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. 









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