You guys.

Book deal.


I signed a book contract. What a saga, a story for another day, of how it came about. But all the peaks and valleys brought me to a publisher who fits this story in ways I couldn’t have imagined a few months ago.

I signed with Plough and couldn’t be happier. I love their books, their vision, and the way they work.

One of the first things I wanted to do was to tell you, Djibouti Jones readers.

I want to thank you.

Thank you for reading, commenting, sharing, challenging, and encouraging me. Thank you for the emails and private messages. Thank you for saying hello at the grocery store or the airport. Thank you for letting me write on your own websites. Thank you for reminding me that as an expat and a writer and a mother, three identities that can be so lonely, I am not alone. Thank you for sharing your words here, in guest posts.

I’ve been blogging now for ten years, working on essays, learning how to write in public. Some of you have been around that long. Thank you. I’m sure many of my posts are ridiculous.

I don’t ever take it for granted that you spend time here and that, when we have the chance to meet in real life, you offer words of support and encouragement.

I have a thank you gift for all of you but first let me tell you a bit about what I’m diving into.

Our world seems to grow only more divided and brokenness is exposed every day. How do we continue to live and love when fear of the ‘other’ permeates the very air we breathe?

This biography, with a little memoir sprinkled in, addresses that question. It is the story of the most inspiring woman I have known. It is a global story of massacre, war, secrets, and disease, and it is a testimony of how love, through radical service, conquers fear.

Research took me across the world. I’ve been in musty Nairobi archives (bliss), unfolding hand-drawn maps from 1910. I sat in an Italian doctor’s attic with a bowl of gelato in my lap to watch a slide show, with actual slides from the 1990s (also, bliss. Actually? I’m loving all of this). I’ve talked so long with Somalis in Holland that they gave me a toothbrush and pajamas and insisted I spend the night. I’ve been in Somali deaf schools and gorged myself on homemade Italian feasts. I’ve been hosted by the bravest, most generous people, our world’s quiet heroes. I’ve cried with them as they told stories of this woman and I’ve cried when they passed heirlooms to me. I’ve been changed by this research, the writing of the story, and by this woman.

This is a story that needs to be told and I can’t wait to introduce you to her.

But. I have to wait. Publication day is far out in the future. You’ll hear more about that down the road.

For now, I want to offer Djibouti Jones readers something as a token of my gratitude. I’m so excited about this book and want to celebrate with you!

Some of the themes in the story are fear, courage, and love. I’ve written many times about these themes and the best piece is a longform essay published originally by The Big Roundtable. I want to gift it to you. This edition includes stunning new photos by the talented Matt Erickson, who has been involved in the research and development of this book from the start.

After the essay, I’ve included my top 12 tips for fighting fear and living a full life, things I’ve learned over the course of 15 years in the Horn of Africa.


I’m offering a $50 Amazon gift card to one lucky reader! (I know, book stuff blahblahblah, but free money?! Now we’re talkin’)

To download The Proper Weight of Fear book and be entered to win the gift card, here’s what to do:

  • Sign-up for my newsletter, Stories from the Horn (the confirmation email includes a link to the book)

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 Do one or more of the following:

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  • Share this post on social media
  • Tag a friend or two (or 12) you think might enjoy Djibouti Jones, The Proper Weight of Fear book, the upcoming biography, or who just needs $50 from Amazon

Optional: Leave a comment below letting me know what you’ve done!

By signing up for the newsletter, your email address will automatically be included in the drawing for the Amazon gift card.

If you already subscribe to the newsletter, don’t worry, your email is already included in the drawing. But don’t be shy about sharing/commenting/following/tagging!

*the book and gift card giveaway will end November 30th, just in time for holiday shopping!