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Exploring Literary Depths: Books, Reflections, and a Courageous Journey

June 2023 Newsletter

***Trigger Warning: In this newsletter, I talk about one of the books I am reading, which deals with rape.


I hope you're having a fantastic day and summer is treating you well! In this June newsletter, I want to take a moment to share with you some books that have been on my mind lately, as well as what I’m currently writing (which may surprise some of you).

I've always loved discovering new books and getting lost in different worlds and ideas. Lately, I’ve been in a non-fiction self-development mood. It takes me back to when I found and fell in love with audiobooks. Many, many years ago, I discovered this nifty thing where I could play books from my phone. Most of the books I found were self-help books, so I listened to a ton of relationship, parenting, and resiliency books during that time, and that’s when I fell in love with listening to books. But let's dive into some of my recent favorites.

Currently, I'm delving into the world of YA contemporary fiction with "The Luis Ortega Survival Club" by Sonora Reyes. This novel centers around a teenager named Ariana, who must navigate the complexities of relationships and learn to differentiate between consensual sex and non-consensual acts. It's a nuanced and thought-provoking read that I highly recommend.

I recently finished "Set Boundaries, Find Peace" by Nedra Glover Tawwab This book was a life-changing read for me. As someone who often feels guilty when setting boundaries with my family, this book validated how crucial it is for me to establish healthy limits. Coming from a culture where family comes first, even at the expense of the individual, I found solace in this book's message. I recommend it to anyone who struggles with this concept. I hope you find the peace you deserve.

Lastly, in the realm of nonfiction, I completed "The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel Van Der Kolk. I must emphasize that if you feel ready to confront potentially triggering memories, I encourage you to read it; otherwise, take your time. This book acted as a catalyst for my personal journey of healing, unearthing buried childhood traumas that resided within my subconscious. I am currently working with my therapist to process these resurfaced memories, and I've also been channeling my experiences into my writing. The result is my current work in progress, "The Devil that Haunts Me."

"The Devil that Haunts Me" departs from my previous writing style and falls under the horror genre, where the monster is generational trauma. The story revolves around Isabella Prescott, a mother who fled from her haunting experiences in the Dominican Republic. She believed that physical distance from her monsters would make everything vanish, but soon discovered that the demons resided within her, accompanying her wherever she went. In my current work, Isabella is forced to confront her personal devil and make a life-altering decision: break the chain of generational trauma or succumb to its weight. I am currently in the midst of my second rewrite, and while it was a challenging process, I am grateful for the opportunity to face my own demons, reclaim my power, and share this journey with readers.

As with everything I write, my intention with "The Devil that Haunts Me" is to provide solace and reassurance to readers who may have experienced trauma. My hope is that they find comfort in knowing they are not alone in their struggles.

As always, I love hearing from you. Please feel free to reach out and share what you've been reading and writing lately, and don't forget to stay connected so you can be the first to know and be part of The Devil that Haunts Me release.

Until next time,

Johanny Ortega

Penname: J.E. Ortega

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