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Deserts to Mountaintops

Our Collective Journey to (re)Claiming Our Voice

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Deserts to Mountaintops is the inaugural anthology from Soul Speak Press, chronicling 22 women's voices and their unique journey from the desert of self-abandonment to the mountaintop of self-love.  Each chapter focuses on one woman’s specific story that recounts how she has reestablished a relationship with her intuition, reconnected with her truest self and experienced the hard-won joy of reclaiming her VOICE.


The inspiration for this collection of essays, stems from the lead author, Jessica Buchanan's, own self-abandonment experience in 2011. Even though her intuition was screaming at her not to go on a project mission for her NGO in Southern Somalia, she ignored what she knew was true and went anyway. The result of silencing her truth, changed the trajectory of her life, and nearly killed her. She spent 93 days living in the deserts of Somalia at the hands of land pirates who held her hostage for a 45-million-dollar ransom demand. She was starved, beaten and abused until by order of President Obama, SEAL Team VI parachuted into the desert on a moonless night, and rescued her. While Jessica's story is wild, her experience and practice of self-abandonment is NOT unique, and in the last ten years of her healing journey, she has learned so much about herself as she has climbed the mountain back to self-love.


Throughout the chapters of Deserts to Mountaintops, readers will connect with these women's experiences as they cover themes such as overcoming abuse, alcoholism, toxic workplaces, single motherhood, mental health, and suicide- just to name a few. These women have struggled to make their voices heard- and reclaimed them in a powerful way.

New York Times Best Seller

A harrowing and heartwrenching memoir of humanitarian aid worker Jessica Buchanan’s kidnapping by Somali land pirates, her three months in captivity, her rescue by the SEAL Team Six, and her husband’s extraordinary efforts to help bring her home.


In 2006, twenty-seven-year-old Jessica Buchanan arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, with a teaching degree and long-held dreams of helping to educate African children. By 2009, she had met and married the man of her dreams, a native Swede named Erik Landemalm, who worked to coordinate humanitarian aid with local authorities in Africa. With dreams of starting a family, they moved from Nairobi to Somalia, and their future couldn’t have been brighter…

But on October 25, 2011, Jessica and a male colleague were kidnapped at gunpoint and held for ransom by an organized band of Somali land pirates. For the next three months, Jessica was terrorized by more than two dozen gangsters. She was held outdoors in filthy conditions and kept on a starvation diet while her health steadily deteriorated. Negotiations for ransom dragged on, and as the ordeal stretched into its third month, the captors grew increasingly impatient.

Every terrifying moment Jessica spent suffering in captivity was matched by that of her adoring husband working behind the scenes to deal with her captors. Finally, on January 25, 2012, President Barack Obama ordered a rescue operation by a team of twenty-four Navy SEALs. The team killed all nine kidnappers, with no harm to the hostages, who were quickly airlifted out on a military rescue helicopter.

In riveting detail, Impossible Odds details Jessica and Erik’s mutual journey during those torturous months. Together they relate the events prior to the kidnapping, the drama of Jessica’s fight to stay alive, and Erik’s efforts to bolster and support the hunt for her while he acted as liaison between their two families, the FBI, professional hostage negotiators, and the United States government.

Impossible Odds


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