How Sonja Yoerg’s novel THE MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE Inspired Me

Middle of Somewhere

THE MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE, by Sonja Yoerg made me want to set out on an adventure. It brought to mind the days when I was the same age as the character, Liz, and spent a bunch of my time in California hiking and mountain biking through the Sierras around Tahoe. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, the last time I set foot in the Sierras I was still mountain biking and pregnant with my daughter who is getting close to seventeen years old, not that much younger than the character in the novel. I’ve been so busy raising kids that I don’t mountain bike much anymore, and I don’t know if I ever will, but reading Yoerg’s novel makes motivates me to spend more time outside while my body still works. If you are looking for an adventurous novel to read, I highly recommend this one.

I first started getting excited about THE MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE when people started posting pictures of themselves on social media using the hash tag #middleofsomewhere in conjunction with the book’s release. I started looking for pictures of myself in the great outdoors and posted them with the hashtag. I got lucky enough that I received an advanced copy of the book. Middle of somewhere 2

Some of my #middleofsomewhere pics were of the mountains and hiking, but my favorite one was reading the book on the beach. I’ve seen the ocean before, but I’d never sat down and read a book on the beach, so I can honestly say that THE MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE was my first beach read. It was also a lot easier than hiking the John Muir Trail. Since reading the book, I’ve been hiking a bit more and trying to get outside. I’ve definitely been reminded about how much I love the outdoors. I may not hike the Sierras again, but now that I’ve been inspired, who knows?

After you read the book you might want to post your own #middleofsomewhere pics. But why wait? Post something now. Whatever you do, read the book. I’m so glad I did.

middle of somewhere on the beach

Here’s a little bit about the book:

In THE MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE, Liz sets off to hike from Yosemite Valley through the John Muir Trail. She wants to spend her time alone reflecting on the past mistakes that still haunt her. Similar to real life Cheryl Strayed in WILD, Yoerg uses the great outdoors as a journey for our character Liz to hike out of her past and into the future, but unlike Strayed’s memoir, Yoerg’s novel turns out to be more than just a search to find oneself. THE MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE is a tale of a woman coming to terms with not only her self, but with people in her life who have disappointed her. With an absentee father and an artsy detached mother, Liz has never experienced what she believes is a real family. As soon as Dante decides to tag along on Liz’s trip, the reader gets the sense that he might be the one to show Liz that no relationship can ever be perfect and that everyone makes mistakes, but once things get rolling, we aren’t sure. It takes a tragedy and a major plot twist to force Dante and Liz to sort out whether or not their relationship will survive as their survival on the trail becomes paramount. THE MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE is an adventure, romance, and mystery all wrapped up in one outdoorsy package.

A must read for your Fall list!

A Friendship Lesson for Introverts

Vedauwoo, WY - Copyright Tina Ann Forkner

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” — C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

I am an introvert. I could walk alone for a long time and not be lonely at all. It’s not that I don’t love people, because I do. I simply enjoy being alone.

For example, I hiked the beautiful trail in this photo of the Vedauwoo, Wyoming area a few days ago with my husband. I enjoyed his company as we appreciated the changing season together, but I admit I would have enjoyed the walk alone, too. I love solitude and most of the time, there is nothing I don’t like about being an introvert.

I’m sure my introvertedness makes it easier for me to be a writer, easier for me to be still and contemplate life, and of course it is one of the reasons I could sit for a few hours just reading a book, or thinking about one. Being an introvert is easy, but it’s not always great when it comes to friendships.

I had coffee with a girlfriend the other day and we are both introverts. We don’t have coffee together very often, probably because we aren’t high maintenance friends, but as I sat with her and swapped stories about our lives, I found I’d missed her and told her so. She felt the same way and I had to laugh at us. We always say the same thing, and yet we know it won’t be next week that we get together again, and that’s okay. Isn’t it?

Maybe it’s not okay, at least not all the time. As lovers of alone time, it’s easy to separate ourselves from the world and miss out on the fellowship and friendship that humans need. I think women definitely need to make time to hang out more, and not just on the sidelines of the activities our kids are involved in.

Seeing my friend the other day definitely made me think about the importance of friendships and how we need to spend some time together to nurture them. It’s okay to walk the path alone in solitude and contemplation, but I’ve been reminded again that sometimes other people are much better company than myself.


Fall Reading: The Glass Wives, by Amy Sue Nathan

You will love THE GLASS WIVES, by Amy Sue Nathan for its intriguing plot twists and heartfelt story about motherhood, friendship, and family. 

This beautiful first novel is highly recommended for its interesting plot, compelling characters, and excellent writing.

In the tradition of Marisa De Los Santos and Jennifer Weiner, author Amy Sue Nathan has penned a debut novel that will challenge readers’ preconceived ideas of what family and friendship should be, while at the same time renewing their hope in timeless traditions of love and faith.

Expertly penned, The Glass Wives, by Amy Sue Nathan, creator of the incredibly popular Women’s Fiction Writers blog, is a fascinating story about how we as humans crave family connections even when, or perhaps especially when, our own family ties have been unraveled. In this case, the lives of Evie and Nicole glass have come apart through tragedy and are being woven together with each other, much to Evie’s dismay, after Evie’s ex-husband, who happens to be Nicole’s husband, dies in an accident. Sound complex? Well it is, and that’s what keeps the tension so tight in this book that readers might not be able to put it down.

Sometimes comical, always heartfelt, Evie’s responses to her predicament make us laugh and cry right along with her. A single mom who just wants her children to be happy, Evie is in a rut and it is obvious from the beginning that she has left herself far behind, even before the death of her ex-husband. Holding to her Jewish traditions, family, and friendships, she thinks she’s doing it all pretty well, but that was before Nicole, her dead ex-husband’s mistress, now a widow, shows up on Evie’s doorstep with her baby. As the story progresses, the situations Evie gets caught up in with Nicole, all for the sake of her kids’ happiness, almost bring out the worst in her, especially when she discovers something about her ex-husband’s widow that might prove Nicole’s intentions aren’t all good.

Above all, Evie must protect her kids, but whether that means with Nicole and their baby brother still in their lives or out of their family completely seems impossible for Evie to know. As sparks fly and complex events unfold that open old wounds for Evie challenging life-long friendships and deeply felt ideas of what is right and wrong, and more importantly threatening the happiness of her family, the author deftly reveals a deeper and more emotionally mature quality in Evie’s character than readers expect.

As Evie strives to make the right choice for her children, she will no doubt inspire readers and perhaps even affirm their faith in the importance of family however seemingly fragile, and even in faith itself. I loved reading about the Jewish faith in this novel and for me, it didn’t overtake the story at all, but contributed to the depth of the story.

Nathan puts real characters, real faith, and real personalities in a surprising and seemingly impossible situation that kept me turning the pages. With this fantastic debut novel, Amy Sue Nathan is an author to watch.


Watch for Amy Sue Nathan’s upcoming novel, THE GOOD NEIGHBOR, releasing this month. 

“Fans of Mary Kay Andrews and Jennifer Crusie will be pleased with Nathan’s latest offering. The female friendships are drawn with effortless, bold strokes.”—RT Book Reviews

Low Tide

beached boat (2)A few weeks ago I was walking at low tide  on a beach in Cape Cod and came upon these boats that would remain stranded until the tide came in. I guess I was in a sentimental mood because as I waded in the low waters looking back toward the shore  at the beached boats, I was struck with a feeling of isolation. I thought to myself, “I’ve been there.”

I thought to myself, ” I am there.”

Haven’t we all been there? I’ve been beached in my life and have had to wait and wait for the waters to rise up and lift me to freedom again. It’s the same with writing. Sometimes I feel isolated, as if I’m the only one who has ever written a terrible sentence, and as if I will never write another good story again. At times I literally stare at the screen and wonder if I will ever write another story, period.

Since I was so worried I’d never come up with a decent line again, it might be surprising that while on vacation I decided not to write fiction at all. I mean, who wants to work when the ocean’s nearby? But it was more than that. I knew my writing self needed a vacation too, even though I’d originally planned to use the vacation as a sort of writing retreat.  Once I was on the Cape surrounded by ocean towns, lighthouses, and sand I decided to let my stories percolate instead of putting them on the page. I decided to have a real vacation.

If you don’t write, this might sound silly, but I needed my thoughts to be beached like those boats waiting for the tide to come in. I needed to let my stories roam around in my mind and my subconscious self wade through the words before I let them out again.  The hope was that while I was wading in the ocean and not writing, my story would work itself out. I wanted to soak up inspiration while visiting the Cape and hoped that once I was back home, the threads of story that had become knotted in my mind would unravel and be free to set sail.

It worked.

As I waded through the ocean’s edge,  I waited on my story hoping it would come back to me. And it did, eventually. Once I was back home with a rested body and mind, the tide, in the form of a story, came rushing back in.

It’s probably a good idea for all of us to give our brains a break every now and then, but it’s crucial for us creative types. Don’t be afraid to give yourself some time, because you know what? The tide always comes back in.