You are so much stronger than so many people I know!

  2. Oh wow; your post made me cry. I could feel it all. Writing definitely can be a healing for the soul...I'm glad you made it through.

  3. Thank you ladies for stopping by and leaving a little note... This was a dark part of my life but I truly believe I'm better for it.

  4. Wow, this makes me love you and admire you even more. Your strength let's me know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. What ever I am going through I know that I can make it through strength, courage and wisdom. Your journey is my inspiration.

    Thank you for sharing,
    Ollie Moss

  5. Thank you Ollie. I learned to tell my testimony because it helps others. No one is perfect. We all have light and dark, joy and pain, My life is an open book :-) If I can give one person strength to hold on through the storm to find their blue sky, then I have truly reached success!

  6. I gone to my Kindle and get right now powerful testimony I am from Philly also live in Houston Texas now so happy for