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Review: When the Timer Dings

Katharine Grubb, author of Write a Novel in 10 Minutes a Day, released a new book. Here’s my review of When The Timer Dings:: Organizing Your Life To Make The Most of 10 Minute Increments.

Schedules and I have a love/hate relationship. I appreciated this book because it wasn’t a how-to book or a do-it-this-way book. It focused on different facets of organizing. The chapter titles give a taste of what you’ll read about:
Organizing Your Foundational Truth
Organizing Your Attitudes
Organizing Your People
Organizing Your Time
Organizing Your Habits
Organizing Your Stuff
Organizing Your Tools
Organizing Your Margins
Organizing Your Fails
It’s not a book you’ll toss aside discouraged because you can’t make her system work. The book is encouraging and prompts you to look at your own motivations. I recommend this book.

You can order the book on Amazon.

Guest Post: Sandrine Spycher

Today, Sandy joins us to tell us about her newest book, Creative Therapy 2.


Creative Therapy 2: More Words by Sandrine Spycher

In the continuation of Creative Therapy (published in December 2016), Creative Therapy 2: More Words is a collection of poems written spontaneously day in day out depending on the mood and emotions of the moment. The title refers to the therapeutic aspect of art and creativity. And the subtitle More Words can be read simply as a description of continuity from the first book to the second one, or as a metaphor where words are solutions to the everyday problems.

Writing Out Loud

My poems in Creative Therapy 2 are not structured or organized according to any plan fixed in advance. I didn’t outline the texts at all, but wrote as the words came. I call this technique “writing out loud” because it’s like thinking out loud except I write as I think. I chose to write spontaneously and without structure to preserve a sort of “journal” quality in my writing, which means writing the emotions as they come to record and process them.
Writing without a plan was also a way for me to stay honest and transparent in my poems. As I have written in the Foreword to Creative Therapy, being transparent was one of the main characteristics of the poems since the beginning. Transparency is indispensable when writing is used as therapy because too many embellishments would hide away the very feelings that I’m trying to make sense of.

Amusing Muses

I get a lot of inspiration from friends and partners. Although I write about my own feelings, there is always a little, or sometimes a lot, of them in my words. Their presence is highly important in my life and therefore they are also present in my poems. My friends have an influence on my heart and my mind, and although not explicitly dedicated to anyone in particular, my poems mention some of my loved ones.
I find it interesting also to see the different influences from different people, some of them on an emotional level and others on an artistic level. My writing evolves as the influences in my life change. Writing as feelings arise implies that when a new friendship is created, a new mode of writing comes into play. On this note as much as on the mental health aspect, my book is biographical and transparent.


Malaysia

the more my friends leave,
the more I feel
how precious and irreplaceable
your voice and your presence are—

the more my friends leave,
the more I believe
no picture can ever replace
your hair to run my fingers through.

then I let go of my phone
(too late)
and beg for physical contact
(already gone)
so please don’t leave me behind.


The particular writing process that I used when working on Creative Therapy 2 allowed me not only to make sense of my emotions, but also to keep track of the influence of my friends and the many sources of inspiration in my life. Form and content are strongly linked in this collection. The book will come out both in paperback and digital format, with a short biography by my friend Jude Sirbu and a couple of illustrations by myself.

What happens when you can’t say goodbye?

As a reader, have you ever reached the end of the book and hesitated to close the back cover, not ready to say goodbye to the characters in the story? I’d love to hear what books have provoked this reaction. What do you do?

That happened to me writing my romantic suspense novel, Finding Claire. It started as a seed of a plot idea as I drove through the Texas Hill Country. The thought, Someone could get lost out here, burrowed into my imagination and blossomed into a plot. At first, I struggled with creating the right characters. Alex came into focus once I had his name, Alejandro Ramirez. Rainy took shape as I wrote her scenes. After hours and hours with these and the other characters, I was nowhere near ready to say goodbye to them when a solid draft of Finding Claire was finished.

What happens when you can’t say goodbye to your characters?

My solution: the Hill Country Secrets series was born. While Finding Claire was with beta readers, I penned what I thought would be the second book in the series and a novella. I considered putting the novella out as an extra, but there were plot holes to be fixed. As I remedied what was broken, added description, and learned more about my secondary characters, that novella morphed into a full novel, with letters for the background story, a little more romance, and a dose of danger and suspense. It became Book Two. And I am happy to announce that the novella-turned-book-two finally has a title and a release date.

Finding Kate
Release Day: July 24, 2017

 


STOP READING HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED FINDING CLAIRE AND DON’T WANT SPOILERY INFO.
REALLY.
You sure?
Alrighty then.

One lapse in judgement can ruin forever.
Finding Kate
Hill Country Secrets, Book Two

 

Time doesn’t heal all wounds, but it sometimes delays retribution.

After learning she was kidnapped as a child, Kate is eager to move to Texas. Alex—excited about their newly budding relationship—suggests a road trip to Denver to pack up her apartment. When her story hits the 24-hour news cycle, long-kept secrets threaten Kate and Alex’s happily-ever-after and their lives.

Kate wants to start over in the house her mother loved. Alex wants time for the relationship to deepen, but when the unthinkable happens, he realizes love rarely shows up alone.

In a hunt to find Kate, Alex lands at her laptop, searching. Can he keep her alive? Can he keep her at all?


For those wondering what happened to the book I thought would be book two, it is in revisions. Book Three will be released later this year.

Blog Tour: This Dread Road by Olivia Ard

Last year, I had the opportunity to beta read Olivia’s book, This Dread Road. I loved it and jumped at the chance to be a stop on the blog tour.

Summary

It’s September 1968, and Howard Knox freshman Annemarie Vanderhorst is happy to be free of her controlling mother’s societal expectations. She vows to spend her time at college wisely in pursuit of her own dreams. But before she can figure out what she wants from life, Henry Eden, the dark and handsome stranger in her philosophy class, takes over every waking thought.
Nearly half a century later, Claire James returns to Bennett after leaving her fiancé, determined to be independent for once in her life. After convincing her father to let her work for the family business, she soon realizes being a responsible adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Loathed by her coworkers, neglected by her best friend, and held captive by a terrifying secret, she doesn’t know how much more she can take.</p>
<p>The lives of these two women, decades apart but uncannily similar, finally intersect one fateful night. With broken hearts and hope for the future, will they find the answers they’re looking for?

Release Date: February 14, 2017
Published by: Three Amigas Press
Genre: Historical Romance, Women’s Fiction</p>
Available from: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Createspace

Excerpt

“Everyone, please take your seats.” The professor glanced at his watch and frowned before letting his arm fall back down to his side. “Class should have begun three and half minutes ago. Apparently, punctuality is no longer a priority at this school.”
As he spoke, Annemarie darted through the door, red—faced and panting. “So sorry,” she mumbled to the professor, who either didn’t hear her apology or refused to accept it.
The weight of fifty—six pairs of eyes bore down on her shoulders as she stared up the stacked rows, hoping to find an unclaimed desk. In her desperation, she started up the nearest set of stairs. There had to be an empty seat near the back, right? Stomach clenched, she grasped the handrail and continued her ascent. What would she do if she couldn’t find one?
Susan. None of this would have happened if it weren’t for Susan.
Annemarie had been happy to grab lunch at the cafeteria after she and Susan left their biology class, but she’d let her roommate talk her into making a quick trip into town instead. She’d sworn up and down they would make it back in time for their one o’clock classes.
“My dad and I ate at this great little deli downtown last summer when he brought me for a visit. It’s just a few streets over.”
But the deli was busier on the first day of class than it had been over the summer. They stood in line for almost half an hour and didn’t receive their food for another fifteen minutes after that. Annemarie didn’t even know what her sandwich had tasted like, she’d had to eat it so quickly. She’d spent the next ten minutes running full tilt back to campus, hoping their professors would be forgiving.
So much for that.
Down below, the professor cleared his throat. Annemarie’s face turned an even brighter shade of red. Maybe her mother was right. Did she really need to take this class? Hurtling down the stairs and running out of the lecture hall seemed more appealing by the second.
But just as she decided to succumb to the temptation, she found what she was searching for: an empty seat. It was farther up than she would have liked, the very last desk in the very top row, but it was available.
With a sigh of relief Annemarie hopped up the last few steps and scooted behind those already seated, ignoring their grumbling about inconsiderate people. When she reached the end of the row, she tapped the shoulder of the boy—no, man—sitting next to the empty desk.
“Excuse me, is this seat taken?”
He looked from her to the seat and back. “Don’t think so.”
She slid behind the desk and tucked herself against the wall, willing herself to be invisible.
The professor heaved an exaggerated sigh and said, “Now that everyone is finally ready, let’s begin. I’m Dr. Liam Craig. Welcome to Introduction to Philosophy. In this course, you will learn to …”
Annemarie leaned over and whispered, “Sorry about that. I’m usually on time, or even early.”
Keeping his eyes on Dr. Craig, the man beside her nodded but said nothing.
“My name’s Annemarie,” she said. “What’s yours?”
He met her eyes with a heavy—lidded stare before returning his attention to the front of the classroom, again saying nothing. His jaw stiffened, and was it her imagination, or was his hand twitching?
When it became obvious this was the only answer she could expect from him, Annemarie leaned back in her chair and tried not to let it bother her. Class had already started, after all—she was the one being rude. Besides, what did it matter? She was there to learn about philosophy, not moon over some guy.
But as Dr. Craig droned on about fallacious reasoning, the nature of reality, and the existence of God, Annemarie couldn’t keep her mind from wandering back to her handsome seatmate.
With ten minutes left, Dr. Craig said, “I think I’ve covered everything necessary for our first full class meeting, so I’ll give you an early dismissal today. Don’t get used to it, though. Take a copy of the syllabus on your way out, and please prepare to discuss chapters one and two of your textbook for Wednesday. And be on time,” he added, glaring up at Annemarie.
Without a word, the man next to her stood, stepped behind her, and slowly made his way down the steps. He took intermittent pauses to allow others to pass him, but he spoke to no one. People parted around him and rejoined on the other side. The guys seemed to size themselves up against him, while the girls ducked their heads and gave him a shy smile, but he didn’t seem to notice any of them. When he reached the bottom of the stairs and released his grip on the railing, he limped across the narrow stretch of floor between the lectern and the first row of seats. She couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to his leg.
Before she knew it had happened, she was the last person in the classroom other than Dr. Craig. She blushed and gathered her books, chiding herself for her distraction. Why should she care about this person she’d only just met? He didn’t care about her—he’d made that abundantly clear. She should just put him out of her mind and focus on school.
Even so, for the rest of the day, she couldn’t shake the memory of his eyes—shielded, mistrustful, and darker than a thundercloud.

About the Author

Olivia started writing creatively at eight years old. During middle and high school, she attended several writing conferences. Her short story “By Its Cover” placed first in its division in the 2008 District III Alabama Penman Creative Writing Contest. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Montevallo in 2012, married in 2013, and published her first novel in 2014. She received a Readers Favorite five-star review for her holiday novella,’Tis the Season, in 2016.
Olivia lives in central Alabama with her husband JD and their cats, Buddy and Lafayette. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys watching quality television, teaching herself how to cook, and playing Pokémon GO.

Connect with the Author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest

Feet Out, Feet Back, Repeat

Remember as a kid (or maybe as an adult) when you learned to swing without being pushed?

The hardest part was at the beginning. You’d inch back to get a little momentum, then swing forward, legs out. At the furthest point forward, you buckled down, tucked your feet back, and pulled. With each iteration, you gained speed and height.

When you reached full swing, all the initial hard work paid off as you felt the wind in your face, like you were flying through the air. Over and over again.

I love that feeling.

This year I’m trying something new. I committed to write every day, at least 300 words. I anticipate that all year will feel like I’m pumping my legs, out and back, trying to get that swing into motion.

Maybe some of those words will be woven into more frequent blog posts. Some (Lots actually!) will go into books two and three of the Hill Country Secrets series. It’s going to be an exciting year.

I’ve logged words every single day so far. Feel free to ask me about my adventure. If someone gave you a ticket to do something every single day, even for just ten minutes, what would it be?

Happy New Year!

Finding Claire Releases Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the release of Finding Claire, my romantic suspense novel. A blend of romance, mystery, and genealogy, the book tells the story of a woman kidnapped in January 2016 and the story of Emma in the summer of 1983.

I hope you all enjoy it!

 

Early feedback has been great. Check out these reviews –


It earned 5 ★★★★★s from Readers’ Favorites!

Read the review written by Jack Magnus.


Jennifer at Dandelions Inspired rated it 5 ★★★★★s on Goodreads and published this review.

This mystery/suspense/romance was just what the doctor ordered today! “Finding Claire” is the upcoming release from author, Pamela Humphrey, about a young woman who … Read more.


Maureen at MoMo’s Book Diary rated it 5 ★★★★★s.

MoMo’s Book Diary highly recommends this thrilling novel as a spellbinding 5 star read. … Read more.


Kaytlyn at The Bohemian Bookworm rated it 5 AMAZING ★★★★★s.

I absolutely LOVED this book! I knew after reading the synopsis that this book was right up my alley. Humphrey creates a beautifully enchanting mystery that … Read more.


You can also read what people are saying about Finding Claire on Amazon and on Goodreads.

Huge thanks to the bloggers and ARC readers who took the time to read Finding Claire. I am so excited for tomorrow!

Book Signing for the Blue Rebozo

You are all invited to The Twig Book Shop, located in the Historic Pearl, on October 8th from 11 AM – 1 PM. I’ll be signing copies of The Blue Rebozo.

For more information, see The Twig’s event calendar or contact me.

Mark your calendars! I hope to see you there!

Local Author Pamela Humphrey To Sign Books At The Twig Book Shop
SAN ANTONIO, Texas, September 27, 2016 – Inspired by her genealogy research, Pamela Humphrey traced her deep Texas roots and penned the story of her ancestors in “The Blue Rebozo.” Weaving fact and fiction, she told the story of Petra Ramirez and her family.

A history shared by many in South Central Texas, her family migrated to Guadalupe County, Texas, from Mexico after the American Civil War to work as sharecroppers. The family struggled to scrape out a living, endured hardships, but cultivated a sense of family that continued into subsequent generations.

Her hope is that through storytelling, history becomes personal, giving current generations an enduring connection to their past.

Set in Guadalupe County, Texas, the book focuses on the life of Petra Ramirez, but recounts the struggles and joys of several generations.

The book signing begins at 11:00 AM on October 8th at The Twig Book Shop, located in the Historic Pearl.

If You Read Only One Book This Summer…

…Read this!

Have you ever picked up a book on a whim because the premise looked interesting? I did, and found a book I thouroughly enjoyed. (But that’s not what I’m reviewing today.)

A few days later, I was offered the opportunity to review another book by the same author, Katharine Grubb. I loved The Truth About the Sky just as much if not more than Falling For Your Madness. Below I included links to all three of Grubb’s digital fiction books, which are FREE this week.

The Truth About the Sky is set in Oklahoma, in the Bible belt. For those that have spent years in churches, you may recognize a few characters in this book. (No need to name names.) Grubb captures so many of the expectations hoisted upon others in the name of “church.” Riddled with flaws and poor choices, Kim is forced to see the distinction between “church” and God. This book is full of characters who feel real, like you could bump into them exiting the pew.

You like romance? You’ll like the book for the relationships, but the book truly shines in its story of grace. I’d give this book 6 stars if I could. I’ll never look at the sky the same way again.

I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Grab your copy & read it! Please.

Here’s the blurb…

As a Pastor’s kid, Kim has been told her whole life that God can see every mistake she makes. Now that she’s a college dropout, unemployed and in a questionable relationship with a party guy, her mistakes are all the more obvious. Her mother makes it clear, Kim better get her act together. Not only is the church watching her, but Kim is also bothered by her theme obsessed mother; a creepy mortician who wants to court her; a sad, but good-looking music minister (whom she may or may not have been kissing) and her childhood friend, Eddie, who, as a lawyer, has an inexplicable interest in lawn care. She has to choose: will she run away from critical eyes to Dallas as quickly as her car can take her? Will she be as critical and condemning as her own family has been to her? Or will she take her brother’s advice and believe, for the first time in her life, that God’s grace is as big as the Oklahoma sky?

All three of her digital fiction books are FREE this week (until June 24th). (Click the covers for links to buy.)

I read Falling For Your Madness and loved it.

Eccentric literature professor David approaches Laura for a counter-cultural, rule-filled relationship filled with poetry, flowers and bottom-less cups of tea. He makes it very clear to her that they are just friends. If she wants to be more — if she wants to be sweethearts — then she is the only one that can move them forward. Laura is smitten by his humor, his charm, and his English accent (which turns out to be fake). In his company, she has never felt more beautiful or ladylike. David tells Laura that the reason he has these rules is because he is bound by the laws of chivalry, both body and soul. Then Laura finds out the real reason, one that’s ancient, filled with legend and magic. Yet Laura has complete control of this madman. Should she release him or tell him she wants more? Is he eccentric or just mad? Falling For Your Madness is not just a romantic comedy, but it also asks the question, who has the most power in a relationship? The lady? Or the gentleman?

I haven’t read Soulless Creatures yet, but I’m downloading it this week.

Working-class future leader Roy Castleberry and pampered over-thinker Jonathan Campbell are 18-year-old freshmen at the University of Oklahoma who think they know everything. Roy thinks Jonathan could succeed in wooing Abby if he stopped obsessing over Walden. Jonathan thinks Roy could learn to be self-actualized if he’d stop flirting with every girl he meets. They make a wager: if Roy can prove that he has some poetic thought, some inner life, A SOUL, then Jonathan will give him the car he got for graduation. Roy takes the bet because he thinks this is the easiest game he’s ever played. Roy spends the rest of the school year proving the existence of his soul, competing against Jonathan for Abby’s attention, dodging RAs who are curious about the fake ID ring in his room and dealing with his past. For Roy and Jonathan, college life in 1986 is richer, (both experientially and financially) than either of them expected.

Book Review: Frontier Preacher

I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

When I was offered the opportunity to review Frontier Preacher, the setting piqued my interest. Last summer my family spent part of our vacation in that part of Wyoming, visiting Devil’s Tower. So, although this book was not one I’d typically pick up off the shelf (I don’t read many westerns), I agreed to review it because the premise interested me.

The book, a western historical fiction, told the story of Hollis Winget, who traveled to Gillette, Wyoming, to serve as preacher and fulfill a promise to his uncle.

I was slow to become engrossed, but partially because the book’s descriptions of winter in Wyoming were torturous to this Texas girl. Sometimes I found myself shaking my head at Hollis in his early interactions with townsfolk, but as the story unfolded, I was captivated. The main conflict of the story was based on a reality that was and is brutal and hard to stomach. David handled scenes with delicacy, and there were no vivid, gory descriptions, only what was necessary to convey the story.

As expected in a book about a preacher, it had strong elements of faith, lived out faith. I learned as I read that it was more than a story about a preacher fulfilling a promise. It was a story of courage, love, and redemption.

When I curl up with any book, it is in the hope of being swept into it. If you like a book that makes you cry, mourn, laugh, and fume for people that exist only on the page, you’ll like this book.

I highly recommend this book.


David Millican III is the author of Frontier Preacher. I had a chance to ask him questions about the book

Tell us about Hollis. Was there a real-life inspiration behind him?

Hollis is a composite of three Frontier Preachers and a dash of me. These men, two of which I don’t even know their names only stories related to them, braved situations that you and I couldn’t even imagine. I wanted to tell the story of the Wild West dying and the Civilized East moving in like a storm. But it was the idea of a preacher that made it work. Any other protagonist would have lacked the moral authority in the eyes of the other characters to make it believable. I played around with a railroad worker but it was something about the refined preacher in the savage west that made it work. The crisis of faith endured by many preachers in that situation, including those who inspired Hollis framed the story perfectly so it could be told without being heavy handed or in the reverse too predictable. As for the name, Hollis Winget(pronounced win-jet), that is my grandfather’s first and middle name. This was my first published book and I wanted to honor him. I wanted to honor my other grandfather as well, but the “third” after my name might help you understand why that would be awkward.

What about Minnie?

Minnie. Minnie is…Minnie. She isn’t inspired by someone as much as inspired by what others want to be. I don’t want spoilers so I will just say that Minnie is a true Wyoming woman. (If you don’t know what that means, look up our State Motto after you’re done reading the book.)

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Again, no spoilers. There were two scenes in particular that I had a hard time getting past. I couldn’t see my screen through the strange liquid that seemed to form in my eyes. Weird. Beyond that, the writing was pretty straightforward. Frontier preacher had been a short story in its previous incarnation and it flowed well into a full-length novel. Everything that happened after the writing was finished, that was the chore for me. Covers, editing, formatting, editing, advertising, editing, beta-readers, editing, publishing, editing, and republishing.

If you could have dinner with any character from your book, which would you choose?

Eunice Getz (though that is not her real name in real life). She is the grandmother of a woman I knew as a child. The woman (name withheld) had wonderful stories of her grandmother and I would have loved to have met the old hard Wyomin (that’s how to pronounce it correctly) woman and learned about my home from someone who tore her success out of its stubborn dry ground.

Have you written any other books?

Written? Yes. See question three as to why they are not published yet. I have a mystery series set in my current town of McKeesport, PA that I hope to have out by the end of the year and a book of studies titled “I Never Thought of it That Way” that should be out…yeah, it should be out.

Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?

Yes, the darkness lies, live in the light. On one level, as a Christian, this means something very specific to me. But as I tell people over and over again, this is not a “Christian” book. This is first and foremost the story of conflict between two ages. The old and the new cannot coexist together and it so happens that Hollis was the perfect person to tell the story through. And that means my statement that the darkness lies, is true for everyone who reads this book. The darkness comes only to steal your joy, to twist your mind, and to corrupt your innermost being. Live in the light. The light is truth, it is love, it is power, and it is happiness. Some are dragged into the darkness, some walk in willingly. Just know, whoever you are, and whatever you are facing, the light is there for you.


For more information about the blog tour, click here.

You can get your copy of Frontier Preacher…

Paperback: https://www.createspace.com/6236943
David is offering a 50% discount for the paperback book! To get your copy, go to the Createspace estore and enter this code when you checkout: GYM7ACWX.

eBook: www.amazon.com/dp/B017QRMMM8/
From May 27-31, Frontier Preacher will also be on sale for just $1.99. That’s a $3.00 savings!