Morning Meanderings… New Normal – Official Day One and Brown Bag Author

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Good Morning!  Happy Wednesday!  (Is it crazy that I had to pause there and think what day it was?)  Yesterday was my first real full day of feeling like I was moving into my new role.  I have home space set up, and made a commitment to be in it.  I actually had time to open up a packet of papers that were given to me in mid June as research for my manuscript I am revising.  They have been sitting in the library since they were handed to me and are now in the office and I spent time yesterday reviewing them and making notes. It was a good feeling.

 

 

JOhnathan Friesen, Book JOurney, Sheila DeChantal

Author Johnathan Friesen

This past Monday we had an exciting author at the Brainerd Public Library.  Author Johnathan Friesen (pronounced “free-zen”) spoke at our library about his books, and read from his most recent book, Mayday (LOVE the cover!)

I had never read or listened to Johnathan Friesen before and I for one was excited to have him at the library as a YA author.  He started out with sharing a very powerful story about his childhood and Tourette’s syndrome.  I think most of the room was in tears – and then he turned it around into his passion for writing.  At this stage in my life, what he said really resonated with me.  He spoke with intelligence and I found myself scribbling on a napkin (I know, I know, you would think I would be more prepared!) to capture some of the things he said…

…and when she left my room, she took something with her.  Almost like a magnet it stuck to the back of her shirt…. when she left, the hate I had felt for myself left with her.  ~ Johnathan Friesen

 

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Johnathan was a delightful speaker!  He was animated and funny and can really channel his inner child! While he spoke about each of his books I found myself trying to choose which I wanted to read, they all in one way or another spoke to me.  His book Jerk California is about a boy with Tourette’s.  This Schneider Family Book Award winner changed the face of Tourette’s Syndrome for modern teens.

When the event was over, the crowd of 44 people gathered around to but his books.  I always wait to be last to make sure everyone has the opportunity to pick up the books that they want.  I left this event with:

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If you ever have the chance to hear Johnathan speak, I highly recommend you do.  I was very impressed with his style and look forward to digging into his books!

 

 

 

 

Little Lies by Heather Gudenkauf

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Social Worker Ellen Moore is awaken from her warm deep sleep to take a call that brought her full attention to the true cold dark world that surrounded her. A woman’s body was found in the park next to the statue of Leto, the Goddess of Motherhood.  More disturbing, the woman’s 4-year-old son was next to his dead mother, cold and alone.  Much like a case that took place thirteen years earlier with another mother, and another child in the same spot.  Ellen leaves the warmth of her husband’s side and quietly walks by each of her three children’s rooms to go to the scene of the crime.

Ellen’s job is to take care of the child, but she can not help but wonder what the connections are to the past.  You never know when you are playing it safe, or when you may find yourself confronted by a killer who knows you are getting a little too close to the truth for comfort.

 

 

I recently read and reviewed Heather Gudenkauf’s book Little Mercies which also is about protagonist Ellen Moore and a case involving child endangerment.  I enjoyed that book very much and was interested in this novella prequel with the main characters that I had enjoyed so much previously.

While I enjoyed the case and the story line, I was reminded once again why I do not usually engage in these prequels.  They place too much in the pages too fast, which I understand is the way it needs to be in a 400 page novella.  I think this would have made a wonderful full size book, there was plenty of good content to make it so.

If you enjoy Heather Gudenkauf’s writing and do not mind the occasional short story with great characters, this would be a book I would recommend.  Powerful storyline, just a little quick on the wrap up for me.

 

 

  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 5/1/2014
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 400

 

Morning Meanderings… A New Normal

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Good Morning and happy Tuesday!

Another beautiful day is appearing here in Central Minnesota.  I love sitting at my table and looking out the window while I write in the mornings, catch up on emails, and prep for my day.

This week kicks off new rhythms to my day and I am working on setting new habits and treating my now “stay at home” job, as a “get up, get ready, and go” job.  In other words – I have a set time to get to work which is now in a downstairs office, and takes me about 30 seconds to get to.  I know as time goes on I will probably loosen the reigns as I figure out what works best for me and still allowing me to put in the time I need to so the deadlines are met; but for now.. this is the training period and I enjoy the discipline of the consistency.

Yesterday, Justin was in town, that College boy who is now my Graduated boy.  We had lunch together, caught up and then came back to the house where he helped me set up the desk in my office.  I bought a desk last fall from a friend and have left it set in pieces for the last 8 months.  The pieces were too large to put together on my own and Al and I never committed to putting it together.  It was in the spare room and out of sight… out of mind.  :)

Here are pics of what it looked like put together:

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There is the basic shell of the office.  I need some pictures on the wall and some personal effects, but it is enough of an office to get me excited about going out and buying pretty pens, yellow note pads and files for the filing cabinet.  (It doesn’t take much to make me happy!  :D  )

 

Reading and even listening to audio have taken a back burner lately but I listened to audio last night as I set up the office and I have it on this morning so hopefully I am around the corner on that dry spell.

Hope your Tuesday is wonderful!  Any new adventures out there you are starting?  Any advice from those of you who write at home or have jobs that allow you to work from home?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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Hey there!  Welcome to It’s Monday, What Are You Reading!

I love being a part of this and I hope you do too!  As part of this weekly meme I love to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme. Fair warning… this meme tends to add to your reading list!

Late one coming up tonight… busy weekend and came home this afternoon to a bit of a yard mess, apparently while we were away someone ran off the road yesterday, took out our mailbox and a few trees on the edge of our property.

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Here is what I posted this past week:

The 50 Mile Bike Ride

Book Exchange – How It Works and Why It Is Awesome

 

Lethal by Sandra Brown

Ugh… what a week.  Apparently I posted pretty much nothing.  Hopefully this week will be a better one.  I am on the verge of a couple of audio books ending and I did finish a book tonight.  July has turned out to be just a hard month all around and my focus has been off.

Here are my plans for this week:

 

For My Ears:

Currently I am listening to two different audio books and both are dragging.   :(  The one in the car is almost over and I will then tune in to:

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When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.

I hope this one is good… I am a bit concerned that it is written in verse and prose…. we will see.

 

 

 

For My Eyes:

 

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I am still reading California.  I don’t think it is the book – I think it is me…. I am just not focusing and it is s-l-o-w going.  Onward!  :)

 

 

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Always let the meat rest under foil for at least ten minutes before carving… Meet Lizzie Prain. Ordinary housewife. Fifty-something. Lives in a cottage in the woods, with her dog Rita. Likes cooking, avoids the neighbours. Runs a little business making cakes. No one has seen Lizzie’s husband, Jacob, for a few days. That’s because last Monday, on impulse, Lizzie caved in the back of his head with a spade. And if she’s going to embark on the new life she feels she deserves after thirty years in Jacob’s shadow, she needs to dispose of his body. Her method appeals to all her practical instincts, though it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Ok somebody reviewed this in recent months… Kathy was it you?  I thought it sounded funny – plus it might scare Al.  ;)

 

and if all goes well….

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Off The Beaten Page encourages avid readers, particularly those in book clubs and in other groups, to leave the security of their living rooms and seek to experience in person the places they’ve read about. Inspired by years of excursions with her own book club, award-winning journalist Terri Peterson Smith offers lively, expert guidance through fifteen US destinations ideal for anyone eager to mix their love of travel and quality time with friends or family with their desire for meaningful cultural experiences.

Off the Beaten Page includes

- Ideas for simple literary field trips close to home

- Practical advice for planning stress-free group travel

- Thoughtful essays describing each destination’s literary heritage and attractions

 

I have been chatting with author Terri Peterson Smith for a few months now and she spoke at our library last week.  She is fun and full of energy and she makes you want to pack your bag and have what she is having!  Cant wait to dig in!

 

 

This week is one that you would think would be a little quieter for me as I just left my job of 10+ years… but no… it’s actually a CRAZY week.  Today I am trying to complete setting up my home office (the desk is a pain in the butt!), and I have an author at the Library I need to introduce and then College Son is in town so we are meeting for lunch and hanging out this afternoon and catching up – I have not seen him since May when he graduated.

Tuesday I plan to be using the office I am working so hard to finish today and breaking out that manuscript that has sat around for far too long.  Tuesday evening I have our last Wine and Words meeting where we will walk off the site and lay out the final plans.

Wednesday and Thursday should be mainly in the office (I am trying to set up a routine and not break from it), and one of those evenings I need to connect with a friend of mine who had a birthday last week.

Friday, at some point I am leaving for Wisconsin with friends to do the mud run for MS on Saturday morning… then I am back to Brainerd Saturday afternoon and go directly to Camp Benedict to participate in the 2nd day of the AIDS ride, the first time in 5 years that I have missed part of this but had a double commitment.

Yup, this week is wild but next week should hopefully start to feel a bit more normal and not as much going on next week during the days.

Please add your link below to what you are reading and what you hope to be reading this next week,

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

For those of you who read mainly children and middle grade books, please also feel free to add your link here:

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Snapshots of The 50 Mile Bike Ride and a WINNER Announced

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Good morning!  Happy Saturday.  I have some fun pics to post from last weekends bike ride for todays Saturday Snapshot.  My friend Amy and I try to do the Tour Of Saints every year.  It is a 50 mile bike ride that takes places in St Joseph Minnesota, a beautiful little town about an hour and 15 minutes from where we live.

Normally, by the time we do this ride in July we have a few rides in for the season… not this year.  We have both been so busy that the first time I was on my bike this year was the night before the ride when I took it a couple of miles down the road and back to make sure it was riding smooth.

So… off we went:

 

Sheila DeChantal, Amy Price, Book JOurney

This above pic is at the first pit stop.  We were a little over 11 miles in, it was already becoming WARM out and there was some annoying wind happening.

AMy Price, Book JOurney

The next pit stop was at mile 25 and by this time it was HOT but the direction we were going was with the wind to our backs so it was a nicer leg of the ride and we were feeling pretty optimistic.

 

Tour Of Saints, Book JOurney

Just about every year I brag about the fruit on this ride.  They always have beautiful strawberries.  This year for me it was more about the grapes (which were delicious!) and of course, I did not take a picture of.

 

St Joseph Minnesota, Tour Of Saints, Sheila DeChantal, Book JOurney

This fun little straw (twig?) house was here last year too.  It is pretty cool.  Last year we walked through it but this year we just stopped and took a couple of pictures and took off again, the wind was once again in our face.

 

The last 20 miles of the ride were tough.  It was pretty wide open fields we were riding by and the sun was baking us like ants under a magnifying glass.  Between the sun and the wind we were moving pretty slow and by the time we were done we were really DONE.

It is always a good time but it was a tough ride this year probably also because we had not trained… but we are stubborn so we did it. :D

 

Check out other Saturday Snapshots here.

 

I also need to announce a winner from the Page Girls Birthday Week post I put up earlier this week.  If you have not went over and checked them out yet, please do – they are posting fun articles!

The winner of the book and coasters is:  (using random.org)

 

A Curious Gal! 

YAY!  Please send me your shipping info and I will pass it on to have the coasters sent to you and I will email you the code for the book. :)

That’s it.  Have a super rest of your weekend. I am at the cabin until Sunday later afternoon and have no internet there so will be back in touch after I return.

Morning Meandering… The Afterwards and Open Doors

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Good morning!

Jiminy Crickets life is cra-zy.  And yes, pretty sure that is the first time I have ever used Jiminy Crickets in a sentence.

Yesterday was my last day on the job I had for 10 years and 5 months. It was a bitter-sweet last day with a staff lunch and everyone went around and said a favorite memory they have with me… that was fun and it was perfect just to keep the lunch light enough so I was not a swarm of tears the whole time.  :)  As you can probably imagine… more than a few of the favorite memories had to do with office pranks, and chasing birds; but there were also ones having to do with the way I had a smile for everyone, and no matter what was going on in my life I didn’t let it get me down, willing to give anything a go no matter how crazy it seemed, integrity, and having a heart for the hurting….being able to see things in people that sometimes others can not see.  That is my take away… fond memories and it was awesome to hear what they see in me.

It is weird to be on the other side of that now.  It’s crazy to think come Monday morning I will not be heading across town into work, but instead working on setting up a routine and discipline of heading down stairs into my home office.  It is a wildly exciting and at the same time a little frightening too.

I am doing this…. after years of talking about it…. I am doing it.

EEP!

And here is the cool things about all that.  I have had offers come in to write for magazines.  I am working with a newspaper in the cities as well.  Just this morning I received an amazing email from a fellow reviewer and author who is working on two pretty cool things that she invited me to partake in that could lead to bigger things. And if I can have my book ready to submit again by August 12th  I can take part in a pool of books that are being selected for publication and marketing.  Holy smokes!!!!  I have to get moving! Things that I normally would have to politely decline but now instead can consider and even say yes to.  A couple of my friends have come forward this week and offered me flexible positions in their businesses if I need any supplemental income during this transition because they too want me to be able to write and follow my passion.

Anyhoo…

here I am.

This morning I am working on setting up the office and a few things around the house.  I am planning to take off for the cabin this afternoon – hopefully.

What’s on your agenda for this weekend?

 

 

 

 

LETHAL by Sandra Brown

LETHAL Sandra Brown, Sheila DeChantal, Book JOurney

 

Honor Gillette is a young widower of a Police Officer.  She now lives alone with her 4-year-old daughter trying hard to provide a stable life for them both.  When a man is found laying in their yard apparently harmed Honor goes to help him only to discover that he is the man flashed across the tv screen that the police are looking for the murder of 7 people, Lee Coburn.

Lee takes Honor and her daughter hostage in their own home, promising if they cooperate he will not hurt them.  Honor has no choice but to do as he says. As the days unfold Honor realizes that Coburn is much more than what the media is saying… in fact as Honor is about to learn – nothing is as it seems and who to trust, including those closest to her becomes the burning question.

How do you run away from the very people who days earlier would have been the ones you would run to?

 

 

 

I read this book as part of our June book exchange for book club.  This is the book that I picked out of the pile of wrapped books.  I had attempted Sandra Brown a few years back thinking I would like her writing style but struggled and had not finished the book, or picked her up since.  This was going to be another attempt.

 

LETHAL was an ok read.  From the moment Honor finds Coburn in her yard and takes her hostage I started having a little Labor Day by Joyce Maynard feeling.  Both books had single mom’s and a single child, both books the woman was taken hostage…. While in many ways the books are not alike, there was just enough there to make me feel like I had been here before.

The storyline felt a bit over the top, however I did find the book to be interesting enough to keep me going to find out what was going to happen.  When I shared my thoughts with my book club in July about this book I called it a steamier version of Labor Day.  In the end I preferred Lee Coburn’s character over Henry in Labor Day.  Coburn was someone I could cheer on…. Henry… not so much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morning Meanderings… CHANGES. Stay Awake For It

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Life is strange.

Stay awake for it.  ;)

I am sitting here this morning pajama clad and coffee ready.  It is the start of what looks to be another beautiful day.  I feel much like I am on the brink of something new and exciting but at the same time I am all knotted up inside.

Tomorrow will be my last day at a job that I have had for over ten years.  It is something I have given a lot of thought too… prayed over for the last couple of months… and finally took the step I needed to.  Current life happenings helped me make the final decision… (life has a funny way of doing that).

While sentimental Sheila is sad to move on from something she really enjoyed, realistic and adventurous Sheila knows it is the right thing to do.  It is possible to be sad and excited all rolled into one.  Future plans include setting up my home office, putting my writing back on track, and being able to say yes to a few offers that have come in that I had to say no to in the past.

Life also…

is never dull.

Last weekend my friend Amy and I were on the Tour Of Saints bike ride which we do every year.  I will talk more about the ride on Saturday morning but for now, I want to talk about the coffee. :) mmmmm coffee.

I picked up coffee the morning of the ride at Carribou Coffee and saw they had a promotion going on for people who took pictures of whatever they were doing with their coffee and hast tagged it #stayawakeforit.  Always game for new things I figured why not.  I would think leaving in the early hours on a Sunday morning for a what was going to be a sweltering hot day would be worthy…

Sheila DeChantal, Amy Price

#stayawakeforit

 

Life… is not always easy.  But is can be adventurous, and fun, and as I mentioned above…. never – NEVER dull.  Stay awake for it.  ;)

 

What are your “stay Awake For It” moments happening right now?

The Book Exchange.. How It Works And Why It Is Awesome

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The book club I am part of (The Bookies) have had a fun exchange that we have taken part in for the past three years.  I recently posted about it here.  It is a lot of fun and a great summer break idea for your book club or for you and your friends just to read really great books.

Here is the basic layout of how to do it.

  • Pick a date when you ask each person in your group to bring a wrapped book to the group.  (*we encourage brown wrap so people do not choose by the packaging ;) )
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY – The book everyone brings NEEDS to be a book the giver has read and liked very much if not LOVED.
  • Inside the front cover of the book place a post it note saying why you loved the book so much and if you want the receiver to keep it or return it after is read.

 

At your gathering you each choose a book and what you pick is what you read.  When you meet up again, you each share the book you read, who gave it to you and what you thought of it.  It is a lot of fun.

 

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Our group does this every June so in July during our annual picnic, we share what we each read instead of a whole group book review like we do the rest of the year.

 

collage for BJ

 

This year some of the books that made this exchange were:

 

Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts

Burial Rights by Hannah Kent

Night by Elie Wiesel

Delicious by Ruth Reichl

Lethal by Sandra Brown  (this is the book I picked out of the pile)

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Boy In The Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

City Of Bones by Cassandra Claire

That Night by Chevy Stevens

 

My favorite part of the whole process is to listen to what everyone thinks about the books.  As you can see above we had some pretty amazing books in the group and a couple really deep ones (Night and Boy In The Striped Pajamas – two books that I think everyone must read.  For the most part everyone really enjoyed the book they picked.  As readers, at least I know for myself… I love it when a freind recommends that next great read.

Morning Meanderings… SQQQQUUEEEE Package In The Mail!

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Mmmmmmmm coffee.

It was a long stormy night here.  By the time I went to bed the wind was picking up and a lot of thunder and lightning. With temps in the 90’s and the high humidity as well it had been said that we could get winds up to 70 miles per hour in this storm which yes… is a bit concerning.  I sat up in bed and watched out the window for a while worried about my trees, deck furniture, the wild rabbits….

alas, sleep won over.

This morning, things look good.

There are a few branches around but all is well.  I walked out and checked my crazy apple tree too; the one I have propped up with stakes to help its heavy branches and it is fine.

*whew*

 

In other news…. don’t you love receiving packages in the mail?  I love it!  Books thrill me…. every time.  It never gets old!  And the occasional package shipped from a friend or a fellow book lover is another level of exciting!  These are a little more personal because they are planning something just for the receiver.

I had signed up for The Book Monsters Christmas In July for just this reason.  I was given my swap partner which was Tula at Primary School Library Diva, we exchanged a wish list and a little bit about ourselves.  SO FUN! 

My package arrived yesterday…

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Fun right?  YAY!!!  The Rowell book is one from my wish list!  SUPER exciting stuff!  A fun magazine, Skittles, and a cute little card.  Thank you Tula!  LOVE it!!!  I hope you love yours too :)

 

Finally this morning, I hope you seen my post I put up yesterday afternoon about the Page Girls Birthday Week and Giveaway.  It is pretty sweet and a fun site to check out.  (And to be clear the pic is of my blowing a party horn…. lol… there has been some confusion about what is in my mouth or in front of my face. )  :D

Have a super Tuesday!

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