Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tracy Gardner Beno Guest blogs + The Fall of Our Secrets Review


Laura and Nicole, childhood friends separated by mysterious circumstances, meet again quite by accident and renew their friendship. 
Laura is a devoted single mom. She's stuck in a going nowhere relationship, but doesn't realize it until she meets Adam, her newly dubbed Airport Hottie, on the flight home after spending a whirlwind weekend with Nicole. 
Nicole is now married to the man of her dreams, but she carries deep wounds from a childhood filled with secrets, constantly afraid to trust any true happiness she encounters. 
Together these two best friends work toward uncovering the long buried secrets of Nicole's horrific past, ultimately freeing her to believe in and embrace the new life she's worked so hard to create. The friendship nurtures both women and Laura finds her own self confidence and the revelation that what she needs is within reach, hers for the taking. 
THE FALL OF OUR SECRETS takes the reader on a hopeful journey of love and discovery.'  


I wear a lot of hats. Most of us know what it’s like to spend our days playing several different roles. Mine include Mom, Wife, Writer, Nurse, Taxi, Food and Housing Supplier, Fashion Consultant, Pet Caretaker, Seamstress, and so on and so forth. We juggle. Sometimes we fumble. So how do we fit it all into one day?
I discovered a great strategy a little while ago, in a Hugh Grant movie of all places. My kids and I sat down to watch About A Boy. Actually, I made them sit down to watch with me, something I’ve done with other classics of my time like What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Breakfast Club and Castaway, to name a few. They gripe at first, figuring any movie Mom chooses will be lame. They should know better by now, as they inevitably get drawn in and end up loving my picks. In About a Boy, Hugh Grant plays Will, a self-absorbed bachelor whose life is basically invaded by a very sweet, awkward and needy boy named Marcus. I could write volumes about the shallow, egotistical guy who transforms, excessively slowly and stubbornly throughout the movie, into an actual good guy, but that’s not what I’m writing about today.
Hugh Grant’s character has kind of a genius idea: units of time. We all have an allotted amount of time each day to do what we need to do. Without even meaning to, most of us break our day into a series of sections, and we know about how long each will take. We know that the parent-teacher conference this evening will take about an hour = 1 unit of time. Maybe we need to take the daughter ballet shoe shopping = 2 units of time, as the store is so darn far away. But luckily tonight there is no laundry to do, and we are ordering pizza for dinner, which frees up a couple units of time to fit those things in.
If anyone ever invents a formula for squeezing more hours into the day, they could make millions marketing it to working moms. And by working moms, I mean all moms. And women in general. I’m sure men would be interested too. I think it comes with the territory of being an adult, this frantic zipping around to make sure reports get submitted on time, bills are paid, the refrigerator is stocked, kid 1 makes it to Football and kid 2 makes it to Dance and the dog’s seizure medicine gets picked up and fundraiser supplies get dropped off and the oil is changed in the car and something appears on the table for dinner and homework gets done and everyone has clean underwear for tomorrow.
Tired yet? I am! So, in the absence of a magic formula to multiply the hours in a day or slow the hands of the clock, how do we get it all done? I’ll let you in on a secret: It gets done. No matter how much we stress about it, yell and whine about it, or even make the mistake of sitting down on the couch for a minute and falling asleep before it’s all done, it still gets done. Eventually. And the important stuff (picking up kid 2 from dance, for instance, as she really doesn’t want to sleep there) gets done now. We find a way.
Which brings me back to the units of time idea. Since I’ve been writing more seriously in the last year, and have actual deadlines to deal with now, I’ve had to become smarter managing my time. Delegate, prioritize, and buckle down. That’s my own personal formula. Didn’t know it was my formula until I sat down to think about how I organize the things on my to-do list, but it really is.
Delegation is my weak spot. You know, it’s that “it’ll be quicker if I just do it myself” mindset. But there is something supremely satisfying about assigning one of your minions children a task and then seeing it completed. Even if it’s only to feed the hamster every night. Or to take the trash out. And in every partnership, whether it’s a parent / child, a husband / wife, or an indispensable-grandma-or-friend / single mom partnership, I believe there is always one half who is the detail-keeper, the person who knows what time the Vet appointment is and when the property taxes are due. That person is frequently me, so I also get to delegate to the other adult in my household. Awesome husband is happy to take the dog to the Vet if I just let him know when. He’s also great at recognizing grocery shopping for what it really is: a huge thief of my units of time. Plus he loves grocery shopping -- win!
            Having the trip to the Vet taken off my plate now frees up a couple units of time! Oh joy! What impulsive, super fun thing might I choose to fill these suddenly available units of time? Well, let’s check the list. And prioritize. One thing I am fantastic at is having the perspective to know what can wait. Laundry can wait. If we have to, we will find the socks and underwear we each need, and leave the rest of the entire four-load pile sitting there an extra day. It waits for me (sitting with my son watching an episode of The Walking Dead is a great time to fold laundry, as long as I don’t tear my eyes away from the screen for too long!). Laundry waits. Dishes wait. Vacuuming waits. Writing work due to an agent or editor doesn’t wait. Helping kids with homework doesn’t wait. Charting for my day job doesn’t wait. Prioritizing is key, and also leads to a messy house, but that’s fixable. I guess if you’re not the type who can tolerate a temporarily messy house, you’ll find something less important to move down the list, and free up a unit of time to clean.
The last step in my nifty three-part formula is to buckle down. Believe it or not, it takes great discipline to leave those dishes in the sink in order to sit down at the computer and work on a blog post or article. Once I get rolling, I forget all about them. But it’s the initial rebellious act of leaving them undone, especially to do something I enjoy! Anything related to writing is enjoyable for me, especially having a block of a few hours and diving into a new manuscript … that’s pure heaven. That does require at least a few units of time clumped together, and I’m getting better at isolating those. Frequently, they happen late in the evening, but as long as I can schedule them in, I’m happy.
I know the system works for me. I know because once in a while I’ll have an off day. Like last week when I woke up late and everything went to shit from there. Normally, I hit the ground running, but there is such a thing as the domino effect, and by the time I made it to work an hour late after an extra stop to drop off a vital item for kid 1 and an unplanned round trip back home with the dog food I forgot to buy the night before, I was exhausted. And it was 9 am. Then I realized I’d forgotten my coffee on the kitchen table. Kick me when I’m down, why don’t you? It was a terrible day. I felt like Alexander in that movie. Not exactly sure how it happened, but suddenly it was 9 pm, and where had all my time gone? With miles to go before I slept (or at least seven more tasks to finish), I gave in to the reality that my units of time were absent that day. Maybe lying crumpled up under my faulty alarm clock, who knows. Consequently, the laundry pile grew bigger. The dust bunnies under the table had a chance to multiply, at least until tomorrow. But homework did get done, we each got our hugs and family time for the millisecond we’re all in the same room together, and at the end of the day, I even found an extra unit (okay, so I swapped out a unit of sleep) so I could finish that chapter I was working on. Happiness with my writing life always trumps sleep.
I’m sure there are other formulas out there. I like the units of time concept. It works for me. I’m always curious to see what works for everyone else. I’d love to see comments and thoughts on that!
Thank you so much for hosting me today!  


REVIEW:  Do you ever have that one friend who up and left from your life with little word and never knew why? Someone who meant the world to you, but maybe they had a troubled past or things you never knew about?  I'm sure looking back, there's a few in my life that I wonder "What happened to them?"  Well, in this novel, The Fall of Our Secrets, two best friends reconnect after a chance meeting and while catching up, they begin to unravel the past.

This book revolves around Laura and Nicole, childhood best friends until Nicole disappeared. Laura has always thought about her. Nicole's past had quite a bit of trouble in terms of her family, and Laura is only beginning to understand just how bad things were.

This book is full of mystery and a wonderful foundation of friends reconnecting. There's a little bit of romance as well, but it's not the main focus on the story. I couldn't put this book down! I loved the reconnecting of these two characters, and the mystery element. There are plenty of emotions and things to surprise the reader. I can't wait to read more by this author! 

Author Bio  

Tracy Gardner Beno is a Metro Detroit native who has lived in and around small, rural communities like those described in The Fall of Our Secrets. Her stories draw readers in with recognizable characters and real emotion, seasoned with intrigue and a dash of humor. She loves spending time with her husband and two children, reading, writing, and catching her favorite bands in concert as often as possible. She works as a Registered Nurse in her day job and when she's not writing novels she contributes short stories and articles to Verite Magazine where she's a staff writer.

Amazon listing (buy the book):


  1. Thanks for spotlighting this book - and for the review - this does sound like a book I would enjoy reading. I also enjoyed the guest post by Tracy - she's completely right about the "units" of time - and yes...I agree that About a Boy is a classic film now - I remember seeing it at the cine with one of my besties- who I still speak with these days though not as often as I should:)