Required Reading

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Books I have authored.

Many times I receive books for FREE to give them an honest review. I do not get paid to give a good or bad review. Spotlights are promotional and should be regarded as advertising for the book spotlighted. Regardless of where or how I got a book, my review will be as honest as I can make it.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Alone Against Gravity by Thomas Dew Padova



This is a book about Albert Einstein from the years 1914-1918.   It is dry.  I enjoyed the history but the physics didn’t do a lot for me.   The changes in Europe were fascinating.   Historically speaking Serbia was a big deal in the early 1900s where today it is regarded, fairly or not, as a third world country.

Einstein may have been a genius but he was not someone whose personal life you would want to emulate.   His mores left a lot to be desired as well as his overall disposition.   Assuming the author did his research,  Albert Einstein lost the super hero glow that I had previously ascribed to him.

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Clinging to the Iceberg by Ron Hutchinson


This is a tongue in cheek how to book on script writing.

The author is apparently someone!  I found some humor and did pick up a writing tip or to that has nothing to do with scripts.   It was not a page turner.   I would not recommend it for the beach.   It probably has some bearing for aspiring script writers.

I got a copy of the book free in exchange for an honest review. 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Written in Blood by Layton Green


I’m sitting here sipping Eagle Rare neat an musing over how I just reviewed a fantasy by Layton Green, a five part series which is currently on volume 3.   I am really enjoying that and now I find that Green writes a darn good detective story as well.   A detective finds himself returning to his hometown with his metaphoric tail between his legs.   A big deal homicide detective, he found himself doubting his abilities and returned to a perceived bucolic refuge.   Then the murders started!

Preach, the detective, is weathering a crisis of confidence and is twisting in the wind and in careers.   Thrust into the limelight with a series of unnerving murders, he is struggling to maintain his equilibrium.   He has a partner, Kirby, who is riding his own horse of misfortune.   Together they struggle to find the killer in an increasingly hostile community and search to find clues written in blood.

I highly recommend it.

Web Site:   http://laytongreen.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

More Q&A From Carrie Morgridge Author of The Spirit of the Trail


More Q&A From Carrie Morgridge Author

1.      What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
· I first wrote our bike across the country as a blog.  The hardest challenge was reading my scratch from my phone – which we turned into a book.  Both John and I had to go back and just look at the photos and re-write the entire trip.  The crazy thing is that our memory is sparked by each day of photos and we both could remember crazy details each and every day (46 total) of that summer.
2.      On a Friday night, what are you most likely to be doing?
· I love a good glass of red wine. I love to be outside for sunset with John, Nina our dog and many times friends. I work seven days a week, so sometimes I am not sure Friday night from Sunday night. 
3.      What do you like to do when you are not writing?
· I love to work out.  I play tennis, go to the gym, snow ski, SUP, swim, snorkel, and at the very end of the day – get a massage.
4.      Who are some of your favorite authors?
· Adam Grant, Thomas Friedman, Walter Isaacson, Jim Collins, Malcom Gladwell, Sheryl Sandburg, E.L. James, J.K. Rowling, Peter Reynolds, Bill Peet
5.      Do you have a bucket list? What are some of the things on it?
· Be a great grandma – I have 4 grand puppies and 2 grand kittens
· Inspire women to be whatever they want to be.
· To be a great wife
· To visit Mully and President Kugama in Africa
· To laugh each day
· To love more each day than the past day
6.      Have you won any awards or honors (not just for writing)?
· Several -
· Arthur B Lorber Award for Distinguished Service from National Jewish Health – where they never say never and our foundation supports a school for medically frail children, and residences for up and coming doctors for all of America.
· Frances Wisebart Jacobs award – United Way Denver (back in the day Frances was not allowed to serve on boards, yet built the bus system so that medically frail people could get to National Jewish Health.  Frances started United Way – in Denver Colorado with a rabbi and a priest. 
· Urban Legend Award – for our work with homeless teens and young adults
· Hope Award – from Tony LaRussa for our work in rescue animals
· Josef Korbel Humanitarian Award – from the University of Denver for our work in our community and around the US. 

7.      What person(s) has/have helped you the most in your career?
· My husband, John is my rock.  He put me through college, believed in me as my parents did, and 150% supports me every day
· My in-laws – John and Tashia Morgridge – they are the BEST in-laws ever. 
· My parents – they still think I am amazing and I love them dearly.
· John Farnam – my consultant, best friend, and colleague of 6 plus years
· Kellie Lauth – The CEO of a non profit that we spun off from Morgridge Family Foundation – but she is the inventor, the creator and just uber smart.  Someone I look up to.
· Dr. Bridget Coughlin – CEO Shedd Aquarium – Has taught me so much about business, science, evolution.  Smartest woman I know, and one of the kindest.
· George Sparks – CEO of Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  Taught me how to connect with people better, to work crazy hard, and to never give up.
· Dr. Michael Salem – CEO of National Jewish Health.  So smart, so driven and willing to talk with me as an intellectual about all subjects.
· Arthur Brooks – CEO of American Enterprise Institute.  Arthur can share his intellectual thoughts to the point where you can understand what he his saying, yet his words seem to be my words.  He pushes me to be better.
· Jo Kwong – Director of Economic Development at The Philanthropy Roundtable.  Jo never stops.  Her passion to make America self-reliant is contagious. Our best projects in our foundation is because of Jo’s introductions and I am a better philanthropist because of her. 
· Robert Wolgemuth – He was my agent for my first book, Every Gift Matters – How Your Passion can Change the World. He and his late wife Bobbie, brought me closer to God, and each day since magical things have happened in my life that I would have never dreamt possible.
8.      What’s the best writing advice you have ever received?
· Edits are great!  Go with it.
9.      What was your favorite book as a child?
· Dr. Seuss – Green Eggs and Ham
10.  What is the one book no writer should be without?
· Their first book that makes them fall in love with reading. This is very individual and each of us can remember our first book, that we just couldn’t put down and pulled an all nighter to finish. This is the book to hold on to forever. 
11.  How do your spouse/significant other/friends/family feel about your writing career?
Carrie and John
· If you knew my background deeper you would understand that my family is pleasantly surprised.  However, I am a hard worker, so my husband was not surprised when I asked him if I could write my third book, even though I am just finishing book 2.  I am getting better, and it is coming much easier, and as Malcom Gladwell says, when you have 10,000 hours you too, will become an expert.  No writer is ever an expert, but we do get into our groove.
12.  If your book was turned into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
· Reese Witherspoon
· Patrick Dempsey

Monday, May 28, 2018

Q&A with Carrie Morgridge Author of The Spirit of the Trail




1.      Where did you grow up /live now?
· Born in Santa Barbara, California.  Moved to Aspen CO from CA, and then split time between CO and FL.  Warm cold thing.  Now live in Stuart FL on Hutchinson Island and Steamboat Springs CO.
2.      As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
· My mom said I could be anything I wanted to be – every night as a child.  I met prince charming in San Francisco and lived happily ever after.
3.      What is your education/career background?
· I graduated HS by one point.  I was totally disengaged, but my parents always told me I was smart.  Went to college at 36 and graduated Suma Cum Laude.  Timing was everything.  I have an Associates in Arts from a VoTech School in Tampa – International Academy of Technology and Design.  I graduated as an Interior Designer. 
4.      Do you have kids and/or pets?
· Yes -  A son John – age 26 and a daughter Michelle – married age 25.  One loveable dog Nina – Toy Australian Sheppard – who travels with us, on planes and in our RV sprinter. 
5.      When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Or what first inspired you to write?
· I don’t consider myself a writer, as I always need help with editing, and grammar.  However,  I am a story teller, and I have been exposed to so many amazing things being a Morgridge for 27 years.  Two men in my life, both from the non profit world believed that I had a story to tell.  Every Gift Matters, my first book became an amazon best selling book. Then I won best non fiction from Indie Book Awards and the rest is history.  I have toured India twice from the book, and have a third book in me – Courage Money. The stories come easy, and I acknowledge that there are great writers out there who can help me make my books sing. 
6.      Where/When do you best like to write?
· I am a very early riser, and I like to write first thing when I wake up.  Writing is not a push for me, but a pleasure. When I am into a book, I write first thing, then do a really hard work out – shower – and come back to the story. My brain processes through work out and overnight, so I take advantage to both. When I experience something new or worthwhile, I will write about it and bank it in google docs. I already have many stories ripe for book three.
7.      Do you have any interesting writing habits or superstitions?
· Yes. see answer 6..
8.      When you are struggling to write/have writer’s block, what are some ways that help you find your creative muse again?
· Yes. Since I write about the now, I do two things. I go on site visits and meet people from my favorite charities and interview them. Their energy feeds my soul, and inspires me to write about them, share their stories and share the goodness in the world. We need to know more about what is out there and focus on the good.  Secondly, I go for a hard workout, which is probably harder than the normal person.  Training for Ironman is hard, and there are many things that one must sacrifice to do finish.  As a mom of small children at the time, I had to balance, family, college, and training all at the same time.  I made a daily goal, and worked one day at a time to a weekly goal, which lead to a monthly goal. So when I mean a hard workout it is 3-5 hours nonstop. I will go unplugged and let me mind take me where I need to go.  From there – I can write about anything.  I honestly can feel all my senses and the writing just flows.
9.      What do you think makes a good story?
· A good story to me is worth repeating. So when I read, hear or learn of a great story, I immediately try to share in my network.  A good story to me is a simple person, doing a heroic thing, yet they don’t even know it, because it is second nature.  A good story is someone who was willing to take a change to try something different and succeeded/failed.  The point is that they were willing to take a risk – and I like risk taking. 
10.  What inspired your story?
· My story is about a couple – who celebrated their 25th anniversary by going on an epic adventure.  We needed each other more and more each day, and helped each other in ways we hadn’t done in 25 years – with kids, careers, etc.  Our trip brought us closer together as if we just met and fell in love.  It was incredibly hard.  There were hard days, tough nights and scary points – all worth sharing.  I hope to inspire others to fall in love again, to adventure cycle, or if anything – unplug for the weekend – take a bike ride and enjoy nature. 
11.  How does a new story idea come to you? Is it an event that sparks the plot or a character speaking to you?
· My next book came to me right away.  When you publish a book, it is like having a baby – “when is the then one coming?” is the general question.  So that got me thinking, but I biked across the country first, and it was a fun, inspiring, from the heart book that I had to get out there. It is the 20th anniversary for the Adventure Cycling Association, Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, so my timing is perfect, and I can afford to give 100% of the proceeds to them from the book sales.  This will allow them to continue the great work in open space trails and adventure cycling for all.  
12.  Is there a message/theme in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
· I hope my message inspires others to hit their bucket list and bike across – you fill in the blank – the country, the state, the city, the place.  But to go out there and do it. If a small town girl like me can bike across the country – so can you.
13.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
· Writing is the easy part. Editing requires professionals. I spend more time with edits and making it perfect for the reader.. Again, I rely on the professionals, and I welcome edits, I don’t disagree, as I know they are making the book better.  I want the book to be 100% perfect for the reader.

Tomorrow: More Q&A From Carrie Morgridge

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Spotlight on The Spirit of the Trail by Carrie Morgridge




















The  Spirit  of  the  Trail  
A  Journey  to  Fulfillment  Along  the  Continental  Divide
“Decidedly  not  for  sprinters,  this  battle  royale  braves  mountain  passes  and  windswept  valleys  of  the  Continental  Divide  from  hinterlands  of  the  Canadian  Rockies  to  badlands  of  the  Mexican  Plateau.”  -  tourdivide.org
"A  venturesome  minority  will  always  be  eager  to  set  off  on  their  own,  and  no  obstacles  should  be  placed  in  their  path;  let  them  take  risks,  ...let  them  get  lost,  sunburnt,  stranded,  drowned,  eaten  by  bears,  buried  alive  under  avalanches  –  that  is  
the  right  and  privilege  of  any  free  American."  –Ed  Abbey,  author,  environmentalist  and  one  of  the  most  eloquent  and  passionate  advocates  of  the  American  West.    

While  The  Spirit  of  the  Trail  primarily  describes  the  life-altering,  2,800-mile  bicycling  expedition  on  the  Great  Divide  Mountain  Bike  Route  (GDMBR)  from  Banff,  Canada,  to  Antelope  Wells,  New  Mexico  endured  by  Carrie  Morgridge  and  her  husband,  John,  during  the  summer  of  2016,  it  frequently  touches  on  concepts  and  personal  traits  that  are  of  vital  importance  to  the  Morgridge  Family  Foundation  philanthropic  mission.  The  Foundation  strives  to  open  new  paths  for  children  and  adults.  As  bicycling  offers  a  sustainable  method  of  transportation,  the  Foundation  models  sustainable  philanthropy.  And  while  a  cycling  adventure  is  hands-on,  so  is  the  Foundation’s  search  for  worthwhile  projects  to  support.  The  book  serves  as  an  informative  (but  not  too  technical)  guide  for  those  who  are  ready  to  tackle  the  GDMBR  and  anyone  who  is  curious  about  stepping  out  of  their  comfort  zone  and  facing  a  large  or  difficult  challenge.  Carrie’s  voice  throughout  is  inspiring  and  uplifting,  even  on  the  days  when  she  is  tired  of  eating  out  of  a  can,  sleeping  on  the  ground  and  is  considering  giving  up,  she  finds  a  meadowlark  or  a  field  of  gorgeous  wildflowers  to  remind  her  of  all  that  she  is  thankful  for,  and  presses  on.  

As  with  her  earlier  book,  Every  Gift  Matters,  their  Foundation  plans  to  contribute  all  proceeds  to  the  Adventure  Cycling  Association  in  support  of  the  Foundation’s  enduring  commitment  to  health  and  environmental  conservation.  

Tomorrow: Q&A with Carrie Morgridge

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Shooting for Tenure by Brian Forsyth


This was a good mystery.  Much like a bull fighter and his cape distracting the bull, the author layered the plot in subtle deception, luring false speculations to the true perpetrator of violence.   Solveig’s over arching prejudice against all in the law profession is balanced by the sheer goodness of Gregory.   The oil and water conflict permeates the tone of the novel where Solveig is struggling for tenure.

The sheer strength of Solveig’s prejudice is hard to resolve with the image of a likeable, knowledgeable academic.   However prejudice while reasonably easy to acquire is all to often difficult to dismiss.   A former student sues the university and a rival uses the law suit to try and deny Solveig’s tenure.   There are some blatant stereotypes and the author has Solveig wield them like a club. 

Overall I liked the story but I had some difficulty with the emotional irascibility of the main protagonist.

It all tied together is a well kept secret ending.


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.