My Reading Round Up

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reorganizing all my books. This is a 1/3 of what I tackled. As I dusted and rearranged my books, I realized it was time for a reading round up here on the blog. Especially since I’ve given myself a Goodreads Reading Challenge of reading 39 books this year.

But first I want to disclose that I am now an Amazon Affiliate. The legal disclosure will now appear in the footer of my blog going forward. What that means is that any time I include an Amazon link on this blog, if you click on it and make a purchase, Amazon will then pay me a percentage based on what you buy. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but it’s a way for me to make a little more money and also track if sales happen from my links.

It in no way impacts my book reviews because I always write positive reviews of books because I feel there is an inherent conflict of interest in authors reviewing books and giving  negative reviews of other authors. If I don’t like a book, I simply don’t review it.

So far I have read 13 books this year. Instead of posting all those reviews here, I’ll just give you a one-sentence thought excerpted from my review. (The books are listed in chronological order of when they were read.)

The world building is exquisite and I never felt lost–not for a single second.

http://amzn.to/2pLcAoq

2.

The sequel was a terrific follow up and had me hooked from the first page.

http://amzn.to/2pLHKeR

3.

This is the best end to a trilogy that I’ve ever read.

http://amzn.to/2qfJocy

4.

I am in awe of how Ms. Clare can loop all these plot threads together so perfectly.

http://amzn.to/2r6bwiY

5.

This was a quick read and sure to delight fans of feel good romances with a Christian touch.

http://amzn.to/2rfFqyG

6.

My last book release had me dreading promotion, but Tim Grahl’s handbook has given me the tools and the perspective to dive into the next book launch with gusto.

http://amzn.to/2pL4pbW

7.

Once again Gretchen Archer delivers a lightning-fast, fantastically fun read in her Davis Way series. I’ve read every single one and each one is better than the last one–which is saying a lot because the first book was awesome!

http://amzn.to/2r5Fzra

8.

I would highly recommend this book to people with a passion for the ocean, an interest in marine environmental issues, or who wonder what ocean exploration might be like.

http://amzn.to/2qG3xcL

9.

Intricate plotting, cool mystery, sweet romantic subplot, and a host of Hollywood stars invading Star City, Utah, all conspired to create a great read.

http://amzn.to/2pLcOMp

10.

The concept for this book immediately grabbed my attention with a fate changer and a cursed fate.

http://amzn.to/2r5L4Go

11.

Wow, I am a definite fan of Dawn Metcalf and will read whatever she writes next!

http://amzn.to/2qjrNOG

12.

Little do they know that their pranks will awaken the actual ghosts and draw them into a terrifying secret…

http://amzn.to/2r6hUGM

13.

I had to read my own book again to work on the sequel. It counts toward my reading challenge. 😉 A time travel murder mystery filled with unbelievables–ghosts, spells, and curses.

http://amzn.to/2rflgEU

What have you been reading? Are you participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge this year?

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The Six Lessons Vertigo Taught Me

1. Appreciate the Small Things

From December through April, walking around outside went from impossible to challenging to doable with care. Being able to move my gaze around the yard while I am walking Emerson is a new treat.

2. Savor the Weird Superpowers

A side affect of the vertigo is that my eyes are still sensitive to movement and colors. It makes shopping very hard. But I notice every little change in the yard. I can spot a squirrel in a tree better than the dogs.

3. Do Less, Notice More

Each day, I have a to-do list. It’s not nearly as intense as it used to be. Many days, items carry over to the next day. I am actively doing less, but noticing so much more. My mind has time to play. To watch spring unfolding. New story ideas are germinating.

 

4. Not Much is Life or Death, Except Life or Death

Every book launch felt like life or death to me. I would sacrifice sleep, work 14-hour days for months on end, put off socializing, ignore my body, and neglect my mind–all in pursuit of that elusive success in sales. In my mind, effort would equate to success. I put so much stress on myself that my body was literally experiencing life or death stakes over something that was so not that.

 

5. Make Time for What Matters Now

Every day, I take the the goldens, Rora and Reagan, out for twenty-five minutes of play time. I also take Emerson out for ten minutes of explorer time. He hates walking, but if I let him lead me around the yard, he gets to pretend he’s Indiana Jones.

6. Balance is Elusive and Requires Work

If I stop doing my therapy exercises, my balance will erode. I have to make time every day to do my exercises and to push myself a little without pushing too hard. I am constantly running into new walls and learning when to back off and when to keep nudging.

Have you found an illness or a bad experience gave you unexpected insight or lessons you needed?

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Why Friend Weekends Are the Best Weekends

Brett came to visit me and as always we found something new to explore: Kettletown State Park. It was a pretty easy trail for a mile. I haven’t hiked since last fall so it was nice to get out in nature. The weather was 60s and pretty and partly cloudy–perfect hiking weather.

I was delighted to learn I could go about 45 minutes before my brain started to feel fatigued (from the vertigo). Luckily we were near the road and could walk there which is much easier than navigating around tree roots and rocks.

The overcast day made everything seem a little sinister/haunted–which I loved. I may have to write  a short story about this place!

The sound of water rushing toward us was invigorating.

Afterward, we found an amazing Thai place nearby in Southbury–Samui. The lunch special was awesome soup & salad and entree for $11!

I

My Tom Yum soup had two nice shrimp and was packed with flavor.

The Chicken Pad Pik Pao was savory and delicious.

We split the mango and sticky rice. It’s the perfect way to end a meal. Tart and sweet and warm.

We did some belated birthday present opening for Brett and caught up over tea at home.

Then we headed to Ideal Tavern in Southington for dinner. I love this place. It’s got a nice setting and delicious twists on old favorites.

We started with the nachos with steak. And by the time we were finished, we looked at each other and admitted that we were kinda full. Seriously awesome nachos with caramelized onions, spicy-sweet pepper, guacamole, manchego cheese, and delicious steak pieces.

Then came my meal. The reuben with a side salad. Both were delightful. The reuben was packed with meat and the side salad had a pear vinagrette. My taste buds will be thanking me for the next week.

Brett got the mac and cheese, but it was a decadent not-your-mama’s mac and cheese.

We both ended up taking home half our dinners and having them for lunch the next day because we had to try their lemon tart. It had a caramelized marshmallow on the top and a strawberry rhubarb compote. Perfect balance of tart, tangy and super sweet.

We went home to curl up with a good movie and discovered Amazon Prime has a lot of junk. My Netflix was malfunctioning and Prime was our only option.

After 5 false starts–including annoying amateur short films which were bundled in with all the other horror movies–that we quit in 5-10 minutes, we settled on an 80s slasher flick, The House on Sorority Row. It was pretty funny–at least to us. We had a few rewind and rewatch and giggle moments.

Then we talked until we fell asleep.

It’s great to have someone to adventure with, who gets your humor, and enjoys the food you do.

Do you make time for a friend weekend? What are your favorite things to do?

 

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Why Self-Hosting a Blog Became Important to Me

Welcome to my new blogging home! I kept everything I could about the old blog, including my 7 years of posts and my theme, and migrated it over to my website.

I’m sure lots of you are wondering why after 7 years with WordPress.com, I decided to self-host my blog on my own website.

It wasn’t a decision I undertook lightly because it was costly and time consuming.

I’d thought about it in the past as a way to increase traffic to my own website, but the cost had dissuaded me. Besides, everything was going great with WordPress.com. I didn’t have a need to switch.

But in November 2016 during the tail end of my blog tour for Highway Thirteen to Manhattan something awful happened: my blog was suspended by WordPress.com for violating the terms of service.

There was no warning. I just typed in the URL and got a this site is suspended for violating the terms of service page.

I emailed WordPress and they told me someone had notified them that my blog was spam and  therefore in violation of the terms of service because I was doing book promotion on my personal blog that they hosted.

Now, mind you, my blog is about MY AUTHOR JOURNEY. And I absolutely was posting about my book tour. But only about my book tour. I emailed with WordPress explaining this and they quickly reinstated my blog a few days later and apologized for the mistake.

This experience, however, shocked me. That my blog platform could be taken down so quickly without any notice during a blog tour told me that I could no longer remain with WordPress.com as my blog host. It was simply too risky.

I immediately contacted my amazing web designer and she began the steps to build my blog into my own website so that I could self-host it.

We began the process in December. It’s been months of migrating and checking and testing. I’m hopeful things will transition smoothly, but I’m sure there will be hiccups.

We were able to migrate all my blog subscribers, so you should still get updates about postings in your inbox. If anyone isn’t receiving them, please let me know and we will look into it.

Have any of my blog friends made the switch to self-hosting? How has your experience been?

 

 

 

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The Story of the Door

 

Ah, the door. I promised a story, so here goes. A couple years back, I begged my old friend Ant to take me to Sleepy Hollow. I love the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Washington Irving. After reading Jessica Verday’s The Hollow, I had to visit the graveyard.

As we wandered the cemetery where the headless horseman took his legendary ride, we came across this mausoleum. I’ve always been fascinated by hourglasses and I took 6 photos–my norm for when I find something intriguing. The design lingered in the back of my mind.

A month later, I was working on my first draft of The Girl Who Saved Ghosts. I had this scene where Kat is led by her great aunts, Jacqueline and Vivian, to the center of power in her family’s home, Dumbarton. And this door popped into my mind.

Here’s  a sneak peek at the draft:

I stood there, staring at the door. It was a greenish-blue metal and had an hourglass sculpted on it. Carved above the hourglass was a crescent moon and below the hourglass was a sun.

I looked from Vivian to Jacqueline, bewildered. “What am I supposed to do?”

“Open this door. It protects the family’s power,” Jacqueline said.

There wasn’t a knob or a handle. No keyhole. Nothing. “How?”

“Touch the door. Let it know who you are and why you are here,” Vivian said.

Nothing like major existential questions. Who was I? Katarina Preston. Now Katarina Langley. I was a girl who spoke to ghosts and helped them with their reckonings. I was the Langley heir. A time traveler who changed the past. The one who protected the Radcliffes from supernatural harm.

Why I was here? That was complicated. I wanted to find out who my family was. And I was supposed to help Evan by returning the Kingsley dagger to him. And I needed training to use my powers to protect Joshua, Evan, and everyone else I cared about. I chewed on my lip and stared at the door. Was that enough? Was there more I had to tell it?

Suddenly, the hourglass came to life. The sand began flowing in reverse from bottom to top. When it was full, the door sprang open.

***

If you’d like to receive more insider info like this along with upcoming giveaways, preorder giveaways, and author events, please sign up for my newsletter:

http://kourtneyheintz.com/contact/

***

If you add The Girl Who Saved Ghosts to your want-to-read list on Goodreads, you will receive alerts whenever I’m giving away an advance reader copy or a signed book. They will also let you know when the next book is the series is coming out.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34619522-the-girl-who-saved-ghosts

 

Posted in book release, Giveaways, inspiration, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

TGWIG’s Sequel Gets a Title!

BOOK NEWS

My publisher has decided on the title for The Girl Who Ignored Ghost’s sequel! I’m so excited to announce it because it was one of my suggestions!

Drumroll please…

The title for the second book in The Unbelievables series will be:

THE GIRL WHO SAVED GHOSTS

I love this title because it is similar to book one’s title and also hints at Kat’s changing relationship with ghosts. When I get the back cover blurb and cover from my publisher this spring, I’ll be sharing those too!

This book will be out in October 2017!

Since January, I’ve been working on editorial revisions for this book. I am really loving where the story is going and am polishing things up to send off to my editor on March 18.

(In my next post, I’ll tell you how the picture inspired a scene in TGWSG.)

 

BLOG READING

Most of you know, I’ve been dealing with an ongoing inner ear issue that has topsy-turvied my balance and my life.

I haven’t been reading blogs because scrolling makes me sick. I’m hoping I can do a little blog reading once I have the first rounds of edits turned in. I have to baby-step my way back to my normal level of tolerance.

In the same vein, reading a Kindle is hard for me. Before I got sick, I pre-ordered many author buddies’ books on Kindle and I haven’t been able to read them. I will. It’s a process of exposing and acclimating to the things that make my vertigo worse. So I am hoping I will be reading more on Kindle this summer and getting reviews up.

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Dog Days of Winter


I lay down in the snow one day and just looked up at the trees. When I lived in the city, Emerson and I would take walks and go lay on a bench and stare up at the trees. I don’t know why I stopped making time for that, so I’m going to do more of it this year.


Reagan has this new game in the snow, she takes a tennis ball, buries it, and then digs it out. This provides such entertainment for her. And as the snow goes flying past me, I can’t help but laugh.

We also play ball a few times a week. She does this thing where she bit the ball with her nose back at you to play catch. Hilarious.

Emerson and I have been playing more. He loves to take my old clothes and beat them up and chew on them.

He can make a game out of anything. Sometimes we are lying in bed and I move and he decides it’s a game and starts attacking me.

It’s funny what amuses animals. And how much it amuses me to watch them.

What do your pets do that makes you smile or laugh?

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Taking My Time

 

I spent the past year rushing. Rushing to get revisions done. Rushing to line up promo events. Rushing to create marketing materials. Rushing. Rushing. Rushing.

I can’t remember a single moment where I wasn’t trying to do something faster or feeling like I was behind.

And in the end, I got sick. A prolonged, frustrating sick.

That brings me to today. I’m working at 75-80% of my usual abilities. I can’t rush. When I do, everything gets messed up.

And I realize I hate rushing. It sucks the joy out of what I’m doing.

So I’d rather do things at a more reasonable pace and actually, well, enjoy my life.

I’m done putting tons of pressure on myself to be faster and faster. I’m actually going to aim to be a little slower with things.

My goal for 2017: I’m going to do less in more time.

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A Little Update

I hope everyone had a good holiday. It’s been a touch road lately, but I’m making progress.

My vertigo turned out to be a kind that doesn’t just clear up on its own. I’ve been going to vestibular therapy all month. In early December, I could barely stand and was dealing with constant nausea and motion sickness. I lost time, forget simple things, had trouble putting a sentence together, and felt like nothing was real. Like I wasn’t here.

I can stand now. I can walk a mile. I can stand at the board to teach again for my classes. I can think and I feel here again. Serious progress.

But I am still struggling with turning my head or moving my eyes when I do things. Both set off the vertigo. I’m not driving yet. My therapy requires that I do things that make my condition worse until my body acclimatizes to it. It’s working, but it’s slower than I’d like.

I’m not back to my old self. Not in terms of energy or balance or focus. Not yet. But I’m hoping that I will be by this spring.

I’m teaching two courses at school and I’m in editorial revisions for the sequel to The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts. The publisher has it set for an October 2017 release. And I’ve got to get my therapy exercises in twice a day every day to continue to get better.

I can’t be back on social media the way I used to be. For now, I will post to my blog twice a month and check in on FB and Twitter weekly.

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Blog Break

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I’ve been trying to keep up with as many of my normal activities as I can, but I’m constantly tired and I feel worn through. The vertigo continues and I just need to step back for a few weeks. I’m going to take a blog break for a month. And I’m going to limit my social media.

I just need to take some time for myself right now.

I’ll still check in once a week on social media, but I won’t be there daily. If you need to reach me, please email me.

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and a great new year. I’ll see you back here in mid-January.

Hugs!

 

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments