Saturday, December 16, 2017

Adventure Scrapbook – Cienfuegos, #Cuba

Cienfuegos is located on Bahía de Cienfuegos, a bay on Cuba’s south coast. It's known for its colonial-era buildings. In this city of approximately 150,000 you’ll see quite a few of the classic American cars the country is known driving down cobblestone streets alongside horse-drawn carts. It’s an interesting city for anyone wishing to venture away from Havana.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Adventure Scrapbook – Key West, #Florida

On a recent trip to Key West I was pleased to see few signs of Hurricane Irma’s passing. The town did not take a direct hit and fared better than I had expected. There were a few uprooted trees here and there and one house we saw was pretty much totaled by a very large tree which had blown over on its roof. The most significant signs of the recent storm were the wrecked boats which had been hauled ashore and a number of boats that had been blown up onto the beaches or shallows of nearby islands. All-in-all, Key West was as beautiful and vibrant as ever.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Book Bling

I don’t have a date for the release of A Foundation of Fear yet, though I believe it will be late winter or early spring 2018. It’s difficult not to get excited once the cover design is complete, so I ordered bookmarks that cover the entire Risky Research Series and thought I’d share those with everyone. So, if you haven’t read A Dose of Danger (book 1) or A Taste of Tragedy (book 2), I hope you will before the third novel in the series is released. Thanks!

Click on either book title to be taken directly to the books page on Amazon.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Complex #Cuba

Es complicado. You hear that a lot in Cuba and it’s a pretty accurate assessment of the culture and politics of this country. The streets in the major cities are filled with brightly colored classic American cars, but under the hood many have a mismatched assortment of replacement parts, including engines, that are everything but American. From the smallest village to Havana you’ll also see an eclectic mix of horse drawn conveyances. The colonial architecture is abundant and beautiful, but most buildings are in a severe state of disrepair with no funds available for restoration. The locals I visited with touted their free health care and education. The literacy rate in Cuba far surpasses most other countries in the region. In some respects, I looked around and thought that life is much better than we’ve been led to believe. Then I remind myself of the lives lost trying to cross a hundred miles of open ocean to reach Florida, so life, at least for some, is not good. It’s clear that the country is changing, many claim not quickly enough, but then again, it’s complicated. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

A Christmas Kind of Perfect

Please join me in welcoming Christine Schimpf to my blog. I’m excited to share with everyone a little more about Christine and her upcoming Christmas novel, A Christmas Kind of Perfect.
Why is A Christmas Kind of Perfect a must read this Christmas season?

The story is set in the quaint village of Sister Bay in Door County, Wisconsin. The Christmas season blankets the village, bringing back to life old memories for Lila and Conrad. But the hurt between them runs deep and the hope for forgiveness feels elusive. The story brings to light how easy mistakes turn into regret and how difficult it is to make things right after they went so wrong.

How much of real life is in this book?
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Write what you know.” For a long time, I thought that meant write what you read but for me, I read everything from mystery, to supernatural thrillers to historicals. I now understand that advice to mean write what you’ve experienced in this life and maybe that’s why I started writing in midlife. I needed some of those real life experiences to draw from.

That leads me to my next question…did you always plan on becoming a writer?
To be honest, no. I graduated from college with a degree in public relations and English writing. While I was interviewing for positions my husband asked me to write his grandparents’ story because it was a “cute love story”. Well, it turned out to be a little more than that because they were born in Europe, suffered through World War II, persecution and immigration leading up to founding a successful family business still in operation today, still family owned. The book, Nick, The Journey of a Lifetime, took me longer than expected but it has touched so many people who have a similar past.

What is your preferred genre to write in?
I started out writing historical fiction with Nick, The Journey of a Lifetime and moved to historical romance with The Ticket. I enjoyed both genres but contemporary romance is a natural fit for me where I can write for hours yet it feels like ten minutes has passed. That’s when you know you’ve found your niche.

Anything on the horizon for you?
Actually yes. In September, I finished a romantic novella entitled, A Perfect Fit, a spin-off romance from A Christmas Kind of Perfect. If accepted, that work will need editing and polishing. The story steps into the life of a young woman who typically chooses the wrong kind of man until she turns the decision over to God. But it’s not always easy letting go, even of behaviors that hurt us.

Presently, I’m working on A Perfect Ending another spin-off romance from A Christmas Kind of Perfect with intentions on finishing that work by summer 2018.  This story peeks in on a woman with a professional career as a literary agent. Her intentions are to keep moving forward and achieving more and more success until God places her in an unexpected situation and turns her world upside down.

Here’s a peek into Christine’s new release, A Christmas Kind of Perfect
Book Blurb:
Conrad Hamilton thought his life would be easy. A great job running his own construction business, living in his hometown in Door County, Wisconsin, with Lila Clark by his side. He planned on marrying her as soon as she returned from her Chicago internship but it never happened.
Lila never expected to become a successful writer nor did she plan on spending the last decade in New York. But she did.
Can the magic of Christmas turn two hearts back to one another again or is it too late to capture that special kind of perfect?  


Chapter 1
Lower Manhattan, New York 

Lila almost tripped over her suitcase as she swept into her apartment. Hand to chest, she willed the panic to subside. It seemed that everywhere she went lately, she saw a tall, broad-shouldered man who reminded her of…him. Her first love. He was even showing up in her dreams. 

Taking a deep breath, she locked the door and kicked off her high-heels. She dragged the suitcase to her bedroom and quickly unpacked as if by doing so she could set memories from ten years ago back in the closet of her mind where they belonged. 

It hadn’t mattered where her book signing was or that she’d been out on the west coast working on the movie versions of her books, Conrad haunted her. 
Ah, the mind of an author was a terrifying place at times. She’d been working too hard. At least that’s the excuse she gave herself. Settling into more comfortable clothes she headed to the kitchen.

Lila walked to the window of her apartment cradling a cup of chamomile tea sweetened with honey. She watched the street traffic below, which reminded her of a busy ant colony. How she wished the city would sleep, if only for one night. Oh, the blessed silence. She’d walk for miles. Better yet, she’d run. Although Lila feared the attempt wouldn’t be easy. Like so many other activities she used to enjoy doing, she’d abandoned running since moving to the Big Apple years ago. 

She padded over to her favorite chair, a chaise longue in dire need of new fabric, and snuggled in like a fat cat finding its spot. The chair stuck out compared to the eclectic-themed room, but Lila refused to reupholster the piece despite the persuasive arguments from her friends. In an odd sort of way, Lila drew comfort from the inanimate object. They shared the same flaw—an inability to fit in with their surroundings. 

Lila’s bones ached. Now that she was back in the city, her life would return to normal. She’d hibernate for the next few weeks and start outlining her next book. Ugh. At this point, she’d much rather clean her uncle’s morning catch of fish. 

Goodness, what had made her think of her uncle? He’d died years ago. 
Reaching for the remote, she flicked on the receiver. Sounds from an acoustic guitar filled the room. Ooh, much better. She placed her emptied cup near her phone on the end table, leaned her head back on the cushion, and stared up at the ceiling. 

Her smartphone buzzed. Ahh. The phone always seemed to ring at the worst of times, scaring her half to death. The clock had barely moved five minutes, and she’d bet her last chocolate donut that her agent Andrea was calling with another idea for a book tour. Lila swiped the call through. With tired eyes and a worn-out spirit, she forced a pleasant tone. Sounding irritated was not how Lila wanted to present herself. “Hello.”

“Hi, I’m calling for Lila Clark.”

Lila’s heart stopped as if she’d skidded on ice and slammed her vehicle into a fire hydrant. This wasn’t Andrea. She recognized the sing-song melody in the caller’s voice, so reminiscent of someone from the past. Was her memory going as well as her stamina? 


Also, make sure you check out the Goodreads Giveaway Christine will be running in December (www.goodreads.com/Christine_Schimpf) for the soft cover format of my book.