My Healing Place – and Book Giveaway

- by Tara Taylor Quinn

The Second Lie – the second book in my The Chapman Files series – starring expert witness psychologist Kelly Chapman – is out today.  To celebrate, Kelly Chapman and I are blogging in two separate places so that we can give away books in two separate places!  I’m here and she’s over with the MIRA authors at  If you comment here, you’re entered to win the NINC free book.  And if you comment over there, too, you’re entered to win the MIRA free book.  Both are copies of The Second Lie.

I read Kelly’s post.  She’s struggling a bit and I understand completely.  We’re in a tough business in a tough world.  And while the world of publishing sometimes looks glamorous – and sometimes is glamorous – there’s a shadow side to it, just as there is with everything else.  And maybe because the good is so good, the shadow side is particularly difficult to traverse at times.

And knowing that, I made plans for this weekend.  More accurately, my honey made plans for this weekend.  He’s taking us away.  Just the two of us.  Kelly’s going to be spending the time with Samantha Jones, her childhood friend and the heroine in The Second Lie.  They made plans to sit through this launch together.  It’s kind of cute, really, watching these two tough, confident, successful women get all antsy about their story hitting the shelves.

Tim and I are packing up and heading out to my healing place.  

I’ve had this cabin in my life since before I was conceived.  My Dad grew up spending summer days up at the cabin with his father.  He learned to fly fish in the stream that runs through the back yard.  (I was actually standing at the bank of the stream when I took this picture.)  My mother and father spent their wedding night here.  Mom was nineteen and Dad was thirty-two and here she is a shy young bride and at dawn the next morning my grandfather shows up singing at the top of his lungs – “Oh What A Beautiful Morning.”  He was there to make them breakfast.

Every summer vacation of my life was spent at this cabin.  Talk about freedom!  We own seventeen acres and it sits in the midst of hundreds of acres of hills and trees and evergreens.  I’d get up in the morning and take off and I’d return when I returned.  Or so it seemed to me, anyway.  I could wander up in the hills for hours and never even know where I was.  I didn’t worry – much – about making it home, though.  My father taught me early on that all I ever had to do was find the stream (fairly easy to do from the vantage point up in the hills) and follow it home.  And the second thing I had to do was listen for the car horn.  That was our signal to come home.  Mom and Dad would lay on the car horn.  And we’d know it was time to high tail it back.

My brothers learned to fly fish.  I learned to catch frogs.  And when I got older, I cherished the free time and the quiet and peace to hideaway up in those hills and read the entire day away.  My best friend and I (she vacationed there with me) would pack lunches and blankets and head up to the hills with a bag filled with Harlequin Romances.  There’d be hours of no conversation at all as we absorbed the stories that would shape the rest of our lives.

The last time my family was together before my older brother was killed in a car accident was up at the cabin.

Tim and I spent our very first vacation together up there.  And we’ve been there more times in the past three and a half years than I’d been there my entire adult life.  The cabin is a place where there is no time.  There is no expectation or schedule.  No appearances.  Life just…is…there.  And whatever is is okay.  It’s so far out in the wilderness the only law that exists are the laws we make up ourselves.  And we don’t make up many.  You eat what you want, when you want.  Calories and fat don’t compute up there.  You drink what you want.  There’s no driving.  You shower if you want to.  No one to impress.  You sleep when you want, even if it’s three times in the middle of the day.  There are no schedules.

What’s up there is plenty of peace.  The sound of the stream running through the backyard.  The wind whistling in the trees.  There might be a deer or two run by the front window while you’re sitting at the big table in the middle of the kitchen.  I’ve seen skunk and porcupine and a bear one time, too.  What’s up there is nature’s healing.  The cabin strips away all that the world puts on us and lets us return to our natural selves.  It doesn’t recognize rat race (unless it’s a little grey mousey variety fighting up a food chain).  It slows us down until relaxing is all that matters.

Tim and I shoot the guns a lot.  We’ll stand on the porch you see up there and shoot at targets.  Shooting is what I learned from my father at the cabin.  I wasn’t allowed to fly fish.  (My dad coined the word chauvinist!)  But for whatever reason, he thought I should learn to shoot.  And I did.  I was a better shot than either of my brothers.  And I am equal to Tim – whose had a gun and shooting festish since he was four.  We don’t shoot at targets made for target shooting.  We’ll put an egg somewhere far away and shoot at the white dot it becomes.  Or we’ll pick a twig on a distant tree and shoot until it falls.  The joke in our family has become, ‘let’s take it to the cabin and shoot it.’ whenever anything gets in our way.  (No kidding, my niece recently brought something home from school that was displeasing to her and she said, ‘we should take it to the cabin and shoot it!’)  What we do NOT do is shoot anything alive.  Ever.

This weekend, the plan is to have a fire from the time we get up until the time we go to bed.  We built that firepit this year.  It’s in the backyard on the bank of the stream.  We plan to sit out there and…sit out there and…sit out there.  Saturday evening my cousin and her husband are going to join us for some chili and libation and…sit out there.

And when we aren’t sitting out there Tim and I will be  sitting here playing cards.  We have a running talley on gin rummy that we started three and a half years ago.  I love playing cards with him.  He’s so…Tim.  My father taught me how to play cards.  He taught me how to count cards, to keep track of what I’ve seen and know what’s left in the deck.  He taught me to play percentages.  He taught me how to win.  He didn’t ever play cards with Tim.  Thank goodness for all of us!  Tim is not a guy you can predict.  He’s not an opponent you can size up.  Because as soon as you expect him to do one thing, he’ll do another.  And not the same ‘another’ either.  He’s always coming up with some new theory or insight and applying it to see if it works.  Playing cards with him – doing pretty much anything with him – is an adventure.

So this is where I”ll be this weekend.  In my healing place.  What do the rest of you do when you need to rejuvenate?  Do you have a place you go?  Or something you do?

This post is brought to you as part of The Chapman Files International Blog Tour. Over the next three months, as we celebrate The Chapman Files, expert witness psychologist Kelly Chapman and I are going to be asking for help. If you can, join us in our fight against Domestic Abuse. If you’d like to help, click here to go directly to a secure paypal sight. Or just comment here to show your support.

There’s an item from our new book, The Second Lie, hidden on the tour with us. Guess the item to enter the drawing to win it! Today’s clue: You have to clean it. Send all guesses to To see previous clues visit blog sites listed at Guess as many times as you’d like!

Don’t miss The Chapman File tour party on December 4th at! Tour prize winners will be announced!     E-books of all of The Chapman File Stories are available for pre-order at     Next tour stop: Monday, October 4, 2010. Afanatics Book Blog We hope to see you there! The more blogs you visit with us, the more chances you have to win! Every time you comment your name is dropped in the bag for the prize drawings.     For weekly blog tour dates, visit Or to have the weekly schedule sent directly to your email, send request to


  1. Loved your post, the cabin sounds wonderful. When I was a kid we lived on my grandparents farm, and they had lots of acres. I would either walk or ride through the fields. My grands had a 5 acre pond, so I was brought up fishing. Its still one of the things that works wonders, getting me to slow down and watch the world go on.

    Reading has always been an escape and a way to relax. Playing with my dogs…my littlest catches a mean frisby! Tonight my grandson is going to spend the night and we will be making Guacamole and taco salad for dinner.

    You and Tim enjoy your away time! Pss…I have TSL and am looking forward to getting it started today!

  2. Reading, painting and cross stitching give me the relaxation I need. There is nothing like curling up on the couch, with a big, warm fluffy blanket and either read or cross stitch.

    Painting requires a bit more of an effort, getting everything out, then putting everything away…but the results are very satisfying.

    Creating seems to help me get grounded again and gives me a better outlook on life.

    in Germany

  3. Sounds beautifully peaceful, relaxing, and fun! It’s neat that you can add to the family history of the place. I love the story of your grandfather — that must have been a little shocking for your Mom! (And another strange fyi … my parents had a 13-year age gap — Mom was 40 and Dad 53 when they had me, xx years ago tomorrow.)

    I’m with Darla – reading is one of my favorite escapes. But my favorite place to rejuvenate is simply at home and just having a day to “be,” whether cooking or reading or whatever.

    Hope you and Tim have a marvelous weekend away!!

  4. Darla,

    Whoops, Kelly jumped ahead of me about your evening meal. We’re both reading all of the comments!


    I cross stitch, too. From the time I was a kid. I taught my daughter at an early age, too, and she still stiches. She does some beautiful work.

    My mother in law was a professional painter. We have three of her paintings in our home and they mean the world to us.


    My mother was beyond shocked. The rest of the story was that my grandfather didn’t approve of the marriage. My mother came from a less well to do family and he didn’t she was good enough for my dad. Until one of his highly placed associates spoke to him the night of the wedding my grandfather didn’t attend and mentioned that my mother had worked for him and said that my Dad better take good care of her. That’s why he showed up that next morning. Because he’d ditched them the day before. Breakfast was in way of apology and welcome.

    Probably wasn’t the best choice!

    Wow, it was tough sometimes with the difference in my parents ages, but at least Mom was young when she had us kids. I’ll bet you’ve got some meaningful experiences growing up as you did.

  5. I’m reading The Second Lie now. I think it’s a great story.

    My Dad’s Mom looks very unhappy in my Mom and Dad’s wedding pictures! She didn’t want my Dad to get married to ANYONE. The good news is that once she got to know my Mom, she said that if she’d had a daughter, she would have wanted her to be just like my Mom.

  6. Reading, going for a walk and watching my favorite comedies relaxes my brain.

  7. Mary,

    Great story about your mom. Funny how time changes people and things.

    Tim and I are listening to the first wife and the second lie on audio book this weekend.


    I love comedies as long as they aren’t slapstick!

  8. Valerie, you won the book giveaway! To receive your copy of The Second Lie send your snail mail address to