365 Challenge: Day 343 – Grateful (Author Alert: Russ Towne)

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Grateful: (a) feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful, or (b) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — Russ Towne

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If you are new to the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, the 365 Daily Challenge, or the Author Alert segment, check out the About Site section from the main menu. Below are some key things to know about this author, but at the end of this post you’ll see the permanent page I’ve added to my blog. You can return to check out more on who he is, what he’s writing, and how to buy his future work. I am pleased to present the very talented Russ Towne. You’ll find out more if you read one of his published books, but as two teasers, read the reviews I’ve already written on his children’s books Wilbur the Duck Who Flew Upside Down and Sir Alex Sleighs a Dragon.

Russ is an incredibly gifted writer and a true gentleman. He and I connected about 4 months ago through a fellow blogger who thought we might want to chat given we both worked in the business world and turned to writing at some point in our careers. We followed one another’s blogs, chatted a bit, then he sent me two of his books (hardcover)! I was so excited when they arrived in the mail. After I read the first one, I brought it with me to visit family in Louisiana and shared it with younger nephews and nieces who will in turn share it with others. I have his second book on my shelf and will show it to friends with kids when they visit me in NYC. His books are beyond creative… they have lessons children can learn in a fun way.

He’s quite prolific as you’ll see below… and I am excited to check out some of his other fiction. Let’s turn today’s blog over to him and see what he has to say…


I began writing my first book when our first grandchild was announced, and released the book about 5 years ago. I now have five grandchildren and have written over six times as many books. I had no idea my first experience as an author would lead to a passion that grabbed me and never let go.

I know this may sound hokey to many, but I creatively go where the whispers of my heart send me, and passion is the fuel that inspires me to fly. If my passion for a project wanes, I set it aside and work on something else for as long as the new one continues to flow freely beneath my creative wings.

I often have several projects at various stages of development. I now have five: Two children’s picture books and three fiction genres for grownups including suspenseful crime drama, a magic/fantasy stories anthology, and comedy crime suspense stories.

I’m a romantic. All of my children’s stories have happy endings and nearly all of my stories for adults do as well. The latter often feature a touch of romance (though they are by no means romance novels as I understand the term.)

I love writing so much that many nights in my sleep I find myself dream-writing, and the dream progresses replaying sequences over and over again until I’m satisfied. Pieces of many of my dreams have ended up in some of my books.

I co-wrote songs for a few years before I began to write books. You can hear several them by typing my name “Russ Towne” into the YouTube search field. My songs are nearly as eclectic as my books.

{Alert Interruption from Jay: I listened to one at a time I needed a lift — it is wonderful}

My current projects include:

  • Mysti Z’s Magical Day children’s picture book scheduled for release February 21, 2018.

 

  • Sunny Saves the Day a children’s picture book scheduled for release February 28, 2018.

 

  • Blood Oaths a fiction anthology of suspenseful crime drama stories scheduled for release March 31, 2018.

 

  • Other projects I’m developing but which aren’t as far along include:

 

  • (Title TBD) an anthology of Magic/Fantasy stories.

 

  • Elm Street Ladies Club stories about a group of little old ladies that get into all kinds of predicaments, part comedy and part crime solvers/suspense.

 

 ***

Author Bio

Russ lives with his wife in Campbell, California, USA. They’ve been married since 1979, have three adult children and five grandchildren. His passions include family, friends, writing and investing. Russ wrote his first book in 2013 when he was fifty-six and has written and published dozens of books that can be found on Amazon.com and elsewhere.

 

Russ delights in seeing the expressions on the faces of young children and their loved ones as they experience his children’s picture, early reader, and chapter books. He enjoys reading his stories in classrooms, schools, libraries, and anywhere young children gather. Russ revels in interacting with youngsters, answering their questions, and inspiring a love within them for the magic of reading and writing.

 

Russ savors experiencing nature, especially near rivers and streams that run through giant redwood groves, and near beautiful beaches. He enjoys watching classic movies, reading, and visiting his tiny fern garden and redwood grove. Russ greatly enjoys managing the investments of Clients of the wealth management firm he founded in 2003.

 

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Key Links

Amazon Author Page

 

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Bibliography

The titles of the books he has written, compiled, and published include:

Books for Young Children:

  •  Sunny Saves the Grumpadinkles
  •  Mysti Z’s Magical Day
  •  Wilbur the Duck Who Flew Upside Down
  •  Sir Alex Sleighs a Dragon
  •  Flora Belle and Dreami Dragon
  •  The Beach that Love Built
  •  A Day in the Shade of a Tickletoe Tree
  •  Zach and the Toad Who Rode a Bull
  •  V. G. and Dexter Dufflebee
  •  Ki-Gra’s REALLY, REALLY BIG Day!
  •  Clyde and Friends
  •  Clyde and Hoozy Whatzadingle
  •  Clyde and I Help a Hippo to Fly
  •  Rusty Bear and Thomas, Too
  •  Clyde and I

Non-Fiction:

  • Honest, Honey, That’s How It Happened
  • Stop Peeing in the Kitty Litter!
  • Slices of Life An anthology of the selected non-fiction stories of several writers.
  • Reflections from the Heart of a Grateful Man

Fiction:

  • It Was Her Eyes A novella
  • Touched Short stories and flash fiction
  • Palpable Imaginings An anthology of stories by several writers in various genres.

 Poetry:

  • Kaleidoscope

 

To see more about Russ Towne on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out his dedicated author page where future content and books will added as he publishes them and I review them. Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.


 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Book Review: Still Me by Jojo Moyes

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Why This Book 
I enjoyed the first two books in the ‘Me Before You’ series, then I won the third one, Still Me, by Jojo Moyes, in a Goodreads Giveaway. I was quite excited and nervous, as I adored the first book but thought the second was just decent/good. I am very glad to say this third one is much closer to the first!

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Approach & Style 
I read an advance copy of this ~378 page paperback novel in about 5 hours during a two day period. It goes very quickly as the story is quite intriguing — the writing feels effortlessly natural. It’s broken into ~35 chapters, which makes each about ten pages long. The book is told in first person POV with the perspective focused on Louisa. A few chapters have letters, emails or news articles to help push the story forward. It’s the third in a series and well-worth the read to spend with the brilliance of the characters and the backdrop.

Plot, Characters & Setting 
Louisa moves to Park Avenue in NYC to help her friend Nathan who looks after an upper class family. She’ll be a ‘friend’ or ‘assistant’ to Agnes, the younger second-wife of Mr. Gopnik who was mentioned in the second book. There are various other staff in the Gopnik household and apartment building who Louisa interacts with, as well as some new friends she makes in NYC. Lou goes home for Christmas to visit her parents and sister, as well as continues to date Sam, the paramedic, from prior books. The story is about her acclimation to a different kind of life than she had in England, as well as the process to help her figure out who she wants to be. Despite all that’s happened to her, she still has more to learn… I love that about this story! There’s romance, mystery, secrets, friendships, touristy fun, and decisions to make.

Key Thoughts 
Jojo Moyes is a phenomenal storyteller. I adore her characters, settings and scenes. I may be partial as I know a lot of the places in the book since it takes place in NYC; however, even when Lou is just wandering around with no real plot, it’s brilliant writing. The setting is always described in the perfect amount of detail with just enough for my imagination to fill in the blanks.

The characters are very real and familiar. I’ve seen them before in reality and other books, but there’s something special about their dialogue and how they relate to one another in this book. I whipped so fast through Still Me, as I just couldn’t put it down…. you think ‘I’ll just spend 30 minutes before bed,’ then find yourself 200 pages in and ready for more!

Lou’s journey is a combination of the first two books. It takes the reality from the second book with the emotions from the first book, then smashes them together in a final wrapper on discovering what makes Lou ‘still me.’

I can’t say enough good things about this book… I won’t spoil the ending, but that may be the only thing that I was a little ‘eh’ on, in terms of how she ends up relationship-wise. In this book, she struggles with long-distance Sam, meets someone new, and has to figure out what’s right for her. Part of me saw a different ending, but this one still worked. Ultimately, I love Lou… she might be one of my favorite literary characters.

Summary 
I will definitely pick up another Moyes book… after the three in this series, I know she’s an author I will enjoy for many years. I’m grateful to the friend who introduced me to this series. 🙂

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
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Book Review: The Dangers of Gingerbread Cookies by Laura Levine

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The Dangers of Gingerbread Cookies, a novella included in a 3-story book, written by Laura Levine is a fun holiday cozy mystery to read. It’s an in-between read that’s part of a larger series focusing on Jaine Austen. In this caper, she’s visiting her parents for the holidays and becomes stuck in the middle of her family’s often meddlesome ways… her cat has decided Jaine’s mother is perfect and Jaine is awful. Jaine’s father is getting in trouble while trying to protect Jaine. And a doctor leads 4 women on until he finally dies during a play rehearsal while acting in a lead role. It’s a short ~100 page story, but fun and easy to read. Jaine sometimes talks directly to the reader but it’s adorable in a charming way. I like her spunk. It makes me want to start reading the entire series. There are only 8 so far… maybe I can handle it!

fluke

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

365 Challenge: Day 342 – Cholesterol

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Cholesterol: a compound of the sterol type found in most body tissues. Cholesterol and its derivatives are important constituents of cell membranes and precursors of other steroid compounds, but a high proportion in the blood of low-density lipoprotein (which transports cholesterol to the tissues) is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease.

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In a post last week, I mentioned I was visiting the doctor for a routine physical and check-up. I received the results yesterday and wasn’t surprised at all. For the most part, all is well — only one issue to address. In my last exam about 18 months ago, they mentioned my cholesterol was approaching the higher end. I understood as I tend to eat a lot of cheese, red meat and desserts. I course-corrected the problem and was back on a good swing for a few weeks to months. Somewhere afterward, I let it all go to a certain place with a certain proverbial hand-basket! I know my family has a few issues with high-cholesterol and heart disease, so I truly have no excuse for letting this go… alas, when the doctor called this time, it was not going in the proper direction. So… as I do with all things I feel uninformed on, I will research all the good and bad foods I should be considering, make a lovely little list to begin keeping the proper foods in the apartment, and deem this a permanent change.

I think the only reason this has shown up as a problem in the last 18 months is because I am now home full-time as opposed to going to an office ten hours per day. I would not snack while at work and I’d usually eat sushi or a healthy salad for lunch. Now… I find myself eating more desserts, pre-packaged foods, cheese and such… I’ll fix it. I need to. It’s important. That’s where I throw it back to you… any advice on good websites or books (or other areas) to help me weed through the facts on what changes I need to make? I have started checking some sites, but there’s way too much detail when I’d rather get a concise list of the do’s and don’ts. I ultimately prefer to trust a few places from people I know who can share their experiences. Thanks in advance!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 341 – Progression

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Progression: the process of developing or moving gradually towards a more advanced state (as in the status of my second book, formerly known as Father Figure)

 

Father Fi (1)

It’s time to share a brief update on the status of my second novel formerly known as Father Figure. Today’s 365 Daily Challenge word is progression as there’s been a phenomenal amount of it for this book in 2018.

  • I’ve narrowed it down to three new title options based on input from various friends and beta readers.
  • It is in the final editing round with a professional editor.
  • It is also with 5 beta readers who are reading the semi-final version.
  • It will go to the publisher in March for review, formatting, and design.
  • I’m thinking through cover options next week.
  • A launch date will hopefully be communicated before March 31st.
  • I can’t even begin to say how excited I am about the changes made in the last 3 months. I am very happy with it!
  • I’ve written a new description (thanks for input from two very important people).

 

New Description

This is the story of two young girls struggling to find acceptance in a world that has chosen either to torture them or to forget them. Through alternating chapters, each girl’s plight unfolds against an emotional backdrop filled with mystery, romance, and suspense. Readers discover the parallels and connections between the girls’ lives as details of the past become known, but they are powerless to prevent an inevitable outcome when history is destined to repeat itself. Each character embarks on a journey to find the strength to overcome all the pain, disappointment, and horror of her experiences, or she will die trying. In a thrilling climax, fate intervenes to force someone to make a dreadful decision that no one should ever be compelled to face in life.

  • Amalia Graeme, sheltered and abused for most her life, longs to escape her family and small Mississippi hometown in 1984. When her older brother returns one summer with his best friend Carter by his side, Amalia is tempted to have her first romantic experience. As they head off to college, she begins questioning her impending loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older professor. After Amalia suffers life-altering, personal tragedies, she searches for a way to escape the emotional prison. No matter where she turns, someone or something always takes away her hope of finding happiness, protection, and love.
  • Brianna Porter, a sassy yet angst-ridden teenager living in New York City in 2004, struggles to choose a college, build confidence in herself, and interpret an intimidating and growing desire for her best friend, Shanelle. For Brianna, these paralytic decisions all stem from desperately needing to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal. Before she can accept her identity and find her life’s purpose, Brianna is desperate to solve the mystery of her father. When Shanelle hires a detective, and they stumble upon her mother’s old journal, Brianna learns a shocking secret about the missing man. She’s suddenly rocked by a truth that could completely change both the future and her relationship with her mother. Unfortunately, by casting the net to find her father, she’s unleashed a tragic history that was meant to stay buried.

My novel tackles the way in which two teenage girls struggle to accept their identities, push beyond claustrophobic relationships with their families, and summon the strength to deal with unexpected hands of fate. Between a desolate southern rural hometown, the volatile and fast-paced New York City, and a small Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, both girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly. One is naïve. The other is desperate. Their losses might crush you. Their wins could inspire you. This is a novel that will excite you to discover how it all comes together… unless it all falls apart.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Book Review: Gingerbread Cookies & Gunshots by Leslie Meier

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This novella was included in a three-story book focused on gingerbread that I received as a holiday present. I read Joanne Fluke’s books, which was the reason I got this one, but I’m getting interested in Leslie Meier‘s Lucy Stone series as a result of this book, Gingerbread Cookies and Gunshots. I read the ~100 page story in a paperback before bed last night in about 45 minutes. It’s a very quick read, a teaser to get fans interested in the larger series. Lucy Stone is a fun character and this was a nice break away from a cozy about murder. Instead, it focused on a kidnapping that ended with a murder. What a twist! Apart from the mystery, the really fun aspect is the interaction between Lucy and her family. She has a few older kids, middle/high school age kids and at least one grandchild from what I can tell so far. It takes place in Maine, but they spent time in Louisiana, too, I believe. I’ve so much to learn… It hits the spot as a fun read when you just need to escape from reality.

fluke

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

365 Challenge: Day 340 – Getaway

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Getaway: (a) an escape or quick departure, especially after committing a crime, or (b) a vacation [P.S. I’ve committed no crimes I’m aware of…]

getasas.jpg

In a few weeks, there are two people who will have a birthday and are planning to go away for a long weekend as a way to celebrate. The original plan was to stay at Mohonk, an upstate NY estate, but it’s too expensive for a two-night stay without a ton of things to do in the area when we wouldn’t have a car for that location. Instead, we’re currently researching a few places in New Hampshire and/or Vermont for mid-March. The plan is to fly one direction and take the train for the other direction. We’d rent a car for the weekend once we arrive in the destination. I’ve been researching a few small towns to visit, but can’t decide which might be the best for a charming bed and breakfast or hotel. The goal is to explore some lovely historic areas, mindlessly window shop, enjoy local foods, and relax. We’re not looking to ski or skate, as that’s a popular thing to do in the winter, on this trip. It’s more a getaway to see a different part of the country in an area we’ve always wanted to visit. We’ve also been watching re-runs of Newhart, which was set in that area, so perhaps that’s why!

If you’ve got any recommendations for a few towns to visit, a place to stay, or a must-do while up there (besides try some maple syrup as that will happen!)… send ’em over, please. Thanks… and feel free to share any other short getaway trips you’re taking, too.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin