Michael Meyer’s Triangle of Hope follows three friends who have been battered by life. They wind up going on an adventure to a small Irish Town. The book is gripping, and there isn’t a dull moment throughout. Without giving away spoilers, I can say that this is a book that will stir your emotions and stick with you. The stories of the three characters are woven together, and just when you think there can’t be yet something else to knock the characters back – ell, you’ll have to wait and see what happens. I don’t say this lightly – this book is a must-read for anyone who enjoys literary fiction.
Date Published: December 1, 2014
Publisher: Pacific Books
Life grinds you down, but there’s always hope–and sometimes it can come in the strangest of ways….
After being battered by life’s cruelness, three unlikely friends find themselves drawn to a small Irish town seeking something–anything. Finding solace in one another, their quest throws them together and they make a courageous stand.
Clint Westerly was a success until a choice he makes blows his world all apart. Tanya Wilshire is broke and hell-bent on committing to her mother’s final deathbed request. 84-year-old Seamus Harrington needs to right an ancient wrong before time runs out.
Together, this unlikely trio of unexpected allies forms a Triangle of Hope against all odds, their disparate stories uniting for a thrilling conclusion that will leave the reader breathless.
If you love feel-good reads with happy endings, then TRIANGLE OF HOPE is for you. It is “a book that will stay with you forever.” – Wanda Hartzenberg, Wanda’s Amazing Amazon Reviewers
It is a “fantastic read that will pull at your heart.” – Lauren Alumbaugh, Goodreads librarian
SEMIFINALIST FOR THE 2015 KINDLE BOOK AWARD IN LITERARY FICTION
EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK:
1 – Los Angeles, California
His impending death hung in the air like thick smog, smothering everything in its path, obscuring a parade of ups and downs, the unevenness of thrills and chills that defined his life’s existence. It was eerie and scary, but also rather comforting, much like being in a warm bed on a cold night, like shivering while being filled with excitement at what was going to happen next. The news could very easily have been broadcast to those of his past and present, but he had made certain that all the speakers had been turned to mute. He had made the firm decision to meet his destiny without any chance of intervention by anyone. He was all alone in this, his final act.
The hotel room was a bit dark with all the lights switched off, but outside the window the sky was as bright blue as Cinnamon’s eyes had been. At least that’s the way it looked to Clint Westerly. For some reason his mind had suddenly flashed on Cinnamon of all things. Cinnamon had been the perfect cat. Paul Newman eyes, he had called them, which sparkled in the sunlight and glistened in the dark. Such beautiful eyes. Such a wonderful cat. Such a pity that eighteen years was all the time he had had to frolic through the world. Cinnamon had been the perfect cat, the perfect companion. The little cat had been much more than a friend. He had actually been like a son to both him and Sheila. Anybody who knew them would surely concur. That’s just the way things were in their wonderful world.
Their world. What a crock! What world? Everything gone now, vanished, disintegrated into thin air, the tiniest particles vaporized into non-existence. Not a remnant remaining except for the tortured thoughts brought about by that one memory that refused to disappear no matter how painfully the ever increasing toll that it took on his physical body and on his ever working brain, overwhelming him in the process, the remembrance bringing him to his knees, shutting out all other thoughts as well as the rest of the world. Darkness and clouds made up the present, and there would be no future. How could there be? Not with the ever painful memory tearing at his innards, wreaking havoc with the person he had once been. Obliterating the world he had once known. Snuffing out all that he had loved, all that had made up the world in which he had once so happily lived.
He took a big swig from the large snifter of XO Remy Martin he held in his right hand, the cognac warming his throat at it snaked its way into his stomach, his left hand resting on the windowsill. There was so much beauty in the world. Just look at the trees gently blowing in the breeze. Look at how the leaves seem to glisten as they sway in the gentle breeze. See how the clouds out on the horizon take on the never-ending shapes of the imagination, slowly changing shapes and colors in an endless kaleidoscope of wondrous features, a galloping antelope, a smiling child, a mighty elm. All one had to do is look, and wonderful scenes could be seen and imagined, constantly evolving from one glorious image to the next.
Remember the giggles of little tots’ faces, the tail wagging of puppies, the sound of rain on the roof, the softness of a newly made bed, the warmth of a fire on a winter night, the smell of coffee in the morning, the moonlit sky, a beautiful sunset, the sound of waves crashing against the shore, the first gulp of water on a thirsty day, the move-it-forward power of a smile from a total stranger.
Yes, life could be so good…so why did it have to end this way?
I’m 22 weeks pregnant with baby number 4 (a girl!), and so I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make 2017 the best year yet. One of those things I’ve been thinking about is where I’ve been. That’s why when Cents of Style announced they were looking for Fashion Friday stories to accompany a deal on their Inspirational Graphic T-Shirts, I signed up. I chose to wear the “You Can Do Hard Things” shirt. I’m kind of surprised my regular jeans are still fitting me, usually at this point in a pregnancy, I have to saddle up with the saggy baggy maternity jeans brigade. This year is about reclaiming and rebuilding for me. That involves coming out of a sequence of years where I did a lot of hard things.
In fact, I spent a lot of years doing hard things. It’s important to remember that I got through those hard things – and came out stronger for it. I graduated from high school early and started college in what would have been the spring semester of my junior year of high school. Then, like many 18 year old girls, who think they know everything, I was in a hurry to grow up. So, I got married. That didn’t last long. It wasn’t a good relationship, and I left – after a split lip for Christmas, a broken nose for Valentine’s day, and a heck of a lot of bruises between then and when I left 5 months later. Not long after, I learned I was going to be a mom, and 3 months before my 21st birthday, there I was, starting a life with a small person – going it alone as single momma. Believe me, I did a lot of hard things in my 20s. I worked full time at one job while going to college full time as a philosophy major – and – I worked part time as a logic tutor. I honestly do not know how I did it.
I managed to get an award for being an active member of my community, take on a roll as treasurer of my honors society, Phi Sigma Tau, host open mic poetry nights at my workplace, and of course raise a kid. I graduated with my BA – with honors in the major – and applied to graduate school. Those were some tough years, but I graduated college with a 3.8 GPA
Philosophy, if you don’t know, is a traditionally male-dominated field. Being a woman in philosophy really is not for the weak. There’s still a lot of the “old boys” club mentality that goes on. So, when I got to my Master’s program, I really wasn’t surprised by the fact that I was one of four women entering to join two other women in the department. The rest of the 30-odd students were men. Even so, I rose up to the challenge the departmental makeup presented, and finished my degree in 2 years, with a 3.35 GPA
When I joined my Ph.D. program, the stakes were even higher, even though there were more women in the department. On the home front, my very bright 8 year old was having a very rough time at his school, and I made the decision to pull him out and homeschool him – as a single parent in an intense Ph.D. program. I continued to do well in the program (3.8 overall GPA), but had another hard decision to make. I got in trouble for “working too much.” The graduate student union had a rule about working more than 30 hours – and I was working as a TA and an RA in another department. I was doing so because the stipend for being a TA was low, and I still had work study monies left over. I was at risk for losing my TA-ship, which would have meant taking out more student loans to finish than I was comfortable with. On top of that, I was getting weary from the pressure to be at all departmental functions when it was difficult to afford a babysitter for all of them. Plus, I had a lot of pressure coming from back in California to hurry up and finish and go back to California. And, I was tired. So being tired, burned out, and worn down, I made a decision I still question from time to time. I left my Ph.D. program the semester before I was supposed to finish taking my comps.
After I left, it was 2008. The economy was flailing. I applied to over 200 jobs. Over 200. I had an MA degree and most of a Ph.D. Can you guess how many interviews I had?
0. I had 0 interviews. The job market was that competitive. So, I looked at my kiddo and took a deep breath and made another hard decision: I decided to start my own writing and editing business. And the rest is history, sort of. I got into another nasty relationship that left me with PTSD. Then…I met my now husband, we added to our family, moved across the country, and added to our family some more.
And now…here I am, in the house we bought, and I’m working on reclaiming that fierce woman who did all that hard stuff – and more hard stuff I’m probably not even writing about here because, hello, this is a blog, not a book. “Reclaiming” is my word for 2017. “Reclaiming” because after you do a lot of hard stuff, you get tired. After 2 babies and with a 3rd pregnancy, it’s time to revamp my wardrobe, get new makeup, pay more attention to my hair – fix my piercings (my nose piercing closed!) and take steps to feel more fabulous. This momma of almost 4 is tired! SO…to do that, i’m still going to have to do some hard things – give birth, continue putting my businesses together and building, get our home organized, and keep going.
If you need a reminder that you too can do hard things, or you’d like to check out the various other inspirational graphic tees available at Cents of Style, click here (affiliate link). The tee-shirt is so super soft and comfy – and fit over my pregnant belly just fine.
*I was provided with the t-shirt by Cents of Style in exchange for writing my story.
As an entrepreneur, I’m more than familiar with the demands on life being an entrepreneur makes and the level of commitment running your own business takes. When I was offered the opportunity to review Sheryl O’Loughlin’s Killing It! An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Keeping Your Head Without Losing Your Heart, I jumped at it. I’m always looking for more ways I can balance being an entrepreneur with being a wife and mom of three going on four. It’s not always easy.
Killing It! has chapters on love, partnerships, romance, children, friendships, and the need for a supportive tribe of others. Especially in a situation like mine, where I’m doing what I do from home, it’s important to reach out and find other people who are trying to do the same thing. A tribe is one of the most valuable assets an entrepreneur can have. O’Loughlin writes:
“It may not be faith based, but entrepreneurs are a tribe, too. That’s why whenever an entrepreneur asks for my advice, I take the time to give it to him. I know him; I know what he’s facing…We need to support each other so we become stronger over time and create increasingly better businesses for the world.” (62)
Entrepreneurs, like bloggers, do make up a special tribe. We face special challenges – like – how do you bootstrap this new business venture enough to ensure that a venture capitalist, angel investor, or the Small Business Association lenders will see that you have a viable idea? Or how do you ensure that this idea you’re passionate about doesn’t take over every corner of your dining roo-er-life? It’s good to surround oneself with others who think and do similar things. In fact, the right people at the right time can serve as outstanding mentors.
Later chapters in the book deal with risk, money, health, humility, and the ability to let go when necessary. Starting up business ventures is not for the feint of heart. You have to be willing to learn more than you thought you needed to know, work longer hours than you thought you could work, and put up with a substantial amount of risk before your business starts actually making money. You need to put in the time. This can sometimes lead entrepreneur-type-folks to embrace unhealthy eating habits and claim they never have time to exercise.
Because of the level of stress involved with startups, it’s important to find ways to reduce stress, avoid burnout, and stay healthy. O’Loughlin writes:
“I’m far from the only entrepreneur with a hard-charging personality–it’s how most of us are wired. Entrepreneurs have to be driven in order to want to take on such a job, and in order to succeed at it. But as the saying goes: ‘Your greatest strength can also be your greatest weakness.’ Because what do you thin happens when you take someone who is not prone to self-care, who gets laser focused, who is used to facing ten people’s worth of work and getting it done and then some, and put that person in a scenario where the workload is truly unmanageable, where the stakes are high, where the workload is truly unmanageable, where there is little about the outcome he or she can control, and where no one is giving him or her an A++, let alone a ‘job well done’? What do you thin happens when this person faces failure, possibly for the first time, as he or she almost inevitably will? It seems lie a recipe for a crash, and it is.
As someone who is recovering from crashing headfirst into the burnout wall, I can honestly say that this describes the experience of many entrepreneurs. Particularly those trying to “do it all.”
If you run your own show or you’re thinking of starting a business, Sheryl O’Loughlin’s book will give you tips from the inside on how to succeed in this venture. The book is well-written, and I appreciate the honesty and candor with which she looks at this lifestyle. Reading the book is like sitting down at a coffee shop with someone who has been there.
• Hardcover: 304 pages
• Publisher: HarperBusiness (December 6, 2016)
The former CEO of Clif Bar, Co-founder of Plum, and serial entrepreneur offers insights about launching and growing a business while maintaining a fulfilled life in this practical guide filled with hard-won advice culled from the author’s own sometimes dark, raw experiences. With a foreword by Steve Blank.
Aspiring entrepreneurs are told that to launch a business, you must go all in, devoting every resource and moment to making it work. But following this advice comes at an enormous personal cost: divorce, addiction, even suicide. It means sacrificing the intangibles that make life worth living.
Sheryl O’Loughlin knows there is a better way. In Killing It, she shares the wisdom she’s gained from her successful experiences launching a company from the ground up (Plum), running two fast-growing companies (Clif Bar and REBBL), and mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs (Stanford University). She tells it like it is: If you don’t invest in your wellbeing, your business will not succeed, nor will you.
Sheryl knows firsthand the difficulty of balancing the needs of her growing family with her physical and mental health, while managing other work and life challenges. In this warm, honest, and wise handbook, she gives you the essentials for killing it in business—without killing the rest of your life.
Filled with real-life examples and anecdotes, Killing It addresses common questions including:
The ultimate life and business course, Killing It gives entrepreneurs the tools they need to start their enterprise and thrive—both in the office and at home.
Sheryl O’Loughlin earned her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She is the CEO of REBBL super-herb beverages, and she previously served as the CEO of Clif Bar, where she led the concept development and introduction of Luna Bars, and was the cofounder and CEO of Plum Organics. She is the former executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She lives in Santa Rosa, California, with her husband, Patrick, and her two sons.
Can you believe it’s 2017 already? I can’t. Of course, I spent the last quarter of it battling some sort of nasty respiratory virus that cleared up just in time for December Madness – two birthdays, Christmas, New Years, and all of the planing that goes with that. My word for 2017 is “Reclaiming.” You may be wondering what that’s about, well, let me tell you about it.
Since my daughter was born in 2013, a lot of things have slid – my hair, my nose piercing closed up, and though I do love fabulous fashion, I haven’t put the effort in that I’d like to when it comes to having a wardrobe I love. In fact – LOL – most of my clothes are old and being held together with threads – the clothes that fit, that is. Of course, I’m pregnant now too, so fixing some of these things will wait until the second half of the year (like finally getting the phoenix tattoo I’ve wanted for years). So basically, I want to reclaim the fabulousness that has sort of faded in the shadow of baby and toddler tending. It’s still there, but in the wake of my husband’s job change, moving twice in the past year and a half, and all of the craziness that comes from that, I’ve let some of my usual things slide. It’s time to stop that.
This year, I think, has good things in store. I have more book reviews to share with you; I’m looking forward to selling more of my handmade goodies (you can find my Facebook group for that here, please request to join); my teenager is graduating and heading off to college; a new baby will be joining our family in May. Lots of good stuff! I’m looking forward to getting some of the guest posts I’ve accepted up, and to sharing older wine notes with you. Before I got pregnant, we had some great wine last year.
What are your plans for the new year? Have you chosen a theme-word for the year? Do you have resolutions or goals for the new year? Please share them in the comments!