Sunday, June 14, 2020

New Authors and Their Books - Add to Your Summer Reading

Are you looking for some new books to read this summer? New authors to follow? I am thrilled to introduce you to The Disharmony of Silence, my debut novel, in addition to some of my “sister” Women’s Fiction writers and their wonderful new books. Plus, you can click on the link below and “meet us in person.” Lainey Cameron, debut author of The Exit Strategy, which releases July 8th, jumped in to the virtual world and interviewed all of us. We had a great time chatting with her about our books. Hope you enjoy watching these five minute interviews and building your ‘to be read” pile. 

In keeping with the theme of The Literary Leotard, I asked each of these authors a question: With spending so much time sitting at your desk, or wherever you write, in addition to time spent in front of a screen now, during this pandemic, promoting your book on-line, what do you do to stay active? Read below to find out, get some ideas, and find your next book.

The Disharmony of Silence by Linda Rosen 

 In her desperate quest for family, Carolyn Lee, fitness trainer and amateur photographer, is determined, against all advice, to reveal a shocking eighty-four-year-old secret that she has uncovered. It has the potential to tear lives apart, or to bring her the closeness and comfort she longs for. It all depends on how she handles it.

“…Generally, it’s thought that honesty is always the best policy, so it’s interesting to see a character grapple with the idea that this truism may not, in fact, always be true. The ending gives the reader a lot to think about in those terms, and it’s an interesting and somewhat unexpected question for a novel to raise...” Indie Reader review

Answer: Having taught fitness classes for thirty-eight years, my days have always begun with physical activity. In  pre-covid19 times, I'd be  leading classes, swimming laps, playing tennis or pickleball, or walking, which was my exercise of choice at the beginning of the pandemic. Then my community opened the pool and courts and I was back in action. I do my best writing after physical activity and when doing my solo activities, walking or swimming, characters and scenes come to me, begging to be included in my stories.

What's Left Untold by Sherri Leimkuhler

 Every secret has its price. 

What truths are best left untold and who gets to decide? Leimkuhler is a marvel in this shocking debut about friends and the secrets that bind them. I read the last 10% with my jaw on the floor!" -- Jennifer Klepper, USA Today bestselling author of Unbroken Threads.  

Answer: As a triathlete and yoga instructor, staying active is an integral part of my life. When I am writing or sitting for long periods of time, I regularly take breaks from the computer to paddleboard, hike, trail run, or practice yoga. The movement is not only imperative for my physical health, but being outside in nature helps to clear my mind, rejuvenate my spirit, and fuel my creativity. I often do my best "writing" when I'm active; I routinely develop character arcs, resolve plot conflicts and draft new chapters in my head while I'm swimming, cycling or running. 

Wildland by Rebecca Hodge 

When Kat Jamison retreats to the Blue Ridge Mountains, she's counting on peace and solitude to help her make a difficult decision. Can she face yet another round of chemotherapy or should she surrender gracefully? But when she and two children are trapped in a raging forest fire, Kat must set aside those concerns and discover a fire within herself--the burning will to survive. 

Answer: I've got two active dogs who insist that long daily walks are a necessity, but in addition, for years I've been an indoor rower. Rowing is not only a great full-body workout, but the rhythm and associated breathing pattern are very calming. I'm hooked, and I do a 6K workout three times a week. 

The Mountains Sing by Que Mai Phan Nguyen

A New York Times Editor's Choice

"A luminous tale." O, The Oprah Magazine

"(An) absorbing, stirring novel... that, in more than one sense, remedies history." New York Times Book Review

Answer:  I believe our mind can't be fit if our body is not active, so every day I aim to exercise. Before the pandemic, I went to my local gym 3-4 times a week to participate in a wide range of exercises from yoga to zumba. Now, due to the pandemic, I do yoga at home. And I go for long walks with my family members. I am thankful to my husband who motivates me every day to exercise: he thinks that the pandemic has made people age a lot and we need to continue exercising to keep ourselves young. My husband started yoga after me but he is so good with handstands now. My aim is to be able to flip up into a handstand by myself before next year's birthday.

Crazy Little Town Called Love by Jill Hannah Anderson

The book has suspense, mystery, romance, laughter and the joy of friendships. Molly has the tenacity of a strong woman and captures your heart."
"The plot has just the right amount of mystery and suspense, along with a bit of romance and a big dose of family secrets. I thoroughly enjoyed this charming book with its strong messages of friendship, hope and empowerment. I highly recommend it!" Carla S.

Answer: What I do to stay active (and somewhat sane) when I spend so much time writing: In the winter - the sport of curling, and in the spring through fall I'm a runner and also enjoy biking.

The Exit Strategy by Lainey Cameron 

Silicon Valley, sexism and the power of female friendship

“Timely and provocative with ripped from the headline themes, you’ll want to rise up and cheer on Cameron’s witty and ingeniously crafted characters. By the time you finish reading The Exit Strategy, Ryn and Carly will feel like the best friends you never had. A thoroughly satisfying read.” --Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal bestselling author

Answer: Normally I'm a fan of swimming and spin classes , but neither are an option with the pools and fitness centers closed where I am sheltered in place here in San Miguel de Allende, in Mexico.  So I'm appreciative of early morning online yoga, hosted by two different friends; a yogi  who s also a poet and artist in Mexico, and another debut author coming in 2021 : Lyn Liao Butler. For cardio, online zumba classes from Fly Girl Dance and Fitness Studio in Chicago are both a mood booster and increasingly a sanity-saver during increasing pandemic book launch stress.

The Truth About Love by Sheila Athens

Part love story and part mystery, THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE is the story of Gina Blanchard, a young law student who is trying to get a wrongly convicted man out of prison. At the same time, she's falling in love with local football hero Landon Vista . . . only to find out that the man she's trying to set free is the one convicted of killing Landon's mother.

Answer: My preferred method of staying active is walking. I'm lucky to have both nature trails and the beach within about ten minutes of my house. When it gets too hot and humid here in Florida, I walk on my treadmill in the air-conditioning. I alternate between using my walking time for reflection/contemplation and listening to audiobooks. 

The Queen of Owls by Barbara Probst

Winner of multiple awards, QUEEN OF THE OWLS has been dubbed “a debut novel too good to ignore” (Bustle), “one of the best new fiction books” (Parade Magazine), and “one of the twenty most anticipated books of 2020” (Working Mother). NYT #1 best-selling author Christina Baker Kline calls it “a nuanced, insightful, culturally relevant investigation of one woman’s personal and artistic awakening,” and best-selling author Caroline Leavitt calls it “a stunner … gorgeously written and so, so smart! Probst’s novel is a work of art in itself.”


Answer: I’m fortunate to live in a small town on the Hudson River—in fact, on a dirt road off a dirt road—so I’ve been able to get out and walk along the nearly-deserted road nearly every day since the pandemic began. Walking not only loosens my body, but also loosens up my brain!  Launching a book—even virtually, or perhaps especially virtually—tends to get me very wired.  Walking in silence has been a lifesaver. The quiet, the rhythmic strides, the chance to slow down and connect with another part of myself.


Now that the weather is warm, I’ve also been gardening—turning the soil, planting flowers,  weeding. Again, it’s an “activity” for more than the body.

If She Had Stayed by Diane Byington

From would-be rock star to museum curator, Kaley Kline is someone who remembers the past through Rose-tinted glasses and longs to put right something she's always felt guilty about. Sometimes things are better off left alone! If She Had Stayed is a gripping, time-travel romance-thriller that builds until you're sitting on the edge of your seat!” - The International Review of Books

Answer: I’d say the biggest thing is gardening. I have my own garden and I’m also a member of a Community Support Agriculture (CSA). Keeping those things up takes a lot of time and effort. For example, yesterday I weeded and then I thinned the plants in the garden and harvested two kinds of lettuce, spinach, kale, bok choi, and beet greens. Then I washed and dried all the stuff I’d harvested, and today I took them to the food bank. Hopefully, I’ll do this many times during the Colorado growing season. I also like to walk, and I’ve been doing quite a bit of that.

You and Me and Us by Alison Hammer

A compassionate and deeply moving exploration of love and loss, YOU AND ME AND US will break your heart and put it back together more than once by the last page. Alison Hammer has crafted an emotional story about marriage, family, and friendship that is both intimate and universal, and most important, unforgettable.” Lisa Duffy, author of My Kind of People and This is Home


Answer: I've been on a health and wellness journey the past fourteen months, and I've lost 100 pounds by walking on the treadmill and cutting out (for the most part) grains, dairy and sugar. I've kept up with eating healthy during the pandemic, but it's been tough to stay active since they closed the gym in my building.

I don't have a car since I live in downtown Chicago, and I'm not ready to use ride-share apps yet, so I've been walking everywhere. The other day I walked almost 4 miles round-trip for a long-overdue hair appointment, and I walked two miles to get to the grocery store four blocks away. I did walk the normal way home since I was carrying a week's worth of groceries, but it's always nice to get outside and be active!

Can't Take it Back by Kelly Duran

Can't Take It Back is a fast-paced and relatable debut telling the interconnected stories of four women over the course of a kindergarten school year. With each other for support, these women make tough choices that impact not just themselves but everyone else around them. Captivating and immersive, Can’t Take it Back is a deeply emotional novel that celebrates the complex bond of female friendships.

Answer: Getting active is so important for me considering just how much time I spend at my desk. On an ideal day I start by getting outside for a brisk walk. I'm lucky to live right near a beautiful trail and I plug in an audio book and enjoy the fresh air. It really helps to clear my mind for the day ahead. I also have two daughters that keep me active. Whether we are jumping on our trampoline or kicking a soccer ball around, it's great to be active with them. Finally, I spend so much time on a computer—both writing and for my job as a communications consultant—I have a series of stretches my physiotherapist has given me to help keep my body (somewhat) from tightening up that I try to remember to do everyday. 









Monday, April 13, 2020

Ever Wonder What a Writer Has in Her Toolbox?

Whether on a shelf in the garage or basement, or shoved in a closet, most toolboxes have nuts and bolts in them along with screws and screw drivers, hammers and pliers and a whole load of other stuff I'd probably never use. A friend of mine jokes that his toolbox has phone numbers: the plumber's, handyman's, electrician's...  So why does my toolbox have a camera? If you're a writer, yours might have one, too. And if you are a reader, wouldn't you like to know why a novelist keeps a camera in her toolbox? 

 Before you click on the video below to find out, let me tell you about Writer Unboxed, a community of writers, including best-selling authors and other industry professionals, for which I made this video. With Covid-19 affecting many authors' book releases, especially debut authors like myself, Writer Unboxed jumped up to help us. Thank you WU. In the video, I mention the name Therese.  So you'll know who she is, Therese Walsh is the co-founder of Writer Unboxed and the current Editorial Director - as well as the author of the fabulous book, The Moon Sisters. I listened to the audio edition of the novel last summer and was blown away! Therese definitely used a camera when writing her evocative page-turner. 

Now, click on the video and find out what a camera is doing in my toolbox.

Fellow writers, tell me what's in your toolbox. I'd love to know. And for my readers, I'd love to hear from you. Had you ever even thought of a writer having a toolbox?

For more information about The Disharmony of Silence, come on over to my website You can read the first chapter and part of the second, read some interviews with me, and listen to podcasts about the novel. I had tons of fun doing those. Plus, you can order the book directly from the website!

News flash! My next novel, Sisters of the Vine, will be released in March 2021 by Black Rose Writing. Having one book traditionally published was a dream come true. I can't find the words to describe how I feel knowing I have a second coming out. My adrenaline sure has kicked up. It's rushing through my veins so fast I can barely catch up. And I'm so thankful for all my readers, reviewers, and my writing community friends.

If you'd like to receive my newsletter - I promise I will not invade your inbox more than once or twice a year - please sign up by leaving your email in a comment here, or if you prefer, through my website (URL above), or message me on my Facebook page @lindarosenauthor. 

Monday, March 23, 2020


Can’t get to the gym? Can’t go out for a walk? During this pandemic of Covid-19 too many of us, aside from getting anxious, are going to get lazy. So far New York, California and New Jersey are telling residents to stay home – maybe there are even more states I haven’t yet heard about. I don’t want to write about the virus and our fears for our families, ourselves, our country… I want to focus on you. Give some tips how to stay fit while staying at home. Hopefully, by getting off the couch and getting your muscles working, you’ll feel more centered, more positive.

So you don’t have any exercise equipment at home? That does not matter. Even if you’re not a regular exerciser and the thought of a treadmill in your living room creeps you out, you do have a piece of equipment you can use. Everyone has it. Wherever you are sitting right now, as long as it is inside, look around. There are four of them. “Really?” you ask. “What are they?” Walls. And you only need one to do these exercises.

Wall slides are my favorite. A safe and effective core strength exercise, so much better than crunches. Plus, you’ll improve your posture at the same time. I have already described wall slides in my blog, Core Strength 1, published 11/21/11. You can find it in my posts here on this site. Please click on it for a truly beneficial exercise.

Wall push-ups are another great exercise. Never a fan of real push-ups, I was so glad when I found this option. OK, macho guys and gals might think they’re wimpy. I do believe most of us, though, will prefer them.

 Stand in a corner of the room with one hand on either wall, your chest in the “v” made from the two walls. (see photo on left) 
 If that’s not possible, maybe you have furniture in the way, place your hands on the wall in front of you (see photo below) Spread your arms apart. The farther away, the more you work your chest and upper back muscles. 

Place your feet behind you. Keep them together, legs straight. Your body will be in a plank position.

Now, bend your elbows bringing your chest – ONLY YOUR CHEST, NOT YOUR NOSE - TOWARDS the wall. Your spine should be straight – plank position. Next, straighten your arms - go back to the starting position

You just did a standing push up! Not bad, right? So much better than high school gym class where the teacher was standing over you yelling “give me twenty!”

Do as many as you are comfortable with. Try to complete 8, 10, 12 or more, depending on your fitness level.

Another great indoor exercise is the V-Seat. Click on that post from 11/16/12 V-Seat in a Chair or on the floor. I’ve added two videos to show you just how to do the exercise. It’s another great one for core strength – your abdominals and thighs will love it!

Kick up your endorphins. We need to stay healthy and strong, both physically and emotionally, especially during this pandemic. Exercise helps. 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Why Vineland? Or Tarrytown? Or Wherever the Novel is Set...Does it matter?

After completing her novel Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver was pondering themes for her next book. At the time, she “had a vague feeling the world as we knew it was ending.” This thought brought her to another “dangerously uncertain” time in our history – the 1870s, which led her to writing Unsheltered.  Explaining her reasons for writing it, she said, “The country was wrecked by war and a book by Charles Darwin was shaking the very notion of what it meant to be human.” So, she “went looking for an American scientist involved in that radical debate” to use as a character and found Mary Treat living in Vineland, New Jersey. After much research, Kingsolver, in her own words, came to see that Vineland “had more real-life intrigue than I could use in several novels.” And, she had her setting.

I’m always interested in why an author chooses a certain locale. There are books where it’s obvious and many where the reader has no idea. Sometimes it seems as if the town doesn’t matter, that there is nothing germane to the story or theme – it’s simply where the characters live. Obviously not so in Unsheltered, though probably what readers will wonder when they read my novel, The Disharmony of Silence, coming out March 5, 2020 by Black Rose Writers.  

One of my protagonists, (the novel is in dual time so there are two) lives in Tarrytown, NY. Why? The story isn’t set around the town’s history and has absolutely nothing to do with Ichabod Crane or Sleepy Hollow. Simply, it’s because I’ve always been attracted to a housing complex I see as I drive across the Tappan Zee Bridge (now named the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge). Therefore, I decided that’s where Carolyn would live. It’s close to her mother in New Rochelle, also there’s no major reason for using that town. It’s just that I once worked in New Rochelle and it was sexier than using my own home town, and a short train ride from New York City which is important in the novel.

Image result for photo mario m cuomo bridge

Another character in my novel, Kate, who you could call the antagonist though there are several others, lives in Venice, California. Again, I could have chosen any town 3,000 miles from Carolyn’s home. The distance was important, though an editor once suggested I have Kate and Carolyn live closer together. Kate refused! But I spent a great deal of time in and around Venice and love the little streets surrounded by canals. Plus, it was fun to create a fictitious home with Birds of Paradise growing on either side of a sky-blue front door and a sun room where, above the roof line and through the trees, you could see the Pacific Ocean.

The Girls at 17 Swann Street: A NovelThinking of a few novels I’ve recently read, some of the towns or countries where they’re set are pertinent to the story. For example, an historical fiction by Susan Meissner, The Last Year of the War, centers around US internment camps during WWII. Japan and Germany are definitely germane to that story, as is France in the historic adventure Listen to the Wind: The Orphans of Tolosa by Susanne Dunlap which takes place in the Languedoc region in the 13th Century. On the other hand The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh, which takes place in the wilds of West Virginia, could be set in any wilderness as long as it had bogs, though while listening to the audio book on Chirp, the narrator’s West Virginian drawl brought me further into the setting and I could smell the humid air. And in the novel I’ve just finished, The Girls of 17 Swann Street, the town does not matter at all.  Yara Zgheib created a house on a street with characters I won’t soon forget – and I don’t know where the street is and it doesn’t matter!  

Has this piqued your interest? Will you now wonder about the setting in the novel you’re reading, if it’s not obvious? I hope so. It makes discussing a book and the author’s intentions so much more fun.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Does Upmarket Fiction Mean It Will Only Be Sold at Neiman Marcus?

A friend of mine uses the term “upmarket” for anything posh. A five-star expensive restaurant would be upmarket – Burger King, downmarket. Though, there are certainly people who enjoy dining at a Michelin rated eatery who still crave a Whopper with its special sauce dripping from the sesame seed bun.  Years ago, I was friendly with a woman whose husband was a chef at a very pricey, posh New York restaurant. On his days off this chef, with the tall white toque, liked eating at Friendly’s. He simply loved their hamburger (and I loved their chocolate chip mint ice cream in a sugar cone). Sadly Friendly’s, as well as my friendship with the chef’s wife, is no more, though I am glad we had that “moment” together. So... whatever your personal definition of upmarket is, be it for restaurants, department stores, or even hotels, I now ask – what is Upmarket Fiction? Does it mean the story is posh? Will the book only be sold at Neiman Marcus and other high end stores and never be seen on the shelves of a library or neighborhood book store?

Upmarket fiction is a genre the same way mystery, sci-fi, and historical fiction are genres. Upmarket novels are filled with themes and topics ripe for book club discussion and are sometimes referred to as Book Club Fiction which, in my opinion, is a term a lot easier to understand than upmarket.

For the past six months, I've read voraciously as a member of the Great Group Reads committee of the Women’s National Book Association. GGR creates a list of twenty novels and memoirs  selected from over two hundred submitted to us from publishers - all upmarket!  This coveted list comes out in October to celebrate National Reading Group Month. Take a look at our website and click on Great Group Reads Selections. You’ll have lists of books from 2009-2018 that’ll make your “to be read” pile grow exponentially!  And. in just two months, the 2019 list will be out with twenty more wonderful titles. But I digress – in addition to GGR titles submitted by publishers, I also read a few wonderful books that I picked on my own, all perfect for book clubs. Where the Crawdad’s Sing by Delia Owens and Gateway to the Moon by Mary Morris are two that I devoured and look forward to discussing.  

I enjoy talking books with friends and family – actually anyone who wants to unless it’s on an airplane. Please don’t talk to me then. I just want to read! A few of my favorite titles perfect for book clubs with characters who have stayed with me long after I closed the book are A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner, When We Meet Again by Kristin Harmel and Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver. All three have dual time-lines which I enjoy. I've used that time-travel choreography in crafting my own novel, The Disharmony of Silence, coming out March 5, 2020 by Black Rose Writing—also Upmarket Fiction! And, I’d be remiss if I left out three more favorites, though not with dual time-lines:  One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus,  Henna House by Nomi Eve, and The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.  I can’t wait for the movie to come out next week!

What are your favorite upmarket titles? If you’d write them in the comments below, I’ll add them to my TBR pile – and then have to buy more bookshelves!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Dirty Toilet Exercise

Have you ever been on a long car ride and need to find a bathroom? And, of course, you're on an interstate where the only public rest rooms are in gas stations – and look like they haven't seen Lysol in months! What do you do?

If you're a guy, it's easy unless…well, let's not get too graphic, but if you're female, you've got to sit, yet there's no way you're going to put any part of your body on that dirty seat.  Hopefully, you have enough muscular strength to manage a squat. Though, as we age, that strength diminishes. So, as Carolyn, the protagonist in my novel, The Disharmony of Silence, which will be available on-line and in book stores in March, says: “Remember, press your buttocks back…Just don’t go down too far…Hey…There’s no way you’re gonna sit on it, right?"

To be more specific, stand with your feet separated and press your buttocks back. You can't help but go into a squat position. Then lower yourself a bit more, but stay comfortable. Put your weight on your heels and make sure your knees are directly over your ankles.  If they're peeking over your toes, press your seat back a little farther. This will protect your knees and keep them happy.  Then stand up and squat again. Repeat 8x, more if you can. You'll be strengthening your glutteal muscles as well as the hamstrings which, in turn, will help you not only squat at a gas station on I 95, but get you off a chair on your own when your ninety! Independence is the real goal.   

Saturday, May 26, 2018

A Woman is Like a Tea Bag

Several years ago, while I was going through a stressful time watching my beautiful mother decline, my sister-in-law gave me a mug with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt scrolled across the  porcelain. "A woman is like a tea bag - you never know how strong she is until you put her in hot water." How perfect! Read those words again. I'll bet you'll come up with a time when you were in the so-called hot water and garnered your own strength.  

Not only do I appreciate the former First Lady's wisdom, I feel as if she's been a part of my life. No, I never had the honor of meeting her, but my mother did. I remember how excited Mom was, practically dancing her way out to the car the morning she was to pick up Eleanor Roosevelt at La Guardia airport. Just so you know, my mother was not the world's best driver by any stretch of the imagination, but that didn't matter to the teachers and staff at Harriet Beecher Stowe Junior High School in Harlem.

Mrs. Roosevelt was coming to speak with the students, all girls back then in the late 1950s, and my generous mother, a permanent substitute at 136 (which she always called the school, probably because it was on 136th Street in Harlem) offered to be the former First Lady's chauffeur.  I heard about that story for years and wish I could ask my mother now more about the conversation they had as they sat in the Buick driving through traffic on the Cross Bronx Expressway. I'm sure it was fascinating.

My brother-in-law, Sidney, also met Mrs. R., around the same time as my mother. As a student at Seth Low Jr. High School in Brooklyn, he and his friend, Marvin, interviewed her for their school newspaper. Years later, for his 50th birthday, Marvin gave Sid a coffee mug (is there a theme here with mugs and Eleanor?) with a picture of the three of them printed on it. Marvin had saved the picture taken that day, most likely with a Brownie Hawk-eye, for thirty-five years! I don't know where that mug is now. I hope Marvin has it. The two boys were beaming in the photo, and at the birthday party, too, all those years later when they reminisced.
So why am I focused on this impressive woman who was not only First Lady but also served as U.S. Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly from 1945-52, chaired JFK's Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, and did so much for human rights? Because, again, she's been a part of my life. This time, I've spent days with her while I devoured B.A. Shapiro's historical fiction page-turner, The Muralist.

Shapiro's characters are so alive on the page that I feel I know them and wish I could call Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and Mark Rothko, as well as Mrs. Roosevelt, to let them know what happened to their fictitious friend, Alizée Benoit. Even after finishing the book, I have to remind myself that Alizée wasn't real.

Alizée was definitely like a tea bag. She not only found herself in hot water, hers was boiling, steaming, hotter than molten lava and her strength soared. I highly recommend this book. Take the thrilling ride, back and forth, from New York City today to the NYC of the 1940s with its art world and the emergence of the Abstract Expressionists, across the ocean to German Occupied France where Alizée's family struggled to save themselves from the Nazis. And remember, this is a work of fiction, though you'll think it isn't. Find out what happened to Alizée when she went missing.