It's out! When you've had a chance to read Wonders Never Cease, don't forget to post a comment and let everyone know what you think. And thanks to all the bloggers who read those Advanced Reader Copies and took the time to post reviews, like Allen Cook:
"Tim Downs combines some very memorable characters with many sub-plots to turn Wonders Never Cease into a book that you don’t want to put down…Wonders Never Cease was an enjoyable, easy read that contained well-measured parts of suspense, sadness, and humor. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.”
And then there was this review from Joshua Butler:
"Very engrossing fiction. I would recommend this book to anyone who is going on a trip, and will have several hours to burn on a flight. I, myself, finished it in just a couple of sit downs. And once or twice I used a flashlight under the covers at night just to find out what was going to happen next.”
I know, I've told you a dozen times already: I have a new novel coming out, Wonders Never Cease, and it's due in bookstores tomorrow, May 11th. Actually I've only told you nine times, but who's counting? I just thought I'd post a couple more of the great reviews I've been getting from bloggers who've already read the book and posted their reviews online. Rita Barriga writes:
"Wonders Never Cease by Tim Downs is an inspiring story that rings true. I could not put it down for fear of losing my momentum. I laughed, I was angered and I wanted to cry. I could not believe the steps one woman has to take to go about her way understood."
And Mindy Koentopp wrote this on her blog:
"I had a good laugh at some of the things and I actually talked back to some of the characters. I haven't talked back to a book since I first read New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. I know when I talk back to a book, I am thoroughly enjoying it. I will definitely be reading more from Tim Downs."
Thanks to all you blog reviewers out there. When you finish Wonders, if you don't have a blog of your own, be sure and post your comments here.
For the last two weeks I've been telling you about my latest novel, Wonders Never Cease, which officially releases on Tuesday. One of the central characters of Wonders is a single mother named Natalie Pelton who's struggling to raise an imaginative six-year-old daughter named Leah. Natalie's divorce was an ugly one, and she fears that Leah may have been traumatized by what she heard and saw. One day, Leah reports to her class at St. Stephen's Episcopal that she has just seen an angel. Her teacher isn't sure what to make of it, and soon Natalie finds herself meeting with the school's arrogant counselor, Charles Armantrout. So, in honor of all you caring mothers out there who've sweated blood worrying about the way your kids might turn out, I've included an excerpt from chapter 10 of Wonders Never Cease:
“Ms. Pelton, your daughter claims to have seen an angel. Doesn’t that concern you?”
“My daughter has a very vivid imagination.”
“But this is more than just an imaginative story. Leah insists that she has actually seen an angel. She seems quite convinced.”
“I just don’t see the harm,” Natalie said.
“Your daughter has apparently suffered a psychotic episode.”
“Whoa,” she said. “A psychotic episode? What in the world are you talking about?”
Armantrout turned and took a dictionary from his bookshelf. “Let me read you something: ‘Psychosis: A severe mental disorder, with or without organic damage, characterized by derangement of personality and loss of contact with reality and causing deterioration of normal social functioning.’”
“Derangement of personality?” Natalie said incredulously. “You have to be joking.”
“Let me draw your attention to the phrase ‘loss of contact with reality.’ That’s what concerns me here. I’m also concerned by the phrase ‘causing deterioration of normal social functioning.’ Leah is possibly in the early stages of psychosis; we need to determine whether her condition is likely to deteriorate, and whether she could become a danger to others.”
“A danger? I don’t understand you people. It’s not like she saw the devil or something. Leah thinks she saw an angel—one of the good guys, remember? Isn’t this an Episcopal school?”
Armantrout smiled. “We’re not all so medieval around here, Ms. Pelton. Some of us are trained in the sciences. There has to be a naturalistic explanation for what your daughter saw, and that explanation is probably psychological or emotional in nature. I don’t mean to pry into your personal life, but it’s quite possible that Leah’s home environment has triggered this episode.”
“How do you figure that?”
“Leah has suffered a trauma: the breakup of her family; the absence of her father; the loss of the safe and secure world of her early childhood. She suddenly finds herself living in a new place with a man she doesn’t even know. Tell me, Ms. Pelton, does Leah feel safe around your boyfriend?”
“What? Of course she does!”
“It’s quite possible that Leah is projecting an angelic being as a kind of defense mechanism. An angel is a powerful mythical being—strong, protective, someone that Leah hopes can watch over her and keep her safe from harm.”
Natalie stood up. “I’ve had enough of this.”
“Ms. Pelton, please—”
“Tell me something, Mr. Armantrout. Are you actually a licensed psychologist, or is this just an armchair diagnosis? Because I don’t appreciate you making accusations about Leah’s ‘home environment’ or suggesting that she doesn’t feel safe. My daughter is safe and secure—and loved. I don’t know what she saw or why she thinks it was an angel, but if you think this is a psychotic episode then I think you’re psychotic.”
Armantrout held up both hands. “We’re all simply trying to understand Leah.”
“No, that’s what you’re trying to do. I’m just trying to satisfy this school’s ridiculous requirements so my daughter can go back to class where she belongs.”
Armantrout picked up his pen. “I’m recommending that Leah have a full psychiatric evaluation.”
“What? Are you out of your mind?”
“And possibly an MRI.”
“An MRI? What in the world for?”
Armantrout referred again to the open dictionary. “‘Psychosis: A severe mental disorder, with or without organic damage . . .’ There are abnormalities in the brain that have been known to produce hallucinations, Ms. Pelton. An MRI would rule out the possibility of any organic damage. I think it would be a good precaution.”
Natalie was so furious that her hands were trembling, but she did her best to control her rage. “Okay,” she said evenly. “First I talked to the teacher and now I’ve seen the school counselor—I’ve done what everyone’s asked of me. Thank you for your suggestions, Mr. Armantrout; I’ll consider them. Is there anything else, or can Leah go back to class now?”
Armantrout looked at her. “I think it’s safe for Leah to return to class—but we’ll have to keep an eye on her, Ms. Pelton. After all, we owe it to the other children.”
There--now don't you feel better about how your kids are doing?
Just three more days until Wonders Never Cease officially hits bookstores, though many of you have written to let me know you've already found it and read it. In fact, one of the most common comments I've been seeing in blog reviews of Wonders is, "This is a quick read." People seem to appreciate that, and that's fine with me, as long as they realize "This was a slow write" for me! I just received this thoughtful review from Georgiana Daniels:
“Deeper questions about faith, and being willing to believe, are laced through this quirky story. And yet, the faith element is subtle and doesn't overpower the story. This is a perfect example of "suspension of disbelief," and though some aspects of the end are not neatly tied up, the overall read is quite satisfying. Wonders Never Cease is a complete departure from what I've come to know as a Tim Downs novel, but it's absolutely a page-turner, and I hope to see more stories like this.”
Thanks, Georgiana! And for the rest of you, don't forget to post your comment once you have a chance to read the book.
Every year National Nurses Week is celebrated from May 6-12, concluding on the birthday of Florence Nightingale. If ever there was an overworked and underappreciated group of people, it's nurses--and they deserve to be recognized. One website expressed it this way:
"Are there Nurses in your life who have made a difference to you? Did a nurse make a loved one's death a little more bearable? Did a nurse come in and change someone's bandages when you couldn't? Did a nurse give you sample medications at the Doctor's office when you couldn't afford them? Did a nurse make your loved one's stay in a hospital, nursing home or rehab facility a little bit better? If you said "yes" to any of those questions, then get your butt out there and thank those nurses."
I couldn't agree more! Many of you know that my latest novel, Wonders Never Cease, features two nurses working at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles--but what you may not know is that the book is actually dedicated to two nurses at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital, Cyndee and Madeleine, whose love and dedication had an enormous impact on our family more than twenty years ago. We love them both dearly and we still stay in touch with them, and I dedicated Wonders to them just to remind them again.
If there's a nurse who's had an impact on your life, be sure to call them this week and let them know how much you appreciate them. And hey, if you're looking for a special gift to send them, I've even got a helpful suggestion...
How about a novel about nurses?
I had a great interview yesterday with Burke Allen of WAMS Blog Talk Radio in Washington DC. You can listen to the interview just by clicking below. Burke is a terrific guy and he had a list of really interesting questions about Wonders Never Cease. It was a lot of fun.
By the way, I got a nice little review of Wonders from Leah Courtney, who probably likes the book because one of the main characters is named Leah too! She writes:
“I enjoyed this book by Tim Downs…The characters in the book were believable and enjoyable. The plot was interesting enough to keep me looking for what was happening next. A little suspense, a little bad guys versus good guys, a little love and romance all add up to an enjoyable read.”
As always, you can read the rest of her review and others from Leah on her blog.
Well, it's about time. After eight novels and three works of non-fiction (two of them co-authored with my brilliant and beautiful wife), Wonders Never Cease is the first of my books to be released in audio format. That's good news for all you auditory learners out there, including me. I love to listen to novels on my MP3 player when I'm working out (does anybody remember "books on tape"?). While everybody else in the gym is working out to their favorite iTunes download, I'm listening to my latest download from Audible.com. My son likes to kid me about "sweatin' to the audio books," but I still say it's a great use of time.
Just 7 more days until Wonders Never Cease hits bookstores--though, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, the book is avaliable through Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com already. I'm hoping readers are up for something different this time, because this is a definite departure from my last three Bug Man novels. Wonders was a little bit of therapy for me; a guy can only take so much death and decomposition before he needs a break!
"What a charming book! It kept me captivated throughout and I absolutely adored all the characters and all the growth they underwent by the end of the novel. It was a real page turner, and I fell deep into the story. The plot and characters were all unique and different, and the Christian element was understated and elegant in itself. A book about love, faith, greed, and justice, it’s definitely one for the ages, at least, my ages. It is definitely recommended by me."
Thanks to Emme M and all the other eager bloggers out there. Keep those reviews coming!
It's eight more days until Wonders Never Cease is officially available at bookstores, but a quick search of Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com shows that both vendors are offering the book already. The reason is because of ambiguity over the "official release date" of a book. Publishers use two different dates to describe the availability of a book: the "pub date" and the "street date." The "street date" is the date by which brick-and-mortar bookstores should have received the new book, made space on their shelves, and set the book out so customers can find it. In other words, it's the date when readers are guaranteed to find it on their local bookstore's shelves. But the book is actually off the press and at the publisher's warehouse a week or two earlier. That's the "pub date," and online vendors who don't need time to clear and stock their shelves can make the book available earlier than most bookstores can.
All that to say: 8 more days until Wonders is available, but it's already available now. Confused? Welcome to the mysterious world of publishing.
By the way, Wonders got a nice review from Nikola Hartmann. Here's an excerpt, but if you're interested you can check out the rest of the review at her blog:
"I really enjoyed reading Wonders Never Cease. It’s the kind of book you have to force yourself to put down, because it truly is that good! The story line moves along at a fluid pace, and delivers a well-balanced blend of mystery, drama and wicked humor. A fun read, that delivers a powerful message in a non-preachy way."
It's just 9 days until my new novel Wonders Never Cease is officially in bookstores. Readers are beginning to post reviews on their blogs and it's fun to read the early feedback. Shout out to Leslie Gosney for posting this kind review:
"This book is a great read. I actually couldn't put it down. Tim Downs really knows how to write. I had never heard of this author before, and now am looking forward to finding more novels by him. He helps connect you with each character and get "IN" the book. This book REALLY makes you think, and I was left wondering, "Am I Ready to Believe?" I believe so. Enjoy the story of Angels, Belief, Life, Drama, and Love."
You can read the rest of Leslie's review on her blog site. If you have a personal comment or review about Wonders, feel free to share it with others here!