What books left a lasting impression on you? Quick 1, 2, 3!

Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate, Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside.

If you’re a fiction reader and love mystery and suspense, you’re familiar with Lee Child. I’ve learned so much about the art of writing from this contemporary author. I’m always reading something, blogs, books, fiction, non-fiction, Quora, research for my novels, etc. But I rarely remember a plot. The Midnight Line haunted me. Not only for the brilliance of the simple plot and unusual way LC approached a serious problem in society today; but also the empathy and passion of the character that LC created in Jack Reacher.

I have a new book coming out Dec. 25, The Istanbul Conspiracy (don’t tell the censors in TKY because I’m currently living in IST). During the writing of several scenes in this book—Code Raven 7—I found the words coming through me faster than I could type! When I would finish a section I would give thanks to LEE CHILD and The Midnight Line. I never thought I was studying his work. But I am such a fan of his plots, his simplistic yet haunting style, that I absorbed his style. And I am forever grateful.

A reviewer once compared my writing to Lee Child. That was a long time before I’d earned any such reference—and I still don’t. But he inspires and entertains me, and his books remain a source of motivation every time I sit down at the computer.

There have been many books over the years that left a lasting impression in my heart and soul. Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult.

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I have a family member caught up in a world that Lee Child explores the Midnight Line. The book helped me understand addiction in a way I could never fathom before.

This story will be forever embedded in my soul.

Who could forget this woman? She changed the world!

Elizabeth Gilbert and her new LOVE

published this morning: Elizabeth Gilbert on FaceBook

Dear Ones: It’s a beautiful spring day in my corner of the world, life is everywhere bursting forth with a sense of rebirth and renewal, and this seems like as good a moment as any to tell you that I am in love. Please meet my sweetheart, Mr. Simon MacArthur. He’s a photographer from the U.K. — a beautiful man who has been a friend of mine for years. (Even more touchingly, Simon was a beloved friend of Rayya’s for decades. They lived together in London over 30 years ago, and they adored each other forever like siblings. This, as you can imagine, means the world to me.) Of late, Simon and I have found our way to each other’s arms. And now here we are, and his heart has been such a warm place for me to land. I share this news publicly, despite the fact that our love story is so new and young and tender, for a few reasons. For one thing, I just wanted to say: If you see me walking around with a tall handsome man on my arm, don’t be buggin’. Just know that your girl is happy, and following her heart. But also this: I will always share anything personal about my life, if it could help someone else feel more normal about their life. SO…if you have lost a loved one to death, and you thought you’d never love again, but you are feeling a pull of attraction toward someone new, and you’re not sure if that’s OK? Let me normalize it for you. Let me say: It’s Ok. Your heart is a giant cathedral. Let it open. Let it love. Do not let your beautiful loyalty to the deceased stop you from experiencing the marvels and terrors of your short, mortal, precious life. It’s OK to live, and to love. Or…if you are falling in love in middle age and it’s terrifying, because you feel just as dumb and crazy and excited and insecure as you did at 16? Well, let me normalize this for you. It’s OK. You will always feel 16 when you are falling in love. Or…if you once loved a man and then you loved a woman, and then you loved a man, and you’re wondering if that’s ok? Well, darling. Let me normalize that for you. It’s OK. Love who you love. It’s all OK, and it’s all impossible to control, and it’s all an adventure that I will not miss. That’s all I wanted to say. Onward, and I love you all.

Why does everything Elizabeth Gilbert says and does make me cry? She’s truly a woman of our times.
Her life has crossed paths with mine in truly memorable ways. Jeanne Proteau I don’t know if you will remember before I left Mexico in 2007 to drive back to Canada, I met and spoke to a young woman from the US who had recently graduated from University. Her first job was working as a publicist for then-unknown author, Elizabeth Gilbert. I remember the conversation vividly because I was about to embark on a life-changing journey that would introduce me to a man with whom I would fall deeply in love. In my memoir, I refer to him as my cowboy.

While driving into the US through the Arizona border, I stopped at a mall for food. In front of me was a huge display of the book Eat Pray Love. I can picture the stand of books in front of me at this very moment. That’s when I bought my first copy of her treasured memoir.
This past year a reviewer compared my LOVE The Beat Goes On to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love memoir. I was honored, and reminded that we can be stuck in our lives or take action. It will always be our choice. And today, as many of you know, I have again pulled up roots and embarked on a journey of a lifetime. I created my own EPL journey that started in Dallas, then Paris, New Delhi, Agra–for the amazing Taj Mahal–then Goa India, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and now I’m in Thailand.

I think about how her book had such a tremendous effect on generations of women who felt trapped in their lives and needed permission to break free.
It doesn’t surprise me that her best friend and lover Rayya–who died last year– sent Liz an old friend to help heal her broken heart and show her love again.

I’ve often been told I overshare (in not so many words) but I guess it’s a writer thing. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

LOVE IS LOVE and we love who we love.