Guest Post: Lori Nelson Spielman talks of New Year Resolutions (wine, books, & the life of an author!)

new year resolutions


Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List, talks about her New Year Resolutions.  Statistics, why she likes New Year Resolutions and the difference between boring resolutions & ones that might be attainable! Read on for Lori’s thoughts.


Lori Nelson Spielman talks of New Year Resolutions

Thanks so much for hosting me today to talk about New Year’s Resolutions. Let me start by getting the clichés out of the way. With the New Year comes a fresh start. The New Year provides the perfect time to reinvent ourselves. The start of a new year gives us a chance to reflect on our lives, evaluate what we want to change or improve.


As tired as they may be, I happen to agree with the clichés. I love the symbolism of a new beginning. I have oodles of things I’d love to change, and apparently, so do most Americans. According to, 45% of Americans make resolutions.


Year after year we vow to eat healthy, get wealthy, lose weight and congregate. We plan to volunteer, drink less beer, manage our debt and adopt a pet.


And year after year we fail—at least that’s what my friend, Kathy, believes. I discovered her resolution revulsion while we were having lunch, and the conversation turned to the New Year.


Kathy: I never make New Year’s Resolutions. Ever. Call me the Grinch of the New Year, but I refuse to be pressured to perform under a deadline.


Me: But it’s the perfect time to start fresh, make those changes we’ve been putting off all year.


Kathy: If someone needs to change, then they should change. Immediately. Why wait for January 1st? Resolution-makers are needy. They’re like a group of lemmings, marching to their suicide. Do you realize only eight percent of people accomplish their resolutions? And of those eight percent, seven percent are lying.


Me: You’re so cynical. The important thing is, they make the effort.


Kathy: Uh, yeah, for like three whole days.


Me: I happen to believe in resolutions. As you know, I make one every year. Want to hear this year’s?


Kathy: Let me guess, you’re going to eat healthy, work out more, everything you vowed to do last year.


Me: Well, yes…but this year I thought I’d increase my exercise routine…


Kathy: Bo-ring! The only thing worse than exercising is listening to someone talk about exercise. And food? Trust me, no one wants to hear about it. Rule of thumb: never talk about your diet unless the person you’re talking to is wearing a lab coat.


Me: Okay, forget those resolutions. I’ll just stick with my original goal: Write my next book.


Kathy: You said that last year and the year before. You need something more succinct. How about: When writer’s block hits, I’ll inhale two, rather than three, rows of Oreo cookies.


Me: But those Oreos are so comforting. I know, I’ll organize my office, and keep it organized all year.


Kathy: Seriously? That’s like asking Miley Cyrus to give up twerking. Make it realistic, like stuffing your coffee mug, laptop, pens, papers and candy wrappers into the nearest closet five minutes before your family gets home.


Me: But all that paraphernalia helps me write. In fact, next year I’m going to write 1,000 words per day, without fail. Now there’s a resolution!


Kathy: You already do that. I see your Facebook posts, tweets, emails, Pinterest…


Me: You’re right. Scratch that. By the time I sit down to write my novel, my daily quota of clever thoughts have been used up. How about I vow to keep away from social media while I’m writing?


Kathy: An Internet diet. Interesting. Are you including Sudoku and Solitaire in your diet?


Me: I should. I know I should. Those computer games are a time warp. But I’m addicted. I can’t stop. Hey, why don’t I read 24 books in the New Year? Reading is essential for writers. And I won’t read trashy novels, I’ll finally read the classics.


Kathy: Two books a month sounds reasonable. But make it one classic, one trashy. After all, if you can’t twerk…. I’m just sayin.


Me: Finally, a resolution we agree on! We’re on a roll here. What about this one: I’ll stop reading my reviews.


Kathy: Obsessing over your reviews would be more accurate. But yes, that’s another good one.


Me: And I won’t compare myself with other authors. I won’t curl up in the fetal position for a week when I discover my writer friends have already sold books three and four.


Kathy: Excellent. I think you might actually accomplish these.


Me: No doubt about it. And while I’m writing, I’ll set a timer. I’ll write in two-hour blocks. I’ll limit my caffeine intake to two cups of coffee a day. I’ll—


Kathy: Whoa. Back up…caffeine intake? What about your wine intake?


Me, blanching, aghast: Wine? Come on now, let’s not get carried away. I refuse to be pressured to perform under a deadline. Why set myself up for failure? Do you realize only eight percent of people accomplish their resolutions…



Like Lori’s resolution? Read Lori Nelson Spielman: Author Spotlight or Interview With Lori Nelson Spielman.



T Traveling With T pic sign off

Why I love The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman


Photo Credit: Goodreads

It’s no secret that I adore The Life List. I had such a good feeling about this book from the beginning- and then the first few pages sucked me in. I cried. I laughed. I loved.  I loved so much that I picked this as October Book Lovers Unite selection. I love so much that I tell anyone to read this book.

Why do I love this book so much? That’s complicated. And yet, kind of simple.


While I may not have had an actual, honest to goodness written life list like Brett, I had dreams. Some were simple. Some were silly. Some were dreams that I just assumed would happen as they were more like rite of passages. Some were dreams that upon later in life I’m glad they did not work out!


Dreams and plans are good. In fact, necessary. Without a dream, life is not worth living. For me, over the years some dreams have panned out- I’m college-educated, I’ve had some great opportunities. I’ve had some experiences in life that made me feel so alive, so sparkly and wonderful. I’ve also made mistakes. I’ve been too scared at times to take chances. I’ve regretted things.

With Brett, I felt such a kinship. Similar age range, similar education backgrounds- living a good life- just not the life that we’d planned, dreamed about.  Is my life terrible? No, in fact it’s pretty wonderful. However, I do wonder about the unknown.

When I was 14, I dreamed of going to Harvard. This was before I understood things of how much college would cost or the fact that while I was an A+ student at my school- transcript was not going to be quite as impressive as other students who went to more prestigious high schools. I dreamed it because I wanted it. And because, for a long time, no one ever told me I couldn’t.


One day, I hope to find that little girl who dreamed of going to Harvard- who felt brave enough to say she had a dream- even if it seemed impossible. Thanks to Brett and her creator Lori Nelson Spielman, I might be a step closer to finding that girl.




Book Lovers Unite Week 3 Questions for The Life List discussion


Photo Credit: Goodreads


This is it- the last week of discussion for The Life List.  It’s been a great month of discussion and I’m so proud and pleased! 🙂

Here is the previous weeks discussion- Week 1 and Week 2. And join us for November as we discuss Hush Little Baby!

Questions for Week 3

1. Brett and Brad- did you root for them to couple up? Or was there always a friend vibe between them?

2. Meeting Herbert (Dr. Moyer)- at first Brett is hesitant. The more she gets to know him, though, the more she likes him.  Is Dr. Moyer the kind of man that Brett would be happy with?

3. Sanquita dies and makes Brett promise to take care of her baby. Why did Brett promise? Could you promise?

4. Brett meets her father. And as they get to know each other, Brett wonders why he did not come back after her parent’s divorce? Can you understand John’s reasons? Why didn’t Elizabeth reach out to him?

5. Joad is not happy about Brett adopting Austin. Why? Should Joad’s reaction to the adoption give Brett pause about adopting Austin? When her own flesh and blood thinks it’s a bad idea- does that mean anything? Or does it mean that Elizabeth failed Joad in some way? Did Elizabeth fail Joad in some way?

6. What did you think of the ending? Was it a good ending?

Book Lovers Unite Week 2 Discussion Questions: The Life List



Photo Credit: Goodreads


This is Week 2 questions for The Life List! Why am I posting these on Tuesday instead of a Friday? Yours truly forgot to post them last Friday in her rush to pack for vacation over the weekend- so I’m truly sorry!

In light of this, Week 3 Questions will be posted Friday Oct 25th and Final/Overall Thoughts of Book will be posted Thurs Oct 31st.

Week 1 questions are here for you ease of finding them!


Week 2 Questions:

1. Andrew decides to help Brett with her Life List. Why? Is this his way of showing Brett that he is the man for her- her rock?


2. Brett and Carrie- at this point in the book, can you understand why they drifted apart? Should Carrie hold a grudge? What would you do if you were Carrie?


3. Brett thinks she is pregnant. And this thought fills her with joy. How is Brett’s reaction different from an average single woman’s reaction at this possibility?


4. Brett’s father- can they begin a relationship? Has too much time passed? Does too much time ever pass for parent/child relationships?

Book Lovers Unite Week 1 Discussion Questions: The Life List


It’s time! It’s here! All October long we will be discussing The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman- a fantastic debut novel that is heartwarming and made of wonderful!

This is Week 1 of the discussion- here is the Reading Schedule! Need to know more about Lori Nelson Spielman? Read the  interview and author spotlight that was featured on Traveling With T over the summer!

Questions for Week 1:

1. Did you ever make a “life list” for yourself? If so (and if you feel like sharing) what were some of the things on the list?

2. When The Life List begins, we know that Brett has lost her mother. Brett is filled with grief and sadness- but does have to smile a bit that her mother has taken some steps to make this day easier (the champagne and the journal for later). Would you read the journal today or wait?

3. “Who’s going to boost my confidence now that my mom’s gone?”- Brett, pg 7. Is this a normal mother-daughter relationship? Or an extra-special relationship?

4. Is it cruel or loving what Elizabeth has in mind for Brett to receive her inheritance?

5. Brett’s friends try to think of ways that Brett can technically complete the list- is this what Elizabeth was thinking when she stipulated the list in her will?

6. Why is Brett so hesitant to contact Carrie?

7. Elizabeth asks “Where did she go, that fearless, self-assured girl who loved to entertain?” Why is Elizabeth so worried about this? People change- so why can’t Elizabeth accept this is not part of Brett’s personality anymore?

8. Elizabeth gives Brett a deadline as to when to finish the goals. Why? Should the deadline be negotiable? Shouldn’t Brett have time to grieve?

9. Brett loves Andrew.  Can she cross the “falling in love” off her life list?


* These are just some questions to get you thinking- feel free to answer all or just some! If you have a question ask- just don’t ask about anything that did not happen between pages 1-96 #nospoilersplease!


Reading Schedule for The Life List: October Book Lovers Unite selection


Here is the reading schedule for October Book Lover Unite selection, The Life List!


October 4th (Week 1) Pages 1-96 (read through ch 9)


October 11th (Week 2) Pages 97 (Ch 10)- 213 (read through Ch 20)


October 18th (Week 3) Pages 214 (ch 21)- 331 (end of book)


October 25th (Week 4) Overview and final thoughts


Lori WILL BE participating with us- as soon as I have those details finalized- I’ll let you know.

The Life List moves very fast- once the story unfolds and the reader begins to see what is happening, it’s a pretty fast read. Week 2 and Week 3 have more pages to read- but, don’t stress. Take your time and enjoy the book- each week’s questions will be posted on Friday and will be ready for discussion when you are ready!


Need more info about The Life List– visit my sign-up post!

October Book Lovers Unite: The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman

I debated. I hem’ed. I haw’ed. I looked at tons of books. Pro and con lists were made. I even considered calling a psychic about what should the October Book Lovers Unite book be. I was *this close* to naming MOONRISE by Cassandra King- and yet, I held off. And then I made a choice (and one that I hope you, Book Lovers Unite folks, will like!) I chose: THE LIFE LIST by Lori Nelson Spielman!

Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

In this utterly charming debut — one woman sets out to complete her old list of childhood goals, and finds that her lifelong dreams lead her down a path she never expects.

1. Go to Paris
2. Perform live, on a super big stage
3. Have a baby, maybe two
4. Fall in love

Brett Bohlinger has forgotten all about the list of life goals she’d written as a naïve teenager. In fact, at thirty-four, Brett seems to have it all—a plum job at her family’s multimillion-dollar company and a spacious loft with her irresistibly handsome boyfriend. But when her beloved mother, Elizabeth, passes away, Brett’s world is turned upside down. Rather than simply naming her daughter the new CEO of Bohlinger Cosmetics, Elizabeth’s will comes with one big stipulation: Brett must fulfill the list of childhood dreams she made so long ago.

Grief-stricken, Brett can barely make sense of her mother’s decision. Some of her old hopes seem impossible. How can she possibly have a relationship with a father who died seven years ago? Other dreams (Be an awesome teacher!) would require her to reinvent her entire future. For each goal attempted, her mother has left behind a bittersweet letter, offering words of wisdom, warmth, and—just when Brett needs it—tough love.

As Brett struggles to complete her abandoned life list, one thing becomes clear: Sometimes life’s sweetest gifts can be found in the most unexpected places.



Reading schedule will be posted later this week- but go ahead and reserve the book from the library or buy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local indie!

*Current prices: Amazon: $10.99 for paperback, $7.99 for Kindle; Barnes and Noble: $11.55 for paperback, $9.99 for Nook.


Lori has already agreed to a Q&A session- the format is to be determined, though. We may email her questions or have a set time for discussion with author on blog. As soon as I have those details finalized- you will know!


Spread the word- and tell your mama and friends to come to discuss this book with us!