February Giveaway!

Legends of Windemere Raffleopter Giveaway kicks off tomorrow! PRIZES! Come celebrate the anniversary of the release of Beginning of a Hero. The first book in the series.

Legends of Windemere

To celebrate the February 27th Anniversary of Beginning of a Hero’s release, I’ve set up a Rafflecopter Giveaway for the month. Great prizes and a lot of fun. Spread the word that this kicks off tomorrow!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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My GRL by John W. Howell Blog Tour

Big Launch in 2014 My GRL Fiction Thriller

By John W. Howell

Now available on Amazon a new Fiction Thriller published by Martin Sisters Publishing

my grl5star-shiny-web

My GRL by John W. Howell is fast-paced thriller that shows how your life can be turned upside down in the blink of an eye. . . It is a well-written story that kept me glued, page after page.” Readers’ Favorite Five Stars – Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi. See the entire review HERE

Click cover to visit Amazon

Blurb:

John J. Cannon successful San Francisco lawyer takes a well-deserved leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. He is unaware that his newly purchased boat had already been targeted by a terrorist group. John’s first inkling of a problem is when he wakes up in the hospital where he learns he was found unconscious next to the dead body of the attractive young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now stands between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

Author Bio:

Photo by Tim Burdick

Photo by Tim Burdick

John W. Howell’s main interests are reading and writing. He turned to writing as a full time occupation after an extensive career in business. John writes thriller fiction novels and short stories. He also has a three times weekly blog at Fiction Favorites .

John lives on Mustang Island in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of south Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Author Contact:

E-mail: johnwhowell.wave@gmail.com

Twitter: @HowellWave

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

Warm Fuzzy

warm fuzzy 001

I wish I could have you feel this soft and silky blanket. My daughter bought it for me for Christmas.  My granddaughter, soon to be four, wrapped herself up in it and said, “Grandmother, this feels like love!”

For all my friends in cold places, grab a soft and silky blankie, wrap up in it and feel the love. I wish I could send you the real thing. Better yet, throw one around someone else and share the love.

{{{ WARM FUZZIES}}}

Retirement Plans

JumpingTheShark

I retired early for a couple of significant reasons; stress and drama at work becoming too intense, and a desire to pursue my passions before I was too old to enjoy them.

I didn’t want to wait until I had crippling arthritis to tap the keyboard.

The healthcare industry (at least here in Florida) needs a lot of work from the inside out.

So here I am.

I am reading, researching and writing. I love what I do. I am happier than I have ever been in my life.

I was looking through some articles on retirement and I find two persistent themes.

1)      There are a hundreds of articles telling you how to financially retire early.

2)      Most people are working longer due to improved health and financial need.

So what is it; retire early or retire later?

Here’s the deal. The books that I write are for a mature audience. My audience, like me when I was working, has little time to sit and read. They are busy working and earning money so they can retire…maybe early. Many boomers are just now beginning to retire, at least that’s what I am seeing in the articles I am reading.

One thing that people are saying they want when they retire is, “MORE TIME TO PLEASURE READ.” Yes, they want to travel, pursue their hobbies, but they also want more time to read!

That is a great thing for writers in ANY genre. 

The books that I most enjoy writing are about an era that most young people can’t really relate to.

I don’t write Twilight fan fiction, contemporary romance, or YA anything.

I write literary fiction and historical fiction. The real lives of people who have carved the paths others walk, with hope that new travelers will make those paths broader, safer, cleaner…keep them up and use them as roadways to a better future. It isn’t boring the way history sounds. It is real life drama in the best of times and the worst of times.

I hope that any of you who are looking to retire early to pursue your passions are able to do so.

For those of you that have already begun to pursue your passions, I applaud you for being true to your spirit.

When I was in high school, I had teachers encouraging me to major in journalism in college. I had a $17,000.00 scholarship to go to Wesleyan (a lot of money in the seventies). I was anti-establishment back then. I turned it down to get married, start a family, and work at McDonalds. Divorced and remarried at 19, I think I must have moved twenty times in two years. I was precocious, as many were in that era. Yet, I had no clue where I was going.

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A year later, when I realized that the establishment was about the only way anyone could really support themselves and increase their standard of living, I returned to school. I had a desire to become a psych nurse so I could help people like my mother who committed suicide at the age of 26, and others whom I had known with addiction problems. I went to L.P.N. school first, but you needed an RN license to work psych. I lucked out when a hospital, based on merit earned in vocational school, offered me a scholarship for RN school. So off to University I went. I did have a passion for nursing, a calling.

It wasn’t an easy road to raise three children and go to school in-between pregnancies and nursing children. It took me eleven years to obtain a four year degree despite having excellent grades. I have no regrets, as it was what I needed to do and becoming a nurse, the career experiences, have given me a perspective that I will forever treasure.

Divorced again and single in Florida, with my kids off at college, I had opportunity to live young, but with means. I was glad to have had my children early in life while I could still do cartwheels with them and chase them around the trees. We literally grew up together. We went through some really tough times together. We experienced a lot of joy together. While I am not advocating anyone to live their lives that way, I am saying that there is hope if you find yourself in dire circumstances and feel that things will never change for the better.

Although I have worked all of the high energy, fast paced areas; like ER and CCU, and did get in a few years of psychiatry, the area I am most fond of in retrospect is geriatrics. Why?  Some have told me that it is too depressing…but I never saw it that way. The old people with their stories fascinated me. Often, I would work the night shift when the old timers, who could not sleep, would get up and come to the nursing station between our rounds just to chat.

What fodder for writing! What fuel for my fire!

Years ago, I had regrets that I was not following my dreams to write, regrets that I chose a passion for nursing over journalism.

I have no regrets now.

With three beautiful grown children and two adorable grandchildren, I have had a thirty year plus career in health care, fifty three years of life experiences. God willing and the creeks don’t rise, I have time.

I am retired and living well. I am writing.

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

Sunday Synopsis

caveman-dragging-woman

My weeks have been dragging. It must be the weather. Too chilly for me to get out and about. We are not cold here in Central Florida, but we are not warm either.

Also, I am changing. In my singles days, which weren’t that long ago, (about five years), I was always on the go. I went new places every week, new restaurants, new theaters, new clubs, new beaches. There were new sights and sounds, new people to meet. I was once flying around the country, or out of the country, cruising the Caribbean, exploring fascinating cities, surveying scenic countryside. Camping, boating, hiking, and fishing. I used to work 60 hour weeks and keep up a social schedule on about four hours sleep. I did have more to talk about then. I have gotten lazy and become quite a recluse.

My life is totally different now. I go to Walmart at midnight to avoid the crowd. I get up and go to the grocery store at 7:30 am on a weekday morning to avoid the crowd. I will wait until 10:00-11:00 pm to go six city blocks to my daughters or to run to the 7-11 for a quick stop, just to avoid the traffic. Sometimes I will go a whole week only talking to my husband & daughter and, of course, you guys/gals online. I can sleep an 8 hour night and still curl up for a nap at mid-day.

I like to blame it on marriage and getting old, but I am not certain that I really enjoyed all of the socializing and whirling around when I was doing it. It was exhausting. I rather enjoy the serenity and solitude of staying home, reading, writing, and doing as little as possible. I think I wore myself out. I have become a cave dweller.

My Sunday Synopsis is simple for this past this week. I read some and I wrote some. I cooked and cleaned almost every night and got the laundry done.

This week I plan to schedule my car for an oil change, peddle some books to the indie book stores, and see if I can get my appointment now for my sensory deprivation experience. Maybe this week or sometime over next weekend I can get to Mt. Dora and go to the antique mall, I am looking for a Spirograph for my granddaughter. Not the kaleidoscope app on the iPad, but a real working Spirograph like I had as a kid.

Do they still sell those in the store? Sound like an exciting week?

Cheers to tranquility!  I will change again later, and start complaining about being bored, but for now this is working for me.

A Premium Novel Worthy of Praise

Today I received a hard copy of one of the best books I have read in twenty years, autographed by the author, Patrick O’Bryon.  “Corridor of Darkness” is a book I highly recommend. I am most pleased to have this book in paperbound version. It is a historical thriller set in what becomes Nazi Germany. Patrick is an Indie author and owner of Brantome Press. His book is most professionally done.

I first read it on digital copy, and knew right away that I wanted a paper copy. It is a moving story filled with characters that you will remember forever. The writing style is phenomenal, and one I would like to study. I loved the vivid imagery of pre-war Germany, the manner in which the character personalities developed depth and evolved over the course of the passages.  The pace changes were perfect reflections of a languid aristocratic existence to one of excitement and adventure, fighting to survive in the most perilous of circumstances.

It is a comprehensive, yet intimate, book covering the life of an American reporter, Ryan Lemmon, who becomes a spy, his lusts and loves, youthful adventures as a student in Germany, his personal experiences in discovering the atrocities of the Nazi regime, the darkness and power of the regime, and the dangerous mission to bring both meaningful people and information out of the country. There are twists and turns throughout the book, that shock you with the unexpected. It is blended with colorful history, as the horror of the Holocaust begins to emerge. In the final chapters, you sit on the edge of your seat in suspense, unable to put the book down, turning quickly through the pages in a race to see what is about to happen next. This is a book that everyone should read at least once. I have already read it twice.

According to the U.S. census, 70% of all Americans can trace their roots back to Germany. Most of these people came to this country long before the Holocaust, settling in places as far south as Florida and as far west as California.  The eastern seaboard was inhabited primarily by those with German/Dutch heritage for a full century. Much of the heart of the country became home to those who settled and farmed here. Click on images to enlarge.

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1900 german nationals

My children’s great-grandparents on their father’s side were all German. Great Grandma Schultz, who lived to be 104 years, had parents who came to this country in the late 1800s. Her father built Victorian houses in Detroit. The Strodthoffs came as individuals in their early twenties on board separate boats that docked at Ellis Island. Great Grandpa Strodthoff , a painter, said he went to the docks with his Uncle and they saw the two sisters, Great Grandma and her sister, and he picked out the one that had the widest hips in hopes of having a wife who could easily bear children. They had immigrated in 1921, and kept their thick accents into their eighties.

View of Ellis Island with Liberty island in the background.

View of Ellis Island with Liberty island in the background.

Partick’s words in “Corridor of Darkness” brought back the stories that I recalled from my children’s immediate ancestors, and those relatives whom we visited with in 1985 that had remained in Germany. The relatives had shared some horrific tales and there was envy by many who resented not having been prepared or allowed to leave that country before and during WW II. Several of the old timers had unwittingly surrendered their souls to Nazi service to prevent perishing in a world that they did not fully understand. Others had Jewish friends who disappeared in the night, never to be heard from again. Many assisted those in need.

My daughter, in college, had opportunity, also, to do a study abroad that took her to visit some of these cousins again, and the younger ones all spoke fluent English and had no recollections of their Great Grandparent’s nightmares. At least, they weren’t spoken about.

I applaud Patrick O’Bryon’s literary work and look forward to his next novel, “Beacon of Vengeance”.

Thank you, Patrick! I will read it again and again, so I don’t expect it to remain in this pristine condition. It will most likely become quite dog-eared as I pass it around. I want my grown children to read it.

Read the stellar reviews and get your copy  here today!

You won’t be disappointed.