I absolutely LOVE today’s guest, and I finally got to chat with her in person at ACFW. Such a treat! Today, the always wonderful Tina Radcliffe talks about why we should step outside of our reading comfort zone – and her new release Christmas With the Cowboy (that cover! swoon!)
Home for the holidays
A second chance at love on Big Heart Ranch
Former navy SEAL Zach Norman has been avoiding his ranching roots—and the woman he couldn’t have.
Back to visit his brother’s widow, Emma Maxwell Norman, and her adorable toddler twins, the bah-humbug cowboy is roped into helping prepare the ranch for the holidays.
Working side by side, can Emma and Zach overcome their troubled past…and receive the greatest Christmas gift of all—love?
A freelance writer for over twenty years, Tina Radcliffe is an RWA Honor Roll member, a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, and three time ACFW Carol Award nominee. She is a 2018 ACFW Mentor of the Year recipient and a 2018 Carol Award finalist. Her 10th book for Harlequin released in October of 2018. In addition to novel length fiction, Tina has sold over two dozen short stories to Woman’s World Magazine. A former library cataloger, Tina is frequent presenter on writing topics and an online instructor. She currently resides in Arizona, where she writes fun, heartwarming romance. Visit her on the web at https://www.tinaradcliffe.com/
Step Outside of Your Reading Comfort Zone
How many books have you read this year? Do you count? Track them? I don’t, although before I sold a book I did document my reads in a journal.
How do you read? Like a runner, pacing yourself? Do you flip one page after the other, reading with methodical endurance, your eye on the prize which is a satisfying THE END?
As for me, I read a chapter before bed on a daily basis. Something that won’t keep me awake, but will fuel peaceful sleep. My big reads and suspenseful reads are scheduled in-between major writing projects. These big read opportunities are gorged in abandon. When I do this, it is with no regard for time or space or sleep for that matter. I tend to get hooked and read an entire backlist in a week. Seriously, I read the majority of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series in two weeks.
What about you?
I think it’s fair to say that we all have different reading styles and we pretty much stick to that pattern. It’s…comfortable, and meets our expectations and needs. Oh, occasionally, if the mood or situation requires, we grab a “keeper” from the bookshelf to relive a particular emotion. But, in general we tend to be creatures of reading habit. Correct?
Today, I’m going to suggest that we do something new with our reading life. Read outside of our comfort zone.
Reading outside our comfort zone allows us to get lost in our travels. It means that we get on the bus and get off at destination unknown. Remember when you were brave enough to do that? When someone gave you a book and you were so grateful to have your very own book that you opened the cover and started? There was no perusing the back copy to decide if this was the read for your taste.
Nope, you jumped in without a life vest.
I challenge you to go back to that first naïve reader you once were. The one who gave every book a chance without filtering your reading based on the genre, subgenre, author, cover, blurb or reviews.
The library is actually a great place to do this. Here’s a fun game I used to play. I’d wander into areas of the unknown and peruse the shelves, relying solely on the cover and the title and maybe, if I could not resist, the book jacket.
No, not the shelves the librarians set out to lure you to read the month’s display or the bestsellers or the staff picks.
Go to the children’s department.
Or the YA section.
And even deep into the unknown jungle of …
THE FICTION STACKS.
Before I went to work in a library as a page and then a cataloger, I actually had no idea what the stacks were.
“In library science and architecture, a stack or book stack (often referred to as a library building’s stacks) is a book storage area, as opposed to a reading area.”-Wikipedia
Another great way to find a book that takes you outside of your comfort zone is to ask friends. Don’t ask them what they’re reading, ask them what they read that was a surprise. A challenge. A book that grabbed them by the shoulders and was a real wake-up call.
Trust me on this. If you hang with your besties all the time, you won’t meet anyone new, and there is a big world of reads out there waiting for you to find them.
Today’s challenge to you is to post in the comments. I want to know what you’ve read in the last year that was outside your usual discerning and very discriminating selection that you are willing to recommend to other readers.
This post has a roundabout tie-in to my new release. The hero in Christmas with the Cowboy has distasteful memories associated with Christmas. The heroine must convince him to be open to the possibilities and to create new memories. Of course, when he does, change occurs, filling him with the joy of the season and a forever love. Ahh! I love happy endings. I hope you do too.
What about you? Are you willing to open yourself up to new memories associated with finding a brilliant new read you normally would not pick up? Tell me about it. One commenter will win a journal and an ecopy of Christmas with the Cowboy. If you are an international reader, you will receive an Amazon gift card and Christmas with the Cowboy.
Happy reading and early Merry Christmas!
Tina Radcliffe is giving away a journal and an ecopy of Christmas with the Cowboy to one of my readers (If international winner you will receive an Amazon gift card and Christmas with the Cowboy) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter by answering the question Tina asked in her post (listed again below):
I want to know what you’ve read in the last year that was outside your usual discerning and very discriminating selection that you are willing to recommend to other readers.
I would have to say The Summit by Kat Martin which I really enjoyed
I’m making a list Gwendolyn! Thank you.
I read Moloka’i by Alan Brennert this year for a book club and really enjoyed it. It is fiction but about the real leper colony on this Hawaiian island. I am in two book clubs that meet every other month – one is with our performing art center so the books all have something to do with the arts, and the other is with a group of friends (also in the other book club) and we each pick out a book from our library’s book-in-a-bag program. Both of these groups get me to read outside my comfort zone of Christian fiction.
Linda, tell me more about book-in-a-bag! Wow, sounds very cool.
My library has over 100 titles in their “book-in-a-bag” program, a great way for book clubs to borrow a set of books! There are 8-20 copies of the book plus discussion questions, and there are lots of different genres, fiction and non-fiction to choose from. It has been a wonderful way to try out books outside of all of our comfort zones!
When I was a kid, our library had a swap rack for books and for magazines. It was a small rack that was there all year – not just during the book sale. It was lots of fun! It also taught the value of books….you had to decide what book in your personal library you would give as a swap! 🙂
Oh boy, this is asking a lot of a reader like me who plots her reading by the month so I can get to all my must reads. I read about 10 books a month, tracking my favorite author’s releases and then filling in with either my backlist or new authors I’ve heard about through blogs and reader groups. I’ll even admit I have my next 20 books lined up, so I only have about 10 more spots open this year!
I did take a chance this year on a Quaker historical dual timeline book with Phoebe’s Light by Suzanne Fisher from her Nantucket Legacy series. I am not an Amish/Quaker reader, but this sounded so interesting I took a chance, and it really wowed me. I’ve since read all three in the series and it’s one of my favorite series this year. So taking chances can really work out!
I did read three new to me historical authors this year who had been recommended, Kristy Cambron, Elizabeth Camden and Amber Lynn Perry. All three were great and I plan to read more of their books
I’m looking forward to seeing what others have read that they loved enough to recommend!
There you go, even a spreadsheet reader can read outside her comfort zone. Brava. Although now I am a little scared of you.
A girl after my own heart 😉
Reading novels which are about the trials and tribulations which we have top face in life compared to the Holocaust novels which I read are heavy and profound.
Good for you, Anne. Every think about reading …humorous fiction?
For library book club earlier this summer, was a book I didn’t think I would enjoy. But because it was so profound and startling and incredulous what these women went through and were told about their work, it read like a fiction page turner. What was this book? It was The Radium Girls by Kate Moore. What these women went through and how they fought the powers that be and changed the workplace for the better was fascinating. This was no a book I would ordinarily choose. I have read several interesting books because of our library book club.
AAAAHHH! Michelle. I want to read that book, it’s been on my radar too.
Ooooo that sounds good!
And, BTW, it was so cool meeting Carrie at ACFW. She’s even prettier in person than in her picture and sweet and smart.
Oh goodness! You clearly need your eyes checked! But thank you ? The admiration is mutual 🙂
I read a book on climbing mount Everest.
Go, Janet. When do you leave for Everest?
I’d recommend Eugenios: Servant of Kings. It’s biblical fiction heavy on Roman history. The content wasn’t outside my comfort zone so much as the genre. Very good though.
Thank you, Carolyn. I just recently read Biblical fiction by an unpublished author and it was terrific. I don’t know why I hadn’t read it before. I think I thought it would be dry. Not the case at all!
I haven’t read Women’s fiction in years because the few books I did read seemed too ‘needy’ to me. But, I am fan of Beth Vogt’s Contemporary fiction books, and I told her I would like to read Things I Never Told You, her first book in the WF genre. Let me tell you, it is wonderful!!! It’s a complex, emotional story and I did not want to put it down, which completely surprised me. I highly recommend it!
Anne! Hi. Yes, I have found that I do not enjoy WF that is depressing. Life can be depressing enough if you let it. But if I look carefully, there are a ton of really positive, even humorous WF writers out there. And I am all about the smiles. Thanks for sharing.
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Oh yes! JCP! (Which makes me think J. C. Penny’s). I have that on my TBR list. Thanks for the reminder.
I recently finished a really great book called, All She Left Behind, by Jane Kirkpatrick. It’s based on a true story that is truly unforgettable to me.
Stephanie, thank you for the heads up on that one. Adding it now. And thanks for stopping by and for stepping out of your reading comfort zone.
I love her books!
Apart From the Crowd Series by Jen Turano. Thanks for the giveaway!
I believe I have that book on my TBR, so it’s not outside my comfort zone and I love Jen Turano.
Jen Turano is the bomb
I’ve tried sci-fi type but they are not for me! Have also read some dual time. I don’t usually care for them. I have tried some dystopian that I’ve enjoyed. Amish is not my favorite but it’s okay occasionally. I enjoy most other Christian fiction. I even read some non-fiction!
But you gave it a shot. That’s what counts. I recently read some paranormal for a contest. I never thought I’d like it, but I did. Might have to try some Christian paranormal next. You never know.
I love dual time books! But I’m not a fan of sci-fi either 🙂
World Changer: Story of Aaron Carson Vaugh, a US Navy Seal, and Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller–about having parents who were hoarders
Okay, Ms. Barb, you just reminded me I have a print copy of Trident K9 Warriors to read. Gosh, I come from a family of hoarders. GOTTA GET THAT BOOK!~
I have read several suspense books this year. I don’t normally read these kind but enjoyed them!
I accidentally got hooked on suspense books, Kathy. LOL. Now I read historicals to read outside my comfort zone.
Ummm in the last year…something I read was, Annabel Lee (Coffey & Hill #1) by Mike Nappa. It was my first book by him and it was a page turner. I read it in one sitting…lol I was shocked i read it so fast and enjoyed it. haha
Must look into that, Sabrina!
Thanks for the heads up!
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah!
Rachel Dylan had a series of Windy Ridge books that are Christian thrillers. The spiritual warfare is great in these stories.
I love Rachel Dylan, Gina!
I’d have to say 13 Ways to Midnight by Rue Volley. It’s not usually my thing but I love the dialog. Witches are also something I am interested in entertainment-wise.
And it’s good to read outside your comfort zone.
A Promise Of Fireflies. I’m used to something a bit more fast-paced but this one has left me feeling as if I learned something.
Candy! I am writing this one down. Thank you!
I prefer CF Romantic Suspense the most; however, sometimes I enjoy a Western, like Zane Gray, Max Brand, etc. years ago, really got a lot out of The Oregon Trail, by Frances Parker. I also enjoy CF medical thrillers, CF lawyer stories, CF historical, and more old-fashion-type CF romance stories. . . Thank you for this opportunity to enter a giveaway! So exciting! Would love to win a print copy! Thanks, again! God bless! krautter12ATbresnanDOTnet
Thank YOU for being a reader, Lual.!
I had taken a break from reading non-fiction after finishing homeschooling my children in 2014. After languoring on my tbr for years, I finally picked up and read The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. I am not exaggerating when I say that it’s one of the best books I’ve EVER read. I also spent some time listening to the audio while on a short road trip and it was almost better than reading it. So well done.
Terrill! Thanks for the recommendation!
“A Christmas AT Provence. It is situated in France. It had a lot of words written in French. This was the first time I ever read a book with foreign words.
I have read Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar had been a little different kind of book about WWII. I have read other stories of survivors but this one is just a little different.
i’ve heard good things about that one
Oh, my gosh I imagine that was …wow. I have been to Dachau and it was life transforming.
I just finished “Where the Crawdads Sing”. This book was fantastic and I couldn’t stop reading it once I started. It was definitely set in the very rural south– and had a pace and style other than what I am used to reading. However, the story draws you in and makes you think.
Sounds wonderful, Renee!
This was a fun blog read girls! I like to savor my books, so I tend to take a long to read a story. Speed reading through a book would be a way of trying something new.
Finding the Way Back by Erin Landy is an ebook that I picked up in a way similar to what Tina suggested – except I was exploring Amazon’s book lists instead of my library this time. Finding the Way Back is set in today’s world. It follows a couple who are both believers in Christ who find themselves split by infidelity. The perspective and journey this book takes was interesting and their story is one that I’ve seen in real life, but never read about in fiction. To see both characters interested in making things work and receiving true restoration through relying on their relationship with God to make it happen was inspiring. I’m glad I read it. (And there was laughter along the way).
Please enter me in the drawing too! We have this book at our library, but there is STILL a wait list….Which is both good and not so good! Lol. Merry Christmas everybody. 😉