I'm looking at another move, this time out of state and to a place I've never lived before. This is the second time this has happened in my life. When I married in the early 80's, I left behind Ohio for Michigan. While I only knew one person, I quickly learned to love my new hometown. I believe this gives me a unique perspective on what a person is willing to do for love.
Have you ever moved away from home with your husband and only him? Left behind your family and friends?
In Amanda Marin's new release, North to Nara, she explores what one young couple is willing to give up for love. It's more than just moving, though. Her story is about the quest for a society where everyone is allowed to live freely. This is such an important piece in light of our own world these days.
I hope you will pick up your own copy and share with me what you think of this Dystopian romance which felt a lot like Hunger Games mixed with The Handmaid's Tale.
Behind the beauty is heartache... unless their love can save them.
Neve Hall has always admired the good works of the civil servants who brought prosperity back to the Nation. She especially respects the Sufferers—empaths who, with the help of technology, anonymously bear others’ troubles for them. But when her assigned empath is abruptly retired, she uncovers certain secrets. Like the identity of her new Sufferer, Micah Ward... and the fact that behind his kind smile is a life filled with loneliness and pain.
The closer Neve grows to Micah, the more desperate she becomes to protect him from a cruel and gruesome fate. But in a world where only a few are allowed the luxury of love, saving Micah comes with a price: Neve must choose between her loyalty to the Nation or her heart—a decision that will take them both on a race for their freedom, and their lives.
I have no way of knowing if my attempt to keep pain from Micah has worked—I don’t, at least, until a couple days later, when he visits me again in the butterfly exhibit. We walk around the museum corridors once more, this time in a different direction, on a different floor—through an exhibit on horses. And we talk.
“Did you suppress things this week at the Center?” He asks this almost immediately, after he tells me the director still hasn’t made a decision about his punishment.
I bite my lip and glance away, trying to distract myself by examining a prehistoric drawing of a pony. If I admit the truth, Micah might ask me more questions. He might ask why I did it. And even though I know the answer—because I think it’s cruel what the Nation has done to him, because I like being near him, and because I almost certainly care more about him than I should—the idea of telling him all this scares me.
“Yes,” I say, my voice small and timid. “How did you know?”
“It felt different this time,” he explains softly. “It was easier. Less painful.”
I look up at him again. “Then I’m glad,” I tell him. “That was what I hoped for.”
He pauses, and I see the confusion in his face, the way it knits his eyebrows closer together. He’s never had a Sieve suppress feelings to protect him before, I’m sure. He’s only ever had them take from him. He doesn’t quite seem to know what to make of it.
“You know you don’t have to do that, right…?” he asks.
Micah’s quiet a moment as we continue walking, probably guessing correctly the reasons for my suppression, whether I say them out loud or not. I’ve been paper-thin to him since our first Suffering session, after all: he’s always seen through me. Then, as we round a corner, his hand brushes against mine. His fingertips gently graze against my knuckles, testing to see if I pull away.
Instead, I slip my hand into his.
And he smiles.
Be Sure to Grab Your Own Copy Today!
About the Author:
When Amanda was a child, her father traveled frequently for business, always bringing her back a book as a present. Whether she was getting lost in the pages of a tale about far-away knights, girls with supernatural powers, or kindly giants, she was quickly hooked on stories.
Over the years, Amanda has followed her own yellow brick road of reading and writing, and although her adventures haven't involved sword fights or saving the planet from certain annihilation, they have involved jobs in scholarly publishing and marketing, a modest amount of travel, and a lifelong love of novels.
Amanda holds degrees in English from Salve Regina University and Boston College. She lives in southern New Hampshire with her family and a precocious pet poodle named Snickers.
Luke Perry’s passing did one thing right in my book. More than sharing how important it is for healthy living, Luke’s death put the focus on how a blended family should work. Even at the lowest times in our lives, we need our family around us. When Luke passed, his ex-wife and the mother of his children were at his bedside along with his fianceé and children. In the days that followed, both women were seen having lunches together with the children as they grieved as a family.
As a divorced mom who remarried, I understand the anger and despair in dealing with your ex-spouse. Obviously there was a reason why you aren’t together anymore. It wasn’t a decision made lightly by anyone, especially if there are children involved. Please know that if you left a bad situation due to violence or abuse, then this doesn’t fit you and I’m not saying that my beliefs work for everyone. However, Luke’s death showed how it is possible to put the past behind you for important events.
When my daughter and son graduated high school or when my daughter married, my ex and I put aside any anger or resentment and hosted the events as a team, working to make sure the happiest days for my children were ones they could look back on with fondness. Why can’t it be that way for the end of life? I had a life with my ex-husband. We’d been married for twenty years and though we had issues, he was at one point, the most important person in my life. Why wouldn’t I want him there when I leave my mortal body and ascend to Heaven? It doesn’t mean that my current husband is less in my heart, but it sets a wonderful precedent for my own children. Love triumphs over everything else.
Thank you to Luke’s family who understood what was really important in his final moments. They set a precedent which I feel we should all live up to.
We've been with Country Music Superstar, Finn Murphy and his wife, Lara for many adventures. We've seen how loss and love have shaped their marriage. We've seen happy times and bumpy roads. Now it's time to let these two amazing characters lead a quieter life. But this isn't really goodbye, more like until we see you again.
West Virginia, New York, Tennessee…Lara and Finn Murphy have lived in all of these places. And thanks to Finn’s career as a country music singer, they have had the opportunity to explore many more. But what they have discovered along the many roads traveled, is that the only real place that matters is where each other is—that is the place they belong.
The pair will need to hold onto that truth as they face their greatest challenges yet. On top of dealing with Pop’s terminal illness, Lara and Finn’s young daughter is caught up in an emergency situation. The traumatic event not only scratches at old wounds but brings an unwanted public spotlight on the family.
Amongst the emotional upheaval, can they find sanctuary and comfort in each other? Will they learn to reconcile what has happened in the past to find peace in the present? Can they finally and completely let each other in?
And, will their road of life, full of detours and U-turns, finally have a happily ever after?
The final book in the Country Roads series, THE PLACE I BELONG, will take you on an emotional, heartfelt journey.
Captain Marvel finally arrived in theaters to a large round of applause on International Women's Day. With a nod toward strong women and the friendships they cultivate. You can check out my review on my Movie Review page or listen to my review on Monday on the radio station, WHMI.
Happy Book Birthday, Laurel Houck!!
Becoming a published author isn't an easy task. First you have to have an idea, then comes the hard part... you have to actually finish the book. Many people have wonderful ideas but they never put their behinds in the chair and complete their writing. A new idea comes around or they let their negative tape get in the way. But you MUST finish a book in order to become an author.
Edits, querying and more edits. All of those are things that occur before you become an author. Cover art is selected and you establish your brand. Whew, are you tired yet? Becoming a published author isn't for the faint of heart...but today we have another new member to the club! Laurel Houck...
Some say you never forget your first kiss... but really, you never forget your first book!
The Girl with Chameleon Eyes
It’s an abrupt, uncomfortable incarnation for Summer, the ghostly girl with chameleon eyes. Exotic hues roil in her gaze as she seeks to recall what awful sin in her past has doomed her to roam the earth. And to discover what—or who—will bring her to eternal rest.
Kota, brunt of bad jokes because he’s different, feels an instant connection to Summer. She recoils at the mere sight of him. Yet they are drawn together in a dance of mutual need, choreographed by the ages.
As Summer grows more attached to both her young foster brother and to Kota’s friend, Preston, she struggles against complacency. Until discovering that if she doesn’t expiate the guilt on her soul by her seventeenth birthday, she will roam forever.
For her, it’s hate at first sight. For him, it’s instant attraction. When the pieces of their lives begin to unravel and intertwine, will love be enough to save them both? Or will evil decide their future?
My vapor solidifies with no warning whatsoever. Abrupt. Compact. Unexpected.
I’m near a dumpster that squats behind a floodlit Sheetz gas station, the stench of hot dog grease and burnt coffee strong in my nostrils. My feet are last to materialize, so that for a moment when I look down, I’m floating about five inches above the pavement, white mist above black asphalt.
With the physical transformation comes the rest of it. Light and cool converts to heavy and hot. Yearning and searching morphs to fear and uncertainty. Naked and misty transforms to flesh-bound and clothed. I’m grateful for the garments that cover my skin, even if how that happens is a mystery to me.
The nausea and dizziness are stronger than the last time I can recall. I lean against the dumpster and slide to the ground, knees up, head in my hands. It will pass soon. I hope.
“Miss, are you okay?” A deep voice rumbles above the traffic noise. The tall, ruddy-faced cop is standing over me, wearing a black uniform and a hat with a band of navy and gold squares. “I’m Officer Sullivan. Did someone hurt you?”
“I’m fine.” I scramble to my feet, glad it’s dim in the shadow of the dumpster. I’m still shaky and have no clue what color has risen in my eyes. Between the lights and my startling arrival, anything is possible.
I keep my head down. What can I tell him? I know that I used to be alive, that now I’m a ghost, and that I’m searching for something to expiate my guilt over...what? Beyond that, fuzzy at best.
About the Author:
Laurel has been writing since the age of six, when Crawls the Caterpillar inched across her lined notebook paper propelled by a fat yellow pencil. She has published magazine and newspaper articles as well as blog posts with All The Way YA, SEAPC.org, and on her website. Her portfolio includes multiple children’s stories in a variety of genres. She has two Young Adult novels—both paranormal romances—with Inkspell Publishing.
In addition to writing, her passion is for travel to exotic locations around the globe. The people she meets, the places she visits, and the quirky way she looks at life all inspire her work. She loves complex characters and intricate plots that mesh into multifaceted books, melding romance, mystery, adventure, and history.
Laurel was a chosen participant at Better Books, a craft-based workshop near San Francisco. She is active in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and has been a presenter at their Fall SCBWI Conference In Pittsburgh.
When she’s not deep into a writing project, Laurel is a medical missions’ nurse, traveling for Southeast Asia Prayer Center, Hope in Haiti, Caring Hearts, and Convoy of Hope. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, with her husband and their fur baby, Mabel. All of that, plus she’s the world’s biggest fan of chocolate milkshakes and hugs.
Facebook: Laurel Houck
Over the past decade, Tyler Perry has wowed audiences with his Madea character who said exactly what was on her mind. With A Madea Family Funeral, Tyler is ready to move on and put Madea to rest.
You can catch my review on Monday morning at 8:40 am on WHMI or you can read my review on my Movie Review Page.
Does anyone think Tyler is copying Eddie Murphy??
Musings from Michigan