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What I’m reading…

my kind of you

My Kind of You (A Trillium Bay Novel Book 1)

by Tracy Brogan 

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Tracy Brogan is back with a sweet, hilarious series about family, forgiveness, and what it means to go back home.

Emily Callaghan never expected to spend another summer on Wenniway Island. Yet here she is, back in her quaint northern Michigan hometown of Trillium Bay, divorced, flat broke, and dragging along her precocious twelve-year-old. It’s a simple arrangement: Emily, a house flipper, will renovate one of her grandmother’s rental properties in exchange for a much-needed loan. Once a wild child, the reformed Emily also hopes to remodel her reputation and show her family she’s all grown up.

But coming home is never simple. Emily’s dad is more distant than ever. Her younger sister is dating a much older man, and Emily’s worried it’s a mistake. The cottage remodel grows increasingly daunting. And then there’s handsome out-of-towner Ryan Taggert…

Ryan has his own family drama. A smart, ambitious land developer, he’s come to Wenniway to rescue his father from the grips of a new girlfriend and protect their family business. But he’s quickly distracted by gorgeous, witty Emily Callaghan.

There’s no denying the attraction between Emily and Ryan. But will their conflicting interests destroy any chance at love? Or will Emily finally get the chance to rebuild her life—and repair her heart?

 

Anne Wynter might not be who she says she is….

But she’s managing quite well as a governess to three highborn young ladies. Her job can be a challenge: in a single week she finds herself hiding in a closet full of tubas, playing an evil queen in a play that might be a tragedy (or might be a comedy; no one is sure), and tending to the wounds of the oh-so-dashing Earl of Winstead. After years of dodging unwanted advances, he’s the first man who has truly tempted her, and it’s getting harder and harder to remind herself that a governess has no business flirting with a nobleman.

Daniel Smythe-Smith might be in mortal danger….

But that’s not going to stop the young earl from falling in love. And when he spies a mysterious woman at his family’s annual musicale, he vows to pursue her, even if that means spending his days with a 10-year-old who thinks she’s a unicorn. But Daniel has an enemy, one who has vowed to see him dead. And when Anne is thrown into peril, he will stop at nothing to ensure their happy ending….

Listening Length: 9 hours and 36 minutes

The Book that Scared the Bejesus Out of Me: IT

To get in the Halloween spirit, I’m sharing a bookish spine-tingler from the past.

It was a dark and stormy night. . .

No. Wait—

It came from a dark and stormy drain. . .

A week or so ago, the illustrious Chuck Wendig asked his readers to discuss their favorite Stephen King story. That’s a tough one. I could rattle off at least a dozen of Scary Stevie’s stories that continue to haunt my dreams and spur irrational fears twenty-five years after reading.

By far, IT scared the crap out of me more than any other book ever— 1100+ pages of pure horrific terror. For those of you too chicken to delve into the pages of the classic nightmare in print, a quick summary: 1958. Derry, Maine. Something is preying upon children, hunting them, devouring them. This something trawls children’s nightmares, shape-shifting into whatever will terrify them most. But its signature is that of Pennywise the clown, a fanged Ronald McDonald/Bozo lurking in the storm drains, clutching festive balloons. The seven kids comprising The Loser’s Club discover the monster, confront it, and kill it…or so they think. Thirty years later, the murders start again, and the group’s members return to Derry, to the horror they’d blacked out, to stop it once and for all.

Maybe because I read IT when I was thirteen (what the hell were my parents thinking?) and the unlikely heroes of the story were around my age. I was already plagued by an overactive imagination, and IT crawled into kid’s brains and dragged their worst fears and phobias into reality.  I’d been creeped out by clowns since watching Poltergeist at eight (again, thanks Mom & Dad). Or maybe IT was just a damn good (though occasionally wordy) tale.

IT preyed upon my irrational phobias. When I was six, I was stuck in the hospital for two long weeks. After my parents left to get some much needed sleep, the sadistic nurses allowed me to watch two movies that tormented me for decades: Piranha and Jaws. Picture it: an already frightened little girl, alone in a dark hospital room, eyes wide in horror as Jaws chomped on Quint and piranhas devoured kids in inner tubes. In the dark hospital room, evil fish baring razor-sharp teeth swam around my bed, waiting for me to dangle a toe in the blood-drenched water.

I saw them for years.

Once I read IT, I became terrified of my swimming pool. The pool had a drain. IT came through drains. IT would appear as a swarm of piranha, stripping my pale flesh with razor-sharp teeth. IT would shift into a shark, pulling me under the turquoise water, swallowing me whole.

I stayed out of the deep end. And I barely swam alone until I was seventeen.

Oh, and there was the little episode of the balloons. . .

My wonderful Dad had read IT before I did. Prankster that he is, he decided to traumatize his child play a prank. The drain in our shower had been loose for weeks. Though I was a mature thirteen, I placed an oversized bottle of shampoo on top of the metal grate, just in case (as I wrote—overactive, occasionally irrational imagination). That evening, I’d dropped my towel in the bathroom. One of my parents called me away, made me do a chore or something before I could turn on the water. When I returned, I pulled back the flowered curtain to find the shower drain tossed against the wall. . . and a bunch of balloons bobbing against the harvest gold tile directly above the open pipe. My parent’s laughter couldn’t drown out my screams. ***

pennywise in shower

Explains a lot about me, right?

In the spirit of this spooky time of year, which book(s) scared the bejesus out of you?

***Please note: after digging though our respective memories, my mom and I have realized that she bears no responsibility for said “Balloon Incident.” My father admits nothing.

 

 

Library Day: Graphic Novel Display

Okay. I realize this is a terrible photo of my YA graphic novel display. But I had to snap it with my phone between customers, and my fellow staff members look at me like I’m standing there in a Wonder Woman cosplay costume when they catch me photographing my own “creations”.

Fun YA library display higlighting Graphic Novels. Would work for adult and J, too!

 

In real library life (florescent lights and all) it looks pretty cool and vibrant. The comic bubbles came straight from Picmonkey.com. If you aren’t utilizing Picmonkey yet, stop reading now and go over there and explore. Now. I mean it. You can make super easy display signs like the one below in a jiffy. And it’s FREE.

 

graphic novels display

This display would work well in the adult or juvenile graphic novel areas as well. I have a tougher time trying to promote YA, so there it went. Every day I have to refill the shelves, so someone is noticing and checking out. I’m working on a way to tie in in with our Summer Reading Program display—fun things ahead!

 

Now Read This: The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase ( + giveaway!)

CHASE_OneThatGotAway_blogtour
I’m delighted to introduce you to debut author Bethany Chase and her sparkling novel The One That Got Away. The story is a perfect blend of love, laughter, and heartache, and should be on your shelf right now. You can pre-order the book on Amazon now (releases 3/31/15) or scroll down for a chance to WIN one of ten copies!

About THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY:

Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, this bright, funny debut from a fresh voice in fiction offers a delicious take on love, family, and what it means to build a home of one’s own.

Sarina Mahler thinks she has her life all nailed down: a growing architecture practice in Austin, Texas, and an any-day-now proposal from her loving boyfriend, Noah. She’s well on her way to having the family she’s hoped for since her mother’s death ten years ago. But with Noah on a temporary assignment abroad and retired Olympic swimmer—and former flame—Eamon Roy back in town asking her to renovate his new fixer-upper, Sarina’s life takes an unexpected turn. Eamon proves to be Sarina’s dream client, someone who instinctively trusts every one of her choices—and Sarina is reminded of all the reasons she was first drawn to him back in the day. Suddenly her carefully planned future with Noah seems a little less than perfect. And when tragedy strikes, Sarina is left reeling. With her world completely upended, she is forced to question what she truly wants in life—and in love.

Full of both humor and heartbreak, The One That Got Away is the story of one woman’s discovery that, sometimes, life is what happens when you leave the blueprints behind.

But if you don’t want to take my word for it, check out these swoon-worthy blurbs from some of the hottest authors in Women’s Fiction:

“A warm, witty, and wise novel, The One That Got Away announces the arrival of a great new voice in fiction.”—Emily Giffin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The One and Only

“The One That Got Away is juicy, steamy, witty, and real. Bethany Chase kept me laughing out loud as I quickly turned the pages. With a love story perfectly balanced between sexy and sweet, and settings so vivid and hip they feel like a literary Pinterest board, Chase will have you swooning.”—Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of After I Do

 “Love can be complicated, and in The One That Got Away, Bethany Chase captures every nuanced beat of a conflicted heart. An authentic and warm voice infuses this story of humor, heartbreak, and home. While Sarina finds her way, we as readers might also find a way back to our own unique lives.”—Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of And Then I Found You

“Don’t let this one get away: Chase’s debut is fun, romantic, steamy, and populated with heartfelt characters—not-to-miss delicious escapism!”—L. Alison Heller, author of The Never Never Sisters

 

Bethany Chase

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A native of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Bethany Chase headed to Williams College for an English degree and somehow came out the other side an interior designer. When she’s not writing or designing, you can usually find her in a karaoke bar. She lives with her lovely husband and occasionally psychotic cat in Brooklyn, three flights up. This is her first novel.


Follow Bethany on:  Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

 

Q&A with Bethany Chase

• What got you interested in writing?
• I’ve never not been! My love for words has been one of the most consistent characteristics of my personality for my whole life, though it’s taken many different forms. (Poet, journal-­‐writer, email-­‐writer, blogger, novelist.)

• Tell us about the first book you didn’t finish.
• It was a historical romance I started writing when I was fifteen years old and heavily in the thrall of the film version of The Last of the Mohicans, with Daniel Day Lewis. (Which means, specifically, I was in the thrall of Daniel Day Lewis.) So heavily enthralled was I that my novel consisted of a first-­‐person account of a well-­‐bred colonial English lady who for unclear reasons found herself trailing her muddy skirts through the Adirondack forest, accompanied by a ruggedly handsome and ambiguously Native American trapper wearing buckskin. Shockingly, I didn’t complete it.

• Did you ever keep a journal?
• Is there a writer on earth who didn’t? I had kind of abandoned journaling by the time I graduated college, as by that point I had moved on to burdening all of my nearest and dearest with my woes over 2,000-­‐word emails rather than pouring it all out into a journal. But the high school journals are EPIC. Basically, you would have thought I was the first person in the history of humanity to have emotions and be attracted to people who didn’t like me back.

• Did you always want to be a writer?
• Nope. In fact for most of my life I avoided the idea, because I assumed it would be too hard and I’d never make enough money. I’ll let you guess which of those two assumptions has proven to be true.

• What were your favorite books growing up?
• The Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon series were HUGE for me. I mean, they were books about smart, dreamy, romantic, highly verbal girls who wrote, loved beauty in all its forms, hovered at the fringes of social popularity and also really liked being alone. Emily and Anne were and always will be my spirit sisters. Also, I think my many rereads of James Herriot’s marvelous All Creatures Great and Small books legitimately helped form my sense of humor. Between Herriot and all of the Monty Python I watched growing up, I think I wound up with a fairly British sense of humor for an American.

• Who are your favorite authors now?
• Chuck Wendig, Guy Gavriel Kay and Philip Pullman for fantasy; Mary Kubica for suspense; Emily Giffin, Taylor Jenkins Reid and Joshilyn Jackson for women’s fiction; Cara McKenna and Julie James for romance.

• Do you have “one that got away?”
• I did. He was my high school boyfriend. I tracked him down seven years after the fact, like, legitimately slightly stalker-­‐style, and we actually started dating again, and you know what? We weren’t right for each other. At all. It was all very romantic and fraught as long as one of us was pining for the other one, but actually just together, with no angst? It didn’t go anywhere. We are now both very happily married to other people.

• Your bio says you are married—tell us about your love story.
• True story: when we first started dating, we had such strong physical chemistry that I assumed that meant there wasn’t going to be any more to it. My friends would say, “How’s Allen?” And I should shrug and say, “He’s hot.” This led to him being known amongst my circle for the first couple of months as Hot Allen. As far as Sex-­‐and-­‐the-­‐City-­‐style nicknames for guys go, I think he came away in a pretty strong position with that one. But then he just kept growing on me, until a few months into it I realized, holy shit I’m in love with this guy.

• What’s your idea of romance?
• No flowers, no candles, no gestures, will ever be as genuinely romantic as those random little moments that happen when you least expect them and you just get this flash of piercing sweetness and you think, yep, this is it. For me, personally, it often involves humor, or awkwardness, or both. The questionnaire on the dating site where I met my husband asked, “What’s your favorite movie sex scene?” And my answer was, the one in that 90’s Liv Tyler movie Stealing Beauty, where she’s with the guy and it’s all kissing and dreamy music and then he goes to take her underwear off and it gets stuck on her ankle and she laughs—that is THE BEST. Those little beautifully imperfect moments. And also just those moments of kindness and support; like how Anne of Green Gables doesn’t marry the wealthy guy who pulls out all the stops on the glitz and glam—she marries the guy who gave up his local teaching position, at tremendous personal inconvenience, in favor of the farther-­‐away one so that Anne could live at home with her family. That is romance.

• What does home mean to you?
• The place you belong. I think for most of us the specifics of that place change, but the definition never really does.

• How did you come up with your characters’ name?
• Well, Eamon has been my favorite name for a guy ever since the first time I fell in love, at four
years old, with my neighbor Eamon McCormick (a nice Russian boy, obviously). And despite
the fact that I am usually a strident purist about name spelling, I’ve always thought the unusual
spelling “Sarina” had something especially graceful about it. Everyone else was pretty
arbitrary. I tend to just go, “okay, think of a name!” and the first one I think of sticks.

• What do you love about the cover for THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY?
• EVERYTHING. Seriously, I hit the cover jackpot. I love the colors, the bird, the graceful lettering, and the way the lettering moves rhythmically back and forth across the page. I could give you a full art-­‐history-­‐style image analysis of how wonderful this cover is in every way.

• What are you reading right now?
• I just started Liza Palmer’s Girl Before a Mirror and am really enjoying it. She’s such a funny yet
thoughtful writer.

• Who’s your favorite book couple?
• Anne and Gilbert. Obviously. In all seriousness, in terms of their mutual love, caring and respect for one another I think they are a model partnership for young girls to read about. Clearly it worked for me.

 

Y’all need a copy of this book. Click on the link below for a chance to WIN one of ten copies of THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY. Contest runs 3/23 and ends 4/16.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The tale of Benedict Cumberkitty, the library kitten rescue | Being Thankful

It began like every other day at the public library—mountains of books and DVDs to be processed, account and computer questions to be answered, perhaps a few books to recommend. But when a frazzled mom pushing a stroller rushed in with a story about a a cat stuck stuck in a hole outside, we knew the day would be far from ordinary. The woman said this cat seemed hungry, and she’d dropped a hot dog through the metal grate for it to eat (because we all carry spare hot dogs, right?). A staffer walked outside to investigate, and sure enough, a tiny calico kitten’s cries echoed from deep within a storm drain—only feet from the busy eight-lane road.

Being trained library professionals—(don’t snicker, it’s not polite)—we embarked on an urgent research project: who to call to rescue this helpless stray? Animal control? Nope. They said they didn’t “do” storm drains. The city’s sewage and water department? No, we were just outside the city line. The police? The fire department? I firmly stated that the fire department did NOT rescue kittens. My father is a retired fire chief, and he always said firemen never actually rescued cats from trees. Someone called anyway. And five minutes later, the ladder truck rolled into the parking lot, lights off, but ready to help. I was delighted to be proven wrong.

kitten in storm water drain

The firemen lifted the metal drain cover, broke out their ladder, and rescued the kitten in just a few minutes.

And then we had a kitten. In the middle of the day. At the library. A very hungry, scared, and exhausted kitten.

We whisked our new buddy to the back room so we could figure out what the hell to do with it. Excuse me—what to do with her—as she was a stinking adorable calico. But the name one staffer bestowed upon him her would stand: Benedict Cumberkitty. She was also rather acrobatic and could scale a box and escape in less than two seconds, even with the lid on. Not so great in a public building.

You’d think five computer savvy library employees would be able find a home for one little kitten in a jiffy, right? We called at least six animal rescues, a dozen vets, relatives, roommates, everyone we could think of—no one wanted a kitten—including one of our leads, who wanted Benedict Cumberkitty out.

My idea for a token library cat à la Dewey didn’t fly.

By now Cumberkitty had inhaled a dish of food and was purring in our arms as we passed her around. Since none of us wanted to drop her at the Humane Society, we worked out an impromptu fix: since I’d be leaving work first, I’d deliver her to another staffer’s home, and he’d care for her overnight. (That staffer happens to look just like My Cat from Hell’s Jackson Galaxy—how apropos.)  Between all of the Facebook pleas and connections, hopefully one of us would find a safe, permanent home for her.

Even though Cumberkitty was about the cutest thing you can imagine, I was not looking forwards to an hour in the car with a crying, malnourished kitten just yanking at my heartstrings. And I knew as soon as my son caught a glance of Cumberkitty he’d turn on those puppy dog eyes, BEG, plead, and try every irrational reason his clever 11-year-old brain could devise to keep her. The hubby would simply say “awwww…” and melt, and I’d have to be the evil, RATIONAL one and repeatedly explain why we couldn’t keep her. (Something to do with already having two psychotic, allergy-ridden, territorial, often bitchy cats who’ve been racking up several hundred dollars in vet bills a month lately, but why let reason speak?)

Minuets before I was to walk out the door with her, fate intervened. A mom and her young daughter had spotted Cumberkitty’s adorable Facebook mug  as it made the rounds. They’d hurried to the library to see if she was still in need. The mom told us they’d just had to put to sleep their own beloved cat of twenty years that morning. They’d suffered though a horrible day—but when she’d seen the post she’d though it was meant to be. I knew as soon as the little girl snuggled up with Cumberkitty it was a done deal. She clutched the kitten tight and kissed her, and her blonde curls shook as she began to cry.

So did we—well, at least my eyes got teary.

I was thankful Cumberkitty had found a home. I was thankful our “brave” firefighters proved they could be heroes to even the tiniest of creatures. I was thankful the power of social media could be harnessed for good. I was thankful a heartbroken little girl had found a new love. And I was thankful my heart felt it had swelled a few sizes that day.

Be thankful. Be grateful. Be kind. Be good.

 library kitty rescue

 

mama kat

 

 

The Wine + Halloween Candy Pairing Guide – {mostly} Wordless Wednesday

The Perfect Guide To Pairing Wine with Halloween Candy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Admit it—we all raid our kids’ trick-or-treat bags after they come down from their sugar high and pass out Halloween night. This perfect infographic from Vivino.com makes me want to download their wine pairing app just so I can play with any other candy and wine matches. How else will I discover what pairs well with a Peppermint Pattie?

I’m thinking some of the Well Read red wine might pair well with my guilty pleasure of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Ooohh, but I can have champagne with Kit Kats or Mounds…

Decisions, decisions…

What wine and candy combo tickles your taste buds?

 

#NotSponsored  #JustForFun

Sucking Wind: The Real-Life Diary of a Couch to 5k (part 1—Easy Street)

WILL RUN FOR WINE | Sucking Wind: The Real-Life Diary of  a Couch to 5k

Week 1, Day 1: 7/28/14

Two days before my 40th Birthday. When did I get so damn old?

I’ve never liked running. My knees hurt and I suck wind within seconds of my feet hitting the pavement at any speed over a power walk. I was the last kid to finish the dreaded mile run around the field in grade school. I was always active, but an athlete—ha—I was the last kid picked for every sport with the exceptions of competitive canoe racing or hiking. Running seems to be the “thing”now, and everyone else is showing off their fitness by not just running, but doing it while sloshing through mud puddles, darting through Disney, or fleeing from zombies. 5ks aren’t enough—no, now they run half marathons (and have the bumper sticker to prove it!). They bring their kids and wear a smile and a tutu. I’m fit—I do yoga, Pilates, and kick butt in toning class—I can improve my cardio and learn to run a measly 3.1 miles. {deep breath}  Okay, so I’ve tried this before over the years and failed miserably. But I will not go gently into “middle age.” I can do this dammit.

I hit the treadmill at the gym after downloading a Couch to 5k app on my phone. Book geek note: Kindles fit nicely on the treadmill’s lip below the TV screen. I started reading Laura Drake’s HER ROAD HOME, which happens to be the first Harlequin Superromance I’ve ever read. Okay, possibly the first Harlequin romance I’ve ever read—I’m branching out—and the damn battery died after 7 minutes. The remaining 23 minutes suck.

5 min warmup | walk 3.7 mph for 90 sec/ run 6 mph for 60 sec x 8 | 5 min cool down

W1 D2: 7/29/14

I actually went back to the gym, sore shins and all. And after a work shift— I’ve never ventured to the gym in the afternoon. Maybe it’s because I just had a mini-meltdown in the orthodontist’s office when they told me kiddo’s replacement retainer would cost me $300. I needed to blow off steam. It didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would (the run, not the potential wallet hit) and my right side didn’t flare up in a gut-busting cramp. Some credit must go to distractingly good reading material—I was glued to HER ROAD HOME the entire time. (I made damn sure that my Kindle was charged!) Reading while running is…challenging…but necessary for the sanity. Note: must grab one of the sweaty fitness or glam magazines stacked by the cardio equipment if I ever suffer a Kindle outage again. Even Maxim articles should be more exciting than daytime TV.

5 min warmup | walk 3.7 mph for 90 sec/ run 6 mph for 60 sec x 8 | 5 min cool down

W1 D3: 8/1/14

So, I’ve been 40 for two days. Can’t say I like it. Feel a midlife crisis approaching. So much I haven’t accomplished, so many dreams I haven’t had the guts to chase down. Maybe that’s why I’m trying to run. Well, that and the muffin-top creeping over my waistband. Felt good at the gym today. Legs didn’t hurt, and my breathing was far more paced. Tiny side stitch. Since I intended to prep my finished manuscript for a contest entry, I listened to Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto, the official album of the story. Great for running (dancing, too!). Between the tunes and the cowboy romance read, I wanted to keep going AFTER I’D FINISHED the official C2 5K program. So I did. Instead of going 2 miles, I finished a 5k. I amped the last 3 run phases to 2.5 minute sprints.
Came home completely flushed, but I kicked butt today, dammit.

5 min warmup | walk 3.7 mph for 90 sec/ run 6 mph for 60 sec x 8 | plus several 2.5 minute runs++ | completed 5k in 41 minutes (including warmup) | 5 min cool down

W2 D1: 8/2/14

Whoo-hoo! Technically, I’m two days ahead. I’m going on vacation next week, so I feel like I need to cram in running time. Plus I figure I should actually GO to the gym when I’m motivated. Started reading GO DANCING as part of my Contemporary Romance training. Must remember to keep books on my kindle. Not like I don’t have at least 20 or so waiting… Run went well. Did the 1.5 minute runs no problem. Ran the last one for 2.5 minutes, and that was all I had in me. Watched World War Z last night and commented again on why I need to learn to run: so I can survive a zombie attack. (Rule #1 of Zombieland: CARDIO)

5 min warmup | walk 3.7 mph 2 min | run 6 mph 1.5 min | x 6 | 5 min cool down

W2 D2: 8/4/14

Okay, I just realized I stared this a week ago and I’m a bit ahead. Forty-year-olds can still kick butt (while hopefully perking up their aged derriere). I had an infuriating morning dealing with the incompetent staff at Walmart (I’ll spare you the rant) so I was still feeling murderous when I sped to the gym. Put on some Foo Fighters Greatest Hits and jumped on the treadmill. Damn. Running flushes that anger right from your system, almost as if it it’s dripping from your sweat glands. Loud men yelling song lyrics over raging guitars helps too. With the music cranked I ran 2.5 minute sprints instead of 1.5. And I stuck around to complete my 3.1 miles instead of the 2-ish on the program. Take that you Walmart fuckers.

5 min warmup | walk 3.7 mph 2 min | run 6 mph 1.5 min | x 6 | 5 min cool down

W2 D3: M 8/11/14

I just returned from a relaxing yet far too short beach vacation, blissing out with good friends, unhealthy food, and plenty of wine. Something about the ocean always lulls me into a state of tranquility. While staying at the beach house, my only real exercise was a couple of exhilarating kayak runs around the island. Though the gorgeous turquoise waters appeared calm, the currents ran fast, so my upper body got quite a workout. But the lower half—not so much. Anyway, today is back to reality. Kiddo went back to school this morning, I’m starting a new schedule of writing (thanks to Claire Cook’s NEVER TOO LATE: YOUR ROAD TO REINVENTION), and heading back to the gym. Despite my six day break, my run went just peachy. Ran the extra to make my 5k no problemo. The arch of my right foot hurts a little though…

This is going to be easy.

::cue dramatic music::

Famous. Last. Words.

5 min warmup | walk 3.7 mph 2 min | run 6 mph 1.5 min | x 6 | 5 min cool down  (extended to run 5k)

 

Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (without getting lost along the way) by Claire Cook


“I think we all have that sweet spot—the place where the life we want to live and our ability intersect. For some, the trick is finding it.

For others, like me, deep down inside you already know what you want, so it’s about finding the courage to dig up that dream and dust it off. It’s not too late. Dreams don’t have an expiration date. Not even a best by date. If it’s still your dream, it’s still your dream.”                                                        ~Claire Cook


The Book

So many of us are there—hanging in limbo somewhere between the life we fell into and those dreams we’ve clung to or rediscovered. Maybe you’ve just figured out what you really want to be when you grow up, even though you’re very grown up—30s, 40s, 50s, or more. Perhaps your aspirations were derailed by real life: marriage led to a big mortgage, kids led to spending your time taxiing from school to soccer meets. Your career went on hold, or in a direction that was convenient and manageable.

But it’s not what you’d dreamed of once upon a time.

You have an itch—that niggling feeling of what you really want to be doing with your life. You want to write a book, make jewelry, open your own business—some creative outlet that might not work financially (yet) but would fulfill that need within. Your dream. Your passion.

But how do you turn yourself around and chase after that dream? How do your reinvent your life?

You open Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (without getting lost along the way) and let USA Today bestselling author Claire Cook share her experiences and inspiration.

The Author:

Claire Cook has been called the “Queen of Reinvention.” She wrote her first novel in a minivan at age 45 while her kids were at swim practice. Five years later, she strolled down the red carpet at the premier of the movie adaptation of the second novel MUST LOVE DOGS. (Yes, the cute romcom starring John Cusak and Diane Lane.) Now she’s the beloved author of eleven charming contemporary women’s fiction books—and one inspiring non-fiction debut you’ll adore.

Find Claire at: Her Website * Twitter * Facebook * Pinterest

 

Never too late, george elliot quote

I’ve posted this quote before on the blog. Funny how it opens this book…

The Good Stuff:

This book is entertaining, enlightening, and downright helpful if you need to jump-start your motivation. Told with honesty and Claire’s trademark easygoing wit, NEVER TOO LATE is part memoir, part self-help guide, and a whole lot of fun.

Much of the book bounces around her experiences as a speaker at We Move Forward, a women’s conference set on the gorgeous Isla Mujeres, Mexico. The three-day retreat seems to be a deluxe combination of inspirational talks, spiritual soothing, and flat out fun for women from across the globe. Claire shares what she learned from these diverse women, each who found happiness and empowerment in her own unique way.

But before you think this is just another  “You Can Do It Sam”  book or hippy-dippy spiritual guide, let me set you straight. It’s not. It’s spunky and optimistic, but Claire transparently shares the ways she messed up on her journey and the many challenges she still faces. Her section detailing the disintegration of the good ole publishing machine was an eye-opener, and she candidly writes about why she left her big New York agent and publishers after over a decade of being “the hardest working author in the universe.” (You can read an excerpt here on Jane Friedman’s blog.)

Claire also spells out practical how-to steps. She details how keeping a notebook handy for all of your reinvention ideas can be just the thing when you hit a speed bump. (I have about 10 spirals scattered around the house and car. Too many?) And she also explains how slow and steady goals can make the journey to success much more achievable. (Read an excerpt here on WriterUnboxed.com.) After finishing the book, I set my goal and took on her two-pages a day come hell-or-high water challenge. Okay, my version is slightly modified to include work schedules and a ten-year-old, but it’s working. That blinking cursor doesn’t seem so terrifying. It’s only two pages. Even if each word is like tweezing errant eyebrow hairs, I can do that, right? Right.

If it sounds like this book would be most helpful for aspiring authors—you’re correct—partially. Honestly, Claire’s wit and wisdom can be a spark for anyone who needs a charge, whether you dream of opening a dog walking business or climbing K2.

My copy accompanied me on vacation. I kind of felt as if Claire was lounging on a beach chair beside me, sipping on a frozen umbrella drink, and chatting about her experiences. I came back home inspired and ready to get shit done.

claire cook's Road to Reinvention

The Recommendation:

If you’ve conquered your dreams, made billions of bucks, or have shelves full of Oscars/RITAS/Nobel Prizes collecting dust—maybe you don’t need this book.  It’s for the rest of us.

Read it, recommend it to friends, and discuss it with your coffee klatch or book club.

But if you’re one of my friends, you’re going to have to buy your own copy. My personalized paperback isn’t going anywhere.  I’d like to think that the “Congrats on your win” handwritten inside refers to celebrating getting my ass back in that writer’s chair, even if it only is two pages a day. Thanks, Claire.

*Oh, and readers can download a free workbook to help get them on track. Fun. Practical. Fabulous.

The Details:
Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (without getting lost along the way)
by Claire Cook
291 pages
Marshbury Beach Books (July 15, 2014)