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Summer’s End and a New Adventure

2013-08-06 05.37.49Are you as surprised as I am how fast this summer–this year–is flying by? It's August already! Here in north Texas we're enjoying triple-digit temps this week–the forecasters are promising Dallas highs to hit around 106 degrees in the next day or two! Ikes–I'm glad my day job keeps me indoors!

As the summer winds to its inevitable end, I'm committed to using as much of my “free” time (that is, time when I'm not working at my day job) to finish my novel, so a lot of other things are falling by the wayside for the next few weeks. But there are two quick things I wanted to share with you:

First, as a reminder, I am giving away four books this month. If you haven't yet read my recent post about good summer reads (which didn't go out to my subscribers due to a glitch in the feed), be sure to click over to that post, read the brief summaries of the four novels I recommend there, and leave a comment at that post for your chance to get a free copy of the book of your choice. The list includes really wonderful novels by Beth Vogt, Julie Klassen, Pamela Meyers, and D.M. Webb. You won't want to miss this opportunity!

2013-08-06 05.30.31Second, I'm taking the plunge and starting a podcast! Working on the first episodes now. It's going to be focused on productivity and time management types of topics, helping women find ways to create the lives they dream of and accomplish the things that matter to them. I envision it as being short episodes with practical, useful information–something you can listen to while running errands or cooking dinner or taking a walk. I hope to include interviews with inspiring women about how they manage their busy schedules, etc. I haven't yet set the firm date for the first episode to go live, but it'll be soon, so if you're interested, be sure you're subscribed to this blog, because my blog readers will be the first to hear about it. And if you you have any questions related to organization, managing time, etc., I'd love to hear what they are so I can perhaps address them in coming podcast episodes.

Questions for you–please share your thoughts in the comments. I'll be choosing one commenter to receive a special prize!

  1. Do you listen to any podcasts? (Do you know what a podcast is?!) If so, which ones, and what do you like about them?
  2. What is your biggest challenge when it comes to organizing your life and stuff, or managing your time and tasks?

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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . . 
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

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Summer Reading Recommendations – & Giveaway

For many people, summer is a time to catch up on reading. Whether you’re on the road for a family vacation or just enjoying quiet time in the back yard, you might be looking for some fun summer reads. Here are a few I can recommend, listed in no particular order. Note: You can click on each cover image to go straight to Amazon.com to order that book. Click on each author's name to visit her website and learn more about her work. And be sure to read all the way to the end to see how you can win a free copy of one of these titles.*

Love Finds You coverLove Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, by Pamela S. Meyers. In 1933, beautiful Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, is a summertime playground for wealthy Chicagoans. Local girl Meg Alden longs to be a real reporter, but her boss at the town newspaper believes that’s a man’s job, so she’s stuck writing fluff pieces for the society page while she waits for her big break. When a reporter position opens up, she’s hopeful that this is the break she's been waiting for, but her hopes are dashed when Jack Wallace, son of a big-city newpaper publisher, gets hired instead. Meg struggles against resentment, mistrust, and a growing attraction to Jack. Then Jack suggests they team up to investigate a local scandal. The closer they get, though, the more torn Meg is: should she follow her heart and stay with Jack, or follow her dream to a newspaper job in Los Angeles? This book offers an intriguing look at life in the 1930s, as the backdrop for a romance that pits one young womans dreams against her family’s wishes and the call of her own heart.

Vogt coverWish You Were Here, by Beth K. Vogt. Allison Denman is only days away from marrying her high school sweetheart. It should be the happiest time of her life, but nothing feels right to her. The wedding is too big, the dress is too froufrou, and … well … an impulsive kiss with the groom’s brother five days before the wedding throws everything completely off balance. Allison makes a run for it, seeking sanctuary with her aunt while she tries to figure out what the rest of her life should be now that her plans have all been destroyed. Beth Vogt has created real, believable characters that you can’t help but care about as you follow Allison, Seth, and Daniel through the twists and turns of the plot. This is one of my favorite books I've read in the past few months.

Miss Nights coverMississippi Nights, by D.M. Webb. When firefighter David Boyette’s fiancée dies in a car fire, he blames his brother, police sergeant Jeremy Boyette. Jeremy flees their home town for an anonymous life in the big city, but now, three years later, he’s back, hiding a dark and devastating secret. Can the the two brothers’ bond overcome the bitterness and blame between them? Can the love of their family and a good woman help Jeremy conquer the demons that threaten to destroy him? Webb has crafted a novel full of emotion–grief, guilt, loss, and love–with a story that kept me turning pages long after I should have turned off the light.

Tutor's Daughter coverThe Tutor’s Daughter, by Julie Klassen. In the early 19th century, Emma Smallwood has spent her life helping her father teach the sons of the well-to-do at his academy in Devonshire, England. When his boarding school fails, she accompanies her widowed father to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons, where her father will tutor the two youngest. Although they come at Sir Giles’s invitation, they are not made to feel welcome by the baronet’s new wife or the staff. Then, shortly after their arrival, mysterious events create tension in the manor. Meanwhile, the baronet’s older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with secrets of their own. Emma remembers them well from their time at her father’s academy, but as time goes on and the tension in the household grows, Emma wonders if the boys she knew have grown into very different men. Klassen's strength in is weaving in details of setting and time period that make you feel like you've actually walked on the grounds of the baronet's estate.

*Fair disclosure: I received copies of each of these books from the publisher for free, in exchange for an honest review.

What about you? What are you reading this summer? Share your recommendations in the comments below. If one of the novels I've described appeals to you, let me know in the comments. I'll be drawing names to receive copies of these books.

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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . . 
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

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Checking In and Catching Up

“Where have you been?!”

The last few weeks have been crazy in more ways than one. It's been a stressful, demanding time at the day job (law practice), involving an all-nighter and all-weekend push to get a settlement finalized, a quick trip to Alabama for a hearing, and hours on the phone to pull a deal together. All this was happening at the same time as I had the fun and privilege to travel to Florida to participate in the My Book Therapy Deep Thinkers retreat with 20 other amazing writers. We spent five days together in a big house near the beach, learning and practicing writing craft as taught by the amazing and generous Susie May Warren, Rachel Hauck, and Beth Vogt, and developing new friendships that I hope will grow as time passes.

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MBT Deep Thinkers 2013

From the retreat I flew directly to San Diego to share a very special day with my middle son, Benjamin, as he married his best friend, Jennifer. They plan to have a big family wedding in Texas in a few months, but for various scheduling reasons (she's enlisted in the US Army Reserves and will be flying away for basic training soon), they decided they didn't want to wait until the “big” event could be pulled together, so I joined them and a friend of theirs at their very fun JP wedding on February 27. Got to spend a day with them before I had to hurry home to take care of business at my law office. I'm so happy I got to be part of that day with our “Bennifer.”

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Bennifer 2/27/2013

In the midst of all this excitement I learned, very unexpectedly, that my novel-in-progress, Do No Harm, won the 2013 Olympia fiction contest, sponsored by Clash of the Titles. What a thrill and an honor. This one is especially exciting because of how the finalists and winners are chosen. The first round of judging is done by readers, just folks who love fiction but are not involved in the publishing industry. The three highest-scoring submissions from that round are named the finalists, and those submissions are handed off to an amazing panel of judges comprised of a multi-published, award-winning author and two agents. I was truly astounded to get the notice that those judges had selected Do No Harm as the winning story, and even more thrilled to receive the judges' score sheets with their thoughtful, careful feedback. I'm in the midst of applying their suggestions to make my story even better. In the meantime, yesterday I enjoyed the surreal experience of being interviewed by author and Christian Authors Guild board member Cynthia Simmons for a podcast about Do No Harm, the Olympia, and my writing journey. I understand that the podcast interview will go “live” in a couple of weeks!

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All in all, the last few weeks have been a whirlwind, so I hope you will forgive my absence from the blog world. I look forward to resuming a more regular posting schedule and connecting with more and more friends and readers!

Your turn: What have you been up to during the last few weeks? What are your plans and dreams for the rest of 2013? Share in the comments, or drop me an email.

 

Laura
Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . . 
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me